By Eric Armit
-Filipino Mark Magsayo wins the WBC featherweight title with majority verdict over champion Gary Russell
-Puerto Rican super lightweight Subriel Matias beats Petros Ananyan to reverses his only loss
-Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Sakaria Lukas fight to a draw in a featherweight clash
-Antonio Todd scores upset victory over Hugo Centeno at middleweight
World Title/Major Shows
Atlantic City, NJ, USA: Feather: Mark Magsayo (24-0) W PTS 12 Gary Allen Russell (31-2). Super Light: Subriel Matias (18-1) W TKO 9 Petros Ananyan (16-3-2). Feather: Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2-1) DREW 10 Sakaria Lukas (25-1-1). Super Bantam: Abimael Ortiz (10-1-1) W PTS 8 Ryan Lee Allen (10-6-1). Middle: LeShawn Rodriguez (13-0) W TKO 1 Sixto Suazo (9-3-1). Feather: Katsuma Akitsugi (8-0) W PTS 8 Rasheen Brown (11-1). Super Welter: Evan Holyfield (9-0) W PTS 6 Chris Rollins (5-4-1).
Magsayo vs. Russell
The Philippines have a new hero as Magsayo takes a majority verdict over an injured Russell to win the WBC title.
Magsayo made a confident start. He had the edge in reach and was quickly on target with his jab and straight rights. He was stepping in quickly and was effective with right hooks to the body. Southpaw Russell landed a couple of good lefts but was frustrated by Magsayo’s speed in moving out of range.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo
Magsayo continued to rip right hooks to the body. Russell tried to come forward but was having trouble getting past Magsayo’s jab and the challenger was darting forward throwing a couple of punches and getting out before Russell could land a counter.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo Magsayo 20-18
A better round from Russell. He was getting through with his right jabs and bringing his left hook into action more. After again scoring with rights to the body early Magsayo was off target or coming up short with his punches and Russell was able to counter him better.
Score: 10-9 Russell Magsayo 29-28
Magsayo landed a right early which saw Russell dip at the knees. Magsayo tried to capitalise on that success but slick boxing from Russell saw him slipping away from Magsayo’s shots and scoring repeatedly with straight lefts. He continued to land those lefts throughout the round but it was apparent that he was not using his right at all. Before the fight Russell had hinted that he had suffered an injury but was going ahead with the fight. At the end of the round the doctor climbed in the ring to examine Russell’s right arm and it was obvious from the way Russell was wincing that he was injured but did not want out so the fight continued.
Score: 10-9 Russell TIED 38-38
Official Scores: Judge Lynne Carter 38-38, Judge Henry Eugene Grant 38-38, Judge Mark Consentino 39-37 Magsayo.
Brilliant boxing from Russell. He was slipping and sliding away from Magsayo’s punches and scoring with straight lefts. Magsayo seemed to have lost his rhythm and was not forcing the fight as hard as he had. Russell was just using his right as a measuring stick for his straight lefts and although under pressure at the end of the round had done enough to earn the points.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 48-47
Magsayo upped the pressure in this round and was banging to the body again. He was also stepping to his left away from Russell’s good left arm making it more difficult for Russell land counters and was able to drive Russell back with his jab.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo TIED 57-57
Another round for Magsayo. He was coming forward behind his jab and putting together some quick combinations. Russell was limited to his left hand alone so his only form of combination was to throw three or four straight lefts and if the first landed than Magsayo just had to take a step back and the others fell short and Russell was open then for a counter.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo Magsayo 67-66
Boxing skill gave Russell this one. He was ducking under and around Magsayo’s punches and slotting home single straight lefts. Magsayo connected with a couple of hard rights but Russell was constantly finding gaps for sneaky lefts and using plenty of movement to leave Magsayo swishing air.
Score: 10-9 Russell TIED 76-76
Official Scores: Judge Lynne Carter 77-75 Magsayo, Judge Henry Eugene Grant 77-75 Magsayo, Judge Mark Consentino 77-75 Magsayo.
A close round Magsayo upped the pressure. Russell was side-stepping Magsayo’s charges and catching him with left hooks but one punch at a time. Magsayo was able to put together some combinations and was working the body when he could pin Russell to the ropes and did enough to edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo Magsayo 86-85
A good round for Magsayo. He went back to his body punching and consistently ripped shots to Russell’s ribs. The pressure and pace were telling on Russell and Magsayo was able to hunt him down and work him over on the ropes more than in the earlier rounds. Russell’s overworked left arm must have been tiring.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo Magsayo 96-94
Relentless pressure from Magsayo now and only some slippery defensive work from Russell and very little else. Magsayo did what scoring there was with Russell now hardly using his left and when he did there was no snap and Magsayo was able to get close and score with hooks.
Score: 10-9 Magsayo Magsayo 106-103
Magsayo did the scoring over the first minute but after some artful defensive work Russell lifted his arms to celebrate his skill and from there he was landing his lefts as leads and counters and took the round.
Score:10-9 Russell Magsayo 115-113
Official Scores: Judge Lynne Carter 114-114 DRAW, Judge Henry Eugene Grant 115-113 Magsayo, Judge Mark Consentino 115-113 Magsayo.
Huge result for Magsayo as he joins fellow-Filipinos Nonito Donaire and Jerwin Ancajas as title holders. With Magsayo having been rated No 3 by the WBC this was not a mandatory defence so there will be pressure for Magsayo to defend against No 1 Rey Vargas but there is no doubt that Russell deserves a return as this fight hinged on the injury which forced him to fight for eight rounds with just one usable arm.
Matias vs. Ananyan
Payback time as Magsayo gets revenge for his only loss as he stops Ananyan after nine rounds of savagery. These two declared war from the first minute and then knocked lumps off each other for nine rounds. Over the first two sessions Ananyan was rumbling forward poking out jabs and then walking through the punches from Matias getting inside and landing clubbing hooks and uppercuts. Matias was letting Ananyan come and connecting with his own hooks and uppercuts. Matias had the advantage in that he was also doing some basic defensive work whereas Ananyan was just soaking up the punches aiming to wear Matias down. It was brutal stuff with both sporting bumps and bruises after just those six minutes. Ananyan landed some heavy rights to the head at the start of the third but Matias blasted him with punch after punch before the end of the round and Ananyan was cut under one eye, had a bruise under then other and was dripping blood from his nose. Matias continued to score with the better shots in the fourth but Ananyan was wasn’t going anywhere and he stayed there pushing out punches and landed with a series of shots at the end of the fifth with Matias being warned for a low punch. The six saw Ananyan connecting with bludgeoning head punches and forcing Matias back but Matias was making Ananyan pay for every step with hooks and uppercuts. Ananyan was throwing more but Matias was landing more. The seventh was even more brutal as they traded hard punches for three minutes with Matias deducted a point for low punches. Matias was on top in the eighth rocking Ananyan with a right late in the round. In the ninth Matias hurt Ananyan with a body punch and then landed a fearsome left hook that spun Ananyan around and sent him down heavily. Ananyan made it to his feet and survived to the bell but in the interval the doctor signalled Ananyan had taken enough punishment and the fight was over. All of the eighteen wins scored by the 29-year-old Puerto Rican have come inside the distance and he is No 2 with the IBF so in a long line queuing up for a shot at Josh Taylor. First inside the distance loss for Ananyan who had beaten 20-2-1 Daniel Gonzalez in October.
Nyambayar vs. Lukas
Nyambayar and Lukas finish all even after a fast-paced entertaining fight. Nyambayar made a strong start. He was forcing Lukas onto the back foot with stiff jabs and knocked him off balance with great left hook. Lukas had his own jab working in the second and scored with some hefty straight rights. There was lots of confusion before the start of the third. His corner seemed to be considering pulling Lukas out of the fight because of swelling by his right eye and there was a conference between the referee the corner team and a doctor but Lukas was determined to continue. Nyambayar welcomed Lukas back with a low punch and rocked him with a right uppercut. Nyambayar’s round but Lucas again found the target with rights in the fourth only for Nyambayar to take the fifth with some accurate jabbing. Lukas connected with crisp jabs and over hand rights in both the sixth and seventh and there was a big controversy in the eighth. Early in the round Lukas connected with a right to the head that shook Nyambayar then a left that knocked Nyambayar’s legs from under him. Although it was cleared caused by a punch the referee ruled it a slip and Lukas scored heavily until Nyambayar fired back just before the bell. The knock down looked genuine so what should have been 10-8 was a 10-9 round for Lukas. I had Lukas two points in front but Nyambayar was stronger over the ninth and tenth. The judges scored it 96-94 Lukas, 96-94 Nyambayar and 95-95 Mongolian “King Tut” has lost to Gary Russell for the WBC title and Chris Colbert for the now defunct WBA interim title but was still No 7 with the WBC. Namibian Lukas, 37, was 23-0 before losing to Isaac Avelar in December 2020 and since then had restricted himself to two wins against low level opposition and was unrated but his performance in this one will have raised his profile.
Ortiz vs. Allen
Ortiz gets unanimous verdict over Allen. This one was very close with a knockdown in the second just being enough to get Ortiz the win. Scores 76-75 on the three cards.
Rodriguez vs. Suazo
Former top amateur Rodriguez continues to make progress under the radar. Rodriguez took just 96 seconds to batter an overmatched Suazo to defeat. The 28-year-old “Lightning” was twice US amateur champion and won a silver medal at the National Golden Gloves. A loss to Charles Conwell cost him a spot at the 2016 Olympics but he has won ten of his fights by KO/TKO. Second inside the loss for Bronx-born Suazo.
Akitsugi vs. Brown
Japanese-born Akitsugi wins this clash of unbeaten southpaws with unanimous decision over Brown. Scores 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56 for Akitsugi. Brown, a silver medal winner at the national Golden Gloves can rebound
Holyfield vs. Rollins
Holyfield gets another win as he outscores a competitive Rollins. Holyfield rocked Rollins a few times but Rollins fought back hard and had a good second round. From there Holyfield dominated the fight but Rollins fought back strongly before tiring and just making it to the final bell after taking heavy punishment in the sixth. Scores 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Holyfield. Evan is the only one of Evander’s eleven children to have taken up boxing.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Feather: Cristian Gonzalez (10-13-1) W PTS 10 Guillermo Crocco (18-1-1). Super Welter: Brian Arregui (4-0) W PTS 8 Nicolas Jara (3-1).Middle: Francisco Veron (7-0) W TKO 1 Carlos Ronner (3-2).
Gonzalez vs. Crocco
Local fighter Gonzalez gets unexpected victory over favoured Crocco. Gonzalez was 2-5-1 in his last eight fights going into this one but he hustled and harried the better boxer out of his stride to take a split decision on scores of 95-93 twice against 97-92 from one judge for Crocco who had a 16-bout winning streak going.
Arregui vs. Jara
Former leading amateur Arregui remains unbeaten as he takes decision over a competitive Jara. Arregui, 22, won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics and boxed for Argentina at the Pan American Games and in the Tokyo Olympics.
Veron vs. Ronner
Verona blitzed Ronner in the first round. He sent Ronner flying into the ropes and down with a right. Ronner bounced up but another right sent him to the floor and the referee signalled the fight was over. Fifth win by KO/TKO for the 23-year-old prospect a former national champion and like Arregui competed at the Pan American Games and the Tokyo Olympics.
La Calera, Argentina: Feather: Mayco Estadella (10-0-1) W TKO 5 Federico Pedraza (13-1-1). Welter: Williams Herrera (11-1,1ND) W TKO 1 Juan Balmaceda (10-4-2).Super Middle: David Romero (12-14-1) W PTS 8 Cesar Barrionuevo (35-5-2).
In a clash of southpaws Estadella won the South American title with stoppage of champion Pedraza. Estadella dropped Pedraza with a right early in the first and put him down again in the second. Pedraza did better in the third and fourth but a sustained attack from Estadella in the fifth led first to a standing count and then to the referee stopping the fight. The 23-year-old “Little Lion” makes it seven consecutive victories. Pedraza had won his last eleven fights.
Herrera vs. Balmaceda
Herrera extends his winning run to eight bouts as he scores two knockdowns in the first round. There was some query over whether the bell had gone before the second knockdown but after reviewing the video the referee confirmed the stoppage. Three inside the route defeats in a row for Balmaceda.
Romero vs. Barrionuevo
Disastrous return for Barrionuevo as in his first fight for almost two years he losses every round against Romero with all three cards reading 80-72. After a 3-2-2,1ND start to his career Barrionuevo went 31-1 before losing to Yordenis Ugas in a title eliminator. Romero looked a safe choice for Barrionuevo to shake any rust as he was 0-8-1 in his previous nine fights.
Karlsruhe, Germany: Middle: Andrii Velikovskyi (20-2-2) W RTD 2Rafael Bejaran (29-6-1). Welter: Karen Chukhadzhian (20-1) W TKO 8 Ryan Martin (14-3-1). Heavy: Oleksandr Zakhozhyi (16-0) W TKO 3 Pavel Sour (14-7). Super Middle: Petro Ivanov (15-0-2) W RTD 1 Nuhu Lawal (27-10). Middle: Simon Zachenhuber (14-0) W PTS 10 Maurice Morio (8-1).
Velikovskyi vs. Bejaran
German-based Ukrainian Velikovskyi gets win over experienced Bejaran. Velikovskyi was quicker and more accurate than Bejaran in the first and then floored Bejaran in the second. Bejaran’s corner retired their man because of swelling around his right eye possible caused by a thumb in the eye at the knockdown. Velikovskyi collects the IBO Inter-Continental title. Dominican Bejaran, 39, lost only one of his first 28 fights but age plus tougher opposition has added a dose of reality.
Chukhadzhian vs. Martin
Chukhadzhian extends his winning run to 20 with stoppage of Swindon’s Martin. The action was close in the early rounds with Chukhadzhian having the edge but Martin competing hard and keeping the rounds tight. Body punches from Chukhadzhian started to slow Martin in the fifth and he put Martin on the floor in the sixth. With Martin also showing wear and tear under his right eye Chukhadzhian had Martin under heavy fire late in the seventh. Velikovskyi ended it in the eighth flooring Martin with a series of punches and although Martin beat the count the follow-up attack from Chukhadzhian saw the referee stop the fight. Chukhadzhian wins the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title. He lost his first pro fight to Velikovskyi but has now climbed to No 6 in the EBU ratings. Martin had been 6-0-1 going into this one.
Zakhozhyi vs. Sour
The 6’9”, 250lbs Ukrainian Zakhozhyi too big and too strong for 6’5” 230lbs Czech Sour. Zakhozhyi staggered Sour in the first and then floored him late in the second. Sour beat the count but was down twice more in the third round and the fight was halted. Twelfth inside the distance win for Zakhozhyi but the quality of opposition has him down at No 16 in the EBU-EEU ratings for fighters from outside the European Union. Sixth loss by KO/TKO for Sour all in tough matches.
Ivanov vs. Lawal
Ivanov makes it a clean sweep for the Ukrainians on the card as a sliding Lawal retires after the first round. Fifth victory by KO/TKO in his last six fights for WBC International champion Ivanov. At one time Lawal was 23-0 but it is now just four wins in his last fourteen contests.
Zachenhuber vs. Morio
Zachenhuber wins the vacant IBF Youth belt with unanimous decision over Morio in an entertaining contest. Morio did enough to collect the points in the first round but then Zachenhuber boxed well scoring with strong jab and straight rights. Morio made the rounds close pressing forward trying to unsettle Zachenhuber but despite Morio’s efforts Zachenhuber took most of the early rounds. Morio edged the sixth and ninth but by then Zachenhuber had built a big lead and was able to box his way to victory. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-94 for the 23-year-old Zachenhuber. German champion Morio, 21, showed promise.
Dearborn, MI, USA: Middle: Antonio Todd (13-5-1ND) W PTS 10 Hugo Centeno (28-4-1,1ND).Middle: Winfred Harris (21-1-1) W PTS 8 Esau Herrera (19-14-1).
Todd vs. Centeno
Todd pulls off a surprise as he takes majority decision over Centeno. Superior speed saw Centeno build an early lead as he swept the first three rounds. Todd came into the fight from the fourth pressurising Centeno and beginning to find the target with some heavy rights. The fight was close over the middle rounds but a strong finish from Todd clawed back Centeno’s early lead and was enough to see him get the verdict. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Todd and 95-95. Easily the biggest success of his career so far for Todd who has been strictly a modest preliminary performer. Centeno’s previous losses had been against Maciej Sulecki and Willie Monroe and he had been knocked out in two rounds by Jermall Charlo for the WBC interim title. He was rated No 10 by the WBC.
Harris vs. Herrera
Harris keeps busy with a points win over experienced Mexican Herrera. Scores 79-73 twice and 77-75 for Harris. After being inactive in 2019 and 2020 Harris returned to action in May had is 4-0-1 since then. Herrera drops to 1-8 in his last 9 fights.
Merlo, Argentina: Fly: Gabriela Alaniz (12-0) W TKO 4 Johana Zuniga (16-2).
