By Eric Armit
-Scot Josh Taylor floors and outpoints Jose Carlos Ramirez to unify the super lightweight titles
-Evgeny Romanov decisions Dmitry Kudryashov in WBC bridgerweight eliminator
-Novice Ayanda Ndulani wins the vacant IBO minimumweight title with kayo of Nkosinathi Joyi who lost the title when he failed to make the weight for the title defence.
-Two-division champion Hekkie Budler returns to the ring and wins the WBC Silver light flyweight title with victory over Filipino Jonathan Almacen
-Sam Eggington wins the WBC Silver middleweight title with unanimous decision over Carlos Molina.
-Jose Zepeda outpoints Hank Lundy and remains No 1 super light with the WBC putting him position to challenge Taylor
World Title/Major Shows
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Light: Josh Taylor (18-0) W PTS 12 Jose Ramirez (26-1). Super Light: Jose Zepeda (34-2.2ND) W PTS 10 Henry Lundy (31-9-1). Super Feather: Jose Durantes Vivas (21-1) W PTS 8 Luis Coria (12-4). Super Light: Kenneth Sims Jr (15-3-1) W PTS 8 Elvis Rodriguez (11-1-1). Light: Ray Muratalla (12-0) W TKO 5 Jose Gallegos (20-11). Robeisy Ramirez (7-1) W PTS 6Ryan Lee Allen (10-5-1).
Taylor vs. Ramirez
Taylor outpoints Ramirez and makes history as he unifies the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles becoming only the seventh boxer and only the fifth male boxer to hold the four belts simultaneously in the past 30 years. He is also the only Scot to achieve that feat. He did so by flooring Ramirez twice and then staying strong to hold off a big effort from Rammers over the last four rounds.
A close and lively opener. Ramirez was on the front foot advancing behind a high guard. Taylor was popping Ramirez with right jabs and lefts to the body and just edged the round.
Score: 10-9 Taylor
Taylor’s round. He was jabbing well but also brought his straight left into play firing it through the high guard of Ramirez. Ramirez pressed hard at the end of the round and had Taylor under pressure but Taylor stayed cool and boxed well.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 20-18
A very good round for Ramirez. He was moving inside behind his jab and outfighting Taylor landing body punches and clipping Taylor with a left hook. Taylor connected with some left hooks to the body but Ramirez stayed on top of Taylor who looked uncomfortable under the pressure.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 29-28
A close round. Taylor started well jabbing strongly and getting through with lefts with Ramirez not pressing as much. Ramirez came on strongly over the middle of the round swarming all over Taylor and landing a couple of crisp left hooks. Taylor made space and countered well but it was Ramirez’s round.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 38-38
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 39-37 Taylor, Judge Dave Moretti 38-38 Tied, Judge Steve Weisfeld 39-37 Ramirez
Taylor boxed intelligently in this round. He was slotting right jabs through Ramirez defence and finding the target with straight lefts. Ramirez was not as aggressive and when Ramirez did march forward Taylor was countering and then tying Ramirez up inside.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 48-47
Dramatic opening to the round. Within the first ten seconds. Ramirez moved inside and threw a right and Taylor came over the top of Ramirez right with a left hook and Ramirez fell forward and down. He was up quickly and did not look too badly shaken. Taylor dominated the rest of the action connecting with a couple more lefts but Ramirez fought back strongly. Taylor was showing a small cut by the side of his left eye.
Score: 10-8 Taylor Taylor 58-55
This was another great round for Taylor. He boxed on the back foot stabbing right jabs through the guard of Ramirez and landing with lefts. Ramirez connected with a couple of good punches but was floored again. Late in the round as they fought inside Taylor delivered a fearsome left uppercut that sent Ramirez down heavily onto his back. This time Ramirez was definitely hurt and badly as he was unsteady when he climbed to his feet. By the end of the eight count and whilst the referee confirmed Ramirez was able to continue there were just ten seconds remaining in the round. Taylor landed more head punches and drove Ramirez to the ropes but the bell went before he could finish the job.
Score: 10-8 Taylor 68-63
Now it was Taylor making the running and Ramirez hesitant and on the back foot. Taylor was scoring with jabs and right hooks and looking to land another big left. There was very little coming back from Ramirez until late in the found when he came to life again briefly.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 78-72
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 78-72 Taylor, Judge Dave Moretti 77-73 Taylor, Judge Steve Weisfeld 77-73 Taylor
The pace dropped dramatically. There was very little activity early in the round with Ramirez finding the target with his jab. Taylor was not throwing much and Ramirez started to let his punches go late in the round and drove Taylor back with a series of lefts and rights.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 87-82
This one was close again. Ramirez scored well early in the round. Taylor connected with some good straight lefts and showed some good defensive movement but Ramirez finished the round stronger.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 96-92
Taylor boxed cautiously early in this round perhaps feeling he did not need to take any chances. Ramirez needed to win the round but was showing too much respect for Taylor’s left. Ramirez then burst into life and drove Taylor back and had him under heavy pressure at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 105-102
Ramirez took the last round as Taylor played safe . Even then Ramirez only attacked in bursts when he needed much more than just to win the round.
Score: 10-9 Ramirez Taylor 114-112
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 114-112 Taylor, Judge Dave Moretti 114-112 Taylor, Judge Steve Weisfeld 114-112 Taylor.
