We've looked at some controversial bouts from Thailand in recent weeks, but this week we look over to Japan for a bout that was massively controversial, and we again feature the Kameda brothers. And not for the final time. This bout was actually the first world title fight to feature one of the Kameda brothers and although less well known in the west than Daki Kameda's bout to Daisuke Naito was similarly controversial in Japan.
Koki Kameda (11-0, 10) Vs Juan Jose Landaeta (23-3-1, 18) I
In 2006 Roberto Vasquez vacated the WBA Light Flyweight title to begin campaigning at Flyweight. This left the title vacant with 19 year old Koki Kameda facing off with Juan Jose Landaeta for belt.
Despite having been a professional for less than 3 years Kameda was already seen as a big name in Japanese boxing. He was a charismatic, cocky and arrogant figure who appealed to the youth, wanting someone with attitude to rise to the top, whilst the older skool fans disliked him and regularly felt that he was picking and choosing an easy route to the top. In his first 11 bouts he had only faced one notable name, and that was the shot to pieces Saman Sorjaturong, who had won just 1 of his last 5 bouts. With TBS backing him hard it was clear Kameda was being sent to the stars, but would obviously have a lot of extra attention on him as he went into his first world title bout.
Landaeta on the other hand was a tough Venezuelan with solid pop in his shots. Up to this point he had mostly fought at Minimumweight, and had held the WBA "interim" Minimumweight title. Despite being a solid fighter he had failed to win outside of Latin America, with a draw in 2004 against Chana Porpaoin and a loss, later than same year, to Yutaka Niida. Although he was very competitive with Niida he had followed that up with 4 relatively disappointing bouts against mostly limited opponents.
It was expected that the youth, size, power and speed of Kameda would be too much for the more experienced Landaeta.
Early on the bout was hotly contested with Kameda showing he was better than some may have expected, given his competition, and Landaeta showing he wasn't there to just make up the numbers. The first round was genuinely fought at a very solid and entertaining tempo as both men looked to get their nose in front. That was until very late in the round when Landaeta put down Kameda in the dying seconds of the round. The Japanese youngster got to his feet, and the bell rang before Landaeta could jump on him, but it was a clear 10-8 round to Landaeta.
Kameda fought back well in round 2, but it was another close round, and not one where he could make a definitive case for deserving the round.
The other early rounds were legitimately entertaining giving us a brilliant back and forth. Some how one judge managed to pretty much give Kameda a clean sweep from round 2 to round 6, though that seemed very generous given that Landaeta was giving just as much as he was taking. The biggest question mark for that judge was round 4, which seemed like a pretty clear round for the visitor, and was scored to Landaeta by both of the other judges.
Prior to the bout Kameda had never been beyond had only been beyond 8 rounds once, an early career win against a tough but limited Thai. His lack of experience in the later stages showed, with Landaeta relying on his experience with the middle and later rounds round to out box a tiring, but gutsy, Kameda. Rounds 11 and 12 saw Kameda in all sorts of trouble, as Landaeta looked to take the result out of the judges hands. To his credit Kameda survived some hell in the final round, showing his toughness and bravery along the way.
After 12 rounds the scorecards came in with scores of 115-113, and 114-113 for Kameda and 112-115 for Landaeta, giving Kameda a very dubious, and much criticised split decision victory.
The out rage from those in Japan was almost instant, and not helped by pre-fight comments from Kameda. Prior to the bout Kameda had said he had wanted to give the belt to his father and coach, Shiro. This had lead the WBA to prepare a special belt for Shiro that they gave him after the bout. Given the controversial nature of the bout, and the pre-made belt it lead to calls of match fixing and rigged scorecards in Japan.
The decision saw fans in Japan incredibly angry about the result. Despite the fact their man had won. They wrote to the Venezuelan embassy to apologise to Landaeta, they complained to the Japan Boxing Commission and to TBS, who aired the bout. The fans also spewed their anger so much that the promoter of the event had to close their message board.
As well as the pressure and anger from the fans was also anger from the media, who suggested that the judge who gave Kameda round 12 was clearly wrong, and had been scored that way to try and get Kameda the win. Regarding that judge, had he scored the round the opposite way, as the other two judges did, his card would have been level at 114-114.
Their was also some backlash from fighters, both former and active, about the decision. Whilst most praised Kameda's performance, especially given the big step up in class and his age, many also spoke out about the decision with one going as far as to say "Japanese boxing died" with the result. Others however seemed to suggest they could see the result.
Due to the controversy the WBA left Landaeta as the #1 contender and ordered a rematch. That bout was originally pencilled in for fall 2006 but had to be pushed back when Kameda was injured in training. Eventually the bout took place in December 2006 with Kameda easily winning the rematch employing very different tactics to take the win, and try to put the controversy behind him.
Sadly the controversy and anger overshadowed what was genuinely a really good fight. A legitimately good fight. It was no fight of the year contender, but was an exciting, 12 round war, with Kameda showing real heart, drama, competitive action through out. It was a coming of age bout for Kameda, who proved he belonged at this level, but was so overshadowed by the judging and fall out that few remembered what a great fight they'd seen.
This coming Saturday our focus will be on Las Vegas, where we see a major Bantamweight clash between IBF and WBA "super" champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18). Despite both countries being part of the OPBF, and often fighting at OPBF level and lower level, we don't actually see the two countries clash in world title bouts very often. In fact in total we can only find 12 prior occasions where the countries have clashed at the top level.
Interestingly, for those who have backed Moloney, history is on your side, rather overwhelmingly in fact with Australia leading the rivalry 9-3*! Not only that but some of the wins scored by Australian's over Japanese champions have included victories over the man many regard as Japan's finest fighter ever!
With that in mind we've decided to take a look at the rivalry between two countries.
Fighting Harada Vs Lionel Rose - February 27th 1968
The first world title clash between fighters from the two countries came in 1968 when Japanese legend Fighting Harada, the then WBC and WBA Bantamweight champion, faced Lionel Rose at the Nippon Budokan. At the time the 24 year old Harada sported a tremendous 50-3 (19) record, had gone unbeaten for more than 4 years and had reeled off 19 straight victories since an loss to Jose Medel in 1963. He was also a 2-weight world champion and had been the only man to beat legendary Brazilian Eder Jofre. Rose on the other hand was a 19 year old with a 27-2 (8) record, having won 17 in a row.
Despite everything, on paper, favouring Harada the Australian took a narrow decision win to claim the Bantamweight titles and write his name in the history books as the first aborigine world champion, and a thorn in side of Japanese boxing.
Rather notably all 3 officials, the two ringside judges and a scoring referee, were Japanese and all 3 scored the bout in favour of Rose
Takao Sakurai Vs Lionel Rose - July 2nd 1968
Less than 5 months after dethroning Fighting Harada fans saw Lionel Rose return to Japan to make his first defense of the WBA and WBC Bantamweight crowns. In the opposite corner was the then unbeaten 26 year old Takao Sakurai. At the time Sakurai was 22-0 (4) and had been moved quick following his debut in 1965. Prior to turning professional he had won an Olympic gold medal at the 1964 Olympics, becoming the first Japanese fighter to do that, and was super active in the professional ranks, racking up 22 wins in just over 3 years.
Sadly for Sakurai he couldn't avenge the loss of Harada, losing a razor thin decision in front of the fans at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Scoring referee Nick Pope, from the US and Japanese judge Ko Toyama gave the bout to Rose, whilst Takeo Ugo had the bout even at 72-72.
Sadly for Sakurai this was to be his only world title fight, and he would later lose in a world title eliminator to the brilliant Ruben Olivares. Although he went on to win the OPBF Bantamweight title his career was, in the eyes of many Japanese fans, a disappointment.
Fighting Harada Vs Johnny Famechon I - July 28th 1969
After the loss to Rose Harada would move up the scale, and begin pursuing the Featherweight throne. He had hoped to become the first man to bridge the Flyweight to Featherweight gap. After winning 4 of 5 bouts, following the loss to Rose, Harada set his sights on French born Australian Johnny Famechon. At the time Famechon was the WBC champion and was seeking his first defense of the title. At the time he was 24 years old and boasted a very solid 51-4-6 (18) record, whilst the 26 year old Harada was 54-5 (21).
This bout, held in Sydney, was a war with Famechon hitting the canvas in rounds 2, 11 and 14, whilst Harada was down himself in round 5. It seemed, to most, that Harada had done it and had etched his name further in history. Sadly however he was denied by scoring referee Willie Pep, himself a boxing great. Pep, the only scoring official, had denied Harada by a point in a decision that is still, to this day, regarded as a travesty.
Had Harada got the decision her he would have been the first man to have moved, successfully, from Flyweight to Featherweight to become a 3-weight champion; it would have made him the 5th fighter to have been a 3-weight world champion; it would have made him the first Japanese 3-weight world champion and the second Japanese fighter to win a world title on foreign soil.
To put some of that into perspective we've still never seen actually seen a male fighter win world titles at 112, 118 and 126 and we had to wait until 2010 to see the first Japanese fighter to be crowned to be crowned a 3-weight champion.
Fighting Harada Vs Johnny Famechon II- January 6th 1970
With the controversial nature of their first bout hanging over them Harada and Famechon faced off again just a few months later. In the interim Harada had picked up a stay busy win and Famechon had fought a couple of bouts in the UK.
Sadly for Harada their was no controversy this time as the Japanese star was knocked out in front of his home fans at the Metropolitan Gym in Tokyo. The bout was a hotly contested one through 13 rounds but in the 14th Famechon caught Harada with a couple of left hooks. They shook the Japanese star who got a standing count before being sent out of the ring and being stopped.
This would turn out to be Harada's final career bout, and the final successful defense for Famechon who lost the title to the brilliant Vicente Saldivar just 4 months later, before retiring himself.
Video below thanks to Adam Auld
Yoshiaki Numata Vs Lionel Rose - May 30th 1971
After being a thorn in the side of Japanese boxing for a while Lionel Rose, with his wins over Harada and Sakurai in world title fights and Guts Ishimatsu in a none title fight, Yishiaki Numata was after revenge in 1971. By this point Rose had out grown the Bantamweight limit, had tested the water at Lightweight and then decided to challenge WBC Super Featherweight champion Numata. At this point in time Numata, enjoying his second reign as a world champion, was a 26 year old sporting a very impressive 43-6-3 (12) record. Amazingly Rose was still only 22 entering this bout, and was 40-6 (11).
Thankfully for Japanese fans Numata managed to end the run against Australians as he took a narrow, and debated, decision over Rose to retain his title. The bout, at the Prefectural Gymnasium in Hiroshima, saw the scoring referee and two scoring judges all favour Numata. It's worth noting, like in Roses' win over Harada, that all 3 were Japanese.
This would turn out to be a rather notable bout, as it would not only be Rose's final world title bout but it was also Numata's final successful defense and final victory. Numata would lose the title 5 months later, and retire following a loss in 1972 to Kenji Iwata.
Satoshi Shingaki Vs Jeff Fenech I - April 26th 1985
After more than a decade of the two countries peacefully co-existing and no world title bouts we had two in just 4 months, both of which were between the same two men. The first came in April 1985 and saw the then 21 year old Satoshi Shingaki, who had an 8-1-1 (6) record, lose the IBF Bantamweight title in 9 rounds to the 20 year old Jeff Fenech, who was then 6-0 (6).
Fenech really did a number on the gutsy Shingaki here. The Aussie couldn't miss at times and broke down Shingaki with huge right hands, brilliant combinations and intense pressure. All credit to Shingaki for his toughness, but he had the tar beat out of him by a rampant Fenech.
Incidentally Shingaki's reign is a really interesting one. He was the first Japanese fighter to win an IBF title, and did so with out the IBF being recognised by the Japan Boxing Commission. Doing so outside of their auspice, sadly though he was also the first Japanese fighter to lose an IBF title. It's also interesting that IBF Bantamweight title will also be on the line in this weekend's bout between Inoue and Moloney.
Satoshi Shingaki Vs Jeff Fenech II - August 23rd 1985
Less than 4 months after taking the IBF Bantamweight title Jeff Fenech gave Satoshi Shingaki a chance to reclaim the belt, in what was Fenech's first defense. Sadly for Shingaki this went even worse than their first bout. Shingaki was cut very early in the bout and never managed to get any real success, with the Marrickville Mauler really beating the former champion from pillar to post.
After 3 rounds Shingaki's team called a halt to the bout. The fighter himself wanted to go on, and tried to convince the referee he was fine, but in reality this was the right decision to stop the bout.
Interestingly Shingaki's career would go on, and he would go on to win his 3 following bouts, but they were all at a very low level, with the Japanese fighter retiring with an 11-3-1 (8) record. As for Fenech he would have a career somewhat similar to Fighting Harada, being denied a third weight world title in a bout many felt he deserved, drawing wwith Azuma Nelson, and then being stopped in a rematch with Nelson. He had, by then, stamped his mark as one of the all time greats. Amazingly Fenech's final bout with a third bout with Nelson in 2008.
Yoshinori Nishizawa Vs Anthony Mundine - January 19th 2004
After Jeff Fenech twice stopped Satoshi Shingaki it took a long time to see Australia and Japan battle at the top level again. In fact it was close to 20 years! Sadly when we did see the two countries collide it wasn't in the most mouth watering encounter. In one corner was the enigmatic, out spoken, brash and confident Anthony Mundine, the 28 year WBA Super Middleweight champion, who was 19-1 (14), and the new star of Aussie boxing. In the opposite corner was 38 year Japanese fighter Yoshinori Nishizawa, who was 24-13-5 (12) and one of the very, very few Japanese Super Middleweights to make any sort of mark on the boxing world.
This was regarded as joke defense for Mundine, who seemingly looked for the easiest opponent he could get away with for his first defense. From the off Nishizawa looked old, slow and limited. Surprisingly however Nishizawa managed put Mundine down in round 2, embarrassing "Choc". Sadly for Nishizawa Mundine pulled himself off the canvas and went on to stop him in the 5th round of the bout to retain the WBA Super Middleweight title in front of his fans at the Entertainment Centre in Wollongong.
Despite the loss here Nishizawa would get a second world title fight, losing to WBC champion Markus Beyer and fight right right through to 2011, when he was 45! Mundine on the other hand was last seen in the ring just over a year ago, losing to John Wayne Parr in what is likely to be Mundine's final bout. Now aged 45 Mundine sports a 48-10 (28) record.
One interesting aside here is that Nishizawa later went on to join the Ohashi Gym as a trainer, that's the same Ohashi gym that promotes Inoue!
Video thanks to Tamika Lovingood
Shinsuke Yamanaka Vs Vic Darchinyan - April 6th 2012
The last Bantamweight title bout between the two countries came in 2012 when Japan's Shinsuke Yamanaka, the then WBC champion, made his first defense and took on Australian based Armenian Vic Darchinyan. The then 29 year old Yamanaka had won the title in late 2011, stopping Christina Esquivel, and was then boasting an unbeaten record of 15-0-2 (11). He had the youth advantage over the then 36 year old Darchinyan, but Darchinyan had the clear edge in experience, with a 37-4-1 (27) record.
The bout, at the Tokyo International Forum, was a really intriguing one. It was one that Yamanaka struggled in early on, in what was a serious test for a first defense, but later into the bout Yamanaka dug deep and turned it around, using his younger, fresher legs to take home a decision. This was, however, a controversial bout with the tide turning after the 5th round, which was a round that saw Darchinyan cut from what looked to be an accidental elbow.