Argentinian champion Alaniz stops Zuniga in four rounds. Alaniz dropped Zuniga in the third and was pounding her along the ropes in the fourth. There was nothing coming back from Zuniga so the referee came in to save her from more punishment. Alaniz, 25, had over 70 amateur fights and this is her fourth inside the distance victory as a pro. She collects the WBC Latino belt. Zuniga had been stopped in four rounds by Yesica Bopp in a challenge for the WBA Female light flyweight title in October.
Fight of the week (Significance): Mark Magsayo’s win over Gary Russell adds new factor to the featherweight title stakes.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Subriel Matias vs. Petros Ananyan was not a fight for the faint hearted as they battled toe-to-toe for nine rounds
Fighter of the week: Magsayo gives the Philippines another title holder but Gary Russell has to get an honourable mention after battling with that injury
Punch of the week: The left hook from Subriel Matias that floored Petros Ananyan was a real thunderbolt
Upset of the week: Antonio Todd 12-5-1 beating 28-3-1 Hugo Centeno was not in the script.
Prospect watch: Middleweight LeShawn Rodriguez 13-0 10 wins by KO/TKO is coming along nicely.
Rosette: To all involved in the Atlantic City show.Good top liners with Magsayo vs.Russell a majority verdict, Nyambayar vs. Lukas a split draw and Matias vs. Ananyan a battle royal
Red Card: No baddies this week but a mistake in not counting the knockdown scored by Lukas against Nyambayar which cost Lukas victory.
It is understandable that Gary Russell chose to go ahead with his title fight against Mark Magsayo despite his injury. Russell had had just one fight in each of years 2015, 2016 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and was inactive in 2021. The 2020 fight was in February so he had gone almost two years without a fight. He had been a title holder for almost seven years making him the longest serving of the current title holders. That honour now passes to Thai Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Knockout CP Freshmart) who won the WBA minimumweight title in July 2016. CP Freshmart was upgraded to super champion in March 2020 but had been the sole holder of that title before being promoted so has a legitimate claim to have been WBA title holder for over five years.
Having one fighter holding all four versions of a title is a recipe for a log jam. Josh Taylor will look after his business with the WBO by defending against Jack Catterall but if gets though that then the WBC will be pushing for him to fight Jose Ramirez the WBA to fight Alberto Puello and the IBF Jeremias Ponce and with Jose Zepeda and Antonio Barboza also in the wings so despite an impressive win on Saturday Subriel Matias could have a very long wait for a title shot.
COVID is still having its effect with no spectators allowed at the Karlsruhe show.
By Eric Armit
-Joe Smith Jr kayos Steve Geffrard in nine rounds in WBO light heavyweight title defence
-Jade Bornea beats Mohammad Obbadi in three rounds in IBF super flyweight eliminator
-Super Featherweight Abraham Nova stops William Encarnacion to go to 20-0
-Hugo Roldan and Jaime Arboleda both climb off the canvas twice to score wins in Panama
-Yamil Peralta remain unbeaten as floors Mariano Gudino three times on the way to retaining the Argentinian cruiserweight title on points.-
World Title/Major Shows
Verona, NY, USA: Light Heavy: Joe Smith Jr (28-3) W KO 9 Steve Geffrard (18-3). Feather: Abraham Nova (21-0) W TKO 8 William Encarnacion (19-2). Heavy: Lyubomyr Pinchuk (14-2-1) W PTS 8 Jose Flores (8-3-2). Middle: Troy Isley (4-0) W PTS 6 Harry Cruz (6-2). Super Light: Omar Rosario (6-0) W PTS 6 Raekwon Butler (4-2).
Smith vs. Geffrard
Smith beats substitute Geffrard in nine rounds in a low key title defence of his WBO title.
Smith immediately went on the attack forcing Geffrard to the ropes and firing clubbing shots. Geffrard was hiding behind a high peek-a-boo guard and not throwing punches allowing Smith to bang away finding gaps. Eventually Geffrard started throwing jabs but then retreated behind his guard again as Smith landed some hurtful shots late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Smith
Smith changed tactics in the second. He backed off and allowed Geffrard to come forward. Geffrard scored with some stiff jabs and a couple of rights but instead of staying there punching Geffrard was then hiding behind his guard again allowing Smith some target practice. Smith was not pressing his attacks although he did enough scoring in short bursts to win the round.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 20-18
Smith started this one coming forward throwing punches but then again backed off letting Geffrard do some work with his jab and straight rights. Geffrard stood and traded more but at the end of the round had backed to the ropes allowing Smith to pound him with body punches.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 30-27
They traded jabs early in this round until Smith suddenly launches a fierce attack driving Geffrard around landing hooks and uppercuts with Geffrard just covering up and having to absorb some painful body shots. Geffrard dropped his hands to show he wasn’t hurt but it was another round for Smith.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Glenn Feldman 40-36 Smith, Judge Tom Schreck 40-36 Smith, Judge Don Trella 39-37 Smith
This was a totally one-sided round. With Geffrard just hiding behind his guard it was target practice for Smith who was getting through with uppercuts and hooks. There was nothing coming back from Geffrard and as Smith continued to pour on the punches the referee was taking a long hard look at Geffrard at the end of the round (one judge scored this a 10-8 round).
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 50-45
After his fireworks in the last round Smith took a more measured approach in this one. Too measured as he was landing a few hooks and then backing off and setting himself to repeat the exercise. Geffrard found a little more room for his jab but was just not throwing enough punches.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 60-54
Smith looked to be operating at about 60% power but it was still enough. For much of the round Smith was content to throw jabs and then follow with a few hooks and uppercuts. Geffrard landed a sneak straight right but Smith shook it off and scored with some bludgeoning hooks.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 70-63
Smith backed up at the start of this round and that allowed Geffrard to find some room and he scored well with jabs and straight rights. A heavy hook from Smith sent Geffrard back into his shell and Smith scored heavily with hooks and uppercuts with Geffrard being bounced along the ropes and not throwing any punches of his own.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 80-72
Official Scores: Judge Glenn Feldman 80-72 Smith, Judge Tom Schreck 79-73 Smith, Judge Don Trella 79-72 Smith
There was sense of purpose behind Smith in this one. He came out throwing punches and forced Geffrard to the ropes. Geffrard made no attempt to fight back and dropped to one knee under a hail of punches and was counted out.
Smith was making the first defence of the WBO title he won with a majority verdict over Max Vlasov in April. He now wants a unification fight against WBC/IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. However with Anthony Yarde jumping to the No 1 spot after beating Lyndon Arthur and Frank Warren having a good working relationship with the WBO Warren may press for a shot for Yarde. Geffrard was never really in this fight and as he only stepped in at eight days notice when Callum Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 it was unrealistic to think he would be a serious threat. Johnson himself will be pushing for the chance he missed and Gilbert Ramirez is also in the picture so plenty of options for Smith.
Nova vs. Encarnacion
Nova wears down and halts Encarnacion in the eighth, Encarnacion had a good first round catching Nova with a strong right but Nova upped his pace in the second. Nova began to score heavily in the third and Encarnacion switched to southpaw to try to stem the tide. From the fourth Nova was scoring with some scorching body shots and Encarnacion was holding to stop Nova scoring inside but Nova was also mixing in some rights to the head. As heads bumped in the sixth Nova suffered a cut over his right eye but it did not slow his attacks. He punished Encarnacion over the sixth and had him reeling under a series of rights at the end of the seventh. A right shook Encarnacion early in the eighth and Encarnacion’s second waived for the fight to be stopped. Fifteenth win by KO/TKO for 27-year-old Puerto Rican-born Nova who is rated No 3 with the WBO. Dominican Encarnacion, 33, was knocked out in four rounds by newcomer Giovanni Gutierrez in July 2019 and was then inactive until recording a low level win in December 2020- his last fight.
Pinchuk vs. Flores
Pinchuk scores wide unanimous decision over Flores but the fight was closer than the scores indicate. The 6’3” Ukrainian used his longer reach to score well in the first. In the second a clash of heads saw Pinchuk cut over his left eye and shaken by a right just before the bell. Pinchuk worked hard with his jab over the third and fourth outscoring Flores and landed with good shots in the fifth but with Flores connecting with some accurate counters. A punch from Flores re-opened the cut over Pinchuk’s left eye in the sixth and Flores also had a good seventh. Pinchuk put the result in the bag in the eighth as he landed a powerful right on Flores that sent his mouthguard flying and clearly won the round. Scores 79-73 twice and 80-72 for Pinchuk who is 10-1-1 in his last 12 outings. Flores had lost one of his last ten fights.
Isley vs. Cruz
Tokyo Olympian Isley cruises to victory in his first six round fight with comfortable points victory against Puerto Rican southpaw Cruz. The Puerto Rican took the fight to Isley but paid for that as Isley’s counters had him bleeding from nose and mouth. Isley shook Cruz a few times but Cruz showed plenty of determination giving Isley some useful ring time. Isley went low in the sixth which cost him a point but he won on scores of 59-54 twice and 59-53. Isley, 23, was twice US National champion and won bronze medals at the World Championships and Pan American Games but did not medal in Tokyo. Cruz had won his last two fights but Isley was much too polished for him.
Rosario vs. Butler
Like Isley Puerto Rican Rosario, a former amateur star, was moving up to six rounds for the first time. He came close to ending this early blasting Butler with punches in the first and carrying that on into the early part of the second. Butler overcame the crisis and fought well over the remaining rounds although generally being outscored by Rosario. Butler was shaken with a right in the sixth but recovered and competed well. Scores 59-54 twice and 58-55 for Rosario who was Puerto Rican champion in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Butler out of his depth but did his job.
Monterrey, Mexico: Super Fly: Jade Bornea (17-0) W KO 3 Mohammed Obbadi (22-2). Bantam: Francisco Rodriguez (35-5-1) W TKO 7 Arnulfo Salvador (15-2-1). Light Fly: Daniel Valladares (26-3-1) W PTS 8 Gabriel Loranca (4-6-1).
Obbadi vs. Bornea
Bornea wins IBF eliminator with third round victory over Obbadi. Moroccan-born Obbadi took the opening round with plenty of movement and a quick jab that consistently pierced Bornea’s guard. Bornea kept marching forward looking to score to the body but Obbadi’s speedy footwork took him away from Bornea’s attacks. Bornea began the second round switching to a southpaw stance and connected with a couple of right hooks and knocked Obbadi off balance with a straight left. Obbadi found the target with a pair of rights late in the round but was under continuous pressure. Bornea hunted Obbadi down in the third and landed a wicked left hook to the body. Obbadi froze for a second and then dropped to his hands and knees and was counted out. Filipino Bornea will now leap into the mandatory challengers slot with the possibility of a challenge to fellow-Filipino Jerwin Ancajas later in the year. Second inside the distance defeat for Obbadi who has a rebuilding job on his hands.
Rodriguez vs. Salvador
Rodriguez batters Salvador to defeat in seven rounds. Fighting in his home town Rodriguez bossed the fight against the less experienced southpaw Salvador. Rodriguez exerted constant pressure and was getting his punches off first with Salvador looking tentative. Rodriguez put Salvador down with a straight right in the third but Salvador got up and fought hard to make it to the bell. Rodriguez scored with scorching body punches over the fourth and fifth and had Salvador reeling at the end of the sixth. Salvador put in a big effort at the start of the seventh but when Rodriguez connected with a series of head punches the referee stopped the fight. Rodriguez, a former IBF and WBO minimumweight champion, lost on points to Kazuto Ioka for the WBO super flyweight title in September. He was above Bornea in the IBF ratings before the two fights on this card so should also be in line for a shot at Ancajas. This was too big a step-up for Salvador.
Valladares vs. Loranca
Local light flyweight Valladares outpoints Locarno. Valladares had late substitute Loranca under heavy pressure for all eight rounds but never looked like ending things early. He scored heavily with hooks and uppercuts and rocked Loranca a few times but Loranca took the beating and survived a fifth rounds inspection by the doctor of a cut and swelling by his left eye and fought hard to still be there at the end. Scores 80-71, 79-72 and 79-73 for Valladares who claimed an injury to his right hand hampered him in this fight. He fought a technical draw with Pedro Taduran for the IBF minimum title last year but that was followed by two losses. Loranca’s recent form is now 0-1-5.
Bella Vista, Panama: Super Light: Hugo Roldan (21-0-1) W PTS 10 German del Castillo (10-2-2). Light: Jaime Arboleda (18-2) W PTS 10 Nicolas Polanco (20-2-1). Fly: Gabriela Fundora (5-0,1ND) W PTS 8 Nataly Delgado (8-5-1).
Roldan vs. del Castillo
In both of the main bouts on this card the eventual winner had to suffer two knockdowns before winning a majority decision. There was plenty of speed and plenty of movement and guard changes from Roldan as he outscored del Castillo. In the second de Castillo swung a left hook. His fist missed but his forearm connected with the side of Roldan’s head and sent him down. Roldan was not badly hurt and took control of the action in the third. At the end of the fourth del Castillo rushed forward pushing Roldan back and Roldan lost his balance and fell into the ropes. It was a push not a punch and also the push happened after the bell to end the round but it was counted as a knockdown. From there Roldan used his speed and footwork to bamboozle del Castillo and deservedly won the decision. Scores 96-92 twice for Roldan and 94-94. Only the second fight outside of his native Argentina for Roldan who needs tougher tests to establish his credentials. Colombian del Castillo had won his last four fights but his victims have been easy touches.
Arboleda vs. Polanco
Panamanian Arboleda survived a near disaster in the second round to take a majority verdict over Dominican Polanco. After edging the first round Arboleda was down twice in the second. Late in the round he was dropped by a left hook from the wild swinging Polanco. After the eight count he shipped some more punches but then slipped to the floor. There was no count and then both fighters just stood flinging wild shots and Arboleda was shaken a couple of times and put down by a right. After getting up he clinched and made it to the bell. From there he kept the pressure on the erratic Polanco to outbox him over the middle rounds and held off a late effort by Polanco to wrap up the victory. Scores 95-93 twice for Arboleda and 94-94. Arboleda was halted in eleven rounds in December 2020 by Chris Colbert for the interim WBA title but had stopped former WBA secondary featherweight title holder Jonathan Barros in August. Polanco had lost a wide unanimous decision to Javier Fortuna in 2017 and since then only faced mediocre opposition.
Fundora vs. Delgado
Floridian southpaw Fundora outpoints Panamanian Delgado. The 5’9” Fundora towered over Delgado and won all the way flooring Delgado with a southpaw right hook in the fifth as she eased to victory. All three judges gave it to Fundora 80-71. She wins the vacant WBC Latino belt. She is the sister of world rated super welterweight Sebastian Fundora. Delgado had lost on points to Micaela Lujan for the IBF female super fly title in November.
Lagos, Nigeria: Cruiser: Olan Durodola (37-9) W RTD 1 Idowu Okusote (2-5).
This was a waste of a canvas. Durodola had height, reach, weight and experience over Okusote and just trundle around the ring as Okusote skittered about trying to stay out of trouble. Durodola managed to land a couple of glancing blows and Okusote did not come out for the second round.
Mar del Plata, Argentina: Cruiser: Yamil Peralta (13-0) W PTS 10 Mariano Gudino (14-5).
Peralta retains national title with points victory over Gudino. It was an easy defence for Peralta as he floored Gudino three times on the way to victory. The first knockdown came from a straight in the second round. Gudino protested that the punch that put him down landed on his neck but he beat the count only to be dropped again in the sixth by a left hook. The fight should have ended then as Gudino’s corner tried to throw in the towel but it got caught up in the ropes and was ignored. A right counter put Gudino down for the third time in the tenth with Pe4ralta settling for a points victory. Scores 99-88 twice and 98-89. Peralta was making the first defence of the Argentinian title and he retained the WBC Latino belt. A double-Olympian Peralta should now be looking to face some better class opposition if he wants to crash the ratings. Gudino falls to 2-5 in his last 7 fights
Tijuana, Mexico: Super Welter: Carlos Ocampo (32-1) W TKO 1 Omir Rodriguez (11-4-1). Super Bantam: David Picasso (20-0-1) W TKO 7 Cesar Paredes (15-4-1). Super Light: Carlos Sanchez (22-0) W KO 1 Jorge Pacheco (9-2-1).
Ocampo vs. Rodriguez
Ocampo massacres poor over-matched Rodriguez. Panamanian Rodriguez had only very rudimentary skills and just walked in head down swinging his arms. Ocampo battered him with punches to and then around the ropes until Rodriguez went down. He got up and despite taking more punishment kept slinging wild punches until he was dropped face down by a series of shots just before the bell. He tried to rise but tumbled backwards and the referee waived the fight over. Twentieth inside the distance win for Ocampo but really nothing worth saying about this sorry spectacle.
Picasso vs. Paredes
Prospect “King” Picasso adds another victory as he stops Peruvian southpaw Paredes in seven rounds. The 21-year-old from Mexico City is trained by former champion Erik Morales. The draw on his record is a case where he lost on a fourth round stoppage early in his career but the Mexico City commission changed the result to a technical draw and this is his seventeenth win since then. Paredes has lost a split decision and a majority decision against Chilean Jose Velasquez who challenged for the WBA super bantam title in November.
