Usually in our Closet Classic series we tend to talk about wars, thrillers and action packed bouts with great drama. Today we keep on the drama theme, but we also merge it with a bout that really a technical undressing by a boxing great. That however does not mean it's a bad bout. Far from it in fact. This was really high level stuff and the perfect example of the beauty of boxing.
Yoshiyuki Uchida (21-2-1, 19) vs Gilberto Roman (48-4-1, 34)
In one corner was relatively unknown Japanese challenger Yoshiyuki Uchida, a man that many outside of Japan won't know anything about, and even those in Japan would struggle to remember many of his bouts. Up to this point he had fought 24 pro bouts and won 19 inside the distance but the names on his record didn't really say too much. He had turned professional in 1981 and hadn't really made much of a name for himself in his first 19 bouts, despite going an impressive 17-1-1 (15). It wasn't until his 20th bout that he scored a real win of note, stopping former world champion Koji Kobayashi in 1985, and sending Kobayashi into retirement. In 1986 Uchida lost in a Japanese Flyweight title bout, to Koji Nishikawa, before bouncing back to win the Japanese Super Flyweight title in 1987. Just 10 months later he was getting a shot at the WBC champion Gilberto Roman.
Mexican legend Gilberto Roman is one of the greats at Super Flyweight. A brilliant outside boxer with a fantastic boxing brain. Although not a huge puncher he had more than respectable power to go with his outstanding technical brilliance. He had shown his skills to a Japanese audience in 1986, when he dethroned the Jiro Watanabe, and had then gone on a mini world tour with defenses in France, Argentina, Thailand and Mexico before losing the belt to Santos Laciar on Cuts. He would reclaim the title in 1988, in the US, before returning to Japan to take on Uchida in his first defenses of his second reign. Coming in to this bout Roman had scored notable wins over the likes of Watanabe, Kongtoranee Payakaroon, Frank Cedeno and Sugar Baby Rojas, among others. He was certainly a world class fighter, and a truly exceptional boxer.
From the very first bell what we saw was a pure boxing contest, fought at a super high speed. Both men seemed happy to use their jabs to feel the other out, and both seemed to almost be happier at the same range. Neither man getting too close, as Uchida looked to prove he could box with one of the best pure boxers in the sport. It was a mistake from Uchida to fight this way, but allowed Roman to show case the skills that had seen him become a 2-time champion. Uchida trying to box with Roman was a mistake, especially with his low level of activity. He looked to change that in round 2 but failed, as Roman began to tag him more and more consistently with clean jabs. Everything was clean. There was no holding, and instead it was a genius going to work on someone who didn't deserve to be in the ring with him.
Given that Roman was giving Uchida a boxing less we didn't expect much drama. It was a schooling from the tremendous Mexican. Then in round 4 we finally got drama as Uchida began to chance Roman. He was taking shots as he pressed forward but, after about 50 seconds of the round it paid off, as he dumped the Mexican on to the seat of his pants with a jab. Roman wasn't hurt. Embarresssed, maybe, but certainly not hurt. Uchida however was encouraged and kept coming forward, buoyed on by the fans who had started to believe in their man.
We won't ruin what else happens from here, but for those who like clean punching, technical skills, and ring craft this is fantastic. Roman really showing how amazing he was. It's still such a huge shame he was taken before his time.
By Eric Armit:
-Erickson Lubin wins the WBC Silver super welter title with decision over Terrell Gausha in a disappointing fight
-Jose Pedraza continues his busy schedule with wide points victory over Javier Molina in his second fight in just over two months
-Tugstsogt Nyambayar floors Cobia Breedy twice in the first two rounds but then looks fortunate to win the decision
-Welterweight Jaron Ennis again impresses as he hands Juan Abreu his first stoppage loss
-Heavyweight Efe Ajagba outpoints Jonathan Rice in a slow fight
-Mateusz Masternak returns with a win and eyes another shot at the cruiserweight title
World Title/Major Shows
Uncasville, CT, USA: Super Welter: Erickson Lubin (23-1) W PTS 12 Terrell Gausha (21-2-1). Feather: Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1) W PTS 12 Cobia Breedy (15-1). Welter: Jaron Ennis (26-0) W TKO 6 Juan Abreu (23-6-1).
Lubin vs. Gausha
Lubin takes the early rounds and finishes strongly to outpoint Gausha. A cautious start with more probing than punching but with Lubin doing what scoring there was. Lubin took the second and third. He was getting through with right jabs and had Gausha stumbling with a hard left. Gausha was on the back foot and hardly throwing any punches. It was as if he had decided on counter punching tactics but had forgotten the punch bit. Gausha landed a couple of rights in the fourth and fifth but again it was Lubin connecting with right jabs and straight lefts and he had won all five rounds easily. It’s as well there were no fans in attendance as they would have been demanding their money back. Gausha was livelier at the start of the sixth coming in behind his jab with rights. Lubin then had a good spell before they went back to probing and not punching. There was a lot more action in the seventh. Gausha was finally letting his punches go and was just a little quicker than Lubin but Lubin rebounded to outscore Gausha in the eighth putting together some solid combinations. Gausha started to eat into Lubin’s early lead by edging the ninth and a right had Lubin stumbling on unsteady legs in the tenth but Lubin survived. For me Gausha was still behind and Lubin did enough to take the eleventh and stunned Gausha with a right hook in the last round to emerge a clear winner. Scores 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 for Lubin. The 24-year-old Orlando southpaw wins the WBC Silver belt and as he is already No 1 with the WBC he will almost certainly get a chance to revenge his first round kayo loss to champion Jermell Charlo he suffered in 2017- provided that Charlo beats WBA and IBF champion Jeison Rosario in a unification battle on Saturday. Gausha lost this fight with his sluggish start but this was his first fight for 16 months and only his second in almost two years so with a few more fights under his belt he could challenge again next year.
Nyambayar vs. Breedy
After an explosive start Nyambayar has to fight hard and it is only his early success that sees him take a split decision over Breedy. These two started at a fast clip and Breedy looked on his way to edging the first round giving Nyambayar a nose bleed but a heavy right to the chin from Nyambayar put him down. He did not look badly hurt and made it to his feet. The punch had landed with only five second remaining in the round so Nyambayar was unable to capitalise on the knockdown. Nyambayar attacked hard at the start of the second and a left hook put Breedy down again. He rolled over and straight back up to his feet and after the count was willing to stand and trade with Nyambayar to thee bell. Barbadian Breedy is 5’4” so he usually has to give height and reach to his opponents but he compensates for that with fast hands and a busy style. He outscored Nyambayar in the third again standing and trading. Pressure from Nyambayar saw the Mongolian edge the fourth but he had trouble with the speed and movement of Breedy who rebounded to take the fifth and sixth. The bout swung back to Nyambayar as he used his longer reach to score on the outside and win the seventh and eighth rounds but despite a swelling under his left eye Breedy was able to get inside and outwork Nyambayar in the ninth. This was proving a fast-paced, close and entertaining fight Breedy had fought his way back after those early set-backs but Nyambayar put the fight out of Breedy’s reach by taking the tenth and eleventh. After an early bunch of punches Nyambayar decided to dance his way throught the last round allowing Breedy to take it. Scores 114-112 and 114-113 for Nyambayar and 115-111 for Breedy. Those two knockdowns effectively saved Nyambayar from defeat. The 28-year-old Mongolian was having his first outing since losing a wide unanimous decision in a challenge to Gary Russell Jr for the WBC title in February. Breedy led him a merry dance but Nyambayar’s No 2 spot in the WBC ratings assures him of a title fight next year if he can avoid a loss. Breedy was unlucky here. Although there were no name fighters on his record he showed here that he is ready to take on the best.
Ennis vs. Abreu
The speed and power of Ennis prove too much for Abreu who is floored three times and stopped. Ennis was quickly into his stride in the first stabbing out right jabs and then finding the target with some flashy combinations. A solid right to the head and a left hook rocked Abreu who was not quick enough to land anything himself. Ennis outboxed Abreu over the next four rounds piercing the Dominican’s guard with jabs and then stringing together five or six lightning punches. Abreu just could not get into this fight. Some needle crept into the fight in the fifth. Ennis landed low and Abreu turned away with his hands down but as the referee had not called a stop Ennis promptly threw some more punches and Abreu responded with a deliberate low shot which did stop the action for Ennis to recover. Near the end of the round Ennis connected with a blistering right uppercut that sent Abreu down on his back. Abreu was up at seven but then the bell went. They squared up to each other until they were both forced to turn away. Ennis came out firing in the sixth and as they traded punches a right clipped Abreu on the top of his head and he tumbled back and down. He managed to rise at nine but a series of punches sent him sprawling and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Philadelphian Ennis, 23, has impressive figures with 23 wins by KO/TKO including a current run of 16 in a row. He is rated IBF12/WBO 11/WBC 15 at welterweight but the division is top heavy with Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford holding three of the titles and WBA champion Manny Pacquiao not looking to take on someone as fast as Ennis. Abreu was 3 ¼ lbs overweight for the fight. This marks the first time Abreu has lost by KO/TKO having taken Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Alexander Besputin the distance in big fights.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Light: Jose Pedraza (28-3) W PTS 10 Javier Molina (22-3). Heavy: Efe Ajagba (13-0) W PTS 10 Jonathan Rice (13-6-1). Feather: Robeisy Ramirez (5-1) W PTS 8 Felix Caraballo (13-3-2).
Pedraza vs. Molina
Pedraza continues to make up for time lost to the pandemic with his second win in just over two months. The classy Puerto Rican took control of the fight in the first round and never relinquished it. He was too quick for Molina getting his punches off first and never allowing Molina a toe-hold in the fight. It was a fast-paced clash of two good technical boxers but Pedraza’s movement and hand speed gave him the edge. As early as the second round his accurate jabbing had raised a lump under Molina’s left eye. Heads bumped dangerously and Molina came off worse suffering a cut on the left side of his nose. Supposedly right handed Pedraza was constantly switching guards which had Molina befuddled and bewildered at times and Pedraza’s higher work rate saw him pocketing the rounds as he invested heavily in a body attack. Molina upped his pace in the sixth but his legs were stiffened by a right in the seventh and he then had to survive an onslaught from Pedraza. Molina was shaken again by a left in the eighth as he seemed to have no way of combating Pedroza when the Puerto Rican boxed southpaw. Pedraza was countering so quickly and accurately that Molina was hesitating to commit himself to a punch even when he knew he needed a stoppage to win. A straight left had Molina hurt in the tenth and after that survival was his only concern. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for the former IBF super feather and WBO lightweight champion. A shot at becoming a three-division champion has to be the aim but a points loss to Jose Zepeda in September means he has an uphill battle. After losing to Jamal James in 2016 Molina took two year out of the ring and had scored five victories since returning including victories over 19-1 Hiroki Okada and 22-2 Amir Ahmed Imam but he was well beaten here. Coincidently both Pedraza and Molina competed at the 2207 World Championships and the 2008 Olympics but never met with Pedraza representing Puerto Rico at 60kg and Molina the USA at 64kg,
Ajagba vs. Rice
This was what in the days past would have been described as a “snoozer” as Ajagba plodded to victory over a slow Rice. Ajagba was strong with his jab but not really stringing any punches together. He buckled Rice’s legs with a right in the second but it was almost boxing by numbers as there was little variety in his work. Rice really confined himself to a harmless jab and an occasional right cross. He connected with two good rights to the head in the fourth and shook Ajagba with a better right later in the fight but was not looking to engage in any heavy trading. There were few highlights with neither fighter in trouble at any time and Ajagba was a comfortable winner. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for Ajagba. The 26-year-old 6’6” Texas-based Nigerian reportedly hurt his right hand early in the fight which must have affected his performance. He has a strong jab and power and. He has wins over Ali Eren Demirezen and Razvan Cojanu and is rated WBA 12/WBC 14 but is still very much at the learning stage. Rice was stopped in the tenth round of a fight against Australian champion Demsey McKean (I always feel there should be a letter “p” between the “m” and the “s” in McKean’s first name but maybe not)in March.
Ramirez vs. Caraballo
Cuban southpaw Ramirez continues his settling in period as he goes eight rounds for the first time in outpointing Caraballo. Ramirez was comfortable on the back foot letting Caraballo force the fight and he made Caraballo pay for his forward march with an array of classy punches. Ramirez showcased his hand speed and excellent footwork outboxing Caraballo early and then upping the pace trying to get an early finish but Caraballo was still there at the end of the eighth round. Scores 80-72 on two cards and 79-73 on the third. Ramirez has a lot to live up to having beaten Shakur Stevenson, Tugstsogt Nyambayar , Michael Conlan, Andrew Selby and many other top names in his time with the Cuban team. Caraballo was knocked out in six rounds by Shakur Stevenson in June.
Obrenovac, Serbia: Light Heavy: Marko Nikolic (26-0) W PTS 10 Patrick Bois (15-8-1). In a fight between a fireman- Nikolic and a policeman- Bois Nikolic retains the WBC Mediterranean title with points victory in a bout that had been cancelled a couple of times. Nikolic made a good start staggering Bois with a right in the first but Bois rebounded and Nikolic had to fight hard for his win in an entertaining contest. Serbian Nikolic was shaper and more accurate but Bois was willing to walk through Nikolic’s punches to land some clubbing shots of his own. Nikolic rocked Bois with a fierce attack in the third but Bois banged back with hard rights in the fifth. Bois looked to be tiring in the sixth and was dripping blood from his nose but Nikolic was already showing a swelling under his left eye. They battled hard over the late rounds with a right from Bois sending Nikolic’s mouthguard flying across the ring but Nikolic was just doing enough to win the rounds. Scores 97-93, 97-94 and 96-94 for Nikolic. A three-time Serbian champion in the amateurs Nikolic competed at the World and European Championships. He was making the first defence of the WBC title but may struggle against higher level opposition. Bois, twice holder of the French title, is rarely in a bad fight. This is only his second contest in almost two years but his performance here should lead to more fights.
Managua, Nicaragua: Bantam: Alexander Espinoza (20-2-2) W PTS 10 Aron Juarez (17-8-3,1ND). Light: Francisco Fonseca (27-3-2) W KO 2 Lesther Lara (16-12-2).Welter: Gabriel Escalante (14-0) W TEC DEC 5 Angel Galo (8-6-1).
