Courtesy of Boxrec.com
A few years ago Kazakhstan's WBA Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24) was seen as the most avoided man in boxing. It appears that that reputation may not be changing any time soon as he made his 3rd successful title defense this year.
Facing former 2-time world title challenger Matthew Macklin (29-5, 20) it was expected that Golovkin would face his first real challenge as the champion. Instead we got another showcase of just how good Golovkin is live on HBO.
It was obvious from the first minute of the fight that Golovkin was a class above his challenger. He quickly figured out what Macklin had then applied constant educated pressure using amazing footwork to force Macklin on to the ropes. It was this pressure that completely killed Macklin's confidence and by the end of the opening round Macklin looked a beaten man.
Having clearly scared Macklin in the opening round Golovkin moved up a gear and let his hands go a bit more willingly in the second round. This meant that not only was their heavy pressure on Macklin but there was also leather coming his way. Every time Golovkin connected he appeared to hurt Macklin who was happy to hold on every chance he got.
Unfortunately for the challenger his first game plan wasn't working and he had to change things. This change saw him opening up in round 3, though it didn't take long for him to be tagged in the only notable exchange of the bout. Having been hurt in the exchange Macklin went back to the ropes and it didn't take long for Golovkin to connect with a shot to the body that put Macklin down for the count.
On paper this was the toughest test that Golovkin has faced, though way he passed it really should worry everyone in Middleweight division, especially Sergio Martinez who appears to be the man that Golovkin has in his sights.
The question as to who the best Middleweight on the planet is, is one that Golovkin appears more than happy to find an answer to and it's also one that every boxing fan would like to see, especially considering the way Kazakhstan fighter is ripping through challengers at an alarming rate.
Courtesy of boxrec.com
In the biggest fight in Asia this weekend China's first ever (male) boxing world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (21-4-1, 11) successfully defended his title for the first time in a bout held in Dubai.
Facing the highly regarded Filipino Denver Cuello (33-5-6, 21), many, including ourselves felt that Zhong's reign as a world champion were number. This view was strengthened in the opening round when Cuello managed to put Zhong down and really seemed to dent the Chinese's fighters confidence.
Zhong got up from the knockdown looking fine psychically but did look mentally shaken for much of the round.
In the second round of the bout Zhong started to grow into the action and started to have real success with his right hand. The round was a close one and could have gone either way but it was obvious that the Chinese fighter was warming up.
Whilst Zhong was warming up through rounds 3 and 4 Cuello was starting to mentally crumble. He was getting frustrated at the tactics of of Zhong which he claimed involved liberal use of elbows and his head, he was looking at both the referee and his corner to help and also appeared to be suffering some kind of issue with his right hand which had left him with out a jab-thus preventing him from setting up attacks and instead he was made to look like a wild 1-handed slugger.
With the problems all getting to Cuello, Zhong started to really force himself in the bout bringing relentless pressure to the Filipino who was forced numerous times to dance away and almost run. This was notable especially in round 5 when Cuello seemed to be hurt for the first time in the bout, though the pain did appear to be more from a clash of heads than a punch.
Cuello's problems merely got worse and worse with his feet looking ragged in round 6 and his power seemingly vanishing in round 7 as Zhong took a body shot and almost seemed to ask "is that the best you got?". If they were bad enough he got the referee on his case in round 8 as the doctor took a look at his shoulder which seemed to visibly be troubling him.
Things refused to turn in favour of Cuello who was badly cut from a clash of heads in the following round. Although Zhong was deducted a point for the clash (as per the WBC's accidental foul rule) it seemed to further the idea that this wasn't going the distance. Once again Cuello was forced to use his feet and move to stay away from the on-rushing Zhong who was now looking to finish things with his fists.