Sanchez vs. Pacheco
Another terrible mismatch saw Sanchez beat Pacheco in 60 seconds. Sanchez scored with a couple of hefty body punches that had Pacheco backing to the ropes and a right to the ribs dropped Pacheco who took the ten count kneeling in a corner. Eighteen wins by KO/TKO for “The Shark” but again nothing worth reporting. Pacheco hardly threw a punch.
Cheswick, PA, USA: Super Feather: Avery Sparrow (11-3,1ND) W TKO 10 Matt Conway (20-3,1ND).
Sparrow was not supposed to win this one. He had been beaten in his last two fights and with only three inside the distance wins did not look a danger. However he outlasted the favourite Conway in a war. By the tenth Conway had nothing left and Sparrow actually signalled to referee he should
step in. He didn’t but a left from Sparrow sent Conway stumbling across the ring to the ropes and as Sparrow bombarded Conway with head punches the referee stopped the fight. Sparrow wins both the vacant IBA title and Pennsylvania State title. The No Decision on Sparrows record was a win that was changed to a ND when he tested positive for a banned substance. Conway had been outpointed by Gabriel Flores in February 2020 but had then won three in a row.
Fight of the week (Significance): Having retained his WBO title Joe Smith can now look either to further defences or a unification fight.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Not much to get excited about this week.
Fighter of the week: Joe Smith
Punch of the week: The left hook to the body from Jade Bornea that finished Mohammed Obbadi was a corker.
Upset of the week: Avery Sparrow (10-3,1ND) was an outsider against 20-2,1ND Matt Conway but stopped Conway late.
Prospect watch: Puerto Rican super light Omar Rosario 6-0 was a top class amateur and is looking good as a pro.
There is no doubt that the Fundora family like to do things in a big way. Super welterweight Sebastian is 6’5 ½” and his sister Gabriela although a flyweight is 5’9”. Taller than most welterweights.
The IBF super flyweight eliminator between Jade Bornea and Mohammed Obbadi shows what a whacky sport ours is. The first two spots in the IBF ratings were vacant. Obbadi was No 3. He had gone from being unrated in the IBF ratings posted 10 January 2020 to No 3 in the ratings posted 2 February 2020 without even fighting and in fact did not have a single fight between December 2019 and April 2021! The situation was not nearly so blatant with Jade Bornea who went from unrated to No 7 for wins over unrated opponents with 10-10-1, 11-0-2 and 15-7-1 records. Putting that to one side the real condemnation of the IBF ratings is that the No 1 and 2 spots were vacant as to fill one of those spots you have to have a win over another rated fighter-and no one in their ratings qualified! But if you can get to No 3 without facing a rated opponent why take the risk-only in boxing is this stupidity tolerated and looked upon as “normal”.
A new year is here, and we get a chance, again, to show how little we know about the sport with more wild and outlandish predictions about boxing. Sadly for 2022 we're not expecting things to go amazingly well for the sport, though we do anticipate a big improvement from the year we've just had, and we do expect far more big bouts to take place, and for the sport to move forward after 2 years of relatively frustrating action.
So lets take a look at 10 predictions for this year.
The last couple of years has seen a staggering amount of upsets and shocks, and whilst they do add to the enjoyment of the sport, and show the sport really is the theatre of the unexpected, we don't think we're going to see as many in 2022. We've put a lot of the shocks down to inactivity and covid related issues. Fighters who were struggling for activity not looking great when they fought, and in some cases losing bouts that they really shouldn't have lost. Whilst inactivity is one reason for losses another is the fact that training camps were different, and fighters tried to rush back from Covid infections. We think in 2022 a fighter who suffers Covid will take their time to recover and training camps will focus on making sure a fighter is sharp, mentally and physically. We'll still get upsets, of course we will, but not the regular massive shockers we had in 2021.
2-PPV becomes a major factor in Japan
One of the best things about Japan was that, traditionally, big fights were on free TV, allowing fans across the country to see the biggest domestic names in action. Sadly 2021 saw a move to PPV, with more and more major bouts being put behind paywalls, including bouts featuring major stars like Naoya Inoue and Kenshiro Teraji. Sadly we suspect that Japan, like the UK, the US and Australia, will begin to rely more and more on PPV, and subscription services, to the detriment of the sport, the fans and the fan base. Whilst some see PPV as a necessary part of the sport we also need to see PPV as the way of cutting fans out. There is a fine balance, but we worry Japan, like other countries, will fail to find the balance.
3-The Bantamweight division will fail to deliver
Going in to 2021 the Bantamweight division looked like it had so many obvious match ups that we were going to get at least one major unification and the division was going to give us some super fights. Sadly 2021 saw the division whimper out, with Nonito Donaire winning the WBC title then facing a mandatory, John Riel Casimero defeating Guillermo Ringodeaux then talk the talk before pulling out of a mandatory title fight, and Naoya Inoue retaining in a mandatory before failing to secure an opponent of note for his year ending bout. For a year that promised so much this was underwhelming and we see something similar happening next year, with Inoue abandoning the division in frustration and chasing Super Bantamweight glory. It's a shame the top guys in the division couldn't get together, but we're certainly not surprised that boxing has failed to sort out what seemed so obvious.
4-Bouts get re-arranged
One thing that really hurt 2021 was the big cancellations at the end of the year. Among those that were cancelled were the John Riel Casimero Vs Paul Butler bout, the Kazuto Ioka Vs Jerwin Ancajas bout, the Ryota Murata Vs Gennady Golovkin bout, the Masayuki Ito Vs Shuichiro Yoshino, and the Junto Nakatani Vs Cristian Gonzalez bout. Thankfully we expect all of those to be re-arranged for 2022. The bouts all make sense to re-arrange and fingers crossed we get all of them this year. Sadly boxing does have a way to tease us before ripping things away from us, but we think in these particular examples we'll end up getting pretty much all the bouts in question. Especially the two big unification bouts, at Super Flyweight and Middleweight.
5-A super slow start to the year
Whilst there are bouts scheduled for the first few months of the year, we get the feeling that 2022 will be a year where things are very, very, very slow to get going. This isn't just an Asia issue, but something we suspect will affect boxing globally, as Omicron forces various countries to do different things to slow it's spread. The UK is set to have no boxing in January, and we suspect some other countries will follow suit. Although there is boxing scheduled for most of Asia for early in the year we expect to see February and March have threadbare schedules, and things take until, potentially, May to get going. This is going to be another year where opportunities are few and far between for some fighters, and where some fighters will struggle to stay active. Fingers crossed by the back end of the year however things are heading back to normality.
6-Hiroto Kyoguchi to miss out on unification... again
Over the last few years Hiroto Kyoguchi has been linked, time and time again, to unification bouts. Originally it was with Kenshiro Teraji, in a bout that made incredible sense and seemed set to be something huge for Japanese boxing, and then it was Elwin Soto, with both Soto and Kyoguchi being promoted by Eddie Hearn, and then Soto lost. To begin 2022 Kyoguchi will have to make a mandatory against Esteban Bermudez and whilst unification bouts will be possible later in the year it does seem like they are destined to pass Kyoguchi by, and he really needs to ask his team why he hasn't been able to secure the huge divisional bouts he has been chasing. Watanabe failed to get him them and now Matchroom are failing, and it's a real shame as he deserves to prove he is the best in the division, before he out grows it.
7-The Year of Rematches!
It's fair to say that 2021 was a weird year, especially with all the upsets and we expect to see them re-done in the new. Amazingly however we also expect to see a lot of other rematch, not just from last year, but from the last few years. Some of these are already schedule, including Panya Pradabsri Vs Wanheng Menayothin II and Gakuya Furuhashi Vs Yusaku Kuga, whilst others are said to be in the works, such as Masamichi Yabuki Vs Kenshiro Teraji II, Israil Madrimov Vs Michel Soro II and Donnie Nietes Vs Norbelto Jimenez II. We might even see bouts like Masataka Taniguchi Vs Kai Ishizawa II, a rematch of their 2017 clash. We won't complain about rematches, though we do think there's going to be a lot of them. And not just in Asia. Given Matchroom's propensity for rematches we're also expecting to see quite a few rematches from Eddie Hearn's stable, including the obvious rematches Oleksandr Usyk Vs Anthony Joshua, and Kiko Martinez Vs Josh Warrington.
8-Amazon Prime will become a major player
In late 2021 Amazon announced that they would be the Japanese broadcaster for Ryota Murata Vs Gennady Golovkin. Whilst those plans were delayed it does seem obvious that Amazon are very interested in getting their claws into more and more professional sport to go with their rights on things like Tennis and the English Premier League. Due to the often weird way that boxing works, our great sport could well be a great target for Amazon to get involved in, and to try and secure global rights to fights, rather than merely picking up regional rights. With that in mind we wouldn't be surprised by a promoter working alongside Amazon in a similar, although less frequent, manner to how DAZN and Matchroom work. There is talk of Amazon doing a deal with Teiken in Japan, but we again think there will be some sort of global movement from Amazon, adding value to the Amazon Prime platform.
9-Central Asian fighters finally crack it
The last few years has seen a lot of talk about Central Asian fighters, with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan being two countries that look like they have a lot of promising talent. Sadly that talent, on the whole, hasn't yet cracked the big time as expected. In 2022 we think that will, finally, change with the likes of Hasanboy Dusmatov, Israil Madrimov, Shakhram Giyasov and Zanibek Alimkhanuly finally breaking through and winning world titles. It seems inevitable that this crop of Central Asian fighters will be the ones to break through and we suspect 2022 will be the year that they finally give up waiting and do it. Alimkhanuly and Madrimov are right on the verge of world title bouts as we enter the year, and we suspect others will end the year fighting for top honours in a huge year for the two countries.
10-Japanese fighters to travel more!
On trend we think will continue from the last few years is Japanese fighters travelling for major fights, something that we think the on going Pandemic makes even more likely, especially with it being so hard to travel in to Japan. We already know that Kenichi Ogawa is planning a defense of the IBF Super Featherweight title in the UK, and we also expect to see Junto Nakatani, Hiroto Kyoguchi, Kazuto Ioka and Naoya Inoue all travel for major bouts at some point in 2022. We wouldn't be surprised by Japanese fighters travelling to challenge for titles as well, with the success on the road of fighters like Inoue in recent years opening the door for them to fight more and more on the road. We've seen more Japanese fighters travelling in the last 3 or 4 years but we expect to see that number genuinely exploding this year. And with that in mind we also wouldn't be surprised if a Japanese fighter finally won a world title over in Thailand, something they've not yet done.
Before the new year we were asked by our good friend @PollitoDiablo2 to do a "22 for 2022" which is not something I had any intention of doing. Not this year. Sadly 2021 has taken away a lot of the love of the sport I once had. It's drained me like no other year. Both the sport it's self and the year in general. It was, for lack of a better term, a year to forget, and a year that really saw the output on this site die down, from regular daily features, along with the news, to basically just the news. The cancellations, the politics, the frustration of Covid continuing to ravage the sport, and my own personal frustrations all made me want to hide in a corner and not touch a keyboard over Christmas, and into the new year.
Despite that it's clear for this site to even be worth continuing, we do need to let people become aware of fighters! And with that in mind a 22 for 2022 seems like a great starting, so take a look at 22 fighters who will have something meaningful, hopefully, in 2022.
To be included on this list a fighter can't have won, or fought for, a world title. They can, however, have a world title lined up as we head into the new year. They are either contenders, prospects, or fighters that have the potential to make some sort of mark in 2022.
22-Garen Diagan (8-1, 4)
Dubbed the "Hellboy" Garen Diagan is someone who has quietly been making a name for himself on the Filipino domestic scene over the last few years. Unlike most hopefuls he's not been matched easily, at all, and from his 9 professional bouts 6 have been against unbeaten opponents. Notably he has ended the unbeaten records of Arvin Magramo (8-0-1), Jerry Francisco (7-0) and April Jay Abne (7-0) in his last 4 bouts. Aged 25 Diagan is coming into his prime, his results speak for themselves and this coming year should be one where he begins to target a regional title. The Light Flyweight and Flyweight divisions are incredibly interesting divisions, but a guy like Diagan would be a welcome addition in either and we expect that's what we'll see in 2022.
21-Jong Seong Kang (14-0-2, 7)
South Korean boxing has been in a mire since the very early 00's and the country, which was once a major force in the sport, is now one which lacks any notable name outside of Hyun Mi Choi. Thankfully that could be set to change thanks to the rise of Jong Seong Kang, who looks like he might end up carrying the sport in South Korea over the coming years. The 20 year old Featherweight is everything we love about Korean boxing. He brings the in ring Korean mentality to life, he is all about aggression, work rate, desire and the fighters mindset. Technically he is limited and can be caught, but his offense is his best form of defense and his exciting style will capture fans and attention. Notably he is also scoring good, solid, wins with victories over Tomjune Mangubat and Pete Apolinar in his last 5 wins. He is set to become the face of Korean boxing, and we would expect his team to move him towards more regional honours, to add to the WBO Oriental Featherweight title that he won in January.
20-Bek Nurmaganbet (6-0, 4)
When we talk about Asian fighters there's not many Super Middleweights that stand out, but that could all change over the next few years with the rise of the Central Asian fighters. One of the leading hopefuls for the division is unbeaten Kazakh Bek Nurmaganbet, who was a sensational amateur before beginning his professional campaign in 2020. Aged just 23 time is certainly on his side, but so to is ability, and we would be very surprised if his handlers didn't let him loose on better and better opponents this year. In just 6 fights he has beaten opponents with a combined 150 wins and his team have seemingly got a lot of confidence in him, which leads us to believe that his team will look to match him with a former world champion or a former world title challenger this year. Hopefully his team will also get him a run out in the US to help build his international profile ahead of a potential world title eliminator in 2023 or 2024.
19-Talgat Shayken (7-0, 4)
Aged 21 Talgat Shayken is one of the most exciting young Welterweight prospects in the sport. He has a good amateur pedigree, he has good skills, he has a strong backer, with MTK Kazakhstan behind him, and he's incredibly young yet incredibly strong. Watching him since he turned professional we've seen Shayken develop from a rather clumsy but effective and aggressive teen, into a very talented and composed young fighter who brings effective pressure to the ring. He's not the polished fighter yet, and that's probably a couple of years away still, but he's proving himself to be an excellent prospect and has already won the WBC Youth title. In 2022 we expect to see his competition step up, and whilst we're not expecting him to face anyone world ranked, we wouldn't be surprised to see him break into the fringes of the world rankings by the end of the year and score at least one notable win before we see the start of 2023
18-Nutlai Lalbiakkima (3-0, 3)
Heading into we haven't got too many wild cards in this list, most of the names on the list are probably somewhat familiar to fans, even if one or two are surprises in the list they are names that we think most fans who follow Asian Boxing will be familiar with. One of the few wildcards however is Indian Minimumweight Nutlai Lalbiakkima, who is the IBA Intercontinental Minimumweight champion and the potential Indian star of tomorrow. India has never really embraced professional boxing, yet, but a country as big as India certainly has the potential to create stars and Lalbiakkima looks to be the best bet, for now. With Marine Boxing backing him he has a powerful backer, an exciting style, a good amateur pedigree and he's an aggressive and hard hitting Minimumweight. Given how big an Indian contender, or even a world champion, could be for the sport, Lalbiakkima is definitely one to keep an eye on, and someone who could make a big splash in 2022. He might be one of our wild card entries here, but that's more down to 2022 maybe being a year too early for him, but time will tell.
17-Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2)
The older of the two Shigeoka brothers Yudai Shigeoka had a stellar 2021, after the covid19 pandemic kept him out of the ring for over a year. Heading in to 2020 he seemed on the verge of something big, following a great win over Lito Dante, but 2020 was a total write off. In 2021 he thankfully made up for lost time pretty well, winning the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title in February before winning the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title in November, with a hard fought win over Tsubasa Koura. Those wins showed that Shigeoka was a very, very promising prospect, but there is still a lot of work to do for him, and we expect to see him defending his regional title a couple of times this year, whilst climbing up the world rankings and moving towards a world title shot in 2023 or 2024. The biggest for him might well be that he's probably the #3 guy at the weight in his own stable, and that could slow his ascent to the top, though it seems like a case of "when" and not "if", Yudai Shigeoka will win a world title.
16-Ryosuke Nishida (5-0, 1)
One of the big revelations of 2021 was Japanese Super Bantamweight-come-Bantamweight Ryosuke Nishida, who had impressed in 2020, with a win over Shohei Omori, then went better in 2021 with a big win over Daigo Higa to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title. That win over Higa made fans sit up an take note, especially given how dominant he was, but it's fair to say there is still work to do for Nishida, who's only defense of the regional title came against Tetsuro Ohashi. Nishida has shown what a great boxer he is, and there is a lot to like about him. Sadly we don't see him getting a world title fight in 2022, but we do see him moving towards one, and the WBO regional title will certainly help him there. The one issue we see holding him back, for now, is his lack of power, but we suspect experience and confidence will help him there. Whilst we don't see him getting a world title fight this year, we wouldn't be surprised at all if he's one of the men sniffing around titles when Naoya Inoue eventually moves up in weight.