Espinoza vs. Juarez
“Supernova” Espinoza has too much class for Juarez and goes 2-0-1 up in their three-bout series. Espinoza took control with his jab and as the fight progressed was putting together some impressive combinations. Southpaw Juarez was mainly on the defensive and unable to make use of his longer reach. He was on the brink of a stoppage as he took heavy punishment in the fifth. He survived and did enough to edge a couple of rounds but the speed and accuracy of Espinoza made him a clear winner. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Espinoza who is now the owner of the WBC International Silver belt. He had drawn with and then won a split decision over Juarez in past fights. His losses are a very debatable split decision against Mikhail Aloyan in Russia and a shock second round stoppage by experience Dixon Flores last August. Coming into this fight Juarez was 4-1 in his last 5 outings.
Fonseca vs. Lara
Fonseca punches too hard for southpaw Lara. After dominating the first round Fonseca waited out a brief attack from Lara in the second and then used a right uppercut and a left hook to floor Lara who tried to get to his feet but the referee waived the fight over. Second quick win in six weeks for former IBF super featherweight title challenger. He looked unlucky to only get a draw against Alex Dilmaghani in London in November but was knocked in 80 seconds by Ryan Garcia in February. Third straight loss for fellow-Nicaraguan Lara.
Escalante vs. Galo
Escalante gets technical decision over southpaw Galo. Escalante was winning this one by boxing outside and using his much longer reach. Although he was scoring with those jabs Galo was able to get inside on occasions. Escalante was tying Galo up inside and a frustrated Galo launched a deliberate butt which crunched into the side of Escalante’s face. The referee deducted a point from Galo. Escalante looked to have suffered either a fractured jaw or cheek bone and was unable to continue but all three judges had him in front so he was declared the winner. The 23-year-old Escalante moves to 14 wins but is a bit lacking in the power department. Only the second fight since December 2018 for Galo.
Guadalajara, Mexico: Super Light: Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela (22-2-1) W PTS 10 Erwin Bennett (13-2). Light: Cesar Ayon (13-2-1) W TKO 4 Noel Mejia (14-2).
Valenzuela vs. Bennett
Fighting in front of his home fans in a fight that signalled the return of boxing to Guadalajara Valenzuela floors and outpoints Bennett. The local fighter floored Ecuadorian Bennett in the second with a right cross but Bennett was up immediately and proved durable. Valenzuela dominated the remaining rounds and came close to stopping Bennett over the ninth and tenth but Bennett made it to the final bell. Scores 99-90 twice and 100-90 for Valenzuela. The 25-year-old Valenzuela (normally with the way Mexican names are structured he would be using his father’s name of Gollaz but most local sources had him as Valenzuela) is unbeaten in 20 being 19-0-1 including wins over Nery Saguilan and Daniel Echevarria. Bennett was to have fought in a six round fight on the card but when Ulises Perez tested positive for COVID-19 Bennett was moved up to the main event
Ayon vs. Mejia
This bout was also affected by COVID-19. Ayon was to have fought Rene Tellez but Tellez also tested positive and was replaced at short notice by Mejia. Ayon was much too good for a tubby Mejia and handed out a solid beating. The referee stepped in and stopped the fight in the fourth as Mejia kept walking into more punishment. Only one loss in his last 14 contests for Ayon. Eleventh time Mejia has failed to last the distance.
Tarnow. Poland: Cruiser: Mateusz Masternak (42-5) W PTS 10 Taylor Mabika (19-6-2). Welter: Damian Kiwior (8-1-1) W TKO 2 Ruben Rodriguez (9-6-1). Heavy: Lukasz Rozanski (13-0) W TKO 2 Ozcan Cetinkaya (31-21-2). Cruiser: Adam Balski (15-0) W TKO 1 Jarek Prusak (9-5).
Masternak vs. Mabika
On his return to the ring Masternak wins wide unanimous verdict over Mabika. Masternak boxed his way through the first finding the range for his jab and adding a couple of accurate power shots. Masternak upped his pace in the second scoring well with lefts to the body and rights to the head. Mabika is slow and limited but tough and he showed he also had a good jab as he reddened Masternak’s face. As the fight progressed Mabika was static in the ring centre with Masternak circling spearing him with jabs and clubbing him with lefts and rights. As he shed some rust Masternak started to put together some eye-catching combinations but Taylor has a good chin and he just kept trying to roll forward through the punches. Late in the fight Masternak tried hard to put Mabika away but the Gabonese fighter never wilted and stayed there fighting to the end. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for the 33-year-old Pole. A former European champion Masternak was having his first fight since losing a very close decision to Yunier Dorticos in October 2018 in the WBSS. The cruiser division is a mess at the moment. Dorticos is IBF champion but his fight with Mairis Breidis can’t be a unification fight as the WBC took Breidis title away from him and designated him the meaningless Diamond champion. Lawrence Okolie and Krzys Glowacki fight for the vacant WBO title in December and as usual the WBA have four champions in Arsen Goulamirian super champion, Beibut Shumenov secondary champion despite not having fought for over two years and Alexey Egorov is Gold champion. There must be a fight for Masternak in there somewhere. The 41-year-old Mabika has lost to four world champions with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu the only one to beat him inside the distance. He has won a number of secondary titles and is probably the best Gabonese fighter but that is a bit like being the best admiral in the Luxemburg navy.
Kiwior vs. Rodriguez
Home town fighter Kiwior blasts out Rodriguez in one round. After hunting Rodriguez around the ring the first punch Kiwior threw was a straight right that dropped Rodriguez to his hands and knees. Kiwior looked to have landed another right when Rodriguez had a knee on the floor but got away with it. Rodriguez made it to his feet at eight and then moved and boxed until a right to the head sent him reeling to the canvas and again Kiwior threw a punch whilst Rodriguez had one knee on the floor but this time he missed. Again Rodriguez beat the count but was promptly knocked down again and the referee stopped the fight. A former top level amateur Kiwior has had a couple of bad set-backs being floored and outpointed by English journeyman Chris Jenkinson (10-61-3) and only drawing with four fight novice Wes Smith. He has won his last four fights and this is his first inside the distance victory. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for former Spanish title challenger Rodriguez.
Rozanski vs., Cetinkaya
A farce badly disguised as a fight as Rozanski halts tubby Turk in two rounds. Cetinkaya was down twice in the first minute of the fight and was given another count when his gloves touched the floor as he tried to duck away from Rozanski’s punches. A body punch caused his fourth knockdown and there was still another minute of the first round remaining. A left and right seconds before the bell saw him tumble to the canvas for the fifth time. Knockdowns No 6 and 7 came in the second round but really in both cases Cetinkaya went down to avoid a punch not because of one. A right to the head dropped Cetinkaya down for the eighth time and the referee just waived the fight over-about six counts too late. Polish champion Rozanski has won his last eleven fights by KO/TKO but he is 34 and limited and I can’t see him progressing much beyond domestic level. Cetinkaya, 42, has fifteen losses by KO/TKO and was pathetic here.
Balski vs. Prusak
Balski obliterates Prusak. This one had a frantic start with both throwing wild punches. A left hook from Balski dropped fellow-Pole Prusak. He made it to his feet at the count of five then dropped to one knee before getting up at eight. A right cross had him stumbling and a right uppercut put him down. He arose but the referee would not let him continue. Over and done with in 84 seconds. Ninth quick win for Polish champion Balski. Prusak, 36, suffers his fourth stoppage defeat.
Tijuana, Mexico: Super Light: Kevin Torres (17-1-1) W PTS 8 Jose Cuevas (13-2-1). Bantam: Carlos Lopez (13-0-2) W PTS 8 Breenan Rhyes Macias (7-1-2).
Torres cs. Cuevas
Torres keeps his winning sequence going as he outpoints Cuevas. “The Diamond Boy” from Washington State dropped Cuevas in the fifth but Cuevas rallied enough to last the distance. Now seven consecutive victories for Torres. Cuevas had won his three previous fights.
Lopez vs. Macias
A bit of an upset as Lopez outpoints Mikey Garcia’s fighter Macias. This one was wall-to-wall war. After four rounds Lopez had battled his way in front being on top 40-36 on two cards and level on the other. Macias fought hard over the last four rounds to claw his was back into the fight but could not overcome Lopez’s early lead. Scores 78-74 twice and 77-75 for Lopez who stays unbeaten and collects the vacant WBC Youth title. Texan Macias had won his last four contests. Both fighters were moving up to eight rounds for the first time.
Jefferson City, MO, USA: Cruiser: Jesse Bryan (19-3-2,2ND) W KO 3 Gary Culp (10-10). Bryan delights his home town fan with third round kayo of Culp. The 36-year-old Bryan returned to the ring in 2017 after being inactive for twelve years. He has won ten in a row but he never fought outside of Missouri and even the guys he has lost to would be classed as substandard. Culp is 2-7 out of his last 9 fights,
Sesto Florentino, Italy: Super Welter: Orlando Fiordigiglio (31-3) W Francesco Lezzi (12-15-2).
Back in the ring since his second round kayo loss to Sam Eggington in September last year Fiordigiglio wins unanimous decision over former victim Lezzi. Fiordigiglio forced Lezzi to fight a defensive fight. He had Lezzi on the edge of defeat with a right in the fourth and had him under heavy fire in the fifth but as when they met in 2018 Lezzi refused to buckle and lasted the distance. At 36 the former Italian, European Union and WBC International champion will be look to regain some injured pride suffered in the loss to Eggington. Former Italian champion Lezzi has only lost once by KO/TKO.
Dnipro, Ukraine: Heavy: Andriy Rudenko (33-5) W PTS 10 Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko (7-8-1). Heavy: Viktor Vykhryst (3-0) W TKO 3 Gabriel Enguema (10-10). Heavy: Ali Eren Demirezen (13-1) W PTS 6 Kamil Sokolowski (9-19-2). Super Light: Volkan Gokcek (3-0) W TKO 6 Ruslan Belinskiy (7-1-1).
Rudenko vs. Dovbyshchenko
Routine win as Rudenko takes unanimous decision fellow Ukrainian Dovbyshchenko. Rudenko needed an easy night after losses to Agit Kabayel for the European title and to Zhilei Zhang. All of Dovbyshchenko ‘s losses have been on points so he gave Rudenko some useful work.
Vykhryst vs. Enguema
Already being hailed as the new Klitschko Vykhryst scored a devastating kayo of Spaniard Enguema. The finishing punch was a booming right that left Enguema flat on the canvas out cold. The 28-year-old 6’5” German-based Vykhryst has won his three fights by KO/TKO. He was a gold medal winner at the European Championships in 2017 and 2019 and had qualified for Tokyo but decided to turn pro instead. Enguema suffers his fourth inside the distance defeat and has won only 2 of his last 9 fights.
Demirezen vs. Sokolowski#
Like Rudenko Demirezen needed ring time and a win and he managed both by outpointing British-based Pole Sokolowski over six rounds. First fight since January for Demirezen and second victory since losing to Efe Ajagba in Las Vegas in July last year. Only one win in his last five contests for Sokolowski
Gokcek vs. Belinskiy
Former leading Turkish amateur Gokcek brutalised Ukrainian Belinskiy flooring him four times before stopping him in the sixth. Gokcek had Belinskiy on the floor in both the second and third rounds and the fight was stopped after he registered two more knockdowns in the sixth. Gokcek, 24, was Turkish national champion and a bronze medal winner at the European Under-22 Championships. Belinskiy’s 7 victims had been low level with only 11 wins between them
Fight of the week (Significance): Erickson Lubin’s win over Terrell Gausha put him at the front of the queue for a shot at the WBC title. Honourable mention to Jose Pedraza who also boosted his hopes of a title fight next year with his win over Javier Molina
Fight of the week (Entertainment):Tugstsogt Nayambayar’s fight with Cobia Breedy had an explosive start and then was close the rest of the way.
Fighter of the week: I am going for Cobia Breedy for climbing off the floor twice to give Nyambayar all the trouble he could handle
Punch of the week: The right uppercut from Jaron Ennis that floored Juan Abreu was perfection but Abreu did get up. For that reason I go for the booming right from Viktor Vykhryst that knocked poor Gabriel Enguema out cold.
Upset of the week: None. They all went the way of the favourites
Prospect watch: None that I have not already fingered
Boxing doesn’t need enemies when it serves up shows like the one in Tarnow, Poland, There were nine fights six of them ended in the first round and one in the second. The one that lasted into the second saw obese Turk Ozcan Cetinkaya fall to the floor six times in the first round and twice in the second. The referee should be reprimanded for cruelty to the fans for letting the fight go to eight knockdowns. For anyone of my era it brings back memories of the “Philadelphian Death Squad” . It got that name not because they were hit men but because they were dead beats and accidents waiting to happen. There were usually six to nine of them and they were delivered to a promoter as a package by an agent-if I remember correctly his surname was Christmas- and they all travelled in one van often fought with trainers on their feet instead of boxing boots and shared shorts etc. His fighters were guaranteed to last no more than two rounds in any fight. OK the Tarnow card was not as bad as that as it had Masternak on but it was not a good advert for boxing.
The 10-8 marking of a round when a knockdown is scored could be said to have cost Cobia Breedy a possible world title shot. He was knocked down in each of the first two rounds. That would put Tugstsogt Nyambayar in front 20-16 One judge had Breedy winning 115-111but the other two had it 114-113 and 114-112 for Nyambayar but if you just take the scores on the ten remaining rounds it come out at 95-94 and 97-91 for Breedy and 94-94.
Typically this series has looked at bouts that have been controversial due to the man who deserved the win getting denied their victory. Today we're looking at something a little bit different. This time the right guy got the win, but the controversy wasn't easy to ignore. In fact the controversy was huge with implications that went beyond the scope of just who won and lost. It resulted in lengthy suspensions, laid the ground work to sell another bout on and had been a very personal battle for the two men.
Daisuke Naito (31-2-2, 20) Vs Daiki Kameda (10-0, 7)
In October 2007 Daisuke Naito was the WBC Flyweight champion, he had won the belt less than 3 months earlier, defeating Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in their third bout. Naito was supposed to then give Wonjongkam a rematch, which would be their fourth bout, however Kyoei had wanted to give Daiki Kameda a chance to become the youngest ever Japanese world champion.
As a result Naito's team, who had long targeted Daiki's older brother Koki Kameda, essentially paid Wonjongkam to step aside in the hope of securing a future bout with Koki Kameda, if Naito could get past Daiki.
With an agreement set the then 18 year old Kameda began promoting the bout with some rather scummy comments. He had called Naito a cockroach and generally been provocative in the media, hoping to get into Naito's head and draw more attention to the fight.