Taylor rules the super lightweight world after just 18 pro fights. He showed his power particularly with the second knockdown and boxed with a sore hand over the late rounds. He is hoping to get a chance to defend the titles in Edinburgh and there is also talk of a fight with Terrence Crawford. Jose Zepeda is the WBC No 1 but Jack Catterall the WBO No 1 and Lewis Ritson the unlikely WBA No 2 could present opportunities for a domestic fight. Ramirez gave it his all but in the end the two knockdowns proved decisive. After Taylor he is the best super lightweight out there and a fight with Regis Prograis might be the route back to a second fight with Taylor.
Zepeda vs. Lundy
Zepeda successfully protected his No 1 position with the WBC as he outpointed seasoned pro Lundy. If he watched this then Josh Taylor will have seen nothing to worry about Zepeda as a threat. The California fought at more studied pace than is usual for him. Perhaps he had in mind the wild multi-knockdown slug fest he had with Ivan Baranchyk in his last fight and did not want to take the chance of any repeat of that. He never seemed to run in a high gear. He was winning the rounds but without ever looking likely to add Lundy to his list of twenty-six victims who failed to go the distance and he had to settle for a decision win. Scores 98-92 from all three judges for Zepeda. As WBC No 1 there is a good chance he will get a shot at Taylor. It will be his third title shot and he is due some luck. He lost to Terry Flanagan in a fight for the vacant WBO lightweight when a dislocated shoulder forced him to retire after two rounds and lost a majority decision against Ramirez for the WBC title in 2019. He has earned his No 1 spot with wins over Jose Pedraza and Baranchyk so is a much better fighter than he showed in this fight. At 37 Lundy’s career is winding down. His title shot ended on a fifth round stoppage against Terence Crawford for the WBO super light title in 2016.
Vivas vs. Coria
Vivas climbs off the floor three times to outpoint Coria. This was a close-quarters contest from the off. Vivas took the first two rounds as he out-slugged Coria on the inside hammering away with body punches throwing more and landing more. In the third a left hook from Coria put Vivas down on firstly on a knee and from there face-first on the floor. After the count Vivas tried to walk through a shower of head punches and tumbled down to the canvas again, He bounced up immediately and again just walked straight in to Coria. He was rocked a couple of times but just kept punching to the bell but it was a 10-7 round for Coria. Vivas was attacking hard again in the fourth but added to his troubles by landing a low left hook which cost him a point. They continued to go toe-to-toe in round after round with the greater strength of Vivas giving him the advantage and he clawed back the four lost points by sweeping the last four rounds. Scores 75-74 for Vivas from the three judges. The 26-year-old Mexican lost on points to Ruben Villa in September 2019 but has battled back with wins over unbeaten Carlos Jackson and 22-3 John Vincent Moralde. Coria was coming off losses to Adam Lopez and Robson Conceicao but he played his part here in making this eight rounds of trench warfare.
Sims vs. Rodriguez
Sims outpoints Rodriguez in something of an upset. There was very little activity in the first two rounds. Although Rodriguez is the bigger puncher Sims was coming forward confidently behind his jab and Rodriguez seemed tight and was not throwing much although he came to life briefly at the end of the second. Both fighters were cautious again in the third with Rodriguez slightly the busier. Sims switched to southpaw in the fourth but then switched back to orthodox in the fifth but again there was not a great deal of sustained activity making the rounds hard to score. Sims had a good sixth drilling Rodriguez with straight rights but neither fighter was dominating. The fight changed in the seventh with Sims moving inside and he outscored Rodriguez and edged the last. Scores 78-74 twice for Sims and 76-76. Sims looked the winner but 78-74 looked harsh. Sims struck a bad patch in 2017 and 2018 winning only one of his four fights against very modest opposition but this win has restored his standing. A very disappointing result for Rodriguez who seemed to have problems letting his hands go which was unusual as he won his last nine fights eight by KO/TKO. He is better than he showed here.
Muratalla vs. Gallegos
Muratalla outclasses Gallegos and gats the stoppage in the fifth. In the first Muratalla connected with a series of body punches and head shots and had Gallegos in peril with a stoppage looking possible. Gallegos survived but Muratalla continued to hurt him with jabs and left hooks to the body. Gallegos was game but he had neither the speed or the power to match Muratalla who also benefitted from a much longer reach. It seemed that Muratalla was content to let Gallegos hang around for a while as he fought in bursts putting together some impressive combinations and then backing off. Gallegos took lots of punishment in the fourth being rocked by uppercuts but kept fighting back. Muratalla wrapped up the fight in the fifth. He bombarded Gallegos with punches and when a flashing combination of six or seven punches all landed the referee stopped the fight. Seventh inside the distance win in a row from 24-year-old Muratalla who improves from fight to fight. Gallegos had plenty of heart but not the skill to contend with Muratalla.
Ramirez vs. Allen
Cuban Ramirez outpoints Allen but again fails to impress. Ramirez floored Allen in the second and took the unanimous decision but he seemed to coast at times. Scores 60-53 twice and 59-54. Ramirez was outstanding as an amateur but has not really caught alight yet as a pro. Perhaps he needs to shake off that feeling that winning was all that mattered as an amateur and realise than entertainment is also important in the pros. Allen had gone ten rounds with rated Cobia Breedy and has not lost inside the distance.
