Earlier this year we saw the IBF Super Flyweight title change hands, as Argentinian fighter champion Fernando Daniel Martinez (15-0, 8) was crowned the champion on the back of a career defining win over Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (33-3-2, 22), ending Ancajas' long reign. The performance from Martinez was a star making one, as he put on a hyper aggressive performance that saw him combine high work rate, intelligent offense and a scary desire to win.
Today the two men went again, in an immediate rematch that had a lot to live up to. The bout didn't manage to replicate their first bout, which was as exciting a 1-sided fight as you could get. Instead of a 1-sided Fight of the Year we got something that seemed just as one sided, but lacked the intensity of the first bout, as the champion not only retained his title, but also showed a new found maturity from the first fight. Instead of fighting hell for leather, Martinez was instead picking his moments, fighting more conservatively, and showing himself to be a smarter, more intelligent fighter than the swarming offense obsessed fighter he was in the first bout.
In the early going Ancajas looked like he was there to reclaim his title. The first two rounds were good ones for him as he used a lot of lateral movement, made Martinez chase him, and created space with not just his movement but also his clean and crisp counter punching and his busy jab. Sadly for Ancajas the movement he used early on, whilst it did win him rounds, did use up a lot of energy and by round 3 he was starting to struggle creating space as Martinez's pressure built, and built and his body shots took a toll on the Filipino. From there on the fight began to look more and more one sided, with Ancajas' movement vanishing in the middle rounds.
Martinez, who barely landed body shots in their first fight, had taken Ancajas' legs away within 4 or 5 rounds here with shots to the mid-section. They continued to land through the fight, but the main success from the body shots was that Ancajas was stationary in the second half of the fight, which lead him to taking a lot of big head shots, especially in round 6.
As the rounds ticked by Martinez continued to land the bigger, more hurtful shots, and racked up round after round, after round, but also showed a real boxing brain, taking a lot fewer risks than he did in the first fight, and picking his attacks well. He showed good footwork, good restraint and it was very much a performance that showed a different side to him than his first bout with Ancajas. It did however also end up with the same outcome, a wide and clear decision for Martinez, with the judges scoring the bout 119-119 and 118-110, twice, to give Martinez the clear and wide decision victory.
Just moments ago we saw the end of the trilogy between Saul Alvarez (58-2-2, 39) and Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37), and it was a bout that lacked the drama and flow of the first two legendary bouts between the men. Instead of being an incredible back and forth between elite level fighters in, or at least near their primes, this was very much a case of a fighter in their pomp facing a fighter who was clearly faded and nothing like the fighter he had once been. Sadly the faded man was the now 40 year old Golovkin, who looked every bit the 40 year old from the off.
The bout began with rounds 25 and 26 of their rivalry, which were somewhat competitive. Canelo looked the quicker, sharper, cleaner fighter in the two rounds, but Golovkin had moments in those rounds as the bout eased it's way into action. Sadly from round 2 the handspeed, youth, explosiveness and energy of Canelo shone through as he controlled a large swathe of the bout. He shut down Golovkin's offense, hammered him with clean head shots, and short sharp combinations and left Golovkin marked up and looking like a beaten fighter after just 5 rounds. It seemed very much like Canelo was heading towards a stoppage of Golovkin in the middle rounds, and that Golovkin's incredible toughness was going to be the only thing keeping him in the fight.
Just as it seemed like Jonathan Banks in Golovkin's corner should consider throwing in the towel Canelo seemed to ease off. He began to lose some of the intensity of earlier in the bout, and almost out of respect dropped his work rate rather than look to punish his man. This allowed Golovkin some respite, and in round 9 Golovkin finally began to show glimpses of the fighter he once was. It wasn't prime Golovkin, but it was a great last stand by a man digging deep and letting his hands go, backing up Canelo for the first time in the fight. Golovkin continued to have success in rounds 10 and 11, though 11 did see Canelo fighting like a man who was happy to conserve some energy late rather than take too many risks when well ahead.