Following this win Yamanaka would go on to become one of the major faces of Japanese boxing. He would run together one of the longest reigns of any Japanese world champion and hold the title until losing to the controversial Luis Nery in 2017, then losing a rematch in 2018. As for Darchinyan he would continue his career through to 2017 with mixed results. His style and personality always allowed him to get bouts and opportunities, but losses after this to Nonito Donaire, Nicholas Walters, Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar and Sergio Frias all came by stoppage.
Takashi Miura Vs Billy Dib - May 1st 2015
In the middle of the 2010's Japan had two major forces at 130lbs. One was Takashi Uchiyama, the WBA king, and the other was Takashi Miura, the then WBC king. In 2015 Miura, then aged 30 and sporting a 28-2-2 (12) record, faced off with former IBF Featherweight champion Billy Dib, then 29 with a 39-3-0-1 (23) record, with the men clashing at the Ota-City Gymnasium.
On paper this was an interesting match up. It gave Dib a chance to become a 2-weight world champion and it gave Miura a chance to score a win against a notable name, following 4 straight victories against Mexican foes. It proved to be interesting in the ring, with Dib boxing and moving, using the ring well, and Miura looking to cut off the challenger. Midway through round 3 Miura got his way, and landed his patented left handed, shaking Dib who was on the canvas just moments later. That was all she wrote, with Dib not being able to continue and Miura living up to his "Bomber Left" moniker.
Sadly for Miura he would lose the WBC Super Featherweight title 6 months later, in Las Vegas, to Francisco Vargas in a 2015 FOTY contender, and would retire following a 2017 loss to Miguel Berchelt. As for Dib, he was last seen in the ring in December 2019, beating the previously unbeaten Van Thao Tran of Vietnam.
One interesting note about this fight is it was actually aired live in Australia but on tape delay in Japan, with TV Tokyo foolishly not showing it live, but showing it around 30 minutes after it had taken place.
Ryosuke Iwasa Vs TJ Doheny - August 16th 2018
The last bout to pit the two countries against each other on either man's soil came in 2018 when Australian based Irish born fighter TJ Doheny travelled to Japan to face off with the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. At the time Iwasa was seeking his second defense of the IBF title which he had won in sensational fashion against Yukinori Oguni, whilst Doheny was the mandatory challenger. Entering the bout Iwasa was 28 and boasted a 25-2 (16) record, he was at home, he was the taller and longer man. Doheny on the other hand was 31 and had ran up a 19-0 (14) record.
We had expected fireworks here. Between them they had scored 30 wins by stoppage from a combined 44 wins wins, and the two losses for Iwasa had both come by stoppage. Doheny however had a different idea in mind, and instead of trying to bomb with the heavy handed Iwasa he boxed, he moved, he made Iwasa look slow and unsure of himself and ended up taking a unanimous decision to claim the the title. This was the first time an "Australian", in this case an adopted one, had taken a decision on Japanese soil against a Japanese champion since Rose dethroned Harada 50 years earlier!
Since this bout Iwasa has remained a contender and is currently the interim champion. Doheny on the other hand didn't get to enjoy a long reign, making just a single defense of the title.
Ryohei Takahashi vs TJ Doheny - January 18th 2019
Talking about Doehny's single defense that actually came in 2019 against a Japanese challenger, when he took on the little known Ryohei Takahashi at the iconic Madison Square Garden. This is the only time there has been a world title fight between a Japanese fighter and an "Australian" on US soil and sadly it was regarded as a mismatch before the men even stepped into the ring.
Doheny, then 20-0 (14), was expected to easily defeat the over-matched 28 year old Takahashi, who was 16-3-1 (6). Takahashi had no clear route to victory. He was made to order, in many ways, for Doheny. And that proved to be the case. Takahashi was tough, and few could fault his bravery, but Doheny used him as target practice, and forced Mike Ortega to step in and stop the bout in round 11, with Takahashi probably lucky to have taken a single round by that point.
Following this bout Takahashi faded back into obscurity on the Japanese domestic scene, picking up 3 wins including a somewhat controversial one earlier this month against Kiyohei Endo. As for Doheny he lost the IBF Super Bantamweight title a few months after this win, losing in a sensational 12 round war with Danny Roman, in a bout that unified the IBF and WBA titles. Since then Doheny has gone 1-1 including a shock loss in March this year to Ionut Baluta.
*For the sake of this we have included Vic Darchinyan and TJ Doheny as Australian's, who both flew the Australian flag along with the Armenian and Irish flags respectively. If we remove those results it's 7-2 to Australia and not 9-3. Either way these stats aren't in favour of Inoue this weekend, or Japanese boxing in general.
Other interesting details
Lionel Rose also scored notable wins in none-title fights against Japanese fighters Guts Ishimatsu, in 1970, and Bomber Uchida
Sam Soliman won the OPBF Middleweight title against Tokutaro Toyozumi and retained it against Satoru Suzuki, scoring both those wins in 2003
Prior to facing Takashi Miura we had seen Billy Dib in the ring with Kenichi Yamaguchi, in what was a short, dramatic, controversial and crazy one round bout that ended with Yamaguchi being stopped after being dropped. The result was later over-turned to a No Contest If you've never seen this one it is crazy.
Before winning the WBA Super Featherweight title Takashi Uchiyama beat Nedal Hussein for the OPBF Super Featherweight title.
In July 2016 Jack Brubaker retained the OPBF Welterweight title in Japan by beating Suyon Takayama, this, like many bouts between fighters from the two countries, was fantastic and is well worth hunting down!
Also in 2016 Dwight Ritchie beat Hikaru Nishida, in Japan, for the OPBF Middleweight title. His reign was short lived however, as he lost in his first defense just 5 months later, losing to Koki Tyson.
Jayde Mitchell also claimed an OPBF title in Japan, beating Shintaro Matsumoto for the OPBF Super Middleweight title at Korakuen Hall. Matsumoto would later go over to Australia to try and claim the OPBF Light Heavyweight title, but was stopped in 3 rounds by Aaron Lai.
Interestingly Kyotaro Fujimoto may well be the Japanese fighter with the best single man rivalry against Australian fighters. He debuted against Australian Michael O'Donnell, lost in an OPBF Heavyweight title fight to Solomon Haumono, and then went on to beat Nathan McKay, Adam Lovelock, Will Nasio - for the OPBF title, Herman Ene Purcell, Randall Rayment and Aaron Russell.
Rather notably, given this weekend's fight, Jason Moloney holds a win over former Japanese world champion Kohei Kono, with the Australian stopping Kono in 5 rounds in 2018. Incidentally he did so a round quicker than Inoue did it, just 18 months earlier.
By Eric Armit
The heavyweight bonanza planned for the next two months starts on Saturday night in London with Olek Usyk and Dereck Chisora clashing in London. It is effectively a WBO eliminator and there will be a push for whoever wins to get a fight with Anthony Joshua. The WBO could well throw a spanner in the planned schedule for the two Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fights by threatening to strip Joshua if he does not fight Usyk or Chisora.
Joshua puts his three titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev on 12 December and Tyson Fury fights someone on 5 December. Lots of names being thrown around but none seem too threatening as the last thing Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum need is a banana skin such as Andy Ruiz proved to be. There is then the skeleton of a plan for Joshua vs. Fury 1 around April/June next year with Joshua vs. Fury 2 in November/ December 2021.
Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte have their return bout on 21 November for the interim WBC title but it looks as though it may be 2022 before they get a title shot
Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois clash on 28 November for the Commonwealth, British and vacant European titles and the EBU have set a date of 17 November for purse offers for two unbeaten heavyweights Tony Yoka and Croatian Peter Milas to fight for the vacant EU title. Joseph Parker faces Junior Fa on 11 December, Luis Ortiz fights Alex Flores on 7 November, Filip Hrgovic fights Rydell Booker 7 November, Murat Gassiev has his first fight at heavyweight on Saturday against Nuri Seferi, Andy Ruiz is training hard(well relatively hard) and Deontay Wilder is training but he has no idea why. Let’s not forget the two boxers who have been cast into the wilderness for the sin of winning version of the WBA heavyweight title. The rules say a champion must defend his title within twelve months – less in some cases. Well poor Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr won the secondary title in November 2017 so just short of three years and Trevor Bryan won the interim title in August 2018 so over two years. Message to the WBA: Your rules and regulations are on your web site if you have lost your copy.
I still have serious reservation over the 10-8 scoring for a round in which a fighter is knocked down. This is cast in stone in the rules of the sanctioning bodies with no ifs or buts. It says plainly if there is a knockdown in a round then the round shall be scored 10-8 in favour of the boxer scoring the knockdown. That means that a fighter could hand out a beating to his opponent for 2:55 seconds and Compu-Box might show the boxer had outlanded his opponent by a huge margin in the round but if a punch to the shoulder causes him to lose his balance and his glove touches the floor then he will lose the round 10-8. I am amazed at the insult this is to boxing judges. The sanctioning body will tell you that they have the best judges in the world but don’t even trust them enough to let them judge a round over the whole three minutes and take into account the impact of a knockdown on the totality of the round. It is even worse when you consider that the 10-8 score has different impact depending on who is knocked down. If the fighter who is knocked down was losing the round then 9-10 becomes 8-10 so really just a one point penalty. If the fighter is winning the round then a 10-9 becomes an 8-10 so a three point penalty arising from what could be just a glove touching the canvas. To some judges the 10-8 is a great let-out. If a round is close then the knockdown makes life easy for you as you can dismiss any uncertainty from your mind over who you were going to give the round to as the rule book relieves you of any responsibility for your score in that round. It’s 10-8 a no brainer. It takes a very courageous judge to actually score the round 10-9 to the guy who was knocked down for if the other two judges are split then your 10-9 could be the score that decides a winner in a world title fight. The losers team would have a readymade protest and the loser’s fans would murder you on social media. Why have the best judges in the world and them tell them how to do their job?
Interested in money-who isn’t? Purses for the big show last weekend were: Roman Gonzalez $500,000 (the second biggest purse in the Nicaraguan’s career), Israel Gonzalez $75,000, Juan Francisco Estrada $300,000, Carlos Cuadras $50,000, Julio Cesar Martinez $100,000 and Moises Calleros $30,000. There seems an imbalance between what Roman Gonzalez was paid and the payment to Estrada but I guess everyone was happy with what they earned.
Showtime is preparing a documentary about Hector Camacho which will cover both his great achievements in the ring and his battles with addiction out of the ring. Camacho was killed in a still unsolved shooting incident in Bayamon in November 2012. The three division champion should make a fascinating study. In one run he beat four fighters with combined records of 92-1and scored wins over Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez Freddie Roach (yes that Freddie Roach), Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Howard Davis, Ray Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran and a badly faded Sugar Ray Leonard. I recall seeing Hector in Aruba dancing in a glittery spangled outfit wearing earrings and a pig tail smiling, gyrating and having a great time. A fond memory. A great fighter and a tragic end.
Boxing will return to Puerto Rico on 5 December. Miguel Cotto’s promotional outfit has received permission from the Department of Heath for the show. No fans allowed but it will be televised. It is planned that unbeaten prospects Danielito Zorrilla and Oscar Collazo will both fight on the card. The Department of Health has offered to help with the necessary medical exams.
The news is not so good from Germany where two planned shows have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. The shows were to be in Berlin and Munich but for the venues the number of local virus cases measured on the COVID-19 incidence scale meant that the Berlin one had to be cancelled and the Munich show would be restricted to 50 people in attendance and would have to close doors by 9.00pm which made it impractical. There is a show scheduled for 21 November in Magdeburg and that seems likely to go ahead with former IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez continuing his comeback despite a seventh round kayo loss against Kevin Johnson in August.
Puerto Rican Prichard Colon was hospitalised this week. Colon has been in the care of his mother since requiring emergency surgery after suffering a brain swelling in his fight against Terrel Williams in October 2015. This hospital surgery was required to reconnect a tube which supplies Prichard with food. It is hoped he will released from the hospital in a few days but life is still a struggle for Prichard and his mother.
There are already some fighters eager to compete at the new weight introduced by the WBC (and eventually the IBF, WBA and WBO who would not want to miss out on the sanctioning fees but as usual will all come up with their own name for the division). From Poland Mateusz Masternak, Krzys Wlodarczyk, Michal Cieslak and even WBO No 1 cruiser Krzys Glowacki have all said they will look at going up to the 224lbs division.
There will be an interesting fight on the undercard to Tyson Fury vs. TBA on 5 December as Michael Conlan clashes with former WBO super bantam champion Isaac Dogboe in a big fight for both boxers.
Artur Beterbiev’s defence of his IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines has been rescheduled for the third time and will now take place in January in Russia with the expectation that it will be in front of a full house of fans.
The WBO have given the handlers of super welterweight champion Patrick Teixeira until 5 November to agree terms on Teixeira’s mandatory defence of the super welterweight title against Brian Castano or it will go to purse offers.
As WBO No 2 at super welter Tim Tszyu should move into the mandatory position after the above fight. Tszyu is not sitting waiting for that to happen and on 16 December will tackle New Zealander Bowyn Morgan in Sydney. Morgan is a good choice with a 21-1 record 13 wins in a row and a good depth of amateur experience.
BoxRec shows a fight scheduled for Friday in Dar es Salaam featuring a local boxer and Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (Sirimongkhon Iamthuam). Singwancha has had a remarkable career. He turned pro in 1994 as a flyweight and won the World Boxing Union super flyweight and bantamweight titles in 1995. He won the interim WBC bantamweight title in 1996 and the full title in 1997 and lost it in the same year in his fourth defence in seven months. He then progressed up through the weights until he won the WBC super featherweight title in 2002 but lost it in 2003. He won a WBC lightweight eliminator in 2005 but did not get a shot at the title. Over 2007 and 2008 he won minor titles at super feather and super light and in 2012 won the WBC Asian title at welterweight. In 2014 he won the WBO Asia Pacific title at super welter and just before losing in a challenge for the WBC Asian middleweight title his record was 94-2. In 2018 he won the Thai light heavyweight title and for the fight in Tanzania will get down to super middle. He is now 43 and has had at least one fight in 25 of the 26 years he has been a pro. His record is 97-4 with 62 wins by KO/TKO so he might get to 100 career wins if he goes on for another year.
It saddens and ages you when you read of the death of a fighter whose career you followed from start to finish. That’s the case with Miguel Angel Castellini who died on Tuesday at the age of 73. I followed his progress though Simon Bronenberg’s KO Mundial and monthly results sheet from Julio Ernesto Vila-who I miss still. After an indifferent start to his career Castellini went on a run that saw him lose just one of his next thirty-eight fights and win the WBA super welter title. It took him eleven years and 76 fights to win a world title and he reigned for just five months. He retired in 1980 with a record of 74-8-12 with 51 wins by KO/TKO. RIP Miguel I enjoyed the ride we took together
Not every Closet Classic is an amazing 2-way war, sometimes they are showcases of how great the sport can be and others they are times where a fighter essentially put themselves on the map. Today we take a bout from that final option, even if the fighter in question was only really on the map for a few short, but exciting years.
Ji Hoon Kim (13-5, 10) Vs Koba Gogoladze (20-2, 8)
The 21 year old Ji Hoon Kim was an unknown to fans outside of Korea when he made his US debut in May 2008. On paper he looked little more than a crude puncher, having lost 5 of his 13 bouts up to this point. That however hides the fact that he gone 11-2 following an horrific 2-3 start to his professional career. He had genuinely learned on the job, having had no amateur career at all and had shown real potential in winning the Korean Featherweight title less than a year after his debut before later winning the PABA Featherweight title. He had impressed enough to catch the eye of Banner Promotions who matched him with the more experienced, and more proven Koba Gogoladze.
