The Japanese Featherweight scene in the 1990's is really over-looked now a days. The fighters weren't the best in the world, but a number of them fought in world title bouts during an era where they all seemed to be in some great fights. In recent weeks we've included bouts featuring some of those fighters in this series, and today we include another such fight, this time with two of them facing off. This isn't an out an out war, like some bouts in this series, but it's still a very, very good fight from two men who matched up well and left a lot of themselves in the ring.
Warning, this one is a bit bloody, but bloody good as well
Koji Matsumoto (15-3-1, 7) vs Nobutoshi Hiranaka (12-0, 8)
Now a days Koji Matsumoto is regarded as one of the best trainers in Japan, working at the Ohashi gym where he helped mould the careers of fighters like Akira Yaegashi and Ayaka Miyao. Back in the 1990's he was a genuinely good fighter himself. As a fighter he challenged 3 times for a world title, and gave Yong Soo Choi fits in a very close and competitive bout in 1997. As well as his world title bouts he would also go on to have 3 reigns as the Japanese Featherweight champion. He was a talented southpaw boxer, who was gutsy, a smart mover, and had under-rated sting on his shots. He wasn't a power puncher, but he hit the target clean. He entered 1994 as the Japanese Featherweight champion and was looking to extend a reign that had began back in February 1992.
In the opposite corner was Nobutoshi Hiranaka, the younger brother of former 140lb world champion Akinobu. Like his older sibling Hiranaka was a heavy handed puncher and won a staggering 74% of his amateur bouts by stoppage. That power had carried over to the professional ranks, where he scored 8 stoppages in his first 12 bouts. Whilst his competition wasn't the best early on it was clear he was a brutish puncher and matched that power with an ability to take a shot. Despite being heavy handed he was also a capable boxer, making him more of a boxer-puncher than just a physically imposing banger. His style was aggressive and exciting and it matched up well with his power at domestic level. Having won his first 12 bouts he was now getting his first title bout, and was taking on a very solid champion with world level experience.
The opening round saw the two southpaws try to get a read on each other, but within 30 seconds the bout was had warmed up nicely. They two weren't being over-wreckless, but they were both being aggressive, trading punches in some nice exchanges before getting back behind their jabs and seeing that the other had. It was clear that Matsumoto was the fighter happier with moving, whilst the moustached Hiranaka was the fighter with more pop in his shots and more belief in his power. Despite that belief he was cut around the right eye in the opening round, from a clash of heads. That cut happening so early could have stopped the fight, but instead it went on. Boy did that cut change the graphics of the fight and give Matsumoto a target to work on.
The second round saw both men putting their foot on the gas a little more. This was most notable when Matsumoto got Hiranaka on the ropes and worked away on the challenger with some eye catching blows. Despite good moments from Matsumoto it again seemed like Hiranaka was the more dangerous fighter and his blows seemed to have more on them on a punch by punch basis than Matsumoto's.
By round 4 Hiranaka's shorts had began to look discoloured as the claret ran from his cut. Despite that the two men fought up close through the round, giving us a genuinely incredibly 3 minutes of action, with big shots up close. Unlike many we see now the action wasn't being halted when the men worked up close but was instead mostly exciting, mauling with both men letting their hands go, a lot.
Round by round the blood ran from Hiranaka's cut, and began to not just cover his shots but also that of Matsumoto, and left some small puddles on the ring canvas. It wasn't a total blood bath, but it was getting visibly messy due to the blood. Despite that neither man slowed down, with both desperate for the victory, and the title. This genuinely lead to some amazing moments late on, which we won't ruin any further.
Whilst this isn't one of the more well known war from Japanese boxing history it is a bout that is well worthy of a watch. A proper, gruelling, bloody, war.
By Eric Armit
The richest fight in boxing history is slowly edging its way across the starting line. Just a few I’s to cross and T’s to dot (Yes I know it is supposed to be the other way around but this is boxing so nothing is normal). There’s good news and bad news. The good is we have an idea of the day the deed will be done with a date somewhere in the spread between the last two weeks in July and the first week in August. The bad news is that it will almost certainly be in that great fight city of Jeddah. Not London, not Las Vegas, not New York. A city where human rights are ignored, women are treated as second class citizens at best, imported labour lives in squalid conditions with virtually no rights and alcohol is banned-and those are its good points! Putting those niceties aside from my visits to the area when working in the oil industry the only exercise you indulged in was rushing from one air-conditioned building to the next before the sun frizzled you up. Oil dollars will have bought the richest fight in boxing history and only 0.0000001% of boxing fans will be able to say “I was there” but it is better than no fight at all. I just hope we get a great fight-but if not there is always the return match-and don’t rule out a return of the return if it is 1-1 after the first two fights. Wonder where the 2022 fight will be staged!
Suddenly boxing is experiencing some seismic changes. Eddie Hearn is ending his association with Sky Sport and uniting with DAZN and taking his Matchroom fighters with him although Sky will continue to have an involvement in the fights of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. DAZN is planning to make the Saul Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight available in the UK through its app. An indication of the competition it aims to bring to the UK market. Whilst that will be a blow to Sky Sport Boxing it leaves a gap for another promoter to enter into a partnership with Sky Sport. Frank Warren has an ongoing contract with BT Sport and there is another player entering the field.
Wasserman, a huge global sports agency, has bought the Sauerland organisation and it too is targeting the British boxing scene looking to use its massive wealth to sign up British boxers. Sauerland had looked to have taken its eye of the ball in Germany losing some key fighters and not announcing any star signings. There was also no mention of the future of the WBBS so it remains to be seen if it has a future after the way the cruiserweight tournament limped to a finish.
The farcical position with the WBA myriad of heavyweight titles continues. On 15 May in Hamburg Mahmoud Charr will defends his WBA title “champion in recess” against Chris Lovejoy the boxer with one of them most ludicrous records for any title challenger in any division at any time. However that is not certain as Don King has said he has an exclusive promotion contract with Lovejoy and is threatening to stop the fight. He did the same when Lovejoy was to have fought in Britain. The promoter in Hamburg is going ahead with the title defence and if it is not possible to use Lovejoy then he will ditch Lovejoy and replace him with another fighter. It has been over three years since Charr last fought and Lovejoy is not currently in the WBA rankings. He has had just one fight in the last two years and his last five opponents had records of 3-10-1, 2-18-0, 0-3-0, 6-52-2 and his last opponent in January was Misael Sanchez who was 12-16-7 and Box Rec had him at 433 in the World. The question is that since the WBA already have a Super, Secondary and Gold champion and Charr is champion in recess what title does the winner of the Charr vs. Lovejoy then hold?
Andy Ruiz is said to have dropped 60lbs in training for his fight with Chris Arreola. Of course the question is what weight he started at. He had gone from 268lbs to 283lbs for the two Anthony Joshua fights so if he has dropped 60lbs from the 268lbs he could make Bridgerweight but it would be nice to see him restore some pride.
They have only recently come on the scene and already I don’t like Triller. For their Fight Club night where Teo Lopez will defend his lightweight titles against George Kambosos they will be featuring a fight between Evander Holyfield and Kevin McBride for their Legends Golden Belt. McBride is in the hat because he beat Mike Tyson fifteen years ago but he is now 47 and like Holyfield has not fought for almost ten years. I don’t understand how boxing people can be attracted to something like this but the disease keeps spreading where it is either a case of “All Your Yesterdays” or media starlets with less ability than a six round prelim fighter but get paid more than a world champion. Only in boxing!
Plenty going on the bantamweights. Naoya’s next opponent will be Filipino Michael Dasmarinas but no date set yet. WBC champion Nordine Oubaali defends against Nonito Donaire on 29 May and John Riel Casimero will defend his WBO title against Guillermo Rigondeaux on 21 August. It can’t be a unifier since Rigondeaux only holds the secondary WBA title. Waiting in the wings are Ghanaian Manyo Plange and Melvin Lopez who meet in a WBA final eliminator on 3 July.
You would think that promoters would give the WBA a chance to manipulate their ratings before announcing a fight. Carlos Canizales will put his secondary WBA light fly title on the line against Mexican Esteban Bermudez on 28 May. Bermudez is not yet in the WBA ratings but on his form in his last two fights beating a guy who had never had a fight and getting a technical draw against a fighter with an 11-10-2 record he meets the stringent WBA standards easily. I am trying to come up with a sandwich board for the WBA with their logo on saying “buy your rating here”.
Cuban Erislandy Lara is aiming to become a two-division champion. On 1 May in Carson he faces Thomas LaManna for the secondary WBA middleweight title. Lara is currently the holder of the secondary WBA title at super welterweight and should beat LaManna but even if he does it will still only hold a secondary title which does not count in my view.
That guy has topped the ratings again. This time in his political career. Senator Pacquiao topped a survey on the Filipinos' preferred senatorial candidates for next year's national elections with 58.9 percent backing from those polled backing Manny with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno second on 53 percent. Presidential candidate next Manny?
Five years late and still awaiting the results of a fresh investigation launched by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) into the conduct of judging and refereeing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as part of a series of reforms approved by the governing body's Board of Directors. All 36 referees and judges used for the boxing tournament at Rio 2016 had been suspended by AIBA over corruption concerns and would not be allowed to officiate at Tokyo 2021 or any qualifying events. The results of the original investigation were never published.
It was good to see that the Georgia Commission has changed the result of the fight between Regis Prograis and Ivan Redkach to a TKO for Prograis. The theatrics by Redkach writhing in agony on the canvas from a “low” blow kidded the officials into deciding to go to the cards and Prograis was declared the winner on technical decision even though the large screen replays showed not only that the punch passed outside of Redkach’s left elbow but also that it only brushed Redkach’s side.
After Zou Shiming won his second Olympic gold medal and turned pro in 2013 it was being shouted from the rooftops that China was going to be the next super power in boxing. No one is even whispering that now. There are few professional fighters and most of those are still at the novice stage and without the tournaments to help them develop their skills they cannot succeed. China has one title holder Can Xu who holds the secondary WBA lightweight title and one No 1 in Meng Fanlong at light heavyweight with the IBF but no one seems to be pushing his case for a challenge to Artur Beterbiev. Heavyweight Zhilei Zhang had his limitations exposed by Jerry Forrest in their drawn fight. Hong Kong’s Rex Tso was tipped to be a star when he won his 22 fights but his wide open style saw him taking too much punishment and he wisely retired in 2017 (ed's note - Tso currently fights in the amateur ranks). Box Rec lists 21 Chinese heavyweights but other than Zhang only one of them has had more than five fights. There are 17 light heavyweights listed and the most active fighter has had only seven fights. It is a similar picture at flyweight with 25 listed with only four having had more than ten fights and the most experienced on 15. No investment-no returns.
By Eric Armit
-Demetrius Andrade floors and outpoints Liam Williams in a WBO middleweight title defence
-Carlos Gongora retains the IBO super middleweight belt with stoppage of Chris Pearson
-Tony Harrison and Bryant Perrella draw over ten rounds at super welter
-Regis Prograis has to settle for a technical decision win over drama queen Ivan Redkach
-Fabio Turchi outpoints Dylan Bregeon to win the European Union cruiserweight title
- A well-matched MTK show sees Danny Dignum remain unbeaten with a draw against Andrey Sirotkin and Dan Azeez outpoint Ricky Summers
World Title/Major Shows
Hollywood, FL, USA: Middle: Demetrius Andrade (30-0) W PTS 12 Liam Williams (23-3-1). Super Middle: Carlos Gongora (20-0) W KO 8 Chris Pearson (17-3). Heavy: Andrey Fedosov (32-3) W TKO 1 Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-1). Super Light: Arthur Biyarslanov (8-0) W PTS 8 Israel Mercado (9-1).
Andrade vs. Williams
Andrade floors and outpoints a gutsy and determined Williams. Andrade scored with a couple of punches early and as Williams tried to move inside Andrade staggered him with a series of head punches. Andrade was looking to end this in the first and Williams was desperately holding. Williams tried to come forward and landed a couple of hooks but was wide open to the counters from Andrade. Williams did better early in the second with stabbing jabs but then a straight left from Andrade dropped him. He was up at eight and Andrade just could not find a punch to finish things. Williams came forward throughout the third but great movement from Andrade was frustrating his efforts and he was being caught with sharp counters. Williams had a good fourth. Again he was pressing forward and he shook Andrade with two left hooks and Andrade was being forced to stand and brawl. The fifth was an even round as Williams continued to walk forward and Andrade was not as busy or as accurate as he had been but Williams was now cut over his right eye. Andrade was back on top in the sixth. He was boxing cleverly and rattled Williams with a booming uppercut the sent the Welshman on the retreat. Andrade scored with two more uppercuts but Williams just walked through them. Andrade outboxed Williams through the seventh and eighth and shook the challenger with uppercuts in both rounds. Williams got back into the fight in the ninth. He hurt Andrade with two heavy rights and Andrade was clinching and spoiling for the rest of the round. The tenth was close but Williams found the target often enough with his right to perhaps edge it. Andrade took the eleventh with some smart boxing leaving Williams swishing air and slotting punches though the challenger’s guard. Andrade run the clock down in the last. He had a little bit more left than Williams and landed enough to take the round. Scores 118-109 twice and 116-111 all for Andrade. Fourth defence of the WBO title for Andrade. He seems no closer to a big career defining fight but a defence against unbeaten Jaime Munguia would be attractive. Williams was brave and did well to recover from the early knockdown and made Andrade fight hard all the way after and there are some good domestic fights for him.
Gongora vs. Pearson
Ecuadorian Gongora retains the IBO title with eighth round kayo of fellow-southpaw Pearson. This was Gongora’s fight all the way. He established control with his jab in the first and was piercing Pearson’s guard with southpaw lefts. Pearson did not seem to have an answer to Gongora’s jab and although he tried to hide behind a high guard Gongora was swinging lefts around Pearson’s guard and onto the target. Pearson came to life in the third dropping his hands and firing punches from hip level. When Gongora punched back Pearson’s aggression faded. It was the same in the fourth with Pearson attacking only in bursts and Gongora landing more and heavier punches. Gongora connected with a series of head punches in the fifth and all that Pearson was able to offer in return was some hooks to the body but he did not sustain his attacks. Gongora continued to pressure Pearson and for much of the sixth Pearson was pinned to the ropes with Gongora battering at his defence. An uppercut snapped Pearson’s head back but he made no attempt to fight his way off the ropes. Gongora bossed the seventh and Pearson had a swelling over his right eye. Pearson made a fiery start to the eighth but Gongora connected with an array of head punches most landing on Pearson’s right eye and Pearson turned away from the action and went down on one knee. He partially got up during the count but then dropped back down and was counted out as he indicated he did not want to continue due to the swelling. Gongora impressed in his kayo win over unbeaten Ali Akhmedov for the IBO title in December and totally dominated Pearson here. His only rating from the other four sanctioning bodies sees him at No 14 with the WBA but hopefully this win will give him a boost. First fight for Pearson since stopping unbeaten Yamaguchi Falcao in May 2019. He was disappointing here and it will be a tough road to recovery for him.
Fedosov vs. Majidov
Fedosov gets win as Majidov injures his ankle when knocked down in the opening round. Things looked bleak for Fedosov when a stiff left jab sent him stumbling back to the ropes only 45 seconds into the fight. Fedosov had been jabbing well himself and he recovered scored with a jab and then let fly with a right cross to the head that sent Majidov back and down. As he lay on the canvas Majidov was clutching his right leg having twisted it as he went over. He got up but limped when the referee asked him to walk forward. The referee cleared him to continue but another right from Fedosov toppled Majidov and the referee counted him out then called his seconds to help him. A win is a win and the first right scored a genuine knockdown so despite the” injury” victory Fedosov deserves credit for that right. The Californian-based Russian Fedosov, now 35, went 21-1 as the start of his career but the dropped out of the picture and this was his first fight since outpointing Joey Dawejko in October 2018. Russian-born Azeri Majidov, 34, had won gold medals at the 2011 World Championships where he beat Anthony Joshua, and then at the 2013 World Championships but had to settle for bronze at the 2016 Olympics losing to Roberto Cammarelle. He did not turn pro until he was 32 so he cannot afford too long a lay off.
Biyarslanov vs. Mercado
Russian-born “Chechen Wolf” Biyarslanov looks a clear winner but has to settle for a majority decision against Mercado. Biyarslanov edge the first round and then had Mercado hurt with a body shot and head shots late in the second. Mercado did better in the third and when Biyarslanov looked to be taking charge in the fourth he stopped the Canadian in his tracks with a right. They traded punches through the fifth and sixth with both having good spells. The action slowed in the seventh until Biyarslanov burst into life finding gaps for with a series of body punches and a close last could have been scored for either boxer. Two judges cards had Biyarslanov winning 76-74 and 77-75 and the third had it 76-76. Tough test for Biyarslanov who moved to escape the strife in Chechnya when he was four and then went on to Canada when he was ten. He won a gold medal at the 2015 PanAmerican Games and was the only male Canadian boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Californian “Bad Ways” Mercado was a top level amateur who missed out on the US team for Rio when he was beaten by Teo Lopez in the US Trials.
Los Angeles, Ca, USA: Super Welter: Tony Harrison (28-3-1) DREW 12 Bryant Perrella (17-3-1). Cruiser: Efetobor Apochi (11-0) W TKO 3 Deon Nicholson (14-1) Super Light: Omar Juarez (11-0) W Elias Araujo (21-3). Welter: James Martin (7-2) W PTS 8 Vito Mielnicki Jr (8-1). Super Light: Darwin Price (17-1) W KO 5 Saul Corral (31-17).