The final round saw Canelo put his foot on the gas a little, and show that he was fighting within himself the previous few rounds, and had more to offer had he needed to. After the final bell it seemed like Canelo had comfortably won. It was hard to give Golovkin more than 3 rounds. Some how however all 3 judges had the bout close, with scores of 116-112 and 115-113, twice, giving the reflection of a very hotly contested bout. Something it really wasn't.
After the bout it was revealed Canelo had damaged his left hand, likely a result of landing numerous left hooks early on, which could have explained why his work rate dropped. It was also clear that this was the end of the rivalry, with the two men showing real respect to each other and seemed to have put to bed any animosity. Notably Golovkin didn;t announce that his career was over, though we wouldn't be surprised to see him either hanging them up, or fighting a single bout before retiring in the new year. As for Canelo, who retained his WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF Super Middleweight titles, it seems a rematch with Dmitriy Bivol is in his sights for 2023.
Earlier today we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (39-1, 23), aka Petchmanee Kokietgym, successfully defend his title, as he over-came Japanese veteran Norihito Tanaka (20-9, 10). Sadly for Panya however he did not look like a top fighter here, and instead looked somewhat fortunate that he had some very favourable judging working in his favour.
From the off Tanaka fought like a man determined to end Japan's horrible record in world title fights in Thailand, a record that now stands at 0-26-1. He pressed forward, he pushed the action and he set a very, very high work rate, making Tanaka back off, and fight on the back foot, with the champion regularly backing on to the ropes. To be fair Panya landed the best single shots, and showed glimpses of brilliance, landing clean, hurtful shots in spurts, here and there, but on the whole he looked like a man expecting an easy win and over-looking Tanaka. Tanaka on the other hand looked like someone who was hungry to rip the WBC title from the champion.
After 4 rounds the open scoring wasn't really showing a reflection of Tanaka's hard work, with all 3 judges having the bout 39-37 in favour of Panya when the open scoring kicked in for the first time. The scoring of the judges didn't really change through the middle rounds, despite Panya looking tired in the middle portion of the bout, as the judges struggled to give anything to the busier, more active, Tanaka. After 8 round, when we got the second round of open scoring, the scores were 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75, with only the third of those scored really reflecting the competitive nature of the bout.
Panya managed to look really good in round 9 and 10, as he looked to blunt the charge of Tanaka, but in the final 2 rounds Tanaka really dominated, especially in round 12 as Panya looked exhausted and couldn't avoid the headshots of the challenger. In fact Panya looked hurt a number of times in the final round, but saw out the storm, and lasted the round. As a result we went to the score-cards for a foregone conclusion, with Panya winning courtesy of scores of 119-109, a truly awful scorecard, 118-110, a very wide and unreflective score, and 116-112, which was in the realms of defendable. Just about.
With the win Panya retains his title, but paints a giant bullseye on his back, and the likes of Ginjiro Shigeoka will be licking their lips thinking of getting a chance at Panya who looked really poor here. Tanaka was harsh on himself after the bout, but in reality he did a great job at making Panya looked very, very, very beatable, and it would be a huge surprise to see Panya beating any legitimate top 10 contender on the of this performance.
Earlier today fight fans saw what is likely to be the end of the round for a modern day legend, and saw an unbeaten champion secure the biggest win of their career, and potentially even take the proverbial touch from the man the beat.
The bout in question saw WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (24-0, 9) retain his title with a clear, yet somewhat competitive, decision win against former long term WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-3-0-1, 19), who now seems set to ride off into the sunset.
The two men, who know each other well and have partaken in exhibitions and public spars in the past, started slowly with both looking to establish their jabs. As the rounds went on however Knockout always seemed to have an extra gear and that little bit more energy than the 36 year old faded former champion. Wanheng never looked outclassed as such, but was out worked, and out hustled, and simply out-youthed essentially.
The younger, bigger, Knockout established himself in rounds 2 and 3, and whilst Wanheng would always fire back, and land some glorious counter shots, he could never keep up the intensity or work rate needed to really change the course of the bout, at leats not until it was too late.
