By Eric Armit
-Joet Gonzalez takes wide unanimous verdict over three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga
-Egidijus Kavaliauskas come from behind to stop Mikael Zewski in eight rounds
-Fedor Chudinov gets late stoppage victory over Umar Sadiq
-Anthony Yarde halts Dec Spelman in six rounds and Mark Heffron and Denzel Bentley fight to a draw
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Feather: Joet Gonzalez (24-1) W PTS 10 Miguel Marriaga (29-3). Welter: Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-1-1) W TKO 8 Mikael Zewski (34-2).
Marriaga vs. Gonzalez
Gonzalez puts himself back in the title picture as he pounds three-time title challenger Marriaga to defeat over ten rounds. Marriaga looked sharp at the start and outworked Gonzalez over the first two rounds but Gonzalez made some adjustments and never looked back. In the third he was connecting with hard punches to head and body rocking Marriaga early and late in the round. Marriaga’s early work had started a swelling around Gonzalez’s left eye but in the fourth the snap had gone out of Marriaga’s punches. Gonzalez was forcing the Colombian onto the back foot and digging vicious left hooks to the body. The more pressure Gonzalez brought the more Marriaga’s own output dropped. It was one-way traffic in the sixth as Gonzalez was blocking Marriaga’s shots with his high guard and then firing crunching straight rights and left hooks. In the seventh Marriaga used more lateral movement to try to avoid the straight line approach of Gonzalez and was firing short bursts of punches. It made no difference as Gonzalez was able to block Marriaga’s shots and still find the target with powerful lefts and rights. Marriaga was almost in survival mode circling the perimeter of the ring just trying to stay out of trouble. Marriaga tried to take the fight to Gonzalez at the start of the ninth but after a brief spell of success he was soon on the back foot again circling the ring with Gonzalez stalking him and landing hurtful left hooks to the body. Gonzalez finished the fight stronger and wrapped up the last round. Scores 99-91 twice and 97-93 all for Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Californian will be hoping to get a shot at the winner of the fight between Emanuel Navarrete and Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title to wipe out the memory of a dismal effort when he was outclassed by Shakur Stevenson for the same WBO title in October. Colombian Marriaga, 33, had been hoping that a win here would get him a fourth shot at the featherweight title. That fourth shot eluded him when a fight with Stevenson for the title in March was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On this showing another title shot seems out of the question.
Kavaliauskas vs. Zewski
Behind on two cards Kavaliauskas produces a crunching uppercut to turn the fight around and give him victory.
Zewski was quickly into his stride. He was faster and more accurate with his jab and also clouted Kavaliauskas with a couple of straight rights. Kavaliauskas was trying to counter but was not fast enough. Zewski had slight edges in height and reach but it was his hand speed and movement that won the second. He was snapping his jab though the guard of Kavaliauskas and connected with a thumping straight right. Kavaliauskas did a bit better with his own jab in the round and connected with a right but it was not enough to take the round. Kavaliauskas did better in the third. He has a powerful jab and he began to throw more rights but Zewski was on target enough to make it close. The fourth saw some exciting exchanges as they both let their hands go and both landed heavily in a close round that Zewski just edged. After four rounds two judges had it 40-36 for Zewski and the third had them even at 38-38. Strong jabbing and heavy rights saw Kavaliauskas take the fifth but Zewski’s speed saw him get back by winning the sixth. Kavaliauskas now had a heavy swelling under his right eye that threatened to hamper his vision. Zewski was pumping out punches and showing good footwork in the seventh but Kavaliauskas was hunting him down in earnest with just seconds to go in the round a beautiful right uppercut unhinged Zewski’s legs. Kavaliauskas forced him to the ropes and unloaded with a series of punches until Zewski slid to the canvas. The three minutes were over but of course as the knockdown occurred just before the round ended the referee started to count and Zewski hauled himself to his feet as the count reached nine. In the eighth Kavaliauskas immediately jumped on Zewski and landed a right to the head and as Zewski dropped to his hands and knees the referee stopped the fight. After being beaten in nine rounds by Terrence Crawford in December for the WBO title Kavaliauskas needed this win to re-establish himself. He struggled early in this one but his power brought him win No 18 by KO/TKO. Canadian Zewski goes back to the drawing Board. He had lost a wide decision against Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015 but had worked his way back into the ratings with seven wins.