Harrison vs. Perrella
Harrison and Perrella fight to a split draw. Both fighters made a cautious start as they sought to shed some rust. Perrella was on the front foot with Harrison countering and just doing enough to edge the round. Harrison had admitted he did not like fighting southpaws and Perrella made use of pressure and his right jabs to take the second. He also won the third. Harrison had Perrella on the back foot but Perrella was peppering Harrison with right jabs and then getting through with straight lefts and hooks from both hands with Harrison waiting too long to let his punches fly. Harrison continued to force the action in the fourth and did better in that round but Perrella kept working his right jab as instructed by his corner man Roy Jones Jr. and bounced back by outlanding Harrison in the fifth. Harrison handed Perrella the sixth. He was not using his jab despite having a much longer reach and instead stood in front of Perrella behind a high guard allowing Perrella to pick his spots. Harrison finally found some form over the seventh, eighth and ninth using his longer reach to score at distance and outworking and outscoring Perrella on the inside. The tenth was close with both having good spells but a powerful right from Harrison gave him a slight edge. Harrison used his jab to control the action in the eleventh with Perrella cut over his left eye in a clash of heads but then Harrison seemed to think all he needed to do was avoid trouble in the twelfth and Perrella put in a big effort to take the round. Scores 116-112 Harrison, 117-111 Perrella and 114-114. Disappointing result for former WBC super welterweight champion Harrison in his first fight since being stopped and losing his title against Jermell Charlo in December 2019. He certainly has a part to play in the division with the ability to beat any of the other title holders except Charlo and could possibly fight for the title again in 2022 or earlier. Perrella had been an underwhelming 3-3 in his last six fights and was coming off a crushing stoppage loss against Abel Ramos in February last years but this draw will boost his profile again.
Apochi vs. Nicholson
An impressive Apochi crushes unbeaten Nicholson in three rounds in this WBA eliminator. Apochi out jabbed Nicholson in the opener and stepped up the pressure in the second. He connected with a series of punches and Nicholson dived inside and held and then went to the floor when Apochi wrestled him off so no count. Apochi continued to find the target with heavy shots and Nicholson was stumbling and staggering and he went down from two right uppercuts. He was very unsteady when he got up but survived some more head shots and made it to the bell walking very stiff-legged to his corner. A right to the head dropped him early in the second and when he stood up he staggered backwards and the referee stopped the count and waived the fight off. The Texas-based Nigerian moves to eleven wins by KO/TKO. He showed real power here. As an amateur he twice took a silver medal at the All-African Games and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He also registered a win over Jai Opetaia who is currently the top rated fighter in the IBF cruiserweight rankings. Nicholson had scored 13 inside the distance wins including 9 in the first round but Apochi’s power was in another league altogether.
Juarez vs. Araujo
A calm confident display from Juarez as he outboxes Araujo. After a slow first round Juarez controlled the action. Araujo was aggressive but limited and lacked the power to compete with Juarez. It was Juarez who scored best at distance and he more than matched Argentinian Araujo inside. The visitor had some success over the middle rounds but Juarez was back in charge in the seventh and eighth letting Araujo come forward and landing solid counters and he outboxed Araujo over the ninth and tenth for a clear victory in his first ten round fight. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for 21-year-old from Texas. Former Argentinian champion Araujo had won 3 of his last 4 fights.
Martin vs. Mielnicki
Something of an upset as Martin takes majority decision over highly touted teenage prospect Mielnicki. From the start Martin was posing problems for Mielnicki. He was out jabbing Mielnicki and getting past Mielnicki’s jab to score inside. In the second Mielnicki shook Martin with a sharp left hook but a Martin left hook started blood dripping from Mielnicki’s nose and he connected with some good body punches. Mielnicki upped his pace over the fifth and sixth scoring with left hooks to head and body as Martin looked to be tiring but Martin rebounded to dominate the seventh with clubbing rights and hooks to the body and an uppercut which splattered blood from Mielnicki’s nose. Mielnicki tried to put in a strong finish but Martin boxed well in the last to seal his victory. Scores 79-73 and 77-75 for Martin and 76-76. Good win for Philadelphian Martin, 23, who had lost every round against unbeaten Xander Zayas in February. Mielnicki, 18, who turned pro at 16, might just have underestimated Martin and by the time he realised his mistake Martin was in full flow.
Price vs. Corral
Price gets back into the winning column with victory over Corral. Price put Corral down and out in the fifth. In his last fight in December 2019 with unbeaten Malik Hawkins Price was forced to retire in the fifth round due to a knee injury snapping a 16-bout winning run. Mexican Corral was a usefgul fighter at one time but has won only three of his last ten fights.
Atlanta, GA, USA: Super Light: Regis Prograis (25-1) W TEC DEC 6 Ivan Redkach (23-5-1). Super Middle: Junior Younan (16-0-1) W PTS 8 Jeyson Minda (14-5-1).
Prograis vs. Redkach
Prograis gets the win in the clash of southpaws but it is tainted by the disgraceful antics of Redkach who collapsed from a “low punch” clutching his groin whereas the replays showed the punch landed above the belt and on the left side of Redkach body but he writher in agony and was taken out of the ring on a stretcher. Lots of probing jabs in the first but little else. Prograis was that bit more positive and did what scoring there was. Prograis took control in the second hunting Redkach down with a series of punches and scoring with long lefts and hooks to the body. Redkach complained when a left hook from Prograis landed low. Redkach had a small cut over his left eye. The third was closer with Redkach working with his jab and Prograis off target with his lefts. Prograis upped his pace in the fourth and was connecting with hard overhand lefts to head and body and chasing down a retreating Redkach. In the fifth Redkach used lots of jabs and lots of movement and Prograis was unable to cut the ring off so not landing as much as earlier and it was a close round. In the sixth Prograis had Redkach under heavy pressure. He was landing hooks to the body. In close Prograis missed with an overhand left then threw a right hook to the body. Redkach collapsed to his hands and knees and then started to drum his feet on the canvas and rolling over clutching his genitals. Initially the referee counted to eight but when he saw Redkach writhing in agony and clutching his crown jewels the referee stopped the count and chaos took over. Replay after replay showed the punch curling around Redkach’s left elbow and into his side. It would have been impossible for the punch going round the back of his left elbow to land where Redkach was pretending it had. Eventually Redkach was carried from the ring on a stretcher. In the end it was decided to go the cards and two judges had Prograis winning on scores of 60-54 and the third by 59-54 but Prograis rightly complained he should have been awarded a knockout. Prograis will move on waiting to see what shakes out from the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez fight. Redkach should be given the Golden Raspberry Award. It’s reserved for female actors but who knows Redkach might now be eligible.
Younan vs. Minda
Younan returns to action as he floors and decisions Ecuadorian Minda. Scores 80-71 for Younan on all three cards. First fight for Younan in over two years. The only blemish on the record of the 25-year-old from Brooklyn is a split draw with Ronald Ellis back in 2018. Since leaving Ecuador Minda has been seriously overmatched having lost all five of his fights away from home four of them by KO/TKO.
Milan, Italy: Cruiser: Fabio Turchi (19-1) W PTS 12 Dylan Bregeon (11-1-1). Super Middle: Ivan Zucco (13-0) W RTD 6 Luca Capuano (11-1). Light: Francesco Patera (24-3) W PTS 8 Nicola Henchiri (9-3-2). Super Welter: Samuel Nmomah (15-0) W PTS 8 Kassimou Mouhamadou (7-3). Feather: Mauro Forte (15-0-1) W PTS 6 Cristian Narvaez (16-25-6). Fly: Mohammed Obbadi (22-1) W PTS 6 Jose Sanchez (4-16-1,1ND).
Turchi vs. Bregeon
Turchi wins the vacant European Union title with close unanimous decision over Bregeon in a disappointing fight. Bregeon made a good use of his longer reach in the early rounds which were slow and without any real highlights. Turchi had been expected to show more aggression and had probably conceded a lead to Bregeon. The Italian opened up in the sixth and put more pressure on Bregeon working to the body. Turchi looked to have drawn even in the scoring as he had strong rounds in the ninth and tenth. Bregeon was spending more time pinned to the ropes and there were plenty of clinches. At times Turchi was wild with his punches but his strong finish made him a clear winner. All three judges had Turchi winning 115-113 with the scores looking a little generous to the Frenchman. The 27-year-old “Stone Crusher” will now be looking to get revenge against Tommy McCarthy who beat Turchi on a split decision for the WBC International title in October 2019 and now holds the European title. Former undefeated French champion Bregeon was having his first fight since outpointing useful Olivier Vautrain in January last year and will almost certainly regroup and get another title shot at some time in the future.
Zucco vs. Capuano
Zucco collects the vacant Italian title with victory over Capuano in an all-southpaw match. Big puncher Zucco surprising choose to box in the first round but then resorted to type and attacked hard from the second. A left from Capuano in third saw Zucco dip with his knee touching the floor but the referee decided it was a slip. Zucco then finished the third pounding Capuano with punches. The pace slowed in the fourth but Zucco dominated the fifth. In the sixth he handed out severe punishment. He stunned Capuano with a left hook late in the round and Capuano chose to retire at the end of the round. Eleventh inside the distance finish for Zucco. This was his first fight scheduled for ten rounds so now he will be looking to extend his experience. Capuano, 32, was a good level amateur but did not turn pro until he was 28 and his performance here was disappointing.
Patera vs. Henchiri
Patera beats substitute Henchiri. Belgian Patera prefers to fight on the back foot but Italian Henchiri was not willing to chase the fight leaving Patera to step up and take the fight to Henchiri. Patera outboxed Henchiri but the Belgian was never able to put Henchiri in any danger and Henchiri saved his best for last putting in a good eighth round. Scores 78-74 twice and 79-74 for Patera. A run of excellent wins over 17-0 Lewis Ritson, 24-1-1 Marvin Petit, 20-1 Paul Hyland Jr and unbeaten Domenico Valentino have brought scant reward for the former undefeated European champion as his sixteen months out of the ring has hurt his rating with the sanctioning bodies. Former Italian super featherweight challenger Henchiri came in at only three days notice but had fought in February with a win that meant he was 7-0-1 going into this fight.
Nmomah vs. Mouhamadou
Nmomah continues to make progress as he outpoints Mouhamadou. After a low key opening round the fight proved entertaining and competitive. Nmomah used his technical superiority to boss the fight with Mouhamadou using lots of movement and scoring with jabs and rights to the body. Nmomah was outstanding over the last two rounds putting together some speedy combinations with Mouhamadou doing well to last the distance. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-75 for Nmomah. The Nigerian-born Italian was moving up to eight rounds for the first time. Third loss in his last four fights for Frenchman Mouhamadou.
Forte vs. Narvaez
Just a gentle run out for European Union champion Forte as he outpoints Narvaez. The Rome southpaw had not fought since December 2019 so needed some ring time before his EU title defence against Isaac Lowe with no date yet set for the fight. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Narvaez is a champion survivor with just one win in his last 22 fights with 21 of those losses on points.
Obbadi vs. Sanchez
Former undefeated European Union flyweight champion Obbadi was also having his first fight since December 2019 and he also took the chance to shed some rust with a points win over Sanchez. Ninth win for Obbadi since he was beaten in seven rounds by future WBC champion Cristofer Rosales in 2017. Inactivity has seen him drop out of the EBU ratings but he is a viable contender at flyweight. Sanchez yet another Nicaraguan with a losing habit as he extends his run of defeats to 16-all on points.
Monterrey, Mexico Super Light: Miguel Vazquez (43-10) W TKO 7 Isai Hernandez (10-2-1). Super Bantam: Ariel Perez (6-0) W TKO 7 Brandon Romero (11-2-1).
Vazquez vs. Hernandez
Vazquez much too good and experienced for Hernandez. The former IBF lightweight champion put Hernandez down twice in the fifth and finished the job in the seventh with a series of punches rounded off with a left hook to the body. First fight for Vazquez since losing a very disputed decision to Lewis Ritson in England in October. Hernandez had won his last four fights but was in way over his head against Vazquez.
Perez vs. Romero
Perez wins the vacant WBC Inter-Continental Youth title with seventh round kayo of Romero. The 22-year-old Guatemalan-based Cuban is a former Cuban Youth champion so could bear watching. Mexican Romero is 0-2-1 in his last three contests.
Panama City, Panama: Light: Darvin Galeano (10-0) W TKO 1 Fernando De La Rosa (5-2-1). Fly: Keiver Fernandez (22-1-1) W PTS 8 Engel Gomez (8-1-1).
Galeano vs. De La Rosa
Galeano blows away De La Rosa in less than a minute. Galeano floored De La Rosa with a left to the head. De La Rosa beat the count but was taking severe punishment and the referee stopped the fight after just 51 seconds. Seven inside the distance victories for the 26-year-old Colombian who now holds the WBA Fedecaribe title. Panamanian Dev La Rosa had won his last three fights but both of his losses have come inside a round.
Fernandez vs. Gomez
Venezuelan Fernandez wins a unanimous decision over Gomez but is deducted a point in the second round for a low blow. Scores 78-73, 77-74 and 76-75. Fernandez is rated No 13 with the WBA but being a Venezuelan naturally his record flatters him with thirteen of those he has beaten never having won a fight. Despite his lack of experience Nicaraguan Gomez gave Fernandez a tough night.
Bolton, England: Middle: Danny Dignum (13-0-1) DREW 10 Andrey Sirotkin (19-1-1). Light: Dan Azeez (12-0-1) W PTS 10 Ricky Summers (17-3-1). Super Bantam: Jack Bateson (13-0) W PTS 8 Joe Ham (16-3).
Dignum vs. Sirotkin
Dignum and Sirotkin fight to a split draw. Sirotkin made a busy start trying to hustle Dignum out of his stride and he worked hard to take the round. Dignum had a good second. He was jabbing constantly and countering Sirotkin’s attacks with right hooks and straight lefts. Sirotkin outworked Dignum in the third. He was bobbing and weaving to get inside and landed some heavy rights. Dignum just could not find the target with his jabs but did score with a couple of hooks. Dignum was back on target with his jab in the fourth and connected with some fierce body punches. Sirotkin was swinging wildly and leaving himself open to counters. The fifth was close with Sirotkin nicking it by being busier but Dignum clearly took the sixth pressing hard and scoring with left hooks inside and he outboxed Sirotkin in the seventh with Sirotkin relying on head down wild swings. It was a fast paced close fight and finely balanced. Sirotkin turned things his way in the eighth. He cracked Dignum with two straight lefts and then launched a furious attack that had Dignum retreating in disarray and he landed more punches late in a round that saw Dignum cut over his left eye. Sirotkin was stronger in the ninth with Dignum too busy defending to show much in the way of offence. It was the same in the last. Sirotkin was fresher and did all of the attacking. Dignum was cut over his left eye for a second time and just did not compete in the last. Scores 96-95 Dignum, 96-94 Sirotkin and 95-95. Dignum retains the WBO European title and presumably his ludicrous No 5 in their ratings (he is No 34 in the BoxRec World ratings). This will have been a good learning fight for Dignum and once the cuts heal he will be looking to make up for having had only one fight in the previous seventeen months. Russian Sirotkin, 36, a former full contact kickboxing European and World champion, has managed to keep active with three fights last year. His only loss is a seventh round stoppage by John Ryder in 2018
Azeez vs. Summers
Azeez just edges out Summers on a split decision. A close opening saw both using their jabs effectively and both landing rights to the head. Although Azeez had the shorter reach he connected with powerful jabs and a series of rights in the second. Summers worked hard with his jab in the third ramming it through Azeez’s guard and both connected with heavy rights to the head. The pace slowed in the fourth which Summers took again working hard with his jab. The fifth was livelier with Azeez upping his pace but with Summers finding gaps for his jab and dancing away from Azeez’s counters. The sixth was a good round for Azeez. He started using his jab again and getting past the jab of Summers and he landed a series of rights to the head that had Summers holding. At this point the rounds had been close but Summers looked to have a small lead. Azeez took the seventh and eighth. He was more mobile and putting his punches together getting through with rights with Summers relaying on a left jab and straight right with no variety in his work. Summers choose to brawl with Azeez in the ninth and landed a series of hard rights to the head but Azeez came back in the tenth pounding a tiring Summers with punches. It had been a gruelling battle with many rounds close but I though Azeez just deserved the win. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Azeez and 97-95 for Summers. Azeez was defending the English title and as this was also a final eliminator for the British title he will now get a shot at champion Craig Richards. Summers had not fought since December 2019 and he will be looking to rebound and try for another title shot.
Bateson vs. Ham
Bateson takes the referees decision over Ham in a clash of former leading lights in the amateur ranks. Bateson is very much flying under the radar but here he made full use of his long reach and fast hands to outbox the smaller Scot. Ham kept marching forward trying to cut off the ring and when he succeeded he scored well with some sharp left hooks and uppercuts. Too often he was not quick enough and Bateson was hitting him with right jabs and straight lefts then skipping out of reach bedore stopping to trade with Ham and firing a bunch of shots . Neither fighter was ever in any trouble in these fast-paced eight rounds with Bateson picking up a well deserved win 78-75 on the referee’s card. Bateson, 26, collected a bucket full of gold medals scoring over 100 wins in around 120 amateur fights. He is an outstanding talent with a lack of power the only problem for him. Ham dominated his field in Scottish amateur boxing and also collecting medals galore but has lost to Tyrone McCullagh and Qais Ashfaq and domestic fights may be his ceiling.
Melbourne, Australia: Cruiser: Jason Whateley (8-0) W TKO 8 8Aaron Russell (13-6).
Olympian Whateley stops Russell in eight rounds. The 6’5” Whateley used a strong jab to control the action and kept Russell on the back foot. Whateley was scoring with hard right crosses and mixing in left hooks to the body. When Russell did gets inside he landed some hooks with both hands but too often was stuck at the end of Whately’s long jab. Whateley connected with some neck-snapping uppercuts in the fourth and by the fifth Russell was bleeding from the nose. Despite taking plenty of punishment Russell kept fighting back. His resistance ended in the eighth when a series of punches sent him lurching into the ropes and with Whateley pounding him with punches the referee halted the fight. The 30-year-old former undefeated Australian champion gets his seventh win by KO/TKO in his first fight for 16 months. In the amateurs he won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and competed at the World Championships and 2016 Olympics. Russell, another former National cruiser champion, loses inside the distance for the sixth time.
Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany: Welter: Karen Chukhadzhian (19-1) W TKO 7 Yannick Dehez (21-2-1). Middle: Andrii Velikovskyi (19-2-1) W RTD 5 Anatoli Hunanyan (9-7-1).Heavy: Oleksandr Zakhozhyi (15-0) W TKO 1 Sergei Werwejko (11-3). Welter: Maurice Morio (7-1) W PTS 10 Said Rahimi (11-5).
Chukhadzhian vs. Dehez
Chukhadzhian stops Dehez in seven. Chukhadzhian imposed himself on the fight from the start controlling the action and gradually wearing down the Frenchman. Southpaw Dehez resisted well but after Chukhadzhian floored Dehez in the seventh the towel came fluttering in from Dehez’s corner. Impressive first showing in Germany for the 24-year-old Ukrainian. Former French champion Dehez just could not handle the power of Chukhadzhian
Velikovskyi vs. Hunanyan
These two were to have met in October but the fight was cancelled at short notice. Velikovskyi got the job done six months later as he built a good lead before stopping Hunanyan in the sixth. The Ukrainian, the holder of the WBC Asian Boxing Council title, makes it twelve inside the distance endings. Armenian-born Czech Hunanyan suffers his first stoppage loss.
Zakhozhyi vs. Werwejko
Zakhozhyi lifts the vacant WBC Francophone title as he destroys Werwejko. A fierce attack from Zakhozhyi had Werwejko reeling and rocking and the referee stopped the fight after just 79 seconds. The German-based “Hunter” Zakhozhyi, 27, is another of these Ukrainian giants standing 6’9” tall but the only “name” he has met so far is a very faded Kevin Johnson who he outpointed in October 2019. Pole Wertwejko, a mere 6’5” and also born in Ukraine, has lost four by KO/TKO but lasted a lot longer in those losses than he did in this one.
Morio vs. Rahimi
Morio wins unanimous decision over elderly Rahimi for the vacant German title. The 20-year-old was in his first ten round fight. Afghan-born Rahimi, 39, had previously lost in a challenge for the German International title.
Junin, Argentina: Super Light: Hugo Roldan (20-0-1 W PTS 10 Emiliano Dominguez (25-8).
Roldan makes it a double over Dominguez as he floors and outpoints him in a clash of rated fighters. Dominguez had been forcing the fight but Roldan dropped him with a left hook in the fifth. Dominguez was up quickly and fought back hard but Roldan had the better skills and was a clear winner but it was not an easy night for him despite the scores of 100-89, 98 ½ -93 ½ and 96 ½ -93 ½. Roldan, the Argentinian No 3 is yet to face a real test. Former IBO title challenger Dominguez rated No 5 had lost on points to Roldan in February last year.
Desvio Arijon, Argentina: Super Light: Gustavo Lemos (27-0) W TKO 8 Maximiliano Veron (12-3-1,1ND).
“Electric Storm” Lemos grinds down and stops Veron in eight. A typically aggressive showing from Lemos as he never stopped coming. Veron was forced to spend a lot of the fight against the ropes with Lemos trying to find a finishing punch. The taller Veron fought back strongly staggering Lemos with a left hook counter in the third but Lemos recovered and went straight back into the attack and rocked Veron with a left hook in the fifth. Veron showed a great chin but could not keep Lemos out. In the eighth Lemos took Veron to a corner. Veron connected with three hard counters but Lemos shook them off and then sent Veron staggering along the ropes with two left hooks and was unloading on Veron when the referee stopped the fight
The 25-yeaer-old Lemos retains the IBF Latina title and now has 17 inside the distance finishes. He is No 3 with the IBF so close to a title shot. He has power but he will have to improve his defence against better opponents. Veron, the holder of the IBF Latino welterweight title had outpointed 21-2 Diego Ramirez in his last fight in November 2019.
Derry, NH, USA: Cruiser: Chris Traietti W TKO 3 Kevin Brown (2-14). Super Middle: Kendrick Brown (16-1-2) W PTS 8 Brian Vera (28-26)
Traietti vs. Brown
Traietti continues to beat up the beaten as he halts poor Brown in three rounds. The local ticket seller has managed nine consecutive wins against shop-worn or novice opponents. Eight losses in his last nine fights seven by KO/TKO for Brown.
Brown vs. Vera
Brown takes unanimous decision over old timer Vera. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Brown who is now the proud holder of the WBC United States title. This 39-year-old Vera is a world away from the Vera of yesteryears.
Corona, CA, USA: Super Light: Ruben Torres (15-0) W TKO 1 Diego Contreras (11-4). Welter: Miguel Madueno (23-0) W KO 1 Bergman Aguilar (15-7-1).
Torres vs. Contreras
Torres gets this oe over quickly as he floors Contreras twice in the opening round with the referee dispensing with a count. The 23-year-old tall Californian makes it twelve wins by KO/TKO. Mexican Contreras just prelim level and his three inside the distance losses have all come within the first two rounds.
Madueno vs. Aguilar
A wicked body punch from Madueno finished this fight just one second before the bell ended the opening round. The 22-year-old “Explosivo” is living up to his nickname as only two of his victims have lasted the distance and eight have gone out in the first round. Costa Rican Aguilar has lost 5 of his last 6 fights.
Fight of the week (Significance): Demetrius Andrade keeps his name in the frame for a big fight with his win over Liam Williams but whether it will happen for Andrade we will have to wait and see.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Tony Harrison vs. Bryant Perrella was a hard fought contest.
Fighter of the week: Not Ivan Redkach that’s for sure. I go for Perrella who rebounded from a sticky patch of form to get close to a career best win against Harrison
Punch of the week: The thunderous right to the head from Efetobor Apochi that effectively ended his fight with unbeaten Deon Nicholson
Upset of the week: James Martin (6-2) was not expected to pose any problems for unbeaten and highly rated prospect Vito Mielnicki but he took a deserved decision
Prospect watch: Nigerian cruiser Efetobor Apochi (11-0) showed real power and some good skills
Ivan Redkach’s disgraceful attempt to cheat against Regis Prograis should get him a suspension and a fine. The replays showed clearly that Prograis punch was not low and it swept around the left elbow of Redkach and it was a physically impossible for a punch doing that to land on Redkach’s testicles. It did raise a bit of a problem for the female doctor who attended him in the ring. She could hardly ask him to drop his shorts so she could examine him and heaven help us if she had deemed it necessary to either count that he still had two or rub him to see if it made him feel better. Public decency would not permit
When I see mention of the WBC Francophone title I always think it might referrer to a Spanish dictators mobile!
Reliable losers don’t come much better than the squad of Nicaraguans residing in Spain. Featherweight Cristian Narvaez is 1-21 in his last 22 fights and flyweight Jose Sanchez is on a 0-16 run but they have gone the distance in every one of those losing fights which is why they are kept active. It is about all a promoter really wants from an imported boxer.
Promoters are certainly doing all they can to get fighters back in the ring. Two shows in Colombia featured a total of 19 fights, shows in Germany added another 24, Ghana had a development show with twelve fights and Derry New Hampshire topped the list with 24 bouts-mostly totally mismatches but work is work.
Today we get to go back to an old whipping boy in this series as we feature the third Koki Kameda fight in this series. This is one of the more forgotten controversies of Kameda's career, but one that certainly needs talking about in this series, despite not being one of the worst. It was one where he went in as a very big favourite against a relative unknown and was perhaps a little bit lucky to walk away with the win.
Koki Kameda (25-1, 16) Vs David De La Mora (23-0, 16)
Early in his career Koki Kameda had looked like a star in the making, and he quickly got the Japanese fans behind him. They began to question his ability when he refused to face domestic opponents, and then some began to turn on him when he won his first world title. It wasn't that they out and out disliked him, but saw him as a man taking an easy route. That was feeling intensified when fans saw him getting lucky in his first world title win, a very controversial decision over Juan Jose Landaeta. His reign at 108lbs was a short one, with Kameda quickly moving up to Flyweight and claiming the WBC title with his career defining win over Daisuke Naito, avenging Naito's win over his Daiki Kameda.
That win over Naito made people realise Kameda was a really good fighter. Like him or hate him, he was a very good boxer and deserved respect. Then he lost that title just 4 months later in a huge upset defeat to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Rather than pursuing a rematch with Wonjongkam we saw Kameda move up in weight, again taking an easy option, and winning the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title with a win over Alexander Munoz. In his first defense Kameda beat the limited Daniel Diaz before then meeting unbeaten Mexican challenger David De La Mora.
Boasting a 23-0 (16) record the 23 year old David De La Mora was a real unknown quantity. His best wins were against the likes of Luis Valdez and Jovanny Agdael Soto. He was unbeaten but seemingly rather untested, with very little on his record to suggest he deserved a world title bout. Sometimes however an unbeaten record can give an illusion that a fighter is better, or worse, than they really are. With De La Mora the numbers looked good, even if his competition didn't.
Although De La Mora seemed to have done very little to earn a shot at a world title the WBA had him #8 coming into this bout, a big step up from Daniel Diaz who was #14 adding to the legitimacy of De La Mora's challenge.
In the opening moments of the bout it was clear De La Mora had come to win, he was showing ambition straight away and took center ring. Despite the ambition from the challenger it was the crisp punching, skills and hand speed of Kameda that caught the eye through the first 3 minutes. Although De La Mora had put in a credible effort, but it was a round that Kameda deserved, despite needing to work hard for it.
Kameda took center ring in round 2 and looked to get the respect of the Mexican challenger who fired back with some solid combinations of his own and made Kameda cover up more than once. It wasn't always the prettiest of work but when De La Mora opened up he seemed to have Kameda second guessing himself. It was great to see the young challenger looking to make a point and fighting to win.
The real drama for the fight came in round 3 as one of De La Mora's bursts of punches hurt Kameda and forced him to hold on and left him cut. Sadly for De La Mora he got greedy and reckless and was dropped by a counter left hand from Kameda. The shot, around 2 minutes into the round, turned what was a very good De La Mora round into a 10-8 for Kameda.
Despite being dropped De La Mora seemed encouraged by his own success in round 3. That encouragement saw him putting his foot on the gas hard in round 4, despite some issues with his gum shield at the start of the round. The aggression of De La Mora lead to a brilliant moment for him, where he unloaded with Kameda on the ropes. He then had some success when the two traded in center ring and again later on, when he again got Kameda was on the ropes. Although the round had some moments where little happened, the three big highlights for us were all from De La Mora, who picked his spots and really made the most of them.
Through the middle rounds we saw De La Mora build on his success, simply out working Kameda, who seemed to slip into a rut. The pressure, the ou put and the aggression were being driven by De La Mora. Kameda looked the more talented man, but all too often seemed happier to move, and circle rather than let his hands go. The tactics of Kameda made it easy for De La Mora to win rounds, fighting with exciting burst and out landing the tepid Kameda.
By the start of round 8 the good start from Kameda was easily forgotten. He was letting the bout slip away, fighting far too reservedly, and seemed stuck in a low gear. He showed flashes of brilliance, but failed to maintain it and his excellent skills were being used more to negate the action than to win a fight.
Although there wasn't open scoring in play things were close. In fact the judges had the bout incredibly close, with scores of 67-65 on two of the cards, both to Kameda, and the third judge had the bout level.
Round 8 itself was brilliant with both men giving as good as they got. This actually saw the round being split by the three judges, with one giving it to Kameda, one giving it to De La Mora and the other having it even. It was a genuinely fantastic round with both men having their moments, and both seemingly hurt the other. Both guys let their hands go and matched each other really well in 3 minutes of brilliant action.
We saw the pace drop off again in round 9, though both men had their moments with Kameda boxing well and De La Mora having success with some of his eye catching flurries. It was another ultra-close round and another very entertaining one.
De La Mora came back strong in rounds 10 and 11 as he looked to make a statement late and he looked damned good during those two rounds as Kameda once again slowed down and began to look gun shy. These two great rounds from De La Mora likely sealed him the victory in the eyes of some observers, though Kameda game back strong in a very, very entertaining final round as he looked to retain his title and he dug deep.
After 12 rounds it was close, but it seemed to be one that De La Mora had done enough to get it, at least for us. For us Kameda just didn't do enough in the middle rounds but he started well and ended well. It was however super close, however you saw it.
In the end all 3 judges saw it for Kameda, giving him the win with scores of 114-113, 115-113 and 115-112. It wasn't a terrible decision, but was one of those where the local fighter gets a disputed close one.
This was certainly not Koki Kameda's biggest controversy, far from it, but it was a controversial one all the same. A good number of those in Japan thought Kameda had gotten a gift, though there was, of course, some anti-Kameda bias behind some of those comments. It was close, hotly contested and one of Kameda's best Bantamweight bouts to watch. Sadly many of his other bouts at the weight were rather dull affairs, but this one was genuinely a great fight and is well worth a watch, even ignoring the controversy around it.
One of the most amazing things about the Japanese domestic scene is the sheer number of barn burners we get from it. Whilst not all the bouts are great there does seem to be a much higher proportion of them than we realise. Today we look at a sensational Japanese Light Middleweight title bout from 2001. This isn't the prettiest bout you'll ever get, but is something very special, and very exciting.
Hiroyuki Yoshino (34-8-1, 25) vs Crazy Kim (8-2, 7)
In one corner was veteran Hiroyuki Yoshino, a hard hitting and experienced fighter who had been a professional since 1985. His 16 year career had had some ups and downs but the highs really were high and included a lengthy reign as the Japanese Welterweight champion, from 1988 to 1992, a world title fight in 1993 and an OPBF title reign in 1996. He had walked away from the sport for 2 years, but bounced back and in 2000 he had won the Japanese Light Middleweight title, beating Joya Kawai, to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Although not a world beater Yoshino was a dangerous puncher, with a brutal left hand, and an aggressive mentality. He made for fun fights and with a suspect chin he was very much a stop or be stopped type of fighter.
Crazy Kim, also known as Toshiharu Kaneyama, was a similar type of fighter to Yoshino in terms of his mental attitude. He looked to make fights fun and exciting, he was aggressive, heavy handed and always looking to take his opponents out early on. In his first title fight he lost a decision to Akira Ohigashi, in 1999, and then lost a second title bout the following year to Joya Kawai. Although he was a novice, with just 10 fights, he had proven he belonged in the title mix, especially with the bout against Kawai which was really close and competitive. He had proven his power on the lower end of domestic level and at 5'11" he was much taller than Yoshino. He was also coming into his physical prime, at 26 years old, much younger than the 33 year old Yoshino, who had taken considerable punishment in his 43 fights up to this point.
From the opening second it was clear that neither man was looking to go to the scorecards. Kim came out swinging huge looping hooks, that were thrown with really bad intent. Yoshino, seeing he was in against someone trying to take his head off began tried to see out the storm early on from the more imposing challenger. Kim didn't care about Yoshino's reputation and dropped him in the first round as his power took it's toll on the champion. Two huge right hands sent the champion down, but he would get to his feet. Yoshino managed to see out the round, but was in all sort of trouble and looked unable to cope with the brutish aggression of the challenger.
The work rate and effort Kim put in to the opening 3 minutes was incredible and whilst it did slow in round 2, which was no surprise, it was still clear he didn't want to hear the final bell. Yoshino however began to find some space, and as Kim slowed Yoshino began to land some shots of his own. Sadly for Yoshino his own shots seemed to bounce off Kim, who may have slowed his out put but still landed the more eye catching single shots, including a solid looking uppercut with about 45 seconds of the round left.
Round by round the experience of Yoshino began to show, that however didn't mean the bout got dull, round 3 was a fantastic round, with both men landing some booming head shots, before Kim pushed Yoshino over. The push was a clear sign from Kim of his physically strength, but only moments later Yoshino dropped him.
With both men dropped in the first 3 rounds it was clear both men could be hurt but neither man wanted to come up short. Their heart and desire couldn't be questioned and that was shown the remainder of the fight, as both men took some heavy leather, dug deep to keep the punches flowing in what was a thrilling, if some what crude, shoot out.
Please note - Some rounds are missing from the TV cut of this war, but the bout is very much worthy of a watch.
By Eric Armit:
-Joe Smith Jr outpoints Maxim Vlasov to win the vacant WBO light heavyweight title
-Jerwin Ancajas retains the IBF super flyweight title with unanimous decision over Jonathan Rodriguez
-Jaron Ennis knocks out former IBF champion Sergey Lipinets
-Eimantas Stanionis takes twelve round verdict over Thomas Dulorme in WBA eliminator
-Connor Benn stops Samuel Vargas inside a round
-Four Australian title fights in two days shows interest is still there for well matched national titles
-Unbeaten fighters Mark Magsayo (22-0), Efe Ajagba (15-0), Albert Bell (17-0), Robinson Conceicao (16-0), Jared Anderson (9-0), Trey Lippen (17-0) and Duke Ragan (4-0) all score wins.
World Title/Major Shows
Tulsa, OK, USA: Light Heavy: Joe Smith Jr (27-3) W PTS 12 Maxim Vlasov (45-4). Heavy: Efe Ajagba (15-0) W KO 3 Brian Howard (15-5). Light: Albert Bell (18-0) W PTS 8 Manuel Rojas (20-5). Super Feather: Robinson Conceicao (16-0) W TKO 7 Jesus Ahumada (17-4,1ND). Heavy: Jared Anderson (9-0) W KO 2 Jeremiah Karpency (16-3-1). Heavy: Trey Lippy (17-0) W TKO 3 Jason Bergman (27-20-2). Feather Duke Ragan (4-0) W PTS 4 Charles Clark (3-7-1).