15-Carl Jammes Martin (18-0, 15)
Dubbed the "Wonder Boy" Carl Jammes Martin is someone who has been on the radar for a few years now, and is widely seen as one of the next stars of Filipino boxing. The youngster has had plenty of exposure in the Philippines, but the attention so far has been very firmly based at home and he's yet to travel for a bout, something we hope might change this year. Early in his career Martin was an aggressive monster, all about offense, combinations and aggression. In recent years however we have seen him tone that down a little bit, whilst getting valuable rounds against the likes of Mark Anthony Geraldo and Richard Rosales, which will have served him really well and proven he can't take everyone out. An important lesson at this stage of his career. In recent bouts we've seen more boxing from him, less fighting, and it seems he is mentally maturing into a very good young fighter. In 2022 we're expecting to see him continue to get good rounds, continue to get some seasoning fights and potentially take on a former world title challenger towards the end of the year, to add some quality to his record and moves towards a world ranking. He's not ready for a top guy, and won't be by the end of 2022, but we certainly anticipate him moving towards a big bout and possibly landing one in 2024.
14-Sadriddin Akhmedov (12-0, 10)
The Light Middleweight division is one of the most interesting in the sport right now, with not just recognisable names on top but a lot of emerging hopefuls chasing through the ranks and looking to make a name for themselves. One such fighter is Canadian based Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov, who has managed to fly well under the radar of fans who don't follow the Canadian fight scene. The 23 year old has been a professional since 2018, and although he's yet to have a break through win he has shown a lot to like with a wide variety of tools in his arsenal, good stamina, great shot selection and a very good style that should allow him to go a very way in the sport. We don't see him getting a world title fight in 2022, but we certainly wouldn't be surprised by him making his US debut and moving towards a world title eliminator.
13-Hironori Mishiro (11-0-1, 4)
The idea of Japanese fighters being moved quickly is something we're all well aware of, and was certainly the plan for Hironori Mishiro, who won the OPBF Super Featherweight title in just his 6th bout, 15 months after his debut. He would defend that title 4 times before leaving the division and beating former world champion Masayuki Ito at the end of 2020, and then score an excellent stoppage in 2021 over Kazuhiro Nishitani. Those two wins, as well as his OPBF title reign, have shown what he's capable of in just 12 bouts, and the win over Nishitani seemed to show more belief in his power than we've seen from him previously. Despite his good form he hasn't yet received much recognition by the world title bodies, but we expect that to change in 2022 and we're anticipating a big year for Mishiro who will likely look to make a climb up the rankings this year. We doubt he'll get a world title shot, but expect to see him climb up the rankings rather notably at Lightweight this year.
12-Chainoi Worawut (14-0-1, 12)
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the best in the sport right now, and has been providing so much great action over the last few years, right across the various levels of the sport. One man looking to move into the mix for big fights, at least regionally, in the division will be hard hitting Thai fighter Chainoi Worawut, who is one of the key faces on the WP Boxing series of shows. The unbeaten puncher, like many Thai's, had a frustrating 2021 as the on-going pandemic limited his in ring activity, with him only fighting once in the year. Whilst that is disappointing it did give him another year to physically mature, and now aged 24 he's slowly coming into his prime. We suspect 2022 will be a year where he looks to build some new momentum, and whilst a world title fight this year is highly unlikely, he will certainly find himself climbing up the WBC rankings by the end of the year.
11-Thanongsak Simsri (20-0, 18)
The pandemic era of boxing has effected numerous fighters and fights over the last two years, and 21 year old Thai fighter Thanongsak Simsri is certainly one such fight. He was set to get a world title fight against Hiroto Kyoguchi in last 2020, before Kyoguchi contracted Covid19, forcing the bout to be cancelled. The hope was for Simsri to then get a shot at the Japanese champion the following year, but that never happened and Simsri has gone from a man literally on the verge of a world title fight, to the forgotten man at 108lbs. Notably however he has been staying busy, and amazingly fit in 6 bouts in 2021 and got some valuable ring time whilst also maturing, and allowing his body to fill out a bit more. Whilst we're still not sure he'd have much of a chance with Kyoguchi, the fact he's not sulked and been inactive is great, his high level of activity will help him, and if Covid restrictions can be scaled back in Asia this year then we suspect he'll be right in the mix for a major regional title. Whilst 2020 was the year of disappoint and 2021 was the year of activity for Simsri, 2022 should be the year where his competition toughens up again and he begins to move towards a world title shot, yet again.
10-Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (12-0, 7)
Thai teenage sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh had a break out in 2020, when he won a regional title and defended it in style against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol. Sadly we didn't see much of him in 2021, fitting just two professional boxing bouts into the year Covid19 forced Thailand to essentially lock down sports events for a large portion of the year. Now aged 18 Phoobadin and his team will likely be looking to make an impression this year, and we wouldn't be surprised at all to see him chase a more notable regional title, perhaps even and OPBF title. It's hard to imagine any domestic opponents facing him in 2022, and instead they'll have to import opponents, likely from Japan and the Philippines, so we wouldn't be surprised to see him taking on some of the top regional competition at 140lbs and maybe even make his international debut. His talent is undeniable, his potential is incredible, and fingers crossed 2022 will be the year where he shows his skills against some noteworthy opponents and begins to move into the fringes of a world ranking.
9-Joe Noynay (19-2-2, 8)
Over the last few years Filipino fighter Joe Noynay has slowly, but surely, been proving his ability and the 26 year old jaw breaker has been slept on time and time and time again. With 2 losses and just 8 stoppages from 23 bouts it can be easy to over-look Noynay, but the Filipino has notched wins on the road against the likes of Jinxiang Pan, Kosuke Saka, Satoshi Shimizu and most recently Liam Wilson. He is also someone who has a technical draw with Kenichi Ogawa and has 2 defenses of the WBO Asia Pacific title to his name. One thing we've learned in recent years is that Filipino fighters have a scary reputation for coming out of nowhere and scoring wins, for Noynay that happened when he beat Saka and Shimizu and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he ends up travelling West for a fight and upsetting a notable US or British name. He's easy to over-look, but dangerous, confident in the ring, very calm and self assured, and far more dangerous than his record suggests. Do not be surprised at all if he ends up landing a world title eliminator, or a world title fight this coming year.
8-Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16)
There is only one man on this list with a scheduled world title fight and that is unbeaten Filipino Featherweight Mark Magsayo, who faces Gary Russell Jr on January 22nd. Sadly for Magsayo that bout is a good reason why he's so low on this list. He's going to make a mark, of course he is, by getting a world title fight in the US against a long reigning champion. Sadly however he will go into that bout as a massive under-dog, especially given his performances in recent bouts, which included a very poor performance against Rigobero Hermosillo in 2020 and huge come from behind win against Julio Ceja in August. Those two bouts may have resulted in wins, but they showed the talented Magsayo was still missing things he will need at world level. Whilst we're expecting him to come up short against Russell Jr, we hope to see him put in a good performance and bounce back later in the year.
7-Kamshybek Kunkabayev (4-0, 3)
Unbeaten Kazakh Cruiserweight Kamshybek Kunkabayev is a man who appears to make the sport look really, really easy. The big man from Kyzylorda is a former amateur standout who has been moved through the ranks like a special fighter, he has already picked up the WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Gold titles, and is already towards the world rankings. Although not the most flashy or exciting fighter, he's a big, talented, relaxed and heavy handed southpaw who has yet to be forced out of second hear since debuting in 2020. We really wouldn't be surprised at all if he picked up 2 or 3 wins in 2022 and ended the year banging on the door of a world title fight. Interestingly the Cruiserweight division does look like one that is ready for some new faces and Kunkabayev is potentially the right guy, in the right place at the right time, to make a lot of noise in the division.
6-Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11)
One of the very few men on this list without an unbeaten record on this list is Japanese Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui, who had a frustrating 2021, but is already set to kick off his 2022 campaign, and move towards a world title fight towards the end of the year. The hard hitting Japanese Flyweight champion impressed in July, when he stopped Taku Kuwahara in the 10th round, and will be back in the ring in February to defend his title again against Takuya Kogawa. If he gets past Kogawa, as expected, we expect to see him actively pursue a rematch with WBO world champion Junto Nakatani, one of only two men to beat Akui. He's dangerous, heavy handed, and very much under-the-radar, despite having a very notable win over current world champion Masamichi Yabuki.
5-Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9)
Long tipped as a special talent Japanese Featherweight Hinata Maruta has long flattered to deceive. It's always been clear he has incredible ability but struggled to get things to click. That has has changed in the last few years however and 2021 was a huge year for him, as he scored a very impressive stoppage over Ryo Sagawa, to claim the Japanese title, which he defended in December against Ryo Hino. Those two performances showed the progression of Maruta, who is world ranked by the IBF and WBC, and who could well be on the verge of a world title fight by the end of the year. He's slippery, he's sharp, he's heavy handed and whilst we don't think he'll get a world title fight this year, we do expect big things from him. Fingers crossed the year will begin with either a Japanese title defense or a bout for a regional title, before a potential US or UK bout as he looks to increase his international profile. This should be the year where the Morioka Gym allow him to make a statement, and 2023 should be the year where he gets a shot at the big time. His loss to Hidenori Otake in 2017 was a set back but he has developed so much since then and looks like one of the best emerging Featherweight contenders on the planet right now.
4-Hasanboy Dusmatov (4-0, 4)
There are are very, very, very few fighters ready to be unleashed on the divisional elite in their first 5 or 6 fights. One such fighter is Hasanboy Dusmatov, the former Uzbek amateur sensation who was talking about fighting for world titles from almost the day he made his debut. Sadly he's not yet landed a major fight, of any note, and his biggest wins as a professional are at a very low level, but he's showed he is head and shoulders above the 4 guys he has already beaten and now needs to move onwards and upwards. At the age of 28 there is no point in him wasting more time, and with that in mind we are expecting huge things of him in 2022. Sadly the Light Flyweight division does appear to be one with a lot of champions being tied up, at least early in the year, but if Dusmatov and his team are smart they could end up being primed for a world title fight towards the end of the year. If not they need to end the year with a big win and put pressure on the champions for a 2023 world title fight. He's already ranked very highly with the WBA, his team should look to push forward and chase the winner of the planned, though yet to be scheduled, Hiroto Kyoguchi Vs Esteban Bermudez bout.
3-Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6)
When he made his professional debut in 2018 Israil Madrimov looked like someone special, and his first 4 bouts showed what could do, as he showed everything a prospect could want to show, against solid competition. Sadly however disappointing performances against Eric Walker and Emmany Kalombo saw some of the shine being taken off Madrimov's rise. Thankfully for him however he managed to notched a notable win at the end of 2021, stopping Michel Soro, albeit in very controversial fashion, to essentially book himself a WBA world title fight in 2022. There is talk of a rematch against Soro, which we think would be a good move for Madrimov, but regardless he is now knocking on the door of a world title fight, and we would be very surprised if he didn't get a world title fight by the end of the year.
2-Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0, 5)
We honestly believe that were it not for the pandemic and the issues to the boxing calendar and travel situations we've seen over the past 2 years Ginjiro Shigeoka would be a world champion today. The talented, hard hitting, exciting, explosive, young Minimumweight looked primed for a huge 2020, following an excellent win over Rey Loreto at the end of 2019, to retain the WBO Asia Pacific title. Sadly the pandemic stopped his career in it's tracks. He had very, very, very few options domestically, and with travel limited over the last 2 years his career essentially stalled out, big time. The only saving grace was the emergence of Toshiki Kawamitsu, who Shigeoka fought this past July, and stopped without too many issues. Ranked by all 4 world title bodies now, we suspect Watanabe Gym will be pushing hard for him to get either a world title crack or a world title eliminator by the end of the year. He won't chase the WBO title, held by stablemate Masataka Taniguchi, but any of the other 3 titles are well within his reach for the year.
1-Zhanibek Alimkanuly (11-0, 7)
Unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, aka "Qazaq Style", looks set to get his first world title fight in 2022 and is a man coming in to the year with a lot of momentum. Unlike many fighters he set his eyes on someone, calling out Demetrius Andrade in late 2019, and then took steps to try and secure a fight with the man he was calling out, winning the WBO "Global" title and defending it, to push his case with the WBO to let him fight for their world title. He not only did what the WBO wanted, but also notched good wins in 2021 over Rob Brant and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. The only real questions going into the new year is whether Andrade, the supposed "most avoided man in boxing" will be defending his title against Alimkhanuly or whether the Kazakh will be fighting for a vacant title, either way it seems almost a given that 2022 will be a huge year for him.
Honourable mentions (yes there's another 22, albeit in no order!):
Sung Min Yuh
Traditionally one of the last things I do for the year is write an open (and often drunk) letter, long term readers will likely be aware of these as they have happened the last few years and new readers...well you'll get a look into my psyche for a few moments.
So...2021... what a shit year. What a completely and utterly shit year. I thought 2020 was bad, but I looked through it with excitement of what 2021 would bring, but I think 2021 broke that hope in many ways. We started the year so well, and had our fight of the Year in January. But then things never really reached those same peaks. Instead it was frustration and disappointment over and over and over again. 2020 sucked, but it looked like a relief compared to what was set to come in 2021.
Whilst a lot of the issues from 2020 re-appeared, such as Covid and the now bastard of Omicron (which was a joy to go through, after having an original strain of Covid in early 2020), there was also the issue of TBS becoming ultra defensive in terms of their copyright (a risk we were always aware of but didn't expect them to kill 3 of our channels on based on the fact THEY could have advertised on those videos rather than acted like a bunch of shithouses), and Isakura dying (maybe 2021 was the year of the Copyright shit). With Isakura dead we were lucky to find YoiTV but it's not the same, and the effort needed to download fights changed from a 10 minute task to a lengthy recording task.
Throyugh much of the summer boxing shut down in Japan to protect the Olympics which, lets be honest, were alright but... well... yeah that were just alright. The IOC, much like TBS, can get fucked. What was the point in running the Olympics when Japan and most the athletes seemingly didn't want to be there? And that's ignoring the BS of it not being on Free TV in the UK (yeah British for those still unaware), Europsport, like TBS and the IOC can get in the fire.
The we had Fuji TV cut their boxing content, more boxing head towards PPV in Japan and of course the end of year cancellations. I think this year, more than any other has left me wondering why the fuck we do this. Usually the love of the sport is key but they year it feels like the sport has decided to drift. Find a new lover, and leave the fans who followed it to chase a richer, more flash man, with cash to burn.
One of the great things, historically, about boxing in Asia is the fact that the fighters fight. Money is secondary. The disputes aren't, typically, about a percentage point or two. But in 2021 money has put it's claws more and more into the sport. Even Boxing Raise has been doing PPV's. We understand boxing needs money to function, but to take that money from fans, at this present moment, seemed a poor decision, and a decision that left a sour taste.
Boxing is based upon the idea of fans seeing their hero's fight and being bitten by the boxing bug. Fighter upon fighter can name their hero that inspired them. It's a shame when those stars of today are hidden away behind a paywall. A paywall that just a year earlier didn't exist. A paywall that froze millions of viewers out. A paywall that further took from fans.
I know some will look at the West and will defend the likes of DAZN, and that's great for you. Defend what you want. I'm staunchly anti-PPV, and barely even happy to pay "blind" subscription for boxing, show me what's coming up next month, believe in your product and let me decide month by month if your service is worth it. But the reality is when PPV comes into the sport loses fan base, it loses interest and it shoots it's self in the foot. Something it has been doing globally for too long.
Away from the cost of following the sport, the fact Ancajas and Golovkin were unable to fight in December in Japan further stung and further seemed like a kick in the knee, a knee that already felt bruised,
Motivation has really lacked since March and I hope it returns next year. At the very least the site will continue to report notable results, and major debuts. We will continue to share OPENLY available videos, and we will preview major bouts. The other content will, however, be limited, until a time when I feel comfortable returning to what we used to do.
Rather than ending this on a low however, lets look back over what a year we've had. We had the joy of seeing Josh Warrington give up his title, only to be battered a few months later, we saw Kid Galahad getting KTFO'd by Kiko Martinez (who I think we all love), we saw Hinata Maruta finally put in some performances that showed what he was capable of, Jukiya Iimura's rise was great, Marlon Tapales showed what a nightmare he was in battering Teshigawara, Kenichi Ogawa put together an amazing performance, Oleksandr Usyk showed what he could do at Heavyweight, Gonzalez Vs Estrada II was amazing, we had so many amazing upsets, and, of course, we saw Kuga Vs Furuhashi (and their rematch is set for January!).
We had some great fights. We had some great moments. We had some amazing in ring action. Fingers crossed for more of that in 2022, and less of this frustrating bullshit that has made following the sport such a pain in the arse this year. Hopefully promoters realise they need fans onside and making boxing cost such an obscene amount to follow isn't a good idea. Throw some crumbs towards fans, keep them interested, as boxing is the one sport that totally takes the piss out of fans. If they can keep folk onside, then 2022 has the potential to be a great year... That is, however, a huge IF!.
P.S. Not usually this...frustrated!
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr.
January 29 - The WBA removes Manny Pacquiao’s super champion status and names him champion in recess. Pacquiao was unable to defend since winning the title in July 2019.
February 20- Vic Saludar WSD12 Robert Paradero,wins vacant WBA regular world minimumweight title, Biñan City, Laguna, Philippines.
