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.
We're back again with the latest in our look at commercials featuring Asian boxers and we again have a random selection ranging from food products to female clothing to a mobile phone operator, with a talking dog!
Guts Ishimatsu - Softbank
We need to start this by stating that we love Guts Ishimatsu and think adverts with him are consistently good. This one however is a little bit different to most with him involved. You won't see Guts here, but he is the man behind the talking dog! Kai, the dog in question, played the role of Otosan the star of a series of adverts for Japanese Mobile phone operator Softbank. The character, known as "Otosan", had various people doing the voice, including the legendary former Japanese boxer. The adverts were hugely popular with Japanese audiences saw the dog becoming a genuine star.
Yoko Gushiken - SEC
After hearing one of the most recognisable voices in Japanese boxing in one advert we now go to the most recognisable haircut in the country as we feature a commercial with Yoko Gushiken. The afro sporting Light Flyweight legend was in a number of adverts including this one for SEC, an elevator company in Japan. The advert was released in 2014 and is a nice bright, colourful one that is pretty memorable. A solid advert even if Gushiken's role in it is rather minor.
Daisuke Naito - Wakasaimo Honpo
In 2009 Japanese Flyweight Daisuke Naito was the WBC world champion and had seen his profile hitting massive heights thanks to his work with TBS and his 2007 win over Daiki Kameda. Due to his popularity he featured in a number of adverts, including this one for confectionery company Wakasaimo Honpo. The advert is one of the rare ones that used a then active professional boxer to do more than just have them boxing, and instead used Naito's popularity outside of the sport to help enhance the products reach and profile.
Manny Pacquiao - Wonderful Pistachios
Filipino star Manny Pacquiao has been in an incredible amount of adverts. Some are good, some are awful, Some are memorable, and some are just fun. This one is one of the more fun and memorable ones as we see Pacquiao busting a speed ball and sending Pistachio nuts everywhere. This is simple but very effective and we can only assume looked awesome if there was ever a 3-D version released, with the nuts firing at your face. One of the more interesting adverts with the "Pacman" involved.
Tomomi Takano - Christian Skinny
We started with a series regular and we'll end with another as we finish up with Japanese female star Tomomi Takano advertising for Christian Skinny, from Christian Co, which Takano has done a number of adverts for. The advert was part of a promotional where a discount was applied for buying several units. The advert does nothing special, though we do like the jingle. Simple but effective. Although simple the advert works to the strengths of the performance, with Takano having a great figure and long legs to really make the product look great here.
By Eric Armit
-Emanuele Navarrete scores two knockdowns but in the end needs a big last round to take the decision over Ruben Villa in their fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title.
-Robin Krasniqi wins the interim WBA and IBO light heavyweight titles with kayo of Dominic Boesel
-David Lemieux returns to the ring with a stoppage of Francy Ntetu and heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov blows away Dillon Carmen on the same show in Canada.
-Matteo Signani retains the European middleweight title with dramatic stoppage of Maxime Beaussire
-Liam Williams halts Andrew Robinson to keep on track for a shot at a version of the world middleweight title next year
-Charles Conwell, Denys Berinchyk and Peter Kadiru all score wins
World Title/Major Shows
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Feather: Emanuel Navarrete (33-1) W PTS 12 Ruben Villa (18-1). Middle: Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (9-0) W KO 2 Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-4).Middle: Lorenzo Simpson (9-0) W PTS 8 Sanny Duversonne (11-0-2). Super Light: Elvis Rodriguez (10-0-1 Cameron Krael (17-17-3).
Navarrete vs. Villa
Navarrete wins the vacant WBO title but after scoring two early knockdowns a great comeback by Villa meant that the 25-year-iold Mexican needed to win the last round to win the fight
Southpaw Villa was working his jab early with Navarrete just pushing out punches with his languid style. Villa was busier and quicker and looked confident until an almost casual but well hidden left hook from Navarrete that came up inside Villa’s right toppled him onto his backside. Villa was up at four and when the action resumed had no trouble evading the crude efforts of Navarrete to land another punch.
Score: 10-8 Navarrete
Navarrete changed to southpaw in the second and connected with a long left. Villa was boxing carefully not committing himself. Navarrete switched back to orthodox and was connecting with long rights. Villa was confident enough by the end of round to launch some attacks of his own but Navarrete was dangerous with big swinging punches.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 20-17
Villa boxed cleverly in the third. He was circling Navarrete stabbing him with right jabs and occasionally stepping in to connect with a left. Navarrete was looking crude as he missed wildly at times leaving himself open to counters and was frustrated by Villa’s quick footwork.
Score: 10-9 Villa Navarrete 29-27
Navarrete stepped up his pace in the fourth trying to cut off the ring. He was still not quick enough but there was danger in every punch he threw. Villa made the mistake of standing and trading punches with Navarrete and as Villa threw a left a solid left hook to the head from Navarrete arrived first which saw Villa go down on one knee. Villa was up immediately but more shaken than by the first knockdown. However he held and moved to the safety of the bell.
Score: 10-8 Navarrete Navarrete 39-35
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 38-36 Navarrete, Judge Max DeLuca 39-35 Navarrete, Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 39-35 Navarrete
Navarrete chased Villa throughout the round. He was missing lots but also landing some solid hooks from both hands and Villas did well to absorb a heavy right. Villa was moving and jabbing but there was no power in his punches and he was busy keeping out of trouble.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 49-44
This was the closest round so far. Villa was into the groove with his jab and again his constant movement was frustrating Navarrete. Gradually through the round Navarrete began to get closer and was scoring with the better punches late to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 59-53
Good boxing from Villa. He was threading jabs through the porous defence of Navarrete and looked in control until a punch from Villa landed on the back of Navarrete’s head. An enraged Navarrete drove forward throwing punches with a right to the side of the rocking Villa. Villa waited out the storm and then took the fight to Navarrete and outscored him.
Score: 10-9 Villa Navarrete 68-63
A classy round from Villa. Plenty of movement constantly changing direction leaving Navarrete swishing air then darting in with two or three quick punches and out. Again Navarrete became frustrated and was leaving gaps as he lunged forward and threw wild punches and Villa took advantage of those gaps to bang home counters.
Score: 1O-9 Villa Navarrete 77-73
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 76-74 Navarrete, Judge Max DeLuca 77-73 Navarrete, Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 77-73 Navarrete
Navarrete tried to up his pace in the ninth but just could not pin down the speedy Villa who was continually finding his way past Navarrete’s guard and easily dodging Navarrete’s telegraphed swings. Navarrete tried to finish the round strongly but it was Villa coming forward and landing
Score: 10-9 Villa Navarrete 86-83
Now Villa’s confidence was way up. He was flitting around Navarrete piercing his guard with jabs and then choosing his moment to stand and punch with Navarette before dancing away from Navarrete’s clumsy swings.
Score: 10-9 Villa Navarrete 95-93
Excellent boxing from Villa and now he was willing on occasion to take the fight to Navarrete. He was also making Navarrete pay with counters every time the Mexican lunged forward leaving an opening and he ended the round by sending Navarrete to the ropes with a left.
Score: 10-9 Villa Tied 94-93
Navarrete needed this round and he won it clearly. Villa fought as though all he had to do was survive to emerge the winner so he never threw enough punches. Navarrete hunted him down for the full three minutes connecting with hooks from both hands as Villa scampered around the ring and it was clearly Navarrete’s round.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 114-112
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 114-112 Navarrete, Judge Max DeLuca 114-112 Navarrete, Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 115-111 Navarrete
Navarrete becomes a two division champion and opens the door to some tasty fights at featherweight against other champions Josh Warrington, Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell but he nearly threw this one away. He does everything wrong and his footwork is almost comical but his power has usually been enough to see him through. Villa was a big outsider in the betting but he fought back magnificently to claw back the points from the two knockdowns and only poor tactics in the last round cost him an unlikely victory.
Alimkhanuly vs. Coria
I am starting to wonder if the gyms are empty in Kazakhstan because every time you turn around there is another top level Kazak fighter knocking people over. Alimkhanuly is certainly top level and his knockout of Coria was frightening. He was hunting down Coria in the first of this clash of southpaw and floored him with a counter straight left. It wasn’t a heavy knockdown and Coria was able get up and survive a few other hefty shots in the round. In the second Coria walked onto a right hook that staggered him. He boxed his way out of trouble and seemed to be settling to do some good work when a left hook sent him tottering back. Alimkhanuly landed a couple of hook and then a thunderbolt of a left that sent Coria flying to the canvas face down half out under the bottom rope. The referee started to count and then saw it was pointless and waived the fight off so that Coria could get some attention. The 27-year-old Kazak wins the WBO Global title (whatever that means). He has yet to meet a name fighter but has impressed in knocking out both 27-3-3 Stuart McLellan and Albert Onolunose. He is already rated WBO 4/WBC 9/IBF 11 (9)/WBA 15. His amateur achievements include gold medals at the World Championships, the Asian Championships the Asian Games and the Kazak Championships. First inside the distance loss for Coria but he looked fragile every time Alimkhanuly landed a punch.
Simpson vs. Duversonne
Simpson skills too good for a competitive but outboxed Duversonne. Some nice, tidy boxing from both in the first with Simpson’s hand speed just giving him the edge. Duversonne was waiting too long to throw his punches in the second and Simpson was more active connecting with right hooks to the head and lefts to the body. Duversonne pressed hard in the third and fourth but just could not find the target as Simpson continued to work to the body and displayed some classy defensive moves. Simpson had the fifth well in hand until just before the bell a right from Duversonne knocked him off balance and he put a glove on the canvas. Simpson was more embarrassed than hurt and the bell went as the count was completed. He outboxed Duversonne over the sixth and just had the edge in a competitive seventh as Duversonne attacked hard. Simpson stood and punched with Duversonne early in the eight and then went back to his boxing on his way to victory. Scores 78-73 twice and 79073 all for Simpson. The 2o-year-old “Truck” Simpson carries with him some outstanding achievements as an amateur winning the US Silver Gloves a record equalling six times-one more than Oscar De La Hoya managed. He is an example of boxing being a youngster’s saviour. Simpson comes from Park Heights one of the most dangerous and deprived areas of Baltimore. His grandfather is in prison and his father was murdered when Simpson was just four. Sanny Duversonne is also another man with a past finding his way thanks to boxing having spent three years in prison in Florida for burglary. He had scored ten straight wins before this loss.
Rodriguez vs. Krael
Dominican southpaw Rodriguez racks up another quick win. Neither fighter committed himself to offence in the first with Rodriguez the more active with his right jab. After working patiently with his jab early in the second Rodriguez finally began to put together some combinations over the closing minute and immediately Krael looked uncomfortable as he had to absorb some hefty hooks to the body and was staggered by a right to the head. In the third a clubbing right to the side of the head sent Krael down on his rump. He made it to a kneeling position but no further and was counted out. All of Rodriguez’s wins have come inside the distance and the draw is a technical one. He looks ready to move up to tougher tests. Only the second inside the distance loss for Krael.