US based Georgian Koba Gogoladze had been an Olympian in 1996 and had been a well travelled professional, making a mark with wins against the likes of Carl Johanneson and Antonio Davis. He had lost to Almazbek Raiymkulov, AKA Kid Diamond, and Alex Arthur, in an interim world title fight, but was a solid fighter, still highly regarded and came into the bout needing a win to get his career back on track. Aged 35 at this point he very much needed a win to remain relevant, but had only been beaten by solid fighters up this point. Given his amateur background we knew he could box, but we had no idea what he had left to offer the sport.
From the off Kim started fast, instantly making an impression just seconds into the bout. Gogoladze looked counter against the wild and aggressive shots of Kim, and straight away this was fire. Kim then seemed to be rocked with the Georgian landing some huge head shots on the Korean, who some how took the punishment. The referee told Kim he needed to see something, and Kim did enough to convince the referee he was fine before firing back on the Georgian.
Give how short the bout we won't spoil it, but this was an intense battle with bombs from both, none stop excitement and real action.
This is only a short Closet Classic, but one that every fan should watch. It's short, but thrilling
By Eric Armit
-Juan Francisco Estrada retains the WBC super flyweight title with late stoppage of Carlos Cuadras
-Roman Gonzalez scores wide unanimous decision over Israel Gonzalez in WBA super flyweight title defence
-Julio Cesar Martinez stops Moises Calleros who comes in overweight for their WBC flyweight title fight
Sergei Lipinets and Custio Clayton fight to a majority draw so the interim IBF welterweight title remains vacant
-Dilan Prasovic stops Edin Puhalo in WBO cruiserweight final eliminator
-Australia’s Jai Opetaia gets win No 21 and heavyweight hope Justis Huni wins the Australian title in his first pro fight
- Fabio Turchi, Xavier Martinez and Subriel Matias score wins
World Title/Major Shows
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Fly: Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3) W TKO 11 Carlos Cuadras (39-4-1). Super Fly: Roman Gonzalez (50-2) W PTS 12 Israel Gonzalez (25-4). Fly: Julio Cesar Martinez (17-1,1ND) W TKO 2 Moises Calleros (33-10-1). Super Middle: Diego Pacheco (10-0) W TKO 2 Juan Mendez (12-3-2).
Estrada vs. Cuadras
Estrada retains the WBC title as he fights back after a slow start and an early knockdown to wear out and stop a tremendously courageous and competitive Cuadras in a return contest that has to be a candidate for Fight of the Year.
These two know each other well so no study time needed. Cuadras made a confident start coming in behind a double jab with straight rights. He constantly pierced Estrada’s guard and ended the round with a blazing attack.
Score: 10-9 Cuadras
The second was closer. Estrada was marching forward scoring with hooks to the body over the first half of the round. Over the second half Cuadras was again on target with hard jabs and clubbing right to Estrada’s head and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Cuadras Cuadras 20-18
A big round for Cuadras. Again he was controlling the action with his jab. He was also working well with his left hook and straight rights. Estrada was effective with left hooks but late in the round a left hook from Cuadras sent Estrada tumbling back into the ropes. He used his gloves to avoid going all of the way down and was given a count. Cuadras piled into Estrada after the count but Estrada fought him off.
Score: 10-8 Cuadras Cuadras 30-26
An already entertaining match livened up even more in the fourth. Estrada came out throwing punches from the bell. He was just walking through the jab of Cuadras and belting Cuadras with clubbing overhand rights, hooks and uppercuts focusing on the body and forcing Cuadras back and outscoring him. Cuadras replied with some short bursts of punches and connected with a good left hook late in the round but had been outscored.
Score: 10-9 Estrada Cuadras 39-36
The fifth was all action as they took turns to land heavily with both hands. The jab of Cuadras was not as potent as it had been and Estrada was able to connect with a series of left hooks and uppercuts to the body and rights to the head rocking Cuadras on a couple of occasions. Cuadras fired back as they traded punches to the bell with Estrada bossing the exchanges.
Score: 10-9 Estrada Cuadras 48-46
This was a savage war of attrition fought at a frantic pace. Estrada was marching forward letting fly with a whole array of punches. Cuadras was rocked time and again and just kept on firing back. He finished the round with a strong attack but Estrada had already done enough to win the round.
Score: 10-9 Estrada Cuadras 57-56
This round was closer as Cuadras won the early exchanges using his jab again and connecting with hooks. Estrada gradually took control swarming forward pumping out punches hooking wickedly to the body and forcing Cuadras on the back foot in yet another exciting round.
Score: 10-9 Estrada TIED 66-66
Once again Cuadras was getting the better of the exchanges early but the relentless attacks of Estrada forced him to back off. Estrada raked Cuadras with punches shaking him with a left hook and it was usually Cuadras who broke off the exchanges but each time it looked as though Estrada might overwhelm him Cuadras battled back.
Score: 10-9 Estrada Estrada 76-75
The pressure was getting to Cuadras. Estrada was coming forward loading up on his punches bombarding Cuadras with heavy hooks and uppercuts. Cuadras was fighting in short fiery bursts of eight or ten punches at a time but without direction or power and he was tiring from the pace Estrada was setting.
Score: 10-9 Estrada Estrada 86-84
Another great round. Cuadras showed why he had been a world champion as he dredged up the energy to move more and still pump out rapid bunches of punches. Estrada was walking through whatever Cuadras threw and connecting with solid punches to head and body but this time he had been outworked although the effort drained what energy Cuadras had left.
Score: 10-9 Cuadras Estrada 95-94
Estrada jumped on Cuadras from the bell and drove him back before connecting with a left hook that had Cuadras falling back to the floor against the ropes. He was up quickly and after the count Estrada drove him around the ring piling on hooks and uppercuts. Cuadras was floundering but stopped to fire a counter only to get nailed by a powerful right that again put him down. He sat on the canvas for a few seconds as if he was done but then climbed unsteadily to his feet. The referee decided he was able to continue although he looked to have nothing left. Despite his exhaustion he stood with Estrada trading punches until two left hooks to the head had him staggering back across the ring and the fight was stopped after a truly memorable contest.
Estrada was making the second defence of his WBC title. This defence was his first contest for 14 months which might explain his slow start. He is 15-1 in his last 16 fights many of them title fights against the best in the world. He has reversed the only loss in that sequence by outpointing Srisaket for this title. As Srisaket is No 1 in the WBC ratings it looks as though there will be third fight next year. Former WBC champion “Prince” Cuadras, 32, made six defences when champion and was 35-0-1 before losing his title to Roman Gonzalez in 2016. Subsequent defeats against Estrada and Mc Williams Arroyo dented his reputation but his showing in this fight where he was very much in it until exhaustion and Estrada caught up with him showed he can still compete at this level.
Gonzalez (Chocolatito) vs. Gonzalez
The little Nicaraguan marvel (Chocolatito) Gonzalez makes a successful first defence of his WBA title as he pounds out a unanimous decision over Mexican Israel Gonzalez
A good opening round from Gonzalez. He used his longer reach to keep pinging Chocolatito with jabs and connected with some useful left hooks. He used plenty of movement to frustrate Chocolatito’s attempts to cut off the ring and when he was pinned to the ropes smart upper body movement dented Chocolatito’s attacks.
Score: 10-9 Gonzalez
Chocolatito turned up the heat pressing harder and doing a better job of cutting off the ring forcing Gonzalez to stand and exchange punches more. Gonzalez was firing jabs through Chocolatito’s guard and landing left hooks to the body. Chocolatito ended the round connecting with a series of rights to earn the round.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito TIED 19-19
Chocolatito set out to overwhelm Gonzalez with an array of punches. Gonzalez was forced to stand and exchange punches and Chocolatito stayed in close punishing Gonzalez to the body. Gonzalez still found gaps for his jabs but did not have the power to deter Chocolatito.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 29-28
Remorseless pressure from Chocolatito. He was crowding Gonzalez and whilst still landing his customary left hooks the spectacular shots were straight rights to the head that snapped Gonzalez’s head back. Gonzalez was throwing plenty of punches particularly rights to the head but Chocolatito waited out those storms and then went back to pounding on Gonzalez.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito39-37
Another round that followed the pattern of pressure from Chocolatito and spectacular but brief spells of punching from Gonzalez. By the end of the round Gonzalez was against the ropes covering up letting Gonzalez find gaps for his left hooks and not throwing anything back.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 49-46
A closer round as Gonzalez threw more punches and came forward giving himself some punching room. Other than that once again he was under pressure for all three minutes with Chocolatito bouncing punches off his head and banging home body shots.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 59-55
Gonzalez could be excused for thinking he was in a boxing version of Groundhog Day. With every new round there was Chocolatito swarming forward with his arms going like pistons. After firing a couple of fast combinations Gonzalez then went into his shell and by the end of the round was just standing against the ropes covering up and making no attempt to fire any counters.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 69-64
For a while it looked as though Gonzalez might get something out of this round as he scored early with more of his batches of punches. Unfortunately Chocolatito just shrugged them off and by the end of the round was bouncing punch after punch off Gonzalez who had gone back into his defensive shell.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 79-73
More of the same. Before the sound of the bell had faded Gonzalez found himself against the ropes and under fire. He kept trying to drive Chocolatito off and scored with some good punches but Chocolatito just kept coming back and eventually Gonzalez went into his shell.
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 89-82
A round for Gonzalez. He punched with Chocolatito throughout the round. He was again firing bursts of punches but in this round there were more bursts and he sustained them more. Chocolatito was not throwing as many punches and on a couple of occasions punches from Gonzalez sent him back on his heels.
Score: 10-9 Gonzalez Chocolatito 98-92
Gonzalez started trying to pick up from where he ended the tenth. He was snapping out jabs and straight rights. Unfortunately that did not last long and soon he was under assault again as Chocolatito ground him down forced him to the ropes and worked him over with a variety of punches
Score: 10-9 Chocolatito Chocolatito 108-101
For three minutes these two knocked bits off each other. Chocolatito poured on the pressure and Gonzalez was determined to stand and punch with him. He was getting the worse of the exchanges but still urged Chocolatito to do his worst even though he faded a little at the end.
Score: 10-09 Chocolatito Roman Gonzalez 118-110
Official Scores: 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 all for Roman Gonzalez
The relentless pressure from “Chocolatito” just proved too much for a gutsy Israel Gonzalez. After two stoppage losses against Thai Srisaket in the space of six months in 2017 Chocolatito went from being rated one of the top Pound for Pound fighters in the world to being written off. He proved himself by coming back and beating Khalid Yafai to win the WBA title in February and even at 33 not too many will be looking to write him off any time soon. Israel Gonzalez fought hard and bravely but just did not have the power or the punch to keep Chocolatito out. He lost on points against Yafai in a title challenge in 2018 but had earned his second title chance with a win over 28-1 Sho Ishida in Japan. At 23 he has a very good chance of getting another shot.
Martinez vs. Calleros
Martinez crushes over matched Calleros in two rounds. Calleros failed to make the weight so could not win the title but then he never had much chance anyway and Martinez again showed his power.
Martinez was looking dangerous in the first with left hooks. He shook Calleros early and then with less than one minute gone another left hook knocked Calleros back and he put both gloves on the canvas to break his fall. After the count Calleros tried to move and jab but was staggered by a left hook to the head and had to absorb some more punishment before the bell of a one-sided round.
Score 10-8 Martinez
Martinez continued the pounding of Calleros in the second and every punch he threw seemed to shake Calleros. For a period Calleros settled down to do some good work with his jab and take the fight to Martinez. That ended when Calleros became over confident and stood and traded with Martinez. A left rocked Calleros and a blistering right effective knocked him out on his feet. He fell back into the ropes and with Martinez pounding him the referee stopped the fight.
“The King” Martinez, 25, was making the second defence of the WBC title and showed why he is considered the hardest puncher in the flyweight division. Fourth inside the distance defeat for Calleros who weighed 5 ½ lbs over the flyweight limit. He went from unrated by the WBC in September to No 20 in October but still not inside the top 15.
Pacheco vs. Mendez
Pacheco destroys overmatched Mendez in the second round. The 6’4” Pacheco towered over the 5’9” Mendez and almost put him down twice in the opening round. Mendez survived but some hurtful upper cuts in the second forced him to step back and go down on his knees and the referee halted the fight. The 19-year-old from Los Angeles has eight wins by KO/TKO including five first round finishes. Mendez just a sacrificial lamb.
Uncasville, CT, USA: Welter: Sergey Lipinets (16-1-1) DREW 12 Custio Clayton (18-0-1). Super Feather: Xavier Martinez (16-0) W PTS 12 Claudio Marrero (24-5). Super Light: Subriel Matias (16-1) W TKO 7 Malik Hawkins (18-1).
Lipinets vs. Clayton
The interim IBF title remains vacant after Lipinets and Clayton fight to a majority draw.
Very cautious opener with neither fighter really committing themselves with their jabs. Lipinets was the one coming forward and he connected with a couple of body punches and Clayton did not throw any punches of consequence.
Score: 10 9 Lipinets
No real action in this round. Lipinets tried some punches but was short. Clayton was constantly on the back foot and tried some jabs and long rights and made the better contact which was just enough to give him a nothing much round.
Score: 10-9 Clayton TIED 19-19
Lipinets landed a couple of body punches and a hard right to the head. He continued to track the retreating Clayton and pinned him to the ropes scoring with hooks to the body. Clayton tried a pair of right counters but was just not throwing enough punches.
Score: 10-9 Lipinets Lipinets 29-28
Lipinets was again trying to take the fight to Clayton who hardly strayed away from the perimeter of the ring. Lipinets caught Clayton on the ropes and landed with a four-punch combination. Clayton then landed a right hook to the body, the best punch in the fight so far and that gave him the confidence to come forward and score with his jab and a right to give him a narrow edge.
Score: 10-9 Clayton TIED 38-38
A good round for Clayton. He had just been probing with his jab but he started to use it as a weapon in this round. He was banging it through the guard of Lipinets and following it with some strong rights. He was still fighting on the back foot but Lipinets was finding it hard to cut him off.
Score: 10-9 Clayton Clayton 48-47
Clayton was using his jab in the early exchanges but eventually Lipinets was getting past the jab and Clayton retreated to the ropes. He was getting trapped against the ropes and Lipinets was able to bombard him with hooks to head and body with Clayton only throwing occasional counters.
Score: 10-9 Lipinets TIED 57-57
Lipinets spent the round hunting down the retreating Clayton. He was able to pin Clayton to the ropes and score to head and body with Clayton just covering up. Clapton landed two clubbing rights before the bell but by then he had already conceded the round.
Score: 10-9 Lipinets Lipinets 67-66
One for Clayton. He was using his jab as a range finder and it worked as he bombed Lipinets with three heavy right crosses. When Lipinets came forward Clayton countered him with body punches. Lipinets was just not quick enough to cut off the ring in this round and had little success.
Score: 10-9 Clayton TIED 76-76
A closer round. Lipinets tried to press harder and had some success. Clayton kept sticking the oncoming Lipinets with jabs and connecting with right crosses. Lipinets did a lot better with hooks to the body when he managed to run Clayton down and just did that often enough to edge the round
Score: 10-9 Lipinets Lipinets 86-85
Clayton worked hard with his jab throughout this round. He was piecing the Kazak's guard both to head and body and connecting with clubbing head shots. Lipinets tried to fire himself up but was not fast enough to force Clayton to stand and trade and was getting caught with sneak punches.