Smith vs. Vlasov
Smith wins the vacant WBO title with a strong finish against Vlasov.
Vlasov started with his hands low with lots of upper body movement and he was penetrating Smith’s guard with jabs and hooks. Smith managed to land some left hooks but Vlasov was firing combinations and getting through with them. He connected with a series of rights before the bell but there was no real power in the shots. Smith had a small cut over his left eye.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov
Vlasov was scoring with his jabs again but Smith crashed home a sold right cross that had Vlasov backing off. Blood from the cut was running into Smith’s eye but he landed a heavy left and later another strong right. Vlasov was working hard but was not as effective as he had been in the first.
Score: 10-9 Smith TIED 19-19
Vlasov was back on target with his jabs and stringing together bursts of punches and was particularly effective with his straight rights. Smith was finding the perpetual movement of Vlasov a problem and was again pawing at his left eye to try to clear away the blood.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 29-28
Vlasov dominated the round. He was pumping out punches physically forcing Smith back and firing salvos. Smith was blocking many of the punches but lots were getting through and Smith other than a solid right to the head which was the best punch in the round was too busy defending to counter. The question was whether Vlasov could maintain the fast pace and perhaps there was a bit more style than substance in Vlasov’s work
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 39-37 Smith, Judge Pat Russell 38-38, Judge David Sutherland 38-38
Vlasov outworked Smith. He was pouring out punches. Many were blocked and again they were not powerful but Smith was being swamped. Smith battled back late in the round landing a heavy right hook but it was Vlasov’s round.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 49-46
Another dominant round for Vlasov. He hustled and harried Smith around the ring raking him with straight punches and hooks. Smith briefly switched to southpaw but that did not help and he was under strong pressure at the bell looking a sorry fighter.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 59-55
Smith needed to find a way into this fight and his work was being hampered by his need to protect the cut. The real Smith showed up in this round. He rocked Vlasov with a right to the head and then marched forward throwing hooks, uppercuts and straight rights refusing to take a step back. Vlasov looked a lot less confident under the pressure and it was Smith’s round.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 68-65
Smith started well banging out a succession of jabs and getting through with hooks to the body. That storm blew itself out and Vlasov took control forcing Smith onto the back foot. He continued to score with shots from both hands and jerked Smith’s head back with uppercuts.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 78-74
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 77-75 Smith, Judge Pat Russell 77-75 Smith, Judge David Sutherland 76-76
A big round for Vlasov. He was able to push Smith around the ring scoring with rights and lefts. He twice pinned Smith against the ropes and unloaded a pile of punches and drove Smith across the ring with rights to the head. When Smith did come forward he was walking onto counters and was under constant fire and relentless pressure. He was again trying to paw the blood out of his left eye and trudged back to his corner at the end of the round shaking his head. Both were now showing facial damage Vlasov with a bruise under his right eye and a small cut over his right eye and Smith a bruise under his already cut left eye.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov 88-83
This round was so one-sided that a stoppage looked possible and a lesser fighter than Smith might have crumbled. Vlasov was driving Smith around the ring showering him with punches. Smith tried switching to southpaw and also resorted to head down swings but the punches from Vlasov just kept coming.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 98-92
Smith takes a controversial round. Smith was piling in throwing punches. A very tired Vlasov was only looking to clinch and throwing very little. Near the end of the round a right from Smith shook Vlasov. Smith than scored with a series of hooks and as Vlasov stumbled forward a punch from Smith landed high on the back of Vlasov’s head and he dropped to one knee although it looked that that was due to exhaustion. The referee indicated it was not a knockdown due to the punch to the back of Vlasov’s head and called a time out with just twelve seconds to go in the round. Vlasov stayed kneeling for twenty seconds and then got up and went to the ropes and stood leaning against the ropes talking to his corner men for another ten seconds before the referee indicated for the fight to recommence and the only punch Smith landed was one to the back of Vlasov’s head which did not trouble Vlasov at all. There was no time left for Smith to do anything. Smith had landed three punches to the back of Vlasov’s head earlier in the round which had no effect on Vlasov then.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 107-102
With both fighters exhausted Smith outpunched Vlasov in the last. He was swinging hard looking for a kayo shot and Vlasov was fighting back enough to be competitive but also holding a lot like a fighter who thought he only had to make to the bell to win the title.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 116-112
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 115-112 Smith* Smith, Judge Pat Russell 115-113 Smith, Judge David Sutherland 114-114.
*Judge Ritter credited Smith with a 10-8 in the 11th.
Smith wins the WBO title having previously lost to Dmitry Bivol in a challenge for the secondary WBA title in March 2019 after which he scored impressive victories over Jesse Hart and Eleider Alvarez. I disagreed with the verdict. The CompuBox statistics showed Smith throwing more and landing more but you call them as you see them. Bivol is now the full WBA champion so a unifying fight would be attractive as would a unifier against WBC/IBF title holder Artur Beterbiev and Umar Salamov and Lyndon Arthur are being prepared for a final eliminator and of course a return with Vlasov is a possibility so options for Smith. Russian Vlasov, 34, had lost to Krzys Glowacki for the interim WBO cruiser title and then moved down to light heavy. The Glowacki loss was the only one he had suffered in his last 16 fights.
Ajagba vs. Howard
Ajagba ends this one with an explosive right that lays Howard out cold. The 6’6” Ajagba used his long jabs to get on top with Howard retreating and looking to counter but Ajagba was the one landing the punches in particular a long right cross that shook Howard. In the second Ajagba was using his jab to set up Howard for more right crosses but was overshooting the mark and Howard was short with his rights. Ajagba suffered a small cut over his right eye in a clash of heads. Half way through the third round with Howard holding his left arm low Ajagba stepped in with a thunderous right cross that landed on Howard’s jaw. He was out before he hit the deck lying inert in a twisted heap and the fight was stopped immediately with it being quite a while before Howard recovered. The 26-year-old Nigerian gets his twelfth inside the distance and is rated No 11 by both the WBA and WBC. He is a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and a Olympic quarter-finalist. Second inside the distance loss in succession for Howard who was stopped in four rounds by Frank Sanchez in November.
Bell vs. Rojas
Bell outboxes an aggressive Rojas. Bell tried to blow Rojas away with a series of hooks and uppercuts in the first. Rojas rode out the storm and then fired back but Bell continued to land solid shots. Rojas forged forward in the second connecting with left hooks to the body. Bell was on the back foot slotting home jabs and countering well. The pattern was the same in the third with the skills of Bell just giving him the edge. A clash of heads saw Rojas cut on this forehead. Rojas continued to take the fight to Bell doing some good work inside but there were too many clinches with Bell tying Rojas up to prevent him working in close. Bell’s superior technique gave him the edge but too often he allowed himself to be dragged into brawls and that helped Rojas steal a couple of rounds. Scores 78-74 for Bell from all three judges. A brilliant boxer Bell, 28, has beaten credible opposition in Andy Vences, Frank De Alba and Mark Bernaldez and is listed as WBO 12 and WBC 14 if there is a problem it is in the power department. Riojas is strong but limited. He has lost only one of his last nine fights and that was a decision against Felix Verdejo.
Conceicao vs. Ahumada
Conceicao batters a game Ahumada to defeat in seven rounds. It has taken a time for Conceicao to settle in professional boxing but he is now improving with every fight. Here he was jabbing powerfully cracking home body shots and could not miss Ahumada with straight rights. Ahumada took lots of punishment. His defence leaked badly and never seemed able to get away from those right hands from Conceicao. He insisted on trying to walk through Conceicao’s punches even if the Brazilian had lots more power. There was soon blood dripping from Ahumada’s nose as Conceicao strung together some hurtful combinations. Ahumada began bleeding from the mouth as well and it was amazing he was still there after the heavy punches he absorbed but he never stopped firing back. The doctor examined Ahumada at the end of the sixth but he was allowed to continue. Finally in the seventh a left hook sent Ahumada down on his back. He climbed to his feet but the referee saved him from his own bravery and stopped the fight. Now eight wins by KO/TKO for the 32-year-old Rio Gold medal winner. Mexican Ahumada is now 3-3 in his last six fights including a ninth round stoppage by Stephen Fulton.
Anderson vs. Karpency
Another power show from Anderson. Karpency opened the first by chucking some wild swings which Anderson easily evaded. Anderson then walked Karpency down with jabs before connecting with a right to the ribs that saw Karpency go down on one knee. He was up at nine and managed to clinch to the bell. A right to the body put Karpency down at the start of the second and he was shaking his head and just stayed on one knee throughout the count. The 21-year-old “Real Big Baby” has won all nine of his victories by KO/TKO talking less than 20 rounds to do so but desperately needs someone to really test him. At least he got Karpency out of there quicker than Oscar Rivas (3 rounds) and Sergey Kuzmin (6 rounds) the others who have beaten Karpency inside the allotted rounds.
Lippe vs. Berman
It’s now 17 fights and 17 wins inside the distance for Lippe but not much satisfaction for him in this one. Lippe came out firing putting Bergman under pressure and scored with body punches. He continued to attack but with Bergman taunting him he was ignoring defence and Bergman landed three quick punches with the third a left hook sending Lippe back and down. It looked a valid knockdown but the referee indicating it was a slip. An incensed Berman argued with the referee that it was a knockdown and Lippe who had jumped up quickly stood and watched as Bergman harangued the referee for 20 seconds before the action continued and Berman looked to have rocked Lippe with the last punch of the round. Lippe scored well to the body in the second but looked uncomfortable when the 31lbs heavier Bergman applied pressure. Bergman was again taunting Lippe but Lippe kept his cool and score well and Bergman was looked gassed. Bergman was sticking his chin inviting Lippe to him it in the third but when he stepped forward to launch an attack he collapsed to the canvas having turned over his ankle and was unable to continue. Lippe, 31, the son of the late WBO heavyweight title holder Tommy Morrison, was having his first fight since July 2019. Bergman,36, had lost 5 of his last 6 fights with all five of his conquerors being unbeaten fighters.
Ragan vs. Clark
Just six rounds of fairly undemanding work for the outstandingly talented young Ragan. Scores 60-54 for Ragan on all three cards. No need to rush the 23-year-old from Cincinnati who has won every round in his fights to date. All seven of the guys who have scored wins over Clark were unbeaten fighters when he faced them.
Uncasville, CT, USA: ). Super Fly: Jerwin Ancajas (33-1-2) W PTS 12 Jonathan Rodriguez (22-2). Welter: Jaron Ennis (27-0,1ND) W KO 6 Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1. Welter: Eimantas Stanionis (13-0) W PTS 12 Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1). Feather: Mark Magsayo (22-0) W TKO 4 Pablo Cruz (21-4).
Ancajas vs. Rodriguez
Ancajas makes a successful ninth defence of the IBF title with unanimous decision over Rodriguez. Ancajas faded noticeably but held off a late surge from the young Mexican.
Southpaw Ancajas was a bit taller with a longer reach and began by jabbing to the body. He had early success as a left knocked Rodriguez back and he almost touched the canvas with his glove but stayed upright. Rodriguez showed quick movement but Ancajas landed with lefts to the body.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas
Ancajas was working well with the jab and reaching out with lefts to the body. The fight suddenly burst into life when Rodriguez turned to complain to the referee about a punch to the back of the head and Ancajas took the opportunity to jump in and land some punches. An angered Rodriguez fired back and they trade punches with Ancajas getting the better of the exchanges.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 20-18
Rodriguez was letting punches fly early but then Ancajas settled down to score with his jab and long lefts. Again Rodriguez justifiably complained about a punch to the back of the head and when the referee ignored him another fierce exchange of punches started with both landing with hooks and uppercuts but Ancajas came out ahead.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 30-27
Rodriguez was taking too long to launch his attacks and Ancajas was getting his punches off first He continued to land with his jab and long lefts and bounced some sharp lefts off Rodriguez’s head. Rodriguez scored with a good left late in the round but that was all.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 40-36 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 39-37 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 40-36 Ancajas
Ancajas outboxed and outworked Rodriguez. The champion was sending out a constant stream of jabs and nipping in with rights to the body. Rodriguez was fighting in short burst but every time he was about to launch a rush attack Ancajas was hitting him with jabs and Rodriguez had to set himself all over again.
Score 10-9 Ancajas: Ancajas 50-45
Ancajas changed styles completely. He went inside and traded punches with Rodriguez. He was ripping home hooks and uppercuts to the body and overhand lefts. The change of tactics suited Rodriguez who was able to do some scoring of his own with swinging hooks and uppercuts but again it was Ancajas getting the better of the action.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 60-54
Ancajas went back to his boxing. He kept his right jab in Rodriguez face, landed long lefts to the body and occasionally stepped in with a left cross to the head. A frustrated Rodriguez was never able to get close enough to land any significant punches.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 70-63
A huge round for Ancajas. He pressed hard connecting with clubbing shots from both hands. He was forcing Rodriguez back with Rodriguez bewildered by the storm of punches. Ancajas drove Rodriguez to a corner and pounded him until Rodriguez slumped to one knee. He was up at eight and with only three or four seconds left in the round the bell went before any more action took place.
Score: 10-8 Ancajas Ancajas 80-71
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 78-73 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 79-72 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 80-71 Ancajas
A great round. Ancajas set out to finish what he had started in the first round and forced Rodriguez to the ropes twice blazing away with hooks and uppercuts. It looked as though Rodriguez was ready to go but he kept punching back. As the round ended it was Rodriguez digging to the body and scoring with hooks and uppercuts and Ancajas looking to have punched himself out.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 89-81
Rodriguez sensed Ancajas was tiring and he attacked hard throughout this round piling on the pressure and firing punches. Ancajas was landing plenty but he was being outscored and for the first time in the fight looking to hold rather than fight inside.
Score: 10-09 Rodriguez Ancajas 98-91
Rodriguez was swarming forward throwing punches. Ancajas had forgotten his jab and although still landing sharp counters his punch output had dropped and Rodriguez was scoring heavily with Ancajas the one to break off the exchanges as the swopped shots to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 107-101
For the final three minutes two tired fighters just stood and pasted each other with punches. Neither had any thought of defence and both were rocked a few times but in the end Rodriguez just had that little more left and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 116-111
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 115-112 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 116-111 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 117-110 Ancajas.
Right now with the No 1 and No 2 spots in the IBF rankings vacant and Rodriguez being No 3 the 29-year-old Filipino does not have any mandatory challenger. Because of the WBC super fly “tournament” his options are limited and there are no big fights to be had from the IBF list but as he struggled at the end of this a rest might be a good idea but he won’t want to sit on the sidelines for another sixteen months as he has just done. Considering that Rodriguez had never faced an opponent remotely near to being rated he performed well showing strongly at the finish and it will be interesting to see how he develops.
Ennis vs. Lipinets
Ennis outclasses and then stops former IBF champion Lipinets in a statement making performance. Ennis is 5’10” to the 5’7” of Lipinets and has a 74” reach compared to a 67” reach for Lipinets. He also has quicker hands and is much niftier on his feet. All of those things came into the play in the first round as Ennis danced around a plodding Lipinets stepping in quickly to score with jabs and getting out before Lipinets could counter. When Lipinets did lunge forward Ennis clouted him with rights to the head. Ennis changed to southpaw in the second and scored with lefts to the body. Lipinets ploughed forward with his head down throwing punches but walked onto counters from Ennis. They stood and traded punches before Ennis switched back to orthodox and speared Lipinets with left jabs. They swopped jabs at the opening of the third before Lipinets managed to pin Ennis against the ropes and connect with some strong body punches. Ennis switched to southpaw and drove Lipinets back landing hooks, uppercuts and straight rights with Lipinets getting rocked. Lipinets came out swinging in the fourth but Ennis was changing positions and angles and firing punches with such speed that Lipinets never seemed to know where Ennis was or where the punches were coming from. As they fought inside Lipinets went down on one knee. He was up immediately and was given a count. It seemed more a case of their feet getting tangled up but Lipinets did not dispute the referee’s action. Ennis then connected with huge rights which Lipinets was just too slow to block. Ennis staggered Lipinets with a herd right but when he went to follow up a punch from Lipinets went very low and the action was stopped briefly for Ennis to recover and he then settled for piercing Lipinets guard with jabs to the bell. Ennis ended it emphatically in the sixth. He took the fight to Lipinets going toe-to-toe handing out brutal punishment before landing a stunning left hook that put Lipinets down on his back and the referee immediately waived the fight over. Scintillating display from Ennis in the way that he outclassed and then disposed of former IBF champion Lipinets. The 23-year-old from the fighting Philadelphian Ennis family has lots of both ability and power as this is his twenty-fifth win by KO/TKO. He was rated WBO 7/IBF 9/WBC 12 and with Lipinets being No 3 with the IBF he will certainly get a promotion from them. With this and other recent showings the likelihood of Ennis becoming a world champion has gone from perhaps to possibly to probable and on this showing almost certain with the “almost” only there because he is in the same division as Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence. He is also much younger than both Crawford and Spence so time is on his side. Lipinets suffers his first inside the distance loss with Mikey Garcia the only fighter to have floored him previously. He was coming off a draw in October against unbeaten Custio Clayton for the interim IBF title and with Clayton at No 4 with the IBF that might be a logical next step for Ennis. Kazak Lipinets never got into this fight to any degree and will now have some serious rebuilding to do.
