By Eric Armit
-Andy Ruiz shakes the boxing world to its foundations as he stops Anthony Joshua to win the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles
-Callum Smith stops Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in WBA super middle title defence
-Thai Wanheng gets win No 53 and retains his WBC minimumweight title with technical decision over Tatsuya Fukuhara
-Fanlong Meng outpoints Adam Deines in IBF final eliminator to put himself in line to challenger Artur Beterbiev for the light heavy title
-Willie Monroe returns to action with a decision over Hugo Centeno
-Ivan Redkach surprises with stoppage of former champion Devon Alexander
-Unbeaten Josh Kelly and Ray Robinson fight to a majority draw
- Former champion Chris Algieri rekindles his title hopes with win over Tommy Coyle
-Unbeaten Welshman Jay Harris decisions Spaniard Angel Moreno to win the vacant European flyweight title
-Unbeaten hopes Joshua Buatsi and Frenchman Souleymane Cissokho score wins in New York
-World rated Filipinos Jhack Tepora and Marlon Tapales register wins in California
WORLD TITLE/MAJOR SHOWS
Chachoengsao, Thailand: Minimumweight: Wanheng (53-0) W TEC DEC 8 Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6). Fly: Yodmongkol (54-4) W PTS 8 Dionatha Santos Tobias (0-1). Super Fly: Kongfah CP Freshmart (26-1) W TKO 5 Sumet Jaroenrob (0-1)
Wanheng vs. Fukuhara
Wanheng takes unanimous technical decision over Fukuhara in a return match. Japanese southpaw Fukuhara had height and reach over the champion but Wanheng was quicker drawing Fukuhara’s lead and getting inside to connect with hooks. Fukuhara was also landing well to the body. In the second a clash of heads opened a cut over the left eye of Fukuhara. The referee had the doctor examine the damage but the fight was allowed to continue. Wanheng landed a number of straight rights to increase the damage but Fukuhara hung tough and stayed in the fight scoring well to the body. Slick foot work and quick hands were giving Wanheng the edge but in their first fight Wanheng had tired badly over the late rounds so Fukuhara kept pressing. The challenger passed another doctor’s inspection but there was also some swelling around his left eye. In the seventh and eighth Fukuhara was continually charging in with his head down and eventually in the eighth his head crashed into Wanheng’s face opening a cut over the champions left eye. The referee immediately stopped the action and took Wanheng over for the doctor to assess the damage and it was ruled that the cut was too severe for Wanheng to continue so the fight was decided on the cards with the eighth round being scored. Wanheng was the winner with the three cards coming out at 78-74, 78-74 and 79-73 for Wanheng. The 31-year-old Thai was making the eleventh defence of the WBC title. He had outpointed Fukuhara in 2017. Fukuhara, the WBC No 4, was having his first fight for ten months.
Yodmongkol vs. Tobias
Only in Thailand do you find matches like this where a former interim world champion meets an opponent with no traceable record. Really just paid sparring for Yodmongkol. The former WBA interim flyweight champion has lost only 2 of his last 50 fights and they were in WBA title matches against Juan Reveco and Artem Dalakian. His last four opponents have had total records of 0-5 and 19-year-old Brazilian Tobias fits right in there.
Kongfah vs. Jaroenrob
This one every bit as bad as world rated Kongfah stops debutant Jaroenrob in four rounds. Twelve wins in a row for Kongfah since being knocked out in seven rounds by Daigo Higa for the WBC Youth title in 2015. Thai Jaroenrob again no traceable record.
New York, NY, USA: Heavy: Andy Ruiz (33-1) W TKO 7Anthony Joshua (22-1). Super Middle: Callum Smith W TKO 3Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (37-4). Super Light: Chris Algieri (24-3) W RTD 8 Tommy Coyle (25-5). Welter: Josh Kelly (9-0-1) DREW 10 Ray Robinson (24-3-2). Light Heavy: Joshua Buatsi (11-0) W TKO 4 Marco Periban (25-5-1). Middle: Souleymane Cissokho (9-0) W PTS 8 Vlad Hernandez (10-4).
Ruiz vs. Joshua
Huge upset as Ruiz climbs off the canvas and then floors Joshua four times before the bout is ended in the seventh round. He becomes the first Mexican to hold the heavyweight title and changes the dynamics of the current heavyweight scene.
A first round of study. Ruiz was tracking Joshua around the perimeter of the ring with Joshua using his longer reach to score with his jab. Both fighters tried big rights but missed and Joshua’s jabs won him the round
Score: 10-9 Joshua
After an early flurry of punches from Ruiz there was not much action in this round. Joshua was again circling the ring probing with his jab. He clipped Ruiz with a right to the chin but Ruiz just ignored it. Not much in the round but I gave it to Joshua again because of his jabs.
Score: 10-9 Joshua Joshua 20-18
Study time over in a big way in a dramatic round. After exchanging jabs again Joshua walked inside and put Ruiz down with a left hook. Ruiz was up at four and did not look too badly shaken but when the action started again Joshua landed a heavy right. He continued to throw punches looking to finish Ruiz but was wide open and a left hook from Ruiz saw Joshua’s knees buckle. Now Ruiz was storming forward throwing punches and Joshua went down. He watched the count and was up at eight. Joshua then proceeded to hold to smother Ruiz’s attacks but was wobbled again by a left. He tried to hold Ruiz off with his jab but Ruiz took him to the ropes and piled on punches until Joshua dropped just as the three minutes were up. He was up at eight but looked shaky. The round was over so Ruiz had no chance to capitalise on the two knockdowns
Score: 10-8 Ruiz Tied 28-28
Joshua was not looking to engage at all in this one. He stayed out of range hardly throwing a punch. Ruiz landed a couple of jabs but was not able to pressure hard enough but took a low action round.
Score: 10-9 Ruiz Ruiz 38-37
Joshua boxed his way through this one. He kept stabbing out the jab and moving. Ruiz was just tracking Joshua but hardly threw a single punch in the round. Late in the round Joshua landed a right and threw a couple more punches but again it was a low activity round. If not for the tension created by the dramatic third the crowd would have been calling for more action.