Score: 10-9 Clayton TIED 95-95
Clayton outboxed Lipinets. His left jabs were snapping the Kazak’s head back and he was connecting with fast rights to the head. He was showing how one dimensional Lipinets is and easily escaped from the ropes when Lipinets came forward and was quicker with his counters.
Score: 10-9 Clayton Clayton 105-104
Clayton’s round. He stuck Lipinets repeatedly with the jab then stepped in with clubbing rights. Lipinets tried desperately to get Clayton to trade and was throwing some wild shots but Clayton was constantly moving and jabbing and then picking his moment to step in with right crosses and move on.
Score: 10-9 Clayton Clayton 115-113
Official Scores: 115-113 Clayton, 114-114 draw, 114-114 draw
The interim IBF title remains vacant. Not a great fight. Clayton fought to win not to entertain. Lipinets was a slight favourite going into the fight but in the end he was lucky to come away with a draw. If Clayton had been more adventurous in the early rounds he could have won this one clearly. Lipinets was a big step up in quality of opposition for Clayton so that may have guided his early tactics. Lipinets had lost a wide decision against Mikey Garcia for the IBF super light title in 2018 then scored wins over Lamont Pearson and Jayar Inson to get a No 3 rating from the IBF. Hopefully these two will meet in a return and with Errol Spence due to defend the IBF and WBC titles against Danny Garcia on 5 December and Shawn Porter at No 2 there will be plenty of time for a rematch before a title fight becomes possible for the winner.
Martinez vs. Marrero
Martinez gets off the floor twice in the eighth round to collect a close unanimous decision over Marrero. Although Martinez made the better start Marrero was quickly able to pull back that lead in a fight that saw plenty of close rounds as the ascendancy ebbed and flowed. Martinez built a small lead by the end of the sixth but both men were soon showing the marks of war around their eyes and Marrero had to pass a doctor’s inspection at the start of the seventh. He was passed fit and Martinez attacked hard to add that round to his collection. The wheels came off for Martinez in the eighth. Early in the round a right to the temple sent him tumbling to the canvas. He was up quickly but after the count a wild attack from Marrero saw him go down again under a shower punches. Again he beat the count but with less than a minute gone in the round there was a chance there for Marrero to finish the fight. Martinez survived a brief hurricane of punches from Marrero who seemed to punch himself out and Martinez was the one coming forward at the bell. Marrero’s chance had come and gone and although they fought on fairly even terms the rest of the way Martinez just had a slight edge. Scores 115-111 Martinez, 114-112 for Martinez and 114-112 for Marrero. Martinez, 22, was No 7 going into the WBA eliminator and Marrero No 4 so it pushes Martinez a little higher up the ladder and Marrero slides a little bit down the snake.
Matias vs. Hawkins
Puerto Rican Matias returns after his first pro loss and stops Hawkins in six rounds. Matias was hunting down the taller Hawkins getting past his jab and firing hooks inside. Matias was using upper body movement rather than trying to block the punches from Hawkins and Hawkins was having trouble keeping him out. The flashy Matias often dropped both arms and when he threw punches Hawkins was never sure from which angle they were coming. Matias was warned for low punches but he was undismayed and just kept crowing Hawkins. He had Hawkins reeling on the ropes in the third and by the fourth Hawkins was holding more. The doctor had a look at Hawkins at the start of the fifth but the fight continued. Hawkins fought hard at the early part of the fifth standing and trading with Matias but in the sixth he dropped to a knee under an attack from Matias, He beat the count but took some heavy punishment. The bell went to start the seventh and Hawkins left his corner but before a punch was thrown the referee took him over to the doctor who advised the fight should be stopped. Matias has a rebuilding project after an upset loss against Petros Ananyan in February. Hawkins has scored wins over Ray Serrano and Al Rivera but found the talent and eccentric style of Matias just too much.
Fortitude Valley. Australia: Cruiser: Jai Opetaia (20-0) W TKO 6 Ben Kelleher (13-2-2). Heavy: Justis Huni (1-0) W TKO 7 Faiga Opelu (13-2-1).
Opetaia vs. Kelleher
Opetaia returns to the ring for the first time since November and takes care of some domestic business by stopping previous victim Kelleher. Southpaw Opetaia had everything going for him: height, reach faster hands, quick movement and youth-although Kelleher did come to fight and had the classier tattoos. From the outset Opetaia used his advantages to score at distance. By the second he was bringing his left into play more often and stringing together some impressive combinations. Kelleher kept rolling forward but was too slow to cut off the ring and paid for that as Opetaia bounced quick-fire light combinations and some more solid straight lefts. If there was a fault it was that Opetaia was mainly head hunting. A frustrated Kelleher threw Opetaia to the canvas in the fourth but Opetaia upped his pace in the fifth mixing straight punches, hooks and uppercuts and skipping away from any counters thrown by Kelleher who was now cut over his right eye. Opetaia ended it in the sixth. He relentlessly bombarded Kelleher with head punches driving him around the ring for over a minute before, with Kelleher just covering up; the referee finally stepped in as the towel flew from Kelleher’s corner. A sparkling, quality performance from Opetaia. The 24-year-old from Sydney has now won 15 of his last 16 fights by KO/TKO and is rated No 4 by the IBF but since positions 1 and 2 are vacant he is the second highest rated fighter behind Kevin Lerena and there is talk of a meeting of the two with the winner then being the mandatory challenger for Mairis Breidis. Opetaia suffered an injury to his left hand but it was not reported to be in any way serious. He was defending the WBO Global and IBF Asia Oceania titles but has yet to face a top level opponent with his three victims in 2019 being No’s 320, 255 and 81 in the current Box Rec ratings but he looked really impressive here. He is talking about moving up to heavyweight eventually. Both of Kelleher’s losses have come against Opetaia as he was stopped by Opetaia in three rounds in 2018 for the Australian title. The New Zealander had won his last six fights and gave it try here but the class gap was too wide.
Huni vs. Opelu
Opetaia may have been the big name on the card but he was overshadowed by 21-year-old Huni who set a national record that can never be beaten as he won the Australian heavyweight title in his first pro fight. The 6’3” 240lbs local fighter was much too mobile and quick for Samoan Opelu. His movement had the stocky Opelu swishing air and open for counters. Huni poured on the punishment scoring with heavy single shots and some quick, accurate combinations catching Opelu with every punch in the book. None of it seemed to make any impression on Opelu who continued to march forward and managed to test Huni’s chin particularly with a wicked uppercut. Despite the constant punishment Opelu just spread his arms wide goading Huni to do his worst and kept coming back for more. He was trapped on the ropes in the seventh with Huni unloading huge head punches when Opelu’s corner finally threw in the towel. Huni is the first Australian fighter to win the World Youth championship title at heavyweight and won a bronze medal at the World Championships losing on a walk over due to injury in the semi-finals. He was beaten by much more experienced 6’ 7” Uzbek Bahodir Jalolov in the final of the 2020 Asian/Oceania Olympic Qualifier but by finishing second still qualified and intends to fight at the Olympics in 2021. His aim is to become the first Australian to fight for the world heavyweight title since Alex Leapai who lost to Wlad Klitschko in 2014 and naturally to win it. He is certainly one for the future. Samoan-born Opelu, 26, was 8-0-1 before this and was making the first defence of the Australian title.
Milan, Italy: Cruiser: Fabio Turchi (18-1) W PTS 10 Nikolajs Grisunins (12-2-1). Welter: Dario Morello (15-1) W PTS 8 Nestor Maradiaga (8-9-1).Super Middle: Ivan Zucco (12-0) W RTD 3 Pavel Zgurean (7-5). Super Welter: Mirko Natalizi (8-0) W RTD 3 Frane Radnic (11-19).
Turchi vs. Grisunins
After losing his unbeaten tag and his WBC International title to Tommy McCarthy in October last year Turchi needed a win. Latvian Grisunins, also a southpaw, was a known quantity having sparred with Turchi in the past and was a light puncher who had never lost inside the distance so was a good non-threatening choice as an opponent. Turchi worked his right jab well in the first and used a double jab in the second to open Grisunins up for a straight left that brought blood pouring from the Latvian’s nose. Turchi increased his face in the third connecting with some crisp uppercuts and lefts to the head. Grisunins countered when he could landing a big left in the fifth but was under pressure throughout the middle rounds. A clash of heads saw Turchi cut over the right eye in the seventh. That made Turchi a little more cautious and gave Grisunins some encouragement but Turchi boxed his way through the last three rounds for an emphatic win. Scores 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. This was a more restrained and technically better performance from Turchi than in the past. The loss to McCarthy has seen him drop out of the world ratings so he will be looking to rebuild although getting cut may delay his programme. Grisunins, 36, had won his last five fights and gave Turchi the work he needed,
Morello vs. Maradiaga
This night was to have featured the semi-finals of a EURO 50,000 prize welterweight title tournament but Morello’s opponent fell out and the other semi-final had to be abandoned so Morello faced late import Maradiaga. Morello had too much skill for the limited but willing Nicaraguan. Madriaga did his best and when a left seemed perhaps to have caused Morello to go down in the fourth the referee did not count it as a knockdown. Morello is not a hard puncher and he relied on his skills and constant changes of guard to see him win the rounds and take the unanimous decision. Morello, a former WBO Global champion lost that title to Luther Clay in September last year and this was his first fight since then. Fifth defeat in a row for 19-year-old Venice-based Maradiaga.
Zucco vs. Zgurean
Zucco again showcased his burgeoning tablet against a willing Zgurean. Southpaw Zucco impressed with his speed and power and staggered Zgurean a couple of times in the second round but Zgurean also had some success with straight rights. Zucco dominated the third with the fire having gone out of Zgurean and at the end of the round he retired with a suspected broken jaw. Zucco, 25, rolls on with his eighth inside the distance win in his last nine fights and looks a good prospect. Italian-based Moldovan Zgurean strictly a 4 and 6 round fighter.
Natalizi vs. Radnic
Easy night for Natalizi as he dismantles poor Croatian Radnic. The Croat boxer was willing but woeful. Natalizi in each of the three rounds and Radnic did not come out for the fourth. Natalizi, 25, is a former Italian amateur champion and boxed for Italia Thunder in the WSB. Fifth inside the distance victory win for Natalizi but nineteenth loss in a row for Radic
Belgrade, Serbia: Cruiser: Dilan Prasovic (14-0) W TKO 9 Edin Puhalo (19-1). Prasovic wins WBO final eliminator with stoppage of Puhalo in a poor fight featuring too much clinching and a lack of technique from Puhalo. Montenegrin Prasovic floored Puhalo with a left hook to the temple in the second and by the fourth Puhalo was bleeding heavily from the nose. Prasovic dominated the action before the fight was halted in the ninth round. Prasovic was on top in the ninth when a clash of heads opened a bad cut over the right eye of Puhalo. He looked at the referee as if to complain and Prasovic took advantage of that stupid mistake from Puhalo and landed a left hook to the body. Puhalo went down on one knee still complaining. He got up and walked to a corner and stood there with blood streaming from the cut over his eye and made no attempt to continue so was counted out on his feet. The 25-year-old Prasovic has won 9 of his last 10 fights by KO/TKO and will now be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the vacant WBO title fight between Krzys Glowacki and Lawrence Okolie on 12 December. Prasovic has a good level of skill but that he is No 3 in the WBO ratings without ever facing any fighter within a million miles of any version of world ratings is a condemnation of the way ratings are distorted now. Going into this fight Prasovic’s last three victims were rated 103, 235 and 309 in the Box Rec ratings and Puhalo’s opposition had been so much worse that Box Rec rated him 76. Bosnia Puhalo had actually won his last 17 fights by KO/TKO but as with Prasovic his last three opponents illustrated the disgrace of his No 4 rating as Box Rec had them rated 231, 420 and 262 and with the WBO that’s good enough to “earn” you a final eliminator.
Bilbao, Spain: Feather: Andoni Gago (24-3-3) W TEC DEC 6 Brayan Mairena (10-17-1). Middle: Jhon Jader Obregon (7-0) W PTS 8 Rafael Chiruta (17-43-1).
Gago vs. Mairena
Gago wins technical decision over a combative Mairena. In the first round the referee warned both fighters over head clashes and before the end of the round Gago was cut over his left eye. Nicaraguan Mairena had scored well in the first but Gago started to find the target with the harder punches in the second. They traded punches over the third with Gago again landing well but Mairena fighting hard. The referee deducted a point from Mairena for punches to the back of the head in the fourth. Gago was in control in the fifth but the tiring Mairena did not wilt. At the end of the round it was decided that Gago’s cut was too serious for him to continue and it was stopped with the result being decided by the judge's cards with Gago in front 48-46 twice and 49-45. European champion Gago is 8-0 with one technical draw in his last nine fights and is awaiting a date for his title defence against Gavin McDonnell with no date set. Spanish-based Mairena did his best here which turned out to be more than expected from a guy who has now lost his last 17 fights,
Obregon vs. Chiruta
Colombian-born Obregon takes unanimous verdict over the crude but always dangerous Chiruta. The taller Obregon used his longer reach to outbox Chiruta with Chiruta his usual wild self. Every one of Obregon’s victims have had negative records but he showed good skills and has his eyes on a challenge for the Spanish title. Romanian Chiruta, 40, is a former GBU world champion and has sprung surprises in the past with inside the distance wins over Ruben Varon, Reece Cartwright and Davide Doria
Kissimmee, Fl, USA: Super Bantam: Belmar Preciado (21-3-1) W KO 1 Rodolfo Hernandez (30-10-1,1ND).Light: Otar Eranosyan (3-0) W TKO 4 Emiliano Garcia (16-6-1).Super Welter: Bryan Polaco (4-0) W KO 1 Ryan Favela (0-1)
Preciado vs. Hernandez
Preciado takes just 19 seconds to finish Hernandez. These two went at it straight away trading hooks and it looked like it might be a candidate for Fight of the Week until a wicked left to the body dropped Hernandez to his knees and he was counted out. The 32-year-old Colombian was having his first outing since suffering an upset inside the distance loss against Dennis Contreras in this same ring in August. Mexican Hernandez has now fallen to three straight inside the distance defeats but the opposition in the form of Yenifel Vicente, Jonathan Guzman and now Preciado has made it a tough road for him.
Eranosyan vs. Garcia
Eranosyan put Garcia down in the second, third and fourth rounds before the massacre was halted. After softening up Garcia in the first Eranosyan put Garcia down with a right to the head in the second. Eranosyan continued to score heavily in the third flooring Garcia with a left hook. Garcia went down under a series of punches in the fourth and was then taking a pounding against the ropes when the fight was stopped. The 27-year-old Miami-based Georgian has considerable amateur experience behind him having won a bronze medal at both the World and European Championships and a silver medal at the European Union Championships. Garcia was 16-1 mainly against low level domestic opposition but reality has arrived in the shape of a run of 0-5-1 since competing outside of his home range.
Polaco vs. Favela
Polaco obliterates pathetic Favela in 44 seconds. Favela had no idea of how to defend himself and no footwork. Polaco cut loose with hooks and uppercuts before connecting with a rib-bending left to the body. Favela tumbled into and almost out through the ropes. He dragged himself off the ropes and down to his knees and was counted out. The 22-year-old 6’2” Puerto Rican southpaw had nothing in front of him here but he has the look of a fighter with lots of talent. Really Favela had no right to be in the ring at all-with anyone.
