By Eric Armit:
-Caleb Plant wins every round against Caleb Truax in IBF super middleweight title defence
-Trevor Bryan stops Bermane Stiverne for the vacant secondary WBA/Don King Chicanery heavyweight title
-Two-division champion Rances Barthelemy returns to action with a points win over Al Rivera
-Jose de Jesus Macias scores upset kayo of Canadian Steven Butler
-Michael Polite Coffie stops Darmani Rock in clash of unbeaten heavyweights
World Title/Major Shows*
*I refuse to list Bryan vs. Stiverne as a title fight or a major show you will find it below under the 29 January date
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Super Middle: Caleb Plant (21-0 W PTS 12 Caleb Truax (31-5-2,1ND). Heavy: Michael Polite Coffie (12-0) W TKO 3 Darmani Rock (17-1). Welter: Rances Barthelemy (28-1-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Ali Rivera (21-5).Middle: Joey Spencer (12-0) W TKO 1 Isiah Seldon (14-4-1).
Plant vs. Truax
Plant wins every round against Truax to retain the IBF title and keep alive his hope of a unification fight against Saul Alvarez later this year. Plant made a fast start connecting with jabs to head and body and landing a strong left hook. The difference in speed was evident over the second and third rounds as Plant was penetrating Truax’s guard constantly with jabs, doubling up on his hooks and then moving in with a burst of punches and out again before Truax could counter. Plant was comfortable boxing on the back foot letting Truax come forward onto jabs and counters. Truax was just too slow and throwing too few punches and bleeding from the nose under the impact of Plants jabs. A right uppercut in the fourth was Truax’s only real success over the first four rounds. Plant put his punches together impressively in the fifth and his clever movement was frustrating Truax’s attempts to land any meaningful punches. After six rounds Truax was credited with having landed just nineteen punches. Plant continued to outbox Truax over the middle rounds. Truax kept coming forward trying to pin down the elusive Plant but was eating counters and always a step behind. Truax managed to land some solid punches in the eighth and ninth but still Plant was doing most of the scoring. Plant was boxing beautifully but if there was a criticism it was that with his dominance he should be looking to end things early but he explained later that he had injured his left hand early in the fight. Injured or not he never allowed Truax a toe-hold in the fight and continued to outbox and out punch Truax to the final bell. Scores 120-108 for Plant from all three judges. The 28-year-old from Nashville was making the third defence of the IBF title. He has scored wins over Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee and Vincent Feigenbutz and is aiming to unify the super middle titles but with Saul Alvarez holding the WBA and WBC titles and scheduled to defend against Avni Yildirim on 27 February and then planning to take on WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in May there is no room in there for Plant. Former champion Truax was outclassed and looks at the end of the road. In his fight with 42-year-old Ugandan David Basajjamivule in January last year it was only two points deductions against the Ugandan that gave Truax the majority decision and at 37 he is going nowhere.
Coffie vs. Rock
Mild upset as late starter Coffie halts unbeaten Rock in three rounds. Although both are 6’5” and Coffie was 9lbs heavier he looked in good condition whereas Rock looked flabby. The pace was slow over the first two rounds with Coffie doing most of the scoring switching guards and connecting with his jab and hooks inside. In the third as they exchanged punches by the ropes Coffie produced a fearsome left uppercut inside which Rock never saw coming and he went down heavily. He was up at eight but a left hook from Coffie clipped Rock on the top of his head and he fell for the second time. The referee started to count but stopped at seven and waived the fight over. Ninth inside the distance win for the 34-year-old Coffie a New Yorker and a former US Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan. He had only a few amateur fights before turning professional at 30. Philadelphian Rock, 24, is a former World Youth and USA Champion. He needs to work on his weight as he was 289lbs two fights ago but still looked fat at 261lbs here.