Stanionis vs. Dulorme
Stanionis has to come from behind to win this WBA eliminator. Stanionis utilised his standard pressure tactics early with Dulorme using clever movement and outworking Stanionis at the start. They were both landing well with the rounds close and no one really able to dominate. Stanionis connected with a good lefts to the head in the third and fourth and Dulorme banged back with solid body shots. Stanionis just looked to have edged the exchanges in the fifth but boxing on the back foot Dulorme did good work over the sixth and seventh. Stanionis came back strongly with body punches in the eighth but the ninth was a close round. A punch from Stanionis opened a cut over Dulorme’s left eye in the tenth and then over the last two rounds he proved stronger and outlanded a tiring Dulorme whose vision was being affected by the blood from the cut. Scores 117-111,116-112 and 115-113 all for Stanionis. The 26-year-old Lithuanian adds this win to victories over Justin de Loach and Janer Gonzalez but with Stanionis No 10 and Dulorme No 14 it is difficult to see this win pushing him very high in the queue of those looking for a title shot. It has been a switchback ride in his most recent fights for former WBO super light title challenger Dulorme. He has lost to Yordenis Ugas, drawn with Jessie Vargas, outpointed Terrel Williams and lost in a fight for the interim WBA welter title to Jamal James. He will now probably fall out of the ratings and I can’t see him regaining that lost ground.
Magsayo vs. Cruz
Filipino “Magnifico” Magsayo adds another win. He had Cruz under pressure with left hooks in the first and then dropped him late in the second. A Magsayo left hook put Cruz down in the third and Cruz only just managed to make it to the bell. The end wasn’t long in coming as a right from Magsayo sent Cruz down again in the fourth and the referee stopped the one-sided action. Fifteenth victory by KO/TKO for the 25-year-old Magsayo who is rated IBF 5(4)/WBC 5/WBO 8 so is very much in the queue for a title shot. Texan Cruz “The Lethal Mosquito” came in having won 7 of his last 8 fights
Grozny, Russia: Heavy: Jack Mulowayi (10-2-1) W TKO 8 Apti Davtaev (20-1-1). Super Middle: Aslambek Idigov (20-0) W PTS 10 Sherzod Khusanov (22-2-1). Light Heavy: Umar Salamov (27-1) W PTS Sergei Ekimov (18-2). Middle: Rizvan Elikhanov (12-0) W RTD 2 Mfaume Mfaume (16-8-2).
Mulowayi vs. Davtaev
Huge upset as unsung Belgian-based Congolese fighter Mulowayi wore down and stopped unbeaten Russian Davtaev. Mulowayi was given no chance here but he gradually ground Davtaev down. It was a fairly even fight over the first five rounds and then Davtaev started to tire. Mulowayi dominated the action from there and in the eighth round an exhausted Davtaev was taking heavy head punches as he stumbled along the ropes and with no sign of him punching back the referee stopped the fight. The 34-year-old ABU champion Mulowayi had lost a majority decision to 30-3 Herve Hubeaux for the Belgian title and been outpointed by world rated Frank Sanchez and did not look a threat on paper. Davtaev has been very carefully matched but the wheels came off in this on.
Idigov vs. Khusanov
Idigov returns home from his training base in Detroit and takes wide unanimous decision over veteran Khusanov. In a slow-paced fight despite Khusanov’s edges in height and reach Idigov was always in command. Khusanov competed hard all the way without ever doing enough to steal a round. Scores 100-90 from each of the judges for Idigov who was defending the WBO and IBF European titles. The Salita Promotions fighter is No 6 with the WBO. Uzbek Khusanov, 41, had a 22-fight unbeaten run ended when he lost to 40-0-1 Damian Jonak in 2018 but had returned in September last year with a decision over 25-1 Robert Parzeczewski.
Salamov vs. Ekimov
Fighting in his home territory Salamov only just escapes being the second heavy favourite to lose on this show. At 6’3 ½” he had height and reach on his side and made a confident start taking the fight to Egorov. It looked as though the fight would go as forecast but Ekimov boxed cleverly using Salamov’s height against by fighting mainly from a crouch leaving Salamov searching for a target. Despite that with his higher work rate Salamov seemed to have done enough to earn the decision but Ekimov fought hard enough to make it very close and to convince one judge he was the winner so Salamov had to settle for a split decision. It looks likely that Salamov, the WBO No 4 will go on to fight No 3 Britain’s Lyndon Arthur in an eliminator to challenge the new WBO champion Joe Smith. After 18 consecutive wins Ekimov came into this fight on the back of losses to Ricards Bolotniks and Ali Izmailov so his form here was a surprise.
Elikhanov vs. Mfaume
Elikhanov keeps his 100% record of inside the distance wins as Mfaume retires in the second round. Elikhanov had been stalking Mfaume in the first but Mfaume stepped in and threw a series of body punches in the second. A left hook clashed with the point of Elikhanov’s elbow and Mfaume backed off with his arm hanging by his side and indicated he could not continue. The 23-year-old has been matched sensibly with some experienced opposition. Tanzanian Mfaume is 0-3 in fights in Russia.
Tokyo, Japan: Welter: Keita Obara (24-4-1) W PTS 10 Shoki Sakai (25-12-2). Light: Go Hosaka (5-0) W PTS 8 Kanta Fukui (7-4-1).
Obara vs. Sakai
Obara retains the National title on a very narrow unanimous decision over Sakai in an entertaining scrap. Obara wanted to box but the aggressive Sakai kept driving forward behind a high guard to offset Obara’s strong jab. Obara managed to put in enough good work to take the first two rounds but Sakai upped his pace over the next three to close the gap. After five rounds two judges had Obara up 48-47 with the third going for Sakai by the same score. Sakai took the sixth to even things up but Obara’s experience at a higher level saw him make the stronger finish to take the verdict. All three judges had Obara the winner by 96-94. The 34-year-old former IBF and IBO title challenger makes it four wins in a row. Sakai went to Mexico and turned pro there in 2010 and did his fighting in Mexico and the USA before returning home in late 2020 and scoring two wins over modest domestic opposition.
Hosaka vs. Fukui
Former top amateur (Takeshi) Go Hosaka was also returning home but had to fight hard to get a split decision over unranked Fukui. Hosaka built an early lead with his better boxing but Fukui began to cut into the lead over the middle rounds with Hosaka needing a strong finish to just deserve the victory. Scores 78-74 and 77-75 for Hosaka and 77-75 for Fukui. Hosaka was the first Japanese fighter to medal at the World Youth Games winning a bronze medal in 2014 and finishing fourth in the Youth Olympic Games in the same year. He joined the famous ALA gym in the Philippines and turned pro there before returning to Japan when the gym closed. Fukui was moving up to eight rounds and exceeded expectation in this fighting performance.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Light: Fabian Maidana (18-1) W PTS 10 Carlos Cordoba (13-7,1ND).
Easy win for Maidana as he outpoints Argentinian champion Cordoba in a non-title match. With his superior power and a strong jab Maidana had Cordoba on the back foot and controlled the action. He found Cordoba a hard target and Cordoba used plenty of movement, constant switching of guards and lots of bobbing and weaving but Maidana keep pressing and landed with heavy lefts and right when he was able to trap Cordoba against the ropes. Cordoba’s attacks tended to be rushed and inaccurate and he was moving too much to really set himself to get any power in his punches. It was a frustrating fight for Maidana but despite the trickery of Cordoba he stuck to his task and dominated the fight. Scores 100-90, 100-92 and 99-92 ½. Maidana, 28, won his first 16 fights before losing to more experienced Jaider Parra and this is his second victory since then. He is the younger brother of Marcos Maidana. Cordoba certainly lived up to his “Little Fox” nickname but his tricks were no match for the better technical boxer with the heavier hands.
Sydney, Australia: Super Light: Youssef Dib (15-0) W PTS 10 Hunter Ioane (8-2-1). Super Feather: Billel Dib (25-3) W TKO 3 Jack Asis (38-24-5). Heavy: Willis Meehan (11-0) W TKO 1 Patrick Thunder (1-6-1).
Dib vs. Ioane
Dib wins the vacant Australian title with unanimous verdict over Ioane. Ioane came in 1 lb over the division limit so the title was only on the line for Dib who wins his first pro title in his first ten round fight. After being put on the floor in the first Dib settled down to outbox and outpunch Ioane to emerge a comfortable winner. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93. Dib, 28, is the youngest of the three fighting Dib brothers. Second tough fight in a row for Ioane having been stopped in two rounds by unbeaten Jacob Ng after having Ng on the floor in the first round. He made Dib work hard for his win here.
Dib vs. Asis
Billel makes it a family winning double as he stops Filipino oldie Asis. The much taller Dib stopped the very faded Asis in the third round to retain the WBA Oceania title for the third time. Body punches did for Asis with three knockdown in the third. Dib, 31, makes it four wins in a row in his first fight in two years. It was also a treble for the Dib’s as brothers Billy and Youssef had also beaten Asis inside the distance. Asis put together a great run that took him to the IBO super feather title but those days are long past
Meehan vs. Thunder
Meehan gets a quick win as he crushes Thunder in 70 seconds. The 6’5”, 25-year-old New Zealand-born southpaw has nine inside the distance victories, six in the first round, but his victims have been substandard. Meehan is also a professional rugby league player. He is the son of former WBO heavyweight title challenger Kali who came close when losing to Lamon Brewster on a split decision for the WBO title in 2004. Thunder with no chance at all suffers his fourth defeat by KO/TKO.
Mantova, Italy: Super Light: Arblin Kaba (12-0-2) TEC DRAW 4 Luciano Randazzo (15-3-4).
Kaba retains the Italian title with technical draw against Randazzo. The ending seemed lucky for Kaba. Randazzo had started strongly connecting with a series of hooks in the first and after an even second he had the better of the exchanges in the third. In that round a clash of heads opened a gash over the left eye of Randazzo. They started the fourth round but with the blood hampering Randazzo’s vision the fight was stopped and with the fourth round not being completed it was ruled a technical draw. Albanian-born Kaba was making the second defence of the title but was coming off a knockout loss against Mohamed Khalladi in November so he needed a win. Randazzo was making his second challenge for the title and will probably get a third shot when his cut heals.
Auckland, New Zealand: Super Welter: Andrei Mikhailovich (15-0) W TKO 9 Shay Brock (13-3-2).
Mikhailovich makes a successful defence of the New Zealand title with stoppage of Brock. Mikhailovich was able to use his big advantages in height and reach to floor and then stop Brock. Mikhailovich was in charge of the fight flooring Brock with a body punch in the fourth and breaking him down. Brock had some success with rights but Mikhailovich was just too big and too strong and the referee stopped the fight in the ninth. Russian-born “Renegade” Mikhailovich, 23, also holds the New Zealand middleweight title. Former champion Brock suffers his first inside the distance defeat.
Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania: Light: Hannock Phiri (3-0) W TKO 9 Yona Segu (19-11-2) W. Middle: Twaha Kassim (17-7-1) W Bebe Rico Tshibangu (9-1-3).
Phiri vs. Segu
Malawian Phiri stops local fighter Segu in the ninth round. Phiri had not even the sights idea of how to box. He could not throw a jab he just waked and sometimes ran for ward just swinging both arms. He ignored any punch Segu landed and when he was sent staggering back he just threw himself forward again. A big right swipe put Segu down in the third and when Segu got up he was staggering badly. When the referee asked him to take a couple of steps forward he turned away and stumbled into a corner. The fight continued and in the fourth a huge swelling appeared over the right eye of Phiri and by the end of the round he could only see though a very narrow split and had to pull his head back to see through that slit. Despite all of this and despite walking through punch after punch his determination saw him through and although the swelling was grotesque in the ninth he landed a series of clubbing punches which sent Segu face down on the canvas and the fight was stopped. The 22-year-old Phiri wins the WBFederation African title and has won his three fights by KO/TKO I have rarely seen any fighter with less idea of how to box-but he won. Segu had been in with Terry Flanagan and had lost a split decision against 20-1-1 Armenian Vahram Vardanyan in February last year but he had no idea of how to deal with Phiri
Villa Gobernado, Argentina: Light Heavy: Abraham Buonarrigo (9-1) W PTS 9 Rolando Mansilla (16-8-1). Bantam: Juan Carlos Reveco (40-4) W PTS 6 Jeremias Ulibarre (8-12-1).
Buonarrigo vs. Mansilla
Buonarrigo wins the vacant WBA Fedebol title with unanimous decision over Mansilla. Scores 89-82, 88-83 and 87-84 for Buonarrigo the Argentinian No 7. Mansilla is 3-3 in his six most recent outings including losses in Australia and France.
Reveco vs. Ulibarre
Reveco returns to the ring with a points victory over Ulibarre. Gentle easing back for “Coton” as he wins on scores of 60 -53 ½, 60-54 and 60-55. Now 37 the former holder of the WBA secondary titles at light flyweight and flyweight was having his first fight since losing to Donnie Nietes for the IBF flyweight title in February 2018. Ulibarre sinking gradually and is 1-8 in his last 9.
Brisbane, Australia: Welter: Andrew Hunt (8-0-1) W PTS 10 Ben Kite (18-4-1). Light Heavy: Leti Leti (16-1) W PTS 10 Conor Wallace (7-1). Super Welter: Ben Mahoney (11-0) W PTS 10 Kris George (14-3).Heavy: Justis Huni (3-0) W TKO 1 Jack Maris (2-1).
Hunt vs. Kite
Tall southpaw Hunt scores majority verdict over champion Kite to win the Australian title. Hunt made an impressive start rocking Kite with uppercuts in the opening round. Kite worked hard to take the second but after a close third Hunt landed big punches in the fourth and fifth. Kite managed to work inside to avoid the big shots from Hunt over the sixth and seventh but Hunt scored with body punches in the eighth and despite the efforts of the more experienced Kite to hold and mess with Hunt inside the challenger finishes strongly. Scores 97-94, 96-94 and 96-95 for Hunt. New Zealand-born Hunt was taking a big step up in facing Kite and was in his first ten round fight but he paced the fight well. He is of Samoan antecedents and represented Australia at the 2017 World Championships. Kite was making the second defence of the National title and had won his last 13 fights.
Leti vs. Wallace
Leti beats champion Wallace on a majority decision to collect the Australian light heavyweight title after ten rounds of total war. Southpaw Wallace towered over the 5’8” Leti but Leti was prepared to take punishment to get inside. Once there he was connecting with some serious body punches. Wallace’s corner kept urging him to box and when he did he had some success but again and again he was standing and exchanging big punches with Leti. Both were rocked on occasion but also both were willing to absorb the incoming punches and fire back with their own. Leti was remorseless in his attacks and Wallace displayed an iron chin but Leti’s body punching wore down Wallace and Leti made the stronger finish. Scores 98-93 and 96-94 for Leti and 95-95. Eighth win in a row for Samoan-born Leti. Wallace-born in Newry Northern Ireland-was defending his title for the first time. Three great Australian title fights on the same night all of which would make good return matches.
Mahoney vs. George
Mahoney wins the vacant Australian title with narrow unanimous decision over George. Things started well for Mahoney as a jab in the first round landed on the left eye of George which had him blinking constantly and eventually a swelling developed by the eye. Both jabbed well in a tactical battle with Mahoney on the front foot and George countering. Mahoney had George’s nose bleeding early and the nose dripped blood throughout the fight. Mahoney’s jab was a potent weapon which he used to open George up time and again. George was effective with uppercuts and overhand rights as he worked off the rust from almost three years out of the ring. George floored Mahoney with a left hook in the seventh but Mahoney survived and fought hard over the last three rounds to take the decision. Scores 95-94 twice and 96-93 for Mahoney. Great win in a great fight for the 25-year-old Mahoney. First fight for former Commonwealth champion George since losing his title on a stoppage against Josh Kelly in June 2018. A fight in which George suffered two broken hands and a broken jaw.
Huni vs. Maris
Huni blows away Maris in the first round. Huni went straight after the 6’9” tall Maris rocking him with left hooks to head and body and sent him stumbling to the ropes. Huni then pounded on Maris sending him sliding along the ropes with a right to the head and the referee came in to stop the fight. Maris protested the stoppage but it was well-timed. Huni, 22, won the Australian title in his first pro fight. He is a former World Youth Champion and World Championships bronze medallist and has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Maris lacked the experience to cope with the more mobile Huni.
Tijuana, Mexico: Super Welter: Carlos Ocampo (29-1) W TKO 2 Ivan Matute (30-4). Super Welter: Dunbiel Sanchez (17-0-2) W PTS 10 Ruben Orozco (8-4).
Ocampo vs. Matute
Ocampo disposes of Matute in two rounds. Ocampo had Matute under plenty of pressure in the first and he was obviously the harder puncher. In the second a series of left hook to the body forced Matute to drop to one knee. After the count Ocampo landed more body punches before flooring Matute with a right. Matute got up but was quickly trapped on the ropes and some more left hooks to the body saw him down on one knee with his face screwed up in agony and the referee stopped the fight. The 25-year-old from Ensenada now has 19 inside the distance victories. When he challenged Errol Spence for the IBF welter title in 2018 he was knocked out inside the first round and this is his seventh win as he tries to restore some pride. Needless to say that Venezuelan Matute has a very heavily padded record.
Sanchez vs. Orozco
Sanchez outpoints Orozco to remain unbeaten. Sanchez used a strong body attack to take charge in this fight. He picked his punches well and stuck to his game plan. Orozco did well enough with his pressing attacks to outscore Sanchez on occasion but Sanchez took the unanimous decision. All three judges gave it to Sanchez 97-93 to make it a double for Ensenada. Four consecutive losses for Orozco.
Valencia, Spain: Welter: Jon Miguez (13-0) W KO 8 Ricardo Roser (7-1). Super Feather: Juan Felix Gomez (10-0) W RTD 7 Diego Valtierra (6-3). Light: Zeus de Armas (12-0) W TKO 5 Carlos Arroyo (5-16-1).