Massa, Italy: Fly: Francesco Barotti (8-1) W TEC DEC 6 Tommaso Melito (4-7-1). Feather: Davide Tassi (11-0) W PTS 10 Emiliano Salvini (19-32-2). 6
Barotti vs. Melito
Barotti wins the vacant Italian title with technical verdict over Melito. Barotti took the fight to Melito who boxed well at a distance but Barotti was more mobile and more accurate with his punches. Barotti moved in to the lead after a strong fourth round and Melito was cut over his left eye in the fifth. Barotti badly shook Melito with right in the sixth and with Meiito’s wound worsening the fight was stopped and the score cards. Barotti was in front on two cards 59-55 and 58-56 and the other card had them level at 57-57. Home town fighter Barotti, 28, scores his sixth win in a row and becomes the first Italian to be crowned as flyweight champion for 16 years. Melito had won 4 of his last 5 fights.
Tassi vs. Salvini
Tassi win the vacant national title with a wide unanimous decision over old warrior Salvini. Tassi had 4” height and a much longer reach over Salvini and boxed intelligently. Salvini kept marching forward but was being outboxed. Tassi had Salvini in deep trouble in the eighth but Salvini’s experience and a good chin saw him survive and fight to the last bell. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Tassi to make it a home double. For Tassi this was his first ten round fight and first national title fight. Salvini, 41, is a former Italian bantam and super bantam champion and is 3-9-1 in Italian title fights across four divisions and has suffered four losses in European Union title challenges,
Fight of the week (Significance): Juan Francisco Estrada’s win over Carlos Cuadras sets him up for some more big fights next year.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Estrada vs. Cuadras a candidate for Fight of the Year.
Fighter of the week: Estrada for climbing off the floor and stopping Cuadras
Punch of the week: The right from Julio Cesar Martinez that ended his title defence against Moises Calleros was special
Upset of the week: None
Prospect watch: I will take a punt on new Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni
It has been a long time since Australia had a real heavyweight prospect so there is a large body of expectation for Justis Huni to deal with.
Oh how times change. I can remember following the careers of great Italian flyweights such as Salvatore Burruni, Fernando Atzori, Franco Udella and Slavatore Fanni but those days seem to be past never to return. Francisco Barotti in winning the vacant Italian title on Saturday is the first fighter to hold that title for sixteen years-a dying breed-not just in Italy but some other parts of Europe
I watched with horror as Ryan Favela was obliterated in 44 seconds by outstanding Puerto Rican prospect Bryan Polaco. Favela had no idea of how to hold his hands, his footwork was nonexistent yet someone decided he was worthy of a boxing licence and someone thought putting him in with Polaco was a match worth making. I can’t understand those mind sets-thankfully.
Every so often a relatively recent fight gets forgotten. The can be due to where it was, who was in it or simply the fact it wasn't high profile enough. One great fight that was massively over-looked came back in April 2014, and it had everything. It combined blood, heavy leather, drama, action and excitement to give us an instant classic. Sadly it was an instant classic that is now well often over-looked. That may have been due to the fact neither fighter really accomplished a lot, or the fact it wasn't for a major title. Despite that the bout deserves a rewatch, and deserves some more attention all these years on.
Shuhei Tsuchiya (15-2, 13) vs Leonardo Zappavigna (30-2, 20)
In one corner was Japanese slugger Shuhei Tsuchiya, who was making his international debut here as he travelled off to Australia. Although not a big name Tsuchiya was an exciting fighter to watch. He had won the 2010 All Japan Rookie of the Year, reeled off 12 straight stoppages to win begin his career and was 14-0 (12) before suffering a loss to Shoji Kawase. Despite losing his unbeaten record in 2013 he had bounced back and had ended the year with a win against Kazutaka Takakuwa, to lead him into this bout. In the ring Tsuchiya was a bit limited, but aggressive, heavy handed and a very TV friendly fighter. The Japanese Lightweight would, later, go on to claim the Japanese title but this would be his first title fight as he attempted to claim the WBO Oriental Light Welterweight title.
Popular Australian Leonardo Zappavigna was a former world title challenger, who had made something of a buzz in the US, with some action packed wins, before losing to Miguel Vazquez in an IBF world title bout. He had struggled to rebuild from that loss, losing to Ammeth Diaz, but had began to rediscover his form, stringing together 5 wins coming into his clash with Tsuchiya. Although not the most talented "Lenny Zappa" was a thrilling all action warrior, who had under-rated power, came to fight and was typically in fun to watch bouts. His lack of speed held him back against the sharp shooting Vazquez but he had looked explosive in wins against the likes of Ji Hoon Kim and his bout with Fernando Angulo was thrilling.
Given what we knew about the two men this looked like a stylistic dream. We had two come forward fighters, both with technical limitations, both a touch on the slower side and both of whom believed in their power. This had the hallmarks of something very exciting, even if neither man was world class.
The opening round saw the two men start quick, despite Tsuchiya almost tripping on something that was on the canvas. Within around 30 seconds both men had looked at landing something big. It wasn't a hugely brutal round, but it was one that saw both men doing more than just feeling their opponent out.
By round 2 the pace was beginning to increase and the more crisp punching of Zappavigna, along with his physical strength, was proving too be a bit of a difference maker. Despite this Tsuchiya always looked dangerous and wasn't there to make up the numbers. Instead he was digging his toes in and by the middle rounds he was playing his part in what was quickly developing into an all out war.
An in ring war, of course, takes it's toll and by the end of round 5 Tsuchiya was sporting sporting swelling and bruising over his right eye whilst Zappavigna was sporting facial damage of his own. It was the damage of Zappavigna's that would worsen, badly, and he would began to have huge gashes on both sides of his face as we began to get a blood bath. That blood bath coincided with both men taking more risks and fighting at closer range, making this a rare bout that gets better, and better the longer it goes on.
This is a real thriller that's well worth a watch. It's not always pretty, but it's always entertaining and as both men slow the action gets more bloody and both men are forced to battle through adversity in cracking fight that many won't have seen.
By Eric Armit
-Teo Lopez takes unanimous decision over Vasyl Lomachenko to unify the IBF, WBA and WBO title and to win the WBC Franchise title
-Lewis Ritson takes controversial decision over former IBF lightweight Miguel Vazquez
-Arnold Barboza outpoints Alex Saucedo
- Edgar Berlanga edges closer to a record as he stops Lanell Bellows for his fifteenth consecutive first round win since turning professional
-South African Thulani Mbenge returns with a win but Xolisani suffers shock loss against Prince Dlomo
World Title/Major Shows
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Light: Teo Lopez (16-0) W PTS 12 Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2). Super Light: Arnold Barboza (25-0) W PTS 10 Alex Saucedo (30-2). Super Light: Josue Vargas (18-1) W PTS 10 Kendo Castaneda (17-3). Super Middle: Edgar Berlanga (15-0) W TKO 1 Lanell Bellows (20-6-3,1ND). Feather: Jose Durantes Vivas (20-1) W TKO 1 John Moralde (23-4).
Lopez vs. Lomachenko
Lopez unifies the IBF, WBA and WBO titles (and the WBC Franchise title) with a unanimous decision over Lomachenko who wastes his chance of victory with a too slow start as he throws away seven of the first eight rounds on two cards and all eight on the third.
Lopez landed the first punch of the fight a right to the body on a retreating Lomachenko. Lopez managed to land two more punches to the body on a moving Lomachenko who simply gave the round away by hardly throwing a punch at all and not landing one.
Score: 10-9 Lopez
Lopez made a lively start clubbing Lomachenko with a right to the head and following that with some body punches. Lomachenko was constantly on the retreat with Lopez tracking him. Lomachenko connected with two left counters to make it close but did not do enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Lopez Lopez 20-18
Lopez scores with a couple of body punches at the start of the round as he continued to shadow the retreating Lomachenko. Lopez landed a couple of punches to the body late in the round and although Lomachenko started to come forward he was not throwing enough punches.
Score: 10-9 Lopez Lopez 30-27
A dire round with very little action from either fighter. What punches were landed came from Lopez who at least was throwing punches even if short with most and with Lomachenko suffering from punch constipation only prodding out some light jabs. The statistics told the tale with Lopez having thrown 149 punches and scored with 35 and Lomachenko thrown 36 and landed 13.This was an important fight but not an entertaining one. You can’t win rounds if you don’t throw punches
Score: 10-9 Lopez Lopez 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 40-36 Lopez, Judge Julie Lederman 40-36 Lopez, Judge Steve Weisfeld 40-36 Lopez
Again it was Lopez tracking the back-peddling Lomachenko. Lopez scored with a couple of strong body punches and a right to the head and that was enough to give him a round in which the number of punches Lomachenko threw was in single figures.
Score: 10 9 Lopez Lopez 50-45
Lomachenko showed some more life at the start of this round coming forward scoring with jabs. However he then went back on the retreat and Lopez finished the round strongly with some body punches
Score: 10-9 Lopez Lopez 60-54
A punch in the second round had started a reddening under Lopez’s left eye and it was now a small swelling. As in the sixth Lomachenko again was more positive early and scored with a right cross which was the best punch he had landed so far. After that Lopez was finding the target with hard single punches to take the round.
Score: 10-09 Lopez Lopez 70-63
Finally a fight broke out. Lomachenko was coming forward looking to take the fight to Lopez. He was throwing more punches and putting together some sharp combinations catching Lopez with two powerful lefts to the head. Lopez was caught out by the change of tactics and was too slow with counters. But was it going to prove that Lomachenko had already given away too many rounds?
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lopez 79-73
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 79-73 Lopez, Judge Julie Lederman 80-72 Lopez, Judge Steve Weisfeld 79-73 Lopez.
Another round for Lomachenko. He was taking the fight to Lopez scoring with snappy jabs and then putting together little bursts of punches. Lopez looked much less composed on the back foot. He was still dangerous but was off target with his punches.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lopez 88-83
Lomachenko was in control of the fight now. He was coming forward throwing punches connecting with jabs then two/three punch bursts. Lopez was on the back foot and being outscored. A low punch caused a break in the action just before the bell as Lomachenko was given some recovery time.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lope 97-93
Lomachenko was hustling and chasing down Lopez. He was putting his punches together well with Lopez restricted to one punch at a time. Lomachenko kept up the pressure until late in the round when Lopez connected with some hard body punches but it was Lomachenko’s round
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lopez 106-103
Lomachenko gave it a try in the last round and started well but then Lopez produced a strong finish as he drove Lomachenko back with hooks and uppercuts over the last half of the round. Just before the bell Lopez suffered a bad cut on his right eyelid. If that had happened earlier then the fight would have had to be stopped but with just seconds to go the doctor allowed the fight to continue and Lopez drove his way to victory.
Score: 10-9 Lopez Lopez 116-112
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 116-112 Lopez, Judge Julie Lederman 119-109 Lopez, Judge Steve Weisfeld 117-111 Lopez.
Lopez was a deserving winner although to me not nearly as wide a margin as that shown in the score of experienced Judge Julie Lederman who has been severely criticised for her score. However the main culprit here was Lomachenko who had obviously planned to start slow and then come on strong . The Lomachenko of the first seven rounds was nothing like the one we are used to and even at the end some of the clever movement and fast combinations were missing. Lopez pressed hard from the start and received the reward his effort deserved. Many take the view that if there is a return (although I understand there was no return clause in the contract) then Lomachenko will take on board his mistakes from this fight and emerge then winner. If there is a return let’s just hope it will be more entertaining fight than this one. The question of whether Lopez is now world champion of all four sanctioning bodies is in doubt. It is disingenuous of the WBC to describe Devin Haney in their official ratings as World Champion and then say Lopez has won the WBC world title. If the WBC world champion does not hold the WBC world title what title does he hold?
Barboza vs. Saucedo
Barboza continues his progress towards a world title shot late in 2021 with convincing unanimous decision over WBO No 6 Saucedo. Barboza began the fight with a southpaw guard as they were both looking to dominate. Barboza scored early with a strong left hook with Saucedo digging in left hooks to the body. The high pace continued in the second with Sauced knocking Barboza off balance with a left hook but Barboza, still fighting southpaw, scored with some hard straight lefts. Barboza started to open a gap in the points from the third with some fast combinations and in the fourth outworked Saucedo and connected with some heavy rights to the head. The pace was still hot in the fifth with Saucedo marching forward landing with hooks and Barboza getting through with the heavier punches in heated exchanges. It was close-quarters stuff throughout the sixth with Saucedo swarming forward chucking hooks and Barboza more accurate and landing the harder punches but Saucedo just having the edge. The action slowed a little in the seventh with a moment of controversy. As Barboza backed out of an exchange Saucedo landed with a left and Barboza dropped to his haunches in a corner and put his left glove on the canvas to steady himself. The referee ruled it a slip but at the end of the round the Nevada Commission’s replay representative informed the referee it was a genuine knockdown so it was a 10-8 round for Saucedo. That made the scores close but Barboza took the eighth and ninth and rocked Saucedo a couple of times in the tenth although Saucedo fought hard all the way. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93 for Barboza. The 28-year-old Californian has wins over Mike Reid, Mike Alvarado and Tony Luis and is rated WBC 7/WBO 7 Mexican Saucedo, 26, lost on a seventh round TKO when challenging Maurice Hooker for the WBO title in 2018 but had rebuilt well with victories against Rod Salka and Sonny Fredrickson.
Vargas vs. Castaneda
The speed and skill of Vargas are just too much for Castaneda as Vargas eases his way to a wide unanimous verdict. Southpaw Vargas controlled the action from the first bell. He was snapping out his jab and firing quick combinations with Castaneda waiting too long to let his punches go. In the second Vargas put Castaneda down with a straight left. It was not a heavy knockdown and Castaneda was in no real trouble when he arose. The knockdown gave Vargas a good lead and he built on that over the middle rounds being quicker to the punch and frustrating Castaneda’s attempts to cut off the ring using quick footwork and clever upper body movement. Castaneda connected with a solid right in the sixth with that being the best he could manage against a slick Vargas. Not a big puncher Vargas looked to be trying to boost his Ko% with a big effort in the eighth but Castaneda continued to come forward and never really looked in any trouble as Vargas outboxed him over the last two rounds. Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 98-91. The 22-year-old Puerto Rican’s only loss was on a disqualification and he has won his last twelve fights. Texan Castaneda has now suffered three losses in a row but in tough asks against unbeaten Yomar Alamo who took a majority decision and Jose Zepeda.
Berlanga vs. Bellows
Berlanga makes it fifteen first round wins in fifteen fights . Although giving away a lot of height and reach Bellows scored first connecting with a couple of sharp jabs. Berlanga missed with a three right crosses as Bellows stepped inside them. Berlanga was loading up on every punch with a couple whistling past the chin of Bellows. He connected with two rights which shook Bellows and then unloaded a series of head punches that had Bellows staggering across the ring and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Berlanga, 23, Brooklyn-born of Puerto Rican antecedents can certainly punch and this is the first time Bellows, who had won his last two fights, has been stopped. Berlanga marches on hopefully to another test.
Vivas vs. Moralde
Vivas annihilates Moralde. Mexican Vivas came out throwing a storm of punches immediately putting Moralde on the back foot. As he marched forward Moralde landed some hard counters but Vivas shook them off and floored Moralde with a left to the head. Moralde beat the count but a huge right to the chin sent him back to the ropes and two left hooks to the body sent him down and the referee stopped the fight. All over in 76 seconds. The only loss Vivas has suffered was a wide decision against world title challenger Ruben Villa in September last year and this is his third win as he rebuilds, Filipino Moralde has now lost three fights by KO/TKO but his losses have been to a very good level of opposition including Toka Khan Clary, WBO champion Jamel Herring and unbeaten Xavier Martinez.