Score: 10-9 Joshua Tied 47-47
Better round for Ruiz. He was letting go with hooks and connecting. Joshua was just retreating and pushing out a weak jab. Ruiz was able to get inside with hooks to the head and Joshua was making no real effort to keep him off. He seemed to have lost his focus and almost seemed to be sleep-walking.
Score: 10-9 Ruiz Ruiz 57-56
Early in the seventh a left hook to the head from Ruiz un-hinged Joshua’s legs and Ruiz battered him with punches until Joshua dropped to the floor. He was up at four but again did not seem to be focused. After the eight count Joshua tried to keep Ruiz away with his jab but when he then tried to move inside to punch Ruiz again connected with head punches and Joshua went down again. Joshua made it to his feet then walked to a corner and stood with both arms resting on the top ropes. When the referee completed the eight count Joshua was still in that position not lifting his gloves as he should have down and the referee waived the fight over. Ruiz gets his reward for agreeing to fight Joshua at relatively short notice and now he can thumb his nose at those who turned down the chance. This must rate as one of the biggest shocks in the history of heavyweight boxing. Now they will all be knocking on Ruiz’s door. Where he goes from here is difficult to predict. Naturally Joshua wants a return but whereas the IBF, WBA and WBO were happy to ride on the coat-tails of Joshua the IBF may now insist that Ruiz fights their No 1 Kubrat Pulev, the WBA that he fights the winner of Manuel Charr vs. Trevor Bryan and the WBO that he fights the winner and Dillian Whyte vs. Oscar Rivas and since he can’t do all three we there will be no unified heavyweight titles. Joshua performed poorly both tactically and physically. His strong jab was reduced a weak prodding device devoid of snap, he rarely threw a right with any purpose and he spent most of the fight going backwards. At times he did not seem to be focusing on the fight and his punch resistance was low. He wants a return but may have to wait and he has a lot to work to do if he is to recover from this.
Smith vs. N’Jikam
Smith retains the WBA title with third round stoppage. Smith just too big and too powerful for a lightweight N’Jikam who hardly puts up any kind of fight and is floored in each of the three rounds.
The size discrepancy here was every bit as big as that between Joshua and Ruiz. Smith was the bigger man and he was able to connect early with left hooks to the body with N’Jikam trying to dart inside without success. Just before the bell N’Jikam suddenly launched an attack. Smith met him with a left hook to the head and N’Jikam fell to the floor. He struggled to get to his feet but raised his gloves when asked. There were only ten seconds left in the round. Smith took N’Jikam to the ropes trying to land a finishing punch. N’Jikam dropped forward to the canvas but the referee decided it was a slip and did not count and then the bell went.
Score: 10-8 Smith
N’Jikam tried a lunging attack early in this round and ran onto another left hook and was dropped on his rump. After the count N’Jikam tried to stay inside to deny Smith leverage but was rocked by another left hook. N’Jikam then used plenty of movement to stay out of further trouble.
Score: 10-8 Smith Smith 20-16
Smith shook N’Jikam with a right and worked him over on the ropes. N’Jikam fought his way of the ropes but was soon under pressure again. Smith landed a left hook to the body and some clubbing rights but N’Jikam escaped. It looked as though the challenger might make it to the bell but a huge right hook put him down on his back. He rolled over and got up but his legs wobbled and the referee stopped the fight.
The 6’3” from Liverpool was making the first defence of the WBA title he won with a knockout of George Groves in September. The big fight for Smith would be against Saul Alvarez who holds the secondary WBA title but if that fight can’t be made then from a domestic point of view John Ryder is No 1 with the WBA and Chris Eubank is No 2 and of course Billy Joe Saunders is the WBO champion. Additionally he would be favoured to beat WBC champion Anthony Dirrell and IBF champion Caleb Plant. Plenty of choices and all much harder than this fight with N’Jikam. The Cameroon-born French fighter has spent most of his career fighting at middleweight and in his last fight when he outpointed Martin Murray he weighed 157 ½ lbs. He had not fought at super middle since 2016 and the WBA did not pop him into their ratings at all until after this fight was agreed. A gift for Smith.
Algieri vs. Coyle
Algieri keeps the door open to another world title fight with win over Britain’s Coyle. With Coyle you know what you are getting. He is a tough aggressive fighter who always provides entertainment. The expectation was that Algieri would try to outbox Coyle but he had said his aim was to knock Coyle out so he also began aggressively. After a close first round Coyle shook Algeria with a right in the second and as he piled on the punches Algieri looked to be in trouble but was fighting back by the end of the round. In the fourth Algieri got through with a heavy right to the body and Coyle went down. Her beat the count and this time Coyle was the one surviving to the bell. Both scored with good body punches in the fifth. Algieri looked to be getting on top boxing more and connecting with good body punches but Coyle banged back late in the sixth forcing Algieri to the ropes under a series of punches. Algieri dominated the action in the seventh and eighth and although Coyle fought back hard he was looking tired and fading out of the fight and his corner retired their man at the end of the eighth. Now 35 the former WBO super light champion retains the WBO International title. He is currently No 5 with the WBO and is still a” name” and entertaining so another title shot is not out of the question. Coyle suffered set-backs when losing to Luke Campbell and Tyrone Nurse but had fought his way back winning the Commonwealth title with a stoppage of Sean Dodd and outpointing Ryan Kielczewski but after this defeat he may go back to domestic action.
Kelly vs. Robinson
In his first pro fight in the USA British prospect Kelly has to fight hard to get a draw with Robinson to retain the WBA International title. Kelly began the fight with his usual hands-down style showing plenty of movement and quick hands and he set out to dazzle Robinson early. The Philadelphian found the constantly shifting Kelly an elusive target and was being caught by some of the unorthodox punches Kelly conjures up. Robinson found his best tactic was to go to the body and he began to land some solid shots of his own. Both fighters had their moments over the middle rounds. Solid work from Robinson was proving an effective antidote to the flashier work from Kelly but the rounds were very close. Robinson was cut over the left eye in the seventh but had pinned Kelly in a corner for much of that round. Both landed with hard punches in the eighth, Robinson with a straight left and Kelly with a cracking right just before the bell. Kelly was cut over his right eye and they both stepped up their output trying to pull what they knew would be a close decision their way. Going into the final round two judges had Robinson in front by one point and the other had them even. Kelly did enough to take the round and saved the fight. Scores 95-95 twice and 95-94 for Kelly. With his dazzling skills Kelly has breezed by all of his opposition so far but this close call will give him some things to work on if he is to progress further. In his only fight in 2018 Robinson was floored twice and stopped by Yordenis Ugas but did much better in March this year with a draw against WBO No 1 Egidijus Kavaliauskas. That result by Robinson enhances somewhat Kelly’s performance here in only his tenth fight.