London, England: Light Heavy: Anthony Yarde (20-1) W TKO 6 Dec Spelman (16-5). Middle: Mark Heffron (25-1-1) DREW 10 Denzel Bentley (13-0-1). Welter: Ekow Essuman (14-0) W PTS 10 Cedrick Peynaud (8-8-3).
Yarde vs. Spelman
Yarde halts Spelman in six rounds. He shows a more studied approach than in the past but shows his power when he breaks through in the sixth. The first two rounds saw both fighters probing with their jabs without committing themselves. Yarde looked a little sharper and tried a couple of right crosses but missed and Spelman stuck to his jab so there were no sustained exchanges. A bit too much respect being shown here in the fourth although Yarde was bringing his right into play more. Spelman had been on the back foot for most of the fight but he began to take the fight to Yarde in the fifth. He connected with a strong right to the head, his best punch so far, and a left hook. Yarde seemed content to let Spelman come to him and he looked dangerous as he started to let his hands go late in the round. Spelman was determined to take the fight to Yarde in the sixth but a couple of left hooks to the body discouraged him. Yarde rocked Spelman with a punch and then drove him around the ring before three rights sent Spelman down on one knee. He was unsteady as he climbed to his feet and when the count reached eight the referee waived his hands to end the fight. If Yarde keeps winning then another world title shot in 2021 looks a certainty and he will be hoping to go one better than his loss to Sergey Kovalev in August last year. Third loss in a row for Spelman having been beaten by Shakan Pitters and Lyndon Arthur.
Heffron vs. Bentley
Heffron and Bentley fight to a draw in an entertain contests. Heffron went on to the attack from the first bell coming in behind his jab and targeting the body. Bentley was boxing neatly and countering but it was Heffron’s round. Heffron continued to press the fight in the second but Bentley switched guards and connected with a southpaw straight left that knocked Heffron over. Heffron was not badly hurt but it was a 10-8 round for Bentley. The third saw Bentley build on the knockdown to take the round and then connect with some good combinations to take the fourth. Heffron upped the pressure and pocketed the fifth catching Bentley with a driving right hand to get back in the fight. Heffron’s work rate put him in charge in the sixth and seventh as Bentley was defending well but not throwing enough. The eighth was close but again pressure from Heffron gave him the edge and he hustled and harried Bentley through the ninth connecting with some hurtful hard punches and Bentley was doing plenty of holding. I had Heffron two points in front going into the last but Bentley outboxed Heffron at the start of the round and landed more late in the round to just tilt the balance his way in the final round. Score 95-95 from all three judges so a relatively rare unanimous draw. Heffron goes to 4-0-1 in his last 5 as he rebuilds after a stoppage loss against WBO No 2 Liam Williams in 2018. Londoner Bentley showed some very sharp skills and it will be interesting to see if he kicks on from here.
Essuman vs. Peynaud
Essuman has too much skill for useful but limited Frenchman Peynaud and took a wide unanimous verdict. His superior hand speed and movement kept Essuman in control but he never looked like winning this one early. Peynaud was competitive over the middle rounds but other than that period it was Essuman in control. He consistently found gaps for his jab and a frustrated Peynaud too often found himself swishing air as Essuman boxed his way to victory. Scores 100-90, 98-92 and 98-93. The 31-year-old Botswana-born Essuman collects the vacant IBF European title. He has wins over Tyrone Nurse and Curtis Felix and was an Elite level amateur. Peynaud shook things up when he floored Conor Benn twice in their 2017 bout but lost on points and was outclassed by Benn in the return fight in 2018.