Naito was regarded as a good guy, he was well liked even if he wasn't the most charismatic or well known. He was seen as a stand up guy, a former bullying victim who, thanks to his win over Wonjongkam, had climbed the summit of the sport. The Kameda clan however were seen as natural heels, dislikable, loud, arrogant and appealed to a new generation. Whilst Naito was the old, man, the Kameda's were energetic, drawing a huge fan bases. That fan base was a mix of females, who thought the brothers were cute, fans from Kansai, who were getting behind their local star, and those who just found themselves drawn to the Kameda's and their anti-hero charm. Oh there was also plenty of people who just wanted to see the cock Kameda's being shut up and beaten.
Kameda's comments before the bout had seen interest explode in the contest and the feeling was that this was going to be something massive for Japanese boxing.
What ended up being a heavily hyped bout turned into a bit of a mismatch. From the opening round Naito was too sharp, too quick, too skilled and too good. Kameda pressed from the early stages with a tight defensive style that saw him pretty much trying to walk down Naito, but lacked the out put and energy needed to be competitive with the champion.
For the best part of 11 rounds Naito dominated the younger man. The bleach blonde Naito was trying to fight Naito, but had nothing to really challenger the more experienced and much better Naito. Even when Naito stood his ground and fought Kameda's fight he was getting the better of things. Kameda had spent more time headbutting, trying to thumb Naito, leading with the shoulder and landing low blows. Not only were the fouls from Kameda flagrant, and continous, but they were going unpunished by the referee, who gave repeated warnings but no deductions early on. There was not only fouls but taunting and typically scum like behaviour through out. He was playing the perfect heel. The man people want to see get beat...and he was getting beat.
With Naito well in the lead Kameda was showing an increasing level of frustration. This was seen notably in round 9, when he started to abuse some rough house tactics, including throwing Naito down which drew loud boos. Naito returned the foul with a cheap shot of his own later in the round, when he was deducted a point by Vic Drakulich. By this point the the crowd were rabidly against Kameda, who again bent the rules to near breaking point in round 11, with a headlock take down.
In round 12 things went from ugly and foul filled to something that didn't resemble boxing. Kameda was essentially sent out to fight Naito, taking him down, again, less than 30 seconds into the round. He was deducted a point, but that was just the start of a melt down. Moments later Kameda picked up Naito and tossed him to the canvas, and had 2 more points taken. Another tackle from Kamda followed, then a tackle from Naito before the two began to engaging in something of an MMA event on the canvas. There was some boxing in the round, but most of it was crude, street fighter stuff from Kameda.
After the 12th round there no doubting who had won. Naito had won the bout, and won the hearts of the Japanese fans. But the controversy spiralled on.
Kameda left the ring quickly after the final bell, not staying to give an interview. He didn't follow through on any promises to commit Seppuku, thankfully, but refused to not only speak to press but treat them with disdain at a post fight press conference. He stayed silent and then walked out.
Following the bout Kameda was given a lengthy suspension, his trainer and father Shiro was given a permanent ban from working the corner and older brother Koki Kameda was also reprimanded for his instructions. There was also speculation that Koki had to cancel an upcoming bout due to issues coming from this bout, though officially the reason was an opponent hadn't been decided on
In his next defense Naito faced Wonjongkam, in their fourth and final bout, and would go on to face Koki Kameda two years after this controversial, foul filled bout with his Koki's younger brother.
Koki would beat Naito, though lost the WBC title to Naito's old nemesis Wonjongkam, scrapping a chance of a rematch between Koki and Naito, which rather notably Naito's team had the contractual option for but without the WBC title there was no desire to enforce it.
Thankfully things bet Naito and the Kameda family have improved since this mess of a fight. Daiki has apologised for what he said and did, and Naito has accepted the apology and drawn a line under the matter. Now a days Naito, Daiki Kameda and Koki Kameda have retired from the ring and this dark bout in Japanese history is not something to be proud off, but is still a very important bout. It's also one of the very rare cases where a fighter was deducted 3 points in a round and not DQ'd.
By Eric Armit
Everyone in boxing has suffered due to the pandemic. We know this but when you see the figures for the number of fight cards in 2020 compared to 2019 that really drives it home. To give you an example for 2019 Box Rec was notified of 604 potential shows in the USA a substantial number even if some of those notified fell by the wayside. For 2020 from January through to the end of December for the USA the projected figure is 200. For the United Kingdom the figures are 272 for 2019 and 72 to the end of 2020. For Mexico the figure for all of 2019 was 594 shows and for 2020 through to the end of October the available projected figure is 122. Japan in 2019 registered 183 shows and the projected figure to end November is 49. As can be seen the impact on boxing around the world has been catastrophic.
Boxers, managers, promoters, seconds, trainers, gyms, local commissions, Boards, sanctioning bodies and even we poor boxing journalists have lost income due to the pandemic (Except myself. The last time anyone paid me for writing it was in doubloons and they were delivered by a guy on a horse).
The impact differs. For some it means the difference between living and just existing. Not having food on the table and not being able to support your family but sometimes that brings out the best in people. An example is Thai promoter and philanthropist Naris Sangwancha. When he learned that a gym in the Philippines did not qualify for the support offered by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) he provided food for the 37 boxers and other people involved with the gym. It is also an indication of the problems affecting bodies such as the GAB whose support can only go so far. The figures for the Philippines were 121 shows in 2019 and up to 9 March, the date of the last show in the Philippines, the total was 14.
However the green shoots of the recovery by boxing from COVD-19 continue to grow and on 5 December in Paranque City, Manila Vic Saludar and Robert Paradero will contest the vacant secondary WBA minimumweight title.
Encouragingly in South Africa the Sports Minister has given clearance to the regulating body Boxing South Africa (BSA) for boxing shows to restart under strict conditions. Of course BSA is not a promoter so the pace of the return to boxing will be set by the promoters but BSA has offered to help with the costs of COVID-19 tests. It is hoped that Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves will put on a show in October but for some promoters it will be like being awarded a driving licence but not having a car. Boxing is a business and it has been hard enough for small promoters in South Africa to stage shows when there were no restrictions so without gate money and little or no TV it is a hard road ahead but BSA will do what it can to smooth some of the bumps.
A show is planned for Ibadan in Nigeria in December but so far Ghana has not been given the go ahead.
It seems almost obscene to go from the hardships some in boxing are suffering to Saul Alvarez suing DAZ-N for $280 million. It seems to fly in the face of the old sayings of never bite the hand that feeds you and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Of course whoever thought up those saying failed to read the small print. One of Alvarez’s beefs is that he has not been able to fight since beating Sergey Kovalev on 2 November and whilst my heart goes out to him as he must be down to his last $100 million by starting his action against DAZ-N and Golden Boy it means he won’t be fighting anywhere except the courts for a while.
This week was a good week for Team Sauerland as they landed the rights to stage two IBF final eliminators. A bid of $118,530 helped them outbid German rivals SES for the super middleweight contest between Zach Parker and Stefan Haertel. The top two places in the IBF super middleweight ratings are vacant as no one currently in their ratings has beaten a rated fighter but with Parker No 4 and Haertel No 5 the winner will go to No 1 leaping over No 3 Caleb Truax. The other final eliminator. This one at middleweight, will feature Patrick Wojcicki against Patrice Volny. Neither fighter has faced a quality opponent yet (In their computerised world ratings Box Rec has Volny at No 33 and Wojcicki at No 37 and the EBU places Wojcicki at No 15 in Europe) but the winner will be the mandatory challenger to Gennady Golovkin. Best of luck with selling that fight to the public.
The WBO are naturally only concerned with their own titles so despite hopes of a Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez unification fight they have set the date of 20 September for the teams representing Ramirez and Jack Catterall to reach an agreement or they will then call for purse bids. Incidentally the minimum purse bid for a WBO super lightweight title fight is $150,000 but of course the fight is worth a lot more than that. As an example for the fight with Viktor Postol Ramirez’s purse was $850,000 and Postol’s $500,000
To take part in a professional boxing match you have to be medically examined to ensure you are fit to box. It seems to me sometimes that if you have the standard two legs two arms a trunk and a head you are half way there. If you are not blind and don’t have a physical disability or any disease then the chances are you will qualify as fit to box. After some recent fights I wonder whether there should be another factor taken into account. Take the cases of Dennis Lewandowski and Chauncy Welliver. Lewandowski is 27 stands 6’2” and for his last fight weighed 335lbs giving a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 42.4. Welliver is also 6’2” and weighed 378lbs for his last fight giving him a BMI 48.5. The BMI scale shows that anything over a BMI of 30 is into the red zone of obesity and therefore clinically perhaps even dangerously unfit-but nevertheless- fit to box! If a doctor examined Welliver outside of the context of boxing he would never say that a man who was more than twice the upper range of fitness for his size i.e. 183.6lbs was “fit” but hey this is boxing so two arms, two legs etc…….
Plenty of action coming up with “Sasha” Povetkin and Dillian Whyte meting again on 21 November with Povetkin defending the WBC interim title he won with his stoppage of Whyte in August. Before then on October 10 Nathan Gorman fights for the first time since his kayo loss against Daniel Dubois last July. He faces Ghanaian Richard Lartey who was knocked out in four round by Dubois in April last year. At light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi puts his IBF No 3(2) rating and his WBA International title on the line against inexperience Croat Marko Calic and another WBA International title will be up for grabs in Newcastle on 17 October when Lewis Ritson defends against former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez. Unbeaten Olympian Qais Ashfaq, Pakistani-born Scot Kash Farooq and unbeaten WBO No 2 super bantamweight Thomas Patrick Ward are all schedule to be on the card.
Eddie Hearn continues to spread his reach even further with a Matchroom show in Mexico on 23 October. The plan is for three world title fights with Juan Francisco Estrada defending his WBC super flyweight title against former champion Carlos Cuadras, Roman Gonzalez risking his WBA super fly title against Israel Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez putting his WBC flyweight title on the line against currently-but not for long-unrated Maximino Flores. If Estrada and Gonzalez come thought those defences successfully then an Estrada vs. Gonzalez unification match must be the aim.
Matchroom are also aiming to stage one of the biggest fights in New Zealand boxing history between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa. They have unsettled business from the amateurs where they both scored wins over each other but Fa’s win in the Oceania Olympic Qualifier cost Parker a place at the 2012 Olympics.
The almost forgotten final of the WSSB cruiserweight tournament will take place in Munich on 26 September. In case you have forgotten-and you could be excuse if you have as the semi-finals were staged fifteen months ago-it will be Mairis Breidis against Yuniel Dorticos. Not sure if they will play the national anthems or the last post as this tournament has been dead but not buried for over a year.
Where can I hide my head in embarrassment for boxing? Wlad Klitschko striding down the catwalk modelling a new police uniform. If you hear a sound like an electric fan it is Tony Galento spinning in his grave.
Former IBF and WBA cruiser champion Murat Gassiev is training again with the aim of fighting at heavyweight. He has not fought since losing to Oleksandr Usyk in a unification fight in July 2018.
Can’t get too excited about Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola which is slated for 7 November. Ruiz is still very much in the heavyweight picture being No 4 with the WBC and WBA and No 5 with the IBF and WBO but a lot of interest will be on what he weighs after he was 283 ½ Lbs in the return fight with Anthony Joshua in December. Anything over 260lbs will raise questions over his fitness. Same with Arreola if he is over the 244lbs he weighed in his fight last August when losing to Adam Kownacki.
One of the very best things we get to do working on this site is watching some pretty obscure fights. Fights that, in all honesty, are little more than historic footnotes lost in annals of boxing history. And in fairness some aren't even that. When we get to watch some of these fights some obscure ones turn out to be something very, very special. Today we'd like to bring you one of those rare bouts that we doubt anyone has really spoke about, at least in any length, but is well and truly worth a watch.
Jong Kil Kim (18-10-4, 11) Vs Jong Jong Pacquing (56-21-6, 29)
In August 1997 Korean fighter Jong Hoon Yuh vacated the OPBF Light Welterweight title, after having made 6 defenses. As a result we needed to see a new champion crowned, and the bout to crown a new champion pitted two of Yuh's former foes together with Jong Kil Kim, a fellow Korean, against veteran Filipino Jong Jong Pacquing, a veteran Filipino.
On paper this had no right to be anything worthy of note, but what we got thrilled and delivered something truly brilliant.
Little remembered Korean fighter Jing Kil Kim was a tough, rugged fighter who made his debut in 1985, as a teenager, but struggled to make his mark early on. He came up short in a number of Korean title bouts before finally winning the Korean 140lb title. In 1996 Kim came up short in an OPBF title bout to Yuh in 1996 but after Yuh vacated Kim was right back in the mix, now as a 2-time Korean national champion, and was able to get his shot against Pacquing.
With over 80 bouts to his name at this point Pacquing was a legitimate veteran. He was a win-some-lose some type, but on his day he could be a nightmare for regional level opponents. He had debuted in 1980, aged 17, and had developed his skills in the ring. He had won the OPBF Lightweight title relatively early in his career, but lost it in 1985 to future world champion Tsuyoshi Hamada, becoming the first man to lose a decision to the big punching Hamada. He had also had a 4 bouts with former world title challenger Rod Sequenan. Like many Filipino fighters we see today, on his day he could be a nightmare.
As with many bouts this one started off with a bit of a feeling out process. The Korean local pressed forward whilst Pacquing boxed off the back foot. The feeling out process was however rather tense with the Korean letting some big bombs go, even if they did generally miss. Less than 90 seconds into the round however it was clear Kim wasn't a fan of having a whole round of feeling out his man, and instead wanted to take out Pacquing. The Filipino, to his credit, stood tough and continued with his game plan, but it wasn't long before he was getting drawn into Kim's fight, with the two trading shots as early as round 2.
What looked a relatively weak match up on paper was already starting to warm up nicely as Pacquing was meeting Kim with exchanges in round 2, but things were only just starting. By round 4 Pacquing's footwork was faltering and we were seeing more and more exchanges, and both men were taking clean, and huge, head shots.
The fight did slow down a bit as we went on, but it felt like it would only ever take a single shot to set off the touch paper again, in what was a genuinely compelling, and massively over-looked, war of attrition.
We'll admit the ending was anti-climactic, but the action in the early rounds more than made up for the underwhelming finish.
Another month is upon us and another chance to look at some of the wonderful, wacky and weird adverts featuring Asian boxers! Today we look at an advert for insoles, a drink, some hair care products and some cosmetics. Once again we see that boxers can turn up in a very diverse set of commercials.
