By Eric Armit:
-Brandon Figueroa wins the WBC Super Bantamweight title with kayo of champion Luis Nery
-Michal Cieslak stops Yury Kashinsky in one round in IBF cruiserweight eliminator
-Manuel Charr returns after more than three years of inactivity and knocks out a bloated Chris Lovejoy in two rounds
-In a trio of European title fights in Manchester Lerrone Richards wins the vacant Super Middleweight title with points victory over Giovanni De Carolis, Tommy McCarthy knocks out Alexander Jur in a Cruiserweight defence and Jason Cunningham decisions Gamal Yafai to win the Super Bantamweight title
-Nicola Henchiri outpoints Mario Alfano to win the vacant European Super Featherweight title.
World Title/Major Shows
Carson CA, USA: Super Bantam: Brandon Figueroa (22-0-1) W KO 7 Luis Nery (31-1). Super Bantam: Daniel Roman (29-3-1) W PTS 10 Ricardo Espinoza (25-4). Super Feather: Xavier Martinez (17-0) W PTS 10 Juan Burgos (34-5-2).
Figueroa vs. Nery
Figueroa wins the WBC title (**this fight unified nothing)with seventh round kayo of Nery as he lives up to his “heartbreaker” nickname and beats the resistance out of Nery in a war of attrition.
Right from the start Figueroa was constantly changing guard. He was rushing forward throwing punches looking to work inside. Nery was scoring well with his jab and landing the better punches inside with Figueroa too often off target.
Score: 10-9 Nery
Figueroa was intent on turning this fight into a brawl. He was lunging inside throwing punches but again he was wild and Nery was picking him off in the way in and when Figueroa got his way and they stood and exchanged punches Nery was doing most of the scoring.
Score: 10-9 Nery Nery 20-18
This was three minutes of toe-to-toe stuff. It was what Figueroa wanted but it wasn’t working for him. He was punching with his head down with no idea where his punches were going to land whereas Nery had his head up and was throwing more and with more accuracy.
Score: 10-9 Nery Nery 30-27
A good round for Figueroa. Nery tried to box at the outset but then relentless pressure from Figueroa forced him to stand and punch. This time Figueroa was more accurate and Nery’s punch output was down.
Score: 10-9 Figueroa Nery 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Zachary Young: 38-38 Tied, Judge Edward Hernandez 38-38 Tied, Judge Lou Moret 40-36 Nery
Nery took this one. He managed to move and jab for most of the round frustrating Figueroa’s attempts to cut off the ring and countering Figueroa with lefts. He was made to stand and swop punches at the end of the round and looked to have slowed under the frantic pace Figueroa was forcing him to fight at but you also had to wonder how long Figueroa could stand the pace.
Score: 10-9 Nery Nery 49-46
The pace finally began to tell and it told on Nery. Figueroa was still rumbling forward pumping out punches. Nery was moving and countering but then he looked to tire and was under strong pressure from Figueroa to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Figueroa Nery 58-56
Nery began to wilt. He was punching wildly in a last ditch approach but Figueroa just kept whacking Nery with body punches. Nery dropped his hands and then tried to punch with Figueroa but a left to the body put him down. He made it to his knees but was gazing out through the ropes with his back to the referee as he was counted out.
Great win for Figueroa his seventeenth inside the distance and at just 24 there is plenty more to come. A split draw with Julio Ceja in November 2019 shows his tactics may not be the right approach against every opponent and he has no plan “B”. Nery had scored 24 wins by KO/TKO but he just could not put a dent in Figueroa and loses his WBC title in the first defence of his second reign. **To label this a unification fight is ridiculous. The word “unite” literally means “to make one” so if you choose to believe this win for the WBA secondary title holder over the WBC champion unites the WBA and WBC titles and ignore the real WBA title holder Murodjon Akhmedov then you would have to accept that if Tyson Fury beat the secondary WBA heavyweight title holder Trevor Bryan then he would have unified the WBC and WBA titles-do you really believe that?