Tokyo, Japan: Welter: Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1) W KO 10 Yuki Beppu (21--1).
Toyoshima defends the OPBF title and wins the WBO Asia Pacific belt with kayo of Beppu. Despite Beppu’s impressive statistics he was largely untested and was no match for Toyoshima. After two fairly even rounds Toyoshima took control and never relinquished it. He scored well to the body in the third and fourth and was in front on all cards after the fourth with scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37. A focused body attack saw Beppu beginning to wilt and he was floored by an uppercut in the seventh. Beppu rallied briefly in the eighth but was down 80-71, 80-71 and 78-73 at the bell. Beppu survived the ninth but a crunching left hook floored him in the tenth and he was counter out. A former All-Japan Rookie (newcomer) king Toyoshima, 25, gets his eighth inside the distance win. “Tyson of Kyushu” Beppu, also an All-Japan Rookie king, was making the first defence of the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Novosibirsk, Russia: Super Middle: Pavel Silyagin (8-0) W PTS 10 Abdallah Shabani Pazi (29-10-1). Feather: Andranik Grigoryan (13-0) W TKO 4 Carl Herrera (41-4,2ND).
Silyagin vs. Pazi
Silyagin floors and outpoints Pazi. Silyagin won this one but it was a below par showing from the Russian. He lacked his usual accuracy and had more trouble than expected against the Tanzanian. Pazi was taking the fight to Silyagin and had plenty of success landing some good shots and often forcing Silyagin onto the back foot and having the Russian rattled at times. Silyagin dropped Pazi with a left hook in the fourth and shook Pazi a couple of times taking advantage of Pazi’s poor defence but it was not a very convincing performance from Silyagin who took the unanimous decision. No scores were announced. The tall 27-year-old WBC Silver title holder is No 8 in their ratings. As an amateur he won bronze medals at the World Championships and the European Games. He was Russian champion at Under-22 and Senior level and won and lost against Joshua Buatsi. Pazi was knocked out in two rounds by Rocky Fielding in 2019 which is one of only two losses by KO/TKO.
Grigoryan vs. Herrera
Grigoryan just too big and too strong for the tiny Herrera. Grigoryan handed out steady punishment and when Herrera was sent reeling by a series of punches in the fourth the referee stopped the fight. Canadian-based Grigoryan was defending the NABA North American title –in Russia against a fighter from Uruguay! Herrera is just 5’1” tall and at 40 must be nearing the end of the road. He was 21-0 at the start of his career but was knocked out in four rounds by AJ Banal in an IBF super flyweight title in 2007 which is the closest he has come to a title shot.
Khimki, Russia: Bridgerweight: Evgeny Romanov (16-0) W PTS 12 Dmitry Kudryashov (24-4). Super Light: Ivan Kozlovsky (3-0) W PTS 10 Adam Kipenga (11-2). Middle: Magomed Madiev (15-0-2) W PTS 10 Maxim Voshkov (9-1-1).
Romanov vs. Kudryashov
Romanov clearly outpoints Kudryashov to win the vacant WBC Silver title and opens the way to be the first challenger to the winner of the WBC bridgerweight title fight between Oscar Rivas and Bryant Jennings. Kudryashov opened brightly moving around Romanov and stabbing out jabs. Romanov moved less and threw less but he was accurate and had more power. Kudryashov very quickly ran out of ideas. Romanov was doing nothing spectacular but what he was doing he was doing well and was effective. He was constantly finding gaps for solid jabs and curling left hooks around Kudryashov’s guard. He was also connecting with rights over the top of Kudryashov left and Kudryashov’s activity level dropped off. Romanov is not quick but he does have power (he knocked out Deontay Wilder in the amateurs) and Kudryashov’s work became messy as he dropped his hands threw careless punches and wasted his time with too much movement. Romanov was cruising to victory in the last until a punch sliced open a nasty cut over his right eye and the eye also began to rapidly close but the injury came too late to have any impact on the result. Scores 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 all for Romanov. At 6’0” tall the bridgerweight limit of 225lbs is just right for Romanov but he will find either Rivas or Jennings a tougher test. Kudryashov has lost the big fights having been beaten by Yuniel Dorticos for the secondary WBA title and Ilunga Makabu for the WBC Silver title.
Kozlovsky vs. Kipenga
Southpaw Kozlovsky lifts the vacant WBC International Silver title with points victory over Tanzanian Kipenga. This did not look a difficult tasks for former star amateur Kozlovsky as he had a 5” height advantage over the 5’4” Kipenga, another southpaw. It looked as though it was going to be a short fight as Kozlovsky put Kipenga down in the first and bossed the next three rounds. However when Kipenga refused to succumb Kozlovsky found he had a fight on his hands. His work became untidy and Kipenga was able to get through with some good punches. Kozlovsky retrenched and then took control again and ended strongly as Kipenga tired. Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 98-91 for Kozlovsky. The decision was right but the scores are a little harsh on Kipenga. The 24-year-old Kozlovsky won gold medals at the Russian Junior, World Junior and Russian Youth Championships. Kipenga gave a very good account of himself. His other loss was against unbeaten Rajesh Kumar in India.