Khimki, Russia: Super Middle; Fedor Chudinov (23-2) W TKO 12 Umar Sadiq (10-2). Heavy: Sergey Kharitonov (1-0) W TKO 2 Danny Williams (54-29,1ND)
Chudinov vs. Sadiq
Chudinov comes from behind to score a late stoppage with some concerns over Sadiq as he was hospitalised after bringing up blood when undergoing the after fight drug tests. Sadiq made a useful start. At 6’4” he is six inches taller than Chudinov and he worked well on the outside and outscored Chudinov over the first and with Chudinov seeming to have no answer to Sadiq’s jab. A series of rights to the head knocked Chudinov’s mouthguard out in the second. Chudinov pressed hard in the third and had some success when he was able to force Sadiq to the ropes and did even better in the fourth as he was getting past Sadiq’s jab. For me the fourth was the first round Chudinov had won. Chudinov continued to exert strong pressure in the fifth and sixth. He was landing the harder punches but Sadiq was using his reach well and looked to have the edge in those rounds. There were signs the pressure was getting to Sadiq in a close seventh but he was switching guards and outboxed Chudinov to extend his lead. Chudinov got back into the fight in the eighth again pressing hard and landing some solid punches. Lots of back and forth action in the ninth another close round. Sadiq was having trouble trying to keep Chudinov out but he exerted some pressure of his own and scored with a flurry of punches to edge the tenth. Chudinov came back to life in the eleventh launching some fierce attacks and over the last minute of the round he had Sadiq under heavy fire and rocked him with a right at the bell. Sadiq looked unsteady and in the twelfth Chudinov drove him to the ropes and bombarded him with punches. Sadiq was swaying and tottering and not fighting back and the fight was stopped. Chudinov, 32, retains the WBA Gold title. Since being stopped by George Groves in 2017 Chudinov has put together a run of eight victories with Nadjib Mohammedi, Ezequiel Maderna and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in his list of victims. His Gold title is meaningless as it has him sitting above the ratings so he is not the mandatory challenger for either the full WBA title or the secondary title. WBA Gold seems to be a yellow brick road to a dead end. British-based Nigerian Sadiq performed far above expectations. If the Russians had thought he would be this good they would not have taken him. He moved from Nigeria to London when he was ten and eventually worked as an accountant. He fought for Nigeria at the African and World Qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics but did not make it to Rio. He did not turn pro until he was 29 and at 32 he may struggle to go further. No update on his condition available right now.
Kharitonov vs. Williams
Kharitonov floors Williams in the first and stops him the second round of a farce that was painful to watch. It was circus all the way as Kharitonov was accompanied on his ring walk by a real bear and things went downhill from there. Kharitonov was about as agile as a hippo on ice and Williams moved very little. Although glacially slow Kharitonov is strong and in the first round a huge left to the head sent Williams floundering across the ring and down heavily. Williams made it to his feet and survived the round thanks in part to Kharitonov’s tactic of landing a punch and then retreating to the ring and lifting his arms in celebration ( a bit like a football team I supported who did a lap of honour whenever they won a corner). Williams showed some fire in the second putting a few punches together. He had Kharitonov pinned to the ropes until a series of hooks and uppercuts saw Williams stagger back across the ring with his arms flailing. He stopped and took a couple of steps forward and then stumbled back to the ropes and the referee just waived the fight over. The 40-year-old Kharitonov, who weighed 280lbs (127kg) for this fight, was having his first pro boxing match after an extensive career in various forms of MMA but strangely was returning to boxing. He won a gold medal in boxing at the Central Asian Games in 2003 and silver at the Asian Championships in 2004 but failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics. Williams 47, who weighed 249lbs, his lowest since 2017, is still sellable on the basis of a 2004 knockout of Mike Tyson although in fairness his career back then was about much more than that but he is well past his “use by” date.
Budapest, Hungary: Super Welter: Balazs Bacskai (13-0) W TKO 2 Gogi Knezevic (34-11-1). Super Welter: Renato Egedi (17-1-2) W TKO 5 Adam Mate (27-18), Super Middle: Mate Kis (17-0-2) W TKO 4 Ericles Torres Martin (20-16-1). Super Welter: Laszlo Toth (29-5-2) W PTS 8 Gabor Gorbics (26-19).