Roman vs. Espinoza
Roman takes another step along the road to regaining his titles with a point win over Espinoza. It was a hectic few early rounds for Roman as Espinoza came out firing punches harrying Roman and setting a fast pace. Roman had to make some adjustments to counter Espinoza’s aggression and he did so. From the fourth Roman found his range and refined his timing. He was catching the advancing Espinoza with hurtful, accurate shots and making him pay for forcing the fight. Roman gradually took control and a left hook in the seventh had blood pouring from Espinoza’s nose. Espinoza kept pressing and made some rounds close. Roman had to fight hard all the way but he was winning the rounds scoring with hurtful shots with both hands and cleared what had looked a challenging hurdle over those first few rounds. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Roman from the judges. Roman had outpointed TJ Doheny in April 2019 to unify the IBF and WBA titles but then lost them to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January 2020. He returned to action with a good win over former WBA super bantam title holder Juan Carlos Payano in September. He is rated WBC 2/WBA 3/IBF 6(5) and hoping for a title shot but with Akhmadaliev negotiating for a defence of his (**real) WBA and IBF titles against Ronny Rios and new WBC champion Figueroa aiming for (a real) unification against WBO title holder Stephen Fulton Roman is going to have to be patient. Mexican “Hindu” Espinoza had no plan B once Roman had figured him out. He was 15-01 in his previous 16 fights with the loss being a twelfth round stoppage against John Riel Casimero for the interim WBO bantamweight title in April 2019 and he had scored two wins since then. He is an entertaining fighter and beatable so a title fight is always a possibility for a voluntary defence.
Martinez vs. Burgos
Martinez protects his high WBA rating as he outpoints experienced Burgos. The pattern of this one mirrored that of the Roman vs. Espinoza fight. Although taller with a longer reach Burgos kept piling forward from the start looking to fight inside and he had some early success but with the better skills of Martinez eventually prevailing. Burgos was doing some excellent work with hooks to the body when he got in close but was forced to eat some fast, accurate counters as he came forward. Martinez’s work was more eye-catching as he landed plenty of head punches whereas Burgos kept that body focus. Both threw lots of punches but again the accuracy of Martinez gave him the edge and he emerged a clear winner with scores just a little harsh on Burgos at 99-91 from the three judges. Wins over John Vincent Moralde and Claudio Marrero have seen Martinez rise to No 2 with the WBA but he is not yet ready for Oscar Valdez or Gervonta Davis. Now 33 Burgos was having his first fight for 14 months. He drew with Roman Martinez in a challenge for the WBO title in 2013 and lost to Mikey Garcia for the same title in 2014. He had since fallen away with back-to-back losses in very tough asks against Devin Haney and Hector Tanajara.
Manchester: Super Middle: Lerrone Richards (15-0) W PTS 12 Giovanni De Carolis (28-10-1). Cruiser: Tommy McCarthy (18-2) W KO 6 Alexandru Jur (19-5). Super Bantam: Jason Cunningham (29-6) W PTS 12 Gamal Yafai (18-2) W. Light Heavy: Joshua Buatsi (14-0) W TKO 4 Daniel Bienda Dos Santos (15-1). Super Light: Dalton Smith (8-0) W TKO 6 Lee Appleyard (16-6-1).