February 27 - Rene Mark Cuarto WUD12 Pedro Taduran ,wins IBF minimumweight world title, Bula Gym, Gen. Santos City,Philippines.
March 19- Nesthy Petecio (Women's featherweight) and Carlo Paalam (Men's flyweight) qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games by virtue of their high standings in their respective weight categories in the Olympic qualifying rankings. They joined Eumir Marcial (Men's middleweight) and Irish Magno (Women's flyweight) who qualified via the 2020 Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
April 3 – Former four division world champion Donnie Nietes returns after being away for two years and three months and beats Pablo Carrillo (Colombia) by unanimous decision in Dubai,UAE for the vacant WBO International junior bantamweight title.
April 10 – Jerwin Ancajas WUD12 Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (Mexico), retains IBF junior bantamweight world title, Mohegan Sun Casino,Uncasville, Connecticut,USA
April 25 - Former Philippine amateur boxing team member Genebert Basadre died age 37. He won the lightweight gold in the 2005 SEA Games and bronze in the 2006 Asian Games.
April 26 - Television boxing commentator Mike Ochosa died from a heart attack at 55.
May 22- Manny Pacquiao announced on social media that he will be fighting WBC/IBF world welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on August 21 in Las Vegas.
May 28 - Middleweight Eumir Marcial, light flyweight Mark Lester Durens, bantamweight Junmilardo Ogayre and female light flyweight Josie Gabuco falter in the semi-finals ; Team Philippines wraps up its campaign with four bronze medals in the ASBC Asian Elite boxing championships in Dubai,UAE.
May 29 - Nonito Donaire KO4 Nordine Oubaali (France),wins WBC bantamweight world title,Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson,California,USA. The 38 year old Donaire made history as the oldest bantamweight world titleholder.
June 26 - Paradigm Sports Management's Audie Attar files a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Manny Pacquiao in Orange County civil court, claiming breach of contract when he agreed to fight Errol Spence instead of Mikey Garcia. The lawsuit sought for an injunction against the Spence fight.
June 26 –The all-Filipino superfight between WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and WBO champion John Riel Casimero gets cancelled.
August 6 - Judge Walter P. Schwarm of the California Superior Court for Orange County issues a preliminary ruling denying the motion for the injunction against the Pacquiao-Spence fight.
August 7 – Philippine amateur boxing team wraps up Tokyo Olympics campaign with two silvers from Nesthy Petecio (women’s featherweight) and Carlo Paalam (men’s flyweight) and one bronze from Eumir Marcial (men’s middleweight).
August 10 - Errol Spence, Jr. withdraws from his fight against Manny Pacquiao due to a retinal tear in his left eye and WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas of Cuba was named as replacement.
August 14 - John Riel Casimero WSD12 Guillermo Rigondeaux (Cuba), retains WBO bantamweight world title,Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson,California,USA.
August 21 - Manny Pacquiao L UD12 Yordenis Ugas (Cuba), WBA welterweight (super) world title, T-Mobile Arena,Las Vegas,Nevada,USA.
September 1 - Leopoldo Serantes, light flyweight bronze medalist in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, passed away at 59 due to complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
September 19 – Senator Manny Pacquiao accepts his party's nomination for him to be the standard bearer in the 2022 Presidential elections.
September 21 - The WBC orders an all-Filipino title fight between its bantamweight champion, Nonito Donaire, and its interim titleholder, Reymart Gaballo.
September 29 – Manny Pacquiao retires from boxing.
October 1 - Manny Pacquiao joins the Magnus Carlsen Celebrity Charity Challenge and plays against the 10 year old version of the Norwegian world chess champion on the Play Magnus app.
October 20- Trainer Juanito Ablaca passed away. Ablaca handled former world champions Gerry Penalosa,Joma Gamboa and Marlon Tapales at certain points of their careers.
December 10 - John Riel Casimero pulled out of his mandatory WBO bantamweight title defense in Dubai against Paul Butler (UK) in Dubai due to a reported bout with gastroenteritis.
December 10 - The World Boxing Organization (WBO) orders John Riel Casimero to show cause within the next 10 days to submit a medical certification by the American Hospital in Dubai where he was admitted for medical treatment as well as medical records pertaining to such admittance.
December 11 - Sunny Edwards (UK) WUD12 Jayson Mama,IBF flyweight world title, Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai,UAE
December 11 – Nonito Donaire WKO4 Reymart Gaballo, retains WBC bantamweight world title. Marlon Tapales WTKO2 Hiroaki Teshigawara (Japan) in an eliminator for IBF junior featherweight title,Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
December 14 -Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Thailand) WKO5 Robert Paradero, WBA (super) minimumweight world title, Phuket,Thailand.
December 21- Vic Saludar LSD12 Erick Pacheco Rosa(Dominican Republic), loses WBA (regular) minimumweight world title,Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center, Sto.Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
December 23- The World Boxing Organization (WBO) allows John Riel Casimero to remain as WBO world bantamweight champion with conditions upon review of his medical records.
Special shout out to contenders Jonas Sultan,Marlon Tapales,Mike Plania and Joe Noynay for winning on the road in 2021.
Photo-Top row – left to right – Vic Saludar,Jerwin Ancajas,John Riel Casimero,Manny Pacquiao. Bottom-Left to right – Nonito Donaire, Rene Mark Cuarto, Olympic medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial
For the final Closet Classic of 2021 we've gone to a man well known for his year ending bouts from right through the last decade and this is among his most forgotten, yet one of the bouts that really aged well. In fact looking back on the result now, around 8 years later, this may well go down as one of the best wins by one of the biggest Japanese stars of recent years and a win over a man that has gone on to do a lot in the sport himself. This is a Closet Classic that really ticks every single box that we can possible want a to have. It's action packed, it's exciting, it's between two notable names, it's between to men who were unbeaten and two fighters who went on to do bigger and better things with their career's. Welcome to something well worth watching!
Kazuto Ioka (13-0, 9) vs Felix Alvarado (18-0, 15)
Japanese star Kazuto Ioka is now synonymous with being involved in major bouts to end the year. Between 2011 and 2021 he featured in 9 bouts on New Year's Eve. Some of those were rather forgettable affairs, such as his victory over Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, and his non-title bout with Jean Piero Perez. Others however will live on for decades, such as his victory last year against Kosei Tanaka, and his compelling chess match with Donnie in 2018. Arguably his most ill remembered however came in 2013 when he defended the WBA "regular" Light Flyweight title against Nicaraguan puncher Felix Alvarado.
Before we take a look at Alvarado we really need to understand Ioka. He had won the WBC Minimumweight title in early 2011, he had defended that title twice before unifying with a win over Akira Yaegashi then left the division to move to 108lbs. In his first bout at 108lbs he beat the aforementioned Rodriguez for the vacant "regular" WBA title and defended it twice in 2013 before his end of year bout, his third bout to take place on New Year's Eve. By this point he was 24 years old, 13-0 (9), the new star of Japanese boxing and and had gone 7-0 (5) in world title bouts. He looked set to become the face of Japanese boxing, and he, and his team, knew they needed to find some suitable dance partners after 3 rather easy wins.
In Felix Alvarado we had an unbeaten puncher,with a 18-0 (15) record, also aged 24 and with a real point to prove. Up to this point Alvarado really hadn't been given chances. He had been wiping out opponents early since turning professional in 2010 and few had come close to even testing him. There was a chance that he was just the latest can crusher from Latin American, and we've seen a lot of those over the years, but there was also a chance that he was the next great Nicaraguan talent, and the man to follow Roman Gonzalez into becoming a world champion. Up to this point the only fighter to give him any sort of a test was Arnoldo Solano, who is still active as of 2021 and is currently fighting as a journeyman as high as Light Middleweight! This was his chance to prove he was a legitimate contender, and his chance to prove what he could do. An opportunity to prove that he was something special. Something those who follower the lower weights would see in the years that followed.
From the hype video that TBS showed this had the feel of something special. It had the feeling that Ioka was, for the first time since beating Yaegashi, in an actual test, and not just another easy win over and under-whelming Thai or a stylistically easy opponent. This was a dangerous fight. This was something that had the potential to go wrong if Ioka wasn't on point.
The fight started fast and within seconds the Alvarado was backing Ioka up. It seemed clear that Alvarado wasn't just a can crusher, but was a serious challenger, and he was looking incredibly strong and like a genuinely imposing fighter, in a division not too well known for it's physical fighters. Ioka tried to box, use the ring, and make the most of his faster feet, but Alvarado kept pressing, even taking some huge shots as a result. Although he took some bombs Alvarado never looked phased and instead just kept pressing, forcing Ioka to respond. Despite being the opening round this was not a feeling out round, and was instead a thrilling action round that saw Alvarado pressing through out and forced some brilliant action on the inside.
It was obvious, within just 3 minutes, that we were going to get fireworks to end 2013 and that we were sat watching something just a little bit special.
Whilst the first round was brilliant the action didn't relent in round 2. In fact the second stanza saw both men getting shots off, and saw more action up close. The quality as coming from Ioka, who landed some gorgeous shots on Alvarado, but the Nicaraguan looked like the Terminator shrugging off whatever Ioka landed and marching forward in an attempt to break Ioka's heart. Sadly for Alvarado he had several issues, the most notable of which was his accuracy, which was poor and his inability to avoid counters, which Ioka landed very cleanly and very consistently.
It was obvious that Alvarado's aggression, pressure and strength was hugely impressive, but his work was wild, crude and draining, for both him and Ioka. The incredible tempo to start the fight wasn't going to last forever. Despite that neither man seemed to slow down in round 3, as Alvarado continued his bull like forward march, whilst Ioka willing stood his ground more often and picked counter shots on the inside. It was a change in tactics from the champion, who likely realised being on his bike and boxing for 12 rounds would be incredibly tough, and it was a change that really helped make the fight even more exciting. Interestingly it also seemed like Ioka was standing his ground to make a point. He wasn't afraid of Alvarado's much vaunted power. He also managed to leave Alvarado with a badly swollen eye that needed a doctor to look over it before being allowed out for round 4.
Despite his face swelling, and almost fighting with just one eye, no one was going to stop Alvarado from making this into a war and in round 4 we ended up with a thrilling 3 minutes of inside action, with both men holding their feet and letting shots fly. Again it was Ioka's shots that landed clean, and seemed the more damaging, but Alvarado's tempo and work rate was incredible, even if he was stilling missing more than he was landing. The round flew by and it really was none stop action with Alvarado throwing so many power shots and showing absolutely no regard for the fact his eye was almost shut.
Ioka got back on his toes early in round 5, likely realising that Alvarado had a lot more in the tank than anyone could have expected, especially given the punishing shots he had taken and the huge number of shots he had missed with. By the end of the round however Ioka had decided to again work up close, and try to further damage the face of the challenger in an attempt to get his respect.Respect that Alvarado was simply not going to give, no matter how many big head shots he took.
As the rounds wore on Ioka and his team must have been wondering what Alvarado was made out of. He had taken bombs, he had eaten head shots, and body shots and kept coming forward. There was no quit in the guy who fought like a man who simply didn't feel pain. Thankfully Alvarado's toughness saw fans get another action packed round in the sixth as Ioka stood his ground, and the two let their hands go on the inside. One again Ioka's faster, crisper, more accurate shots caught the eye, but Alvarado took them and threw back. Alvarado was even caught by a bomb of a left hook, that would have finished off many in the division, and ate it like it was nothing.
Round 7 was another where Ioka got on his toes, boxed more, but still landed the better shots as we again saw Alvarado walking through some massive counter shots.
By round 8 it was clear Ioka was in a very comfortable lead, but Alvarado was simply not going away. He was going to be in this until he either turned things around, which was possible given his brutish power, or until the doctor stopped him due to the eye, or until the final bell. We'll leave you here, to enjoy the full fight without ruining the outcome too much more, but this is really a cracking fight that showed two styles that gelled really well and some amazing toughness and bravery from a man who looked, much of the fight, like he was out of his league but had absolutely no quit in him.
Although not the most competitive fight, this is an incredibly entertaining contest and one that shows just how much fun the Light Flyweight division has been over the last decade or so. If you've not seen this give it a watch, especially no we're about to end 2021!
(Note - Fight begins around 15:00 in to the video)
When we look at the history of boxing we see a number of fighters pencilled in to be stars, but never reach the heights expected of them. They tend to be stand out amateurs, tipped for the top due to their showcases performances in the unpaid ranks, which suggest they are stars in the making. Then we also get the fighters that had no buzz, battle hard to get to the top and don't ever seem to get the respect for their hardwork, despite seriously deserving it. Today have one such bout as we dip our arm deep into the Closet to bring you another Closet Classic.
Hideki Todaka (15-2-1, 7) vs Akihiko Nago (15-0, 11)
This bout really was seen as something a battle between obscure Japanese champion and an elite tier prospect. It was a man few believed could ever become a champion and someone who seemed groomed for the highest stages in the sport.
Hideki Todaka was never regarded as a special fighter by anyone other than Mack Kurihara, who had spotted something in Todaka very early in his career. He was essentially just another guy. He worked hard in the ring, had something about him, but nothing that suggested world champion. In fact technically he was very basic, easy to hit, but was tough, gritty, determined and had a fantastic will to win. He knew hot to dig deep, and encouraged by a strong, but very local, fan base in Aichi he had become a world champion. He had done so by dethroning Jesus Rojas in 1999, winning a hotly contested decision in a second bout between the two men. It was a genuine upset and a real surprise to most fans in Japan, who saw Todaka as more of a local boxer in Central Japan than a top level fighter capable of beating the best. It was, however a win that helped set up an interestingly all Japanese bout with Akihiko Nago.
Outside of Japan Akihiko Nago's name will not ring any bells. Even in Japan a modern day fan is unlikely to be too familiar with him, though in the late 1990's he was seen as an elite prospect with the ability to be moved quickly, and to be a star. He was 23 years old at this point in his career, being guided by Yoko Gushiken, and the next big thing from Japan. As an amateur he had gone 48-6 (27), he had won two major national titles, turned professional young and was moved quickly, winning a Japanese title in just his 11th bout. He had also defended the national title against former world champion Keiji Yamaguchi and many had anticipated his career to be one of the best in Japan for the 00's. He had power, skills, speed, amateur pedigree, a strong backing and he was building up a good following in Tokyo, the powerhouse of the Japanese boxing scene.
Notably for this bout Nago was essentially in his boxing home, in Tokyo. He had been a regular in Tokyo, fighting at Korakuen Hall on numerous occasions. For Todaka however this was his first bout in the capital, and he had regularly been fighting in Aichi. This was also his first defense. In the eyes of many it was going to be his final defense, and he was going to be handing the title over to the ordained star of the future. We were going to see a star being born.
Straight from the off the natural, well polished boxing skills of Nago were on show as he glided around the ring and looked to set control the distance behind his footwork and southpaw jab. Todaka, who wanted to get inside and get to work was being blunted and was unable to close the distance. Nago wasn't landing much himself through the first round but was frustrating the champion, making him look clumsy and landed some very clean jabs whilst also landing a good left hand late in the round. Todaka tried to close the distance, and had the odd success, but this was not the type of fight he wanted, and he was unable to get combinations off.
Round 2 was somewhat similar, but it seemed like Todaka was getting closer, his pressure paying off just a little bit more, and Nago's seemed to be needing to hold and spoil more to neutralise the forward march of the champion. By the end of round 2 it was clear that Nago really wasn't wanting to engage in Todaka's fight and was instead looking to frustrate the champion as much as possible.
Nago's tactics weren't fan friendly, but they were working. He was taking the steam from Todaka, making the champion take risks and forcing rests frequently. It wasn't fan friendly, but it was working and seemed to be a very clear gameplan from the challenger. Make the champion look bad, tire him out, and land the cleaner shots, taking control later on.
After having had Nago hold and spoil through much of the first 3 rounds Todaka seemed to change tact in round 4. Rather than letting Nago blunt his attack straight away, he was going to let his hands go more, raise the tempo, and let combinations go. He was going to fight, regardless of Nago's tactics, and he was going to win the rounds, or force a fighting response from Nago, this was seen throughout round 4, as Nago took shots before managing to tie up the champion. It was messy and at times frustrating to watch but the style of fight was changing, and Armando Garcia seemed to getting fed up with Nago's holding, allowing Todaka to fire off in the clinch more often.
Round 4 was the first round that seemed exciting, but it was then followed by another fun round as Todaka's determination to make a fight of things shone through again, and Nago had to respond. He had never faced someone so willing to barrel forward like Todaka, who just kept coming forward. Nago landed some solid shots of his own, but by now it seemed clear he had to move through the gears otherwise Todaka was simply going to break him down. As a result we saw the two men trading shots early in round 6 as the pace again slowly crept up, and the crowd started to sense that something special could break out at any moment. It was clear that Todaka had less respect for Nago by the round, and that Nago had to do more, much more, to take the title away.
Through round 7 we saw touches of brilliance from Nago, glimpses of the talent that he in his arsenal. The tools that saw so many fawning over him. Sadly though they were little more than glimpses, with Todaka able to make things ugly, bullying Nago later in the round before being shaken himself in the final seconds. Todaka continued the rough stuff in round 8 and finally seemed to drag the best from Nago in a round that finally caught fire in the way we had hoped to see much earlier on. From here on the bout took on a new identity as it became more and more a fight, with both men looking to do what was needed to have their arm raised come the final bell. Both managed to land some clean head shots and both seemed to realise they needed to do more. This lead us to some amazing action in the championship rounds.