Guts Ishimatsu - Morito insoles
We kick off with a truly bizarre one featuring one of this series' favourites Gut Ishimatsu. The commercial sees Ishimatsu and a man in a bear suit, yeah we're lost already, promoting some insoles from a company called Morito. The advert, from 1986, seems weird to say the least, but it didn't cripple the company who are still around to this day and you can actually order various Morito insoles around the globe now. Still very odd advert and one that leaves us more and more confused as to what Guts' agent was doing in the mid 1980's!
Tomomi Takano - Suuuuper Wooooman
One of the few female boxers who has managed to maintain a strong base in advertising is model come boxer Tomomi Takano. Whilst Takano might not be a world class boxer she has sensational looks which has made her very marketable. Here she is in an advert for the drink Suuuuper Wooooman. The advert is a simple one, with mostly Takano doing some training, but the product does get spoken about and seen being drank which at least helps a lot more than some other adverts we've included. Still not a great commercial but better than many featuring fighters.
Shinji Takehara - Kamatori Housing Co.
In a rather sweet commercial for Kamatori we see former WBA Middleweight champion Shinji Takehara not just running through a neighbourhood but also, seemingly, speaking at a school. The sense of togetherness and being part of something bigger works well here and those in charge of the advert have used Takehara's ability to just be a decent person really well. Maybe not the most amazing or best of adverts but it's nice to see a boxer used in an advert that just has a strong sense of sweetness like this one.
Manny Pacquiao - Head and Shoulders
In 2010 Head and Shoulders did a commercial with Manny Pacquiao where, as we often see with Pacquiao commercials, they essentially inserted him into a role that anyone could have taken, in an effort to just have the brand associated with him. The advert lacks the charm that some other Pacquiao commercial's have and it misses the mark, but given the amount of commercial's Pacquiao was in there was always going to be some stinkers. This is one of the worst, and really does feel like Pacquiao was shoe-horned in to appeal to the Filipino market.
Yuko Kuroki - Amin Cosmetics
Last month we included Yuko Kuroki's confusing commercial for Autobacs, which really left us scratching out heads. With that in mind we felt it fair to include a much better one with Kuroki this time around. Here is her advert for Amin Cosmetics. It's a much smarter advert than the autobacs on, giving a lot of different images, and proving that being pretty doesn't mean you can't be a boxer, and being a boxing shouldn't prevent you from caring about how you look. This makes a lot more sense than the Autobacs one.
By Eric Armit
-Joet Gonzalez takes wide unanimous verdict over three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga
-Egidijus Kavaliauskas come from behind to stop Mikael Zewski in eight rounds
-Fedor Chudinov gets late stoppage victory over Umar Sadiq
-Anthony Yarde halts Dec Spelman in six rounds and Mark Heffron and Denzel Bentley fight to a draw
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Feather: Joet Gonzalez (24-1) W PTS 10 Miguel Marriaga (29-3). Welter: Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-1-1) W TKO 8 Mikael Zewski (34-2).
Marriaga vs. Gonzalez
Gonzalez puts himself back in the title picture as he pounds three-time title challenger Marriaga to defeat over ten rounds. Marriaga looked sharp at the start and outworked Gonzalez over the first two rounds but Gonzalez made some adjustments and never looked back. In the third he was connecting with hard punches to head and body rocking Marriaga early and late in the round. Marriaga’s early work had started a swelling around Gonzalez’s left eye but in the fourth the snap had gone out of Marriaga’s punches. Gonzalez was forcing the Colombian onto the back foot and digging vicious left hooks to the body. The more pressure Gonzalez brought the more Marriaga’s own output dropped. It was one-way traffic in the sixth as Gonzalez was blocking Marriaga’s shots with his high guard and then firing crunching straight rights and left hooks. In the seventh Marriaga used more lateral movement to try to avoid the straight line approach of Gonzalez and was firing short bursts of punches. It made no difference as Gonzalez was able to block Marriaga’s shots and still find the target with powerful lefts and rights. Marriaga was almost in survival mode circling the perimeter of the ring just trying to stay out of trouble. Marriaga tried to take the fight to Gonzalez at the start of the ninth but after a brief spell of success he was soon on the back foot again circling the ring with Gonzalez stalking him and landing hurtful left hooks to the body. Gonzalez finished the fight stronger and wrapped up the last round. Scores 99-91 twice and 97-93 all for Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Californian will be hoping to get a shot at the winner of the fight between Emanuel Navarrete and Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title to wipe out the memory of a dismal effort when he was outclassed by Shakur Stevenson for the same WBO title in October. Colombian Marriaga, 33, had been hoping that a win here would get him a fourth shot at the featherweight title. That fourth shot eluded him when a fight with Stevenson for the title in March was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On this showing another title shot seems out of the question.
Kavaliauskas vs. Zewski
Behind on two cards Kavaliauskas produces a crunching uppercut to turn the fight around and give him victory.
Zewski was quickly into his stride. He was faster and more accurate with his jab and also clouted Kavaliauskas with a couple of straight rights. Kavaliauskas was trying to counter but was not fast enough. Zewski had slight edges in height and reach but it was his hand speed and movement that won the second. He was snapping his jab though the guard of Kavaliauskas and connected with a thumping straight right. Kavaliauskas did a bit better with his own jab in the round and connected with a right but it was not enough to take the round. Kavaliauskas did better in the third. He has a powerful jab and he began to throw more rights but Zewski was on target enough to make it close. The fourth saw some exciting exchanges as they both let their hands go and both landed heavily in a close round that Zewski just edged. After four rounds two judges had it 40-36 for Zewski and the third had them even at 38-38. Strong jabbing and heavy rights saw Kavaliauskas take the fifth but Zewski’s speed saw him get back by winning the sixth. Kavaliauskas now had a heavy swelling under his right eye that threatened to hamper his vision. Zewski was pumping out punches and showing good footwork in the seventh but Kavaliauskas was hunting him down in earnest with just seconds to go in the round a beautiful right uppercut unhinged Zewski’s legs. Kavaliauskas forced him to the ropes and unloaded with a series of punches until Zewski slid to the canvas. The three minutes were over but of course as the knockdown occurred just before the round ended the referee started to count and Zewski hauled himself to his feet as the count reached nine. In the eighth Kavaliauskas immediately jumped on Zewski and landed a right to the head and as Zewski dropped to his hands and knees the referee stopped the fight. After being beaten in nine rounds by Terrence Crawford in December for the WBO title Kavaliauskas needed this win to re-establish himself. He struggled early in this one but his power brought him win No 18 by KO/TKO. Canadian Zewski goes back to the drawing Board. He had lost a wide decision against Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015 but had worked his way back into the ratings with seven wins.
London, England: Light Heavy: Anthony Yarde (20-1) W TKO 6 Dec Spelman (16-5). Middle: Mark Heffron (25-1-1) DREW 10 Denzel Bentley (13-0-1). Welter: Ekow Essuman (14-0) W PTS 10 Cedrick Peynaud (8-8-3).
Yarde vs. Spelman
Yarde halts Spelman in six rounds. He shows a more studied approach than in the past but shows his power when he breaks through in the sixth. The first two rounds saw both fighters probing with their jabs without committing themselves. Yarde looked a little sharper and tried a couple of right crosses but missed and Spelman stuck to his jab so there were no sustained exchanges. A bit too much respect being shown here in the fourth although Yarde was bringing his right into play more. Spelman had been on the back foot for most of the fight but he began to take the fight to Yarde in the fifth. He connected with a strong right to the head, his best punch so far, and a left hook. Yarde seemed content to let Spelman come to him and he looked dangerous as he started to let his hands go late in the round. Spelman was determined to take the fight to Yarde in the sixth but a couple of left hooks to the body discouraged him. Yarde rocked Spelman with a punch and then drove him around the ring before three rights sent Spelman down on one knee. He was unsteady as he climbed to his feet and when the count reached eight the referee waived his hands to end the fight. If Yarde keeps winning then another world title shot in 2021 looks a certainty and he will be hoping to go one better than his loss to Sergey Kovalev in August last year. Third loss in a row for Spelman having been beaten by Shakan Pitters and Lyndon Arthur.
Heffron vs. Bentley
Heffron and Bentley fight to a draw in an entertain contests. Heffron went on to the attack from the first bell coming in behind his jab and targeting the body. Bentley was boxing neatly and countering but it was Heffron’s round. Heffron continued to press the fight in the second but Bentley switched guards and connected with a southpaw straight left that knocked Heffron over. Heffron was not badly hurt but it was a 10-8 round for Bentley. The third saw Bentley build on the knockdown to take the round and then connect with some good combinations to take the fourth. Heffron upped the pressure and pocketed the fifth catching Bentley with a driving right hand to get back in the fight. Heffron’s work rate put him in charge in the sixth and seventh as Bentley was defending well but not throwing enough. The eighth was close but again pressure from Heffron gave him the edge and he hustled and harried Bentley through the ninth connecting with some hurtful hard punches and Bentley was doing plenty of holding. I had Heffron two points in front going into the last but Bentley outboxed Heffron at the start of the round and landed more late in the round to just tilt the balance his way in the final round. Score 95-95 from all three judges so a relatively rare unanimous draw. Heffron goes to 4-0-1 in his last 5 as he rebuilds after a stoppage loss against WBO No 2 Liam Williams in 2018. Londoner Bentley showed some very sharp skills and it will be interesting to see if he kicks on from here.
Essuman vs. Peynaud
Essuman has too much skill for useful but limited Frenchman Peynaud and took a wide unanimous verdict. His superior hand speed and movement kept Essuman in control but he never looked like winning this one early. Peynaud was competitive over the middle rounds but other than that period it was Essuman in control. He consistently found gaps for his jab and a frustrated Peynaud too often found himself swishing air as Essuman boxed his way to victory. Scores 100-90, 98-92 and 98-93. The 31-year-old Botswana-born Essuman collects the vacant IBF European title. He has wins over Tyrone Nurse and Curtis Felix and was an Elite level amateur. Peynaud shook things up when he floored Conor Benn twice in their 2017 bout but lost on points and was outclassed by Benn in the return fight in 2018.
Khimki, Russia: Super Middle; Fedor Chudinov (23-2) W TKO 12 Umar Sadiq (10-2). Heavy: Sergey Kharitonov (1-0) W TKO 2 Danny Williams (54-29,1ND)
Chudinov vs. Sadiq
Chudinov comes from behind to score a late stoppage with some concerns over Sadiq as he was hospitalised after bringing up blood when undergoing the after fight drug tests. Sadiq made a useful start. At 6’4” he is six inches taller than Chudinov and he worked well on the outside and outscored Chudinov over the first and with Chudinov seeming to have no answer to Sadiq’s jab. A series of rights to the head knocked Chudinov’s mouthguard out in the second. Chudinov pressed hard in the third and had some success when he was able to force Sadiq to the ropes and did even better in the fourth as he was getting past Sadiq’s jab. For me the fourth was the first round Chudinov had won. Chudinov continued to exert strong pressure in the fifth and sixth. He was landing the harder punches but Sadiq was using his reach well and looked to have the edge in those rounds. There were signs the pressure was getting to Sadiq in a close seventh but he was switching guards and outboxed Chudinov to extend his lead. Chudinov got back into the fight in the eighth again pressing hard and landing some solid punches. Lots of back and forth action in the ninth another close round. Sadiq was having trouble trying to keep Chudinov out but he exerted some pressure of his own and scored with a flurry of punches to edge the tenth. Chudinov came back to life in the eleventh launching some fierce attacks and over the last minute of the round he had Sadiq under heavy fire and rocked him with a right at the bell. Sadiq looked unsteady and in the twelfth Chudinov drove him to the ropes and bombarded him with punches. Sadiq was swaying and tottering and not fighting back and the fight was stopped. Chudinov, 32, retains the WBA Gold title. Since being stopped by George Groves in 2017 Chudinov has put together a run of eight victories with Nadjib Mohammedi, Ezequiel Maderna and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in his list of victims. His Gold title is meaningless as it has him sitting above the ratings so he is not the mandatory challenger for either the full WBA title or the secondary title. WBA Gold seems to be a yellow brick road to a dead end. British-based Nigerian Sadiq performed far above expectations. If the Russians had thought he would be this good they would not have taken him. He moved from Nigeria to London when he was ten and eventually worked as an accountant. He fought for Nigeria at the African and World Qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics but did not make it to Rio. He did not turn pro until he was 29 and at 32 he may struggle to go further. No update on his condition available right now.
Kharitonov vs. Williams
Kharitonov floors Williams in the first and stops him the second round of a farce that was painful to watch. It was circus all the way as Kharitonov was accompanied on his ring walk by a real bear and things went downhill from there. Kharitonov was about as agile as a hippo on ice and Williams moved very little. Although glacially slow Kharitonov is strong and in the first round a huge left to the head sent Williams floundering across the ring and down heavily. Williams made it to his feet and survived the round thanks in part to Kharitonov’s tactic of landing a punch and then retreating to the ring and lifting his arms in celebration ( a bit like a football team I supported who did a lap of honour whenever they won a corner). Williams showed some fire in the second putting a few punches together. He had Kharitonov pinned to the ropes until a series of hooks and uppercuts saw Williams stagger back across the ring with his arms flailing. He stopped and took a couple of steps forward and then stumbled back to the ropes and the referee just waived the fight over. The 40-year-old Kharitonov, who weighed 280lbs (127kg) for this fight, was having his first pro boxing match after an extensive career in various forms of MMA but strangely was returning to boxing. He won a gold medal in boxing at the Central Asian Games in 2003 and silver at the Asian Championships in 2004 but failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics. Williams 47, who weighed 249lbs, his lowest since 2017, is still sellable on the basis of a 2004 knockout of Mike Tyson although in fairness his career back then was about much more than that but he is well past his “use by” date.
Budapest, Hungary: Super Welter: Balazs Bacskai (13-0) W TKO 2 Gogi Knezevic (34-11-1). Super Welter: Renato Egedi (17-1-2) W TKO 5 Adam Mate (27-18), Super Middle: Mate Kis (17-0-2) W TKO 4 Ericles Torres Martin (20-16-1). Super Welter: Laszlo Toth (29-5-2) W PTS 8 Gabor Gorbics (26-19).