Madiev vs. Voshkov
Madiev just scrapes past Voshkov with a majority decision. In a contrast of styles Madiev was forced to chase down the clever and elusive Voshkov. There was never much between them with both having good spells. In the end the aggressive approach of Madiev just gave him a very thin advantage but the decision could just as easily have gone to Voshkov. Scores 96-94 twice and 95-95 for Madiev. The 26-year-old Madiev takes possession of the vacant WBC International Silver title. Madiev drew against Artur Osipov in a Russian title defence in his last fight in July 2020 yet Madiev is somehow No 2 with the WBA-and Osipov is not in the first fifteen. It seems as though the WBA have decided to ignore that fight results as it would just be too much trouble to rate Osipov. Southpaw Voshkov, 24, showed some good skills and can still be a force in this division.
Panama City, Panama: Light: Ricardo Nunez (22-3) W TKO 9 Alfredo Santiago (13-2). Feather: Anselmo Moreno (39-6-1) W PTS 10 Antonio Tostado Garcia (25-7). Light: Jezzrel Corrales (24-4) W TKO 1 Miguel Martinez (15-4-1). Super Feather: Pablo Vicente (17-1,1ND) W TKO 3 Jose Luis Espinoza (14-4).
Nunez vs. Santiago
Nunez shakes off accumulated dust to stop Santiago in nine rounds. Nunez showed the effects of his inactivity in a slow start that saw Santiago take the first two rounds. From the third Nunez began to time his punches and find the range. In round after round he weakened Santiago with body punches and messed up his face. Santiago began to wilt and was holding so much that the referee twice deducted a point from him. Nunez floored Santiago in the seventh and after a second knockdown in the ninth the referee stopped the fight. Nunez, 27, was having first fight since July 2019 when he was halted in two rounds by Gervonta Davis in a challenge for the WBA super feather title. He picks up the vacant WBA Latino title and gets win No 20 by KO/TKO. In fact only three of his fights have gone the distance. Dominican Santiago lost on points to Devin Haney for the WBC lightweight title in November 2019.
Moreno vs. Garcia
Moreno was having his first fight since November 2019. He was in charge from the start and Garcia had very little other than aggression to offer against the former WBA bantamweight champion. Moreno boxed well once he hit his stride finding gaps for his southpaw jab and scoring effectively to the body. Garcia never stopped rolling forward but was too slow to really threaten Moreno but at least he made Moreno work hard which is what Moreno most needed out of this fight. Now 35 Moreno wins the interim WBA Latino title and hopes to work his way to a title fight at featherweight. Garcia was also having his first fight since November 2019. He was knocked out in four rounds by Omar Narvaez in a WBO flyweight title challenge in 2014. His only title shot.
Corrales vs. Martinez
Former WBA super featherweight title holder Corrales cuts down Martinez in 44 seconds. Corrales started the round with a torrent of punches that drove Martinez back and down to his knees. Martinez was up quickly but after the count Corrales connected with a series of head punches with left hooks snapping back Martinez’s head and another sending him down for the second time with the referee instantly waving his arms to end the fight. Corrales badly needed a win. He lost his WBA title when he failed to make the weight for a defence against Alberto Machado and was knocked out by Machado. He was returning here after consecutive losses to Ladarius Miller and Chris Colbert and is going to campaign as a lightweight now. Third inside the distance loss for Mexican Martinez.
Vicente vs. Espinoza
Impressive performance from Cuban Vicente as in his first fight for fourteen months he demolishes Espinoza. Vicente was hurting Espinoza with body punches in the first and put him down in the second The knockdown came from some wicked left hooks to the body and although Espinoza made it to his feet he was just delaying the inevitable. Vicente scored with more punishing body shots in the third and Espinoza retired in his corner. The 27-year-old “Judge” makes it 15 wins by KO/TKO. His only loss was a very debatable split decision against Marcos Villasana in Mexico. Espinoza is now 2-3 in his most recent outings.
East London, South Africa: Minimum: Ayanda Ndulani (11-2-1) W KO 4 Nkosinathi Joyi (29-6-1,1ND). Light Fly: Nhlanhla Tyirha (5-1) W PTS 10 Joey Canoy (16-5-1,1ND). Light Fly: Siphamandla Baleni (17-3-2) W TKO 11 Nwabisile Cholani (7-10-1).
Ndulani vs. Joyi
It looks to be the end of the road for Joyi as he loses his IBO title on the scales and is then crushed by relative novice Ndulani. In the opening round it was already obvious that Joyi had drained himself trying to make the weight. Ndulani jolted and staggered Joyi in the first and then put him down twice in the second. Joyi made it through the rest of the round and the third but in the fourth a right to the head deposited Joyi face down on the canvas and the referee waived his hands to end the fight. The 31-year-old new IBO champion, a former ABU title holder, was only rated as 5th best in the South African rankings so quite an upset. He really has only the most basic of techniques which shows how far Joyi has slipped. Joyi, 37, a former IBF title holder, was having his first fight for 17 months. He has been a pro for 19 years and for many years has been one the best little men in the world but retirement must be probable.