Magdeburg, Germany: Light Heavy: Robin Krasniqi (51-6) W KO 3 Dominic Boesel (30-2). Heavy: Peter Kadiru (10-0) W PTS 10 Roman Gorst (6-1). Cruiser: Roman Fress (11-0) W TKO 2 Daniel Venci (11-7). Light: Nenad Stancic (8-0) W PTS 8 Andrea Sito (5-1-3).Middle: Anatoli Muratov (22-2-1) DREW 8 Siarhei Huliakevich (43-13-2). Super Welter: Edison Zani (6-0) W TKO 2 Bronislav Kubin (20-26-2).
Krasniqi vs. Boesel
Krasniqi ignores the odds and gets a career saving win as he kayos Boesel in the third round. The first two rounds were fairly even Boesel looked to have just edged the first and Krasniqi evened things up by shading the second. In the third Boesel turned up his aggression pressurising Krasniqi but he went down from a hard Krasniqi right hook. It was a punch but the referee missed it and treated it as a slip denying Boesel the recovery time an eight count might have given him. Krasniqi knew his punch had shaken Boesel badly and he stormed into Boesel landing two heavy rights to the head which sent Boesel down on his back and after the referee started to count he quickly realised Boesel was not getting up and ended the fight. Huge win for the Kosovon-born 33-year-old Krasniqi. He wins both the WBA interim and IBO titles in his third shot at a world title. He had lost to Nathan Cleverly and Juergen Braehmer in earlier title challenges. Winning these titles now could lead to some career best pay days for Krasniqi but he confirmed there is a return clause in the contract and Boesel has said he will enforce it. Big blow for Boesel who apart from losing his two titles will also lose his No 1 ranking with the WBA. He had rebuilt steadily after an eleventh round stoppage loss to Karo Murat for the European title in 2017 with wins over Enrico Koelling and Sven Fornling.
Kadiru vs. Gorst
Kadiru moves up to ten rounds for the first time and wins the German title with convincing points victory over unbeaten Gorst. Kadiru used his height and longer reach to take control of the centre of the ring and box on the outside. Kadiru controlled the action over the first three rounds and it was the fourth before Gorst finally made some headway but even then the quicker Kadiru outscored him and had no trouble holding off Gorst’s occasional counter attacks. There were too many clinches for it to be an exciting scrap. Kadiru found the target a few time with his uppercuts and scored with good rights late in the fight but never really had Gorst in any kind of trouble and had to settle for a victory on points. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Kadiru. The 23-year-old from Hamburg is progressing steadily but not spectacularly. Gorst was making the first defence of the national title and Kadiru was a big step up from the quality of his previous opposition.
Fress vs. Venci
Fress massacres Czech oldie Venci. Fress dropped Venci twice in the first round and twice more in the second and the fight was stopped. The 6’3”-yet another Kazak-born fighter- was defending the German International title and registers win No 6 by KO/TKO. He is a former German Under-17 and Under-21 champion and competed for Germany at the World Youth and World Senior championships. The 41-year-old Vance was having only his second fight since March 2018.
Stancic vs. Sito
Stancic wins the vacant WBC Youth title with victory over Sito. Stancic boxed well through the first three rounds then floored Sito in the fourth. He continued to outscore Sito over the second half of the fight before dropping Sito again in the last but could not put the Italian away. Scores 80-70 twice and 99-91 for 21-year-old Stancic. He is a former German Youth champion and winner of bronze a medal at the German championships in both 2015 and 2016. First eight round fight for both fighters and first fight outside Italy for Sito
Muratov vs. Huliakevich
After a promising start Muratov fades and only gets a split draw against seasoned veteran Huliakevich. In his first fight for thirteen months Muratov looked to be on his way to victory after taking the first two rounds and dropping Huliakevich with a right in the third. Huliakevich didn’t crumble but fought back hard over the remainder of the fight and clawed back Muratov’s early edge to get a deserved draw. Scores 77-75 Muratov, 76-75 Huliakevich and 76-76. Kazak-born Muratov had scored 14 wins on the bounce before his spell of inactivity. Belarusian Huliakevich, 39, is now 1-10-1 in recent outings and has been a pro for 17 years.
Zani vs. Kubin
Zani controlled this one from bell to stoppage. His pressure tactics saw the experienced Kubin constantly stuck against the ropes. Two knockdowns scored by Zani in the second brought the referee’s intervention. Southpaw Zani, 23, was moving up to six rounds for the first time. Albanian Zani whose idol is Roy Jones was a star performer for Hamburg Giants in the Bundesliga, He left Albania in 2014 to escape a blood feud involving his family. He is not yet a naturalised German citizen although he was German Amateur champion in 2016. Fourteenth inside the distance loss for Kubin.
Uncasville, CT, USA: Super Welter: Charles Conwell (13-0) W KO 9 Wendy Toussaint (12-1). Welter: Janelson Figueroa (16-0) W TKO 1 Nicklaus Flaz (9-2). Welter: Brandun Lee (20-0) W TKO 1 Jimmy Williams (16-4-2,1ND).
Conwell vs. Toussaint
Conwell breaks down and finally wins on a count out over Toussaint. From the start Conwell was taking the fight to the taller Toussaint coming forward in a crouch and behind a high guard leaving Toussaint with not much of a target. Toussaint’s jab was not strong enough to deter Conwell so Conwell was working to the body with hooks from both hands. Toussaint kept throwing counters but was never able to get on the front foot enough. He was being hurt by vicious left hooks to the body from Conwell and was fighting without conviction. Conwell really didn’t alter his pace much and it was a well executed methodical breakdown of Toussaint. For a spell over the middle rounds Toussaint moved well and jabbed well but was under pressure all the time and Conwell was winning the rounds. Despite injuring his right in the seventh Conwell ended it in the ninth. Toussaint was looking confident and coming forward more. There were danger signs in a couple of uppercuts from Conwell and then he connected with a sickening right uppercut that had Toussaint backing away and then going down on one knee. He stayed there on one knee and was counted out. Tenth victory by KO/TKO for the 22-year-old from Cleveland and the second defence of his USBA title. In the amateurs he won the National Golden Gloves and after losing is first bout in the US Olympic Trials he fought back to win the Trials and also won the Americas Trials but lost to India’s Vikas Krishan in the preliminary rounds in Rio. He is currently No 9 with the IBF. Haitian Toussaint was in his first ten round fight and whilst he showed some good skills lacked the punch to hold off Conwell.
Figueroa vs. Flaz
Impressive performance from Figueroa (Bocachica) as he blows away Puerto Rican Flaz inside a round. Figueroa dropped Flaz early but it was not a heavy knockdown. The next one most certainly was as a thunderous right cross buckled Falz’s legs before a left hook sent Flaz crashing to the floor propped up against the ropes. He managed to beat the count but looked unsteady. When the action resumed Figueroa connected with three left hooks and a right and as Flaz started to go down the referee stepped in and waived the fight over. The 21-year-old is Detroit born with Puerto Rican parents. He has won eleven by KO/TKO and has been very much under the radar until now. His father has posted a video of Figueroa flooring a 15-year-old Teo Lopez with a right cross and Figueroa also beat kayo specialist Brandun Lee (see below) in the amateurs. Flaz had won his last four fights.
Lee vs. Williams
Williams looked a reasonable test against “Kayo Kid” Lee but was blasted out in just 94 seconds. Lee came out firing and drove Williams to the ropes and bombarded him with punches. Williams sagged to where he was sitting on the middle rope and as it was holding him up he was given a count. After the count a fearsome right from Lee put him down on his back. Somehow Williams made it to his feet at four and he convinced the referee he was capable of continuing. A pile-driver of an overhand right from Lee then dropped him on his back suspended over the ropes with his upper body hanging half outside the ring and the referee just waived the fight off. Lee, 21, has impressive statistics with his total of first round wins already standing at twelve and having won his last eleven fights inside the distance. He is a four-time US National Junior champion. The only other fighter to have beaten Williams inside the distance is WBA title challenger Abel Ramos
Mandaue City, Philippines: Light Fly: Christian Araneta (18-1) W PTS 10 Richard Rosales (14-13-2). Feather: Peter Apolinar (12-1) W PTS 10 Jetro Pabustan (30-8-6). Light Fly: Mark Vicelles (12-0-1) W TKO 4 Junuel Lacar (8-6-3).
Araneta vs. Rosales
Prospect Araneta returns to action and returns to the winning column with wide points victory over experienced Rosales. Southpaw Araneta floored Rosales in the fifth and sixth on the way to taking the decision on scores of 99-89 twice and 100-88. The 25-year-old from Cebu City suffered his first loss in September last year on a fourth round retirement against 20-1 Daniel Valladares. No disgrace there as in February this year Valladares fought a technical draw with Pedro Taduran for the IBF minimumweight title. Rosales has tasted defeat in 7 of his last 8 fights but all against good level opponents.
Apolinar vs. Pabustan
Apolinar extends his winning run to seven as he outpoints southpaw Pabustan, Scores 98-92 twice and a closer 96-94. He had won 6 of his last 7 inside the distance so this gave him some useful ring time. Pabustan, 30, lost on a technical decision in a challenge to Pungluang for the WBO bantam title in 2017.
Vicelles vs. Lacar
“Thunder” Vicelles lived up to his nickname as he overpowered Lacar flooring him in the second, third and finally the fourth round. With Lacar under pressure and not punching back the fight was stopped. Southpaw Vicelles, 24, gets his sixth inside the distance win. Lacar was 1-4-2 going in and this is loss No 4 by KO/TKO.
Lesniki, Ukraine: Light: Denys Berinchyk (14-0) W RTD 7 Viorel Simion (22-4). Super Middle: Maksym Bursak (37-6-2) W PTS 8 Dmytro Semernin (14-7-1). Welter: Mishiko Beseli (21-1) W PTS 8 Vasyl Kurasov (12-6).