Bacskai vs. Knezevic
Bacskai gets another inside the distance victory as he dismantles Knezevic in two rounds. Bacskai pounded Knezevic with punches in the opening round and Knezevic only just survived. In the second “Benji” Bacskai forced Knezevic to the ropes and raked Knezevic with punches until the referee stepped in to save Knezevic from too much of a beating. Seventh inside the distance victory for Bacskai. It is a pity that Bacskai did not turn pro until he was 29. He was one of the most successful amateur boxers produced by Hungary. He was World and European champion at Junior level and won a gold medal at both the European Senior championships and European Union Championships. He won gold medals at 16 International tournaments as well as having a record of 21-1 in the German Bundesliga but at 32 times is very much against him. Austrian Knezevic, 41, suffers his tenth inside the distance defeat.
Egedi vs. Mate
Hungarian southpaw hope Egedi much too good for fellow-Hungarian Mate. After a fairly even first round this contest between two southpaws turned into a one-sided hammering of Mate. Egedi remorselessly beat him down flooring Mate in the second and third rounds before the referee stopped the fight in the fifth. No real test for 25-year-old Egedi as he moves to seven quick wins. He is now 14-0-2 in his last 16 fights. “Bad Boy” Mate was a late fill-in and he was giving away a lot of height against a fighter who had been Hungarian super middle champion whereas Mate had once held the national title at lightweight! Mate is 0-7 in fights in America and has never managed to last beyond the second round in any of those bouts.
Kis vs. Torres
Kis floors Torres early then gets an inside the distance win in a confused fashion. Kis put Torres down in the first and by the end of the third had built a good lead. In the fourth Torres barged forward head down and looked to have smashed against the elbow of Kis. Torres went down and was unable to continue so the fight was halted and Kis declared the winner. The two draws on the record of Kis were both against Egedi so a third bout should be on the cards. Southpaw Torres, 43, a Cuban based in Hungary, has now lost his last six fights.
Toth vs. Gorbics
Toth has to work hard to outpoint substitute Gorbics in the best fight of the night. The early rounds saw Gorbics get in front of notoriously bad starter Toth. Toth was badly shaken by a punch in the fourth but then began to roll from there. He had Gorbics hurt in the eighth but could not find the punch to finish the fight before the final bell. The judges came up with a split decision. Scores 79-73 and 78-74 for Toth and 77-75 for Gorbics but Toth looked a worthy winner. Toth went 19-0-1 at the start of his career but his 10-5-1 in his last 16 fights gives a more realistic picture. Now six defeats in succession for “Squirrel” Gorbics
Hamburg, Germany: Heavy: Senad Gashi (20-3) W TKO 4 Adnan Redzovic (21-5). Heavy: Jose Larduet (3-0,1ND) W TKO 1 Josh Sandland (5-3-1).
Gashi vs. Redzovic
Despite giving away height and reach to Redzovic southpaw Gashi won this one all the way. He outlanded Redzovic in each round before finishing the fight in the fourth. Two rights to the head knocked Redzovic into a corner where the ropes held him up. The referee gave him a count but when the action resumed a left followed by a booming right to the head again sent Redzovic into a corner but this time he slid down to the floor and the fight was halted as the towel came in from Redzovic’s corner. German-based Kosovon Gashi won his first sixteen fights but then hit the buffers with losses against Tom Schwarz, Carlos Takam and Dereck Chisora. He has now won three in a row by KO/TKO but against very moderate opposition. Bosnian Redzovic retired after five rounds against Erik Pfeifer in his last fight in November.
Larduet vs. Sandland
Larduet obliterates Englishman Sandland inside a round. A left to the head had Sandland staggering and Larduet connected with a right hook and another left to the head which sent Sandland down heavily and the fight was over. The 30-year-old German-based Cuban is too good for opposition such as Sandland. In the amateurs the 30-year-old Larduet was Cuban champion three times won a bronze medal at the World Championships and gold at the Pan American Championships but turning pro at 29 is just too late. The No Decision was caused by Larduet injuring a leg in the second round of his fight with Mariano Diaz in January and being unable to continue. Larduet absconded from the Cuban team’s base in Germany for the 2019 World Amateur Championships. Second inside the distance loss for Sandland.