Richards vs. De Carolis
Richards wins the vacant European title as he outclasses experienced De Carolis. Richards boxed his way to victory in this one. He did not have any physical advantages such as reach or height but he did have polished skill, better footwork and faster hands. De Carolis was not able to get close enough often enough to threaten Richards and was forced to resort to lunging attacks which Richards easily anticipated and countered. Richards needed that higher level of skill as he is not a noted puncher (just three wins by KO/TKO). When De Carolis did get close Richards was either clinching and smothering De Carolis efforts or outworking him. There really was no way into the fight for De Carolis who just continued to tramp forward behind a high guard usually ending up in the space Richards had just vacated leaving him frustrated without any semblance of a Plan B. The tenth in which he managed to pin Richards to the ropes a few times was about the only round you could award him and Richards was able to coast to victory. Scores 120-108 twice and 119-109. A former undefeated British and Commonwealth champion the 28-year-old southpaw had scored wins over high level domestic opposition in Tommy Langford and Lennox Clarke and he could soon take another step up as he may have to face the winner of an EBU eliminator between Germans Tyron Zeuge and unbeaten Leon Bauer in contest to decide who is Richards mandatory challenger. De Carolis, 36, is a former holder of the secondary WBA title who had drawn and lost against Zeuge but in his last fight fight in June 2019 had taken a unanimous decision over former WBA and WBO title challenger Khoren Gevor.
McCarthy vs. Jur
McCarthy retains the European title as Jur is counted out whilst indicating the last punch had landed at the back of his head. McCarthy made a confident start. Jur was on the back foot throwing occasional jab and McCarthy landed a couple of useful left hooks. There was not a lot of action in the second with Jur crouching and stabbing out jabs and McCarthy looking for a chance to land power shots. McCarthy changed the pace completely in the third. He was chasing Jur down letting fly with punches from both hands and Jur was just trying to stay out of trouble. A left to the body dropped Jur late in the fourth but there was not enough time for McCarthy to capitalise on that. Lots of movement and some good defensive work got Jur through the fifth but McCarthy was landing heavy rights in the sixth. Jur complained that a couple of punches had landed to the back of his head and when he ducked under a punch and it made some contact with the back of his head Jur dropped to his knees with his head touching the canvas and he was counted out. Jur was on his way out anyway and he ducked under the punch leading to it landing behind his head so it was regrettable but not intentional. First defence of the title for McCarthy. Wins over 17-0 Fabio Turchi and 25-1-2 Bilal Laggoune have seen him rated WBA 5/IBF 8(6)/WBC 7 so some way from a title shot. Domestic competition is fierce in this division with Lyndon Arthur, Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi all rated and his mandatory challenger is former champion Krzys Wlodarczyk. Romanian Jur had nothing in his arsenal to even mildly threaten McCarthy and was beyond lucky to land a shot the European title .
Cunningham vs. Yafai
Three knockdowns and some skilful boxing help Cunningham spring an upset and take Yafai’s European title. As expected
Yafai put Cunningham under pressure in the first. Cunningham boxed assuredly countering the advancing Yafai for a good opening round. Things went even better for Cunningham in the second. He walked Yafai onto some sharp jabs and as Yafai marched forward clipped him with a shot to the head and put Yafai down. Yafai had a better third scoring with a powerful left hook continued to take the fight to Cunningham and having a little more success but he was floored in the fourth and a cut opened over his left eye. Cunningham boxed well in the fifth and then put Yafai on the canvas again with a left in the sixth. Yafai put in a big effort in the seventh and may have just edged it and the eighth was close with Cunningham countering classily. Yafai knew his title was slipping away and he outscored Cunningham in the ninth and had Cunningham holding on desperately in the tenth. Yafai was pressing hard over the last two rounds and landed some big punches but Cunningham boxed and countered and Yafai just could not find the punch he needed to save his title. Scores 114-111 twice and 115-110 for Cunningham. Those three early 10-8 rounds were too much for Yafai to claw back and “Iceman” Cunningham, a former Commonwealth champion, now hold the prestigious European title. Yafai was No 10(8) with the IBF so Cunningham will also gets a world rating. Huge set-back for Yafai who had lost to Gavin McDonnell back in 2018 but defeated 22-1-2 Luca Rigoldi to win the European title in December only to lose it in his first defence.