We'll leave the bout here for you to enjoy with some suspense and without ruining the result.
Although not a true war, especially not given how the bout started, it was a great example of will vs skill. Nago's boxing ability was on a different level to Todaka's but his gameplan was not a fan friendly one, and he was unable to stop Todaka from forcing his style on the fight. It's a fight with an amazing atmosphere, a genuine tension through the bout, and a feeling that we were always on the edge of something big breaking out. It was a strange one in many ways and seemed to show Nago's inexperience in tough fights but also the ability he could box at.
This isn't tidy, it's not beautiful, but in many ways it's the perfect example of a fighting blunting a defensive strategy through bloodymindedness, and forcing a negative fighter to fight more aggressively. When that happened the bout really did pick up
Note - At the time of writing Boxrec are missing a win off Nago's record, he was 15-0 (11) coming in to this bout, not 14-0 (10) as Boxrec have incorrectly listed him.
By Eric Armit
- Nonito Donaire knocks out fellow-Filipino Reymart Gaballo in four rounds in WBC bantam title defence
-Dmitry Bivol outclasses Umar Salamov in WBA light heavyweight title defence
-Sunny Edwards outboxes Filipino Jayson Mama to retain the IBF flyweight title
-Donnie Nietes gets split decision over Norberto Jimenez at super flyweight
-Conor Benn kayos Chris Algieri in four rounds
-Katie Taylor successfully defends her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO lightweight title belts with points decision over Firuza Sharipova
Kosei Tanaka, Tomoki Kameda, Robbie Davies, Marlon Tapales, Brandun Lee, Jared Anderson, Xander Zayas and Keyshawn Davis score wins.
World Title/Major Shows
Carson, CA, USA: Bantam: Nonito Donaire (42-6) W KO 4 Reymart Gaballo (24-1). Super Bantam: Marlon Tapales (35-3) W KO 2 Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-3-2). Super Light: Brandun Lee (24-0) W KO 7 Juan Heraldez (16-2-1). Welter: Cody Crowley (20-0) W PTS 10 Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (18-1). Cruiser: Andrew Tabiti (18-1) W KO 5 Mitch Williams (16-9-3). Welter: Custio Clayton (19-0-1 W PTS 10 Cameron Krael (18-20-3). Welter: Bryan Flores (31-2-1 W KO 1 Tyrone Luckey (15-16-4)
Donaire vs. Gaballo
Donaire shows the value of experience as he patiently hunts down the much quicker Gaballo and finishes the fight with a classic left hook to the body.
Donaire took the fight to Gaballo coming forward behind a strong jab. Gaballo tried to counter but Donaire showed a tight defence. Donaire rocked Gaballo with a right to the head and finished the round getting through with a couple of head shots.
Score: 10-9 Donaire
Good round from Gaballo. He used his greater mobility to change angles and stabbed home jabs and then evaded Donaire’s counters. When Donaire managed to get Gaballo against the ropes and connected with a hard right to the head Gaballo banged back with two hard rights.
Score: 10-9 Gaballo TIED 19-19
An entertaining round. Both fighters had success when they traded punches. Donaire was still coming forward but Gaballo was spearing him with jabs. Donaire found the target with a series of punches and looked to have shaken Gaballo with a right just before the bell.`
Score: 10-9 Donaire Donaire 29-28
Donaire was stalking Gaballo trying to connect with right crosses. Gaballo was firing jabs but was generally out of range. Donaire landed a couple of good shots and then buried a left hook into the body of Gaballo. He went down on one knee then got up as the count reached eight but was in considerable pain and dropped straight back down and the referee completed the count. The 39-year-old 4-division champion was making the first defence of the WBC title. He won his first title back in 2007 and is 16-4 in title fights. A modern great. Gaballo, 25, showed enough to make it clear that he will be a force in this division and could fight for a title again in 2022.
Tapales vs. Teshigawara
Tapales crushes Teshigawara in two rounds. Teshigawara tried to box his way through the first round but southpaw Tapales gave him a taste of things to come and connected with two strong right hooks. He later took Teshigawara to the ropes and bombarded him with hooks and uppercuts with Teshigawara dropping back into the ropes. The referee decided the ropes had held Teshigawara up and administered a count. When the action resumed Tapales again landed a succession of punches from both hands dumping Teshigawara down heavily on the canvas against the ropes with less than ten seconds left in the round. Teshigawara clawed his way up but was staggering along the ropes during the count and the fight should have been stopped. When the eighth count was completed the round had ended during the count so Tapales had no time to land another punch. Tapales landed a right hook just six seconds into the second round and as Teshigawara went down the referee waived the finish. Former WBO bantam title holder Tapales move into the mandatory challenger slot for Murodjon Akhmadaliev’s IBF version of the super bantam title although on the same night Tomoki Kameda won an eliminator for Akhmadaliev’ s WBA version. Once Tapales began to connect Teshigawara was on borrowed time-and not much of that.
Lee vs. Heraldez
Lee makes it fifteen inside the distance wins in a row but has to go past the fourth round for the first time. Heraldez was firing jabs from the off trying to keep Lee from landing anything of note. However Lee did connect with a hard right. Heraldez boxed behind a tight defence but Lee was getting through with some useful shots and rocked Heraldez with left in the third. Lee was constantly scoring with five/six punch combinations . He had Heraldez hurt again with a right in the fourth but Heraldez was doing enough good work to stay in the fight. Lee kept up the pressure in the fifth and by the sixth Heraldez was beginning to tire from the effect of the body shots. Lee finished the job in the seventh driving a straight right to the chin of Heraldez sending him down and he was counted out. Only two of Lee’s 24 victims have gone the distance and those fights were both just four rounds. He has great power and needs tougher opposition to be tested as his 24 wins have taken him less than 50 rounds to complete. Heraldez had drawn with former IBF super featherweight champion Argenis Mendez in 2019 but was halted in three rounds by Regis Prograis in October 2020.
Crowley vs. Abdukakhorov
Canadian southpaw Crowley gets knocked down in the second but then outworks and outscores Abdukakhorov. The opener was a close round with Crowley forcing the action. As he came forward in the second a left from Abdukakhorov put him down. He recovered to score well with left crosses in the third but Abdukakhorov scored some good punches inside in the fourth. A punch from Crowley in the fifth had blood trickling from Abdukakhorov’s left ear and the Canadian took that round and the sixth. The seventh was edged by Crowley but Abdukakhorov closed out the eighth with a series of hard hooks. From there Abdukakhorov seemed to tire and Crawley swept the ninth and tenth. The judges all had Crowley winning but the scores were varied at 98-91, 97-94 and 95-94 for Crowley. Huge win for Crowley as Abdukakhorov was rated No 1 by the IBF. Abdukakhorov had scored wins over Keita Obara and Luis Collazo but was well beaten here.
Tabiti vs. Williams
Tabiti returns to action with a win. Action is probably not the right word as this was a dire spectacle. Both fighters seemed to be more interested in stopping the other guy from fighting so there was too much clinching. Both committed fouls in the first round. Tabiti struck Williams after the call to break and Williams promptly did the same knocking Tabiti down. Tabiti was not hurt and both boxers were given a warning. There was very little action in the second and third and Williams landed another punch after the break call in the fourth and was deducted a point. Thankfully it ended in the fifth with Tabiti firing a volley of punches and flooring Williams. It looks as though Williams just beat the count but the referee waived the fight over despite protests from Williams. This was Tabiti’s first fight since losing on a tenth round kayo against Yuniel Dorticos for the IBF title in June 2019 a bout which was a semi-final in the WBSS tournament. Williams drops to 1-5 in his most recent nights.
Clayton vs. Krael
Canadian Clayton gets back into action with a win. In his first fight since drawing with Sergey Lipinets in October 2020 in a fight for the IBF interim title. Clayton won on scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 96-94. Five losses in succession for Krael.
New York, NY, USA: Light: Vasyl Lomachenko (16-2) W PTS 12 Richard Commey (30-4). Heavy: Jared Anderson (11-0) W TKO 2 Oleksandr Teslenko (17-2). Super Light: John Bauza (16-0) W KO 4 Michael Williams (19-1). Super Welter: Xander Zayas (12-0) W TKO 1 Alessio Mastronunzio (9-2). Light Heavy: Joe Ward (6-1) W TKO 1 Britton Norwood (10-4-1,1ND). Super Light: Keyshawn Davis (4-0) W TKO 2 Jose Zaragoza (8-4-1).
Lomachenko vs. Commey
Lomachenko turns in a towering performance as he floors and outboxes Commey with a remarkable display of boxing skills.
Lots of careful probing at the start and really not much happened in the round. Commey was a little more active but Lomachenko was a little more accurate and that was enough to take a cautious opening round.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko
The old Lomachenko was back in this round. He was fast, constantly changing angles, bobbing and weaving around Commey’s punches and then banging home his own. He staggered Commey with a couple of lefts just before he bell.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 20-18
Commey was warned twice in the space of five seconds for holding. He knew he needed Lomachenko in close where his greater mobility could be smothered. Lomachenko was buzzing around Commey firing rapid shots from both hands and he landed a peach of a left hook with Commey reduced to throwing wild punches.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko30-27
Another brilliant round for Lomachenko. Commey was throwing single shots whereas Lomachenko was firing his in clusters. There were too many punches and they were coming too quick for Commey to block or counter but Commey did land a few body punches in the middle of the round.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 40-36
Commey adopted a side-on approach in this round and by leaning over to his right presenting Lomachenko with a limited target. For a short while Lomachenko studied the best way to counter this and Commey was able to march forward and land some meaty body paunches. Lomachenko quickly adjusted and had Commey under fire again for the rest of the round.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 50-45
Commey managed to pin Lomachenko in a corner briefly and landed some good body shots. Lomachenko then spun around and now it was Commey in the corner and Lomachenko showered him with straight rights, hooks and uppercuts. Commey worked his way out of the corner but his stance was square-on again and Lomachenko threaded punches through Commey’s guard
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 60-54
Commey started the round with a strong attack but then Lomachenko landed two left hooks which staggered Commey. Lomachenko then forced Commey to the ropes and landed a left hook dropping Commey. He was up at five but looked dazed. Lomachenko glanced at Commey’s corner inviting them to stop the fight but got no response. In his next attack a right unhinged Commey’s knees but he stayed upright and this time Lomachenko was gesturing to the referee to stop the fight. That did not happen and Lomachenko drove Commey into a corner and pounded away with the referee watching very closely but a gutsy Commey, although again near to going down, punched back enough for the referee to let him continue to the bell and he also passed a doctor’s examination.
Score: 10-8 Lomachenko Lomachenko 70-63
A good recovery by Commey. He was firing jabs and long shots to the body and having some success. Lomachenko hardly threw a punch in the first half of the round and Commey continued to get through with jabs and came out equal when they traded punches.
Score:10-9 Commey Lomachenko 79-73
Lomachenko picked up the pace in this round. Commey was able to score with long jabs but he lacked accuracy. Lomachenko cut loose with a barrage of punches driving home two hard uppercuts and landing shots to head and body
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 89-82
Another master class. Lomachenko was constantly shifting angles firing rapid burst of punches to head and body. Commey was blocking some and Lomachenko wasn’t loading up of them but they were getting through. Commey landed a pair of rights but a left to the head rocked Commey at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 99-91
Brilliant boxing by Lomachenko. He was circling Commey constantly changing direction then darting inside whipping bursts of punches home. Commey never knew which angle Lomachenko was coming in from or going out so he did not know where to block or where to counter and Lomachenko gave a little skip after banging home seventh punches in one burst. They traded shots at the end and this time Commey managed to land some hard shots.
Score: 10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 109-100
Commey tried to stage a strong finish but once again he was being battered by punches from every angle and at times looked baffled and befuddled. He kept trying to come forward but just before the bell a series of Lomachenko punches sent him staggering into the ropes and it looked as though it might end then but Commey stayed upright.
Score:10-9 Lomachenko Lomachenko 119-109
Official Scores: Judge Eric Marlinski 119-108 Lomachenko, Judge Tony Paolillo 117-110 , Judge Tom Schreck 119-108
The Ukrainian star was back to his best. A long way from the passive fighter who gave away the first six rounds against Teo Lopez. He was more like the Lomachenko of old and ready to be a big player and get into some massive fights. Former IBF champion Commey was outclassed but stuck to his task and he can still be a good test for any lightweight-except Lomachenko.
Anderson vs. Teslenko
Anderson dismantles Teslenko in two rounds. Anderson started the opening round fighting as a southpaw and immediately found gaps for his jab. He put Teslenko under pressure after shaking him with a right Teslenko tested Anderson’s chin with a couple of shots but all of the pressure was coming from Anderson. In the second Anderson turned orthodox and hunted the retreating Teslenko around the ring and connected with right that sent Teslenko down. He struggled to his feet but was on wobbly legs and the referee stopped the fight. The 22-year-old from Toledo has taken less than 24 rounds for his eleven inside the distance wins with his last two victims, Vladimir Tereshkin and Teslenko, having combined records of 39-1-1. Ukrainian-born Teslenko had been stopped in five rounds by Shawndell Williams in 2019 but was coming off a win.
Bauza vs. Williams
Puerto Rican southpaw Bauza annihilates Williams in four rounds. Despite conceding 5” in height some powerful shots from both hands from Bauza saw Williams go down once each in rounds one, two and three. The knockdown scores was doubled in the fourth as Bauza put Williams down twice before flattening him with a big right that saw the referee just waive the fight over. Impressive punching power by the 23-year-old who has seven wins by KO/TKO. Williams seemed to go over every time he was hit cleanly and he had built his record in the boxing backwoods of Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Zayas vs. Mastronunzio
Zayas out classes Italian Mastronunzio and bombs him out in the first round. Zayas started fast and dropped Mastronunzio with an overhand right less than fifteen seconds into the round. Mastronunzio was up quickly and did not look too badly shaken. He tried to come forward but Zayas’ hand speed was too much for him and he was put down by another right. He made it to his feet but was shaken time and again by electrifying combinations from Zayas and as yet another bunch of punches drove him reeling into the ropes the fight was stopped. Zayas again showed outstanding hand speed, power and accuracy and gets his ninth win by KO/TKO. Mastronunzio was just overwhelmed by the flashing fists of Zayas.
Ward vs. Norwood
Irish southpaw Ward stops Norwood in 95 seconds. Ward floored Norwood with a left early in the round and although Norwood beat the count he was shipping heavy punishment when the referee intervened to end the slaughter. One of the most decorated Irish amateur boxers Ward makes it six wins in twelve months. Second loss by KO/TKO for Norwood.
Davis vs. Zaragoza
Impressive power show from Davis as he wipes out Zaragoza in the second round. A stunning right hook to the chin had Zaragoza pitching forward and down. He made it to the vertical but then Davis again landed a right to the head before delivering the coup de grace in the shape of a rib bending left hook to the body that had Zaragoza writhing in agony on the canvas. Davis, 22, an Olympic silver medal winner in Tokyo looks a sure bet to be a champion in the future., Zaragoza never in with a chance of going the distance
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Light Heavy: Dmitry Bivol (19-0) W PTS 12 Umar Salamov (26-2). Super Feather: Ruslan Kamilov (12-0-1) W KO 6 Dimitrii Khasiev (12-3-2). Super Feather: Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (16-0-1) W TKO 2 Sardor Muzaffarov (4-5).
Bivol vs. Salamov
Both boxers used the opening round just to study what the other one brought to the table. The obvious difference was in Salamov having almost 4” in height over Bivol and a longer reach but Bivol was much quicker and more mobile and did what little scoring there was.
Score: 10-9 Bivol
Bivol was using his superior hand speed and quicker reflexes to stand in front of Salamov beating him to the punch and firing accurate lefts and rights. Salamov’s jab is not much of a weapon. Instead of snapping it out from bent to straight he was fully extending it and then pushing forward with his whole body making it slower and less powerful than Bivol’s.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 20-18
Salamov tried to put Bivol under pressure but it was not working. Bivol was easily avoiding Salamov’s ponderous rights and finding gaps for jabs and rights of his own and putting together some smart combinations.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 30-27
Bivol was in charge now. He was busier than Salamov probing for openings then slotting home jabs and quick rights. He was throwing so many jabs that Salamov was being forced to back up to try to get some space so he could counter. He looked dangerous with an occasional right but Bivol was aware of Salamov’s power and evaded those shots.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 40-36
Another round for Bivol. He just kept popping Salamov with jabs. He was changing angles and picking the time and place for adding some rights behind his jabs. Salamov has very little footwork . He was padding forward with his left fully extended trying to set Bivol up for a right cross but Bivol was too smart to get caught that way.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 50-45
Bivol was really warming to his task. In this round on three occasions he blasted Salamov with six or seven punch combinations. Each time Salamov dropped his hands and taunted Bivol but you don’t win points for that. Salamov did land a couple of rights but Bivol just shrugged them off.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 60-54
Bivol boxed on the back foot at the start of the round walking the advancing Salamov on to jab after jab. Over the last minute Bivol stepped up the pace driving into Salamov and showering him with lefts and rights to head and body.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 70-63
Salamov had some small success early in this round. Bivol was not throwing so many jabs and Salamov managed to land a couple of rights. Over the last minute once again Bivol was raking Salamov with straight shots, hooks and uppercuts although the punches were just bouncing off the big challenger.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 80-72
A similar pattern to the last round saw Salamov coming forward pushing out his left and connecting with a couple of rights. Bivol was content to just box on the retreat and slip home some jabs. Over the last minute Bivol again exploded with effective eye-catching bursts of punches.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 90-81
Finally a round for Salamov. Bivol hardly used his jab and that allowed Salamov to march forward throwing clubbing rights a few of those did land and with no late flourish from Bivol it was Salamov’s round.