Miguez vs. Roser
Miguez wins the vacant Spanish title with kayo of Roser. After a slow first round Miguez did the attacking switching guards and he rocked Roser with a left hook in the third. Roser countered well and it was very close at the end of the fourth with Miguez in front on one card, Roser in front on another and the third reading a tie. Miguez upped the pressure over the middle rounds with Roser forced to stand and punch with Miguez and suffering a cut by his left eye. In the eighth Roser was slowing and Miguez connected with a series of punches that sent Roser down on his knees and he was counted out. Sixth inside the distance win for the 24-year-old from Cantabria. Disappointment for local boxer Roser who was short on power.
Gomez vs. Valtierra
Southpaw Gomez gets a win for Valencia as he beats Valtierra to win the vacant Spanish title. Gomez had the longer reach and he used that to the full. He also showed some good defensive work and Valtierra just could not get into the fight. Gomez was scoring at distance and countering strongly and Valtierra was slowly being broken down. In the sixth Valtierra was down twice and a cut had opened over his left eye. He was given one more round to turn things around but just took more punishment and retired at the end of the seventh. Nice boxing from 24-year-old “El Mago” Gomez. Valtierra had never gone past six rounds before and was well beaten.
de Armas vs. Arroyo
Canary Islander de Armas has no trouble stopping Arroyo. He put Arroyo down in the fourth and twice more in the fifth and the fight was over. The 35-year-old will be looking for a shot at the national title. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Arroyo has just one win in his last nine fights.
London, England: Welter: Conor Benn (18-0) W TKO 1 Samuel Vargas (31-7-2). Bantam: Ukashir Farooq (15-1) W PTS 10 Alexander Espinoza (20-3-2).
Benn vs. Vargas
Benn blitzes Vargas in one. After both had stabbed out jabs Benn scored with a left hook/overhand right and was letting his punches go. Vargas came forward taking the fight to Benn who connected with two rights the second one stopped Vargas in his tracks. Benn then poured on the punches driving Vargas to the ropes under a barrage of shots to head and body. He had Vargas pinned to the ropes and was connecting with hooks and uppercuts with Vargas being rocked and with his head being snapped back and flung side to side by punches when the referee stepped in. Vargas protested but it was a good call. All over in 80 seconds. Second impressive showing in a row by Benn after beating Sebastian Formella in November. He was making the fourth defence of the WBA Continental title. Vargas has lost the big fights with Errol Spence, Danny Garcia and Vergil Ortiz beating him inside the distance but none of them did it this quickly and he took Amir Khan the distance and Benn is calling out Khan.
Farooq vs. Espinoza
Farooq comes through a true test as he takes decision over tough and experienced Espinoza. Speed and skill are two qualities Farooq has in spades but here he chose to show that he could also fight in the trenches. He took on Espinoza inside for much of the fight and these two swapped punches all the way. That bit of extra speed served Farooq well but his chin was tested by Espinoza and he was cut over his right eye when heads bumped together, Espinoza came on strong over the late rounds but Farooq had outfought the Nicaraguan and picked up a deserved decision and the WBC International Silver belt. Scores 97-93. 97-94 and 97-95 all for Farooq. The Pakistani-born Scot’s only loss was a controversial split decision against Lee McGregor in November 2019. Espinoza had won 5 of his last 6 fights.
Livorno, Italy: Light: Vairo Lenti (8-4-1) W PTS 10 Gianluca Picardi (9-1).
Lenti is Italian champion after winning on a close unanimous decision over fellow-southpaw Picardi. It was Picardi who set the early pace managing to fight inside over the first three rounds. Lenti started to use his longer reach in the fourth but Picardi again scored well inside in the fifth. The sixth was close and then Picardi’s output dropped with Lenti staging a strong finish to just nick the decision. Three scores of 96-94 for home town fighter Lenti with Picardi a very angry man about the decision. Lenti makes his record look a little better with his fourth win in his last six fight. Picardi will want a second shot.
Fight of the week (Significance): Joe Smith’s win over Maxim Vlasov opens the possibility of unification fights at light heavyweight.
Fight of the week (Entertainment):The Australian title fight between Leti Leti and Wallace gets the vote with honourable mention to Smith vs. Vlasov
Fighter of the week: Jaron Ennis for his outstanding performance in knocking out Sergey Lipinets
Punch of the week: It has to be the booming right from Efe Ajagba which knocked Brian Howard out cold.
Upset of the week: Belgian-based DRC fighter Jack Mulowayi (9-2-1) was not supposed to stop (20-0-1) Apti Davtaev
Prospect watch: None I have not already spotted
Jared Anderson has my permission to apply for a new nickname “Real Big Baby” just does not do it for me when attached to a fearsome puncher such as Anderson. A stamped addressed letter will get you a list of suitable nicknames not yet sold (I mean allocated).
PS Pablo Cruz has already taken “The Lethal Mosquito”
Two controversial/strange breaks in the action:
We often hear fans complain about the "super" and "junior" weight classes, but in reality a number of those have been undeniable positives for the sport. One of the best examples of that is the consistently fantastic Super Featherweight division. Whilst the division is a "super" division, and not one of the original weight classes, it has been around since the 1920's and is a division that has had so many amazing champions over the years and given us so many great fights that we really need to give the powers that be credit for creating the division.
As may have guessed, today's closet classic looks at one of those great Super Featherweight bouts, as we head back to 1997 for a gem from Korea.
Yong Soo Choi (22-2, 13) vs Koji Matsumoto (24-4-1, 13)
In one corner was a Closet Classic regular, Yong Soo Choi. The teak tough Korean was in so many amazing fights through his career that we do a mini series on just great fights, and it's longer than some careers! Despite the dodgy mullet the Korean was tough, exciting, set a high work rate and made up some technicaly limitations by simply being so damn strong and rugged. His wars with Lakva Sim and Takanori Hatakeyama are certainly proof of how entertaining he is and we get more proof. Enterting the bout Choi had made 4 defenses of the WBA Super Featherweight title, and whilst he had looked impressive as a warrior he had shown technical flaws through out his bouts. This time around he was up against someone who wasn't going to fight his fight with him, like Sim and Yamato Mitani had, but instead was going to use technical skills to try and neutralise him, and out score him.
Southpaw challenger Koji Matsumoto, who is now a trainer at the Ohashi Gym, had come up short in a previous world bout against Korean Young Kyun Park. Against Park a 22 year old Matsumoto had been out classed and then stopped in 11 rounds. He had been gutsy but the fight come far too early in his career. Following that loss he had rebuilt, winning 10 of his subsequent 11 bouts, and scored 9 T/KO's. Now he was in his mid 20's, he was a man, and he had proven himself as an excellent regional level fighter with an OPBF title win. This time he was ready for a world title shot and was fighting a less skills fighter, albeit a champion with an iron jaw, irresistible work rate and incredible will to win.
Unlike some of Choi's other great bouts this wasn't an all out battle of wills from the off. Instead it was an exciting and compelling chess match.
Early on Matsumoto boxed on the move, using his feet well and looking to lure Choi in for counters. Choi, being Choi, kept walking forward, clearly under the belief that if Young Kyun Park could break down Matsumoto so could he. This wasn't the same inexperienced Matsumoto who had lost to Park, and instead of being out worked and out muscled Matusmoto landed some gorgeous combinations, clinched when he needed to and smartly circled to prevent Choi from setting his feet. It was a smart gameplan but one that clearly needed a lot of energy and focus from the challenger.
Although Matsumoto used his feet he never ran from Choi, instead circling closely, stopping Choi from letting loose, whilst getting his own quick combinations off in eye catching fashion. It was a brilliant gameplan from the Yonekura gym for their man.
Of course Choi was never one to give up and given his will to win was incredible. Despite being in a hole early to the boxing skills of the challenger Choi began to claw back the bout in the middle rounds. His power shots and physical strength playing a key role in dragging Matsumoto into his fight. This was where the bout went from chess match to war and where Choi began to shine, landing some huge bombs on the challenger, who took them and fired back. The clever combinations and movement from Matsumoto were fading, as he tried to smother Choi, and take his power away that way.
At times this was messy, at times this ugly, but it always compelling, with some amazing back and forth action, it was always intense and it always felt like Matsumoto's chin would fail him under the growing pressure of Choi's attack.
Whilst it's not the best Choi bout it is still a great fight and one of the many forgetten gems from the history of the Super Featherweight division.
By Eric Armit
I am starting to get twitchy about the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight. It appears that some factors have been agreed but others remain to be resolved and that is leading to some doubt as to whether the outstanding issues are significant enough to derail the negotiations. We are told that all that is outstanding is where and when and let’s hope that is so. I still have a hangover from when the first negotiations for Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao collapsed and we did not to see them fight at what would have been the optimum time and some of the shine had gone off the fight by the time it did happen. This is too big a fight and worth too much to those with a piece of it so I am hoping we hear soon with a date and venue.
It seems spring madness is in the air. Evander Holyfield has accepted a fight with Mike Tyson (we think), Oscar De La Hoya is returning having just passed his 48th birthday and not having fought for twelve years when he lost to Manny Pacquiao and weighed 145lbs. Roy Jones wants to fight De La Hoya although Jones is 52 and weighed 199lbs in his last professional fight. I guess there is more chance of De La Hoya now making 199lbs than Jones getting down to 145lbs but to be honest I could not care less. The same goes for the third fight between Tyson and Holyfield. Tyson is 54 and last fought in 2005 and Holyfield is 58 and last fought in 2011. If that turns you on then good luck to you but to me it would be like watching Usain Bolt and current World 100 meters champion Chris Coleman racing each other in 30 years using Zimmer frames. Miguel Cotto, 40, is going to face Juan Manuel Marquez, 47, in an exhibition and Marco Antonio Barrera is also getting in on the act and will fight an exhibition against Joes Soto Karass. Yet another show will feature Julio Cesar Chavez, 58, vs. Hector Camacho Jr and Julio Chavez Jr vs. UFC champion Anderson Silva. Equally as strange is Denis Berinchyk aiming to have a bare knuckles fight with their champion Artem Lobov. Normally interest in these types of exhibitions /cross discipline fights are a sign that boxing is ailing but I don’t think that is the case right now. Perhaps nostalgia is staging a comeback.
Vasyl Lomachenko will return in June probably against Japanese fighter Masayoshi Nakatani. Nakatani’s record is 19-1 with the loss coming on a wide unanimous decision in a fight against Teo Lopez in July 2019. He rebounded from that with a stoppage of Felix Verdejo last December and is No 5 lightweight with the WBO. First fight for Lomachenko since losing his IBF and WBA titles to Teo Lopez in October last year. Nakatani’s 5’11 ½” height might give Lomachenko problems but Loma has reached where he has by solving problems in the ring.
Tim Tszyu has obviously impressed his Russian antecedents as there is now a move to award him Russian citizenship. Is that interim, secondary or franchise citizenship? Someone must have Putin a good word for him.
Having said they were in no hurry to get Tszyu a title chance his backers have now indicated that they are willing to put up $10 million to get IBF/WBA/WBC champion Jermell Charlo or WBO champion Brain Castano to come to Australia to defend their titles.
Tony Yoka’s next fight could be a defence of his European Boxing Union title against Belgian Herve Hubeaux. Nothing confirmed but it would be a good match for Yoka as Hubeaux has a 32-3 record and has not lost inside the distance.
Still on heavyweights purse bids were due yesterday for an IBF final eliminator between No 4 Michael Hunter and No 5 Filip Hrgovic. No news yet but the winner will be eligible to move into the vacant No 1 spot leaping over No 2 Charles Martin and No 3 Oleksandr Usyk and being in the queue for a shot at the winner of Joshua vs. Fury.
Looks like Nordine Oubaali will return on 29 May defending his WBC bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire which will be Oubaali’s biggest name opponent so far.
Once again the WBA have presented me with a difficult problem. I have to decide which of two blatant manipulations of their heavyweight ratings is the most disgraceful. Could anything be worse than the slipping of Bermane Stiverne into the ratings for Don King so that Trevor Bryan could win their secondary title? I will leave you to judge. Take the case of Chris Arreola. He fights Andy Ruiz on 1 May and is No 8 in the WBA ratings right now. They slipped Arreola into their rating at No 8 on 30 June last year. I looked back to April 2015 without finding Arreola anywhere in their ratings prior to that sudden entry in June 2020. This sudden elevation in June 2020 comes despite his last fight had been in August 2019 when he lost to Adam Kownacki and there having effectively been no boxing in the USA between March 14 and 9 June when Top Rank invented the “bubble! The WBA even previewed their manipulation by saying with the ratings issued on 31 May 2020 that “Due to the Coronavirus boxing like all other sport has been forced to stop. All boxers will maintain their ranking until we resume normal activities”. So in June the WBA resumed normal activities by slipping an inactive Chris Arreola into their ratings at No 7!
Don’t make your mind up yet until you see what has happened to Bogdan Dinu. Not exactly a household name but No 2 in the WBA heavyweight ratings above Luis Ortiz, Deontay Wilder and other bigger and better names. I have to say in advance that my vote for the most blatant manipulation goes to Dinu. On 3 October 2020 he beat Frank Bluemle a guy with a 16-8-2 record ranked No 502 by BoxRec who was 2-6 before fighting Dinu with all six losses coming inside the distance and five of them inside three rounds. Naturally that did not earn him a place in the ratings issued by the WBA on 30 October-but did “earn” him a place at No 9 in the 30 November ratings. Without fighting he climbed to No 3 in the WBA ratings 29 of January and is now No 2. Don’t be surprised if you start hear talk of Dinu challenging Trevor Bryan for the WBA secondary title.
The IBF are not immune to strange happening in their ratings. On Saturday Jerwin Ancajas will defend the IBF super flyweight-or junior bantamweight as they call it-against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez. With the No 1 and 2 slots vacant he is the highest ranked fighter at No 3but can’t be No 1 or 2 because he has not beaten a rated fighter. Sounds sensible but that does not explain how Rodriguez has gone from No 15 to the No 3 –without fighting anyone! His two most recent fights were in June 2019 and December 2020 both against unrated fighters. In the IBF ratings for 2 December 2019 he was No 15. By the 2 February 2020 he was No 10 and in March 2020 he was No 3. How do you get from No 15 to No 3 without having a fight? Don’t ask me-ask the IBF.
Why do I bother? Well to quote Simon Wiesenthal “for evil to flourish it only requires good men to do nothing” and since in my old mum’s unbiased opinion I was a good boy I am obliged to do something to draw attention to how disgracefully those who are in positions of power in our sport are acting and don’t forget every time a rating gets manipulated some other fighters get screwed.
Just two more rants as I would not want to leave the WBC out of things. The Franchise Champion is one of the most ridiculous pieces of tinkering for a long time. The one thing I used to think that the sanctioning bodies brought to boxing was the mandatory challenger. When Ring Magazine was the authority on titles there was an unshakable principal that other than for retirement the only way a fighter could lose his title was in the ring. Now that meant that a champion could pick and choose who he fought or did not fight and a lot of good fighters found themselves frozen out with no recourse to any authority or any pressure on the champion. By rating someone No 1 the sanctioning bodies seemed to have righted that wrong and for years being No 1 meant you were the mandatory challenger and there were clauses in the rules of the sanctioning bodies enshrining that right. Forget it being No 1 now does not mean you are the mandatory challenger-ask Dillian Whyte-or Srisaket if you don’t believe me as they both found that being No 1 did not give them any right to a shot at the title. Now we have a Franchise champion and in Mauricio Sulaiman’s own words “A franchise boxer enjoys special status with respect to his or her mandatory obligations……….”
Being No 1 in a division that has a Franchise champion means you have no idea of your status or rights with regard to a title shot. A Franchise champion does nothing for boxing at all it does not bring one more dollar on a gate or on a boxers purse or clear the way to a big fight all it adds is one more piece of confusion to an already ridiculously obfuscated sport and even now the rules on a Franchise champion losing or winning the Franchise designation in the ring are being “updated”. As far as I can see the only thing it has brought the WBC is criticism and ridicule.
To finish my rant I feel that the WBC made an error in naming their new weight division after a young boy. No matter how brave-and the 6-year-old James Bridger was a hero tackling a dog about to attack his sister and suffering numerous bites in doing so-but the new division has a name that reflects one heroic act in Britain, My worry is that once the WBA, WBO and IBF decided to adopt the same weight division they are unlikely to dedicate it to young James. The sanctioning bodies already can’t agree on calling their divisions super (WBA, WBC, WBO) or junior (IBF) so I can see us ending up with four different names for the same division. If the new division was to have been personalised with a name then something with a more worldwide significance and an outstanding legacy such as Mandeladivision would have been better. Good luck to you James I hope you have a happy and prosperous life.
By Eric Armit
-Jamel Herring stops Carl Frampton in a WBO super feather title defence and Frampton announces his retirement
-Murodjon Akhmadaliev retains the IBF and WBA super bantamweight title with hasty stoppage of Ryosuke Iwasa
-Four-division champion Donnie Nietes returns to action after more than two years with decision over Pablo Carrillo
-Tim Tszyu stakes a claim to a shot at the WBO super welter title with stoppage of Dennis Hogan
World Title/Major Shows
Dubai, UAE. Super Feather: Jamel Herring (23-2) W TKO 6 Carl Frampton (28-3). Super Fly: Donnie Nietes (43-1-5) W PTS 10 Pablo Carrillo (25-8-1). Super Welter: Tursynbay Kulakhmet (3-0) W KO 1 Heber Rondon (20-1). Light: Keyshawn Davis W RTD 4 Richman Ashelley (10-2).
Herring vs. Frampton
In a WBO title defence Herring floors Frampton twice and stops him bringing Frampton’s great career to an end.