Buatsi vs. Dos Santos
Buatsi returns with an emphatic win as he crushes Frenchman Dos Santos in four rounds. Buatsi had Dos Santos on the retreat in the first Dos Santos showed a useful jab but Buatsi landed a strong left as they traded punches at the end of the round. In the second Buatsi connected with a good left hook and then floored Dos Santos with a fierce right. Dos Santos beat the count and survived further pressure to the bell. In the third pressure from Buatsi had Dos Santos reeling and stumbling and Buatsi ended it in the fourth. Buatsi started the fourth with two left hooks and when Dos Santos backed into a corner Buatsi connected with a booming right to the chin and added a chopping right as Dos Santos was toppling to the floor with the referee immediately waiving then fight off. Buatsi was in his first fight with Virgil Hunter in his corner so was looking to impress. He retains the WBA International title and moves to twelve inside the distance finishes. He is rated WBA 2/IBF 3(2)/WBC 6 WBO 9 but I am not sure he is ready yet for Artur Beterbiev and both Dimity Bivol and Joe Smith are much more experienced. Dos Santos might have been 15-0 but he was only a 4 and 6 round prelim fighter so in way over his head with BoxRec having No 124 in the world.
Smith vs. Appleyard
Smith breaks down and stops Appleyard. No real action until the last twenty seconds of the opening round when Smith landed a sharp left hook and Appleyard fired some hooks. Smith picked up the pace in the second piercing Appleyard guard with a couple of fast hooks and then dominated the third with flashing jabs and some impressive combination punching rocking Appleyard at the bell. A series of rights to the head shook Appleyard in the fourth and body punches had him wincing. A low punch had Appleyard turning away and walking to the ropes in the fifth and he was given some recovery time but was then caught with some hefty rights. He had no answer to the hand speed of Smith and Smith was banging home hard head punches in the sixth when the referee made a well timed stoppage . An impressive showing from Smith who wins the English title the first of many the talented 24-year-old “Thunder” from Sheffield will collect. A former English champion Appleyard was in over his head in this fight.
Cologne, Germany: Heavy: Manuel Charr (32-4) W KO 2 Chris Lovejoy (19-1). Heavy: Viktor Vykhryst (7-0) W KO 1 Jacek Platek (11-1). Super Light: Volkan Gokcek (6-0,1ND) W TKO 2 Giorgi Mtchedlidze (4-4-1). Heavy: Christian Hammer (26-7) W TKO 3 Patryk Kowoll (7-25). Light Heavy: Mohammed Bekdash (20-0) W TKO 1 Mindia Nozadze (13-21).
Charr vs. Lovejoy
This fight was every bit as much of a farce as expected. In the opener Lovejoy was fat and slow and just prodded with his punches. The referee actually stopped the action to show Lovejoy he was supposed to his with the knuckle part of the glove and not the back of the glove! At the end of the round Lovejoy lurched forward grabbing Charr and then fell to his knees as Charr stepped back. No knockdown but Lovejoy was very slow in getting up. In the second Lovejoy started by throwing some punches but a series of jabs from Charr saw Lovejoy retreat to the ropes and a right to the head and a left hook dropped him and he took the ten count on one knee. Charr, 36, were having his first fight since November 2017. This was a non-title fight. Charr had been WBA secondary champion but then was re-designated to “Champion in Recess” but now that he has fought again it will be interesting to see how the WBA designate him. Lovejoy was obese and inept. He weighed 306 ½ lbs for this fight 61lbs more than Charr and 70lbs heavier that his last fight in January 2020 which tells you how much training he did for this fight. He also turned up on his own with no trainer or corner men. Box Rec rated him No 332 and even that flatters him.
Vykhryst vs. Platek
Ukrainian Vykhryst knocks out Platek in the first. Since he was conceding lots of reach but was 24lbs heavier Platek was just walking forward trying to force his way inside. He paid the price for his aggression when after targeting the advancing Platek with jabs Vykhryst landed a series of heavy rights which dropped Platek face first on the canvas and he was counted out. The 6’5” Ukrainian is still very much a work in progress but he is improving and this is his fifth early finish. Platek, 48, has been as high as 292lbs but was a relatively svelte 261lbs in his first fight since September 2019.