Berinchyk vs. Simion
There is no time for boredom when Baranchyk fights in fact even before the first bell. A master of dramatic entrances this time Berinchyk flew down by wire from the roof to the centre of the ring on a chairlift. Nothing boring in the ring either as he outclasses experienced Simion and forces an eighth round retirement by the Romanian. Berinchyk’s speedy movement and fast hands were just too much for Simion. Southpaw Berinchyk was constantly changing direction and angles for his punches. He was stepping past Simion then connecting with a series of hooks and then bobbing and weaving around Simion’s punches and peppering him with jabs and rattling him with hooks from both hands. Simion stuck to his task but was hardly ever able to land a clean punch on Berinchyk. In the sixth Berinchyk drove Simion to the ropes with a series of punches and Simion dropped to his haunches. He made it to his feet just as the bell rang. Unusually the referee penalised Simion a point when his corner took too long to fix a loose glove tape but it made no difference. Berinchyk pounded on Simion until a succession of hard head shots saw Simion go down again. Simion beat the count and there was only time for him to be rocked by a strong combination before the bell went and Simion retired. Fourth defence of the WBO International title for the 32-year-old Ukrainian but just 14 fights in five year as a pro, only one minor appearance outside Ukraine and only moderate level opposition has resulted in a much lower profile than his ability deserves. He is No 4 with the WBO and I would give him a good chance against any other lightweight except Vasyl Lomachenko, Teo Lopez and Gervonta Davis but time is running out for him. As an amateur he won silver medals at the world championships and the London Olympics and beat a number of guys who are top professionals now. Simion, 38< was also a top amateur competing at the 2004 Olympics. He made a good start as a pro going 21-1 before a points loss against Scott Quigg in 2017 and a one round destruction by Shakur Stevenson in 2018 ended his ambitions and he looked an old man here
Bursak vs. Semernin
Former undefeated European champion Bursak keeps his very very faint chance of another world title shot alive as he outpoints Semernin. Bursak pressured Semernin for most of the fight and was in control. Tall southpaw Semernin fired back hard enough to make Bursak work for the whole eight rounds but without ever being threatening. Scores 79-73 twice and 79-74 for Bursak. The Kiev fighter has lost to Gilberto Ramirez for the WBO super middle title and Zac Dunn for the IBO title but he boosted his standing in a thrilling battle with David Lemieux in December which saw both fighters on the floor with Lemieux winning a split decision.
Beseli vs. Kurasov
Despite his impressive record Georgian-born Beseli is no world beater and he struggled here to get past young Ukrainian Kurasov. Scores 78-74 and 77-76 for Beseli and 77-75 for Kurasov. Beseli went 18-0 at the start of his career before losing on a sixth round stoppage against Dominican Kelvin Dotel and it has been strictly low level fights since then. Kurasov has now lost 5 of his last 7 fights.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2) W TKO 6 Shingo Kawamura (16-6-4).
Teshigawara a class above Kawamura and halts him in six rounds. Boxing coolly Teshigawara found the range early with lead rights and was getting in landing his punches and getting out before Kawamura could fashion any good counters. After four rounds all three score cards read 40-36 for Teshigawara. He continued to dominate the action in the fifth and floored Kawamura with a volley of punches in the sixth. Kawamura got up but was taking punishment when the referee pulled Teshigawara off to save him. Second defence of his OPBF title for Teshigawara who has scored nine inside the distance victories in his last ten fights. He is No 3 with the IBF but with positions 1 and 2 vacant he is their highest rated fighter but can’t go to No 1 or 2 because he has not beaten a rated fighter. Second shot at the OPBF title for Kawamura who was 0-2-3 before this fight.
Roosdaal, Belgium: Super Light: Mohamed El Marcouchi (25-2) W PTS 6 Angelo Turco (8-17-2).
With El Marcouchi having height and reach plus hand speed and quicker movement this fight was only going to end with El Marcouchi the winner with the only question being whether Turco could stay the distance. El Marcouchi used his jab to put Turco on the back foot from the start and the centre of the ring was a place Turco rarely visited. El Marcouchi is not a big puncher but he found plenty of gaps for straight rights and worked the body well with Turco occasionally darting forward trying to get close enough to cause El Marcouchi problems. El Marcouchi stepped up his work rate over the fourth and fifth as Turco tired but Turco found something left in the tank and they traded punches throughout the sixth. This was original to be an eight round fight but was then reduced to six with El Marcouchi winning every round. The 32-year-old Miami-based Belgian suffered his only loss when he was disqualified against Mexican Samuel Gonzalez in December 2018 and has now rebounded with five wins. At 5’5 ½” Turco is used to being the smaller man. With this loss he is now 0-11-2 in his last 13 fights.
Dubai, UAE: Light: Maxi Hughes (22-5-2) W PTS 10 Viktor Kotochigov (12-1). Super Light: Hovhannes Bachikov (1-0) W PTS 8 Samuel Gonzalez (22-7).
Hughes vs. Kotochigov
Second good win in a row for Hughes as he takes unanimous verdict over unbeaten Kazak Kotochigov and relieves Kotochigov of the prestigious WBC International title. A confident Kotochigov was coming forward taking the fight to Hughes but the more experienced southpaw stayed cool and moved well and countered well. Hughes changed tactics in the second bringing the fight to Kotochigov staggering him with a straight left and then scoring repeatedly with more lefts to head and body. Hughes had a big third dropping Kotochigov heavily with a left hook and a stoppage looked close as he drove Kotochigov along the ropes showering him with hooks until the bell. Hughes had the better of the exchanges in the fourth but Kotochigov had steadied himself and was back in the fight. The fifth was close although Hughes was still landing the harder punches and Kotochigov had a swelling under his left eye. From the sixth Kotochigov upped his pace and put more pressure on Hughes and by the seventh he was slowly making inroads into the substantial lead Hughes had built over the first half of the fight. Hughes was countering well and was more accurate with his punches although holding more and he did enough to maintain his early advantage despite a strong finish from Kotochigov. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94 for Hughes. This victory and his upset win in August over Jono Carroll could see Hughes replacing Kotochigov in the WBC ratings. Kotochigov fought hard but his limitations were evident as he didn’t have the skill or experience to match Hughes.
Bachikov vs. Gonzalez
This fight for Bachikov marks the launching of another elite level amateur into the professional ranks. The Armenian was given an stern test for his professional baptism as Gonzalez has a good chin and plenty of experience as well as occasionally overturning the form book. Bachikov looked strong and showed a nice variety of punches but did not look anything very special as he ground out his victory. Scores 80-72 from the three judges for Bachikov. He had ten years of moderate amateur success before breaking through by winning gold medals at the 2017 European Championships and the 2019 European Games. Additionally he twice collecting bronze medals at the World championships and representing Armenia at the 2016 Olympics. Gonzalez had won 7 of his last 8 fights.
Kissimmee, FL, USA: Super Bantam: Saul Sanchez (14-1) W TKO 1 Daniel Lozano (15-10-1). Sanchez steam rollers a badly faded Lozano with three knockdowns in the opening round. Sanchez blasted Lozano with a series of heavy hooks and a body shot sent Lozano back into a corner and he dropped to one knee. After the count Sanchez again connected with some savage punches with Lozano again forced to take a knee. A couple of hard rights to the head saw Lozano dip with his knee clearly touching the canvas but the referee decided it was not a knockdown which cost Lozano any chance of a recovery as Sanchez pounded him with punches until he again dropped to a knee and the fight was stopped. Californian Sanchez, 23, collects the vacant WBA Fedecentro title with his eighth inside the distance finish. Lozano looked close to a world title fight when he beat Jonathan Vidal in 2014 but a loss to David Carmona blew that chance. His recent form is 0-6-1 and although the opposition has been tough he is only headed in one direction.
Shawinigan, Canada: Heavy: Arslanbek Makhmudov (11-0) W TKO 1 Dillon Carman (14-6). Super Middle: David Lemieux (42-4) W KO 5 Francy Ntetu (17-4). Super Middle: Lexson Mathieu (9-0) W KO 1 Tim Cronin (12-5-2).
Makhmudov vs. Carmen
With Makhmudov having won all of his fights inside the distance and Carmen having suffered five losses by KO/TKO the only question here was how long Carmen would last. How about 27 seconds! As Makhmudov came forward Carmen landed a glancing right to the head but was then forced back to the ropes. Makhmudov landed a light jab and then a stiffer half jab/half hook that snapped Carmen’s head back and Carmen went down. He started to rise and then dropped to a knee. When did get up he put his gloves on the referee to steady himself and then stood with his head bowed. The referee had a good look at him and decided to stop the fight at which point Carmen came to life and started protesting vigorously but the fight was over. The 31-year-old 6’ 5 ½” Montreal-based “Russian Lion” was making the second defence of the NABF title. He gets his eighth first round win but is currently unrated due to the lack of quality of his victims. Third inside the distance defeat in a row for former Canadian champion Carmen having been knocked out by Evgeny Romanov in 113 seconds and stopped by Simon Kean in three rounds. Makhumudov’s jab will not be one of the candidates for “Punch of the Week”
Lemieux vs. Ntetu
In a patchy performance Lemieux stops Ntetu in the fifth round. Lemieux was his normal fierce self in the first two rounds getting past the longer reach of Ntetu and forcing him to the ropes where he drove straight rights to the head through the guard of Ntetu and connected with solid body punches. Ntetu did a bit better in the third not spending so long on the ropes and finding time to land some counters of his own. Lemieux was raging again in the forth with Ntetu again having problems getting away from the ropes. Lemieux punished him with series of punches to head and body. Later in the round he rocked Ntetu with a couple of left hooks driving Ntetu along the ropes. As Lemieux followed him he walked onto a hard right counter that knocked him down. It was clearly a punch but the referee missed it and treated it as a slip. A right to the head in the fifth had Ntetu sliding along the ropes and down. He got to his feet but stayed against the ropes and Lemieux landed a left hook and a right that sent Ntetu down again and the referee stopped the fight. Lemieux looked fleshy and was fighting at his heaviest weight in his career but his power saw him through. Since being outclassed by Billy Joe Saunders in a WBO middleweight title fight in 2017 Lemieux has scored four wins over good level opposition but had to get off the floor twice in his split decision victory over Maksym Bursak in December. He is rated WBC 3/WBA 4/WBO 5 in the super middles a division which is in suspended animation right now waiting to find out what will happen with Saul Alvarez. With his exciting style there is always a chance Lemieux might get a shot at one of the other titles. After suffering inside the distance losses against David Benavidez, Marcus Brown and Erik Bazinyan Ntetu was inactive throughout 2019 and this was his first fight for two years.
Mathieu vs. Cronin
Mathieu continues to build his reputation as he puts away Cronin in the first round. Mathieu went after Cronin from the start driving him to a corner and then unleashing an array of punches until two left hooks to the body saw Cronin sag to the floor. Mathieu collects the vacant NABF title with win No 8 by KO/TKO. He looks a real talent. The 6’2” Cronin is 1-4-1 in his last six fights and this is the second time he has been stopped.