Buatsi vs. Periban
Buatsi and Callum Smith brightened what was an otherwise very disappointing /disastrous night for British boxing. Buatsi had no problems in dealing with a very faded Periban. Buatsi seems to improve with every fight. He wound up the pressure and the punishment in each round. Periban lacked the speed and power to pose a real threat and as this was his first fight for two years his reaction timing was off. Buatsi wrapped things up in the fourth. He felled Periban with a right and although Periban managed to get to his feet he was being pounded with more rights and the referee stopped the fight. The 6’2” Ghanaian-born Buatsi gets his ninth win by KO/TKO. A silver medal winner in Rio Buatsi has won his last six fights by KO/TKO and is already rated WBA 5/IBF 9(7)/WBO 13 but he has yet to be in with a name fighter so hopefully won’t be rushed. Periban, 34, won his first 20 fights before losing a majority decision to Sakio Bika for the WBC title in 2013. Later the same year he drew with the unbeaten Badou Jack but in 2015 and 2016 consecutive losses to J’Leon Love and James DeGale in 2014 knocked him back and a loss to Avni Yildirim in May 2017 sent him into semi-retirement.
Cissokho vs. Hernandez
French hope Cissokho gets a win in his first fight as a pro in the USA. He took a round and a half to get into the groove but after that he was in the driving seat controlling the fight comfortably outboxing and outscoring southpaw Hernandez. It was disappointing that Cissokho did not press harder and try for a stoppage as Hernandez had lost by TKO in his last fight but a win is a win and he will have better nights. Scores 79-73 twice and 80-72 for Cissokho. He was Captain of the French Boxing Team in Rio and won a bronze medal there. Hernandez falls to 3-4 in his last 7 fights,
San Jacinto, CA, USA: Middle: Willie Monroe Jr (24-3) W PTS 10 Hugo Centeno (27-3,1ND) W. Welter: Ivan Redkach (23-4-1,1ND) W TKO 6 Devon Alexander (27-6-1). Feather: Jhack Tepora (23-0) W PTS 10 Jose Gallegos (16-7). Feather: Marlon Tapales (33-2) W TKO 3 Roberto Castaneda (23-12-2). Heavy: Rodney Hernandez (13-7-2) W KO 1Onoriode Ehwarieme (17-1).
Monroe vs. Centeno
Monroe takes another step along the road to a title shot with unanimous decision over Centeno. Southpaw Monroe has plenty of skill, an awkward style and lots of tricks. Centeno just could not get to grips with Monroe who kept moving kept jabbing and outworked the Californian. Unfortunately Monroe’s awkward style rarely produces an entertaining fight and that is what happened here. Centeno was cut in the fourth round and had a heavy nosebleed for much of the fight. He gave away too many early rounds before getting into the fight and sweeping the middle rounds. The pace quickened over the last two rounds as Monroe took control again sliding his jab home and using slick movement to frustrate Centeno’s attacks. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Monroe. He climbed to No 2 in the WBO ratings before challenging Billy Joe Saunders for their title in 2017. He lost on points and by the next month had gone from No 2 to nowhere. He scored a couple of wins last year but a December eliminator with Jermall Charlo fell through when Monroe tested positive for high testosterone levels. At one time Centeno was 24-0 but inside the distance losses to Maciej Sulecki and Jermall Charlo meant that this was a fight he could not afford to lose.
Redkach vs. Alexander
Important win for Redkach as he floors and halts Alexander in a battle of southpaws. Under the tutelage of Roy Jones Alexander adopted a more aggressive approach in this fight which suited Redkach. Alexander’s aggression and better skills saw him edge the opening round but in the second Redkach knocked him off balance with a right and was able to find a home for some hooks from both hands. Alexander took the lead again by outscoring Redkach in the third. He was accurate with both his right jab and did some good work to the body. Redkach had more success in the fourth and fifth but Alexander looked to still be in front. Early in the sixth Redkach landed a right uppercut that sent Alexander face down on the canvas. Alexander arose and tried to buy some time by grappling with Redkach but a left hook put him on the floor again. He made it to his feet but was floored again and the referee immediately halted the contest. The 33-year-old Los Angeles-based Ukrainian looked to have lost his way suffering defeats against Tevin Farmer, Argenis Mendez and a fourth round kayo by John Molina. He steadied things with two wins and victory here should see him back in the world ratings. Alexander, 32, may be at the end of the road. Last year he drew with Victor Ortiz and lost a split verdict to Andre Berto which was good form but this is a crushing defeat.
Tepora vs. Gallegos
Tepora starts to rebuild his career and his reputation with a comfortable victory over Gallegos. Tepora was quicker and more accurate but Gallegos moved enough and landed enough to keep it a close over the first two rounds. Tepora really began to motor over the third and fourth. He was landing southpaw jabs and left hooks to the body and Gallegos just could not find the space to counter effectively. Gallegos had a bit more success in the fourth and fifth but took a beating in the sixth with a left counter from southpaw Tepora sending him back on his heels. Gallegos just could not figure out the crouching, side-on style of Tepora and was caught continually with lead lefts but he did land a cracking right hook in the eighth and Tepora had a swelling under his left eye from the punch. Tepora seemed to be aiming to get in some ring time and he did not really press his attacks in the ninth and tenth content to just do enough to win the rounds. Scores 99-91 for Tepora from all three judges. The 24-year-old Filipino southpaw is a former interim WBA featherweight champion. Winning that title was expected to lead to bigger things for Tepora but instead led to him losing his title when he came in 5 ½ lbs over the limit for a defence in January with the indiscipline casting a shadow over his career. He came in at 127lbs for this fight which was within the weight stipulated in the contract so hopefully he will quickly get back to title action. Three defeats in a row for Gallegos following losses to Ricardo Lara and Erick De Leon.