Minsk, Belarus: Super Light: Eduard Troyanovsky (29-2) W PTS 10 Renald Garrido (25-28-3).Light: Elnur Samedov (11-1) W TKO 8 Alexander Podolsky (11-2). Super Middle: Germaine Brown (9-0) W PTS 8 Dmitrii Chudinov (21-8-3).
Troyanovsky vs. Garrido
”The Eagle” is still flying but not exactly soaring as Troyanovsky gets by the always competitive Garrido on a majority decision in this clash of veterans. The taller Troyanovsky started well boxing and keeping Garrido on the end of his jab and countering with some tasty uppercuts. Over the second half of the fight Garrido kept pressing just rolling forward towing punches and as Troyanovsky tired he was able to get past Troyanovsky’s jab to work inside. Garrido had Troyanovsky reeling in the eighth and Troyanovsky fell into the ropes so it could have been scored as a knockdown but the referee just pulled Garrido off Troyanovsky and let the fight continue. Garrido looked a possible winner but Troyanovsky turned in a strong last round so it could have gone either way. Scores 97-94 and 96-94 for Troyanovsky and 97-97. The 40-year-old former IBF champion looked a spent force. He is No 14(13) with the IBF but is only going in one direction and that is not up. Garrido is Garrido. There is nothing fancy about the wild swinging 37-year-old Frenchman but on his night he is a handful for anyone. This is his seventh loss in his last eight fights but with a bit of luck he could just as easily have won seven of his last eight.
Samedov vs. Podolsky
Samedov gets off the floor to stop Podolsky. In a competitive match Podolsky had the edge early with his longer reach and some strong hooks. In the third Podolsky scored with a couple of hard rights on the advancing Samedov who stumbled as he moved inside and briefly went down on one knee resulting in a count. Samedov recovered and finally made his aggression tell. He wore down Podolsky before dropping him with a short right in the eighth. Podolsky got up but Samedov then drove him around the rind landing a series of unanswered head punches until the referee stepped in to save Podolsky. Only the third inside the distance win for former undefeated Russian champion Samedov. He was born in Azerbaijan but moved to Russia when very young. Podolsky’s only other loss was against Spanish prospect Jon Fernandez.
Brown vs. Chudinov
Despite being relatively inexperienced Britain’s Browne floors and clearly outpoints a faded Chudinov. The Russian “Night Wolf” tried to hustle and harry Browne out of his stride but Browne stuck to his boxing and found the careless Chudinov an easy target. Browne had won his last three fights by KO/TKO and he gave Chudinov a taste of his power when he floored Chudinov with a perfectly timed right cross in the third round. Chudinov almost ended face down on the floor but he managed to break his fall with his hands and then got up quickly. He was very unsteady but Browne left him off the hook and missed the chance of a dramatic victory. Instead Brown boxed his way through the fight continually finding gaps for counters and was a good winner. The 26-yerar-old BBB of C Southern Area champion paced the fight well despite not having been past six rounds before. Chudinov, 34, a former interim WBA champion, is on the slide being 0-5-1 in his last six contests.
Kissimmee, FKL. USA: Super Light: Antonio Moran (26-4-1) W TKO 6. Emanuel Colon (17-2-1). Welter: Xander Zayas (6-0) W TKO 1 Anthony Curtiss (2-6).Light Heavy: Rafayel Simonyan (8-0) W KO 6 Eric Abraham (6-6).
Moran vs. Colon
Definitely a candidate for Fight of the Week as Moran and Colon go to war for six rounds. The fight swung one way and then the other as both have impressive percentages of wins inside then distance. The taller Moran was willing to work inside and for five rounds it could have gone either way Moran had more depth in his experience and had met better opposition. A series of heavy, accurate punches suddenly had Colon fall apart in the sixth. Moran raked him with a succession of straight punches and hooks that had Colon reeling around the ring until two heavy rights dropped him on his back. He made it to his feet but was in no condition to continue. Mexican Moran was 2-2-1 going into this one with the losses being against Jose Pedraza and Devin Haney and the draw with unbeaten 17-0 Yomar Alamo. This is his nineteenth win by KO/TKO. Buffalo-based Puerto Rican Colon was inactive in 2018 and his three fights in 2019 were all first round wins so he had seen only seven minutes action in the last three years.
Zayas vs. Curtiss
Zayas pulverises Curtiss inside a round. The outstanding young prospect blitzed Curtiss with savage combinations driving him around the ring. Curtiss tried to punch back but was overwhelmed and the referee halted the massacre. Still just 18 Zayas, a former US Under-19 champion, is the youngest fighter ever to be signed by Top Rank. He now has five wins by KO/TKO, four in the first round. He was too young to be able to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and 2024v was too long to wait. With his talent he could be the star boxer of the 2020’s.
Simonyan vs. Abraham
Armenian-born Simonyan breaks down and halts Abraham in the sixth. The strength and aggression of Simonyan eventually proved too much for Abraham. In the sixth Abraham touched down briefly from a right to the head. Simonyan then battered Abraham to the floor twice more and he was counted out. Azeri-born Simonyan, 26, makes it five wins in a row by KO/TKO. Third consecutive inside the distance loss for Abraham all against unbeaten opponents.
Plant City, FL, USA: Super Light: Ryan Martin (24-1) W KO 1 Hevinson Herrera (25-19-1). Welter: Jose Miguel Borrego (18-2) W TKO 6 Luis Florez (25-17,1ND). Super Welter: Cecil McCalla (23-4) W TKO 2 Fidel Monterrosa Munoz (39-23-1,1ND).
Martin vs. Herrera
Martin gets his second win of the year as he knocks out Herrera in the first round. The fight was over in 105 seconds and gives Martin his fourteenth win by KO/TKO. He tested positive for banned substances androsterone and etiocholanone (metabolites of testosterone) after his fight with Josh Taylor in 2018 and was given a four year suspension by the UK Anti-Doping Agency but the Agency is not recognised in the USA. Colombian Herrera is now 0-15 outside of his home country.
Borrego vs. Florez
Mexican southpaw Borrego makers it 16 wins by KO/TKO with stoppage of Florez and pushes the Colombian a bit further down the slope. The 22-year-old Borrego has won his last four fights. Florez has the distinction of being the only fighter to have beaten Miguel Berchelt. He did it back in 2014 and did it by stopping Berchelt in 99 seconds. It has been largely downhill since then with 8 losses in his last 9 fights.
McCall vs. Munoz
McCall makes it two wins in four months as he halts Munoz. After winning his first 20 fights McCall hit a bad patch when he moved up to face stiffer opposition and went 1-4 so has some rebuilding to do. On a bad night for Colombians Munoz drops to just 1 win in his 11 most recent contests.
Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania: Super Fly: Innocent Evarist (10-1-2) ( ?? see below) Prince Patel (23-1-1).Super Fly: Julias Kisarawe (32-7-1) W PTS 10 Msabaha Salum Msabaha (9-2-1).
Evarist vs. Patel
Evarist seems to have been declared the winner in this one after clearly outpointing Patel but subsequently that was changed to a draw. The 5’11” Evarist scored at distance with his jab and outworked Patel over the first three rounds. He was on the front foot constantly throwing punches with Patel under pressure and not throwing enough punches back. By the fourth Evarist's jabs had Patel bleeding from the nose. In the fifth Patel began to apply some pressure of his own but he was tending to walk in behind a high guard and was being caught by counters on the way in. Patel continued to take the fight to Evarist over the sixth and seventh and was scoring to the body but Evarist was again the one doing most work. Evarist’s punches were not heavy but they were scoring. Evarist had a good eighth round punishing Patel with jabs and hooks but was deducted a point in the ninth for careless head work. Evarist dominated the last three rounds with Patel just trying to survive and Evarist had another point deducted for a butt in the last. No scores were given but it looked as though Evarist had been declared the winner. There was quite a bit of discussion between Patel and his team and the supervisor and after the show went off the air it was stated there had been an error in the scoring and the result was a draw. Irrespective of the revised result this was a clear win for Evarist. He had lost on a second round stoppage against Patel in May last year when he was unable to continue after being hit low. He had never gone past six rounds in a fight previously but he was the stronger man at the end. It was a poor performance by Patel who had lost to Michell Banquez for the IBO title in July last year but then won four times and collected the ABU title. The WBO Africa and WBO Global titles were up for grabs (Africa is not on the globe?) so presumably they are both still vacant.
Kisarawe vs. Msabaha
Kisarawa outpoints Msabaha to win the vacant UBO African title. Scores 97-93 for Kisarawe from all three judges. Kisarawe was stopped in five rounds by Prince Patel in 2018 but had outpointed Msabaha in February last year.
Galapa, Colombia: Super Fly: Jose Soto (15-0,1ND) W KO 1 Angel Berrio (15-8). In his first fight for eleven months Soto destroys Berrio in the first round. The action was close encounter stuff as the exchanged punches inside. Soto landed a couple of hooks to the head that had Berrio retreating to the ropes. Soto followed and landed a vicious left hook to the ribs and with Berrio already on his way down landed a couple of head punches but it was the body shot that really did for Berrio who was counted out kneeling on the canvas. The 22-year-old Soto, a former Colombian Youth Champion, has six inside the distance wins. Berrio has now suffered five losses and fought one No Decision in his last six appearances.
Karlsruhe, Germany: Super Middle: Petro Ivanov (13-0-2) W TKO 4 Yusuf Kanguel (19-4-1). Heavy: Evgenios Lazaridis (17-3) W TKO 1 Eugen Buchmueller (17-7). Super Middle: Juergen Doberstein (26-4-1) W PTS 6 Roman Hardok (6-2).
Ivanov vs. Kanguel
Relatively unknown Ivanov halts Kanguel in four rounds. Ivanov did enough to edge the first two rounds with Kanguel doing better in the third. Late in the fourth Ivanov shook Kanguel with hooks and uppercuts and a series of head punches had Kanguel collapsing into the ropes and down. He struggled to his feet but was unsteady and the referee waived the fight over. Kanguel tried to protest but it was a good stoppage. Ukrainian Ivanov wins the vacant WBC International Silver title. The 24-year-old was not too much of a surprise package having stopped then unbeaten French prospect Louis Toutin and won every round against experienced Roman Shkarupa. German Kanguel, 36, retired after five rounds against Vincent Feigenbutz in 2018 but had won the WBC Mediterranean title with points win over 18-0-1 Vartan Avetisyan in February last year.
Lazaridis vs. Buchmueller
This one was over quickly. As Buchmueller came forward and threw an overhand right Lazaridis came inside it and caught Buchmueller with a powerful right uppercut that dropped Buchmueller to the canvas on his back. Buchmueller tottered to his feet and was swaying on his legs so after the eight count the referee signalled that the fight was over. The 32-year-old 6’3” Greek Lazaridis gets win No 11 by KO/TKO. He lost on points to Agit Kabayel in July. Kazak born Buchmueller, 40, loses inside the distance when he gets ambitious enough to step up.
Doberstein vs. Hardok
Another Kazak-born fighter Doberstein too good for Hardok and takes a unanimous decision. He had too much experience for Hardok having only lost on a majority decision over twelve rounds against Robin Krasniqi a few years back but he was coming off a seventh round kayo loss suffered against Juergen Braehmer in December. Russian-born German Hardok, a former German champion, was having his first fight for over two years.
Peterborough, England: Super Light: Lewis Ritson (21-1) W PTS 12 Miguel Vazquez (42-10). Super Bantam: Marc Leach (15-1-1) W PTS 10 Qais Ashfaq (8-1). Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0-1) TEC DRAW 8 Thomas Essomba (10-6-1).
Ritson vs. Vazquez
Although being 3-4 in his last 7 fights may make it seem that Vazquez has accepted the role of a useful scalp for the local boxer he showed here the value of experience and certainly looked to have outscored Ritson. The home fighter was coming forward from the start. Vazquez was comfortable on the back foot constantly moving and slotting punches through Ritson’s high guard. Ritson connected with a sharp left hook but was not closing Vazquez down. Ritson upped the pressure in the second but the clever movement and accurate punching of Vazquez was often frustrating Ritson’s attacks. The pattern of the fight did not alter much. Vazquez was throwing light punches moving in and out quickly and changing angles. Ritson was doggedly determined marching forward and landing the harder punches but not enough of them. It was brilliant tactical work by Vazquez and the only question was whether he could maintain the pace over the twelve rounds. Ritson worked well when he was able to get inside but was not cutting off the ring and giving Vazquez too much room. Many of Vazquez’s punches were no more than light taps and Ritson was blocking a lot of Vazquez punches but just not throwing enough punches himself. Vazquez’s punch output dropped late in the fight and he was moving less. That led to a bit more success for Ritson but some clever ducking and weaving from Vazquez was still making it difficult for Ritson to score. Ritson pressed hard over the last two rounds but Vazquez countered well and looked to have done enough to win but no such luck/justice. Scores 117-111 and 115-113 for Ritson and 116-113 for Vazquez. Ritson wins the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title. It could be the judges preferred his aggression and harder punches but on this showing his No 2 rating from the WBA flatters him. Former IBF lightweight champion Vazquez, 33, showed there is still plenty of life left in him and he is capable of giving anyone trouble on his night but losses to Ohara Davies and Batyrzhan Jukembayev last year have also marked his ceiling.
Leach vs. Ashfaq
An upset here as Leach floors former elite level amateur Ashfaq twice on the way to a unanimous points victory. This was a fast-paced technical match between two good boxers. Leach was quick and light on his feet with Ashfaq looking to have the sounder technique and more power. Leach was using his speed to nip in and score and Ashfaq was trying to exert as much pressure as he could. Leach looked to be just in front after three rounds and late in the fourth he shook Ashfaq with a left to the head and then lunged inside following it up with another punch. Ashfaq went down. He protested he was pushed but was given a count. Ashfaq fought his way back into contention in the fifth and sixth. In the seventh a right and a left from Leach unbalanced Ashfaq and he went down. He again complained that he had been pushed but it was a second 10-8 round for Leach. Again Ashfaq battled his way into the fight but despite a strong finish it was not enough. Scores 96-92, 96-93 and 95-93 for Leach. No title at stake but a big win for Leach. After losing his first pro fight he is now 15-0-1 in his last 16. A set-back for Ashfaq. In the amateurs he won silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships a bronze at the European Games and represented Britain at the 2016 Olympics.
Ward vs. Essomba
Disappointing end to an entertaining fight as a cut suffered by Ward ends the action and the scorecards make it a draw. Ward, the WBO No 3 was a heavy favourite over Essomba who was giving away height and reach and is a natural flyweight. Ward dominated the first two rounds but from the third fierce attacks from Essomba saw the Cameroons fighter get into the action. He gave Ward all sorts of trouble with hooks and uppercuts in the fourth. From there it became a much closer fight with Ward doing the scoring at distance and catching Essomba with counters and Essomba working feverishly and going to the body when he managed to get past Ward’s jab. In the seventh a clash of heads saw Ward suffer a bad cut over his left eye and although the fight continued through the eighth before a punch could be thrown in the ninth the fight was stopped and the scorecards came into play with the ninth scored as equal. Scores 88-84 Ward, 88-85 Essomba and 86-86. A fight Ward will want to forget as he looks for a chance to challenge Angelo Leo for the WBO title in 2021. Former Commonwealth flyweight champion Essomba had lost over twelve rounds against world rated Sunny Edwards in August. He is never in a bad fight and as he showed here and in his win over unbeaten Sean McGoldrick he can be a handful on his night.