Barthelemy vs. Rivera
Barthelemy gets in some useful ring time as he outpoints Filipino southpaw Rivera. The Cuban was constantly switching guards and built an early lead taking the first three rounds. To add to Rivera’s problems he was cut over his right eye in the second in a clash of heads and his left eye in the third by a punch. Rivera managed to get into the fight more over the fourth and fifth rounds. Barthelemy took control again in the sixth but did not look to be pressing too hard. Since this was his first fight since drawing with Robert Easter for the IBF and secondary WBA lightweight titles in April 2019 he was probably thankful to get the rounds under his belt. Barthelemy boxed his way throught the seventh, eighth and ninth and a strong finish from Rivera came much too late to have any effect on the outcome. Scores 100-90. 99-91 and 97-93 for the 34-year-old two-division champion. He is rated No 3 at super light by the WBA and he will want to get an title shot although with the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez fight for the four versions of the title being talked about for early May he will have to wait awhile. Philippines champion and former OPBF title holder Rivera had scored four wins in his last five outings
Spencer vs. Seldon
Spencer stops Seldon in an eventful first round. Spender put Seldon down early with a cracking right. Seldon beat the count and then proceeded to land a number of deliberate punches to the back of the head. The referee deducted two points from Seldon and Spencer brought things to a conclusion with another right that dropped Seldon heavily and the referee did not bother to count. Ninth victory by KO/TKO for the 20-year-old Spencer who was US Under17 champion in 2015 and 2016. Third inside the distance defeat for Seldon
Hollywood, FL, USA: Heavy: Trevor Bryan (21-0) W TKO 11 Bermane Stiverne (25-5-1). 3A
Bryan wins the vacant secondary WBA title with stoppage of Stiverne. This was a walking pace fight with Bryan generally dominating the action with his jab but with Stiverne showing strong resistance. Stiverne was being very conservative with his work and only fighting in bursts. He rocked Bryan with a right in the second but Bryan came right back with counters. Bryan was taking the fight to Stiverne landing well to the body but Stiverne was using his experience to blunt much of Bryan’s work and scoring with right counters. The early pace was actually a bit higher than might be expected from two overweight and rusty fighters. Bryan continued to score with his jab and was finding the target with rights in the eighth. Stiverne continued to look for opportunities to sneak home rights but was rapidly tiring. He was making life easy for Bryan by walking onto punches and being too slow to block them and as they traded at the end of the ninth Stiverne was caught flush with some hard head shots. The tenth saw both fighters drop from walking pace to plodding pace. Stiverne was hardly using his left at all with it dangling by his side and Bryan was able to pick him off with jabs as Stiverne came forward threatening but never delivering anything. Bryan ended it in the eleventh. He knocked Stiverne into the ropes with a right and then landed a couple more to send Stiverne down. Stiverne made it to his feet but could hardly see out of either eye. It should have been stopped but the referee let it continue. Bryan floored Stiverne again and Stiverne beat the count and was allowed to take more punishment before sense prevailed and the fight was halted. Not an impressive performance by Bryan. He was having his first fight for twenty-nine months and was 31lbs heavier than in that 2018 fight. Any thought of him as an opponent for Anthony Joshua would be ridiculous and unsellable-except of course that we are taking about Don King as Bryan’s promoter and the WBA as the sanctioning body-and with that demonic duo no depth is too deep for them to stoop. This was shown in the way the fight with Bryan and Manuel Charr which was to have topped this card was jointly torpedoed to get King out of having to pay Charr 75% of the $2 million King bid for the Bryan vs. Charr fight. Bryan must now defend against Charr who the day before this fight was named “Champion in Recess” by the WBA so that the secondary title could be vacant. Don’t get your hopes up Manuel. King’s fighter Beibut Shumenov was ordered to defend against Ryad Merhy but the WBA were willing to let King wiggle out of that as well. It was said that the 42-year-old Stiverne was in training (for this unscheduled fight?) and rumoured to have injured his left arm. Stiverne was knocked out in one round by Deontay Wilder in 2017, was inactive in 2018 and was floored and stopped by Joe Joyce in six rounds in February 2019. So we have 42-year-old fighter who had not won a fight for five years, lost his last two fights inside the distance, had been inactive for almost two years and was not in the ratings so just the same old same old quality that the WBA usually set for challengers.
Cuernavaca, Mexico: Middle: Jose de Jesus Macias (28-10-3) W TKO 5 Steven Butler (28-3-1). Super Welter: Sadriddin Akhmedov (12-0) W PTS 10 Stephen Danyo (17-4-3).