Caen, France: Middle: Matteo Signani (30-6-3) W TKO 2 Maxime Beaussire (29-3-1). This looked a risky fight for Signani as he was putting his European title on the line against Beaussire in front of Beaussire’s home fans and was facing a challenger with an impressive looking record. As it turned out it was an easy night for the Italian. Beaussire attacked strongly in the first rolling forward pumping out punches and having some success. Signani was mainly on the back foot but he was scoring with some accurate counters on the advancing Beaussire. The challenger was again plunging forward in the second. He was able to score with hooks inside but was leaving himself open to counters. Beaussire ignored the warning signs and as they came out of a clinch Signani had some punching room and he landed a perfect left hook which sent Beaussire down face first. He rolled over and somehow climbed to his feet and tried to indicate to the referee that he was able to continue. That did not fool the referee who waived the fight off and was quick enough to catch the Frenchman as he staggered along the ropes and was about to collapse in a corner. Major success has come late for the 41-year-old Italian. He is a former Italian and EU champion who had lost a split decision to Emanuele Blandamura before winning this title at the second attempt. His mandatory challenger is Martin Murray which should produce a good payday and he is rated No 10(8) by the IBF. This was Beaussire third attempt to win a European title having lost to Zakaria Attou for the EU title and Sergio Garcia for the EBU title with both fights at super welter so moving up a division has not helped.
Kempton Park, South Africa: Super Welter: Brando Thysse (13-2-1) W KO 3 Boyd Allen (5-1-1). Super Welter: Roarke Knapp (10-1-1) W TKO 2 Tristan Truter (8-3). Super Light: Jabulani Makhense (10-0,1ND) W KO 1 Eric Kapia (22-4-2). Cruiser: Lebogang Mashitoa (8-1) W PTS 10 Keaton Gomes (6-2).
Thysse vs. Allen
Thysse produces a classic left hook to end a fight that was not by any description a classic. With Thysse having height and reach over Allen it was natural that Allen would try to get inside to work. Unfortunately too often Allen got inside and held and wrestled. Thysse did what clean work there was but found it hard to escape Allen’s clutches. Just seconds before the end of the third round Thysse finally saw a gap. Probably excited at the opening he did a little hippy jig and then belted Allen with a peach of a left hook. Allen went down heavily but climbed up unsteadily and drifted to a corner. The referee had a good look at Allen and rightly decided to stop the fight. Thysse therefore emerges as the winner of Rodney Berman’s 4@War tournament. A very profitable night for Thysse as he gets 60% of the $46,000 dollar prize, plus a diamond ring and the WBA and IBO Pan African Belts and equally important revenge for a split decision loss to Allen in May last year. Allen, formerly a MMA fighter, complained that the referee did not ask him to step forward after the count but it had been a heavy knockdown.
Knapp vs. Truter
In a battle for third and fourth place in the 4@War tournament Knapp blasts out Truter in the second round. Truter knew Knapp was a puncher and successfully boxed his way through the first round using his longer reach to fight at distance. The longer reach did not save him. In the second Knapp set Truter up with a hard left hook then put together a succession of punches that had Truter reeling and waving his arms erratically before a booming right that sent Truter to the floor with the referee not needing to count. The 22-year-old Knapp was knocked out in seven rounds by Thysse in the semi-finals of the tournament but he has skill and power and will make progress from here. The 4@War tournament has been a downer for Truter-literally. He had a seven bout winning streak when he was stopped in the tenth round by Boyd Allen in his semi-final and was crushed even earlier by Knapp here.
Makhense vs. Kapia
Makhense continues his winning ways with an impressive first round destruction of DCR’s more experienced Kapia. He floored Kapia for the first time with a right and a left to the top of Kapia’s head. The second came from a punch that landed on the back of Kapia’s head and luckily Makhense missed with two punches when Kapia had his knee on the floor. Makhense looked to have scored another knockdown but that was not counted and then he drove Kapia to the canvas with a succession of punches and the referee stopped the fight as Kapia fell to his knees. Fifth early win for Makhense a former Commonwealth Youth Championships bronze medal winner. He is No 1 in the South African ratings and holds both the WBA Pan African and IBF Continental titles. One to follow. Kapia went 18-0-1 when he first turned pro but life gets tougher the higher you climb.
Mashitoa vs. Gomes
The last time these two met Gomes probably felt hard done by as he lost a split decision but from the scores it looked as though the judge who voted for Gomes might have been having an off day. No such complaints this time. In a scrappy match southpaw Mashitoa boxed rings around Gomes being too quick and too busy never giving Gomes the chance to make use of his reach advantage. Gomes was docked a point for holding but it was not a factor in the scoring as Mashitoa won widely on the cards. Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92 for Gauteng champion Mashitoa.
London. England: Middle: Liam Williams (23-2-1) W KO 1 Andrew Robinson (24-5-1). Heavy: Nathan Gorman (17-1) W PTS 10 Richard Lartey (16-2-1). Super Middle: Willy Hutchinson (13-0) W TKO 1 Jose Fandino (15-8).
Williams vs. Robinson
Williams retains the British title with first round win over Robinson. This one was almost over when they cracked heads together at the start of the fight. There was a suspicion that it was more a butt from Williams than an accident. Both fighters were cut. Robinson was cut over his left eye and seemed dazed. Williams might have had in mind his cuts loss to Liam Smith. On this occasion his cut was high on his hairline but to rule out any chance of cuts becoming a factor Williams blitzed Robinson who still looked dazed. Williams connected with a couple of head punches and then drove home a left hook to the body that sent Robinson down and he was rising when he was counted out. The 28-year-old Welshman has scored victories over Mark Heffron, Karim Achour and 26-1-1 Alantez Fox. He is rated No 2 by the WBO and No 3 by the WBC so can look forward to a title fight in 2021. Robinson scored an excellent win last year when he travelled to Poland and outpointed 41-0-1 Damian Jonak.
Gorman vs. Lartey
Gorman returns with a win as he decisions Lartey in a poor contest. Gorman looked slow and it was obvious from his career highest weight of 273 ¾ lbs that he was not in top shape. Luckily Lartey was also at his career highest of 256 ¼ lbs so there would be no fancy footwork in this fight. Gorman was able to control the fight with his jab with Lartey lacking the tools to really compete and the pace of the fight was pedestrian. Neither fighter was seriously inconvenienced and there was an excess of holding which made a dull fight ever duller but the important thing for Gorman was a win and some ring time. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-92 for Gorman, first fight for Gorman since a fifth round kayo loss against Daniel Dubois in July 2019. He will improve on this with a bit more activity. Lartey was knocked out by Dubois in four rounds in April 2019 so had 18 months of rust to shake.
Hutchinson vs. Fandino
Scot Hutchinson wastes no time in disposing with Spanish visitor Fandino. After a quick scan to see what Fandino brought to the fight Hutchinson cut loose. He put Fandino down with a bunch of punches and although Fandino got up another fierce attack from Hutchinson had Fandino dazed and on shaky legs and the referee stopped the action. Nine wins by KO/TKO for the tall Scot and the second time in a row he has ended a fight within the first three minutes. Spaniard Fandino was knocked out in seven rounds by Sergio Martinez in Martinez’s return to the ring in August.
Mecklenburg, Germany: Super Middle: Sebastiano Lo Zito (20-1) W PTS 10 Frane Radnic (11-18). Southpaw Lo Zito “The Sicilian Stallion” comfortably holds onto his German International title with unanimous decision over Croat Radnic. Lo Zito’s record is heavily padded and not a reflection of his ability. Croatian champion Radnic is even worse than most of Lo Zito’s victims having lost his last 18 fights now but usually goes the distance with only four losses by KO/TKO
Fight of the week (Significance): Navarrete’s win over Ruben Villa was the big fight of the weekend
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Nothing stood out
Fighter of the week: Robin Krasniqi for resurrecting his career with victory over Dominic Boesel
Punch of the week: So many to choose from. Brandun Lee and Janelson Figueroa both flattened their opponents with real thunderbolts and the left hook from Andre Thysse that dropped Boyd Allen was a beauty as was the left hook from Matteo Signani that ended Maxime Beaussire’s hopes of a European title but I go for the driven left from Zhanibek Alimkhanuly that destroyed Gonzalo Coria.
Upset of the week: Robin Krasniqi was not expected to beat Dominic Boesel
Prospect watch: Welterweight Brandun Lee 20-0 is worth following to see
Good to see boxing return in the Philippines as they utilise the “bubble” that has worked so well elsewhere.
Rodney Berman has brought boxing back in South Africa so another good sign
A welcome also to the show in Shawinigan Canada which was the first show since COVD-19 stopped the sport there. All of the boxers had been in isolation for two weeks before the October 10 card.
Encouraging for German boxing that the TV coverage of Krasniqi vs. Boesel, the first televised German boxing for some time drew 2.5 million viewers and a crowd of 2000 attended the show in Magdeburg. There was also a good crowd for the European title fight in Caen, France.
Not all good news on the virus front as the French heavyweight title fight in Paris between Newfel Ouatah and Nicolas Wamba was cancelled due to a member of Wamaba’s team testing positive for the virus.
Nothing boring about Denys Berinchyk. His acrobatic-like high wire chairlift ride from roof to ring centre is just one more of his exotic ideas. He once came to the ringside on a horse and appeared in the Ukrainian TV show Dancing with the Stars. And he can fight-honest!
Berinchyk was not the only one making a dramatic entrance at the weekend as Maxime Beaussire wore a steel helmet and was accompanied into the ring by a procession of knights in armour to celebrate Normandy heritage. Unfortunately Italian Matteo Signani ruined the party by stopping Beaussire in two rounds.
The father of welterweight Janelson Figueroa certainly got his unbeaten son some attention as he released a video of Janelson flooring Teo Lopez with a powerful right in a spring session. Lopez’s father protested that Teo was a teenager at the time but a knockdown is a knockdown
In this age of macho nicknames it was lovely to see Maxi Hughes shorts emblazoned with “Grandad”. Now that’s family.
Sometimes the best fights are the very small hall bouts that only a handful of people see. The ones fought away from TV cameras. Other times we get in world title bouts that go massively over-looked, and years on need fans to essentially rediscover them, despite the fact they are fought at a very high level. Today we look at one of those lost world title bouts in out latest Closet Classic. It was a bout from 1987 that many fans won't have seen, but they should!
Takuya Muguruma (25-1-1, 19) vs Chan Young Park (24-3-2, 7)
In one corner was WBA Bantamweight champion Takuya Mugurma, a Japanese fighter from Osaka who had been on a bit of a tear. No one would saw Muguruma was the best fighter out there but he had gone unbeaten since a split decision loss, in Korea, to Youn Kap Choi. That bout had followed a draw with Eiji Oyama. Following those two marks on Muguruma's record he had refused to let the judges get involved in his fights, scoring 7 straight T/KO's, including a 5th round KO of Azael Moran for the WBA Bantamweight. Although he had originally fought at 122lbs Muguruma dropped down in weight to win the WBA Bantamweight title, and was looking like a man in great form.