Bacskai vs. Knezevic
Bacskai gets another inside the distance victory as he dismantles Knezevic in two rounds. Bacskai pounded Knezevic with punches in the opening round and Knezevic only just survived. In the second “Benji” Bacskai forced Knezevic to the ropes and raked Knezevic with punches until the referee stepped in to save Knezevic from too much of a beating. Seventh inside the distance victory for Bacskai. It is a pity that Bacskai did not turn pro until he was 29. He was one of the most successful amateur boxers produced by Hungary. He was World and European champion at Junior level and won a gold medal at both the European Senior championships and European Union Championships. He won gold medals at 16 International tournaments as well as having a record of 21-1 in the German Bundesliga but at 32 times is very much against him. Austrian Knezevic, 41, suffers his tenth inside the distance defeat.
Egedi vs. Mate
Hungarian southpaw hope Egedi much too good for fellow-Hungarian Mate. After a fairly even first round this contest between two southpaws turned into a one-sided hammering of Mate. Egedi remorselessly beat him down flooring Mate in the second and third rounds before the referee stopped the fight in the fifth. No real test for 25-year-old Egedi as he moves to seven quick wins. He is now 14-0-2 in his last 16 fights. “Bad Boy” Mate was a late fill-in and he was giving away a lot of height against a fighter who had been Hungarian super middle champion whereas Mate had once held the national title at lightweight! Mate is 0-7 in fights in America and has never managed to last beyond the second round in any of those bouts.
Kis vs. Torres
Kis floors Torres early then gets an inside the distance win in a confused fashion. Kis put Torres down in the first and by the end of the third had built a good lead. In the fourth Torres barged forward head down and looked to have smashed against the elbow of Kis. Torres went down and was unable to continue so the fight was halted and Kis declared the winner. The two draws on the record of Kis were both against Egedi so a third bout should be on the cards. Southpaw Torres, 43, a Cuban based in Hungary, has now lost his last six fights.
Toth vs. Gorbics
Toth has to work hard to outpoint substitute Gorbics in the best fight of the night. The early rounds saw Gorbics get in front of notoriously bad starter Toth. Toth was badly shaken by a punch in the fourth but then began to roll from there. He had Gorbics hurt in the eighth but could not find the punch to finish the fight before the final bell. The judges came up with a split decision. Scores 79-73 and 78-74 for Toth and 77-75 for Gorbics but Toth looked a worthy winner. Toth went 19-0-1 at the start of his career but his 10-5-1 in his last 16 fights gives a more realistic picture. Now six defeats in succession for “Squirrel” Gorbics
Hamburg, Germany: Heavy: Senad Gashi (20-3) W TKO 4 Adnan Redzovic (21-5). Heavy: Jose Larduet (3-0,1ND) W TKO 1 Josh Sandland (5-3-1).
Gashi vs. Redzovic
Despite giving away height and reach to Redzovic southpaw Gashi won this one all the way. He outlanded Redzovic in each round before finishing the fight in the fourth. Two rights to the head knocked Redzovic into a corner where the ropes held him up. The referee gave him a count but when the action resumed a left followed by a booming right to the head again sent Redzovic into a corner but this time he slid down to the floor and the fight was halted as the towel came in from Redzovic’s corner. German-based Kosovon Gashi won his first sixteen fights but then hit the buffers with losses against Tom Schwarz, Carlos Takam and Dereck Chisora. He has now won three in a row by KO/TKO but against very moderate opposition. Bosnian Redzovic retired after five rounds against Erik Pfeifer in his last fight in November.
Larduet vs. Sandland
Larduet obliterates Englishman Sandland inside a round. A left to the head had Sandland staggering and Larduet connected with a right hook and another left to the head which sent Sandland down heavily and the fight was over. The 30-year-old German-based Cuban is too good for opposition such as Sandland. In the amateurs the 30-year-old Larduet was Cuban champion three times won a bronze medal at the World Championships and gold at the Pan American Championships but turning pro at 29 is just too late. The No Decision was caused by Larduet injuring a leg in the second round of his fight with Mariano Diaz in January and being unable to continue. Larduet absconded from the Cuban team’s base in Germany for the 2019 World Amateur Championships. Second inside the distance loss for Sandland.
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Light: Omar Aguilar (18-0) W TKO 3 Jose Garcia (9-8-1).* Aguilar continues to blow away the opposition as he halts former victim Garcia in the third round. He was attacking hard from the start and floored Garcia with a left and a right in the second round. Garcia beat the count and just made it to the bell. In the third once again a left/right from Aguilar had Garcia out on his feet and the referee halted the contest. The 21-year-old from Ensenada has won 17 of his 18 fights by KO/TKO (* as there was no Commission member at this fight it will go into Box Rec as a ND) and was coming off a first round victory over Dante Jardon. Aguilar had stopped Garcia in five rounds in 2018. Two tough matches in a row for Garcia as he was stopped by 34-2-1 Marcelino Lopez last year.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Welter: Eduard Skavynskyi (13-0) W PTS 10 Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-8). Super Feather: Evgeny Chuprakov (22-3) W RTD 5 Alexander Federov (22-8-1)
Skavynskyi vs. Atrokhau
Skavynskyi wins unanimous verdict over visiting Belarusian Atrokhau. Skavynskyi was forcing the fight with cagey southpaw Atrokhau boxing cleverly on the retreat and scoring with sharp counters. Skavynskyi was marching forward behind a high guard but Atrokhau found plenty of gaps and his left counters raised some serious bruising under the right eye of Skavynskyi. Atrokhau was very much in this fight until gradually the pressure from Skavynskyi saw Atrokhau slow and his punch output dropped. He was spending more time pinned to the ropes but he was never in any trouble and made it comfortably to the last bell with Skavynskyi the winner but on widely varying scores. 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Skavynskyi. Ekaterinburg-based Ukrainian Skavynskyi won but did not really impress. Atrokhau has lost 8 of his last 9 fights but has only lost once inside the distance.
Chuprakov vs. Federov
Chuprakov gets a win but in a disappointing performance. This was Federov’s first fight since April 2014 and he was not there to win. He never looked like tearing up the script but his spoiling tactics frustrated Chuprakov. After three largely forgettable rounds Chuprakov upped his pace in the fourth and dropped Federov with a right hook with only the bell allowing Federov the chance to come out for the fifth. Chuprakov struggled to find a punch to finish the job but Federov retired at the end of the round. Chuprakov, a former WBO featherweight title challenger had lost his last two fights so he badly needed this win. Not sure why at 43 Federov bothered returning to the ring.
Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico: Middle: Carlos Molina (34-11-2) W RTD 6 Hector Zepeda (19-2). Super Light: Adrian Estrella (30-5) W PTS 10 Lupe Rosales (38-27).*
Molina vs. Zepeda
Former IBF super welter champion Molina gets curious victory over Zepeda. This was a good, competitive fight with the smaller Molina trying to work his way past the longer reach of Zepeda. After four close rounds Molina seemed to be taking control in the sixth. At the end of the round Zepeda just walked back to his corner and held out his gloves for his second to remove them and although not seeming hurt he had retired. Molina, 37, had suffered some losses on his travels but since moving up to middleweight he gets his fifth successive win on shows promoted by himself. Molina was a big step up in quality of opposition for Zepeda but his retirement was strange.
Estrella vs. Rosales
In a clash of two fighters who have both seen better days Estrella wins decision over Rosales. It was a gruelling contest where the youth of Estrella gave him the edge. At one time the 29-year-old Estrella was 22-0 and seemingly on his way to a title shot until his chin was checked a few times. Similarly Rosales was 25-1 at the start of his career but tougher opposition found him out.
Fight of the week (Significance): Anthony Yarde’s win puts his name in the hat again for a shot at the light heavyweight title.
Fight of the week (Entertainment). After a slow start Kavaliauskas vs. Zewski featured some exciting exchanges
Fighter of the week: Joet Gonzalez for outclassing Miguel Marriaga
Punch of the week: The right uppercut from Kavaliauskas that was the beginning of the end for Zewski
Upset of the week: None although both Umar Sadiq and Denzel Bentley came close
Prospect watch: No new names
A very quite week with surprisingly few shows
Yet another “different” setting for a show as Universum stage their Hamburg show in a fish market
Last week it was the young men’s week as a whole bunch of prospects scored first round wins. This week was bring out the old guys as Danny Williams 47, Ericles Torres Martin 43, Alexander Federov 43, Gogi Knezevic 41, Sergey Kharitonov 40, Guadalupe Rosales 39 and Carlos Molina 37 creaked into action.
When we think of the WBA and their propensity to give us "interim" champions alongside their "regular" we get genuinely annoyed. The idea behind "interim" titles do actually make sense, and if they were used as they are supposed to be used, we'd be happily in favour of them. Sadly the WBA have watered down the sport by having interim world champions, regular world champions and super champions in pretty much every division, without a need for them. If a champion is injured then, by all means, set up an interim champion with a unification bout when the champion is fit and healthy, but other than that there is no need for one.
The reason for us mentioning that is that today's Closet Classic is a great WBA Regular/interim title unification bout from 2007 and one of the rare times that we have seen the WBA titles being unified!
Yutaka Niida (20-1-3, 8) Vs Katsunari Takayama (18-2, 7)
In one corner was WBA "regular" Minimumweight champion Yutaka Niida, a very talented, but now often over-looked fighter from Yokohama. Niida was enjoying his second reign as the world champion, having beaten Noel Arambulet in 2004 to reclaim the title. Following his win over Arambulet for the title Niida had made 3 defenses and looked like he was rebuilding his career after a rather odd few years. Although not a puncher Niida was a talented, speedy and technical fighter, who was well schooled, knew his way around the ring and typically controlled the distance well. Sadly now-a-days Niida is best known for retiring after losing to Roman Gonzalez, but back in 2007 he was genuinely regarded as one of the best at 105lbs.
In recent years Katsunari Takayama has become known as one of the most exciting fighters in recent memory, and a real trail blazer for Japanese boxing. The "Lightning Kid" was a warrior. He was quick, light punching and always put on a show. He was certainly not a puncher, but he was intense, setting a high tempo and trying to our work and out fight opponents. Takayama was not only quick with his hands, but also his feet and was pretty much boxing's answer to the energiser bunny. Even back in 2007, when this bout took place, he was known for having great fan friendly bouts, though they were often closer than they needed to be. With Takayama's lack of power and warrior mentality often making things much tougher for him than they needed to be.
In September 2006 Niida was supposed to defend his title against Takayama, however a training injury forced a delay to the bout. Due to that injury the WBA had allowed Takayama to fight for the interim title, with Takayama beating Carlos Melo for the interim title in November 2006. When Niida was back to health we then, finally, saw the two men clash.
Given this bout was 7 months over-due, taking place in April 2007 and not September 2006, it quickly became clear that both men didn't want to take time getting to know each other. After around 15 seconds Takayama took the advantage, putting Niida on to the seat of his pants. Niida wasn't hurt but it was clear he wanted to get revenge for the knockdown, and from there we had a sensational bout in the making with both men happy to let their shots go.
Niida was the one pressing forward, for the most part, though Takayama was smartly nipping in and out, letting his hands go in flurries and making the most of his younger, fresher legs. He seemed fully aware that if he stood toe to toe he was going to be in trouble, though stood his ground often enough to give us some amazing exchanges.
For fans who like brawls this has enough brawling in it to be worthy of a watch, but it's not a slugfest, instead it's a brilliant technical war. It combines the volume of a brawl with sharp technical skills from both. The bout is full of action with technique, drama, controversy and competitiveness making it a brilliant contest from the the first bell to the very final seconds.
By - Eric Armit
-Jamel Herring retains the WBO super feather title as challenger Jonathan Oquendo is disqualified for a butt
-Yordenis Ugas outpoints Abel Ramos to win the vacant secondary WBA welter title
- In a Fight of the Year candidate Samir Ziani retains the European super feather title as he stops Alex Dilmaghani just nine seconds before the end of the twelfth round
-Steve Nelson takes another step toward a shot at the super middleweight title with stoppage of DeAndre Ware
-Akeem Ennis-Brown wins the Commonwealth super light title with decision over champion Philip Bowes
World Title/Major Shows
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Feather: Jamel Herring (22-2) W DISQ 8 Jonathan Oquendo (31-t). Super Middle: Steve Nelson (17-0) W TKO 6 DeAndre Ware (13-3-2). Light Fly: Jesse Rodriguez (12-0) W TKO 1 Janiel Rivera (18-7-3). Heavy: Jared Anderson (6-0) W TKO 4 Rodney Hernandez (13-10-2).
Herring vs. Oquendo
In a horrible fight Herring retains his WBO title as Oquendo is disqualified when Herring is unable to continue due to a cut brought about by a butt from Oquendo in the fifth round.
Not a great start for Herring as his foot slipped and he was on the floor after just five seconds of the round. Oquendo at 5’4” was giving away 6” in height to Herring and a correspondingly large amount in reach. Oquendo was lunging inside and was warned for holding and a punch to the back of the head as well as Careless head work all within the first minute. Herring was doing what scoring there was and tying up Oquendo inside.
Score: 10-9 Herring
Herring was picking off Oquendo with right jabs at distance and catching Oquendo with counters. Oquendo was rushing in with his head down and his head banged into Herring's face but luckily neither fighter was cut. Part of the problem was that with Oquendo 6” shorter and crouching Herring had to dip down if he was to land any body punches so their heads were very likely to clash
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 20-18
Herring continued to find the target with his jabs and occasional straight lefts. Oquendo was still rushing forward with his head down. After connecting twice with long lefts as Oquendo again rushed in Herring met him with a perfectly executed left uppercut which dropped Oquendo on his butt. Oquendo was up quickly and although Herring connected with some more uppercuts Oquendo survived the round. This bout was not good advert for world title boxing. It featured a few split seconds of action and then clinch after clinch with Oquendo holding instead of trying to work inside.
Score: 10-8 Herring Herring 30-26
Dominant round for Herring. He was catching Oquendo outside with jabs and straight lefts and then stepping back and countering the incoming Oquendo with hooks. Oquendo was still doing too much holding and his wild swipes were off target.
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 40-35
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 40-35 Herring, Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 40-35 Herring, Judge Julie Lederman 40-35 Herring
Oquendo was having some success as he scored with rights on his way in. He had been leading with his head throughout the fight and when he did it in this round he opened a cut over Herring’s right eye. Herring passed a doctors examination and as Oquendo continued to play the billy goat the referee had decided that the butt was intentional and after the end of the round he deducted a point for butting*.
Score: 10-9(-1*)=8 Herring Herring 50-43
The story of this round was clinch, clinch, clinch and more clinches. Oquendo was still plunging in head first flinging a few wild punches and missing. Herring was doing the scoring with counters before they got tangled again.