Tapales vs. Castaneda
Former WBO bantam champion Tapales steamrollers a gutsy but shop-worn Castaneda to defeat in three rounds. Castaneda was coming forward aggressively in the first but he was slow and predictable. Tapales was ducking under Castaneda’s swings and coming up with body punches. One landed low and Castaneda was allowed a bit of recovery time. In the next exchange Castaneda glanced at the referee to indicate Tapales had gone low again but Tapales took him to the ropes and dropped him with a left and right to the head. Castaneda was up at eight and used his experience to get through the rest of the round. In the second Castaneda was blasted with right hooks, straight lefts and uppercuts but kept swinging just enough to convince the referee he was still able to fight back. The doctor checked Castaneda in his corner before the start of the third but cleared him to continue. Castaneda was rocked by punch after punch in the third but kept throwing wild swings. Eventually yet another left to the head sent him into a corner where he slumped against the ropes and the referee then came in and stopped the fight. The 27-year-old Filipino won the WBO title with an eleventh round kayo of Pungluang in 2016 but lost it in 2017. Although he stopped challenger Shoei Omori he had failed to make the weight and lost the title on the scales. He was then inactive for seventeen months before coming back with a win last September. He is now on a twelve bout winning streak and has lost only once, on a majority decision, in his last 26 fights. He is No 4 with both the IBF and WBO so an interesting addition to a division where some good fights can be made. Castaneda is a very old looking 27 and has been in too many tough matches. He is now 2-6-1 in his last 9 fights.
Hernandez vs. Ehwarieme
As an upset in a heavyweight fight this was not in the same class as Ruiz vs. Joshua but it was an upset. The 6’7” Ehwarieme was able to use his reach early against the 6’3” Hernandez and when Hernandez bulled his way inside Ehwarieme tied him up then shoved him off. With less than ten seconds to go in the round Hernandez forced Ehwarieme to the ropes and landed a punch to the body and then nailed him with a left hook to the head. That started Ehwarieme on his way to the floor and Hernandez landed another left hook to help him on his way. Ehwarieme went to the canvas face down. He managed to struggle to his feet but was still very shaky and the referee stopped the fight. Hernandez had a 0-3-1 spell in 2016/2017 but last June he took a split decision over unbeaten 16-0 LaRon Mitchell. Nigerian Ehwarieme has certainly travelled. He turned pro in Indonesia and has since fought in Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina and now the USA. His opposition has been mediocre at best so it remains to be seen in if he is better than he showed here.
Concordia, Argentina: Welter: Gustavo Vittori (23-5-1) W PTS 10 Carlos Santana (15-3). Neighbourhood fighter Vittorio overcome handicap from a swelling that severely restricted his vision to win the vacant WBC Latino title. Having said that Santana looked very unlucky not to get the decision. A clash of heads in the first round started a swelling around the right eye of Vittori and bit by bit the swelling increased so that he could only see out of a slit. Punches from Santana had Vittori bleeding from nose and mouth by the third and Santana moved further in front when Vittorio was deducted a point for punches to the back of the head in the fourth. The middle rounds were close and Vittori survived examinations of his reduced vision in the eighth and ninth. He came into the fight more as Santana tired to make it close but still did not seem to have done enough to take the decision. Scores 96-93 for Vittori from all three judges. The 29-year-old “Puppy” Vittori levels his recent form to 3-3 with two of the three losses suffered against unbeaten Alex Saucedo and Mikkel LesPierre in the USA. He is No 6 with the Argentinian Federation. Santana was moving up to ten rounds for the first time and hopefully will get a return. He is No 9 super light in the national ratings.
Milan, Italy: Feather: Mauro Forte (13-0-1) W RTD 6 Michael Pappoe (24-6). Southpaw Forte too clever and, as his name says, too strong for tough but limited Pappoe. From the outset as Pappoe advanced behind a high but not tight guard. Forte was slotting jabs home, changing angles and landing hooks to the body of the Ghanaian. Forte used those same tactics over the opening four rounds with a frustrated Pappoe unable to really find a solution. In the fifth Pappoe launched himself forward but Forte side-stepped and landed a punch on the back of the Ghanaian’s head. Pappoe went down complaining about the punch but the referee continued the count. Pappoe arose but took some more punishment and his legs were unsteady as he returned to his corner. In the sixth Forte was driving Pappoe back and connecting with punches to head and body with Pappoe really just covering up and after the bell he retired. Forte, 25, a former undefeated Italian champion, adds the IBF International title to the WBC Mediterranean title he already holds. Pappoe, 34, now has two losses by KO/TKO and he loses every time he tries to move up.
Panama City, Panama: Super Fly: Elton Dharry (24-5-1) W PTS 10 Gilberto Pedroza (18-5-2). Dharry wins two titles in the same night with unanimous decision over local fighter Pedraza. It was a simple case of Pedraza just being too small and too light to tackle Dharry. The visitor was able to bull Pedraza in the clinches and Pedraza lacked the power to change that. Dharry had Pedraza down in the seventh and was a clear winner. Scores 97-92 twice and a too close 95-94 all for Dharry. He wins the WBA Fedecentro and WBC Fecarbox titles. Dharry, 33, has been a pro for fourteen years and is unbeaten in his last 20 fights. That’s a long time to have made so little progress with never a hint of a world title shot but if you never take the risk you never get the reward. Pedraza was stopped in four rounds by Ken Shiro in a WBC light flyweight title challenge in December 2017 and his manager said he will go back down in weight in his next fight.