Butler vs. Macias
Macias scores crushing kayo win over Butler. With a new team around him Butler boxed well early. Macias scored heavily in the third rocking Butler with a left hook but Butler banged back strongly. In the fifth Macias broke through with a huge right cross that sent Butler back to the ropes and then landed a devastating left hook that dropped Butler face down on the canvas. The Canadian started to rise but then fell back into the ropes. He managed push himself upright but was very shaky and the referee waived the fight off. Mexican Macias makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO and collects three vacant titles the WBC Francophone, NABA and NABF. Last time out in February last year he had lost on points to Spaniard Kevin Lejarraga. Butler was having his first fight since losing on a fifth round stoppage against Ryota Murata for the secondary WBA title in December 2019. All three of Butler’s losses have come inside the distance.
Akhmedov vs. Danyo
Akhmedov gets unanimous decision over Danyo. The Kazak boxer had no real problems with the reach of the taller Danyo and was able to attack the body from the start. Danyo has yet to lose inside the distance and keeping his slate clean of stoppage losses seemed at time to be his major concern. When Akhmedov saw that Danyo was not about to collapse he kept up the pressure banging away at the Dutchman’s body but not going full out. He had Danyo on shaky legs in the last with Danyo falling to the canvas but lasting the distance. Scores 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 for Akhmedov. In a multi-tile fight the 22-year-old Canadian-based “Soldier of Q” takes Danyo’s WBA Continental title and wins the vacant WBC Francophone and vacant NABF titles. He is a former Kazak and World Youth champion. Danyo is 3-4 in his last seven fights with the other three defeats against good quality opposition in Custio Clayton, Felix Cash and a split loss to Orlando Fiordigiglio
Hermosillo, Mexico: Feather: Bryan Acosta (14-0,1ND) W TKO 7Pablo Robles (14-2). Welter: Angel Ruiz (16-1) W Carlos Rodriguez (14-9-1). Feather: Christian Olivo (15-0-1) W PTS 8 Adrian Montoya (12-1).
Acosta vs. Robles
Acosta puts his troubles behind him and stops Robles. It looked like an early night when Acosta floored Robles twice in the opening round but Robles survived and fought back strongly. He took the fight to Acosta who found himself forced to stand and trade when he was looking to box. Acosta was shaken on a couple of occasions but in the seventh Acosta connected with a series of punches ending with a vicious right to the body. Robles did not go down but he was in considerable distress and incapable of fighting on and the referee stopped the fight. The home town fighter was making the first defence of the WBC Fecarbox title. Last year Acosta surprised some people burgling his house and suffered chest, arm and head injuries inflicted by an ice pick. Just a few weeks later he was infected with COVID-19 leading to a long recovery period. Robles was on a six-fight winning run.
Olivo vs. Montoya
Olivo wins the vacant WBC Youth title as he takes unanimous verdict over unbeaten puncher Montoya. Olivo boxed his way to victory with slick movement, quicker hand speed and accuracy. Montoya tried hard to draw Olivo into trading but Olivo stuck to his game plan and Montoya chased in vain. Scores 80-71, 79-73 and 78-74 for 21-year-old Olivo. Both were in their first eight round fight. Montoya had scored ten wins by KO/TKO five in the first round but was never able to use his power in this fight.
Dar-ES-Salaam, Tanzania: Ibrahim Class Mgender (25-6) W PTS 12 Dennis Mwale (8-1). Heavy: Shaban Hamadi Jongo (8-1-2) W TKO 1 Shawn Miller (18-6-1). Cruiser: Tervel Pulev (16-0) W TKO 9 Vikapita Meroro (29-10).
Mgender vs. Mwale
Mgender gets points victory over Malawian Mwale. This one was fought at a fast pace. Visitor Mwale certainly came to fight and was always looking to put Mgender under pressure. Mgender had better movement, more power and accuracy and connected with some strong body punches through the early rounds. Mwale was a little busier and jabbed well but had to absorb some hefty rights from Gender. In a fiery seventh Mgender had Mwale staggering with rights but Mwale recovered and had Mgender under pressure at the bell. The pace continued to be a fast one with the harder punching of Mgender giving him the edge and Mwale tired badly from the tenth but kept fighting. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-113 for Mgender. The Tanzanian southpaw wins the vacant WBFederation Inter-Continental title. He is 11-2 in his most recent run with the losses coming inside the distance against world rated opposition in Azinga Fuzile and Eduardo Hernandez. Mwale is based in South Africa and had never gone past six rounds before.