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Light: Omar Aguilar (18-0) W TKO 3 Jose Garcia (9-8-1).* Aguilar continues to blow away the opposition as he halts former victim Garcia in the third round. He was attacking hard from the start and floored Garcia with a left and a right in the second round. Garcia beat the count and just made it to the bell. In the third once again a left/right from Aguilar had Garcia out on his feet and the referee halted the contest. The 21-year-old from Ensenada has won 17 of his 18 fights by KO/TKO (* as there was no Commission member at this fight it will go into Box Rec as a ND) and was coming off a first round victory over Dante Jardon. Aguilar had stopped Garcia in five rounds in 2018. Two tough matches in a row for Garcia as he was stopped by 34-2-1 Marcelino Lopez last year.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Welter: Eduard Skavynskyi (13-0) W PTS 10 Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-8). Super Feather: Evgeny Chuprakov (22-3) W RTD 5 Alexander Federov (22-8-1)
Skavynskyi vs. Atrokhau
Skavynskyi wins unanimous verdict over visiting Belarusian Atrokhau. Skavynskyi was forcing the fight with cagey southpaw Atrokhau boxing cleverly on the retreat and scoring with sharp counters. Skavynskyi was marching forward behind a high guard but Atrokhau found plenty of gaps and his left counters raised some serious bruising under the right eye of Skavynskyi. Atrokhau was very much in this fight until gradually the pressure from Skavynskyi saw Atrokhau slow and his punch output dropped. He was spending more time pinned to the ropes but he was never in any trouble and made it comfortably to the last bell with Skavynskyi the winner but on widely varying scores. 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Skavynskyi. Ekaterinburg-based Ukrainian Skavynskyi won but did not really impress. Atrokhau has lost 8 of his last 9 fights but has only lost once inside the distance.
Chuprakov vs. Federov
Chuprakov gets a win but in a disappointing performance. This was Federov’s first fight since April 2014 and he was not there to win. He never looked like tearing up the script but his spoiling tactics frustrated Chuprakov. After three largely forgettable rounds Chuprakov upped his pace in the fourth and dropped Federov with a right hook with only the bell allowing Federov the chance to come out for the fifth. Chuprakov struggled to find a punch to finish the job but Federov retired at the end of the round. Chuprakov, a former WBO featherweight title challenger had lost his last two fights so he badly needed this win. Not sure why at 43 Federov bothered returning to the ring.
Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico: Middle: Carlos Molina (34-11-2) W RTD 6 Hector Zepeda (19-2). Super Light: Adrian Estrella (30-5) W PTS 10 Lupe Rosales (38-27).*
Molina vs. Zepeda
Former IBF super welter champion Molina gets curious victory over Zepeda. This was a good, competitive fight with the smaller Molina trying to work his way past the longer reach of Zepeda. After four close rounds Molina seemed to be taking control in the sixth. At the end of the round Zepeda just walked back to his corner and held out his gloves for his second to remove them and although not seeming hurt he had retired. Molina, 37, had suffered some losses on his travels but since moving up to middleweight he gets his fifth successive win on shows promoted by himself. Molina was a big step up in quality of opposition for Zepeda but his retirement was strange.
Estrella vs. Rosales
In a clash of two fighters who have both seen better days Estrella wins decision over Rosales. It was a gruelling contest where the youth of Estrella gave him the edge. At one time the 29-year-old Estrella was 22-0 and seemingly on his way to a title shot until his chin was checked a few times. Similarly Rosales was 25-1 at the start of his career but tougher opposition found him out.
Fight of the week (Significance): Anthony Yarde’s win puts his name in the hat again for a shot at the light heavyweight title.
Fight of the week (Entertainment). After a slow start Kavaliauskas vs. Zewski featured some exciting exchanges
Fighter of the week: Joet Gonzalez for outclassing Miguel Marriaga
Punch of the week: The right uppercut from Kavaliauskas that was the beginning of the end for Zewski
Upset of the week: None although both Umar Sadiq and Denzel Bentley came close
Prospect watch: No new names
A very quite week with surprisingly few shows
Yet another “different” setting for a show as Universum stage their Hamburg show in a fish market
Last week it was the young men’s week as a whole bunch of prospects scored first round wins. This week was bring out the old guys as Danny Williams 47, Ericles Torres Martin 43, Alexander Federov 43, Gogi Knezevic 41, Sergey Kharitonov 40, Guadalupe Rosales 39 and Carlos Molina 37 creaked into action.
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