Gokcek vs. Mtchedlidze
Gokcek hammers Mtchedlidze to defeat in two rounds. Gokcek punched much too hard for the Georgian novice hunting the youngster down throughout the first. He continued to land heavily in the second. He had Mtchedlidze trapped on the ropes and under fire. With only seconds to go in the round the referee was standing by ready to interrupt to end the round but instead decided Mtchedlidze had taken too much punishment and stopped the fight with just two seconds remaining in the round. The 25-year-old Turkish prospect was moving up to his first eight round contest but this was never going that far. Mtchedlidze, 20, just a four round fighter.
Hammer vs. Kowoll
Another total mismatch. Hammer floors Pole Kowoll three times to force the stoppage in the third round. The Romanian-born Hammer (real name Christian Ciocan) has scored wins over Erkan Teper and David Price but has been seriously overmatched in points losses to Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and Tony Yoka. Poor Kowoll is now 2-9 in his last 11 fights with all nine losses inside the distance.
Bekdash vs. Nozadze
Another farce as Syrian-born Bekdash floors Nozadze four times before the fight is stopped after just 129 seconds. Eight inside the distance wins in a row for southpaw Bekdash and his eleventh first round stoppage-all scored against abysmal opponents. The 40-year-old Georgian Nozadze suffers his tenth consecutive loss nine of them by KO/TKO.
Warsaw, Poland: Cruiser: Michal Cieslak (21-1) W TKO 1 Yury Kashinsky (20-2). Super Middle: Lukasz Stanioch (6-0) W PTS 10 Robert Talarek (24-14-3). Cruiser: Nikodem Jezewski (20-1-1,1ND) W PTS 8 Vladimir Reznicek (10-4-2).
Cieslak vs. Kashinsky
Cieslak moves closer to a second world title shot with first round stoppage of Kashinsky. Cieslak used his longer reach to put Kashinsky on the back foot. Kashinsky also showed a strong jab but a left hook to the body had him hurt. A right to the head saw Kashinsky on his way down. He staggered across the ring as Cieslak connected with another right and fell into the ropes in a corner and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Kashinsky would have gone down but for the ropes and looked shaken but capable of continuing. He strongly protested the stoppage with good reason. Cieslak, 32, lost on points to Ilunga Makabu for the vacant WBC title in January 2020 and his return to the ring in December knocked out Taylor Mabika in six rounds. He has inside the distance victories over Olan Durodola and Youri Kayembre Kalenga. This was an IBF eliminator and with the rumour being that Mairis Breidis is looking to move to heavyweight this win will put Cieslak in the No 1 spot with the IBF guaranteeing him a shot at Breidis or at the vacant title. Russian Kashinsky’s only other loss was a close decision against Ruslan Fayer.
Stanioch vs. Talarek
After a slow start Stanioch outboxes more experienced Talarek to take a comfortable unanimous decision. Talarek scored well in the first but Stanioch found his rhythm in the second and scored consistently with jabs and hooks over the third and fourth. At that point Stanioch was up 39-37 on two cards and level at 38-38 on the third. From the fifth Talarek was fighting a defensive fight behind a high guard with Stanioch slotting jabs and straight rights home. After eight rounds he had the fight won as two judges had it 79-73 and the third 78-74 for Stanioch. Talarek was never completely out of the fight but Stanioch, eleven years younger, finished strongly to emerge an impressive winner. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for 26-year-old Stanioch who wins the WBC Francophone title. Talarek, 37, had lost only one of his last 14 fights and scored a stoppage win over 19-1 Patryk Szymanski in that sequence so was a good test for Stanioch.