After 6 rounds it was clear Knockout was winning, and although Wanheng did mount something of a comeback in the second half of the bout, it always seemed like Knockout had control over things, regularly smiling at his foe. It didn't seem so much like a taunting smile, but almost like Knockout was enjoying having a fight with someone who is very much a close friend and a legend of the lower weights. He seemed to be enjoying every moment of the fight, and having questions asked of his boxing ability, and answering them.
By the 12 round it really didn't feel like there had been much drama, though there was some very nice sequences of action from both in the second half of the bout. It did however feel like their was a clear winner, with Knockout comfortably winning, despite losing a few rounds here and there. The was no doubting this was one of, if not the, most complete performance of his career, and it almost seemed like being in their with someone he respected drew the best from him. It was, admittedly, a faded Wanheng, but still Wanheng, and still a man Knockout clearly regards in high esteem.
When we went to the scorecards, their no doubting who the rightful winner was, and with scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109, Knockout retained his title. The 119-109 seemed very harsh against Wanheng, but the other two scores pretty much matched our, at 117-113.
Their is a feel that had this bout taken place 3 or 4 years ago, when Wanheng was still in the back end of his prime, he likely would have won. The 36 year old Wanheng we saw today however has slipped a long way, and simply lacked the fire, combinations and drive that had seen him have such a lengthy WBC title reign.
In late 2018 we saw WBO Super Flyweight title bout in Macau that saw Filipino great Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-2-6, 23) score arguably the most notable win of his career, becoming a 4-weight world champion as he took a split decision over Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (29-2, 15) [井岡一翔]. Sadly for Nietes he failed to build on that win, vacating the title in pursuit of bigger things, essentially giving up his proverbial bargaining chip. In the end he would sit out for more than 2 years, whilst Ioka went on to win the title Nietes gave up, and then built his own legacy with impressive wins against Jeyvier Cintron and Kosei Tanaka.
Today, most than 3 and a half years later, we saw the men face off again, with Nietes entering as the mandatory challenger for Ioka's title.
This time around the bout really didn't click like their first encounter, with both men looking older, less energetic and less hungry than they did in Macau. Sadly this lead to a much lower, less exciting and less competitive bout.
From the opening round Ioka, the much younger man, looked like someone with a lot more left in the tank. He was quicker, sharper, more active and managed to find the bodu of Nietes. The body work of Ioka, which has long been under-rated, was a key facet through out the fight and he landed a variety of great body shots round after round, tryign to take the legs away from the 40 year old Nietes.
Impressively however Nietes' legs which actually his major asset, along with his time, as he managed to counter Ioka just enough to keep the champion the champion honest and prevent him from marching in without a care in the world. Those counters forced Ioka to remain respectful, but they dodn't stop him from intelligently controlling the bout, round after round, with clean, accurate shots. He simply out working Nietes, who's work at times was incredibly low.
The bout very much felt like one that was very samey through out. Ioka looked classy, intelligent, and like a man who methodically breaking down a decent, but faded veteran. Nietes on the other hand looked to connect with jabs early in rounds, and counter when Ioka upped the tempo. The only real changes seemed to come in the second half, as Nietes would end up on the ropes occasionally, where it seemed like he could be at risk of more body shots, but the veteran manage to avoid taking too much punishment, and actually put up a better effort in the later stages of the fight.
Given the one sided natural of the bout overall it did lack drama, though that changed in round 10 when Nietes suffered a cut on his right eyelid. It was a nasty cut that saw him being taken over to the ringside doctor. He was fit to continue, but the cut did seem to make him even more negative, almost as if he was happy to see the final bell, rather than win.
After 12 rounds there was really no questioning the result, with Ioka taking a unanimous decision. The only question mark was how many rounds the judges could find to give to Nietes. In the end, not many. The scores were 120-108, 18-110 and 117-111, giving Ioka a clear decision win, and revenge for his 2018 loss. It was however a bout that left the question marks about the future of both men. Nietes looks like a man who needs to consider retirement, whilst Ioka seemed to have lost a clear step or two and wouldn't be favoured, or even regarded as evens, against any of the other top 115lbs fighters on the planet right now.