Tyirha vs. Canoy
In a clash of southpaws Tyirha scores surprisingly easy points victory over more experienced Filipino Canoy. Tyirha never allowed Canoy to get a toe-hold in the bout and won on scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. The 21-year-old local fighter, a former South African champion, wins the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title. He had lost on points to Joyi in a challenge for the WBO African title in his last fight in April 2019. Canoy had lost to Hekkie Budler for the WBO light fly title and in December 2019 to Joyi for the vacant IBO title.
Baleni vs. Cholani
Baleni wins the vacant South African title with a late stoppage against overmatched Cholani. If Baleni was a heavy puncher this one would have been over much earlier but Cholani was game and stayed around until the fight was finally stopped in the eleventh. “Toy Toy” Baleni, 30, is a former South African minimumweight champion but has moved up a division. Cholani had won only three of his last twelve fights and this is his sixth defeat by KO/TKO.
Ugento, Italy: Light: Giuseppe Carafa (13-4-2) W PTS 10 Pablo Fuego (16-6).
Carafa picks up the vacant IBO Continental title with points victory against Spaniard Fuego in a lively contest. The opening rounds were tight but from the third Carafa used his better skills and boxed more to move in front having Fuego rocked in the fourth. Fuego came through that crisis and began to find the target with hard rights to claw back some of the deficit. Carafa let himself be drawn into some close-quarters stuff and had to fight hard to hold on to his lead and just did enough. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Carafa. He finally wins a title at lightweight after losing and drawing in shots at the Italian super featherweight title and being outpointed by Massi Tachour for the European super lightweight title . Fuego has lost tough jobs against Mathieu Germain in Canada and Jacob Ng in Australia.
Tokyo, Japan: Feather: Satoshi Shimizu (10-1) W PTS 12 Musashi Mori (12-1). Bantam: Kazuki Nakajima (10-0-1) W PTS 12 Kai Chiba (13-2).
Shimizu vs. Mori
Two titles on the line here and now Shimizu has them both as he scores a clear-cut points win over Mori in a clash of southpaws. The pace was quick at the start. Although 3 ½” taller Shimizu was not looking to box but instead fought Mori inside. That suited Mori and they both scored well over the first four round with the judges split at 39-37 Shimizu, 39-37 Mori and 38-38. From the fifth Shimizu began to make use of his longer reach and followed through with his “Diamond Left” ripping punches through Chiba’s guard. That turned the fight 100% his way and despite the strong efforts of Chiba he was in front on all cards now 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75. Mori pressed hard but Shimizu stayed composed and finished the stronger to take the verdict. Scores 118-110 twice and 116-112 for Shimizu. He holds on to the OPBF title and takes Mori’s WBO Asia Pacific title. A bronze medallist at the London Olympics Shimizu is 35 so time is marching on. He is No 14 with the WBC and lucky to be that high as he has done nothing of note since being stopped by Filipino Joey Noynay. Mori was making the fourth defence of his title and had scored a couple of good domestic wins and in the mad world of the sanctioning bodies was No 4 with the WBO.
Nakajima vs. Chiba
Nakajima collects the vacant OPBF title with emphatic victory over Chiba. The first four rounds were fought at a slow pace with the bigger Nakajima getting the better of the exchanges and scoring strongly with southpaw lefts. He had opened a clear gap after four rounds blanking Chiba with two scores of 40-36 and one of 39-37. Those scores forced Chiba to up his work rate but Nakajima matched him and connected with some crisp body punches out-fighting Chiba in the eighth establishing a winning lead at 79-73 twice and 77-75. Chiba attacked fiercely in the ninth, tenth and eleventh as Nakajima coasted but even in cruise control he was matching Chiba and clearly won the last round. Scores 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112 for the new champion. Nakajima was testing himself over twelve rounds for the first time and lasted the pace with ease. He was 72-15 as an amateur so has that experience behind him. Chiba, the Japanese No 5, was jumping from eight rounds to twelve and was well beaten.
Pionki, Poland: Light: Erick Encinia (14-4-1) W PTS 10 Damian Wrzesinski (22-2-2,1ND).
Mexican Encinia was supposed to just be there to add another win to Wrzesinski’s impressive looking record. The danger signs showed up early as Encinia shook Wrzesinski in the first and non-stop pressure saw him in command in the second and third. Wrzesinski seemed to find the answer to the Mexican’s tactics as boxed well in the fourth but Encinia upped his pace over the fifth and sixth. Wrzesinski found his rhythm again and frustrated Encinia’s attacks with plenty of clever movement and a higher level of accuracy seventh and eighth. Encinia put in a strong finish over the last two rounds to emerge a good winner despite the majority decision. Scores 07-93 and 96-94 for Encinia and 95-95.Encinia wins the Republic of Poland International title from Wrzesinski and is 5-1 in his last 6 contests. Wrzesinski, 33, was unbeaten in his last eleven contests including victories over three decent level Mexican opposition so a modicum of national revenge here for Encinia.