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 60-52
Herring did better in this when instead of waiting and countering Oquendo he took the fight to Oquendo and rattled him with straight lefts to the head but for most of the round it was a case of Herring countering before Oquendo dived inside head down and held.
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 70-61
This round was one long maul with the fighters tangled up and very few punches landed. Each time the referee pulled them apart Oquendo jumped back in head first. There were few punches landed and the few that were came from Herring.
Score 10-9 Herring Herring 80-70
Official Scores: Tim Cheatham 80-70 Herring, Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 80-70 Herring, Judge Julie Lederman 79-71 Herring.
There was confusing at the end of the round as the referee gave no indication he was about to disqualify Oquendo until after the bell when both fighters had gone to their corners. Herring was having trouble with his vision and was not able to continue. As the cut in question had been the result of a head butt the referee then disqualified Oquendo. It was confusing but justified and Oquendo could have been thrown out earlier
This was a very ugly title fight some but little blame on Herring’s part. He showed his skills but just could not escape Oquendo’s embrace for more than a few seconds at a time. The 34-year-old ex-Marine was a surprise winner of the US Trials for the 2012 Olympics but failed to medal. He looked to have lost his way with defeats against Denis Shafikov and Ladarius Miller but found his way again under the Top Rank banner beating 20-1 Filipino John Vincent Moralde and comprehensively outpointing champion Masayuki Ito in May last year to win the WBO title. This is his second defence having outpointed Lamont Roach in November. Although fellow Top Rank fighter Shakur Stevenson is No 1 with the WBO. The aim is for a defence against Carl Frampton currently ranked No 8 by the WBO-any bets on a promotion in the ratings for Frampton ? The 37-year-old Oquendo, had lost to Jesus Cuellar for the secondary WBA feather title in 2015 and was outpointed by Lamont Roach in May last year but had come back with a victory over Charles Huerta in November.
Nelson vs. Ware
The power of Nelson just too much for Ware. It looked as though Nelson might end this fight in the first when a right to the head unhinged Ware’s legs but he managed to remain upright. Both landed some hard shots in the second but Nelson was cut over the left eye in a clash of heads. He remained in control working solidly behind a strong jab over the third and fourth with Ware competitive not really strong enough to keep Nelson out. In the fifth another clash of heads saw Nelson cut again over the left eye and he immediately turned away from the action dabbing at the cut. It was serious enough for the referee to ask the doctor to examine it but the fight continued. Nelson shook Ware with a punch in the fifth and ended it in the sixth. He connected with a series of punches that sent Ware staggering to the ropes. Ware tried to get out of trouble but was hunted down and when Nelson connected with heavy uppercuts the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Nelson, 32, the WBO No 7, is on a roll with seven of his last eight wins coming by way of KO/TKO. “Toledo “Axeman” Ware had bounced back from a loss to Cam Kilic with a points victory over unbeaten Ronald Ellis but then slipped up again with a stoppage loss to Vladimir Shishkin. Loser or not Ware was a hero as when Top Rank’s Pete Susens collapsed at the weigh-in it was Ware who took control and carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation which probably saved Pete’s life. Well done DeAndre!
Rodriguez vs. Rivera
Rodriguez obliterates Rivera in the first round. Puerto Rican Rivera was brought in to give Rodriguez a test but he was blown away. Rodriguez put Rivera under pressure immediately and a series of punches had Rivera off balance and briefly being held up by the ropes before straightening up. The referee gave Rivera a count but he looked steady. Rodriguez changed that with two lefts to the head that pitched Rivera into the ropes which again held him up and resulted in a second count. When the action resumed Rodriguez chased Rivera into a corner and a couple of lefts dropped River to the canvas propped up against the ropes and the referee stepped in immediately to save him from more punishment. All over in 2:03 of the opening round. Still only 20 Rodriguez is a former two-time US Under-17 champion and the brother of Joshua Franco the holder of the secondary WBA super flyweight title. Joshua fights under their mother’s name and Jesse under their father’s name. Eighth victory by KO/TKO for Texan Jesse James (wasn’t he from Missouri?) Rodriguez. Only the second time Rivera has lost inside the distance. The other one was back in 2014 when he challenged Adrian Hernandez for the WBC light fly title. He lost on a split decision when he fought Wilfredo Mendez in May last year and only one fight later Mendez won the WBO minimum title so an impressive win for Rodriguez.
Anderson vs. Hernandez
Anderson eventually crushes Hernandez but Hernandez gives the 20-year-old puncher a few rounds of work. Hernandez bounced out at the bell rushing Anderson and trying to catch him off guard. Anderson showed some good footwork and just waited out Hernandez rushing attacks. He then worked with his jab before clouting Hernandez with some heavy shots before the end of the round. Over the second and third Anderson was landing strongly to head and body with Hernandez really just looking to survive. Anderson was just toying with Hernandez in the fourth until two lefts staggered Hernandez. Anderson then forced Hernandez back and dropped him in a heap with a left at which point the fight was stopped. The 20-year-old 6’4” “Big Baby” from Toledo has won all six of his fights by KO/TKO and has taken less than eleven rounds to get those wins but he badly needs some stiffer tests to take him further. Hernandez is the first fighter to last beyond the third round against Anderson. Hernandez was a good test at this stage. He has beaten 16-0 LaRon Mitchell and 17-0 Onoriode Ehwarieme and early in his career went the distance with Michael Hunter and Adam Kownacki.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Welter: Yordenis Ugas (26-4) W PTS 12 Abel Ramos (26-4-2). Super Light: Batyr Akhmedov (8-1) W TKO 1 Rey Perez (24-12). Welter: Cody Crowley (19-0) W PTS 10 Josh Torres (22-7-2).
Ugas vs. Ramos
Cuban Ugas wins the vacant secondary WBA title (Manny Pacquiao is the real champion) with split decision over Ramos.
This opening round turned caution into an art form. Ugas connected with seven jabs and Ramos just one punch. No rights in sight (must have been slow if I am indulging in poetry).
Score: 10-9 Ugas
The round was dominated by jabs from Ugas. He was quick and accurate. He also connected with a right to the head and a left hook. Ramos was permanently on the back foot but finally found the target with some jabs.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 20-18
Another round for Ugas, Ramos tried to get on the front foot and had some success with his jab but Ugas had the stronger jab and he connected with a right to the body and a left hook to the head. Ramos forced Ugas into a corner late in the round but did not break through the Cuban’s defence.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 30-27
There was no way that Ramos could win a battle of the jabs but that was pretty well all he was throwing. Ugas was doubling up on his jab and connected with a solid left hook. A left hook was the best punch Ramos had thrown so far. He did better in this round but he was not throwing or landing enough to be competitive.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 38-38 tied, Judge Edward Hernandez 39-37 Ugas, Judge Zachary Young 39-37 Ugas
A round for Ramos. He was more confident with his jab and started to get inside and put together some sharp combinations. Ugas was off target with his jabs and Ramos came out best as they traded hard punches at the end of the round.
Score: 10-9 Ramos Ugas 49-46
Finally a fight had broken out as Ramos was willing to stand and trade with Ugas. Ugas was scoring more. Again he was using a double jab to get close and connected with a left/right/left series of punches. Embarrassing for Ugas is that he missed with a wild right and dived head first through the ropes and almost out of the ring. They exchanged some power punches at the end of the round with Ugas scoring with heavy rights to the head.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 59-55
It was back to the battle of the jabs in this one and it was a round for Ugas. He was finding gaps for his left and also scoring to the body. Ramos was tentative with his jab and coming up short. When they briefly exchanged punches late in the round Ugas was the one connecting.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 69-64
Another round for Ugas. Despite his lack of success with it Ramps was sticking to his jab. Ugas was getting through with his double jab and twice connected with heavy rights that had Ramos backing off. He was also scoring to the body something that was missing from the tactics of Ramos.
Score: 10-9 Ugas Ugas 79-73
Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 78-74 Ramos, Judge Edward Hernandez 77-75 Ugas, Judge Zachary Young 78-74 Ugas.
Ramos practically gave this round away. For most of the round he threw only jabs and nothing else. He was short with his jabs and Ugas was on target with his and also scored with some useful hooks. Ramos came to life over the last thirty seconds but it was Ugas connecting with more and harder punches.
10-9 Ugas Ugas 89-82
A much better round for Ramos. He refused to be backed up and was following through on his jab and staying in punching distance landing sharp hooks and uppercuts. Ugas was barely using his jab and his punch output dropped.
Score: 10-9 Ramos Ugas 98-92
Another good round for Ramos. Again he stood in front of Ugas and was quicker with his jab and landed some hooks inside. Ugas was not jabbing much and although he connected with two hard rights just before the bell Ramos had done enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Ramos Ugas 107-102
Ugas took the last round. No fireworks from Ramos allowing Ugas to constantly slide home jabs and late in the round it was Ugas firing volleys of punches with Ramos being outlanded.
Score: 10-9 Ugas `Ugas 117-111
Official Scores: Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 117-111 Ramos, Judge Edward Hernandez 115-113 Ugas, Judge Zachary Young 115-113 Ugas.
A considerable difference between how Moret scored the fight and Hernandez and Young saw it. Also a difference how I scored it. It’s never the full or the only measure but according to CompuBox Ugas scored more punches in every round than Ramos and Ugas also scored with more jabs more body punches and more power punches over the twelve rounds but fights aren’t decided by computers-yet.
Ugas had lost a unanimous decision to Shawn Porter for the WBC title in March last year but then wins over Omar Figueroa and Mike Dallas earned him a title shot with the WBA. After losing a majority decision to Jamal James-currently the interim WBA champion-Ramos scored eight consecutive victories including wins over Jimmy Williams and Brian Perrella and was No 6 with the WBA.
Akhmedov vs. Perez
Perez waded in at the start with Akhmedov catching him with straight lefts. Perez continued to come forward and connected with two stiff rights. Southpaw Akhmedov then cut loose and floored Perez with a left to the body that had Perez go down on his hands and knees in pain. It looked to me that Perez got up at 9 ½. Akhmedov jumped on him and Perez went down from some more body punches and although the referee started the count he saw that Perez was in agony and he stopped the fight. First fight for Uzbek-born Russian Akhmedov since losing on points to Mario Barrios for the secondary WBA title in September and he looks sure to challenge for a title again next year. Perez’s career has been a bit of a switchback ride. Every time he puts together some good wins he then loses a big fight.
Crowley vs. Torres
Unbeaten Canadian “Crippler” Crowley moves to 19 wins as he sweeps the board against Josh Torres with the three judges all agreeing on 100-90 for the score. Torres had won his last seven fights six by KO/TKO but he showed no such power here.
South Kirby. England: Super Light: Akeem Ennis- Brown (14-0) W PTS 12 Philip Bowes (20-4). Light Heavy: Dan Azeez (12-0) W TKO 9 Andre Sterling (11-3). Super Middle: Padraig McCrory (11-0) W TKO 1 Mickey Ellison (12-3). Super Light: Harlem Eubank (10-0) W TKO 8 Martin McDonagh (8-2).
Ennis- Brown vs. Bowes
Styles did not mix well in this contest between two southpaws and that led to a disappointing fight with Ennis-Brown taking the unanimous decision and collecting the Commonwealth and vacant British titles. With his jerky style and extravagant footwork Ennis-Brown was the one taking the fight to Bowes. Ennis-Brown was throwing more and landing more but Bowes was the one connecting with the harder single punches. The early rounds were very close and Bowes was cut over his left eye in the fourth caused by the head of a lunging Ennis-Brown. Too much holding was spoiling the fight and the referee warned both boxers in the fourth and again at the start of the fifth both rounds which Bowes seemed to edge. Ennis-Brown flaps his punches so gets very little power into them but he was flailing away and scored well in the sixth and seventh. Bowes was trying to stop Ennis-Brown working inside and he was given a severe warning for holding in the seventh and lost a point in the eighth for the same offence. Things went better for Bowles in the tenth as he landed some heavy punches and Ennis-Brown was cut over the left eye by a clash of heads. The doctor had a look at the cut but cleared Ennis-Brown to continue. His higher punch output and the deduction had put Ennis-Brown in front and he held on to his lead over the last two rounds. Scores 115-112 twice and 116-111 all for Ennis-Brown. He adds Bowes to his list of victims which already includes Glenn Foot, Chris Jenkins and Darragh Foley. His lack of a punch and his waste of energy with extravagant and pointless footwork may be a disadvantage against higher ranked opposition. Bowes, 36, was making the second defence of the Commonwealth title and was having his first fight since March 2019 so eighteen months without a fight cannot have helped his cause.
Azeez vs. Sterling
Azeez continues to make progress as he stops Sterling. After a close first round the quicker hand speed and accuracy of Azeez saw him take the second with Sterling cut above his left eye in the round but Sterling rebounded to edge the third. Sterling tried to up his pace in the fourth but instead was warned for holding and had to soak up some hard head punches. In the fifth Sterling landed his best punch of the fight but the hard right cross did not even shake Azeez who came back to knock Sterling off balance with a right forcing Sterling to put his gloves on the canvas resulting in a count. Azeez dominated the seventh and eighth with Sterling looking bruised, battered and tired as he lost his mouthguard in an exchange. In the ninth as Azeez had Sterling against the ropes and was unloading with both hands the towel came in from Sterling’s corner. It surprised the referee and the two fighters but it was a good decision by Sterling’s team. The 31-year-old Mark Tibbs trained Azeez retains the English title with his eighth inside the distance victory. A university finance graduate he did not turn pro until he was 28. First loss by KO/TKO for Sterling but third defeat in his last four fights.
McCrory vs. Ellison
Impressive performance by McCrory as he obliterates Ellison inside a round. McCrory was firing rights from the start with Ellison trying to use his longer reach to score at distance. A left hook from McCrory staggered Ellison and McCrory followed up connecting with two hard rights to the head. The second right sent Ellison into the ropes and he slid down balancing on the third rope hanging half out of the ring. He then slumped to the canvas and the referee immediately stopped the fight. The 32-year-old from Belfast gets his fifth quick win and one to match his stoppage of Steve Collins Jr in August last year. Ellison came in on the back of three wins including a victory over 15-0 Charlie Schofield.