Just moments ago we saw a new WBC Featherweight champion being crowned as Filipino Mark Magsayo (24-1, 16) lost the title in his first defense, losing a split decision to unbeaten Mexican Rey Vargas (36-0, 22), who becomes a 2-weight champion.
On paper the bout had the potential to be something really ugly, given that Vargas has a reputation for making stinking bouts and Magsayo being very hot and cold. Thankfully however we ended up with a genuinely solid, exciting, entertaining bout that had a bit of everything, including drama late on, a high tempo early on, and some really good back and forth action.
The first two rounds were really close as both men started well, and fought each other tit for tat whilst finding their groove. We felt Magsayo did the better work in round 1, but that Vargas seemed to find his groove in round 2, as he started to establish control of range, and land clean, hard shots to Magsayo.
Through the middle portion of the bout Vargas took control of the action, seeming dominating from round 3, as he made Magsayo look very flawed. Vargas regularly stood his ground, landing clean, heavy shots, he was busier than Magsayo, he was more accurate and whilst it seemed his shots didn't have nasty power on them they certainly appeared to take a toll on Magsayo who was clearly slowing down in rounds 5 and 6, a result of the sweeping body shots of Vargas. Magsayo wasn't just taking shot, he was also being made to miss with his own, looking really raw and crude at times.
The one thing Magsayo had going for him was his power, and he certainly showed that in round 8. He was out landed again, but did manage to land a really good right hand late in the round. The shot was essentially a warning of what was to come in round 9, when a huge right late in the round dropped Vargas. It was a huge moment in the fight, the biggest in fact. He beat the count but looked buzzed for the rest of the round. He appeared appeared to be hurt in round 10, though Magsayo foolishly didn't press the issue, instead giving Vargas the space and time he needed to clear his head and get his feet underneath himself.
Magsayo's failure to jump on Vargas was a huge mistake and by round 11 Vargas had recovered his legs, which proved vital as he re-established control in the final 2 rounds. Those were key for him in the eyes of the judges, as they decided that he had done enough to edge the decision, with scores of 115-112, twice, in his favour against a dissenting card of 114-113, in favour of Magsayo.
Late on Saturday night we saw a new IBF Minimumweight champion being crowned in Mexico as local fighter Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15) over-came Filipino fighter Mark Rene Cuarto (20-3-2, 11), and dethroned the Filipno who was looking to make his second defense of the title, in a fight that was something of a hard to watch, sloppy affair with an awful lot of incidental head clashes and wrestling.
Early on Valladares tried to box, using good footwork, defensive skills and technical boxing to land clean at range and control the tempo. The action picked up in round 2 after Cuarto had seen what he challenger had, and in round 3 Cuarto some of his best shots, as he found a home for right hands that bothered the challenger. They were good rounds from the champion, but he didn't really look as skilled or as heavy handed as ghe challenger.
From there the bout descended into a bit of a downward spiral with head clashes marring round 4, which saw Valladares get the worst of them. Head clashes continued to play a role through the middle portion of the bout, as Cuarto had some really good moments whilst Valladares was left bloodied, damaged, cut and forced to pass a doctors inspection in round 7. The action could, genuine, have been stopped not due to the severity of the cuts, but due to the fact it was clear more head clashes would be happening, and they did.
Despite being cut Valladares showed a lot of grit in round 8, though did seem to touch down and perhaps should have had a knockdown scored against him, before having another doctor's inspection at the start of the following round.
The cuts were playing an issue for Valladares, who seemed to be more hurt and annoyed by them than anything Cuarto actually threw in the later rounds, with Cuarto further angering people in round 10 when his tape repeatedly came undone forcing the referee to deduct a point, something he could have done for the head clashes.
Having worked hard through much of the middle portion of the bout, and been fighting through cuts, Valladares slowed down in round 11 with the bout becoming a messy clinch fest for the final final 2 rounds. Which made an already ugly and frustrating bout even more ugly and frustrating. By the end of the bout both men looked tired, both swollen and busted, and although it had been messy there were exciting moments.