Chan Young Park had had a strange career up to this point. He was 7-2-2 after 11 bouts, and that had included a loss to former world champion Shoji Oguma, when Park was just 18. He had rebuilt from that going 17-1, with his only loss coming to Khaosai Galaxy in 1983, when Park was just 20 years old. The losses to Galaxy and Oguma helped shape Park into becoming a very good young fighter, and he had reeled off 10 wins to earn a shot at Muguruma and the WBA Bantamweight title. He was still some what lacking a big win before this bout, but he did have decent victories over Neptali Alamag and Ernie Cataluna, who were solid regional level fighters.
Despite being a bout for a world title this wasn't going to be a bout that had much attention. It was between two Asian fighters who really hadn't proven themselves as world class fighters. It was the first defense by Muguruma and the first world title bout by Park, not a bout featuring a top name, or between two proven fighters.
What we ended up getting however, was something a little bit special.
From the early moments it was clear Muguruma wasn't expecting Park to be able to take his power. The Japanese champion pressed forward through out the round and landed some huge shots, including a massive right hand in the first minute. Park took it well, and tried to respond, but was often found being backed up by the power and aggression of Muguruma. Muguruma was intent on not letting Park settling early and continued to aggressively press in round 2. To his credit Park tried to spoil when he needed to, and elected to fight fire with fire and and when he felt comfortable doing so. Despite being backed up it was Park landing the cleaner shots for the most part, and showing himself to be a smart fighter against the aggression of Muguruma.
With the first 2 rounds being violent, and with Muguruma putting some much into them, he seemed to begin to slow a touch in round 3. It wasn't massively noticeable, and he was still full of fire, but his aggression was being blunted just a touch easier. With that happening Park was beginning to stand his ground a bit more, and even forced the champion back a time or two as he began to pick up his pace. Muguruma went down part way through the round, but that was from a nasty clash of heads, rather than a punch. We now had some controversy as Muguruma got time to recover, just as it had began to look like he was slowing.
On the restart Muguruma still seemed a little hazy but quickly found his focus and range. Sadly for the champion the short break didn't really affect Park at all, and the Korean continued to land the better shots.
In the middle rounds Muguruma's face was beginning to look a mess, with some clear swelling around the eyes, he was however not deterred and continued to throw shots, despite the amount of punishment he was taking. Park continued to be the smarter fighter, clinching, countering, out boxing and out thinking Muguruma, but the champion seemed to be spurred by something else, and in round 6 he began to land some huge shots as the two men found themselves trading. By now the bout was taking on a life of it's own.
With both men digging in deep and unloading huge bombs on each other it was becoming obvious that this wasn't going to go the distance. The real question however was regarding who was going to stop who. Was Park going to take out the determined, though crude, champion or was the power and aggression of Muguruma going to break down Park? We'll leave that to you to enjoy.
Whilst it can be hard to REALLY know whether a bout ruined a fighter, we wouldn't be surprised if this helped speed up the retirements of both men. Both took a lot of punishment here, and it's quite possible that neither man was ever quite the same afterwards. This was brutal, punishing, and fantastic 2-way action, well worthy of 50 minutes of any fight fans time!
By Eric Armit
-Jose Zepeda knocks out Ivan Baranchyk in a Fight of the Year candidate that features eight knockdowns in five wild rounds
-Gabriel Floes outpoints Ryan Kielczewski for win No 19
-Filipino featherweight Mark Magsayo goes to 21-0 with victory over Rigoberto Hermosillo
-Joshua Buatsi retains the WBA International title with stoppage Marko Calic
-Former WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket stays busy with second round victory over Filipino Jomar Fajardo
-Usman Wazeer stops Indonesian Boido Simanjuntak to win the vacant Asian Boxing Federation welterweight title in Islamabad in Amir Khan’s inaugural boxing promotion in Pakistan
World Title/Major Shows
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Light: Jose Zepeda (33-2,2ND) W KO 5 Ivan Baranchyk (20-2). Light: Gabriel Flores Jr (19-0) W PTS 10 Ryan Kielczewski (30-5). Heavy: Guido Vianello (7-0-1) W Kingsley Ibeh (5-1-1). Feather: Duke Ragan (2-0) W PTS 4 John Moraga (1-2).
Zepeda vs. Baranchyk
Zepeda knocks out Baranchyk in the fifth round after a truly thrilling battle that saw eight knock downs in a fight would have electrified a stadium full of fans and provided an unforgettable fifteen minutes of drama. A candidate for Fight of the Year. Baranchyk does not have a reverse gear so he was taking the fight to Zepeda jabbing strongly and throwing right crosses going for power rather than accuracy. Just two minutes into the round he connected with a right that sent Zepeda back off balance and he went down on his haunches. He used his right glove to make sure he did not go all the way down and so was given a count. Zepeda did not look badly hurt but a left hook from Baranchyk put him down again. He was up quickly and the bell went when the eight count was completed. Early fireworks and a great start for Baranchyk with more to come. Baranchyk started the second by throwing a punch so wildly that he lost his balance and had to put his gloves on the canvas but it was not a knockdown. An over-exited Baranchyk was lunging forward swinging with wide punches and a counter left to the head from Zepeda dropped him. When he got up he looked a little shaky. He floundered back as Zepeda followed him landing hooks to the head and this time it was Zepeda who walked onto a counter right and was put down. He was quickly and again did not look in trouble. Only half way through the second and already four knockdowns! Zepeda boxed his way through the rest of the round with Baranchyk still flying in wildly. Zepeda was boxing carefully in the third. It is as well there was no audience as some of Baranchyk’s swings would have decapitated the first ten rows. His carelessness saw him wide open and three consecutive lefts from Zepeda dropped him and opened a cut over the Belarus fighter’s left eye. After the count Baranchyk was a little more cautious and Zepeda connected with some strong straight lefts. Baranchyk was hounding Zepeda in the fourth driving forward and getting through with some solid shots. Zepeda was looking to counter and just before the end of the round Zepeda landed a strong left hook the put Baranchyk down on his back for knockdown No 6 in the fight. Baranchyk beat the count but he was now showing heavy bruising under both eyes. The bell went to end to round before either could throw another punch. Baranchyk continued his aggression throughout the fifth. Zepeda was finding gaps for powerful counters but as Baranchyk came forward he landed a strong right that sent Zepeda flying back into a corner and almost down. The referee decided the ropes had held Zepeda up so he saw it as knockdown No 7 and applied a count. When Baranchyk launched his next attack Zepeda met him with a right to the body and a thumping left to the head that sent Baranchyk to the floor and he was counted out on his back. It was almost five minutes before they lifted Baranchyk to a stool and six before he could stand after such a savage battle. Going into the fight Zepeda was rated No 2 by the WBC 2 and No 3 by the WBO but not in the top 15 by the IBF or WBA. With WBC/WBO champion Jose Carlos Ramirez ordered to face Jack Catterall and Josh Taylor just having successfully defended the IBF and WBA titles- and aiming for a unification fight with Ramirez- Zepeda will have to wait for his title shot until sometime next year. In the mean time he picks up the WBC Silver title with this win. If he does get that title shot he will be hoping for a change of luck having lost to Terry Flanagan for the WBO light title due to a dislocated shoulder and been beaten by Ramirez on a majority decision for the WBC title in February 2019. Former IBF champion Baranchyk had lost his title against Josh Taylor in May last year but in October stopped Gabriel Bracero and was No 4(3) with the IBF. It will take him some time to recover from this punishing contest but he will be back. They weren’t needed but at the end of the fourth round all three scorecards had Zepeda in front 37-35. What a pity there was not an audience there to see these two warriors provide such a memorable contest.
Flores vs. Kielczewski
Imperious boxing display from young Flores as he outboxes experienced Kielczewski all the way. The blistering hand speed of Flores had Kielczewski’s face a deep red in the first minute of the fight/ It was all looking too easy until a left hook from Kielczewski sent Flores staggering back to the ropes. He was rocked again by a right but then settled down to cautiously outbox Kielczewski for the rest of the round. After a close second Flores took charge of the fight from the third. Kielczewski had no real answer to the movement or hand speed of Flores who was firing multi-punch combinations to head and body. Kielczewski was trying to walk down Flores but he was just not quick enough to cut off the ring. He ended up just tracking Flores around the ring not letting his punches go and when he did he usually ended up swiping air. Flores ended the fourth with a flourish connecting with a volley of punches and used a range of precise shots to dominate the fifth and rocked Kielczewski with an uppercut in the sixth. The pace dropped in the seventh with the punch output from Flores fading away but he connected with a short left hook that was the best punch in the round. Flores boxed on the back foot throughout the eighth spearing Kielczewski with jabs and short bursts of punches and then changed tactics in the ninth coming forward and slashing Kielczewski with well-timed combinations and connecting with a crunching right cross. Flores eased his way through the tenth getting his punches off first and using speedy footwork to leave Kielczewski always a pace or two behind. Scores 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Another sparkling performance from the 20-year-old from Stockton. He has not yet figured in the ratings but must do soon and is aiming for a title fight next year. If there is a concern it is that as the level of his opposition has improved his inside the distance wins have faded away. This is his sixth points win in a row so he may have to sit down on his punches more to find the power he will need against higher quality opposition. Kielczewski “the Polish Prince” has already experienced the difference when the opposition gets tougher. He was 22-0 at the start of his career but losses to Miguel Flores, Frank De Alba and Tommy Coyle have injected some reality into his hopes.
Vianello vs. Ibeh
Vianello remains undefeated but it was a close thing here as he fought a majority draw against the 38lbs heavier Ibeh. The Phoenix-based Nigeria had early encouragement when Vianello was cut over the left eye in the first round. From there this developed into a gruelling contest with both fighters showing signs of battle by the end. Vianello just did the cleaner work and probably just deserved the decision but it was close enough for no argument. Scores 57-57 twice and 59-55 for Vianello. A disappointing show by the highly touted Italian prospect. Ibeh had won his last four fights including reversing his only loss.
Ragan vs. Moraga
Ragan gets in four rounds of work against late substitute Moraga. The hot young prospect was cut by one of many head butts from Moraga but was always in control. Scores 40-36 from the three judges. Ragan’s first fight lasted less than two minutes so Moraga, who only took the fight at three days notice, did what he was paid to do.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Feather: Mark Magsayo (21-0) W PTS 10 Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-3-1). Welter: Paul Kroll (8-0) W PTS 10 Lucas Santamaria (11-2-1).