Jezewski vs. Reznicek
Jezewski eases his way back into the winning column as he outboxes Czech Reznicek. Jezewski started by intelligent use of his jab to open up the slower Czech for right hands. As the fight developed Jezewski made things harder for himself by too often ignoring his corner’s instructions to stick to the jab, use his longer reach and not get involved inside. That allowed Reznicek a bit of success but not enough to challenge Jezewski’s control. He was too slow and not busy enough but he did shake the Pole with a right late in the fight. All three judges had Jezewski winning at 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74. First fight for Jezewski since filling in as a very late substitute against Lawrence Okolie in December and getting floored three times and stopped in the second round. A run of 6-1-2 had given Reznicek some respectability but he was well beaten here.
Mar Del Plata, Argentina: Super Feather: Requen Cona Facundo Arce (13-3-2) W PTS 10 Nicolas Paz (5-4-2).
“Topo” Arce collects the WBA Fedebol belt with a split verdict over Paz. There was never much of a gap between these two Arce had the better of the exchanges over the first half of the fight and it looked as though he might overwhelm Paz. However “Elegant” Paz came on over the later rounds. It was the aggression and harder punching of Arce that gave him the victory. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Arce and 96-94 for Paz. After a rocky start to his career Paz put together an unbeaten streak of 13 fights but in November lost to Mayco Estadella for the interim National title. Paz is in poor form as shown by his recent 1-5-1 form.
Mexico City, Mexico: Light: Denilson Jair Valtierra (15-0) W KO 3 Emanuel Lopez (30-13-1).
Both fighters let their hands go from the start. Valtierra used his much longer reach to score well at distance and connected with some well-timed body punches. Lopez managed to land with some shots early in the second but Valtierra countered again with fast, accurate punches. Valtierra softened Lopez up with body shots in the third and then floored Lopez with a right late in the fourth and the count continued after the bell giving Valtierra the win at 3:02 of the round. The 19-year-old “Kaiser” retains the WBC Latino title with his eighth win by KO/TKO. At one time Lopez held the interim WBA super feather title but that was in 2015. He lost in a fight for the vacant IBO title in 2017 but this is his third inside the distance defeat in a row.
Brescia, Italy: Super Feather: Nicola Henchiri (10-4-2) W PTS 12 Mario Alfano (15-3-1). Super Bantam: Mattia De Bianchi (11-0) W PTS 10 Jonathan Sannino (13-1-1). Feather: Luca Rigoldi (22-2-2) W Cristian Narvaez (16-25-6).
Henchiri vs. Alfano
Henchiri wins the vacant European Union title with close unanimous decision over favoured Alfano. Henchiri knew he did not have the power to trade with Alfano but he had height, reach and speed on his side and he used those advantages cleverly. Over the early rounds Alfano pressed hard and had some success but too often his poor defence let him down with Henchiri finding plenty of gaps for his quick jabs and thumping rights. Alfano used a focused body attack as he tried to slow Henchiri but found it difficult to pin down the quicker man. One of Alfano’s faults is that he tends to fight in bursts and in between bursts Henchiri was picking up points with his lighter but more accurate punching and although coming in to the fight at short notice he finished strongly. Scores 115-113 twice and 116-112 all for Henchiri. The 31-year-old from Pisa had fought a draw in a contest for the vacant Italian title against Giuseppe Carafa in June 2019. He had then competed well in losing over eight rounds against world rated Francesco Patera last month and was preparing for another fight so although he came in at just three days notice after Eric Donovan pulled out with a injury he was in reasonable condition. Alfano had lost to Maltese boxer Haithem Laamouz for this same title in December but Laamouz was reportedly stripped off the title after testing positive for a banned substance.
De Bianchi vs. Sannino
De Bianchi is the new Italian champion after outscoring reigning title holder Sannino. De Bianchi was just too quick and too smart for the aggressive but limited Sannino. The champion pressed hard but De Bianchi showed a solid defence and set a fast pace that Sannino just could not match. Scores 99-92, 98-92 and 98-91 for the new champion. The 23-year-old “Spartan” was in his first ten round fight. Sannino was making his first defence.