With the big edges in height and reach (Herring 5’10”-Frampton 5’5” and Herring with an 8” longer reach) Herring was able to keep Frampton out with his southpaw jabs and score with straight lefts. Herring went low and the referee warned him to keep his pinches up. When Frampton did get inside Herring smothered Frampton’s work and was cautioned for holding but it was clearly Herring’s round
Score: 10-9 Herring
Herring was taking centre ring with Frampton circling looking for an opening. Herring kept slotting jabs through Frampton’s guard and regularly connecting with lefts to the body and head one of which saw Frampton buckle at the knees. Frampton had some success with a couple of rights but was told to be careful with his head inside.
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 20-18
A confident Herring was on the front foot and scoring with jabs and throwing and connecting with more lefts than in the previous two rounds. When Frampton did dart forward Herring was cleverly turning him away. Frampton ended the round with a body punch and a strong jab but had been outscored.
Score: 10-9 Herring Herring 30-27
Much better round from Frampton. He got past Herring’s jab and worked inside with hooks to head and body. He managed to stay inside forcing Herring back and landing body punches. A clash of heads saw Herring cut over his right eye. Herring banged back late in the round to make it close but it was Frampton’s round.
Score: 10-9 Frampton Herring 39-37
Frampton was again able to get inside and stay there working to the body. Herring was trying to create some space but Frampton was staying in the pocket and coming forward when Herring connected with a perfect straight left a solid shot that put Frampton down. He was up at four and after the count Frampton tried to get inside but Herring fed him some stiff counters.
Score: 10-8 Herring Herring 49-45
Frampton was trying to find a way inside when Herring nailed him with a left hook and again Frampton went down heavily. Frampton was up at eight and Herring pounded him with punches sending Frampton staggering back with two left uppercuts and two straight lefts and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
Third successful title defence for 35-year-old Herring and the highest profile fight he has been in so far. It looked as though the former Olympian was going to come up short in the pros after losses to Denis Shafikov and Ladarius Miller but a move down to super feather some confidence building wins and excellent support have seen him flourish. The tasty possibility is a match against his No 1 challenger Shakur Stevenson. Frampton, 34, a two-division champion, has had a great career and has made the right decision to step away now.
Nietes vs. Carrillo
In his first fight for over two years Nietes scores a points win over Carrillo in a fight which whilst interesting never really caught fire. After a cautious feeling out first round where Nietes out jabbed Carrillo Nietes settled into a rhythm of some probing jabs and long rights keeping Carrillo on the back foot and easily blocking or stepping away from Carrillo’s punches. Carrillo did better in the third connecting with some rights but was only fighting in little spurts. Nietes was ducking under Carrillo’s punches in the fourth and scoring with right counters. He was caught by a left hook in the fifth but continued to outbox Carrillo. Basically Nietes stuck with what was working for him in the shape of fast jabs followed by straight rights with an occasional hook and he bobbed and weaved around Carrillo’s shots. Nietes went onto the back foot from the seventh slotting jabs through Carrillo’s guard and countersuing with rights. Carrillo tried to up his pace but Nietes was controlling the tempo of the fight. Carrillo finished the ninth strongly scoring with left hooks including one after the bell as they stood and traded punches in the first real extended period of action. The last was the best round as they both let their punches flow with Nietes getting the better of the exchanges. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 96-95 for Nietes so quite a spread. It was not an exciting fight more an example of craftsmanship from Nietes honed over his 49 fight career. A four-division champion with a record of 17-0-2 in world title fights and just one disputed split decision loss and that against an Indonesian in Indonesia who came in 6lbs over the contract weight. I am a fan of “Ahas”. He has a remarkable record but now without a title and at the age of 38 I fear the chance of landing or winning a legacy fight is probably beyond him now. Carrillo worked hard in every round but just did not have the tactical skills to really threaten Nietes.
Kulakhmet vs. Rondon
Southpaw Kulakhmet obliterates Rondon inside a round. Some ferocious punching on display. Kulakhmet floored Rondon with three head punches. Rondon made it to his feet and then tried to fight Kulakhmet off but was hit by a blistering right hook that spun him around and dropped him face down on the floor out cold. All over in 72 seconds. Kulakhmet was defending the WBC International title which he won in his second pro fight. Then 27-year-old Kazak was a bronze medal winner at the 2019 World Championships and a gold medallist at the Asian Championships. Venezuelan Rondon, also a southpaw, has the same padding on his record as other Venezuelans with 19 of 20 guys he has beaten having “amassed” a total of 3 wins between them.
Davis vs. Ashelley
Davis gets some ring time but very little else out of this fight. Ashelley spent much of the time in each round with his back to the ropes hiding behind a high guard. Now and then he would prod out a jab or launch a wild swipe. It was target practice for Davis as he tried to open Ashelley out without too much success. In the fourth Davis went looking for a stoppage and landed heavily to the body and sent Ashelley stumbling into the ropes with a right. He was getting through with head and body punches and Ashelley decided not to come out for the fifth. Not much chance for the 22-year-old blue chip prospect to shine. Ghanaian Ashelley not anywhere near the class of Davis.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Super Bantam: Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0) W TKO 5 Ryosuke Iwasa (27-4). Super Welter: Israil Madrimov (7-0) W PTS 10 Emmany Kalombo (14-1). Super Light: Shakhram Giyasov (11-0) W KO 3 Patricio Lopez (28-5). Light Fly: Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0) W TKO 2 Mushin Kizota (11-3). Heavy: Bakhodir Jalolov (8-0) W TKO 2 Kristaps Zulis (7-2-2,1ND).
Akhmadaliev vs. Iwasa
Akhmadaliev successfully defends the IBF and WBA titles with a debatable stoppage of Iwasa
Iwasa was spearing Akhmadaliev with right jabs and throwing straight lefts with Akhmadaliev advancing behind a high guard bobbing and weaving getting past Iwasa’s jab to score inside. A close round but Iwasa’s.
Score: 10-9 Iwasa
Akhmadaliev really came to life in the second march inside behind his jab and scoring with hooks to head and body. He hounded Iwasa around the ring with Iwasa raking the oncoming Akhmadaliev with punches but Akhmadaliev was relentless and was scoring with short chopping shots in close.
Score: 10-9 Akhmadaliev TIED 19-19
Three minutes of action in this one. Akhmadaliev continued to put Iwasa under pressure. He was jabbing strongly to get close and then scoring with series of clubbing shots. Iwasa was firing back with jabs and straight lefts but Akhmadaliev was blocking many and doing most of the scoring.
Score: 10-9 Akhmadaliev Akhmadaliev 29-28
Iwasa managed to make some space to work with using accurate jabs and he was getting through with left crosses. Akhmadaliev kept rolling forward behind his jab and putting together some snappy combinations doing just enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Akhmadaliev Akhmadaliev 39-37
A fierce attack from Akhmadaliev had him bombarding Iwasa with hooks and uppercuts for thirty seconds. That initial fire seemed to fade and Iwasa got back into the fight with some accurate jabbing and countering. Akhmadaliev exploded again driving Iwasa across the ring to the ropes but Iwasa had been firing back did not look to be in any serious trouble so it was a surprise when the referee came in and stopped the fight.
With Iwasa not having been down and having already shown he could weather Akhmadaliev’s storms and come back the stoppage looked very premature and Iwasa laughed in disbelief when he realised the fight had been stopped. Akhmadaliev was making the first defence of the titles he had won with a split decision over Daniel Roman in January 2020. Not sure where he goes from here. The WBA have four title holders in the division (Super, Secondary, Gold and Interim) and the other champions are Stephen Fulton for the WBO and Luis Nery for the WBC. Former IBF champion Iwasa went into this one as their interim champion a title he won with an eleventh round stoppage of Marlon Tapales in his last fight in December 2019. This was a controversial stoppage but I can’t see him getting a return so he will have to fight his way back into the picture.
Madrimov vs. Kalombo
Madrimov outpoints a competitive Kalombo. In a slow opening round Madrimov shadowed Kalombo not forcing the fight as much as expected with the Congolese fighter showing good movement and a sharp jab. Madrimov switched guards to southpaw and upped his work rate in the second and third putting the rangy Kalombo under pressure and scoring with lefts to the body but Kalombo was scoring with body punches of his own and posing some problems for Madrimov who was bleeding heavily from the nose by the fifth. Madrimov was going to the body in the sixth with Kalombo outpunched but still making Madrimov work hard and after being under fire for much of the seventh Kalombo fired back to have Madrimov on the retreat. Madrimov was looking tired in the eighth but as they swopped punches a left hook sent Kalombo reeling across the ring and down into the ropes which stopped him falling and he was up and given a count with the bell going seconds after the count was completed. They traded punches through the ninth and tenth with Madrimov getting the better of the exchanges but Kalombo landing his share. Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 98-92 for Madrimov. A tougher night than the Uzbek “The Dream” was expecting and he seemed slow and crude at times but his aggression and strength saw him through. He is somehow No 1 super welter with the WBA but he will have to perform a good few levels higher than he did here if he is to win a title. South African-based Kalombo, who had won all of his fights inside the distance, was facing a fighter who constituted a huge step up in quality of opposition but despite the scores was never outclassed and looked very useful.
Giyasov vs. Lopez
Uzbek “Wonder Boy” Giyasov outclasses Mexican Lopes and halts him in three rounds. Giyasov was chasing Lopez down in the first looking for an early finish. In the second Giyasov sent Lopez to the canvas with a body punch but it came late so Lopez made it out of the round. Giyasov ended it in the third with a left hook to the body that sent Lopez face down on the canvas and he was counted out. Giyasov retains the WBA International title with his eighth inside the distance finish in his last nine fights. Giyasov picked up a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics and gold at the 2017 World Championships. He is No 6 with the WBA and like most rated super lights will be hoping to be in the mix for a title fight once Josh Taylor or Jose Ramirez unifies the titles. Lopez was in reasonable form with six wins in his last seven fights with the loss coming against Denys Berinchyk on points over twelve rounds in October 2019.
Dusmatov vs. Kizota
Uzbek Dusmatov streets ahead of poor Kizota. The young Tanzanian was in with so little chance that even outclassed does not start to describe it. The bell had only just faded when Dusmatov floored Kizota with a left. Kizota get through the first round but Dusmatov wrapped things up in the second putting Kizota down twice more with lefts forcing the stoppage. The 27-year-old southpaw won gold at the Rio Olympics and silver at the 2017 World Championships. He wins the vacant WBA International title and is ready for world rated light flyweights now. Kizota, 21, last a split decision to South African Siphamandla for the WBO Global title in December 2019 but was never in with a chance of going the distance here.
Jalolov vs. Zulis
“Big Uzbek” Jalolov makes it eight quick wins in eight fights as he stops Latvian Zulis. The 6’7” southpaw tried to get Zulia out of there in the first round but Zulis made it to the bell. In the second Jalolov landed a heavy left that sent Zulis into a corner and the Latvian slumped to the floor under a couple of head shots. He arose but when the action resumed he was again forced into a corner and as he went down the referee waived the end of the fight. First fight in his homeland for Jalolov who turned pro in the USA. Eight wins in less than fifteen rounds for the former World and Asian Championships gold medallist. He will now focus on the Tokyo Olympics. The No Decision on the Latvian’s record came when both he and his opponent were disqualified for “unprofessional behaviour”. Probably means neither of them had a tattoo).
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tim Tszyu (18-0) W TKO 5 Dennis Hogan (28-3-1). Super Welter: Wade Ryan (18-9) W TKO 10 Koen Mazoudier (8-2). Super Middle: Cesar Tapia (13-0) W TKO 4 Renold Quinlan (12-8). Super Feather: Paul Fleming (27-0-1) W TKO 7 Tyson Lantry (8-4).Super Middle: Sakio Bika (35-7-3) W PTS 8 Sam Soliman (46-14-1,2ND).
Tszyu vs. Hogan
Tszyu retains the WBO Global title and establishes his right to a shot at the real WBO title as he crushed Hogan in five rounds.
Tszyu immediately took charge. He was coming forward shadowing the retreating Hogan. He cut the ring off well and twice pinned Hogan against the ropes and landed with short bursts of punches. Hogan lunged forward on a few occasions but was slow and crude. Tszyu opened up on Hogan at the start of the second connecting with strong right hands. After that the action became messy as Hogan continually dived inside successfully smothering Tszyu’s work but getting warned for holding. As they tussled inside Tszyu suffered a small cut over his left eye. In the third a left hook to the body had Hogan backing off and Tszyu upped the pressure forcing Hogan around the ring scoring with rights to the head and lefts to the body one of which had Hogan significantly wincing in pain. Hogan tried to bull his way inside in the fourth but Tszyu pushed him away and again connected with a left hook to the body and rights to the head. Hogan was warned for holding and at the bell he dipped at the knees from yet another left to the ribs. Early in the fifth a booming left hook to the head spun Hogan down and sent him to the canvas on his hands and knees. He arose at eight and moved and held as well as trying some counters. Tszyu was a little wild but finally trapped Hogan on the ropes and was bombarding him with punches when the towel came in from Hogan’s corner. Impressive showing from 26-year-old Tszyu considering that Hogan had only lost on a majority decision against Jaime Munguia for the WBO super welter title in April 2019. Tszyu now has to wait to see whether the WBO will order title holder Brian Castano to defend against him or whether a unification match between Castano and Jermell Charlo who holds the IBF, WBA and WBC titles will get approved but the Tszyu Team have indicated they are not in a hurry. Hogan had been stopped in seven rounds by Charlo in December but there are still good fights out there for him once he recovers from almost biting his tongue in half where the left hook from Tszyu put him down.
Ryan vs. Mazoudier
Local southpaw Ryan stops fellow-Australian Mazoudier late to retain the IBO International and WBA Oceania title. The younger Mazoudier made a fast start but Ryan was boxing intelligently and the rounds close in a good competitive fight. Mazoudier upped his pace in the sixth but Ryan landed some heavy punches in the seventh and eighth to establish a clear lead and Mazoudier did well to stay on his feet. A fading Mazoudier tried to walk through Ryan’s punches at the start of the tenth but was rocked by a series of head shots and the referee stopped the fight. Australian champion Ryan, 31, was ahead 87-84 on the three cards at the end and gets his sixth inside the distance win. Mazoudier just did not have enough fights behind him to beat am tough pro such as Ryan but at 25he will recover from this.
Tapia vs. Quinlan
Tapia scores second win over Quinlan. This one was entertaining whilst it lasted as Quinlan tried to match Tapia punch for punch. It did not work and he was shaken a couple of times as Tapia took the first three rounds. Quinlan was still trying to come forward in the fourth but as he fired a left hook Tapia came over the top of it with a booming right that sent Quinlan down heavily. He made it to his feet but Tapia drove him to a corner and raked him with punches until the referee stepped I and stopped the fight. El Tijanero” Tapia, 22, was born in Mexico but moved to Australia. He won a number of titles as an amateur before turning pro there and is the current Australian champion a title he won by outpointing Quinlan in 2019. Quinlan was stopped in ten rounds by Chris Eubank Jr in a challenge for the IBO title in 2017 and has now lost six in a row.
Fleming vs. Lantry
Southpaw Fleming gets win No 18 by KO/TKO despite fighting for three rounds with an injured hand. Fleming set a frantic pace pumping out punches with Lantry struggling to stay in the fight. In the fifth Fleming winced as he landed a left and from there only used the hand sparingly. He boxed his way through the sixth but landed enough rights to have Lantry drained of any resistance and in the seventh Lantry’s corner threw the towel in. Now 32 Fleming won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics but as a pro after twelve years apart from staying unbeaten he has gone nowhere and it is difficult to see where he is going with his career. Lantry was coming off an upset points win over former WBO interim title challenger Luke Jackson.
Bika vs. Soliman
Bika wins clash of Golden Oldies as he comfortably outpoints Soliman. Bika outlanded the tricky Soliman over the first two rounds. Soliman did better at the start of the third connecting with a good right but Bika opened up at the end of the round and Soliman was in a spot bother before the bell. A clash of heads in the fifth saw both fighters cut but with Bika’s cut the more severe. Soliman edged the sixth but as Solomon tired Bika dominated the seventh landing body punches and uppercuts and Soliman only just made it to the final bell, Scores 80-73, 79-73and 78-74 for Bika. Former WBC super middle title holder Bika, now 41, was fighting for the first time since October 2017. Soliman, 37, former holder of the IBF middleweight title, had been a little more active having two fights in 2018 and winning the vacant World Boxing Federation middleweight title in April 2019.
Krasnodar, Russia: Super Light: Yauheni Dauhaliavets (5-0) W PTS 10 Fedor Papazov (22-4). Heavy: Arslan Iallyev (12-0) W RTD 7 Victor Ramirez (27-4-1,1ND).Middle: Albert Khamkhoev (5-0) W PTS 10 Alexander Elizarov (8-1). Cruiser: Ruslan Fayfer (26-3) W KO 1 Igor Vilchitsky (4-3).
Dauhaliavets vs. Papazov
Dauhaliavets holds off a late surge from Papazov to win a narrow unanimous decision. Dauhaliavets was busier over the early rounds using his longer reach forcing Papazov on to the back foot and attacking strongly but Papazov was boxing well and countering accurately. Dauhaliavets had a strong fourth finding plenty of gaps in Papazov’s defence and had a good lead after five. Papazov began to eat into the lead over the second half of the fight resulting in some exciting exchanges but then he faded over the closing two rounds and just came up short. Scores 96-94 twice and 98-92 for Dauhaliavets. The 29-year-old Belarusian is now the owner of the WBA Inter-Continental title in his fifth pro fight. Much was made of his lack of experience but that is due to how some names are transcribed and under his alternative first name spelling of Evgeny he was an Elite level amateur with loads of experience. He was winning International Youth titles back in 2007, was Belarus champion three times and competed at the European and World Championships turning pro last year after failing to get through the European Qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics so no novice. A split decision loss to Aik Shakhnazaryan in December 2018 was a setback for Papazov but he had regained ground with a stoppage of Michal Chudecki in December 2019. By coincidence Papazov also has a “hidden” list of amateur achievements. He has Greek antecedents and in 2006 under the name of Theodoros Papazov he won a silver medal at the European Union Championships and represented Greece at the World Championships and Olympic Qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics.