Belgrade, Serbia: Heavy: Emir Ahmatovic (10-0) W PTS 10 Gabriel Enguema (10-11). Light: Ralfs Vilcans (12-0) W PTS 10 Nick Hannig (9-1-1) W. Super Middle: Patrick Mendy (19-17-3) W TKO 5 Karwan Al Bewani (8-0). Light Heavy: Luca Cinqueoncie (13-0) W TKO 3 Kristof Kov1cs (8-3-1). Cruiser: Veljko Raznatovic (10-0) W TKO 2 Levani Lukhutasvili (10-8). Super Light: Nikola Ivkovic (3-26-3) W PTS 8 Howik Bebraham (17-2). Super Middle: Shefat Isufi (31-4-2) W KO 2 Ericles Torres (20-018-1). Cruiser Enrico Koelling (27-4) W RTD 2 Slavisa Simeunovic (36-49).
Ahmatovic vs. Enguema
Ahmatovic wins the GBU title with split verdict over Spaniard Enguema. Ahmatovic had trouble getting past the reach of the 6’5 ½” Spaniard. It was a tight fight with many rounds close and Serbian-born Ahmatovic was fortunate to get the verdict as Enguema looked worth at least a draw. Scores 97-92 and 96-93 for Ahmatovic and 95-94 for Enguema. Ahmatovic has been carefully matched and this was his first real test. Enguema is on a bad run being 2-8 in his last ten fights.
Vilcans vs. Hannig
Latvian Vilcans springs a surprise as he floors and decision unbeaten German Hannig. The German had promised an early knockout and had an impressive first round. Vilcans survived and it quickly became clear this was not going to be an early night with much taller Vilcans ahead on two cards after the fourth round. Hannig fought his way to the front but a clash of heads saw him cut over the left eye. The fight swung on the ninth round when Vilcans floored Hannig and kept his lead in a close tenth. Scores 97-94 and 96-94 for Vilcans and 95-94 for Hannig. The 27-year-old Latvian “Train” wins the WBC International title. Hannig has been promised an early return by promoter Alexander Petkovic. He had draw and defeated Ryno Liebenberg and was making the third defence of the International title.
Mendy vs. Al Bewani
Mendy gets what is becoming a rare victory as he stops unbeaten Al Bewani to collect two world titles. Mendy had to give away height and reach but landed only his second inside the distance win. He had scored only one win in his last ten fights but Mendy can be a danger on his night. He collected the vacant WBFederation belt and snatched Al Bewani’s GBU belt. Al Bewani from Kurdistan had won his last six fights by KO/TKO.
Cinqueoncie vs. Kovacs
Italian teenager Cinqueoncie is the new WBC Youth title holder after stopping Hungarian Kovacs in three rounds as he moves to ten wins by KO/TKO. The 19-year-old has an Italian father and a Belarusian mother but had done all of his fighting in Germany until now. First fight for Kovacs since being knocked out in the first round by Jessie Wilcox in Ontario in March 2019.
Raznatovic vs. Lukhutasvili
Farcical win for Belgrade’s Raznatovic. He towered over the badly out of condition Georgian Lukhutasvili. The visitor obviously wanted to be somewhere else and put in very little effort. He was floored twice in the second and after the second knockdown just walked back to his corner ignoring the count. Now seven short route wins for the 6’3 ½” Raznatovic. Fifth inside the distance loss in his last six outings for Lukhutasvili.
Ivkovic vs. Bebraham
The sacrificial lamb has teeth. Ivkovic actually scores his second pro victory in a row with a split decision over sure fire winner Bebraham. Ivkovic was conceding height and reach but he outfought Bebraham and was a deserved winner. Scores 78-74 and 77-75 for Ivkovic and 77-75 for Bebraham. After winning his first pro fight the little Bosnia then went 0-26-2 in his next 28 fights. He is 2-0-1 now which counts as a substantial unbeaten run by his standards. Bebraham had won his last six fights and his only other loss was a split verdict against then world rated 20-2 Fedor Papazov.
Isufi vs. Torres
Not even the pretence of a competitive match here as the aim is some ring time for Isufi but he only gets less five minutes as he knocks out china-chinned Torres in the second round. First fight for ten months for the Serbian-born Germany who lost on points against Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super middleweight title back in May 2019. Eight consecutive losses for Hungarian-based Cuban Torres seven by KO/TKO.
Koelling vs. Simeunovic
If anything this was almost as much of a waste of time as the Isufi fight as Simeunovic retired at the end of the second round so just six minutes of work in his first fight for 18 months for Koelling. The German was knocked out in the twelfth round of a fight with Artur Beterbiev for the vacant IBF title in 2017 and was coming off back-to-back losses to Dominic Boesel and Leon Bunn. Bosnia Simeunovic ,42, now has 37 inside the distance defeats.
Sheffield, England: Light: Myron Mills (15-1) W PTS 10 Lucas Ballinger (13-2).
Great first show for the new Fightzone TV outlet as Mills and Ballinger battle hard over ten entertaining rounds with action all the way. Mills made the better start but Ballinger fired back hard. Mills looked to have turned the fight his way with a strong fifth but again Ballenger upped his pace and it was anyone’s fight until Mills just had the edge over the last two rounds. Scores 96-95 twice and 96-94 for Mills which illustrates how close this one was. Mills retains the English title and will now be looking to go after the British title. Two losses in a row for Ballenger but he is only 24 and will rebound.
Tampa, FL, USA: Light Fly: Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1,1ND) W RSF 4 Armando Torres (26-19). Welter: Mekhrubon Sanginov (10-0-1) W Andres Viera (10-2). Super Feather: Otar Eranosyan (8-0) W PTS 10 Jose Argel (8-1).