Warsaw, Poland: Cruiser: Michal Cieslak (19-0,1ND) W TKO 2 Olan Durodola (29-7). Cieslak stops Durodola in two rounds. The Pole was fired up for this one. He was on the front foot switching guards scoring with both left and right jabs and then connecting with hooks landing heavily to the head just before the bell to end the first round. In the second Cieslak connected with a clubbing right to the head that sent Durodola stumbling to the ropes on shaky legs. He hung on the ropes with his right arm hooked over the top rope holding him up. Cieslak clobbered the Nigerian with head punches and as Durodola’s right arm came free of the ropes he started to slump to the floor. The referee stepped in and halted the fight with Durodola protesting he was able to continue but it was the right decision. The 30-year-old EBU No 1 collects the vacant Polish International title. He is coming off a career best win over Youri Kayembre Kalenga in March and with Durodola rated No 11 by the WBC that should enable him to get a rating. Durodola, 38, was 4-3 going into this one but the 4 were unimportant matches and the three were losses to Dmitry Kudryashov, Maksim Vlasov and Krzys Wlodarczyk. I haven’t seen it before but there was wire fence around the ring from the bottom rope to the canvas presumably to stop a fighter rolling on to the ring apron and thence to the floor.
Belgrade, Serbia: Light Heavy: Marko Nikolic (24-0) W PTS 10 Adriano Sperandio (11-1). Heavy: Bogdan Filipovic (26-1) W TKO 2 Marino Goles (24-9).
Nikolic vs. Sperandio
Nikolic wins the vacant WBC Mediterranean title with unanimous decision over Italian Sperandio. This was a hard fought, entertaining contest which was close all the way with local fighter Nikolic building a lead and then resisting a strong finish by Italian Sperandio to win his first pro title. Sperandio faced a crisis in the second being badly shaken and only just avoiding a knockdown. The Italian rallied over the third and fourth after which two judges had the scores at 38-38 each and the third judge had Nikolic in front 39-37. Nikolic effectively won the fight with a strong showing over the next three rounds to now lead on all three cards at 68-65 twice and 67-66. Sperandio battled hard trying to claw back the deficit over the last three rounds but just coming up short. Scores 96-94 twice and 96-95 all for Nikolic. The 30-year-old Serbian fireman was a top level amateur winning Serbian titles at Junior and Senior level and competing at the World and European Championships, He mainly fought at 81kgs but moved down to light heavyweight for this fight. He is hoping to use his first title as a springboard to winning others. Sperandio has a similar amateur background being a former Italian champion with over 100 fights behind him and with the result so close he naturally felt he had won but Nikolic deserved the decision.
Former top level amateur Sperandio, 31, may look inexperienced but he had over 100 amateur fights and is a former Italian amateur champion.
Filipovic vs. Goles
Serb oldie Filipovic wins the vacant WBC CIS and Slovak belt with stoppage of anther aging fighter in Goles. Filipovic, 42, has won 24 of his fights by KO/TKO but being stopped in three rounds in February by 45-year-old Danny Williams puts him into context. Croatian Gomes, 39, loses whenever he tries to step up and this is his eighth loss by KO/TKO.
Scunthorpe, England: Light Heavy: Dec Spelman (16-2) W PTS 10 Kirk Garvey (12-3). Spelman takes the English title from Garvey on a unanimous decision. The 6’3” Garvey was at his best when he could create some space to use his jab. Spelman was marching forward strongly and he rocked Garvey in the second. Spelman’s aggression kept Garvey on the back foot but he was jabbing well and mixing in straight rights. Spelman just kept on coming and was scoring with hard jabs of his own. He had Garvey in trouble at the end of the fifth but was cut over his left eye in a clash of heads and it bled for the rest of the fight. Spelman’s relentless pressure kept him in control but Garvey fought back hard. It was an excellent contest but Spelman was a clear winner. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 97-94 for home town fighter Spelman. On his shorts Spelman wears a tribute to Scott Westgarth who outpointed Spelman in February last year but then collapsed in the dressing room and was taken to the hospital but died two days later. Garvey was making the first defence of the English title he won in March with a victory over Mike Shinkwin.
Glasgow, Scotland: Welter: Martin Harkin (10-0) W KO 4 Ally Black (9-5-1). Harkin wins the vacant BBB of C Celtic title with savage kayo of Black in an all-Scottish clash. This was an entertaining scrap while it lasted. Black was busier in the first pumping out jabs and moving in with hooks. Harkin had the longer reach and was dangerous with right crosses and left hooks. Harkin showed his power in the second dropping Black with a right to the head. Black beat the count and although he made it to the bell he suffered severe punishment from hooks and neck-jarring uppercuts. Despite that bad round Black was not about to cave in and he took the fight to Harkin in the third connecting with some hefty rights to the head. He was often forcing Harkin back but he just did not have the power to match Harkin who continued to land some hurtful hooks. A gutsy Black tried to punch with Harkin in the fourth. He was rocked a couple of times and then shaken by a left hook. Harking threw another left hook to the head and Black went down like a puppet that had his strings cut and the referee immediately waived the fight off. Fourth win by KO/TKO for the 27-year-old from Dumbarton who was in his first fight scheduled for ten rounds. Black, a former Scottish Area champion. was 4-1 in his last 5 fights
Harare, Zimbabwe: Middle: Lukas Ndafoluma (16-2,1ND ) W KO 4 Liberty Muwani (4-4). Namibian Ndafoluma wipes out seriously overmatched local fighter Muwani. It was clear from the start that Ndafoluma was streets ahead of the Zimbabwean novice who had very little technique and no power. Ndafoluma hunted Muwani down in the first and looked to have scored a knockdown in the second but the referee ruled it was a slip. Muwani had a good third as Ndafoluma seemed to lose focus. The Namibian woke up again the in fourth forcing Muwani to a corner and landing a thunderous right putting Muwani down to the floor against the ropes and he was counted out. The 6’2” 33-year-old Ndafoluma now has 11 wins on the bounce but wins like this are meaningless. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for Muwani.
Cardiff, Wales: Fly: Jay Harris (16-0) W PTS 12 Angel Moreno (19-4-2). Super Light: Kieran Gething (9-2-1) W PTS 10 Craig Woodruff (7-5). Light: Craig Evans (20-2-2) W PTS 10 Stephen Ormond (27-5). Light: Sultan Zaurbek (7-0) W TKO 8 Sergio Gonzalez (10-16-5). Welter: Zhankosh Turarov (23-0) W RTD 2 Richmond Djarbeng (29-4-1). Super Bantam: Sean McGoldrick (9-0) W PTS 6 Moises Mojica (9-6-2).