Miami, FL, USA: Super Feather: Mark Bernaldez (21-4) W KO 3 Julian Aristule (34-14,1ND). Welter: Brian Norman (18-0,1ND) W TKO 1 Juan Rodriguez (13-8). Super Bantam: Jorge De Jesus Romero (18-0-1) W PTS 8 Luis Valdes (7-4-1) welter Jameson Bacon (24-4) W TKO 2 Gonzalo Dallera (6-9). Super Fly: Joahnys Argilagos (5-0) W TKO 1 Samuel Gutierrez (16-28-6).
Bernaldez vs. Aristule
Bernaldez batters Argentinian southpaw Aristule to defeat in three rounds. Bernaldez easily took the first round and it was obvious that Aristule was not going to last long. A series of punches from Bernaldez floored Aristule early in the second and he continued to hunt down Aristule before putting him down again with a left to the head just before the bell. In the third Bernaldez pinned Aristule against the ropes and pounded him until Aristule fell to his knees and was counted out. Fifteen wins by KO/TKO for the Filipino “Machete”. His losses have all come on the road against good quality opposition in their backyard. Former Argentinian super bantam champion Aristule has been in with some good opposition but at 37 is way past his best and this is his fifth defeat in a row.
Norman vs. Rodriguez
Norman adds another inside the distance victory. The teenager from Atlanta blew away Rodriguez in 86 seconds of the opening round. Norman immediately took the fight to Rodriguez hunting him around the ropes and connecting with hooks to the body. He drove Rodriguez to a corner with a pair of left hooks and then landed a cracking right to the jaw that sent Rodriguez tumbling into the ropes and down to the canvas. Rodriguez struggled to his feet but was counted out before he made it. Norman, 19, the son of Brian Norman who fought Jean Pascal, Edwin Rodriguez and Dominic Wade, turned pro at 17 and has scored 15 wins by KO/TKO. Rodriguez is on the down slope with seven losses in his last eight contests.
Romero vs. Valdez
Romero remains unbeaten with points win over inexperienced Mexican Valdes. Romero pressed the fight with the taller Valdes willing to stand and trade punches but he lacked the power to dissuade Romero. Romero kept driving forward but never really had Vargas in any trouble and Vargas occasionally just leaned against the ropes willing Romero to bring on the pressure. He found enough gaps in the guard of the advancing Romero to be competitive but never really threatened Romero’s dominance. Scores 78-74 twice and 79-73 for Cuban Romero a former Florida State champion. Romero was coming off a majority draw against experienced Daniel Lozano but did not show enough here to indicate he will be a factor in the division. Valdes, 21, just a prelim fighter who gave Romero some work.
Bacon vs. Dallera
Body punching from Bacon proves too much for Dallera, Bacon used a fast, accurate jab to box his way through the first round and shook Dallera with a sharp left uppercut. Dallera knocked Bacon off balance with a right in the second but then Bacon connected with a wicked left hooks to the body that had Dallera backing up and Bacon unloaded with hard punches to head and body. Dallera was stubborn and fought back until a left hook to the body saw him drop to his knees in agony and the referee immediately stopped th4e fight. Filipino Bacon, a former Philippines champion, returned to the ring last year after seven years out and is 4-1 since returning. Fifth loss in a row and eighth loss by KO/TKO for Argentinian Dallera.
Argilagos vs. Gutierrez
Cuban Argilagos dismantles veteran Gutierrez in the first round. A focused body attack from Argilagos soon had Gutierrez in trouble and he was floored and the fight was halted just past the 2:00 mark. Two first round victories in a row for Argilagos. The 23-year-old was a star of the Cuban team winning a gold medal at both the 2015 and 2017 World Championships as well as a bronze medal in Rio and was Cuban and World Junior champion. Seasoned veteran Gutierrez had lost on points to former WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales just 23 days ago,
Johannesburg, South Africa: Welter: Thulani Mbenge (16-1) W PTS 10 Mardochee Kuvesa Katembo (13-3-1). Light: Prince Domo (12-10-1) W TKO 6 Xolisani Ndongeni (26-2). Light: Khaya Busakwe (6-1) W TKO 3 Kabelo Bikitsha (4-2).
Mbenge vs. Katembo
Former IBO champion Mbenge returns with a win as he decisions Congolese hope Katembo. Mbenge had much the better skill set but was occasionally inconvenienced by the wild attacks of Katembo. Mbenge was a bit slipshod at times but his jab gave him a big edge and he was more controlled and accurate in his work. Katembo never stopped trying to pressure Mbenge coming forward throughout the fight but good movement and sharp counters from Mbenge piled up the points and he was a clear winner and collects the vacant ABU title. Scores 100-91, 98-92 and 98-93 for Mbenge. This was his first bout since losing his IBO title on a controversial decision against Sebastian Formella in Germany in July last year and with more action he will get sharper. He has wins over Diego Chaves and Miguel Vazquez and will be looking for some big international fights next year. In his last fight Katembo looked unlucky to have to settle for a draw with Obodai Sai in Ghana in August last year.
Domo vs. Ndongeni
Big shock for Ndongeni as in his return to action a careless moment and a booming left hook from Dlomo spoils his night. Ndongeni had a big edge in skills over Dlomo. Ndongeni was boxing well using his superior hand speed to score and duck around big swinging punches from Dlomo. Heads clashed twice in the second round with Ndongeni cut over his left eye. He passed a doctors inspection and continued to pile up the points working inside with hooks from both hands. He worked Dlomo over in the fourth and a stoppage looked possible but Dlomo survived. Ndongeni had Dlomo shaken again in the fifth and was dominating the action in the sixth. He fired a series of punches but failed to see a huge left hook from Dlomo. When it connected Ndongeni dropped his hands to his side and fell backwards flat in the canvas. He struggled up at eight but collapsed into the ropes and the fight was stopped. Ndongeni had put together a run of 25 wins before losing on points to Devin Haney in January last year. He scored a domestic win in September 2019 and this was his first fight since then and marked his move up to super light. Dlomo was given no chance of winning here and had scored only four inside the distance victories but suddenly his Rand value will have soared
Busakwe vs. Bikitsha
Busakwe stops Bikitsha in defence of his Gauteng title. Busakwe scored with some good rights in the first and got the best of some frantic trading at the end of the round. Bikitsha’s best weapon was his jab and he used it to keep Busakwe on the back foot in the second but Busakwe was stringing together some combinations. There was some lively back-and-forth action in the third until Busakwe cracked Bikitsha with a solid right to the chin. Bikitsha was badly stunned and went to the ropes and as Busakwe began to unload on him the referee stopped the contest. All six of Busakwe wins have come inside the distance. Bikitsha had lost on points to former Commonwealth champion Tshifihiwa Munyai in December.
Levallois-Perret, France: Bantam: Elie Konki (10-0) W PTS 10 Anuar Salas (20-8-1). Light: Yves Mendy (45-5-1,1ND) W PTS 8 Alain Sangue (11-4-1). Light: Yazid Amghar (24-0) W KO 5 Daniel Mendoza (11-10,1ND). Super Feather: Guillame Frenois (48-2-1) W PTS 8 Alexander Cazares (16-13).
Konki vs. Salas
European Union champion Koki adds the WBA Inter-Continental title with decision over Salas. A typical Konki fight as he showcased his great defensive work, his lack of power and his confidence occasionally bordering on arrogance. As his “Spider” nick name suggests Konki has exceptionally long arms and he used that reach to control the fight. His skill was sufficient for him to never be really threatened by Salas but he also never looked likely to win inside the distance. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Konki. Salas tried to walk Konki down and always worked hard whereas Konki occasionally surfed the action. Salas falls to 0-5-1 in his last six appearances.
Mendy vs. Sangue
Mendy gets in eight rounds of work against inexperienced fellow-Frenchman Sangue. Mendy rarely got out of third gear and at times looked for more from Sangue. Although Sangue had very little to offer he competed well enough to edge a round and last the distance. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Mendy. The 35-year-old Mendy is No 5 with the WBC having won 15 of his last 16 fights and having won and lost against Luke Campbell. Teo Lopez already has some mandatory defences lining up so Mendy may never get a title chance. Sangue had won his last four fights and was moving up to eight rounds for the first time.
Amghar vs. Mendoza
Former undefeated European Union champion Amghar
given an easy night against Nicaraguan Mendoza. The visitor really did not belong in the ring with Amghar but he ploughed forward taking his punishment for four rounds. It became too much for Mendoza in the fifth and after absorbing a series of punches and then one left too many he dropped to sit on the canvas and he was counted out. After eight years as a pro and 24 fights Amghar has not really made much of an impression but perhaps he is trying to change that as this is his sixth inside the distance win on the bounce. Spanish-based Mendoza has lost all five of his fights in Europe but this is the first time he has failed to last to the end.
Frenois vs. Cazares
French southpaw Frenois is getting to the veteran stage but still had much too much skill for Mexican Cazares. Frenois was able to coast much of the way and although he rocked Cazares a couple of times never looked likely to win inside the distance. Scores 79-73 twice and 80-72 for Frenois. The 37-year-old former undefeated European champion put together a 15-0-1 run before losing to Tevin Farmer in a challenge for the IBF title in July last year. He is No 9 with the IBF so has a faint hope of getting another shot. Cazares is 0-7 in his fights in Europe.
Fuerstenwalde, Germany: Super Welter: Mike Jaede (15-0) W RTD 6 Oszkar Fiko (33-29-1). Heavy: Djuar El Scheich (12-0) W RTD 5 Hasan Kurnaz (8-7). Middle: Ronny Mittag (31-4-4) W RTD 7 Taras Golovashchenko (3-4).
Jaede vs. Fiko
In a terrible excuse for a “world” title fight Jaede wins the vacant Global Boxing Council belt with victory over poor Fiko who retired after five rounds. The 27-year-old German has won 8 of his last 9 fights inside the distance but the opposition has been so poor they probably needed help to get in the ring as well as out. Fourteenth loss by KO/TKO for Fiko.
El Scheich vs. Kurnaz
El Scheich wins the vacant Global Boxing Council Inter-Continental title with victory over Kurnaz. Syrian-born El Scheich gets win No 11 by KO/TKO. All seven of Kurnaz’s losses have come inside the distance and five rounds is an achievement as it is the longest he has lasted in a losing fight.
Mueller vs. Golovashchenko
A very welcome win for local favourite Mittag as Golovashchenko retires after five one-sided round. At one time Mittag's record stood at a very respectable 29-2-1 including a victory over Conrad Cummings in London. But he has fallen on hard times being 0-2-3 going into this fight although in fairness the opposition has been strong. Four consecutive losses for Ukrainian Golovashchenko
South Kirby, England: Welter: Michael McKinson (19-0) W PTS 10 Martin Harkin (13-1). Bantam: Paul Butler (32-2) W PTS 8 Ryan Walker (11-3). Fly: Jay Harris (18-1) W PTS 10 Marcel Braithwaite (9-3).
McKinson vs. Harkin
Southpaw McKinson floors Harkin three times on the way to a unanimous decision. Not a big puncher-only two wins by KO/TKO-McKinson provided some power here. In the opening round he connected with a couple of rights to the head and an off balance Harkin went down. McKinson repeated the feat in the second this time using two lefts to send Harkin to the floor and he had Harkin down again in the fifth. None of the knockdowns were heavy and although being outboxed Harkin was competitive without every really threatening McKinson’s mastery. Scores 100-88, 99-88 and 97-91 for McKinson. He has wins over 18-2-1 Evgeny Pavko and 17-0-2 Luis Veron and is No 8 with the WBO. Harkin was coming off a victory over unbeaten James Moorcroft.
Butler vs. Walker
In his first fight for a year Butler took the opportunity to shed some rust and get some rounds under his belt as he outpointed Walker. Butler was in control of the fight and connected with some heavy punches but Walker stuck to his job and gave Butler a reasonable level of competition. Referee’s score 79-73 for Butler. Sixth undemanding win for Butler since losing to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight title in 2018 in a fight for which Butler failed to make the contract weight. He is No 3 in the IBF bantam ratings with No 2 vacant but as he has not beaten anyone in the current IBF ratings Butler can’t fill that spot. Londoner Walker was stopped in five rounds by Lee McGregor in August.
Harris vs. Braithwaite
A win but also some disappointment for Harris. This was to have been a defence of his British and Commonwealth flyweight titles but that plan was scrapped when Braithwaite was way over the division limit and came in to this at 116lbs. Harris got some useful ring time and Braithwaite kept intact his record of never losing inside the distance. Scores 98-92, 98-93 and 97-93 for Harris. This was the Welshman’s first fight since losing on points against Julio Cesar Martinez for the WBC flyweight title in February. The former undefeated European champion is rated WBC 5/WBA 6 so still in the mix for a title shot. Braithwaite lost on points against Sunny Edwards for the British super fly title in February but had Edwards on the floor in the fight.
Asakuchi, Japan: Fly: Seigo Yuri Akul (15-2-1) W PTS 10 Seiya Fujikita (13-5). In a fight held over from March due to COVID-19 Akul retains the Japans title with verdict over Fujikita. Akul wanted to work on the outside but ended up fighting inside which helped Fujikita to compete over the first half of the fight. Over the second half Akul dominated to emerge the clear winner. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Akul but Fujikita made it a closer fight than those scores indicate. The 25-year-old local fighter was making the first defence of the national title. Fujikita, 32, had won 5 of his last 6 fights but was in his first ten rounder.
Fight of the week (Significance): It has to be Teo Lopez’s win over Vasyl Lomachenko
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Arnold Barboza vs. Alex Saucedo featured plenty of action with honourable mention to Antonio Moran vs. Emanuel Colon
Fighter of the week: Teo Lopez
Punch of the week: Has to be the left hook from Prince Dlomo that ended his fight with Xolisani Ndongeni. The right cross from Germaine Brown that dropped Dmitrii Chudinov and the perfectly delivered right uppercut from Evgenios Lazaridis were good contenders.
Upset of the week: I guess Lopez beating Lomachenko could be considered an upset but when it comes to the gap in class then the award has to go to 11-10-1 Dlomo knocking out 26-1 Ndongeni whuich gets my vote with an honourable mention to British novice Germaine Brown beating Dmitrii Chudinov also unexpected.
Prospect watch: Welterweight Brian Norman just 19 and 18-0 with 15 wins by KO/TKO looks worthy.
Confession time. I had been citing Tyrone Brunson’s 19 consecutive first round wins at the start of a career as the record and over looked Yemeni Ali Raymi who recorded 21 at the start of his career. Raymi’s opposition was beyond dreadful but 21 it is. He had his last fight at the age of 41 and was dead two months later. He was actually a colonel in the Yemeni Republican Guard and was killed on 23 May 2015 in an air strike on the Yemeni capital during the Yemini civil war.
Nevada made use of a “replay representative” over the weekend and his review resulted in what the referee had termed a slip as in fact a legitimate knockdown. This was also employed on Rodney Berman’s show in South Africa with Hall of Fame ring official Stanley Christodoulou as the replay representatives. It is good to see technology being used where it rights a wrong.
Cuba might not mind too much if some of their top amateurs defect when past their best but that can be the case for Robeisy Ramirez and Joahnys Argilagos. Ramirez 26 is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and former Pan American Games winner and Argilagos, 23, won gold medals at the World Junior Championships and at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships as well as taking bronze at the 2016 Olympics. Those defections must have been blows the Cuba’s medal hopes at future events.
Next time Devin Haney fights he will have to be introduced as the WBC champion-who ummmm does not hold the WBC title!!