Eubank vs. McDonagh
These two had clashed twice when amateurs with McDonagh winning both times. That might explain an opening round that took caution to extremes. McDonagh then did most of the scoring over the second and third with southpaw straight lefts. McDonagh was boxing confidently in the fourth until a left hook from Eubank staggered him badly and from there Eubank seemed to get stronger and stronger and McDonagh’s confidence faded. With just 40 seconds remaining in the eighth and last round Eubank again struck with a left hook that unhinged McDonagh’s legs and he connected with a right and a left that send McDonagh down. He struggled to his feet at eight but was unsteady and the fight was stopped. Eubank, the cousin of Chris Eubank Jr, gets his third inside distance win and revenge for those two losses in the amateurs. Including Harlem, Chris Senior and Chris Junior there are nine boxers/former boxers in the extended Eubank family. Former top level amateur McDonagh had won his last three fights
Tokyo, Japan: Light: Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0) W PTS 12 Valentine Hosokawa (25-8-3).
Yoshino holds on to his three titles as he outclasses former Japanese super light champion Hosokawa. Yoshino, with a 5” height advantage, imposed himself on the fight early with a strong jab and some straight rights and left hooks. Hosokawa had some success with his right hooks but was being outscored. After four rounds Yoshino led on the cards 39-37 twice and 40-36. Yoshino built on that lead stopping Hosokawa in his tracks with right in the sixth and taking the seventh and eighth at which point the champion was in front 79-73 twice and 80-72. Yoshino never gave Hosokawa a chance to get into the fight hurting him with a body attack in the tenth but Hosokawa did not crumble and was still fighting at the final bell. Scores 119-109 twice and 120-108 for Yoshino. This is his sixth defence of the national title first defence of the OPBF and WBO Asian Pacific titles for Yoshino. He is rated WBO 11/IBF 15(13)/WBC 15. “Old Timer” Hosokawa,39, pleased many Japanese fans when he won the national super light title at the age of 36 and at his third attempt but lost it in his third defence.
Grozny, Russia: Super Middle: Aslambek Idigov (19-0) W PTS 10 Stanislav Kashtanov (36-6). Heavy: Abdulkerim Edilov (3-0) W TKO 1 Denis Bakhtov (39-18).
Idigov vs. Kashtanov
Las Vegas-based Russian Idigov takes unanimous decision over Ukrainian-born veteran Kashtanov. At 5’8” Idigov is small for a super middle and he was conceding height and reach to the 6’0” tall Kashtanov. Idigov’s swarming arracks were more effective than the cultured style of experienced Kashtanov who just could not keep Idigov out and paid the price. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Idigov who retains the WBO European title. Idigov, 24, has victories against Ronny Landaeta Roberto Racz and last time out in February he beat Ryan Ford on a majority decision. His WBO European belt gets him a No 6 rating with them. I might start using the phrase “WBO Sanction Fee Gift Title” because that is what it is. It has nothing to do with the quality of any opponent as it is the promoter who picks the opponent for his fighter and not the WBO. In better days the 36-year-old Kashtanov was a challenger for the WBA secondary and interim titles but has now lost four on the bounce-all against good opposition.
Edilov vs. Bakhtov
Former martial arts star Edilov batters poor Bakhtov to defeat inside a round. Bakhtov hardly threw a punch as Edilov steamrollered him to the canvas in the first round. All three of Edilov’s wins have come inside three minutes. The opposition has not been strong but neither has it-up until this fight- been woeful. Edilov was Russian integrated martial arts and world universal combat champion. Now 40 Bakhtov was once a decent fighter but how has an eight bout losing streak.
Moscow, Russia: Light Heavy: Gasan Gasanov (17-9-1) W PTS 10 Artur Ziyatdinov (12-1). Super Bantam: Mukhammad Shekhov (7-0-1) DREW 10 Magomed Kurbanov (6-0-1). Super Light: Andrey Maik (7-0) W PTS 10 Radik Grigoryan (6-1-1).
Gasanov vs. Ziyatdinov
Despite some poor recent form Gasanov pulls out a surprise win over undefeated Ziyatdinov. The problem for Ziyatdinov was that he just could not keep the Russian southpaw out. Ziyatdinov was boxing cleverly and scoring well at distance and took an early lead but from the fourth Gasanov would not be denied and heavy pressure saw him edge into the lead over the next four rounds. Ziyatdinov rallied to make the eight a close round. Despite his 75% record of inside the distance wins there was no power in Ziyatdinov’s punches and Gasanov was able to walk through them and score with his jab and clubbing rights and he finished the fight the stronger man taking the closing rounds. Scores 97-93 twice and 97-94 all for Gasanov. The 29-year-old Gasanov was 1-4 in his last five fights so very much an outsider but now he is Russian champion. Montreal-based Ziyatdinov had been carefully matched in Canada and was a big disappointment here. He had won a number of Ukrainian championship titles before Russia annexed the Crimea
Shekhov vs. Kurbanov
In a hard-fought close contests Shekhov and Kurbanov battle to a split draw. In a contrast of styles the quick and clever Shekhov used his southpaw skills and plenty of movement to hold off the attacks from the stronger but slower Kurbanov. It really was a case of which style you preferred as neither fighter was able to dominate. That produced three very different scores of 99-92 Shekhov, 96-94 Kurbanov and 95-95 so the WBA International title remains vacant. Uzbek-born Shekhov was a top level amateur and is making steady progress as a pro. Kurbanov was also a high level amateur he also competed in four series of the WSB where he scored a win over Michael Conlan.
Maik vs. Grigoryan
Ukrainian-born Russian Maik lifts the WBA Asia title with points decision over Armenian Grigoryan. Maik used lots of speed and a hard working jab to outbox the aggressive Grigoryan for his fifth points win in a row. Grigoryan staggered then dropped Maik with a left hook in the second but just could not build on that.
Kissimmee, FL, USA: Super Light: Antonio Moran (25-4-1) W KO 6 Luis Solis (25-11-4). Welter: Xander Zayas (5-0) W TKO 1 Orlando Salgado (1-1). Middle: Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (7-0) W TKO 4 Alexis Gaytan (5-7). Fly: Anthony Olascuaga (1-0) W Edwin Reyes (8-6-3). Super Welter: Bryan Polanco (2-0) W TKO 1 Joshua Sikes (0-1). Welter; Marques Valle (1-0) W Jenato Harris (0-2).
Moran vs. Solis
Moran wins this all-Mexican contest with stoppage of Solis. Moran used his jab to control this fight. On the occasions when Solis did get past the jab Moran was waiting with left hooks to the body. Solis kept walking forward and did connect with some body punches but Moran’s corner told their man not to get involved but stick to his jab. They finally turned him loose in the fourth and he rocked Solis with a left hook. Moran continued to get through to head and body in the fifth with Solis now on the back foot. In the sixth Solis missed with a right leaving himself open and a solid left to the body dropped him to his hands and knees. He spat out his mouthguard and never looked like beating the count. Moran, 27, was knocked out cold by Devin Haney last May but rebounded well with a draw against 17-0 Yomar Alamo in October. Now three inside the distance losses in his last four fights for Solis with Antonio Barboza stopping him in five rounds and Kerman Lejarraga kayoing him in four.
Zayas vs. Salgado
Zayas celebrates his eighteenth birthday a day early as he stops Salgado in one round. Salgado came out firing punches with Zayas backing up and waiting for the storm to end. When it did Zayas took over hurting Salgado with jabs forcing him to the ropes. He connect with a number of punches before a straight right dropped Salgado in a heap with the referee immediately stopping the fight. Puerto Rican Zayas, a former US National Youth champion, needed special dispensation from the Florida Commission as he was under 18 when the show was put together. The 5’10” teenager had taken less than ten rounds for his five wins. Salgado gave it a shot but never had a chance.
Sekhniashvili vs. Gaytan
Georgian Sekhniashvili overwhelms tall Texan Gaytan. The Georgian hope hunted down Gaytan for three rounds walking through Gayton’s jab and scoring to head and body. A volley of shots floored Gaytan in the fourth and although he beat the count he was pinned to the ropes and shipping punishment when the fight was halted. The 26-year-old Sekhniashvili gets his fifth early win. In the amateurs he was twice national champion at 81kg and represented Georgia at the European Games and European Championships. Gaytan falls to 1-4 in his most recent fights.
Olascuaga VS. Reyes
In an undercard full of promising fighters 21-year-old Olascuaga finished Reyes in two rounds. He dropped Reyes with a perfect left hook in the second. Reyes arose but was staggered badly by two more left hooks and the referee stepped in to save Reyes. Olascuaga won a last chance qualifier to get to compete at the final US Olympic Trials for Tokyo but had to withdraw with injury after winning his first fight. Third loss on the trot for Guatemalan Reyes.
Polanco vs. Sykes
Polanco gives Zayas some competition for the role of the most promising young fighter in Puerto Rico as he blasts out Sykes in the first round. Southpaw Polanco put Sykes with a straight left. Sykes got up but another left floored him and the fight was stopped after just 84 seconds. Despite turning pro the 22-year-old 6’2” Polanco, a four- time the national champion, is aiming for a gold medal at the rearranged Tokyo Olympics. His two fights have together lasted less than three minutes. Sykes no test.
Valle vs. Harris
New York-born Valle took nine seconds longer than Polanco for his win. He put Harris down with a left to the body and although Harris managed to beat the count he was floored again by a body shot and the fight was finished. The 21-year-old 6’1” Valle won a silver medal at the 2018 US National Championships. Harris in over his head-literally.
Casas Grandes, Mexico: Super Feather: Abel Mendoza (25-0) W PTS 7 Edgar Martinez (19-26-1). Super Welter: Dewayne Bonds (8-3-1,1ND) W TKO 2 Ever Ceballos (11-26-1).
Mendoza vs. Martinez
Mendoza collects the American Boxing Federation Continental Americas belt by outpointing Martinez. Mendoza floored Martinez with a right in the fourth and won every round. The 24-year-old Texan has a heavily padded record. There is not a single opponent on there who would not be flattered to be described as mediocre. Martinez falls into that category with his recent form showing just one win in his last 17 fights.
Bonds vs. Ceballos
Bonds also wins the American Boxing Federation Continental Americas title with stoppage of poor Ceballos. The El Paso southpaw floored Ceballos early in the second. Ceballos lost his mouthguard and when he made to his feet he was looking for it but the referee happened to be standing on it as did the eight count. After the count a punch from Bonds staggered and he touched the deck with his gloves to stay upright and the referee stopped the fight. Fifth win by KO/TKO for Bonds and fifth win by KO/TKO. Tenth loss in a row for inept Ceballos and loss No 21 by KO/TKO.
South Kirby, England: Super Feather: Samir Ziani (32-3-1) W TKO 12 Alex Dilmaghani (19-2-1,1ND). Cruiser: Isaac Chamberlain (12-1) W TKO 1 Matt Sen (5-3). Super Light: Stephen McKenna (5-0) W KO 1 Gary McGuire (1-17).
Ziani vs. Dilmaghani
Ziani scores a late stoppage of Dilmaghani and retains the European belt in yet another exciting EBU title fight. No time wasted on cautious probing from these two southpaws. Ziani took the fight straight to Dilmaghani with fast jabs and hooks from both hands. That suited Dilmaghani and he replied in kind as they set off at a furious pace. They were practically mirror images of each other as they both fired accurate jabs and put together snappy combinations. So many punches were being landed by both fighters that the rounds were close. Much of the action was toe-to-toe. Ziani continued to take the fight to Dilmaghani with Dilmaghani unable to force him back but doing the better work inside. Dilmaghani seemed to build a lead over the third, fourth and fifth but every round was hotly contested and the pace of the fight saw action in every second of each round. Dilmaghani was warned for pushing his elbow in Ziani’s face in the sixth and then ironically Ziani’s shoulder banged into Dilmaghani’s face and opened a cut under Dilmaghani’s right eye. Ziani ended the round with a fierce attack which had Dilmaghani under serious pressure. Ziani continued that impetus into the seventh but Dilmaghani took the eighth. In the ninth a clash of heads saw Ziani cut over the right eye and as Ziani had done in the sixth Dilmaghani fed off that cut to pump out bursts of six or seven punches at a time. Ziani was tending to throw less but harder. The action slackened off a little in the tenth as the pace of the contest affected both fighters but in the eleventh it became apparent that Ziani had more left in the tank. Dilmaghani was trying to punch with Ziani but Ziani was remorseless and gradually beat the resistance out of Dilmaghani. The sheer volume of punches from the champion was overwhelming Dilmaghani and he looked an exhausted fighter at the bell. Ziani showered Dilmaghani with punches in the twelfth with Dilmaghani stumbling and grabbing Ziani’s legs as he fell to the canvas. He climbed to his feet very slowly and Ziani continued to batter him with punches. Dilmaghani could hardly stand but was given a warning for holding. He then tumbled down to his knees with his head hanging outside the ropes. He somehow made it to his feet but when the referee indicated for him to both lift his hands and walk forward he did neither but the referee indicated for the fight to continue. Ziani punched Dilmaghani across the ring until he collapsed into the ropes and down to the floor. Even then the referee chose to count to eight before stopping the fight. It is great pity there had to be a loser and also that there was not a live audience to add that special flavour to such n exciting contest but thanks to Hennessy Promotions it was available live on terrestrial TV so had a big audience that way. Ziani, 32, was making the second defence of the European title. He has lost two big fights in the past to Richard Commey and Guillame Frenois but this is his tenth win in a row. He is rated IBF 12(11)/WBC 15 so unlikely to get a title shot but he showed what an excellent champion he is in this fight. The loss is obviously a big setback for Dilmaghani and he took the sort of punishment that can have a lasting effect. It is a disgrace that the fight was not stopped earlier. I can understand to some extent Dilmaghani’s team seeing their fighter three minutes away from a major title (Dilmaghani was in front on two cards 106-103 and 105-104) but they let him take too much unnecessary punishment. The action of the referee is less forgivable. After the first knockdown Dilmaghani was in a daze not even looking at the referee. When the referee motioned for him to lift his gloves he did not do so and when the referee asked to step forward (not even to the side) he only did so after the referee had already turned away signalling for the fight to continue. Bothering to give an eight count after the second knockdown only to then waive the fight over denied Dilmaghani a few extra seconds of medical attention that could have been crucial. It is easy to sit and write this when you are not the one making those split second decisions but I believe the referee erred badly in this case. Dilmaghani was unable to come to the centre of the ring for the result and was helped from the ring by the paramedics.