Harris vs. Moreno
Harris wins the vacant European title with wide unanimous decision over a gutsy and competitive Moreno. It was bombs away at the bell from this one. Moreno piled into Harris firing punches from both hands. Harris banged back and they traded punches for most of the three minutes. Twice Harris had Moreno pinned against the ropes with Moreno looking to be in trouble but Moreno punched his way off the ropes as they traded to the bell of a hectic opening round. Harris kept up the pressure in the second with Moreno now having to show his clever defensive work as Harris worked him over on the ropes. A clash of heads saw Harris cut over his left eye. Harris was proving too strong for Moreno. The Spaniard was standing and exchanging punches occasionally but Harris was sustaining his attacks and continually forcing Moreno to give ground and was obviously the harder puncher. Only Moreno’s foot work and clever bobbing and weaving were keeping him in the fight. Harris was pressing all of the time with Moreno only attacking in very short bursts or leaping in with one punch and darting out again but it was Harris winning the rounds. Harris rocked Moreno with some heavy rights in the middle rounds but Moreno took the punishment and remained in the fight. Harris continued to dominate the exchanges and by the tenth Moreno was showing a swelling under his right eye and he had been cut beside the same eye in a clash of heads in the ninth. Despite the dominance enjoyed by Harris and the punishment he handed out there was never any doubt that Moreno would last the distance. The little gutsy Spaniard just kept coming back for more and was still fighting hard at the end of the twelfth. Scores 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111 for Harris who already holds the Commonwealth title. The 28-year-old from Swansea is rated IBF 9 (8)/WBO 13/WBC 14 and needs to kick on from here against some tougher opposition if he is going to land a shot at a world title with WBC champion Charlie Edwards an obvious target. The 35-year-old Moreno, who fights under the banner of Sergio Martinez, needed two attempts to make the weight. He was floored and outpointed by Edwards in March but has plenty of fight left in him and is an entertaining performer.
Gething vs. Woodruff
Gething holds on to his Welsh title with narrow points victory over Woodruff. The 6’0” Woodruff had height and reach over Gethin and worked his jab well. Gething kept storming forward looking to get inside a land with hooks. The rounds were close with neither fighter having the power to dominate. Woodruff did his best work when he was moving and countering and Gethin when getting past Woodruff’s jab and firing hooks to the body. As they tired things became a bit untidy as Woodruff looked to tie Gething up. The decision could have gone either way but Gethin had been just a little bit busier and took the decision. Referee’s score 97-95 for Gethin. First defence of the Welsh title for Gethin and third win in a row. Wood was inactive for four years but had scored two wins after returning to action in November last year.
Evans vs. Ormond
Evans gets repeat win over Ormond. The better boxing from Evans put him in the driving seat and he never really lost control. As usual Ormond fought hard but just could not match the work rate or accuracy of the Welsh southpaw. Knowing he was behind Ormond staged a storming finish pressing hard enough for Evans to lose a point for holding in the last but by then Evans was already assured of victory. Scores 98-92, 97-92 and 95 94 for Evans. He retains the WBO European title. He had Ormond on the floor twice in the last round when they fought in 2017 but could not keep him there and won on points. Ormond, 36, announced his retirement after the fight. Irish boxing will miss “The Rock”
Zaurbek vs. Gonzalez
Southpaw Zaurbek was much too quick for Gonzalez. He was daring in landing right jabs and lefts to head and body and getting out before Gonzalez could counter. Gonzalez kept trying to close the distance but he was eating counters and a sustained attack from Zaurbek in the third had the referee looking closely at Gonzalez to see if he needed to be rescued. Gonzalez took more punishment in the fourth but connected with two rights to the head at the bell. It was target practice for Zaurbek in the fifth and a punch opened a cut over the left eye of Gonzalez. Zaurbek took time in the sixth to mock Gonzalez for his wild swings. In the seventh as Zaurbek put some flashing combinations together it looked as though he could end the fight whenever he chose. Zaurbek cut loose in the eighth driving Gonzalez around the ring with hurtful shots to head and body. The referee watched the action very closely and with blood running down Gonzalez face and heavy shots landing from Zaurbek he stopped the fight. A former World Youth Championships silver medallist the 23-year-old London-based Kazak is another to follow. Gonzalez just one more game but outclassed member of the Nicaraguan/ Barcelona “losers supplied” club.
Turarov vs. Djarbeng
Kazakh Turarov returns to action with an easy victory over Ghanaian Djarbeng. The menacing looking Turarov was tracking the retreating Djarbeng around the ropes looking to land overhand right and left hooks. Djarbeng just poked out his jab and tried a couple off right crosses but looked slow. Turarov continued to hunt Djarbeng in the second and scored with some powerful rights to the head. In the interval Djarbeng would not let his second insert his mouthguard insisting that he was suffering body cramps and he retired from the fight. The 28-year-old Turarov turned pro at 18 and has fought in the Dominican Republic and the USA as well as Kazakhstan but has not faced a name opponent or really been tested. He has also had periods of low activity fighting only once in 2014 and 2015 and was inactive in 2018. Now based in Florida he looked very good here and hopefully will be more active under the MTK banner. Djarbeng has a heavily padded record and the only other time he has tried to step up was a fight with Jeff Horn in 2015 where he was floored three times and halted in the third round.
McGoldrick vs. Mojica
McGoldrick wins decision over a feisty Mojica. The visitor from Nicaragua made a bright start with plenty of jabs as he continually switched guards. McGoldrick worked behind his jab and was digging in left hooks to the body. McGoldrick was in control in the second and third adding clubbing rights to the head to his arsenal but Mojica continued to be happy to trade punches. McGoldrick was attacking the body again in the fourth but strayed low and lost a point. The pressure was wearing Mojica down. He rallied briefly at the start of the fifth but from there to the final bell was still competitive but taking a beating to the body. Referee’s score 59-55 for McGoldrick. The 27-yerar-old Welshman won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games-originally a silver but was upgraded to gold when his opponent tested positive for a banned substance- and a bronze at the Commonwealth’s in 2014, he competed at the European and World Championships and is developing well as a pro. Mojica was having his first fight under the “Barcelona loser’s” squad banner and fought well making McGoldrick work for his win.