Gonzalez vs. Torres
Gonzalez stops Torres but with some controversy over the finish. Gonzalez had boxed his way into the lead over the first three rounds against a competitive Torres. In the forth as Gonzalez connected with a right their heads banged together and Torres suffered a bad cut up over his left eye and was dazed with Gonzalez pouring on the punches. The referee stopped the action so that the doctor could examine the cut but Torres was cleared to continue. As Gonzalez drove in he landed a body punch but their heads clashed again and Torres turned away from the action complaining of a butt forcing the referee to stop the fight and declaring Gonzalez the winner. The 30-year-old Bronx-born Puerto Rican was stopped in seven rounds by Kosei Tanaka in a challenge for the WBO light flyweight title in August 2019 but had returned with a hard won victory over Saul Juarez in February. Torres, 40, had won his last five fights including a one round kayo of former WBC light flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez in October 2019.
Sanginov vs. Viera
Tajik Sanginov remains undefeated as he halts Viera early in the second round of what was supposed to be Sanginov’s first outing over ten rounds. The 25-year-old Tajik turned pro in 2016 after losing out at the World Qualifier for the Rio Olympics. Uruguayan Viera, 37, had won five low level domestic fights leading up to this contest.
Eranosyan vs. Angel
Georgian Eranosyan breezes past Angel winning all the way against the inexperienced Chilean. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Eranosyan. The 27-year-old Eranosyan won a stack of medals as an amateur including silver in the European Union and European Championships and bronze at the World Championships and European Games. Viera, the Chilean champion, lacked the experience to threaten Eranosyan.
Johannesburg, South Africa: Light Fly: Hekkie Budler (33-4) W PTS 12 Jonathan Almacen (7-4-2).
Budler, already a two-division champion, returns with a win. Budler understandably took a couple of rounds to shed the rust accumulated in the 29 months since losing his WBA title to Hiroto Kyoguchi. Almacen had also been out of the ring for some time so both felt their way over the first four rounds at which point two of the judges had them level with the third giving Budler a slight edge. From then Budler started to take control and although Almacen stayed competitive the class of Budler told as he was getting his punches off quicker and was more accurate. After the eighth he had moved in front on all of the cards. A big test would be how he handled the closing rounds but Budler had paced the fight well and the 21-year-old Almacen, who had only gone ten rounds once, was unable to match the strength over the late rounds of Budler who turned 33 just four days before this fight and Budler won a wide unanimous decision,. Scores 118-111 twice and 117-111 for Budler. “The Hexecutioner” wins the vacant WBC Silver light flyweight belt with another world title shot the aim for next year. I was going to say the return to action would get Budler back in the ratings but despite not fighting since December 2018 he was No 2 with the WBC before this fight. Almacen never really threatened Budler’s control once the South African hit his stride but he did go the full twelve rounds which was what Budler needed after such a long lay-off.
Coventry, England: Middle: Sam Eggington (30-7) W PTS 12 Carlos Molina (37-12-2). Welter: Kaisee Benjamin (12-1-1) W RTD 7 Martin Harkin (13-2). Middle: River Wilson Bent (9-0) W TKO 7 George Farrell (5-1). Light Heavy: Shakan Pitters (15-1) W TKO 5 Jermaine Springer (7-3). Super Welter: Stephen McKenna (8-0) W TKO 1 Damian Haus (3-6).
Eggington vs. Molina
Eggington wins the vacant WBC Silver title as he outpoints veteran Molina in an entertaining contest. Eggington started the fight strongly coming in over the first two rounds behind some jolting jabs and scoring to the body. He was just too busy for Molina. However Molina was pacing himself and eventually he was more often the one on the front foot. Eggington was able to get through consistently with his jab and rights but Molina was clever defensively dropping his hands and using upper body movement to make Eggington miss. There were times when it seemed that Eggington might overwhelm Molina but Molina stayed cool and boxed his way out of trouble. The pace dropped over the ninth and tenth with Molina too often catching Eggington with sneaky head punches. Molina pressed hard in the eleventh and this time it was Eggington boxing with his hands down but he fired back strongly late in the round. Despite his 37 years Molina seemed to have more left in the last round but with Eggington again finishing with a flourish. Scores 119-110, 117-111 and 116-112 for Eggington. The former British and Commonwealth champion is a bit of a phoenix. He has been derailed by losing important fights with the most recent example his being outpointed by Ted Cheeseman last August but he has battled his way back with a win over Ashley Theophane and now this victory against Molina. The firmer IBF super welterweight champion was a very flattering No 8 with the WBC but that means that this win could put Eggington in with a chance of a title fight.
Benjamin vs. Harkin
Benjamin wins a British title eliminator with victory over Harkin. Benjamin had built a lead but Harkin was competing strongly until a vicious right to the body dropped him at the end of the seventh and probably broke a couple of ribs and Harkin retired in his corner.
Bent vs. Farrell
Bent retains the BBB of Midlands title with a stoppage of unbeaten Farrell
Pitters vs. Springer
Former British champion Pitters bounces back with a win as he stops Springer. Pitters had won the first three rounds and when Springer was badly shaken by a right in the fourth the referee stopped the fight. First fight for Pitters since losing his title to Craig Richards in December. Second consecutive defeat for Springer.