Magsayo vs. Hermosillo
Magsayo, rated one of the best young fighters in the Philippines, take a split decision over Hermosillo. This was a case of power vs. quantity as the busy Hermosillo threw more and landed more but the harder punches from Magsayo impressed two of the judges enough for them to score for him. A punch from Magsayo opened a cut over the right eye of Hermosillo in the first round but it was never really a factor in the fight. Mexican southpaw Hermosillo took the fight to Magsayo early working well to the body but Magsayo was finding the target with heavy rights. Hermosillo shrugged those off and stayed busy continuing to drive forward into hard counters from Magsayo. The fight looked even until the closing rounds. In the ninth a left hook from Magsayo staggered Hermosillo and Magsayo then built on that to also take the last to emerge the winner. Scores were nowhere near in agreement at 100-90 and 96-94 for Magsayo and 96-94 for Hermosillo. Magsayo, 25, the WBC No 4, had not fought since August last year when he outclassed former WBO bantamweight Pungluang so he will be aiming to do better next time out. Third loss in a row for Hermosillo, all against unbeaten fighters.
Kroll vs. Santamaria
Kroll continues his winning ways with a hard earned points victory over Santamaria. Kroll made a good start but was in trouble in the second when a vicious left to the body almost cut him in half. He retreated in agony and Santamaria tried desperately to end the fight but failed. Kroll recovered and got back in the fight but was having trouble with the busier Santamaria who was constantly switching guards. Kroll’s pressure and heavy right hand punching gave him the edge over the later rounds and he came out a clear winner although the scores of 99-91 twice and 96-94 for Kroll looked a little harsh on Santamaria. Philadelphian Kroll, 25, won the US Olympic Trials for Rio but then lost out at the Americas, WSB/APB and World Qualifiers so no trip to Rio. Santamaria was coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over 22-1 Mykal Fox in August.
Milton Keynes, England: Light Heavy: Joshua Buatsi (13-0) W TKO 7 Marko Calic (11-1). Middle; Linus Udofia (16-0) W TKO 9 John Harding (8-2-1). Heavy: Alen Babic (5-0) W TKO 3 Niall Kennedy 13-2-1).
Buatsi vs. Calic
Buatsi breaks down and halts Calic in seven rounds. Lots of tentative jabs in the first round with Calic also firing overhand rights but not connecting and Buatsi just having the edge. Over the second and third Calic began to find the target regularly with right crosses and Buatsi was under fire for much of those six minutes which gave Calic a lead in the points. Buatsi was throwing more punches over the fourth and in the fifth two huge rights to the head from Buatsi had Calic in deep trouble on the ropes. He almost went down clutching Buatsi and covering up to survive. Calic was still trying his luck with rights in the sixth and fighting in short bursts but he was fading badly and now Buatsi was in control. Calic’s work rate dropped and the snap had gone out of his punches. Two heavy rights sent Calic back across the ring at the start of the seventh. More rights saw Calic buckle at the knees and touch the canvas with his gloves. After the count Calic looked very reluctant to continue and as Buatsi pinned him against the ropes the towel was being waived from Calic’s corner. Fifth defence of the WBA International title and eleventh win by KO/TKO for the 27-year-old Ghanaian-born Buatsi. He was vulnerable to Calic’s rights early but in the end proved too strong for the Croatian. He is rated WBA 2/IBF 3(2)/WBC 12/WBO 14 but that is not necessarily in his best interests. He has yet to face any rated opponent and it is a huge leap from foes such as Ryan Ford and Calic to Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Box Rec has him No 20 in their ratings. He has not fought anyone in the EBU top 20 and yet as No 2 if things went his way he could find himself the mandatory challenger to Beterbiev before he has another fight. Calik’s opposition has been strictly low grade but he looked dangerous over the first three rounds before coming apart.
Udofia vs. Harding
Udofia scores late stoppage victory. Harding used a quick accurate jab to take the first round but then the pressure and some heavy body punches from the stronger Udofia saw Harding falling behind. Udofia continued to dominate the action and Harding began to tire. Harding flared back into life in the eighth and started the ninth well but a right hook put him down. He made it to his feet and looked ready to continue but the referee stopped the fight. British-based Nigerian Udofia retains the English title with his eighth stoppage victory. Harding was having his second try at the English title having been stopped in eight rounds by Jack Cullen last year.
Babic vs. Kennedy
Babic saves the night for Croatia as he floors Kennedy on his way to a third round victory. Babic has won all of his fights by KO/TKO taking less than ten rounds to do so. At 6’1” and weighing 199 ¼ he is really a cruiserweight. A bad result for Irishman Kennedy as it is his second inside the distance loss in a row having been halted in five rounds by Devin Vargas in August last year.
South Kirby, England: Super Light: Ohara Davies (22-2) W PTS 10 Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1) . Light Heavy: Serge Michel (11-1) W TKO 4 Liam Conroy18-6-1). Cruiser: Steven Ward (13-1) W PTS 6 Jone Volau (5-6).
Davies vs. McKenna
Davies wins the MTK Golden Contract super lightweight final and lifts McKenna’s WBC International title with a majority verdict. As expected Davies was taking the fight to McKenna early with southpaw McKenna boxing on the back foot and countering. Davies connected well with rights over the first two rounds but McKenna was doing some good defensive work and slotting home counters. There was plenty of back and forth action over the fourth and fifth with Davies landing the harder punches. McKenna was on the front foot in the sixth and scoring well but suffered a cut on his right eyelid. Most of the rounds were very close with a just a punch or two making the difference. Davies went down in the ninth but it was a slip and not a knockdown and Davies just did enough in the end to deserve the decision. Scores 96-94 twice for Davies and 95-95. Since losing to Josh Taylor in 2017 Davies has won 7 of his last 8 contests with the loss a close decision against WBO No 1 Jack Catterall. McKenna had also lost a close fight to Catterall and then gone on to score five victories but he looked fortunate to get the decision over Mohamed Mimoune if the semi-final of the MTK tournament.
Michel vs. Conroy
Michel earned his place in the MTK light heavyweight tournament final with a stoppage of Conroy. Michel just had the edge in the first two rounds and connected with a right counter late in the third that saw Conroy drop to one knee. He managed to survive but the fourth was painful. Conroy tried to make amends for the count by taking the fight to Michel and as he stormed forward a right to the head floored him heavily. He made it to his feet but when he again tried to rush Michel he was put down by an uppercut and the fight was stopped. Michel “The Bavarian Sniper” was born in Russia but is now a German citizen. He was a top flight amateur beating world rated Tyrone Zeuge and competing at both the World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. He lost on a kayo to Canadian Ryan Ford but won a convincing victory over unbeaten Tommy Philbin in the quarter-finals of the tournament. He will now face Ricards Bolotniks in the final. Former English champion Conroy had lost to Joshua Buatsi and Steven Ward but outpointed Andre Sterling in his quarter-final.
Ward vs. Volau
Ward starts his rebuilding project with a points win over inexperienced Fijian-born Volau. It looked as though Volau made the better start and took the first round. From there the superior boxing of Ward saw him sweep the remaining rounds. Referee’s score was 59-55 for Ward. In the amateur he was a five-time Irish champion and won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games. Things seemed to be going along nicely when he took a technical decision over Liam Conroy for the WBO European title which landed him a world rating. Unfortunately the roof fell in when he was floored three times and stopped in the first round by Ricards Bolotniks in the quarter-finals of the MTK tournament. At 30 it will be an uphill battle. Fifth loss in a row for Volau.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Feather: Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1). Super Fly: Hayate Kaji (15-0) W PTS 8 Hiroki Yajima (9-9-3).
Ogawa vs. Nishitani
Ogawa continues his drive towards another world title shot as he outpoints Nishitani in a war that saw both fighters on the canvas. Ogawa was putting pressure on Nishitani over the first two rounds but a left hook from Nishitani in the third floored Ogawa. He beat the count but was badly shaken and had to clinch to survive. Ogawa rebounded and floored Nishitani with a right in the fourth and then again took control. Nishitani remained dangerous with left hooks and had a good eighth but Ogawa’s faster hand speed gave him the edge over the last two rounds. Scores 97-91 for Ogawa on the three cards. Ogawa was briefly a world champion. Back in 2017 he outpointed Tevin Farmer to win the vacant IBF title but both his A sample and his B sample tested positive for a banned substance so his win was changed to a No Decision and he was fined 20% of his $70,000 purse and banned for a year. Since returning he has scored two wins in low level outings and then his fight in December with Joe Noynay ended in a technical draw. He is No 3 with the IBF but since the No 1 spot is vacant he is effectively the second highest rated fight by them. Nishitani, the Japanese No 3 and a former undefeated Japanese lightweight champion, had won his last six fights.
Kaji vs. Yajima
Japanese prospect Kaji floors a gutsy Yajima twice on the way to a wide unanimous decision. It looked like being an early night when Kaji put Yajima down in the first. Yajima made it to his feet and fought hard enough to win a couple of rounds but was in deep trouble at the end. He was floored again in the seventh and lost a point for holding as he strove to keep his record clear of any inside the distance losses. Scores 78-70 twice and 79-69 for Kaji. The Teiken gym fighter was All-Japan Rookie (newcomer) of the Year in 2015 and is No 2 in the Japanese ratings. Yajima has suffered 4 defeats in his last 5 fights.
Wielk Kleniz, Poland: Cruiser: Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Marek Prochazka (9-3-1). Jezewski returns to the ring and collects the vacant Polish International title with a unanimous verdict over Czech Prochazka. Jezewski made his traditional aggressive start mixing his punches well and finding gaps for his body punches. Czech Prochazka showed a sound defence but was unable to put much pressure on Jezewski due to the longer reach of the Pole. The visitor scored well in the eighth and it became apparent that Jezewski had injured his right hand and he used it sparingly over the last two rounds. Scores 99-91 twice and 97-93 for Jezewski. Despite his impressive statistics the 29-year-old Pole has not yet made any real impact. Prochazka, a former Czech title challenger, has yet to lose inside the distance and his defensive work kept that type of loss off his record.
Kissimmee, FL, USA: Feather: Dennis Contreras (23-10-1) W KO 6 Carlos Flores (20-1). Super Feather: Hairon Socarras (23-1-3) W TKO 3 Julio Buitrago (13-24,2ND).
Contreras vs. Flores
In a clash of two Mexicans Contreras shows how misleading records can be as he knocks out previously unbeaten Flores in six rounds. Contreras went after Flores from the outset and Flores was forced onto the back foot. He showed some neat movement and quick, accurate punches to outscore Contreras in the second and third but no real power and just could not halt the forward march of Contreras. From the fourth it was man against boy as Contreras relentlessly walked through the punches from Flores connecting with hard shots to head and body. He bombarded Flores with head punches late in the fifth with only the bell saving Flores. He then ended it in dramatic fashion in the sixth. A huge left uppercut followed by a right to the chin sent Flores to the canvas and he was counted out. Contreras retains the WBA Fedecentro belt after having turned his career around. A run of 1-8-1 in 10 fights saw him considered as guy on his way to nowhere. However in his last three fights he has defeated unbeaten 12-0 Fernando Garcia, stopped 20-2-1 Belmar Preciado and now the 20-0 Flores so combined records of 52-2-1. Flores, 20, has a heavily padded record with 13 of his victims never having won a fight and all the others having negative records.