Vicente Lopez, Argentina: Feather: Diego Ruiz (21-2.) W PTS 10 Luis Cusolito (27-4,1ND). Substitute Ruiz wins the vacant WBC Latino title and heads on into the final of the national featherweight tournament with split verdict over Cusolito. Over the first four rounds Cusolito used his longer reach to outbox the smaller Ruiz who kept pressing but with little success. That changed over the next four rounds as Ruiz worked his jab and pressed a tiring Cusolito. The closing two rounds were very close with Cusolito rallying and looking to have just done enough to turn the fight his way but it was very close and the decision went to Ruiz. Score 96-94 twice for Ruiz and 96-94 for Cusolito. Ruiz “The Prophet” ,a former undefeated national bantamweight champion, took this fight at just one week notice. He gets his ninth win in a row. He is No 4 at super bantam with Argentinian Federation. Cusolito, the Argentinian No 5 lost to Moises Fuentes in a challenge for the interim WBA super bantam title in 2015 and is a former South American champion.
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tommy Browne (41-7-2) W PTS 12 Jorge Miranda (56-19). Browne makes a successful first defence of the WBFoundation title with wide unanimous decision over Argentinian Miranda. The Argentinian proved to be tough and experienced but limited. Browne was the busier fighter all the way. He had a handicap from early in the fight when a punch from Miranda caused bleeding inside Browne’s mouth but his corner managed to control that. Browne had height and reach over Miranda and that plus faster hand speed saw him build an unassailable lead. Miranda had a big eleventh but never really threatened Browne’s title. Scores 120-108, 120-109 and 119-109 all for Browne. The 36-year-old Australian has now won his last five fights. He is aiming to fight in the USA and is currently based there. Miranda, 35, is closing in on celebrating 16 years as a pro but this is only his fourth fight in the last four years.
Offenbach, Germany: Cruiser: Semir Bajrovic (19-1-2) W TKO 3 Sami Enbom (18-3). Serbian Bajrovic extends his current unbeaten run to 12 with stoppage of Finnish southpaw Enbom. The 28-year-old Bajrovic gets win No 13 by KO/TKO. Bajrovic, really a super middle was fight two divisions above his normal weight and says he will go back down to super middle now. Bajrovic had only beaten one other fighter with a positive record and this counts as his best win so far but with just one fight in 2017 and one in 2018 he needs to get serious about his career. Enbon was coming off a first round stoppage by Fabio Turchi in April.
Varpalota, Hungary: Cruiser: Imre Szello (24-0) W TKO 2 Juan Basualdo (11-5-1). Super Middle: Mate Kris (15-0-2) W PTS 8 Geard Ajetovic (31-22-1)
Szello vs. Basualdo
No threat to Szello’s WBO No 1 rating here as he wipes the floor with Argentinian Basualdo. Szello had no trouble brushing aside the weak jabs of the South American southpaw. He put Basualdo down twice in the first and after Basualdo went to the floor another two times in the second the fight was stopped. The 35-year-old “Imo” is just waiting for the smoke to clear after the WBSS Tournament is over . With Oleg Usyk moving up to heavyweight but not yet having relinquished the WBO cruiser title Szello is in limbo. Four overseas trips and four losses in a row for Basualdo
Kris vs. Ajetovic
Local fighter Kiss takes unanimous decision over Serb veteran Ajetovic. The experienced Serb is playing the role of imported loser now and has had some tough assignments. Kiss dominated seven of the eight rounds with Ajetovic coming to life in the seventh round and giving Kiss a couple of anxious moments but ending a clear loser. Kris, 25, has scored useful domestic wins over Richard Baranyi in Hungarian title fights and has collected eight wins in a row. Ajetovic, 38, has now lost five fight in a row in five different countries.
Udine, Italy: Light Heavy: Davide Faraci (13-0) W TKO 7 Nicola Ciriani (17-3-1). Faraci invades the home town of Ciriani and leaves with Ciriani’s Italian title. This match lacked real entertainment with both fighters looking to use their jabs and their styles not really gelling. There was too much wrestling, with both fighters on the floor and too much holding. Both scored with heavy rights at the end of the sixth and in the seventh a hard right cross from Faraci sent Ciriani down on his knees. Ciriani climbed off the floor but after the count another right shook him. Faraci followed that with a deadly right uppercut inside which floored Ciriani for a second time with the fight being stopped. Swiss-born Faraci, 27, makes it seven wins by KO/TKO. He splits his fighting time between Switzerland and Italy and is a former Swiss amateur champion who turned pro after failing to qualify for Rio. Second loss by KO/TKO for Ciriani who is a former undefeated Italian cruiser champion who moved down a division to win the light heavy title.
Tokyo, Japan: Fly: Junto Nakatani (19-0) W KO 1 Philip Cuerdo (11-7-1). Super Welter: Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2) W PTS 8 Charles Bellamy (28-4-2).
Nakatani vs. Cuerdo
Nakatani blows away substitute Cuerdo in just 83 minutes. Nakatani landed some early jabs and then forced Cuerdo to the ropes and sunk home a powerful left hook to the body. Cuerdo slumped to the floor and was counted out. The 21-year-old Japanese champion, the WBO No 3, has 14 wins by KO/TKO. The 5’7” southpaw won a couple of Junior titles and when he left High School in Japan he travelled on his own to the USA to train under and live with Rudy Hernandez. He looks a very good prospect. Filipino Cuerdo suffers his second one round defeat in a row. He came in at short notice after Nakatani’s original opponent pulled out after being diagnosed with a detached retina.
Shimizu vs. Bellamy
When these two clashed in September Bellamy took a very narrow split decision. This time it was Shimizu who came out on top but with a unanimous decision- but again a very tight one. The tactics didn’t change with Bellamy striding forward and Shimizu boxing slotting home jabs, left hooks and quick counters. Bellamy’s had a 7lbs weight advantage here and although heavy rights had helped him take the verdict in September Shimizu’s boxing impressed the judges more this time. Scores 78-74, 77-75 and 77-76 for Shimizu. With only one fight in each of years 2016 and 2017 and his losing to Bellamy in his only fight in 2018 Shimizu was unrated but with former OPBF and Japanese champion Bellamy No 8 in the Japanese ratings Shimizu should find himself allocated a slot. New York-born Bellamy had hopes of a world title shot but those ended when he lost to Jermell Charlo and Yuki Nonaka in 2014 and at 37 he won’t be getting a chance.