McKenna vs. Haus
Irish prospect McKenna blows away Haus inside a round. McKenna came out firing punches and never stopped. Haus had shots coming at him from all angles and had no chance to set himself to counter. McKenna was whacking him with left hooks to the body and over hand rights until Haus fell to the floor. He made it to his feet but another barrage of punches put him down and the fight was stopped. McKenna is certainly a firebrand. All of his wins have come inside the distance and he has taken less than fifteen rounds to get the jobs done. He was Irish Under-18 champion, won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games and silver at the European Youth Championships. Pole Haus has lost 6 of his last 7 fights.
Osaka, Japan: Feather: Tomoki Kameda (37-3) W PTS 8 Hironori Miyake (9-11-2).
In his first fight for almost two years Kameda takes easy decision over Miyake. Kameda worked almost exclusively with his left jab and left hooks using his right only sparingly and that helped Miyake go the distance. In the fifth Kameda slipped under a punch and his gloves momentarily touched the canvas so the referee applied a count. Kameda stuck to his left side approach and worked his way to the final bell, Scores 78-73 twice and 79-73 for Kameda. In his last ring appearance Kameda lost a unanimous decision against Rey Vargas in a WBC bantamweight title fight. Fifth consecutive defeat for Miyake.
Belgrade, Serbia: Super Welter: Asinia Byfield (15-4-1) W TKO 2 Roland Hamar (5-10).
British fighter Byfield turns up in Belgrade and feasts on sub standard opponent Hamar scoring a stoppage in the second round. Byfield was finding hard to get a win being 0-1-3 if his last four fights. Hungarian Hamar is having and even worse time as won only one of his last eleven fights.
Ptuj, Slovenia: Light Heavy: Dominic Boesel (31-2) W PTS 8 Ondrej Budera (14-21-1). Light Heavy: Tom Dzemski (16-0) W KO 3 Achilles Szabo (25-27).
Boesel vs. Budera
Since we are here we might as well pick up some pocket money. That’s the story as Boesel and Dzemski took a break from training in Slovenia and moved out of the gym and into a paid evening. Boesel had no trouble outpointing Czech Budera as he starts to rebuild from losing on a third round kayo against Robin Krasniqi in October in a fight that cost him his IBO and WBA interim titles. Budera falls to 2-7 in his last 9.
Dzemski vs. Szabo
Dzemski got his job over a bit earlier putting away Szabo in the third. The 24-year-old IBF Youth champion has failed to impress against opposition he should be able to brush aside easily so it will be interesting to see how he fares in more demanding fights later this year. Szabo needs to find another hobby as he had won only one of his last nine fight with seven inside the distance losses.
Fight of the week (Significance): Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez with honourable mention to Jose Vivas vs. Luis Coria
Fighter of the week: Josh Taylor a world champion
Punch of the week: The uppercut from Taylor that scored the second knockdown
Upset of the week: It has to be Nikola Ivkovic (2-26-3) outpointing 17-1 Howik Bebraham
Prospect watch: Georgian super featherweight Otar Eranosyan is 8-0 and progressing well
-Time for a change of the old guard in South Africa. Moruti Mthalane lost his IBF flyweight title to Sunny Edwards in April and on Saturday Nkosinathi Joyi looked a totally shot fighter as he lost his IBO title on the scales and was stopped in four rounds by raw novice Ayanda Ndulani. That leaves Hekkie Budler as the flag carrier for what has been a golden age for South Africa’s little men.
-From the little men to an obese giant. You wonder just what constitutes “fit” in boxing terms. South African Osborn Machimana is 6’3 ½” and in a fight in Russia weighed 344lbs (156kg). A man with those dimensions must be in serious danger of a heart attack so letting him fight seems a huge medical risk. On Saturday he was knocked out cold and laying face down flat out on the canvas and the doctor and the seconds just stood there wondering how the hell they were ever going to get him up or turn him over. Next time he fights apart from then usual medical kit a rope and pulley might be useful.
-Patrick Mendy is a fight anyone-fight anywhere and fight at short notice guy so it was good to see him win a two “world “titles by stopping unbeaten Karwan Al Bewani
-Still on weight. Russian Artem Oganesyan was left without an opponent when Javier Maciel came in at 6.1kgs over the contract weight which is just ridiculous how can you turn up 13.4lbs over and expect to fight?
-Sometimes I wonder whether matchmakers do any research at all on fighters they put together. On Saturday in Belgrade Scottish heavyweight Nick Campbell stopped Hungarian Jozsef Kormany in one round. Campbell was 6’7” and Komany 5’7 ½”. A total farce and to make it worse the 5’7 ½” Kormany weighed 235 ¼ lbs- a sort of mini-Machimana. Campbell scored three knockdowns with body punches. There must have been a concern that he would land a body punch and his glove would disappear in Kormany’s paunch and never be seen again.
-Two final things on Taylor vs. Ramirez. It was not just a world title fight it was a Global title fight. The main man in each corner was wearing a MTK Global jacket luckily neither fighter got confused and went to the wrong corner.
The first pro title that Josh Taylor won was the Commonwealth title in Edinburgh in 2016-and as a director of the Commonwealth Boxing Council I was the one who placed the belt around his waist-the first of many titles.
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