Score: 10-9 Salamov Bivol 99-91
Bivol brought his jabs into play again. He was circling Salamov snapping out his jab with Salamov resorting to slow swings with his right which Bivol easily avoided. Bivol also picked up the pace again late drilling Salamov with lefts and rights.
Score: 10-9 Bivol Bivol 109-100
Salamov clipped Bivol with a right to the head early in the round and Bivol decided there was no point taking risks in a fight he knew he had won. He then really just stayed out of trouble and although Salamov connected with a couple of swings Bivol was never in any danger.
Score: 10-9 Salamov Bivol 118-110
Official Scores: Judge Andri Baliasov 118-110 Bivol, Judge Joerg Milke 118-110 Bivol, Judge Giuseppe Quartarone 119-109 Bivol
Bivol was making the third defence of the WBA title. He really needs a unification fight to raise his profile further and with their contrasting styles a fight with Artur Beterbiev would be a great attraction. Salamov had won his last nine fights.
Kamilov vs. Khasiev
Kamilov retains the WBO Inter-Continental title with sixth round victory over Khasiev. Kamilov floored Khasiev in the first but Khasiev was not finished and fought hard to make the fight close after five rounds. Kamilov, the WBO No 8, ended it with a body punch in the sixth in the third defence of his WBO belt. Khasiev had scoured inside the distance victories in his last four fights,
Rakhimov vs. Muzaffarov
Tajik-born southpaw Rakhimov crushes substitute Muzaffarov in two rounds. Rakhimov had drawn with Joseph Diaz in a challenge for the IBF super featherweight title in February when Diaz lost the title on the scales. Rakhimov was installed as the mandatory challenger and he was paired with Kenichi Ogawa for the vacant title but uncertainty over recovery time from an injury saw him step aside and be replaced by Azinga Fuzile. Ogawa beat Fuzile and must now fight Rakhimov. Uzbek Muzaffarov had lost his last three fights on majority decisions
Dubai, UAE: Fly: Sunny Edwards (17-0) W PTS 12 Jayson Mama (16-0). Super Fly: Donnie Nietes (43-1-6) DREW 10 Norberto Jimenez (30-9-6). Light: Jono Carroll (21-2-1) W KO 2 Aelio Mesquita (20-5-1). Heavy: Bakhodir Jalolov (9-0) W KO 1 Julio Calimeno (4-2).
Edwards vs. Mama
Edwards cruises to victory over a limited Mama.
Fast jabs and nifty footwork from Edwards. He was flitting around Mama stabbing him with jabs then darting in to land a right. He was switching guards and was just too quick for Maya.
Score 10-9 Edwards
Edwards was again switching guards and doing the scoring with his jab, He was also moving in quickly to score with overhand rights with Mama too slow to counter, Mama was warned twice for punches to the back of the head and then landed another blatant one which the referee ignored. Edwards was holding inside to smother Mama’s attacks and was cut high on his forehead from a clash of heads.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 20-18
Mama was given another warning about punches to the back of the head. The Filipino did a bit better connecting with some punches early but Edwards finished the round strongly scoring with bursts of punches. The fight was messy with too many clinches and there was blood running down Edwards face from the cut.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 30-27
A better round for Mama. He was closing the distance quicker and connecting with straight rights. He pressed hard and Edwards was moving more and punching less and Mama refused to be drawn inside where Edwards had been holding to prevent him working.
Score: 10-9 Mama Edwards 39-37
A close round. Mama again had some success but Edwards was moving and jabbing and then picking his moment to burst forward with a little group of punches and his greater accuracy just gave him the edge.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 49-46
Edwards was just too speedy for Mama. He was changing guard, changing direction and catching Mama with jabs and using quick foot work to be out of range when Mama tried to counter. Mama kept lunging forward but Edwards was too elusive for Mama to land.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 59-55
A frustrating round for Mama. He was stuck on the end of the jabs from Edwards. Mama seemed to have decided he would do better counter punching but he was not fast enough for that and his counters just swished air as Edwards piled up the points with his jab.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 69-64
Mama had a bit more success in this one. He was tracking the fleet-footed Edwards and managing to land some useful body shots. Edwards was doing more moving than punching early in the round and that outweighed an increase use of his jab by Edwards at the end of the round.
Score: 10-9 Mama Edwards 78-74
It was jab and move again, and then again from Edwards in this one. He would stop then jump in quickly with a punch then set off around the perimeter of the ring. Mama just could not move quickly enough to pose a threat but it was making for a far from entertaining g fight.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 88-83
Edwards scored a knock down in this round. He stepped past Mama and then landed a right which knocked Mama off balance. He was not hurt and bounced up indicating the punch had landed well behind his ear so he had a case. There was very little action in the round with a right from Edwards the only other punch of note.
Score: 10-8 Edwards Edwards 98-91
Repetition is the order of the day. Edwards just kept flitting around the ring occasionally stabbing out a jab-right or left- and then throwing an occasional power punch. He did stand and fire punches for a few brief seconds
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 108 100
Edwards wrapped up the victory with a fairly active last round as he found the target a few times with jabs and following rights and a dispirited Mama was well beaten at the end.
Score: 10-9 Edwards Edwards 118-109
Official Scores: Judge Vincent Dupas 117-110 Edwards, Judge Francis Jackson 118-109 Edwards, Judge Matteo Montella 118-109 Edwards.
A comfortable title defence for Edwards as he showcased his skills against a challenger who was flattered by his No 3(2) rating by the IBF. He never at any time posed a threat to Edwards and his lack of speed allowed Edwards to pick his moment to fight or flee. With so many clinches it was not be any means an entertaining fight and the flyweight division whilst having some good title holders is not strong. Richie Sandoval is the mandatory challenger for Edwards and that will be different fight altogether. Mama was one-paced and that pace was too slow for him to be able to cut off the ring and force Edwards to fight the fight Mama wanted.
Nietes vs. Jimenez
Nietes and Jimenez fight to a draw in a bout marred by confusion at the end. Nietes won the early rounds as he outboxed Jimenez who was sluggish from the start. At times it looked as though Nietes might be on his way to a stoppage win but Jimenez was too resilient for that. Jimenez finally started to roll from the sixth and was eating into the Filipino’s lead. It looked close going into the tenth but Jimenez spent the tenth just avoiding contact and handing the round to Nietes. There was confusion as Jimenez’s team had believed it was a ten round fight but were now told it was for twelve rounds. It was agreed just to go with ten rounds and the scores were 96-94 Nietes, 96-94 Jimenez and 95-95 so giving away that last round away cost Jimenez a possible win. Nietes, 39, has a remarkable record with his only loss being a highly questionable one back in 2004 so he is now unbeaten in 36 fights over a 17-year spread and is a four-division champion. Jimenez is also in good form having lost only one of his last 32 fights and that loss was against Khalid Yafai for the WBA title.
Carroll vs. Mesquita
Easy night for Carroll against a pitiful Mesquita. Carroll put Mesquita down early in the first round but the referee ruled it a push. At the end of the round the referee reviewed his call and it was accepted as a genuine knockdown. Carroll scored two more knockdowns in the second and when he dropped Mesquita in the third the fight was stopped. Carroll lost a wide unanimous decision to Tevin Farmer for the IBF super feather title in March 2019 and lost a close verdict against Maxi Hughes in August last year. He has rebuilt with three wins including a majority decision over Andy Vences. Mesquita’s record looks decent but he is now 0-6-1 in fights outside of Brazil with five of those losses by KO/TKO.
Jalolov vs. Calimeno
After some preliminary sparring Jalolov connected with a straight left the floored Calimeno who showed no inclination to get up and was counted out. The 27-year-old 6’7” Uzbek southpaw won gold at the 2019 World Championships and at the Tokyo Olympics. His nine win have taken him less than sixteen rounds but against some very dire opponents. Colombian Calimeno could not wait to lie down and get out of there.
Liverpool, England: Light: Katie Taylor (20-0) W PTS 10 Firuza Sharipova (14-2). Welter: Connor Benn (20-0) W KO 4 Chris Algieri (25-4). Super Light: Robbie Davies (22-3) W KO 2 Henry Lundy (31-10-1). Super Feather: Joe Cordina (14-0) W PTS 10 Miko Khatchatryan (13-1). Middle: Caolmhin Agyarko (10-0) W TKO 9 Noe Larios (14-1). Feather: Peter McGrail (2-0) W TKO 2 Engel Gomez (8-4-1).
Taylor vs. Sharipova
Taylor retains her four belts as she wins unanimous decision over tough challenger Sharipova. A close opening round saw both fighters scoring well. Taylor had the best of the exchanges in the second. Her speed and accuracy and powerful body punching gave her a big edge. The strong Sharipova was taking the fight to Taylor in a competitive third but Taylor outworked Sharipova in the fourth. Sharipova had her best round so far in the fifth again showing her strength by outpunching Taylor inside. Her good work was wasted when she lost a point in the sixth for hitting on the break. Sharipova tried to force her way inside over the seventh and eighth and although she had some success was made to pay by some sharp counters from Taylor as she came forward. Taylor boxed her way through the ninth and tenth with Sharipova putting on plenty of pressure but Taylor was a clear winner. Scores 98-92, 97-92 and 96-93 for Taylor . The Irish star holds the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts and the plan now is for a huge fight against Puerto Rican Amanda Serrano who has a 41-1-1 record and holds the WC, WBO and IBO titles at lightweight and has not lost a fight since 2012. Kazak Sharipova was in good form having won her last 14 fights
Benn vs. Algieri
Benn destroys Algieri with a brutal kayo. Benn was firing shots to the body from the start with Algieri jabbing to try to keep Benn out but Benn was able to reach Algieri with jabs. In the second Algieri was not showing much except a weak jab and a right to the side of the head sent him lurching across the ring and somehow ending almost hanging upside down over the bottom rope. He righted himself and got up as the referee counted with Algieri protesting he had tripped. Benn connected with some strong combinations in the third and was cleverly bobbing and weaving around and under Algieri’s jabs. Algieri was showing more life in the fourth coming forward and throwing more punches. With just seconds remaining in the round Benn landed a left and followed that with a thunderbolt-like straight right to the head that had Algieri pitching forward to the canvas and he was counted out. Benn again showed the power that has brought him thirteen inside the distance wins but also some improved defensive work. Former WBO super welterweight title holder Algieri, 37, was coming off a win in August over 22-2-1 Mikkel LesPierre so was in decent form and Errol Spence had previously been the only one to beat him inside the distance but he looked fragile whenever Benn connected.
Davies vs. Lundy
Davies blasts out a jaded-looking Lundy in two rounds. The fight was a bit untidy at the start with the referee warning both fighters for holding. Just seconds before the bell to end the first round Davies clipped Lundy with a right to the temple that unhinged Lundy’s legs but Davies was too wild with his punches to take full advantage of that. In the second Davies shook Lundy with a left to the head and later with a right and Lundy did not look at all steady on his legs. A right to the head sent Lundy tumbling into the ropes and half way through onto the ring apron. He struggled to untangle himself and get back up but was counted just as he made it to his feet. A loss to unheralded Gabriel Valenzuela in February had put questions over Davies’ future but this win will have boosted his confidence. He wins the vacant WBA Continental title. Lundy has been a great warrior but he failed to make the weight and looked a shot fighter in the second round and announced his retirement.
Cordina vs. Khatchatryan
Cordina takes unanimous decision over Khatchatryan. Both fighters had good skills with Cordina the harder puncher already putting together some crisp combinations in the first. Khatchatryan showed a nice jab but was light on power. Cordina upped his pace from the second. He was scoring with some hurtful body shots in the third but Khatchatryan fired back forcing Cordina to regroup. They both did some clowning in the fourth but on the serious side Cordina was hammering at Khatchatryan’s body with hooks with Khatchatryan firing back but not having the punch to dissuade Cordina. Cordina continued to advance behind a high guard aware that Khatchatryan could not hurt him and was then landing powerful hooks when he pinned Khatchatryan to the ropes. Cordina scored heavily in the ninth. He was winning the rounds but could neither hurt nor subdued Khatchatryan and despite plenty of punishment in the last Khatchatryan fought back hard to the bell. Scores 98-92 twice and 100-90 for Cordina. A former British and Commonwealth champion Cordina retains the WBC Continental title. Khatchatryan showed good skills and plenty of speed and only his lack of power let him down. Cordina’s only fight in the last nine months lasted just 53 seconds so Khatchatryan gave him some priceless ring time.
Agyarko vs. Larios
The 6’0” tall Larios had lots of high and reach over Agyarko but lacked any significant power. Agyarko was able to get past the jab of Larios and was looking to attack the body. Agyarko scored with a good left hook in the third which stung Larios into action and he connected with a strong left hook of his own. Larios went onto the front foot in the fourth and there were some fierce exchanges. Agyarko worked Larios over in a corner in the fifth and his harder punching was allowing him to dictate the fight and he was out jabbing the taller man. Agyarko continued to press and by the ninth Larios was being rocked time-and –again by right jabs. When he tried to stand and trade punches a left hook sent him staggering back across the ring to the ropes and as Agyarko followed up landing more punches the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Agyarko gets his seventh inside the distance and wins the vacant WBA International belt-his first pro title. Larios just could not compete with the power of Agyarko.
McGrail vs. Gomez
McGrail gets his first inside the distance win as he halts Gomez in the second. McGrail was busy in the first with plenty of southpaw jabs and straight lefts with Gomez too slow to cover or counter. McGrail was really putting his punches together in the second. Heads collided and McGrail was cut over his left eye but seconds later a driven straight left dropped Gomez on his back and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Good showing from the talented former European Championships and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner. Nicaraguan Gomez is 0-2 in fights in England.
London, England: Cruiser: Isaac Chamberlain (13-1) W KO 1 Dilan Prasovic (15-2). Welter: Stephen McKenna (11-0) W Jack Ewbank W TKO 1(4-5). Super Light: Kaisee Benjamin (15-1-1) W KO 2 Wiston Campos (33-9-6).
Chamberlain vs. Prasovic
Chamberlain demolishes Prasovic inside a round. Prasovic looked useful as he connected with a sharp left hook and a right to the body. That was about it for him. Chamberlain landed a series of body punches that had Prasovic retreating and then scored with a left to the head and a left hook to the body and Prasovic went down. He managed to get up but too late and was counted out. Chamberlain’s only loss was on points over ten rounds against the current WBO champion Lawrence Okolie and COVID-19 and an injury have restricted him to five fights in the past three years. He wins the vacant IBF International belt. Prasovic was knocked out in three rounds by Okolie for the WBO title in September. He had been elevated to No 1 without a single win over a quality opponent and he was exposed again here.
McKenna vs. Ewbank
“The Hitman” continues to blow the opposition out of the water. He dropped substitute Ewbank twice and then trapped him on the ropes and unloaded with a fusillade of punches until the referee jumped in and halted the fight . The 24-year-old from Ireland makes it ten quick wins. Fifth loss on the trot for Ewbank.
Benjamin vs. Campos
Early night for Benjamin as he floors Campos in the first then puts him down and out in the second to get his eighth consecutive victory. Nicaraguan Campos had taken Josh Kelly the full ten rounds in losing to Kelly in December 2019.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Middle: Abraham Buonarrigo (10-2) W KO 4 Ezequiel Maderna (27-6). Super Middle: Victor Exner (7-8-1) W PTS 10 Ramon Lovera (15-2-1).
Buonarrigo vs. Maderna
Buonarrigo stops Maderna in four rounds. Maderna was a firm favourite in this fight but Buonarrigo dominated the action from the outset. He was able to get past the longer reach of the 6’2” Maderna to score to head and body inside. A combination to the head in the second had Madera unsteady and he was given a standing count. In the fourth two slashing uppercuts from Buonarrigo put Maderna down and he was counted out. Buonarrigo, the Argentinian No 4, had lost two of his last three bouts but he collected the vacant South American title with this victory. Maderna, a 2008 Olympian, had competed at a much higher level but is on the slope-downwards.
Exner vs. Lovera
Exner gets off the canvas to floor and then outpoint Lovera. This was intended to be a defence of the Argentinian title by Lovera against unrated Exner however on the day of the fight the Argentinian Boxing Federation withdrew recognition of it as a title fight. It looked to be going with the in-form Lovera when he put Exner on the floor in the first round. Exner recovered and dropped Lovera in the fifth. From there Exner took control and Lovera tired badly over the closing rounds. Scores 98-91, 97 ½ -91 and 96-92. Exner gets revenge for a three round loss to Lovera in 2018.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Welter: Alejandro Silva (18-0-1) W RTD 3 Yeison Gonzalez (15-6).