Socarras vs. Buitrago
Socarras given an easy task as he starts to rebuild after his first pro loss. After three one-sided rounds Buitrago’s team threw in the towel pulling their man out. Cuban Socarras gets his fifteenth win by KO/TKO. He was brought down to earth when he clashed with Ryan Walsh in October last year in England being halted in nine rounds. Poor Nicaraguan Buitrago has won just 2 of his last 22 fights and to make matters worse he turned pro as a minimumweight so has put on 26lbs since those days.
Brussels, Belgium: Light Heavy: Oscar Ahlin (19-2) W TKO 2 Achilles Szabo (25-25). Super Welter: Nabil Messaoudi (1-0) W KO 1 Samuil Dimitrov (2-10-1).
Ahlin vs. Szabo
Ahlin overwhelms a poor Szabo for a second round stoppage victory. With Szabo’s record this was never going to last long and Ahlen nearly ended it with a knockdown in the first. Szabo made it to the bell but was put down three more times in the second and the fight was stopped. The 30-year-old Swedish “Golden Boy” now has 17 inside the distance wins but his opposition has been mainly sub-standard and losses to Bernard Donfack and Patrick Mendy puts his record into context. Hungarian Szabo suffers loss No 13 by KO/TKO and his sixth defeat in his last seven fights.
Messaoudi vs. Dimitrov
Former top amateur Messaoudi makes his first professional bout a brief one as he uses just one left hook to put Bulgarian Dimitrov down and out in the opening round. All over in 30 seconds including the count. The 22-year-old 5’10” Messaoudi represented Belgium at both the European Under-22 championships and the European Championships. Seventh loss by KO/TKO for 21-year-old Dimitrov. He is a southpaw but when you are only around for 30 seconds that counts for nothing.
Plovdiv, Romania: Heavy: Bogdan Dinu (20-2) W KO2 Frank Bluemle (16-9-2). Super Welter: Yosif Panov (18-3) W TKO 6 Moussa Gary (10-3-2).
Dinu vs. Bluemle
Another easy win for Dinu as he floors German Bluemle twice the second time for a count out. Dinu was just too big for the German who did not put up much of a fight. The 34-year-old 6’5” Romanian won his first 18 fights before getting too ambitious and paying for it with inside the distance losses to Jarrell Miller and Kubrat Pulev. Bluemle way down the hill with seven quick defeats in his last nine fights.
Panov vs. Gary
“Viper” Panov extends his winning run to sixteen with victory over Gary. The fight went longer than expected but it ended in the sixth when a booming straight right floored Gary. He scrambled around trying to rise but the towel came in from his corner and the count was stopped. After three early losses when fighting in Scotland the 24-year-old Bulgarian has stuck to non-threatening opposition mainly in Bulgaria. Frenchman Gary was 9-0-2 at the start of his career but is 1-3 since then with this being his first loss by KO/TKO.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Welter: Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1) W TKO 7 W Yuto Shimizu (14-5-2).Super Bantam: Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1) W PTS 8 Kyohei Endo (3-4).
Matsunaga vs. Shimizu
Matsunaga holds on to the national title with stoppage of Shimizu. Although Shimizu had height and reach over Matsunaga he just could not cope with the aggression of the champion who was getting inside and connecting with southpaw right hooks. Although Shimizu found the target with straight rights by the fifth he was bleeding heavily from the nose and was down 50-45, 49-45 and 48-47 on the cards. Matsunaga continued to score heavily in the sixth and opened a cut over Shimizu’s left eye in the seventh. Shimizu had nothing left and a series of punches from Matsunaga brought the referee’s intervention. Tenth win in a row for Matsunaga and his eleventh win by KO/TKO. He was making the second defence of the title. He overcame an orbital fracture under his left eye and a detached retina before finally winning the Japanese title in May last years. First inside the distance loss for Shimizu, the Japanese No 1, who was having his second shot at the title.
Takahashi vs. Endo
Former IBF title challenger Takahashi gets a win but has to climb off the canvas. They fought on fairly even terms over the first two rounds but Takahashi put Endo down with a left hook in the third. He also took the fourth and fifth. Endo knocked Takahashi down in the sixth but Takahashi recovered and over the last two rounds although under pressure his better skills made him a clear winner. Scores 77-74 from each judge for Takahashi. He gets his third win since being stopped in eleven rounds by JT Doheny in a challenge for the IBF title. The inexperienced Endo did well to last the distance.
Islamabad, Pakistan: Welter: Usman Wazeer (4-0) W TKO 4 Boido Simanjuntak (24-55-3).
Big event but a poor fight on Amir Khan’s first promotion in Pakistan as local fighter Wazeer stops veteran Indonesian loser Simanjuntak in the fourth round. This was a slow paced fight with young Wazeer boxing behind his jab and putting together some combinations with Simanjuntak only really going through the motions. Simanjuntak traded punches occasionally but body punches from Wazeer had him hurt in the third. In the fourth it was clear that Simanjuntak had finished for the night and he stood against the ropes allowing Wazeer to throw punches to head and body without reply and then slumped to the canvas with the referee immediately stopping the fight. The Abu Dhabi-based “Asian Boy” Wazeer, 20 wins the vacant Asian Boxing Federation title. Difficult to make any judgement on him as his previous experience consists of three four round fights, one in Dubai and two in the Philippines and Simanjuntak was no sort of test. Obviously the hope is that Amir Khan promoting there will build more local fighters but the pro sport could hardly even be described as grass roots there. Simanjuntak was as careful a choice as you could get. The 36-year-old Indonesian southpaw has lost inside the distance 24 times and is now 1-21-1 in his last 23 fights.
Bang Phun, Thailand: Bantam: Srisaket (49-5-1) W TKO 2 Jomar Fajardo (17-18-2).Light: Apichet (7-0) W PTS 8 Musheg Adolan (7-2).
Srisaket vs. Fajardo
Former WBC super fly champion Srisaket (Wisaksil Wangek) wins his second fight since boxing resumed in Thailand. His opponent Filipino Jomar Fajardo showed courage beyond the call of duty as he took serious punishment before his team pulled him out during the second round. Fajardo was trapped on the ropes and being battered by hooks and uppercuts with the referee showing no sign of stopping the pounding until Fajardo’s second climbed in the ring. The Thai had a real struggle before getting the decision over Amnat Ruenroeng in August but looked sharp here. He is 1-1 in two battles with WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada and as he is No 1 with the WBC he must be in line for a third fight next year. Fajardo much too brave. He is now 2-7 in his nine most recent contests with sixth of the seven losses by KO/TKO.
Apichet vs. Adolan
Apichet remains unbeaten as he takes a majority verdict over Adolan but looks very lucky to do so. Apichet had to survive two counts, one in the second and one in the third to take the decision. Scores 76-74 twice for Apichet and 75-75. He remains WBC Asian Boxing Council champion. Third time Apichet has been lucky to stay unbeaten having twice scored very narrow victories over former WBA and WBO title challenger Chonlatarn. Adolan, an Armenian-born Thai-based Russian, is a former Muay Thai boxing trainer and had won his last seven fights by KO/TKO.
Fight of the week (Significance) Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk which puts Zepeda in line for a title shot
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk= 8 knock downs!
Fighter of the week: Jose Zepeda for coming off the canvas four times to beat Baranchyk
Punch of the week: The left from Zepeda that scored the eighth knockdown and ended his war with Baranchyk
Upset of the week: Mild upset as Dennis Contreras stops 20-0 Carlos Flores and Kingsley Ibeh fight to a draw with prospect Guido Vianello
Prospect watch: No special one this week
Some excitement over Amir Khan’s first promotion in Pakistan and hopes for a growth of professional boxing there. We have already seen boxing start up in a small way in Vietnam but cautious optimism needs to be observed. Boxing was going to explode in China when Zou Shiming turned pro but now they have just one champion in Can Xu, the holder of the secondary WBA featherweight title, and in China there is now only the occasional nursery show. It was also hoped that Vijender Singh would kick-start professional boxing in India but very little has happening there. It will be just as hard to build a following in Pakistan.
Strange how a boxer can find unexpected form. Take the case of Dennis Contreras. The Mexican featherweight had a run of very bad form going 1-8-1 in ten fights from there he was won three fights in a row against opponents with combined records of 52-2-1. Quite a change.
Eight knockdowns in a fight is pretty unusual but by no means a record. If we ignore everything before 1950 the record is held by Howard King vs. Hans Friedrich in Reno in May 1955 which saw 15 knockdowns in a fight that went the full ten rounds with Freidrich on the floor 14 times and losing the decision
A few weeks ago in this series we covered a foul fest that saw the right guy winning a clear decision. That was a bout where the man committing the fouls managed to rile everyone up, and whilst he had fouled through out the bout it was really a final round melt down that highlighted the contest. Today we look at a different type of foul fest. One where the fans are well and truly behind the man breaking the rules, and where the man breaking the rules, is getting away with it.
Amazingly this isn't just a foul fest, but also a bout where the judges seem to be in on things as well, with some questionable score cards, a referee that seems scared to take points and a local favourite who seems to know he can get away with anything.
Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0, 5) vs McWilliams Arroyo (15-1, 13)
Before we get to this bout we need to get to the back story of this one and go back to 2013. That was the year that Moruti Mthalane twice saw bouts with Silvio Olteanu fall through. After those bouts collapsed Mthalane was ordered to take on the then unknown Thai Amnat Ruenroeng, who had been a good amateur but done nothing as a professional. The purse bid for Mthalane Vs Ruenroeng was pathetic, but their was no money in the bout. As a result Mthalane gave up the belt, rather than travel to Thailand for pittance.
In December 2013 McWilliams arroyo was also having problems. He had seen his scheduled bout with Rocky Fuentes be delayed, then was cancelled all together in January 2014 when Fuentes failed to get a visa. That was supposed to be a world title eliminator.
With those bouts falling through we ended up getting a make shift bout in January 2014 that saw Amnat defeat Fuentes for the IBF Flyweight title, in a bout that was put together on very short notice. It wasn't a great bout, but was a big win for the Thai who was now the new world champion. Amnat followed that up by travelling to Japan and beating Kazuto Ioka, in a massive win.