Rigoldi vs. Narvaez
Former European champion Rigoldi returns to action with a gentle run out as he wins every round against seasoned loser Narvaez. Rigoldi made a steady start and then wound up the pressure bit by bit. Narvaez used his standard bag of survival tactics holding and covering well to give Rigoldi eighteen minutes of ring work. Rigoldi will be looking to fight his way back to a shot at the European super bantam title he lost to Gamal Yafai in December. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Narvaez is 1-21-2 in his 24 most recent fights but has only been beaten once by KO/TKO.
Brisbane, Australia: Heavy: Demsey McKean (19-0) W PTS 10 Kiki Toa Leutele (7-1-2). Super Welter: Joel Camilleri (20-6-1) W PTS 10 Luke Woods (6-4).
McKean vs. Leutele
McKean overcomes a nightmare fourth round to outpoint Leutele. McKean was a heavy favourite over New Zealand novice Leutele. He had big edges in height and reach but Leutele did some good work over two slow opening rounds to keep the fight tight. McKean seemed to hit his stride in the third making good use of his jab. The roof nearly fell in on McKean in the fourth. He was cut over his left eye and staggered badly a couple of times being forced to hold desperately to make it to the bell. From the fifth McKean used his longer reach to score but too often allowed himself to be bundled to the ropes where his reach was of no use. He was winning the rounds but it was an untidy fight and Leutele landed some single heavy shots in close. Although winning clearly it was a very unimpressive performance by McKean. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for McKean. The 6’6” southpaw is rated IBF 12(11)/ WBO 12 but will struggle when he comes up against any quality opposition. Leutele did much better than expected as he had been down twice in a draw against Julius Long in his last fight in August 2019.
Camilleri vs. Woods
Camilleri wins the vacant Australasian title with unanimous decision over Woods. All three judges had Camilleri the winner but the scores were all over the place with the judges tabbing the fight 100-90, 97-93 and 96-94. Camilleri has won 5 of his last 6 fights with the loss being on points against Tim Tszyu. Woods was an Australian amateur champion and an Elite level amateur but just hasn’t made it as a pro.
Quebec City, Canada: Super Light: Mathieu Germain (19-2-1) W PTS 10 Steve Claggett (29-7-2).
Germaine had lost two of his last three fights going into the all-Canadian contest so he badly needed a win. He changed his usual tactics and took the fight to Claggett. The fight was conducted at a fast pace and was entertaining but Claggett did not seem to know quite how to adjust to facing an aggressive Mathieu instead of the clever boxing fast moving Mathieu had been in the past. There were many close rounds but the volume and accuracy from Germaine gave him the edge and he looked a clear winner despite the split decision. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Germaine and 97-93 for Claggett. Some were ready to write Germaine off after being knocked out by Mexican Uriel Perez and stopped by Yves Ulysse but this was a good answer to his detractors. These two had shared the points in a split draw in January 2019 with Claggett also going on to lose to Ulysse but he had rebounded to recorded wins in his last two contests.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Light: Starling Wilson Castillo (14-0) W TKO 2 Abraham Peralta (19-9). Bantam: Victor Santillan (10-0) W PTS 10 Jose Valdes (9-5-1).
Castillo vs. Peralta
Castillo stops Peralta in two rounds. Castillo pressured Peralta from the start. Peralta proved an awkward and unpredictable opponent. He showed some very flashy movement, leapt in with wild attacks and goaded Castillo any time Castillo missed with a punch. Castillo went after Peralta hard in the second and Peralta fell through the ropes but was helped back in the ring. Castillo landed with a series of body punches and Peralta again fell through the ropes and was pushed back in. Castillo was connecting with more body punches and with Peralta bent in half and not firing back the referee stopped the fight. Eleven wins by KO/TKO for 25-year-old Castillo. Peralta is 1-5 in his six most recent contests with all five losses by KO/TKO.