Cuello managed to see out round 9 and then appeared to regain his focus, almost as if he realised he needed to get his head in to check if he was ever going to manage to turn this around. Unfortunately for the Filipino however he couldn't quite manage to real in the rounds that he had lost in the middle section of the bout. Although he managed to close the gap somewhat on Zhong, the Chinese fighter had still done enough to claim a majority decision
With Zhong having beaten Cuello, the WBC's mandatory challenger, he has legitimised himself as a world champion. There will be many questioning whether or not he's actually one of the best in the division (especially considering the fact he couldn't really hurt a 1-armed Cuello) though with the Chinese population cheering him on he certainly has the ability to be a major draw in boxing/
For Cuello this could be a major loss. Not so much that the loss it's self was a big setback (despite needing to threaten the WBC with legal action to get the fight) but the fact that his shoulder injury may be a career threatening one. It appeared as if it was a re-occurance of an injury he had previously suffered against Ivan Meneses last September. If the shoulder is as badly injured as some think then Cuello may never be the fighter that may thought he'd become.
All of us as Asian Boxing wish that Cuello has a fully and swift recovery because it would be a huge shame if boxing lost this exciting youngster at such a promising stage of his career.
Courtesy of boxrec.com
It was just over a month ago that Russian Cruiserweight Denis Lebedev lost his WBA title to Guillermo Jones in one of the stand out fights of the year. In that fight Lebedev was fighting off swelling, exhaustion and Jones before eventually succumbing to all 3.
Just a few weeks after Lebedev's loss Russian pride was again on the line in the Cruiserweight division as the highly ranked Rakhim Chakhkiev, dubbed "The Machine" went up against WBC champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.
Going in to the fight Chakhkiev looked to be the emerging star of Russian boxing. He was unbeaten (16-0, 12), a highly decorated amateur and had seemingly everything a fighter could want-skill, power and a fantastic style built around his explosive aggressiveness.
In the opening round Chakhkiev showed off all the traits that had made him so highly touted. He drummed Wlodarczyk to the head and body, was relentless in his assault that appeared to shake up the defending champion and actually cut Wlodarczyk. It appeared that Chakhkiev was telling the boxing world "here I am, I deserve to be in world title fights".
Chakhkiev's aggressive style seemed to be working wonders in the rounds that followed his excellent opener. He dropped Wlodarczyk in the 3rd round and was clearly ahead on the scorecards going in to the 5th round.
With his lead looking comfortable on the card Chakhkiev's work rate seemed to drop. It seemed as if he was becoming more conservative knowing that he had never been the 12 round distance before. He was still the more visibly active in the 5th round than Wlodarczcyk but he was no longer thoroughly dominating the champion like he had been.
In round 6 the bout suddenly flipped on it's head as a short hook by Wlodarczyk sent the Russian to the canvas. Chakhkiev got up quickly and seemed to be irritated by the fact he had been caught by what some may have felt was a shot on the break. Despite the controversy of the knockdown the shot was clearly a turning point and the following round Chakhkiev was down again.
Going into round 8 the Machine was certainly starting to stutter. His 6 point lead after just 5 rounds was now cut to 2 points following successive 10-8 rounds for the Pole and it appeared that the slow down in Chakhkiev's work rate wasn't so much him being conservative but him being spent after the very quick start. His shots no longer had the snap on them that they'd had earlier in the bout and his nose was now bleeding notably.
Sadly for Chakhkiev he lacked the heart of Lebedev and after being dropped again in round 8 it was clear he was wanting to quit. Although he recovered to his feet after being dropped for a 3rd time in the bout he was much slower to his feet and appeared to shake his head. The referee seemed to ignore the signs of Chakhkiev wanting to quit but when the Russian went down again just seconds later the bout was quickly called.
Aged 30 it appeared that "The Machine" either wasn't fueled for 12 rounds or simply broke down. By the way he appeared to quit mentally in the 7th it appears that this machine may need some repairs if he's ever going to reach the heady heights he seemed destined for when he turned professional.
Now with a record of 16-1 (12) Chakhkiev has dropped from being one of the worlds premier Cruiserweight contenders to being a man with a huge amount of questions hanging over his head. Does he have stamina problems? Is it an issue of heart? A poor chin? Is he just a bully? Does he have the mentality to even come back from this loss?
For Wlodarczyk (48-2-1, 34) this result does add to the legitimacy of his title reign though many would be calling for a fight between him and Denis Lebedev, a fight that would allow Lebedev a chance at redemption and another major pay day for Wlodarczyk
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.