Chamberlain vs. Sen
Chamberlain is making up for lost time. After two years out of the ring he has now scored two inside the distance victories in sixteen days. Chamberlain was landing early and Sen tried to force Chamberlain back. As he came forward he was rocked by a couple of punches but plunged on and with Chamberlain against the ropes he threw some clubbing punches. Chamberlain waited for an opening and then exploded a left hook on Sen’s chin. Now it was Sen against the ropes and a string of powerful uppercuts had Sen reeling with the referee coming in to save him just 50 seconds into the round. Sixth win by KO/TKO for Chamberlain. Back in 2018 Chamberlain lost a wide points decision against Lawrence Okolie in a clash of unbeaten prospects. Okolie is to fight for the vacant WBO title and Chamberlain will be looking to follow the same path. Third inside the distance loss for Sen with all three coming in the first round.
McKenna vs. McGuire
Spiteful punching McKenna blasts out yet another opponent. McKenna came out firing punches took McGuire to a corner and showered him with punches until McGuire went down. McKenna stupidly threw a punch at McGuire when he was on the floor and was lucky to only get a severe warning. When the action resumed McKenna put McGuire down twice more and although he made it to his feet the referee waived the fight over. The 23-year-old McKenna has won all five of his fights by KO/TKO four in the first round and one in the second. In the amateurs he was Commonwealth Youth and Irish Youth champion and won a silver medal at the European Youth Championships. He put together a 155-24 record before handing in his vest. McGuire has a terrible record but this is only the fourth time he has been stopped.
Brisbane, Australia: Welter: Ben Kite (17-4-1) W PTS 10 Tysinn Best (12-2). Super Light: Waylon Law (13-7) W PTS 10 Justin Frost (10-1-1).
Kite vs. Best
In a battle between two Queenslanders the more experienced Kite comes off the floor in the first round then goes on to outpoint national champion Best. Scores 97-92 twice and 95-94 for Kite. Win No 12 in a row for Kite who was defending his Australasian title. Four of Kite’s last five fights had lasted the full ten rounds which gave him an edge over Best. Best was defending the Australian title for the second time. He had been knocked out in the first round by Korean champion In Duck Seo in June last year and had scored two wins in five round fights later in the year.
Law vs. Frost
On a bad night for Australian champions this result has to count as a big upset as Law wins the national title on a split decision over champion Frost in his first fight for three years. Scores 97-93 and 97-94 for Law and 96-94 for Frost. Back in 2014 Law had been knocked out in six rounds by Kyle McKenzie in a challenge for the Australian super feather belt but six year later and two divisions higher he is a champion. Frost was defending the title for the first time having beaten former amateur star Jackson Woods for the vacant title in November.
Mexico City, Mexico: Fly: Joselito Velazquez (13-0) W PTS 10 Brandon Gallardo (3-2-1).
Velazquez marches on with wide unanimous decision over Gallardo. Velazquez applied plenty of pressure early with body punches, some of which strayed low. Despite his lack of experience Gallardo made Velazquez work hard and landed some power shots in both the third and the seventh rounds. Velazquez won the rest of the rounds but he could not break Gallardo down and despite having Gallardo rocking in the last had to settle for a points victory. All three judges saw it for Velazquez 98-92. As a former Olympian and gold medal winner at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games a lot is expected of Velazquez and he is not being rushed. Gallardo really just a prelim fighter with only one six round bout on his record so he performed better than expected here.
Tijuana, Mexico: Fly: Angel Ramos (25-1-2) W TEC DEC 7 Jorge Villalobos (10-1-3). Southpaw Ramos makes it eight straight wins with a technical decision against Villalobos as a cut brings the fight to an end after seven rounds. Scores 69-64 twice and 70-63 for Ramos. The Ensenada fighter’s loss came against Maximino Flores and the draw was with WBC super flyweight challenger Dewayne Beamon. For “Pajarito” Villalobos the was too high a step in his opposituion
Managua, Nicaragua: Super Bantam: Alexander Mejia (16-1) W PTS 8 Harvy Calero (6-9-2). Feather: Giovanni Gutierrez (10-1-1) DREW 8 Martin Diaz (16-12-1,2ND).
Mejia vs. Calero
Mejia gets his seventh win in a row as he takes a unanimous verdict over Calero. Mejia’s only loss is a very creditable majority decision defeat against former WBO featherweight title challenger Hiroshige Osawa, Calero is on a run of five losses.
Gutierrez vs. Diaz
Gutierrez and Diaz battled their way to a split draw. Scores 77-75 Gutierrez, 76-73 Diaz and 76-76. Gutierrez loss came against 22-1 Mike Plania in Miami in December. Diaz is 1-3-1 currently with the losses all against good level opposition.
Fight of the week (Significance): Jamel Herring’s successful defence of the WBO super feather title may open the door for Carl Frampton to have a shot at becoming a three division champion
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Has to be Samir Ziani vs. Alex Dilmaghani
Fighter of the week: Yordenis Ugas who clearly beat Abel Ramos to win the vacant secondary WBA welter title-no matter what the judges thought
Punch of the week: The left uppercut from Jamel Herring that dropped Jonathan Oquendo in the third may not have ended the fight but it was a thing of beauty-in boxing terms.
Upset of the week: Club fighter Gasan Gasanov was not supposed to beat prospect Artur Ziyatdinov but he did but for me Waylon Law returning after three years out of the ring and winning the Australian title counts just a bit higher
Prospect watch: Light Fly Jesse Rodriguez who is 12-0 after wiping out former world title challenger Janiel Rivera in the first round.
No masks no social distancing in Australia. Always interesting to see the different approaches.
Not too many shows can compete with the one in Moscow that had 28 fights scheduled! No chance of getting home early and catching the wife in the bed with the milkman (do they have milkmen in Russia? Maybe it’s Vodkamen)
Mexican boxer Jorge Villalobos has the nickname of “Pajarito”-Being of a certain age it is a name I will always associate with Mexican Ricardo Moreno who won 59 of his 60 victories by KO/TKO unfortunately eight of twelve losses came the same way so with one draw only six of his 73 fights went the distance in a 23 year career. You didn’t blink when Ricardo was fighting but today I guess some at ringside might miss the knockout being too busy with their mobile phones updating their social media pages. I’ll give up when I see referees doing it between rounds.
A good weekend for prospects with Padraig McCrory, Xander Zayas, Bryan Polanco, Marques Valle, Isaac Chamberlain, Stephen McKenna, Jesse Rodriguez and Batyr Akhmedov all scoring first round wins.
By Eric Armit
There always seems to be so much going on with the heavyweights these days from the sublime to the ridiculous. Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev is now set for 12 December in London. On the same card Lawrence Okolie and Krzys Glowacki will contest the vacant WBO cruiser title. Joe Joyce vs. Daniel Dubois for the vacant European title is set for 24 October and it has been floated that the return match between Alex Povetkin and Dillian Whyte will be in London on 14 or 21 November but that is not yet nailed down and neither is the proposed Oleg Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora fight although 31 October looks the likely date. Oh and Tyson Fury is talking about fighting a wrestler. Down in New Zealand negotiations are ongoing for old amateur foes Joseph Parker and Junior Fa to settle their differences. In France the much anticipated youth vs. experience contest will see Tony Yoka face former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas in Paris on 25 September. The hope is that 5,000 fans will be able to attend the fight. The 39-year-old Duhaupas has never lost to a French fighter. Yoka needs the action. He spent a year out of the ring after being suspended for skipping the drug testers and only managed to fit in two fights when his ban ended so has had only two fights in over two years. Croatian hope Filip Hrgovic returns on 29 September against Czech Ondrej Pala.
Marco Huck will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of Joyce vs. Dubois. Huck was previously mandatory challenger but stepped- aside through injury and was reinstated once the Joyce vs. Dubois fight was approved by the EBU.
Huck returned to action last Saturday. His only outing in 2019 ended on a one round No Decision after it was ruled that a knockdown he had scored was caused by a punch landed after the break call so before Saturday he had managed just 57 seconds of ring time in the last two years. His comeback is the ridiculous bit I mentioned at the start. It was a farcical mismatch against Dennis Lewandowski. The obese 6’2” Lewandowski weighed 335lbs (152kgs). The Body Mass Index (BMI) chart shows that anything over 30 is obese. Lewandowski’s BMI comes out at 43 almost 50% higher than the start figure for obese. What is even more alarming is that Lewandowski was not the worst case. On Friday night veteran Chauncy Welliver weighed 378lbs (171.5kg) against Cassius Chaney. Welliver is also 6’2” giving him a BMI of 48.5. Both Lewandowski and Welliver are considered “fit to box”. That stretches the definition of fit to the extreme. I just hope they never fight each other as instead of ropes and canvas you would need anchor chains and granite flooring.
Boxing is slowly climbing out of the bunker and rebuilding after the pandemic. The latest to get the go ahead is the Philippines Games and Amusement Board which will be allowed to approve shows but within strict guidelines. I find it amusing that boxing comes under the banner of Games and Amusement.
Subject to UK Government approval and BBB of C agreement Eddie Hearn is hoping to put on a show in front of fans on 26 September in London probably featuring unbeaten Joshua Buatsi
Hearn will be putting on the IBF eliminator between Lee Selby and George Kambosos. Matchroom won the bidding for the fight with a purse of $277,777 against the $260,000 bid by DiBella Enterprises. As the No 1 and 2 slots in the IBF ratings are vacant the winner will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the IBF champion Teo Lopez vs. Vasyl Lomachenko fight. It would be nice to think that the winner of Lopez and Lomachenko would be the unified lightweight champion but since the WBC appointed Lomachenko “franchise” champion that means that Devin Haney is the WBC champion-I think!!!
Any hopes that WBC/WBO super light champion Jose Carlos Ramirez’s win over Viktor Postol would lead to a fight with IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor and an early unification of the titles at super lightweight have disappeared. The WBO have ordered Ramirez to defend against their No 1 Jack Catterall. They have given the respective management teams twenty days to negotiate but if no agreement is reached then the fight will go to purse offers and in theory the fight should be scheduled to take place within 120 days but that is negotiable. Catterall has a 25-0 record with wins over Tyrone McKenna and Ohara Davis but does not have a very high profile in the USA
Taylor puts his titles up against Thai Apinan Khongsong (Sakkreerin) in London on 26 September. If Catterall’s profile is not high Khongsong’s is practically invisible. Box Rec rates the Thai No 95 in the world and the computerised IBO ratings have him at No 59! I guess if both Ramirez and Taylor come through their title defences unscathed then early next year might be a realistic projection for that unification fight. Former undefeated WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards returns to action on this show against bantamweight Kyle Williams.
Gervonta Davis already seems to looking beyond his fight with Leo Santa Cruz on 24 October and talking about how he will beat Vasyl Lomachenko. The Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight is another example of sanctioning body madness. The fight is said to be for the secondary WBA lightweight title held by Davis and the WBA Super super featherweight title held by Santa Cruz. That means that Davis will have to weigh inside the super featherweight limit whilst defending his lightweight title, which he has said he will do. If Santa Cruz wins he does not unify any titles as Vasyl Lomachenko is the real WBA lightweight champion and don’t forget that Santa Cruz is WBA featherweight super champion but obviously that title is not on the line. To be honest if someone asked whether I would rather recognise the WBA or the IBO then the IBO would win hands down.
With Lawrence Okolie relinquishing the European cruiser title Belfast-based Tommy McCarthy will meet Belgian Bilal Laggoune for the vacant title. McCarthy earned his right to fight for the title with a points win over 17-0 Fabio Turchi in October. Laggoune drew with Dmytro Kucher in a fight for this title in 2015 and has won his last five fights. It looks a good match.
Le McGregor is another British fighter on the cusp of a European title fight. He will challenge Frenchman Karim Guerfi for the bantamweight title on 14 November.
Some people are just too talented and Frenchman Brahim Asloum seems to be a boxing version of a polymath. Asloum, the fourth child in a family of ten, won a boxing gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, the first Frenchman to do so since 1936, turned professional and won the WBA light flyweight title, moved on to become a sports broadcaster, set up a foundation to help people made vulnerable through illness, went into movies with a couple of starring roles, competed in reality shows, moved into boxing promotions, and is still active, and owned the Paris United team that competed in the World Series of Boxing. Finished? No way next year he intends to run for the position of President for the French Boxing Federation.
Some world title fights to look out for include the exciting show at the Mohegan Sun on 26 September that will feature both of the Charlo twins in title fights. WBC super welter champion Jermell will tackle IBF champion Jeison Rosario in a unification battle and Jermall puts his WBC middleweight title on the line against No 1 Sergey Derevyanchenko in a great match up. Additionally Brandon Figueroa will defend his secondary WBA super bantam title against Damien Vazquez. In Moscow on 23 October Artur Beterbiev defends the WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines. The Russian-born Deines lost an IBF eliminator against Fanlong Meng in June last year but when Meng decided not to face Beterbiev Deines took the offer of the title shot. On 31 October in Las Vegas Naoya Inoue defends his WBA and IBF titles against Australian Jason Moloney a fight that promises fireworks. Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos will fight for the vacant secondary WBA welterweight title on 6 December in Los Angeles. The WBA stripped Alex Besputin when he tested positive after winning the vacant title against Radzhab Butaev in November. On 12 December Nordine Oubaali defends the WBC bantam title against Nonito Donaire.
Sad to learn that great little Swiss fighter Fritz Chervet collapsed and died on Saturday. Chervet was active between 1962 and 1976 and had a 59-9-2 ,1ND record at a time when Europe had a rich crop of flyweights and Fritz fought them all. Fernando Atzori, John McCluskey, Franco Udella and so many more. He did not fight for and win the European title for the first time until fight No 47 of his career. He had two shots at the world title challenging Thai Charchai Chionoi twice losing on a split decision in the second fight. One of the greatest boxers Switzerland has produced. The other bit of sad news was the death from cancer of Jean Baptiste Mendy at the age of just 57. The brilliant Frenchman was WBC, WBA, European and French lightweight champion being 9-0 in European title fights. A true great in French boxing history. RIP Fritz and Jean Baptiste.
Last weekend Polish veteran Rafal Jackiewicz upset the odds when he won a six round decision over Rico Mueller in Germany. The scores were 58-56 twice for Jackiewicz and 57-57. So none of the three local judges scored the fight for Mueller. However Mueller’s team appealed to the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) who had five “impartial judges” review the fight and they all scored the fight for Mueller. Now at best the result will be changed to a No Decision and it might even be changed to a win for Mueller. Two things here. Firstly presumably the original three judges were “impartial” as they were German judges scoring a fight involving a German fighter in Germany. Secondly if the result is changed to a win for Mueller will Jackiewicz be allowed to appeal and if he wins that appeal will Mueller appeal………..and so on.
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