Santillan vs. Valdes
In a bout moved from eight rounds to ten Santillan proves too big and strong for Valdes. He wins the decision and collects the WBA Fedecaribe belt but only after suffering a shock knockdown. A southpaw and much Santillan was controlling the bout from the centre of the ring with Valdes circling him looking for gaps. Santillan was sailing along nicely in the third when a crunching right dropped him heavily. He clawed his way up using the ropes and was badly dazed but made it to the bell. From there Santillan managed to outbox the always dangerous Valdes. As Valdes tired over the last two rounds a stoppage looked on but Valdes didn’t crumble and made it to the final bell. First ten round fight and some good experience for Santillan. Mexican Valdes had won his last two fights.
Accra, Ghana: Middle: Obodai Sai (36-3-1) W RTD 3 Adam Misho (12-3). Feather: Prince Dzanie (22-0) W TKO 6 Kamarudeen Boyefio (11-10).
Sai vs. Misho
Sai gets back into action with a win against overmatched Tanzanian neophyte Misho who did not come out for the fourth round. The 34-year-old former Commonwealth champion makes it 27 victories by KO/TKO but has come up short whenever he has met quality opposition. Southpaw Misha was in only his third fight in almost four years.
Dzanie vs. Boyefio
Dzanie stops Boyefio n six rounds. A gutsy Boyefio was never in with a chance in this poor match. He was giving away height and reach and was having his first fight for three years. Danzie was a good few rungs higher on the ladder where ability was concerned and blasted Boyefio with thunderous punches from both hands. Boyefio did well to last to the sixth but he was cornered and beaten to the canvas and counted out. The 36-year-old Dzanie, a 2008 Olympian, has 18 inside the distance wins but has yet to be put into a testing fight. That should happen soon as he has been signed up by Salita Promotions but at 36 must have a limited shelf life. Fourth inside the distance loss in a row for Boyefio. He doesn’t do distance fights as his eleven wins and eight of his losses have come by KO/TKO
Perez, Argentina: Welter: Gabriel Corzo (13-0) W PTS 10 Martin Ruiz (11-6-2).
Corzo wins the vacant WBA Fedebol title with a points victory over Ruiz. It was an entertaining contest but one in which Corzo built a lead early and maintained his advantage to the end. Ruiz fought hard but was handicapped by a cut over his left eye in the fifth and one over his right eye in the eighth. Scores 89-82, 89-83 and 87-84 for Corzo. This was a nine round title fight so Corzo has yet to be in a ten round fight. Ruiz was having his first fight since December 2017.
Fight of the week (Significance): Brandon Figueroa’s win over Luis Nery raises the possibility of unifying the WBC and WBO super bantam titles
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Figueroa and Nery went to war from start to finish.
Fighter of the week: Brandon Figueroa the new WBC title holder
Punch of the week: The devastating right from Joshua Buatsi which sent Daniel Bienda Dos Santos on his way to the canvas
Upset of the week:( Chris Lovejoy managing to last more than one round.) No only joking. Jason Cunningham was very much the underdog against Gamal Yafai
Prospect watch: No new names
I want my money back! That might have been the reaction to who ever paid to see the show in Cologne topped by Mahmoud Charr vs. Christopher Lovejoy. The schedule was for six fights with a total of 50 rounds. In the end the fights all finished early with less than 11 rounds fought.
It’s easy to see why some were describing Nery vs. Figueroa as a “unification” fight supposedly unifying the WBC and the WBA titles even though Figueroa was only the holder of the WBA secondary title. Even as the WBC/WBA “unification” was being trumpeted the WBA were calling for purse offers for their real champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev to defend the real WBA title against Gold champion Ronny Rios. When the sanctioning bodies do things like this confusion is inevitable. Right there is not one fighter who can really claim to be a champion. No one holds all four sanctioning body versions in any division so the most the can be labelled is title holder. The winner of Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez will be a champion and with luck the winner of Joshua vs. Fury and Alvarez vs. Plant will see three champions crowned.
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