Iallyev vs. Ramirez
Iallyev (or Yalyev) beats Ramirez in seven rounds to win the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title. This fight did not look promising even before the first punch was thrown pitting the 6’5” Iallyev against the 5’11” Ramirez who having once been a cruiserweight title holder came into this fight weighing 237lbs. Ramirez tactics were to roll forward throwing punches which made him a good target for the jabs and uppercuts from Iallyev. It seemed Ramirez had to fall but he has only been beaten inside the distance once and he kept coming often forcing the bigger man to the ropes. There were some signs of worry in Iallyev’s corner but by the seventh Ramirez had nothing left. He took some serious punishment in the round and then retired. It was 24-year-old Iallyev’s first ten round fight. He was a world title holder in both K1 and Muay Thai before changing over to boxing and is being guided by former WBC cruiserweight title holder Grigory Drzod. Ramirez, 37, a former WBO and IBF title holder, moved up to heavyweight after losing to Denis Lebedev in a unification match in 2016 and although scoring five wins his weight had ballooned as high as 282lbs.
Khamkhoev vs. Elizarov
Khamkhoev survives a knockdown to outpoint Elizarov for the vacant Russian title. Both were going ten rounds for the first time. Elizarov took the initiative and was going well in the early action. He was using his edges in height and reach to score at distance. He opened a bad cut under the right eye of Khamkhoev and floored him in the fourth. That sounded a wakeup call for Khamkhoev and he took control of the fight with Elizarov under constant pressure and letting his lead slip away with southpaw Khamkhoev taking the unanimous decision.
Fayfer vs. Vilchitsky
Fayer finishes Vilchitsky in the first. A shot to the body sent the overmatched Vilchitsky to the floor and he was unable to get up before the ten was tolled. Fayer won his first 23 fights before losing to Andrew Tabiti in 2018 in the second WBSS cruiserweight tournament and then suffered inside the distance defeats against Aleksei Papin and Ali Ismailov in 2020. Third consecutive KO/TKO loss for Vilchitsky.
Los Mochis, Mexico: Feather: Alan Solis (13-0-1) W PTS 10 Jonathan Aguilar (19-8). Welter: Mauricio Pintor (24-3-1) W PTS 8 Kendo Castaneda (17-4,1ND).
Solis vs. Aguilar
Solis wins his first pro title as he decisions late replacement Aguilar. Solis was in control for most of the fight with a sharp accurate jab and some flashing combinations with Aguilar getting through enough to be competitive without ever endangering the dominance of Solis. Aguilar staged a late rally but it blew itself out and Solis was a good winner. Scores 97-93 twice and 99-91 for 22-year-old Solis as he wins the vacant WBO Latino belt. Aguilar substituted for Brazilian Antonio Soares who reportedly fell foul of the Mexican COVID-19 restrictions. Aguilar’s last five losses have all been against unbeaten fighters
Pintor vs. Castaneda
Pintor squeaks past Castaneda on a very tight unanimous decision. There really was never much between these two in a give-and–take clash which saw both rocked at times. The deciding factor was Castaneda’s stupidity in landing punches to the back/kidneys of Pintor in the clinches. A points deduction for that in the second round was in the end what separated them. Scores 76-75 twice and 77-74 for Pintor. The nephew of the great Lupe Pintor has had a stuttering career being inactive in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020. Texan Castaneda has now suffered defeat four times in a row against very useful opposition.
Moscow, Russia: Cruiser: Aleksei Papin (13-1) W TKO 1 Vaclav Pejsar (15-11,1ND). Super Light: Valery Oganisyan (5-0) W PTS 10 Eduard Troyanovsky (29-3). Cruiser: Kureysh Sagov (5-1) W PTS 10 Khetag Mouraov (5-1). Light: Alexander Devyatov (10-0) W RTD 2 Yoni Blanco (12-2
Papin vs. Pejsar
Papin annihilates Pejsar. After forcing Pejsar back with his jab Papin was driving Pejsar along the ropes landing rights one of which dropped Pejsar to the canvas flat on his back with arms out stretched. He manages to struggle to his feet but was on shaky legs. The fight should have been over then but the referee decided Pejsar was able to continue and Papin connected with another right to the head that sent Pejsar down and the fight was waived over. The only loss suffered by the 33-year-old Russian was a majority decision against current WBC title holder Ilunga Makabu for the WBC Silver title in August 2019. He is No 2 with the WBC so could get a title shot later this year. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for former Czech heavy and cruiser champion Pejsar who lost to big puncher Dmitry Kudryashov on a split decision in December 2019.
Oganisyan vs. Troyanovsky
Russian champion Oganisyan takes wide unanimous decision over Troyanovsky. The first two rounds saw both competing hard to gain ascendancy and they were both close rounds with Oganisyan just having the better Oladosu of the exchanges. Troyanovsky did much better taking the third. Oganisyan pressed the fight harder in the fourth scoring well to the body and with Troyanovsky bleeding heavily from a broken nose it looked as though Oganisyan was on his way to a stoppage victory. Oganisyan edged the fifth but then slowed letting Troyanovsky into the fight and Troyanovsky took the sixth and made the seventh close. Oganisyan was fired up again and after winning the eighth he rocked Troyanovsky with a right in the ninth and boxed conservatively in the last. Scores 97-93 twice and 99-91 for Oganisyan. Huge win for the 25-year-old Oganisyan who had less than 22 rounds as a pro under his belt and was relatively unknown. Now 40 former IBF and IBO champion Troyanovsky has not seemed the same fighter since losing his titles on a 40 seconds knockout by Julius Indongo in 2016. He has said he will think things over for a couple of months and then decide if he will continue or retire.
Devyatov vs. Blanco
Devyatov punches too hard for Venezuelan Blanco who retires after two one-sided rounds. Sixth inside the distance win in a row for Devyatov and his ninth in total with his ten wins talking him less than 23 rounds. Venezuelan Blanco’s record so typical of boxing in his country with ten of the men had beaten having never won a fight,
Sagov vs. Mouraov
Sagov outclasses fellow novice Mouraov to win the vacant Russian title. Sagov handed out a steady beating to Mouraov with the referee warning Mouraov’s corner as early as the sixth that he needed to see more effort from their boxer. Mouraov did not improve much but did enough to last the distance. Scores 99-91 twice and a difficult to understand 96-94 all for Sagov. Sagov’s loss came in the semi-finals of one of the Prizefighter-type nights. Mouraov’s five victims had only one win between the five of them so he needs a lot more experience.
Lagos, Nigeria: Welter: Rilliwan Ayodele Babatunde (13-0) W TKO 12 Salehe Mkalekwa (15-8). Super Feather: Rilwan Oladosu (15-0) W TKO 8 Emmanuel Quartey (23-3).
Babatunde vs. Mkalekwa
“Baby Face” Babatunde proves too strong for visitor Mkalekwa and scores late stoppage to win the vacant WBFederation International title. It only took a couple of rounds for Mkalekwa to go into survival mode. Mkalekwa down in the fourth but then Mkalekwa hung around for a while before coming apart. He was floored in the tenth and eleventh and after a mixture of knockdowns and standing counts in the twelfth the referee stopped the fight just two seconds before the final bell. Eighth inside the distance win for the 24-year-old Nigerian the current West African champion. Tanzanian Mkalekwa showed resilience but little else. All of his losses have come on his travels outside Tanzania.
Oladosu vs. Quartey
Oladosu beats Quartey to win the WBFederation Inter-Continental title which had been vacant. Oladosu had everything going for him height, reach, hand speed and flashy movement. Quartey struggled to be competitive but for much of the fight Oladosu was almost playing with the Ghanaian at and eventually after throwing a right in the eighth Quartey stopped fighting indicating he had injured his shoulder. Oladosu looked impressive but has yet to face a serious test. Quartey’s record looked good but typical of some Ghanaian records it was heavily padded with only seven wins scored by his first 13 opponents before he lost twice inside the distance and since those losses he has again been very carefully matched. “Real One” Oladosu won the Best Boxer trophy and $2,600 cash.
Perez, Argentina: Kevin Munoz (12-0) W TKO 4 Matias Monserrat (8-7-2).
Munoz vs. Monserrat
Munoz savages Monserrat in four rounds. After landing heavily in the first Munoz forced Monserrat to the ropes in the second and sent him down under a hail of punches. Monserrat made it through the round but went down under more punches in the third and looked as though he had had enough. He came out for the fourth only to be badly rocked by a right. The referee gave Monserrat a standing count but when he was knocked down again the referee stopped the fight. “Diamond” Munoz, 22, makes a second successful defence of the South American title with his fifth win by KO/TKO. Not the birthday present Monserrat was hoping for with his sixth loss in his last seven fights.
Montpellier, France: Welter: Mohamed Kani (18-2) W PTS 10 Jose Gomez (19-2).
Kani retains the French title with very narrow unanimous decision over Gomez. This was a tight, close fight all which could have gone either way. It was the better technical skills of southpaw Kani against the strength and aggression of Gomez. Scores 95-94 twice and 97-92 for Kani who promoted the show. Second title defence for Kani and second time Gomez had lost in fights for this title. The fight almost did not happen. Gomez selected from the new gloves provided for the fight but then Kani came in the ring with a worn pair. Gomes refused to fight until Kani was also wearing new gloves.
Yvelines, France: Christ Esabe (9-0) W KO 7 Anthony Auffray (5-2-1). Super Bantam: Elie Konki (11-0) W PTS 8 Oleksandr Yegorov (20-5-1).
Esabe vs. Auffray
Local favourite Esabe scores three knockdowns and retains the French title. Esabe controlled this from the start with his speed and technical skills. In the sixth he floored Auffray with a body punch and later in the round with left hook with the bell rescuing Auffray. Not for long as a right to the body put Auffray down and he was unable to continue. The 20-year-old Esabe is a former French Youth and National champion. After losing his first fight Auffray was 5-0-1 before this title challenge.
Konki vs. Yegorov
Konki keeps his hand in as he outpoints Ukrainian Yegerov winning every round Scores 80-72 for “The Spider” on all three cards. The European Union champion is marking time waiting for a date for his title defence against Spanish champion Jacob Barreto. Yegerov’s best days are behind him. He was 20-1-1 until losing to Luca Rigoldi in a challenge for the European title and is now on a run of five consecutive defeats.
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Heavy: Joey Dawejko (21-8-4) W TKO 1 Joe Jones (11-4).
Weight beat height here as Dawejko stops Jones in the first round. Dawejko scored two knockdowns to force the stoppage late in the opener. The 30-year-old Philadelphian needed a win after being matched against Bryant Jennings, Andrey Fedosov, Sergey Kuzmin and Frank Sanchez. Jones had lost his last two fights. Jones, who is 6-2” came in at 207 ¼ lbs and Dawejko who is 5’10” came in at 264lbs.
Fight of the week (Significance): I guess it is a tie here as the victories scored by both Jamel Herring and Murodjon Akhmadaliev opens the door to more title fights in their respective divisions
Fight of the week (Entertainment): A few fairly entertaining matches but nothing that stood out.
Fighter of the week: Tim Tszyu’s destruction of Dennis Hogan was an outstanding display
Punch of the week: The straight left from Jamel Herring that floored Carl Frampton in the fifth was a shining example of precision. The Tim Tszyu left hook that floored Dennis Hogan was a beauty and the right counter over Renold Quinlan’s lazy left by Carlos Tapia was perfectly timed but honour goes to the right hook from Tursynbay Kulakhmet that spun Heber Rondon on the spot and put him face down on the canvas out. That was spectacular.
Upset of the week: The nearest to an upset was Valery Oganisyan (4-0) outpointing former IBF champion Eduard Troyanovsky.
Prospect watch: Only 3-0 but Uzbek Hasanboy Dusmatov looks capable of making a big impression at light flyweight
All you need is a young exciting fighter with a family name as an addition factor. A crowd of 16,000 turned out to watch young Tim Tszyu beat Dennis Hogan.
A young man’s sport? Not when two former world title holders with combined ages of 88- Sakio Bika 41 and Sam Solomon 47-fought on Friday. It’s not true the inspector wanted to check their pension books as well as their licences.
Names, names names. Keeping track of Thai boxers is bad enough but the different spellings used for names for fighters from Eastern Europe can be confusing. Valery Oganisyan is sometimes spelt as Valery Hovhannisyan, Arslan Iallyev sometimes Arslan Yalyev but the one that threw me this week was Fedor Papazov. I like to trace their amateur performances so Papazov fought in the Russian championships in 2005 and then disappeared. Box Rec tells me he fought in the European Union Championships in 2006 and 2007 but Russians don’t fight in the European Championships and when I check those fights are for a Theodoros Papazov. Box Rec cleared it up for me turns out Fedor had Greek antecedents so he fought for Greece at those championships under the name of Theodoros-but my head is still spinning.
If all the fights on a show end with one or two round knockouts does that mean there is a risk for the husband getting home in time to catch his wife with her boyfriend? Must be a constant worry for wives in Venezuelan because the matching is rubbish there. This week we had Heber Rondon with 19 of 20 guys he has beaten having “amassed” a total of 3 wins between them and Yoni Blanco with ten of the twelve men he had beaten having never won a fight. Hello darling I’m home early!! I wonder what the divorce rate is for boxing fans in Venezuelan.
I thought they had got the names mixed up when I saw 5’10” Joey Dawejko weighing in at 264lbs and 6’2” Joe Jones 207lbs surely it should be the other way around!
It turns out that BoxRec have captured all of the results for that Irish invasion of Europe.
One thing we often forget about controversial bouts is that sometimes the final result is the right result, and although there is controversy in the action, and sometimes the original result, common sense can prevail. We've had a couple of cases in this series where a decision was reversed, with one bout being re-scored completely and one being turned into a No Contest after a relatively prolonged review process. Today we look at one which was reviewed, and turned into a No Contest, within minutes. It was the right call, but one that certainly was controversial to begin with, before the right decision was, finally, made.
Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19) vs Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5) I
In May 2019 Japan's Koki Eto and Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron met in a WBO International Super Flyweight title bout. The bout wasn't just for the international title but also a defacto world title eliminator for the winner of the then scheduled WBO world title fight between Kazuto Ioka and Aston Palicte.
Outside of Asia few fans will have been familiar with Koki Eto. We once dubbed him the Human Highlight Reel and during a stretch of his career he was among the most fan friendly fighters on the planet. His 2013 war with Kompayak Porpramook was a FOTY contender that saw him win the WBA "Interim" Flyweight title and the following year his war with Ardin Diale was arguably even better. He was clumsy, crude, but had guts, heart, power and impressive stamina.
Despite all the traits that made him fun to watch Eto also had a lot of flaws. They had been shown notably in his losses against Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and against Carlos Cuadras. He had also continued to show them in his wins, including a 2016 bout with Jun Blazo, where he was dropped before bouncing back to stop the Filipino. He made for great fights, but didn't always fight as smartly as he should.
On the other hand Jeyvier Cintron was a potential star in the making. He was really well schooled, a second generation fighter and a 2-time Olympian. Style wise he was a lot less exciting than Eto, but technically he was on point and was a tall, rangy southpaw boxer who used his physical traits well. He was lacking in terms of power and aggression, and was instead a very talented boxer/boxer-mover with good speed and a good boxing brain. He had only turned professional in 2017 but had looked class and seemed on his way to the top.
On paper this was a step up for Cintron, but one where he was coming in as the clear favourite. This was his chance to prove himself, and boost his standing in the sport. Despite being a 2-time Olympian he wasn't getting the hype of some other Puerto Rican's yet was one of the most talented hopefuls the country had. Instead of being promoted hard he had been relatively well hidden on smaller, obscure cards. Soemthing that was a real shame.
The early moments of the fight saw Cintron using his speed and movement to get on the outside. Eto, doing what Eto does. He made mistakes that Cintron could counter and for the two minutes it seemed an interesting match up. Cintron the more polished boxer, against Eto, the crude but energetic slugger who would eat shots whilst trying to land one of his own.
With about 30 seconds of the opening round left Cintron hit the canvas, with what, from the camera angle, appeared to be an Eto right hand. Cintron would try to get to his feet, then stumble, into the corner, and continue stumbling around like he was drunk. This forced the referee to wave off the bout as Eto and his team began to celebrate.
It seemed like the Japanese fighter was going to get a world title fight, until a replay showed that the "shot" was actually a headclash. A very accidental headclash.
In the ring Eto was announced a TKO1 winner.
Then the officials went to a replay to review the finish. Soon afterwards the result was over-turned, as officials spotted the headclash on review, and deemed the result invalid.Unlike some reviews this didn't take long. In fact this was over-turned only minutes later, with the result becoming a No Contest. It was the right decision and proved that a review process doesn't need to take weeks. It was proof that replays in boxing could work for fight ending moments, and was a situation where the officials got it right.
Whilst the referee did "get it wrong" it was one where he wasn't actually to blame. It was an accidental foul by Eto and happened at such speed that the referee was never going to see it, and from where he was stood it looked like the right hand had landed clean. He made the right call in stopping the bout and he did what was best for the fighter, and the officials ringside did what was right for fairness.
Unlike most controversies this actually had no long term knock on and was very much a self contained controversy. The two would rematch in August, with Cintron winning and subsequently fighting Ioka for the WBO world title in December 2019.
It was unlikely the winner of this bout would have fought an interim bout prior to the Ioka clash, had their contest not ended in a No Contest, and this really wasn't a bout that cost either guy much in terms of their career. Sadly though the rematch lacked in terms of drama, excitement and talking points, making this a much more notable bout than their second clash.
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