A couple of weeks ago we spoke about a controversial clash from Thailand that saw a man defending the IBF Flyweight title with some help from a referee who seemed like he knew where he was, and who he was there to help. That referee was Pat Russell, who completely botched his job as the third man in the ring. Thankfully for Russell his performance was forgotten just 9 months later when another referee went to Thailand and butchered the officiating even worse. That was Larry Doggett who did his best impression of a heel referee in wrestling.
Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) vs Johnriel Casimero (21-2, 13) I
As with our article 2 weeks ago this is another Amnat Ruenroeng fight, and was actually his 4th defense of the IBF title. He had won the belt in early 2014 and had, by hook or by crook, defended it against Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo and Zou Shiming. He hadn't always looked great but was racking up wins and putting in a solid claim as one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport. In June 2015 he looked to continue hie reign as he took on former Light Flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero.
In 2015 Johnriel Casimero wasn't the world class Bantamweight that he is today. He was a former world champion at Light Flyweight but was better known for the crazy scenes following his battle with Luis Alberto Lazarte in 2012. Although not well known internationally he was deemed a real road warrior and hardcore fans had been rating him fairly respectably given the win over Lazarte and wins over Cesar Canchila, Pedro Guevara and Luis Alberto Rios, all on the road.
On paper this looked like an intriguing match up, but one that could have been a frustrating watch, especially given how Amnat had over-come Arroyo, with clinching being a major part of his arsenal. What we hadn't expected was a total foul fest with clinching being the least of Casimero's issues.
The very early seconds saw Amnat pretty much bull rush Casimero to the ropes and throw him down to the canvas. Within just 10 seconds Amnat was trying to play the dirty bully. Later that same minute Amnat hooked in a headlock as he continued to fight as much as box. With around a minite of the round left the referee did give Amnat a pretty clear telling off for pushing and seemed to be saying "no more or I'll take a point". Despite that Amnat got away with a lengthy hold and a shot after the bell to end the round.
If the gameplan of the champion was to get into the head of Casimero it seemed to work and in round 2 he dropped Casimero, who was rushing in. It made a bad start worse for the challenger.
In round 3 the hugging and holding and wrestling took over again, and was made worse by some farcical behaviour. This included the referee missing a potential knockdown scored by Casimero, letting Amnat away with more headlocks and body holds, a judo throw, almost constant holding and it took around a minute for Amnat to get his shoe laces tied at one point.
Round 4 featured a judo throw from Amnat, who was pissed when Casimero got to his feet and tried to punch him, almost forgetting that this was a boxing contest, and responded with another choke hold. Another headlock followed later in the round with the referee responding by warning Casimero, who immediately got put into another headlock. And then another. The choke holds and headlocks dominated round 5, which again saw Amnat putting some in some form of a judo and some other random throws, and even hitting Casimeroo when he was down. It should be noted that all of this was happening with out any sort of admonishment from the referee who seemed to think he was in charge of an MMA bout not a boxing bout.
Actual boxing action was scarce with Casimero being held and fouled when ever he was close, and Amnat trying to put in an audition tape for some MMA organisation, rather than proving himself as a world level boxer.
We'll not cover the entire fight, as genuinely some of this needs to be seen to be believed, but in round 6 Amnat tried to throw Casimero out of the ring, and in round 8 he mounted him and looked like he was ready to go for a ground and pound. Oh and the hilarious thing, after 11 rounds of fouling Amnat was finally deducted a point. Something that he had been told could happen at the end of the opening round. Doggett however didn't take that point until Casimero had been "dropped" for a second time, from what looked like a trip.
Unsurprisingly Amnat would take the win with a decision, however the controversy later lead the IBF to order a rematch, which took place on neutral soil in China. Thankfully justice was served in that rematch with Casimero stopping the Thai in 4 rounds to help right the wrong of this bout.
Thankfully this appears to have been the final bout refereed by Larry Doggett, who likely realised he was in the wrong profession at this point.
For those who have ever wondered about worst refereeing performances, we nominate Larry Doggett and this fight. This is atrocious to say the least.
By Eric Armit
Saturday’s fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Teo Lopez has to be one of if the most anticipated fights of the year. It has that mix of the already legendary Lomachenko against the young upstart Lopez. The supreme craftsman against a fighter with the power to end any fight with a single punch and render skill redundant. The lead up to the fight has reflected these differences with the brash Lopez mouthing threats of imminent destruction and Lomachenko exuding a quiet confidence. I slightly favour Lomachenko but above all I hope we get a memorable fight and avoid any controversy.
The WBC has really tied themselves in knots over this fight even though it is for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO titles and Lopez’s IBF title. The WBC are adamant that all four versions of the lightweight title are on the line as Lomachenko is their “champion” and that raises the question of what title Devin Haney holds and what the WBC means when they designate a fighter (Haney) as their World champion. Lomachenko was announced by the WBC as their “Franchise” champion (I initially thought wrongly that perhaps they had given him the franchise to sell WBC Green McBurgers). Then interim champion Devin Haney was upgraded to WBC champion in their ratings issued on 9 October. On 9 November Haney beat Alfredo Santiago in a fight which was advertised as being a defence of the WBC world title. If Haney is not their world champion why did the WBC allow the fight to be advertised as a world title fight with no qualification announcing that it was not for the real WBC title but for a version of their world title as Lomachenko was in fact their real champion and why did they not advise the promoter that he was not in fact promoting “the WBC title” but a lesser version of the title similar to the WBA secondary title. They announced at one time that the “Franchise” title was not transferrable but all the Lopez team had to do was ask for the “Franchise” title to be on the line and gone was the “non-transferrable” .
The hypocrisy of designating Lomachenko as WBC “Franchise” champion is that Lomachenko has fought in13 fights involving a WBO world title, 4 involving a WBA title and just one WBC title fight. Strange to pick as your “Franchise” champion someone who in six years as a pro had never shown any interest in fighting for your title. I could understand them designating Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) who during six years as WBC minimumweight champion and through twelve WBC title defences has never fought for any other sanctioning body other than the WBC . A similar case could be made for Deontay Wilder who fought in eleven WBC title fights brining in huge sanctioning fees, The “Franchise” is not about loyalty-otherwise Lomachenko would not qualify-it is about profile and Lomachenko has the profile and Wanheng does not but the case of Wilder is more puzzling..
However it is misleading for the WBC to describe Haney as WBC champion in the ratings they issued on 9 October and then have Mauricio Sulaiman declare only a few days later that Lomachenko remains the real WBC champion and just to rub it in if you look at the WBC ratings the banner headline at lightweight declares Lomachenko is the Franchise champion in such large letters that you almost need a magnifying glass to see the that Haney is the champion which seems to me to be an insult to Haney. Even the WBC can’t have two world champions. Oh sorry! This is boxing so of course they can. I guess that the fight between Haney and Yuriorkis Gamboa on 7 November is for the WBC secondary title. Oops sorry world title.
Another of my rants but this is not about Lomachenko who for me is the most accomplish boxer in the world today but about a sanctioning body doing double speak over who is their champion.
There is talk of IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington fighting Can Xu, the holder of the WBA secondary title, in December. Depending on what happens in the fight mentioned below between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz
The time lost to COVD-19 is leading to a rush of outstanding shows being packed into the last three months of the year. Apart from Lomachenko vs. Lopez, and an excellent undercard on the show, on 23 October in Mexico City Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez all put there WBC title on the line against Carlos Cuadras, Israel Gonzalez and Maximino Flores respectively a joint-production by Promociones Zanfer and Matchroom Boxing. Three excellent title matches that mark the official return of boxing to the Mexican capital.
October 31 will see “Monster” Inoue putting his IBF and WBA bantamweight titles on the line in Las Vegas against feisty Australian Jason Moloney in a fight that promises to be explosive. Just as big will be the fight in San Antonio between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz. This is an unusual one as it will be for WBA titles in two different divisions-lightweight and super featherweight- but still an intriguing match. On the same night in England Oleksandr Usyk steps into the ring for the first time in a year as he fights Dereck Chisora with Tommy McCarthy and Bilal Laggoune clashing in a well-matched contest for the vacant European light heavyweight title and Lee Selby facing unbeaten Australian George Kambosos in a fight that will tell us how much former IBF featherweight champion Selby at 33 has left in the tank and how high Kambosos might climb.
November offers us Devin Haney defending the WBC lightweight title in Hollywood Florida against Yuriorkis Gamboa on 7 November and one week later Terrence Crawford defends the WBO welterweight title against Kell Brook in a fight that fills me with trepidation. After taking severe punishment in his losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Brook has fought his way back with good wins over Siarhei Rabchanka, Michael Zerafa and Mark Deluca so he has earned the chance but there is the fear that another bad beating awaits him at the hands of Crawford. November 21 will see the return contest between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte a fight that will send one of them into the boxing wilderness.
Without looking too far ahead 5 December will be a big night with Errol Spence defending the IBF and WBC welterweight titles against Danny Garcia in Texas and in London Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia fighting for the interim WBC lightweight title. The big event for 5 December will be Tyson Fury returning to the ring against an opponent yet to be named. I have seen Bob Arum talking about Oscar Rivas, Efe Ajagba and Agit Kabayel who are all in the WBC ratings with Otto Wallin claiming he should have another shot at Fury and Charles Martin also being touted by some sources. The great pity is it won’t be Deontay Wilder. Although there was a return clause in contract for their last fight it was time sensitive and the option expired so for now Wilder is out of the picture. If Anthony Joshua beats Kubrat Pulev on 12 December and Fury beats whoever he faces on 5 December then Fury vs. Joshua will be on for sometime next year. Hopefully it will be for all four versions of the title but that depends on whether the WBO order Joshua to defend their title against Usyk (or Chisora) or be stripped. Nothing is ever straight forward in the heavyweights.
One thing I won’t be looking forward to next year is Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor McGregor. Pacquiao has taken the step of signing a partnering contract with Paradigm Sports who also handle McGregor. That is a “clearing of the decks” move and the fight goes from improbable to highly probable. One of the questions that has to be asked is whether their fight will be for Pacquiao’s WBA title ( Floyd Mayweather Jr was an ex-champion when he fought McGregor). You might think it would be impossible for a guy who has lost the only boxing contest he has ever had to fight for a title but if you do think that then all I can say is “money” and “WBA” which should be enough to make anything possible.
Not everything goes to plan. German outfit Universum had a show set up for Dusseldorf this weekend. It would have featured Kazak heavyweight Zhan Kossobutskiy, who the IBO seem to have designated as official challenger to Anthony Joshua, and unbeaten German heavyweight hope the 6’ 8 ½ Christian Thun. The show was bannered as “Back to Business”, Unfortunate choice of words as the show was cancelled on Monday over a spike in COVD-19 cases in the area! A blow to Universum but it is good to see them back in boxing.
I worry (sometimes I think I worry too much) about boxing. The sport seems to be regressing. We recently had an outfit talking about returning to fifteen round title fights and now we have bare knuckle boxing with one of its recent shows being included in Box Rec’s list of shows for that week. Where will this lead. Will we see boxers in knee britches, fights staged outside on turf, no ropes and no judges, a “mark” scratched on the turf, fifty round plus fights ( the longest bare knuckle fight lasted 6 hrs and 15 mins)etc.etc. Why does this sort of thing only happen in boxing?
I am also concerned that boxers are getting soft. At one time we had nicknames such as “Bonecrusher”, “The Executioner” and “The Assassin”. Now we get “The Prodigy”, “The Chosen One”, “The Problem” , We had a fighter last week whose name was Wendy and a boxer with “Grandad” on his short’s band (personally I liked that one)we need to get the guys back on a red meat diet.
Saw a lovely little story along the lines of “everything comes to those who wait”. David “Poison” Kotey shocked boxing when he beat Ruben Olivares to win the WBC featherweight title in 1975. After one of his world title fights in 1976 he supplied $45,000 out of his purse to meet a request from the administration in Ghana to finance the import of mackerel which was a staple diet and in short supply. It was a loan which the Sate promised to repay to Kotey when he returned to Ghana but the State defaulted on its promise. After over 40 years of fighting to get his money last week the Ghanaian President instructed the Finance Ministry to pay the debt. Justice for the man who blazed the trail as the first ever Ghanaian world champion. Now can we discuss 40 years interest on $45,000 !
In the 1980's Korean boxing was very much on a high with a number of great fighters in and around world class. Some of those, like Jung Koo Chang, Myung Woo Yuh and Sung Kil Moon are, of course, massive legends of the sport. Others are sadly forgotten and ignored. Today we look at one of those fighters in what was a very entertaining 1988 clash with one of the sports ageless wonders, who was still competing at world level into his very late 30's.
Seung Hoon Lee (42-6, 22) Vs Daniel Zaragoza (36-4, 20)
When we talk about great Korean fighters Seung Hoon Lee isn't a name we tend to see mentioned much. Lee had come up short in a trio of world title bouts on the road earlier in his career, losing Rafael Orono, in Venezuela, Lupe Pintor in the US and Victor Callejas in Puerto Rico. Despite those losses he remained a top contender and in 1987, in his 4th world title fight, Lee beat Thai fighter Prayursak Muangsurin to claim the IBF Super Bantamweight title. The belt, which had been vacated by Ji Won Kim, finally saw Lee win a big one, but his reign was curtailed when the authorities had had enough of the IBF, and the two stopped working together, forcing Lee's reign to end on the basis of politics. Despite the sad end of his IBF title reign Lee would get a chance to win the WBC title as he took on Daniel Zaragoza.
Mexican warrior Daniel Zaragoza had won the WBC Bantamweight title in 1985, beating Fred Jackson, but lost the belt 3 months later to Miguel Lora. In February 1988 he became a 2-weight champion, stopping Carlos Zarate, and in his first defense, just 3 months later, he travelled to Korea to take on Lee. By now he had had 40 professional bouts and was 30 years old, older than Lee. For those that know their boxing history they'll know that Zaragoza remained a world class fighter until 1997, when he lost to Erik Morales at the age of 39 whilst enjoying his 4th reign as a world champion. Although not the most skilled, or the fastest, or the sharpest, Zaragoza was a wily old veteran, even at this point. He was tricky, aggressive, tough, set a high work rate and could really dish it out. He was really an exciting fighter to watch, and was always willing to travel to the lion's den to pick up wins.
From the opening round it was clear this was going to be a fun fight. Both men were willing to fight a very similar style of fight, boxing at a high tempo at mid-range, letting big shots go early and despite not being an all out war this was a real fun and exciting start to the fight, with neither man looking to have a typical feeling out round.
As the bout went on we began to get a more and more intense technical chess match. The more rounded skills of Zaragoza were on show, though the crowd were massively behind their man, cheering on everything Lee landed. Although Zaragoza seemed to be winning the battle in terms of what we were seeing Lee was certainly doing enough to hold his own, and with the crowd cheering him on there was always a chance the judges were being swayed by the cavernous noise they were making for their man.
As the bout went on the tempo began to increase, the footwork from both began to slow, and jabs were seen as secondary to huge hooks and straights as the action went from technical high paced boxing into a thrilling war, and then back to high paced, heavy handed boxing, fluidly switching between the two,
There is some questions of the officiating, but the fighters, their action and the rawness of the fight, which lacks commentary, all makes for a very special experience and a sensational fight that deserves a watch from every fight fan. It wasn't an all out war, but it wonderfully combined skills, action, heart, determination and heavy shots from both men.
This is a real hidden from the late 1980's. It's not a Fight of the Year contender or anything like that, but it's a thrilling and often over-looked bout and a real closet Classic! This was action packed, brutal and showed Lee was a world class fighter, no matter what the political situation with Korea and the IBF was.
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