Macao, S.A.R, and China: Light Heavy: Fanlong Meng (15-0) W PTS 12 Adam Deines (17-1-1). Important win for Meng as he aims for a shot at the IBF title. This one started as a cagey tactical contest between two southpaws and never real changed much. Meng was quicker working away with his jab and stepping in with long lefts. Deines was just not throwing enough punches and trying the old tactic of finishing a round with a flurry of activity but rarely connected. Meng had the longer reach and better hand speed. Deines scored with some counters in the fourth and fifth but was not putting Meng under any pressure and allowing the Chinese fighter too much room. In the eighth it could be that Meng became complacent because after easily finding the target with right jabs and hooks he was knocked down by a heavy right from Deines. He was immediately and after the count Deines stormed forward trying to land another big punch. Meng looked shaky but by the end of the round he had forced Deines back and was letting rip with some punches of his own. Meng clearly took the ninth and despite a big effort from Deines in the tenth Meng was getting the better of the exchanges. Deines was just looking to connect with big lefts in the eleventh but Meng had no trouble ducking inside those punches and finding gaps for his jabs and straight lefts. In the twelfth Deines was already a long way behind and his position worsened when he was harshly penalised for hitting on the break and Meng was more accurate as they swapped punches to the bell. Scores 117-109, 116-110 and 115-111 all for Meng. The 31-year-old 6’2” “Cold Blood” was making the second defence of his IBF Inter-Continental but more important was the status of this fight as a final eliminator making Meng the mandatory challenger for Artur Beterbiev’s IBF title. The only recognisable name on Meng’s record is Frank Buglioni who he stopped in five rounds in November but he is tall and tough and as Callum Johnson showed Beterbiev does not have a water-tight defence. It is a similar story with Deines as again there is an absence of any notable opponents on his record with a split decision over Stefan Haertel his best result. He is 28 and his management has influence so he will be rebuilt as a contender.
Linares. Mexico: Super Fly: Francisco Rodriguez (31-4-1) W TKO 2 David Barreto (12-1). Super Light: Lindolfo Delgado (10-0) W KO 3 Eduardo Cordovez (12-1-1).
Rodriguez vs. Barreto
Rodriguez much too good for Venezuelan novice Barreto. The visitor had won all twelve of his fights by KO/TKO which made him look a danger but Rodriguez just brushed him aside. Rodriguez put Barreto down in the first with a wicked right to the body. The Venezuelan made it to his feet and tried to drive Rodriguez back but was trapped in a corner and Rodriguez kept punching until Barreto fell forward on his knees. Again Barreto beat the count and was saved by the bell. In the second Rodriguez . had Barreto backing along the ropes taking plenty of punishment. Barreto escaped but Rodriguez connected with two body punches and Barreto went down on one knee. He beat the count and for a while had Rodriguez in a corner and showered him with punches. Rodriguez was not even mildly shaken and then he opened up and drove Barreto to the floor and the referee halted the massacre. The 25-year-old Rodriguez wins the vacant WBC International Silver title with his 22nd win by KO/TKO. A former undefeated WBO and IBF minimum champion Rodriguez suffered consecutive losses in 2015 to Donnie Nietes for the WBO light fly title and to Moises Fuentes. He has rebuilt steadily since then with twelve wins and is at No 5 super fly with the WBC and No 6 with the WBO. Barreto’s record was built on poor opposition with 11 of his 12 victims never having won a fight
Delgado vs. Cordovez
Olympian Delgado was fed another Venezuelan with a heavily padded record and also won inside the distance. Delgado had Cordovez down twice in the second round from fearsome rights to the body. In the third as Cordovez walked forward Delgado met him with a rib-bending left hook to the body with Cordovez going down on his knees and being counted out. All ten of the 24-year-old Delgado’s fights have ended early and his body punching here was savage. As with Barreto eleven of the guys Cordovez beat had never won a fight.
Berne, Switzerland: Welter: Ricardo Silva (17-2-1) DREW 10 Andranik Hakobyan (13-1-2). Super Light: Alain Chervet (16-1-2) W PTS 8 Edgar Jimenez (23-15-2).
Silva vs. Hakobyan
These two faced each other when they were amateurs with each registering a win and they knew each other well so well that they largely cancelled each other out and had to settle for a draw. It was a hard fought contests with many rounds being close but with neither fight able to dominate a draw looked about right and the Swiss title remains vacant. Scores 96-94 for Silva and 95-95 twice. Portuguese-born southpaw Silva is 4-1-1 in his last 6 fight with his two losses both against unbeaten French fighters in France. Armenian-born Hakobyan, a former Swiss super light champion, had won his last three fight against experienced but not too threatening opponents.
Chervet vs. Jimenez
Chervet still carries into the ring the name of one of the greatest Swiss fighters and is doing what he can to live up to the reputation of Fritz. Chervet had lost of height and reach over Jimenez and that plus a lack of activity were too much for Jimenez to overcome. Chervet won every round clearly able to hold off the lunging attacks of Jimenez. He had Jimenez on the floor cracking the little Mexican with a left to the body and right to the head that saw Jimenez backing off and then going down on one knee but he got up and lasted the distance. Chervet wins his third fight in a row on points. He has not yet fought for a Swiss title so that might be the logical next step. First fight in almost 13 months for Jimenez.
Fight of the week (Significance): It has to be Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Nothing really stood out
Fighter of the week: Andy Ruiz
Punches of the week: Callum Smith’s short right hook that ended his fight with Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, the left hook from Martin Harkin that dropped Ally Black like a sack of potatoes and the left hook from Lukas Ndafoluma that laid out Liberty Muwani were all spectacular.
Upset of the week: Has to be Andy Ruiz stopping Anthony Joshua.
Prospect watch: Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado a super lightweight who is now 10-0 10 wins by KO/TKO.
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