Jongo vs. Miller
Jongo gets first round win in a farcical affair. Jongo had Miller on the retreat and ducking and diving as he marched forward slinging wild punches. Jongo was twice warned for punches to the back of the head. Miller was suddenly not using his left arm and he dropped to one knee with Jongo landing another punch to the back of the head as Miller was kneeling on the canvas. The referee insisted on lifting both of Miller’s hands off the canvas but as Miller was still on one knee and could reach no higher the referee wiped Miler’s gloves on his trousers and then “guided/urged” Miller to his feet before counting to eight and then waiving the fight over as Miller stood indicating his useless left arm. Jongo, 32, wins the vacant WBFederation International title. He had won his last five fights against opponents with just 5 wins between them. Miller was having only his second fight since October 2018.
Pulev vs. Meroro
Pulev gets late stoppage of Meroro in an insipid fight with not a great deal of action and too much holding. Neither fighter was dominating the action and the holding was bad enough for the referee to deduct a point from both boxers in the fourth. Pulev was having more trouble than he should have against an overweight and slow Meroro and was also constantly landing punches to the back of Meroro’s neck in the clinches. The pace picked up in the seventh and eighth as Pulev tried to box and avoid clinches and was scoring well with his jabs. Pulev scored with a left hook and a right to the head in the ninth before they both tumbled to the floor. Pulev pressed and an exhausted Meroro just turned away and walked to his corner and the fight was over. Pulev, 38, the younger brother of Kubrat, gets a win his fourteenth by KO/TKO but in a fight to forget. Meroro started his career weighing 167lbs and was carrying 19lbs for this fight and it showed. He is 1-6 in his last 7 fights with 5 losses by KO/TKO in those fight.
Miami, FL, USA: Super Light Ismael Barroso (23-3-2) W KO 1 Nestor Paniagua (26-11-2). Super Feather: Otar Eranosyan (5-0) W KO 4 Juan Pena (31-3). Welter: James Bacon (26-4) W PTS 10 Ramon De La Cruz (23-28-3).
Barroso vs. Paniagua
Barroso flattens Paniagua in the first round. Paniagua came out trying to take the fight to the taller Barroso who was content to be on the back foot looking to counter. Barroso then came forward driving Paniagua across the ring and to the ropes with a right to the body. As Paniagua came off the ropes he dropped his right hand and a left to the chin sent him face down on the canvas. Paniagua was out flat and motionless but still the referee insisted on counting over him delaying any medical assistance for Paniagua. All over in 103 seconds. Twenty first win by KO/TKO for the 38-year-old former WBA interim title holder from Venezuela. Paniagua, 41, started his career as a bantamweight: - so fat, old and in only his second fight in almost five years against a savage puncher!
Eranosyan vs. Pena
Eranosyan stops Pena with two knockdowns in the fourth round. Eranosyan was busy, busy flitting around Pena throwing punches from all angles and constantly changing direction. Pena tried to close Eranosyan down moving forward with hooks but Eranosyan was just too quick. In the fourth a solid left hook to the body sent Pena down on his hands and knees in agony. He was up at eight and threw himself forward throwing punches and forcing Eranosyan back. The action was fierce as they traded punches but another body shot had Pena on his knees again and after starting the count the referee waived the fight over. The 27-year-old Georgian wins the vacant NABA-USA title. He was one of Georgia’s most successful amateurs winning a bronze medal at the World Championships and silver and bronze at the European Championships. Dominican Pena had won 8 of his last 9 fights but his opposition had been very poor.
Bacon vs. De La Cruz
Bacon has no trouble getting a points victory over De La Cruz in a one-side contest. Bacon was much quicker on his feet and had faster hands than Argentinian De La Cruz. He did most of the attacking with experienced survivor De La Cruz never completely subdued or in serious trouble. It was frustrating for Bacon as De la Cruz rarely opened up and was adept at tucking up behind his gloves and bending over leaving Bacon with no real target. Bacon’s best punch was his left hook when he could land it but De La Cruz was able to block most of those. It was a one-sided contest with going the distance being De La Cruz’s sole aim. Scores 100-90 for Bacon from all three judges. Bacon is 7-1 in his last eight fights. De La Cruz has won only one of his last fourteen fights.
Sydney, Australia: Light: Billy Dib (47-6) W TKO 7 Joey Baylon (0-1).