Having seen his bout with Fuentes fall through Arroyo would fight in June 2014, in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator, where he beat Froilan Saludar to set up a clash with Amnat for the title.
So overall it took us around 10 months to get to this bout but we got there in the end....and the wasn't worth it. At all.
The bout started slowly, both men trying to figure out what the other hand and eased their way into the contest. There was nothing spectacular to begin with, as both men pumped out their jabs. It looked like Arroyo was the stronger fighter whilst Amnat was the slightly quicker, but there wasn't much in it at all early on. Amnat probably did enough to the take first round but did better in rounds 2 and 3 as he established an early lead.
Then the bout started to fall apart. Arroyo had a very good round 4, as Amnat began to try and protect his lead, rather than extend it. He began holding, excessively. Every few seconds in round 4 the Thai smothered, held and did his best cuddly octopus impression. The holding didn't really help slow down Arroyo's pressure and the challenger's success grew, dropping Amnat in round 6 to completely get rid of Amnat's early lead.
It was following the knockdown that the bout totally fell apart.
The clinching became more and more regular, with Amnat trying to sap the ambition and fire out out of Arroyo. Referee, Pat Russell, repeatedly told Amnat to stop, but didn't take any points from the Thai. In fact not only did he refuse to take points but it wasn't until round 10 that he even gave a firm warning. Even after the warning the messy tactics, holding, spoiling and wrestling continued from Amnat, who was warned but never saw a point being taken.
After 12 rounds the bout could have gone either way. Arroyo defintely tried to make the fight, and had real success in the middle of the bout, but the good start by Amnat and the ugly frustrating end of the bout saw him neutralise Arroyo well. But it had been completely ruined by the holding, poor refereeing of Pat Russell and the refusal to take points, in an effort to clean things up.
When we went to the judges the they all turned in scores of 114-113, twice, to Amnat and once to Arroyo to give Amnat the decision. It wasn't a terrible score, but certainly seemed to be influenced by the judges and location of the fight. A single point deduction, which is the least we would have expected, would have seen the turn in a split draw but in reality Amnat could have had 2 or 3 points taken for the repeated holding.
Annoying had we managed to avoid all the clinching, and the very messy portions of the fight, this would have been a brilliant fight. There was a lot of exciting back and forth to talk about, but that was massively over shadowed by the negativity of Amnat between the exciting bursts of action.
Rather notably this wasn't the only controversial bout featuring Amnat, and we will certainly be discussing a much more controversial bout in the future. Though that's for the next future Controversial Clashes!
By Eric Armit
When I first began to pick up whispers of Conor McGregor dabbling in boxing again I hoped it would be a case of smoke but no fire. Just McGregor keeping himself in the public eye. When McGregor then started to talk about a fight with Manny Pacquiao there was more smoke but it was coming out of my ears. Surely Pacquiao would not lower himself to participate in such a farce and an insult to boxing in the way that Floyd Mayweather had. Then McGregor started to claim that he would be fighting Pacquiao in the Middle East next year. Was there really a fire under that smoke after all? Surely Pacquiao would come out and make a statement rubbishing talk of fighting McGregor. Well Pacquiao certainly made a statement but it read more like an opening gambit in a negotiation. He was interested in sharing the ring with McGregor, but only on the condition that his own promotion company MP Promotions co-organised the event. So no denial and instead more wood on the fire. That remark regarding the co-organising says it all. If the money is right the fight will happen. At 41 Pacquiao has very few fights left in him. One, two at the most. Right now if he walks away his legacy is obviously assured with no qualification tagged on the end. Over a 22 year period from winning the WBC flyweight title in 1998 to currently holding the WBA welterweight title he has won ten version of a world title in six different divisions and earned millions of dollars yet it seems that is not enough. Yes fighting McGregor will be very richly rewarding in money terms but it will add nothing to his boxing legacy-it certainly has not done so for Mayweather-and horror of horrors what if he actually lost? Forever his legacy would have that qualification on the end “great, great fighter-but he lost to McGregor”. What a terrible way that would be to end his great career. Obviously as it will add nothing to his legacy he is doing for the money and if he was going to donate a large part of his purse to help his fellow-countrymen as he has done in the past that would temper some of my misgivings but at the same time if he does not fight again until he fights McGregor and then retires that would be a slap in the face for real professional fighters in the WBA ratings such as Yordenis Ugas, Vergil Ortiz, Mikey Garcia or others the WBA not have in their ratings such as Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Forget Errol Spence and Terence Crawford they would be too good for a 41 year Pacquiao. I can hear the WBA rubbing their hands at the sanction fee that would come their way even if it meant approving a guy to fight for their title who had lost the only boxing match he had. I guess that would just be business as usual for them. Will a TV company take Pacquiao vs. McGregor will it sell? Of course there are still million of idiots out there who love a circus.
With Saul Alvare’s legal team resubmitting his action against DAZN and Golden Boy things are getting messy. The WBC have ordered Alvarez to fight the No 2 in their latest rankings Avni Yildirim. Alvarez is not their champion of course. He has never won their super middleweight title-he holds the secondary WBA title- but he is the WBC “Franchise champion”-what rubbish. However since Alvarez is in a legal battle with his paymasters DAZN he cannot go ahead with the Yildirim fight unless a settlement is made in his case against DAZN and Golden Boy. The WBC originally called for purse bids by 23 September. DAZN was reported to have offered Alvarez $20 million for the Yildirim fight which is a lot less than called for under their contract. The date for purse bids has now been pushed back to 6 October but it seems to me that until there is a judgement on his contract dispute Alvarez is not a free agent. That would mean him withdrawing his name from the WBC instructed fight with Yildirim and the WBC nominating someone else to fight for the vacant title. A Gordian knot that need to be cut.
It looks likely that Naoya Inoue’s title defence against Australian Jason Moloney is on for October 31 in Las Vegas. Naoya’s IBF and WBA bantamweight titles will be on the line. Moloney’s only defeat is a split decision against Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF title which was also part of the WBSS bantamweight tournament. The feisty little Australian comes to fight so it should provide plenty of entertainment. If Inoue comes through that then hopefully a unification fight with John Riel Casimero will follow. The fight was talked about last year but Casimero had visa problem but as he fought in Connecticut last week that should not be a barrier.
You can’t trust these little guys. Julio Cesar Chavez and Jorge Arce fought an exhibition and it seems that Arce ended up ambushing Chavez by taking it a lot more serious than Chavez thought he had agreed. No harm done. This was a good example of two veterans fighting as Chavez was donating the money he was paid to a clinic for addiction treatment and Arce towards providing low cost housing for people in his area.
One star female boxer and one newcomer fought at the weekend. Tony Yoka is always under pressure to win as his wife Estelle Mossely is the IBO world female lightweight champion and she outpointed Aurelie Froment on the undercard to Yoka’s win over Johann Duhaupas last Friday. Mossley also won a gold medal at the Rio Games so there was even pressure there on Tony. The other female boxer was a total newcomer. Young Jaromira Konecny won her first amateur fight last Friday. She is the 14-year-old daughter of Lukas the former interim WBO and European super welterweight champion who also promoted the show. Jaromira your dad is a former World and European champion and competed at the Olympics and your late granddad Milan was Czech light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion-no pressure there Jaromira honest.
I saw where Floyd Mayweather Jr has offered to help train Deontay Wilder for his third fight with Tyson Fury. I find it difficult to envisage what a fleet and fast Mayweather could teach a 6’ 7” Wilder. A bit like an antelope teaching a rhino to dance. I suppose he could insert some rhythm into Wilder’s work. Along the lines of –you put left jab in, your left jab out, your left jab in and you shake it all about. No stop it Eric you’re just being silly.
Good card building for the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Gervonta Davis WBA title fight (s) which will see typical WBA confusion. The fight will be for the secondary WBA lightweight title held by Davis (the real champion is Vasyl Lomachenko) and the WBA super featherweight title held by Santa Cruz-who also holds their featherweight title. Davis will have to make 130lbs for the fight so that both titles can be on the line for both fighters. The show will be before a live audience for the first time since the pandemic struck. Mario Barrios will defend the WBA secondary super lightweight title against Ryan Karl and Regis Prograis and Diego Maldonado will also appear in fights on the show.
Only 16 days until Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez. The IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles (that’s the real titles)will be on the line in what promises to be a great clash of experience against youth and power. In one of the supporting fights super middle Edgar Berlanga will be going for first round KO/TKO win No 15 in a row. The record is held by Tyrone Brunson with 19. Brunson went downhill after his 19 wins and is 9-8-2 since then but with Top Rank guiding him I can’t see that happening to Berlanga but I feel he might settle for a second round win to get that pressure of the record off his back.
I really do despair of the WBA no matter how low they go they can still go lower. They must give their Board of Governors limbo dancing lessons in fact they must be aces at it. The most recent disgrace is their No 8 cruiserweight Rafael Murphy. He is rated above former world champion Krzys Wlodarczyk. His “achievements” his last four fights sre that in his only fight in 2017 he was stopped in five rounds by Hugo Trujillo. Trujillo’s record was 2-0-1. In his only fight in 2018 he beat Juan Reyna who was 6-9-1 and had won only one of his last 9 fights. In May 2019 he beat Oswaldo Ortega who was 3-11 and in August he outpointed 11-20 Larry Pryor over four rounds. Going into the Murphy fight Pryor was 1-6 in his last 7 fights with the win being a four round points victory over someone with a 3-18-1 record. The win over Pryor suddenly saw Murphy enter the WBA ratings at No 8. I don’t want to be unfair to the WBA so please WBA work with me here advise of one honest reason for Murphy to be rated at all let alone No 8 in the world. Box Rec rates him No 175 and that seems generous.
Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) straw world champion Wanheng Menayothin will be making the thirteenth defence of his title, against his compatriot, Petchmanee CP Freshmart, on November 27, in a city to be announced. At 34 he could have a few more fights in him. He is 54-0 and if he finally retires undefeated he will be No 1 in the all-time list of world champion who have retired after winning all of their fights and second in the all-time list of world champions to retire undefeated behind Jimmy Barry who was undefeated in 68 (including ten draws) but I can’t see him hanging around to beat Barry’s record. Floyd Mayweather with 51-0 is second in the list of world champions to have won all their fights and Rocky Marciano is third on 49-0.
Boxing continues to ease its way back from the pandemic. Boxing returns to Namibia on 7 November but with no fans in attendance, There will be two separate shows one starting at 15.00 hours featuring world rated Namibians Jeremiah Nakathila the WBO No 3 super featherweight and WBO No 6 welterweight Mikka Shonena with Harry Simon Jr also on the 15.00 show. The second show will start at 21.00 and topping the card will be former WBO middleweight title challenger Walter Kautondokwa. The show will have TV coverage which makes it viable-just.
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