Argentinian champion Silva makes it 16 wins in a row as he beats Venezuelan Gonzalez. Silva handed out severe punishment to Gonzalez over the first three rounds and Gonzalez did not come out for the fourth giving Silva his twelfth inside the distance finish. He also collects the vacant WBC Latino title. First fight for Gonzalez for 21 months.
Dauis, Philippines: Light Fly: Mark Vicelles (15-0-1) W PTS 10 Toto Landero (11-7-2).
Vicelles wins a tight unanimous decision over Landero. It was Landero who made the better start attacking hard in the first round. Southpaw Vicelles got into his stride with some accurate counters over the second and third but Landero’s higher work rate then saw him move into the lead by winning the fourth and fifth. Vicelles was finding gaps in the oncoming Landero’s guard and made it even by outscoring Landero in the sixth. The fight continued to swing from one to the other with the every rounds close. It was difficult to separate them at the end. Vicelles got the decision but it could have gone to either fighter. Scores 96-94 twice and 97-93 for Vicelles who makes it twelve successive wins. Landero is 1-6 in his most recent fights.
Montebello, CA, USA: Super Middle: Ali Akhmedov (18-1) W TKO 1 Paul Valenzuela (26-11,1ND).
Kazak Akhmedov continues his rebuilding programme as he demolishes Valenzuela in the first round. One left hook to the chin was all it took and the referee waived the fight off with no need for a count. When Akhmedov fought Carlos Gongora for the IBO title in December last year he was so far in front after eleven rounds that Gongora’s only chance was to score a knockout- which Gongora did with just a minute left in the fight. Valenzuela had gone the full tenth rounds in losing to unbeaten D’Mitrius Ballard four weeks ago.
Nagoya, Japan: Bantam: Kosei Tanaka (16-1-0) W PTS 10 Sho Ishida (29-3).
Tanaka takes a split decision in this clash of world rated fighters. Ishida clearly took the first round as Tanaka tried to box and Ishida used his substantial advantages in height and reach to score. Tanaka realised his mistake and from there stormed forward to work inside. Initially he was caught by some savage uppercuts as he came forward but began to land hurtful body shots and a left had Ishida bleeding from the nose in the fourth. Seeing his lead being eroded Ishida upped his pace over the second half of the fight scoring strongly with counters in the eighth but Tanaka was on top and finished strongly to emerge a good winner. Scores 96-94 and 96-95 for Tanaka and 96-95 for Ishida. Former WBO flyweight title holder Tanaka was having his first fight since losing to Kazuto Ioka in a challenge for the WBO super flyweight belt in December last year. Ishida was 24-0 before losing to Khalid Yafai for the WBA super fly title in 2017 and had won six of his seven fights since then.
Hermosillo, Mexico: Super Bantam: Tomoki Kameda (38-3) W PTS 12 Yonfrez Parejo (24-5-1).
Kameda wins WBA eliminator with unanimous verdict against Parejo. In a slow opening to the bout Kameda went out in front. He established his jab with some good work in the first and found the target with rights in the second switching his attack to the body in the third. Parejo just found Kameda too quick and strong. After a good fourth Kameda seemed to lose his way but he was back in the groove connecting with straight rights in the seventh. Parejo finally came in to the fight in the eighth and landed some useful body punches of his own in the ninth. The tenth and eleventh were close and Kameda took no risks in the last. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-114 all for Kameda. Murodjon Akhmadaliev holds the IBF and WBA titles. Former WBO bantamweight champion Kameda is now the mandatory challenger for the WBA version of the title-with Marlon Tapales winning an IBF eliminator on the same night! Venezuelan Parejo past his best.
Harrisburg, PA, USA: Super Middle: Christian Mbilli (20-0) W PTS 10 Ronald Ellis (18-3-2,1ND).
Mbilli outworks Ellis and hardly lets him get even a toehold in the fight as he takes the decision. Pressure and work rate won this one for the French prospect. He attacked hard from the start constantly forcing Ellis to the ropes and bombarding him with punches. Ellis tried to fight fire with fire but quickly found that was the wrong tactic. He needed to create some space to box and counter Mbilli. Ellis had some success in the third and the sixth but after that the sheer pressure from Mbilli saw him capture the closing rounds. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Cameroun-born Mbilli. Ellis heading in the other direction as after being 16-0-2 he now has three defeats in his last five fights.
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Super Middle: Jesse Hart (27-3) David Murray (10-2-1).
Jesse Hart continues campaign for a third title shot as he stops Murray in three rounds. Hart put Murray down in the first and again in the third. Murray made it to his feet in the third but was taking punishment and the fight was halted. In his title challenges Hart has lost a close decision to Gilberto Ramirez and a split decision against Joe Smith Jr. Murray was 9-1-1 going into this one but against a very different level of opponent to Hart.
Cordoba, Argentina: Light: Matias Rueda (36-1) W Miguel Acosta (13-8-2).
Rueda gets his eleventh successive victory but what should have been a routine win turned into a struggle. The show was title “The Rueda Knockout” but southpaw Acosta did not read the script and Rueda had to settle for a split decision on scores of 97-95 ½ and 95 ½-95 with the third judge having Acosta the winner by 96 ½ -96.
Liege, Belgium: Super Feather: Faroukh Kourbanov (19-3) W PTS 12 Nicola Henchiri (10-6-2).
Kourbanov wins the vacant European title with majority decision over Italian Henchiri. Scores 116-112 and 115-113 for Kourbanov and 114-114. This one was close but Henchiri’s team felt they had been robbed and complained that all three judges were French speaking. One judge was a Moroccan-born Dutchman another was Spanish and the third was French but since Kourbanov is a Kyrgyzstan-born Belgium it all gets a bit confusing. Kourbanov had been 3-3 going in with points losses to Devis Boschiero, Samir Ziani for this same title and unbeaten Joe Cordina in those six fights. Henchiri is a former European Union champion.
Tours, France: Middle: Moughit El Moutaouakil (15-2-1) W Idaas Redjdal (10-2-2,1ND).
El Moutaouakil wins the vacant French title in a split decision. They don’t come much closer than this as El Moutaouakil won on scores of 95-94 twice and 95-94 for Redjdal. El Moutaouakil lost in shot for this title in October. Redjdal falls to 2-2-2 in his last six contests.
Windhoek, Namibia: Middle: Nkululeko Mhlongo (23-9-1) Lukas Ndafoluma (20-4,1ND) W. Fly: Immanuel Josef (12-4-1) W Muhsin Kizota (12-3). Super Light: Felesianu Albino (20-2-1) W TKO 4 Yohani Banda (8-7).
Ndafoluma vs. Mhlongo
Mhlongo gets off the floor to drop and stop home town fighter Ndafoluma. The fight started well for Ndafoluma as he put Mhlongo on the floor in the first but Mhlongo got up and survived to the bell. From there Mhlongo gradually took control of the fight and floored Ndafoluma in the sixth. Ndafoluma got through that crisis but Mhlongo continued to score heavily in the seventh and the referee stopped the fight in the eighth. Mhlongo “The South African Bulldog” wins the WBO African title. Defending champion Ndafoluma had won his last four outings.
Josef vs. Kizota
Namibian Josef takes comfort decision over Kizota. Although buzzed twice in head clashes Josef had no trouble handling the keen but limited Kizota. He had Kizota badly rocked in the seventh but failed to finish the job and had to settle for a points win. Scores 98-91 twice and 97-92 as Josef retains the WBO African belt. Tanzanian Kizota is 2-5 in his last seven fights.
Albino vs. Banda
Albino extends his unbeaten streak to 18 with stoppage of overmatched Banda. Albino weakened Banda with body punches and floored him in the third and again in the fourth with the fight being stopped. Albino gets his seventh inside the distance finish and Banda his fourth loss by KO/TKO.
Szeligi, Poland: Super Feather: Radomir Obrusniak (5-0) W TKO 4 Caril Herrera (41-6,1ND).Light Heavy: Osleys Iglesias (4-0) W TKO 1 Rafael Sosa (61-17). Heavy: Marcin Siwa (24-0) W TKO 1 Adanna Deronja (7-3).
Obrusniak vs. Herrera
Obrusniak stops veteran Herrera in four. Obrusniak had a 6’” height advantage and a much longer reach and outscored Herrera with ease in the first. In the second a left from Obrusniak knocked Herrera off balance and he put his glove on the canvas to avoid going down but the referee missed that so no count. Obrusniak stepped up his attacks in the third and with Herrera soaking up too much punishment the fight was halted in the fourth. The 27-year-old southpaw was twice Polish Under-23 champion and won a bronze medal at the European Union Championships. He is Polish champion and wins then Polish International title. Uruguayan Herrera, 41, suffers only his fifth inside the distance defeat in his long career.
Iglesias vs. Sosa
Cuban southpaw Iglesias gets another quick win as he blasts out Sosa, another 41-year-old Uruguayan. Iglesias ended it in just 72 seconds meaning his four wins have taken him less than six rounds to accomplish. Iglesias was a top level amateur and could be a serious threat in this division. Eighth inside the distance defeat for Sosa.
Siwa vs. Deronja
Siwa destroys Deronja with a fierce attack. In the first thirty seconds of the fight Siwa landed a series of punches that put Deronja on the floor. He got up but was wobbling about and in no condition to continue. Twelfth quick win for Siwa but his victims have all been carefully selected and Bosnian Deronja falls into that category.
Baden, Switzerland: Welter: Andranik Hakobyan (16-1-2) W PTS 10 Alessandro Fersula (6-1).
Armenian-born Swiss Hakobyan wins the vacant WBFederation Inter-Continental title as he outpoints Italian Fersula. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91. Hakobyan, 32, is 6-0-1 in his last seven bouts. Fersula really just a prelim fighter with his six victories scored over fighters with five wins between them so he did well to go ten rounds.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Super Light: Shohjahon Ergashev (21-0 W KO 1 Aekkawee Kaewmanee (23-14).
A ridiculous mismatch sees Ergashev destroy Kaewmanee in one round. The 40-year-old Thai was 5” smaller than Ergashev and much slower. Ergashev drove Kaewmanee to his knees under a pile of punches. Kaewmanee got up and tried to put some pressure on Ergashev but was flattened by a devastating right uppercut and needed medical attention before recovering. The Uzbek southpaw is based in Detroit. He has won 19 of his fights by KO/TKO and has victories over reasonable level opposition in Mykal Fox, Abdiel Ramirez and Adrian Estrella but needs to move to some real tests if he is to justify his No 4 rating with the IBF. Eighth inside the distant loss for poor Kaewmanee
Fight of the week (Significance): Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Richard Commey putting Lomachenko in the frame for any one of the exciting fights in the lightweight division
Fight of the week (Entertainment)Some goodies but none that really stirred me
Fighter of the week: Nonito Donaire who just goes on and on with honourable mention to Lomachenko
Punch of the week: There were so many. Keyshawn Davis produced two a left hook and a ,left uppercut which destroyed Jose Zaragoza and the body punch from Donaire that finished Reymart Gaballo but I go for the straight right from Conor Benn that had Chris Algieri out on his feet.
Upset of the week: Things mainly went the way of the favourite but Canadian Cody Crowley’s win over unbeaten IBF No 1Kudratillo Abdukakhorov was a shock-to the IBF!
Prospect watch: Some coming up but need more time to be assessed
Rosette: To those putting on the huge shows in Dubai, Liverpool, Carson and New York making it a great boxing weekend
Red Card; For whoever thought it would be good for boxing to match 5’10 ½” 19-0 17 KO TKO wins Shohjahon Ergashev against 40-year-old 5’5 ½” Thai Aekkawee Kaewmanee
A strange weekend with title fights between Arsen Goulamirian vs. Aleksi Egorov, John Riel Casimero vs. Paul Butler and then Butler vs. Joseph Agbeko all called off for differing reasons.
There are a number of former members of the Cuban elite boxing team now fighting pro. The one I would love to see doing so is Andy Cruz-why? Well Keyshawn Davis looks a great talent sure to follow in the footsteps of Shakur Stevenson etc. S why Cruz
2019 World Championships Davis won a silver medal beaten in the final 5-0 by Andy Cruz
2019 PanAmerican Games Davis won a silver medal beaten in the final by Andy Cruz 4-1
2020 Olympic Games Davis won a silver medal beaten in the final 4-1 by Andy Cruz
Better hope he stays amateur Keyshawn”
Sanctioning body madness. I hope Murodjon Akhmadaliev has a split personality because at the week end Tomoki Kameda won a final eliminator to fight for Akhmadaliev’ s IBF title and Marlon Tapales won a final eliminators for Akhmadaliev’s WBA title!!
Some bouts are legendary on the back of their intense action, drama and excitement. They are so exciting they become instant classics and need to be watched by every self respecting boxing fan. Bouts like Hagler Vs Hearns, Mancini Vs Frias, Gatti Vs Ward, Castillo Vs Corrales and Meza Vs Garza.
Today we bring you one such bout, this time from Korea from back in 1990.
This is something of a special bout, with knockdowns galore, incredible drama one of the greatest single rounds in boxing history.
Sung Kil Moon (10-1, 9) Vs Nana Yaw Konadu (18-0-1, 14) I
Before we talk about the action we're going to see we need to quickly go over a few things.
Firstly lets briefly talk about Sung Kil Moon. The Korean had turned professional in 1987, following a solid amateur career, and was a world champion just over 17 months later. He had announced himself on the world stage by taking a technical decision over Khaokor Galaxy to claim the WBA Bantamweight title, in what was just his 7th professional bout. His reign was a short one, losing the belt back to Galaxy just 11 months later. Following that loss he dropped down in weight and just 6 months later challenged WBC Super Flyweight champion Nana Yaw Konadu.
Whilst we often see fighters moving up, as their bodies fill out, we rarely see fighters moving down in weight. That's exactly what Moon was doing at the age of 26, with the thought process likely being that he was going to be super strong down at 115lbs. Given his aggressive, pressure style the move seemed to be a smart one, if he could made the weight comfortably.
Nana Yaw Konadu, from Ghana, is one of the many African legends of the sport who sadly don't get the recognition they deserve. He had made his debut in 1985, scoring a decision win, and had then suffered a draw, in his second bout. After that he had reeled of 17 straight wins, 14 by T/KO, including a decision over former world champion Cesar Polanco and a huge upset win over the legendary Gilberto Roman in Mexico. The win over Roman had netted Konadu the WBC Super Flyweight title, but it was the manner of the win that netted him the acclaim, dropping the brilliant Mexican 5 times en route to a dominant win.
Standing at 5'7" and using a style that was very much one that saw him setting boxing behind a long, hard, rangy jab, and having real sting in his shots. He seemed to have the tools to be a real long term force in the division and prove the win over Roman wasn't just a case of "right place, right time". In his first defense he travelled to Korea for the bout with Moon.
On paper this was a world class swarmer against world class boxer-puncher. Styles that tend to make for great fights anyway, as long as the men are well matched. What we ended up with was better than just great. It was sensational.
From the opening moments it was clear weren't going to get a normal fight. Both men were throwing hooks almost from the off. Konadu managed to get his jab working quickly but was dropped by a left hook after less than 2 minutes, in the first knockdown of the fight. It was a flash knockdown, but only moments later Moon would score another, this one a more series one. Konadu got back to his feet and dropped Moon, who was getting wild in an attempt to finish off his man. Konadu's knockdown helped him get some respect from the challenger, and he began to fight behind his jab again.
It was a round that exceeded all expectations, with 3 knockdowns, and it was only the beginning.
In round two we saw less drama, but the action was intense, with Moon pressing forward for much of the round, trying to get around the jab of Konadu. At the same time the champion kept landing clean head shots, catching the Korean coming in. This made for a brilliant dynamic, even if the two men weren't going down like they had in the first round.
For those who like knockdowns they didn't need to wait long for the bout's fourth one with Konadu being dropped for the third time in round 3. This was a much more frantic round than the second, with Konadu being sent on to his backside when he was caught whilst backing up, partly off balance. Konadu got back to his fight and Moon seemed to think he had his man hurt, as he again chased him around the ring, as he had in the first round. Despite scoring the knockdown, and leaving Konadu with some serious swelling around his eyes, Moon was himself cut up over the left eye from a clash of heads.
Round 4 began brilliantly for Konadu, who looked to have recovered from the punishment in the previous round and he dropped Moon, who was down for the second time in the fight, from a series of jabs. He wasn't hurt, but the cut was a mess. When he got up from the knockdown he began to press Konadu, and certainly had a very strong round outside of the knockdown.
The bout continued to be a war. Round after round we had technical out boxing, aggressive infighting, a brilliant boxer trying to establish distance, and an equally good fighter trying to cut the ring off. They both knew they could hurt the other man and be hurt themselves. We'll leave the bout for you to enjoy, and we really hope you check this sensational bout out. It really is a must watch for all fight fans!
If you like a war, with blood, drama, hugely damaging exchanges, intense action and regular shifts in momentum this is the bout for you. It had everything a fight fan could ever want to see in a bout.
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