Dib stops former kickboxing champion Baylon. Dib took the fight to Baylon from the start but had occasional problems with the awkward fighting style of Baylon. The referee took a point from Baylon for a low punch in the fifth. As Baylon started to tire Dib floored him the seventh and although Baylon made it to his feet he was pinned to the ropes taking punishment and the referee stopped the fight. The 35-year-old former IBF featherweight champion is looking to fight his way back into a title fight and is scheduled to face fellow-Australian Kye McKenzie on the Tim Tszyu vs. Dennis Hogan fight on March 31 with a view to then tackling Tszyu. Filipino Baylon is a former world kickboxing and Muay Thai champion.
Indre, France: Thomas Faure (19-4-1) DREW 10 Kevin Thomas Cojean (25-10-2).
Local fighter Faure retains the French title with a majority draw against Cojean. This was a great little scrap with the contrasting styles making for an entertaining ten rounds. Cojean was the aggressor for the whole ten rounds marching forward following the taller Faure around the ropes and pelting him with hooks and uppercuts. Faure was constantly switching guards and finding Cojean an easy target but unable to stop Cojean from applying pressure. It was a case of whether you preferred the all-out aggression of Cojean or the accuracy and higher work rate of Faure. Scores 97-93 for Faure and two scores of 95-95. Both fighters were in good form with Faure having won his last five fights and Cojean six of his last eight. A return has to be on the cards.
Tijuana, Mexico: Feather: Rafael Espinoza (16-0) W PTS 10 Carlos Ornelas (25-4). Super Welter: Dubiel Sanchez (16-0-2) W PTS 10 Lupe Rosales (39-29).
Espinoza vs. Ornelas
Espinoza takes a big step up in quality of opposition and outpoints Ornelas. The 6’1” Espinoza was jabbing confidently in the first. Ornelas launched an attack and in ducking to get under it Espinoza’s right knee touched the canvas and he was given an eight count. When the action resumed he had Ornelas under heavy fire with left hooks but it was a 10-8 round for Ornelas. Espinoza used his height and longer reach to pound Ornelas with jabs and also showed real power in his rights. Ornelas just could not get close enough to exert any pressure. Espinoza showed he was comfortable as orthodox or southpaw and his accuracy saw Ornelas having to soak up plenty of punishment and a stoppage looked possible in the fifth. Ornelas survived and came back strongly in the seventh hurting Espinoza with a series of body punches. Espinoza came through that and despite a cut over his left eye outfought Ornelas over the closing rounds. All three cards had Espinoza the winner on scores 97-92 twice and 98-91. Good win for Espinoza in his toughest test so far. Second loss in a row for Ornelas. He was stopped in five rounds in a fight in Mexico City in June but as no commission was present it is shown by some as a No Decision.
Sanchez vs. Rosales
Unbeaten local hope Sanchez much too young and strong for old campaigner Rosales and wins all the way. A clean sweep on the three cards at 100-90. Good experience for the 23-year-old as he was moving up to ten rounds for the first time. Rosales, 39, a long way past his best.
Agua Prieto, Mexico: Super Welter: Roberto Valenzuela (21-2) W TKO 4 Cosme Rivera (42-31-3,1ND).
Valenzuela vs. Rivera
Valenzuela hands out a savage beating to veteran Rivera and stops him in the fourth. This was a one-sided contest that was allowed to go on too long. In the fourth with Valenzuela driving a tottering Rivera along the ropes the referee finally stepped in and stopped the massacre. Twenty of the 21-year-old Valenzuela’s wins have come inside the distance although local sources have his record as 16-2. Seventh loss in a row for 44-year-old Rivera who needs to be saved from himself.
Fight of the week (Significance): Caleb Plant W PTS Caleb Truax as Plant looks to get a chance at a unification fight at super middle
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Thomas Faure vs. Kevin Thomas Cojean ten all-action rounds ends in a draw
Fighter of the week: Caleb Plant
Punch of the week: Two thunderous left hooks this week in the one from Jose de Jesus Macias that crushed Steve Butler and the one from Ismael Barroso that flattened Nestor Paniagua. But the vote just goes to the left uppercut from Michael Polite Coffie that put Darmani Rock down the first time.
Upset of the week: Macias was very much an outsider against Butler with honourable mention to Michael Polite Coffie’s win over Darmani Rock
Prospect watch: Kazak Super Welter Sadriddin Akhmedov 12-0 and more to come.
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