As we went to the scorecards it seemed hard to have this as anything but a clear win for Valladares, despite the cuts, and the punishment he took from the head of Cuarto. Surprisingly however this was closer on the cards than expected with scores of 115-112 and 116-111 for Valladares and a bizarre 114-113 to Cuarto, to give Valladares the win, and see him become the new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Following the it bout, it was reported that Cuarto's manager Sean Gibbons would be seeking a rematch due to the point deduction and the botched knockdown call.
Just moments ago we saw WBC Super Flyweight champion Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (16-0, 11) put on a performance that belied his 22 years of age as he didn't just score his first defense, but did so in dominant fashion against former 2-time champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], who took a genuine pasting at the hands of the incredible champion.
Going in to the bout it seemed the bout would be a case of Bam's speed, timing and movement, against Srisaket's power, toughness and strength. And in the early rounds that did seem to be the case with Rodriguez landing clean shots whilst using his footwork to create angles, keeping Srisaket from landing clean and chipping away at the Thai great. It was a perfect start for Bam who picked the Thai apart with smart body shots and clean headshots without taking much in return.
It wasn't really until round 4 that Bam in any trouble at all. And even that trouble was very short lived, as he took a body shot late in the round, a body shot that he seemed to be bothered by, albeit only for a moment. Just a round later however Bam was back in total control, whilst Srisaket seemed unable to land anything at all, whilst taking hard shots upstairs and downstairs. He was landing at will, and the only thing keeping Srisaket in the bout was his incredible toughness and iron chin. Just a round later however that iron chin was beginning to show cracks and in round 7 Srisaket was dropped, albeit in something of a flash knockdown as Srisaket claimed he slipped. Following the knockdown Bam continued to beat up Srisaket to the end of the round.
Between round 7 and 8 the DAZN camera team showed Srisaket in his corner and it seemed very much like he had something of a resigned look on his face. It was the look of a man who was trying everything he could, but nothing worked. It was the face of a man who knew he was beaten, but didn't want to accept it. It was the face of an old legend who's career was coming to an end, though he likely didn't realise how close the end was.
The 8th saw Srisaket under pressure early. He tried to fight back, but really had no response, he was begging to become something of a punch bag, with Rodriguez landing at will, and switching from head to body. The headshots seemed to bother Srisaket, but it was the body shots that really broke him down and forced on to the retreat. With Srisaket backing on to the ropes Bam unleashed on him, landing really clean head shots, one after the other until finally the referee stepped in, saving Srisaket from further punishment.
At the age of 35 Srisaket's legendary career is likely over. He managed to record one of the most notable careers of any Thai in the sport, having success not just in Thailand, where he win his first world title against Yota Sato, but also in the US, where he scored two wins over Roman Gonzalez and also beat Juan Francisco Estrada. His career is that of a certified Thai great. Sadly though this is almost certainly the end of it, at least the top level.
As for Bam. The sports has a genuine star on it's hand, and he should be regarded as the front runner for Fighter of the Year, with this win following a victory over Carlos Cuadras, he should be on the pound for pound rankings, and his team should be looking to match him against other top fighters. There is talk of him moving down in weight. to Flyweight, though selfishly, we'd prefer to see him stay at 115lbs and face the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Kazuto Ioka, Juan Francisco Estrada and Fernando Daniel Martinez whilst cleaning out the division. Regardless of what he ends up doing, fans should be taking notice of him, and following him. We could well be watching the career and development of a generational fighter here.
Just moments ago in San Antonio we saw WBA "Super" an IBF Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] retain his titles, and record his third defense, as he defeated American challenger Ronny Rios (33-4, 16) with a 12th round TKO.
The bout started slowly, with both men getting behind their jabs with both lookign to see what the other hand, and ease their own way into the bout. Through the opening stanza there was little to pick them apart, with Akhmadaliev looking the crisper, sharper, faster fighter, but outside of a single left hand he didn't land too much of note. What was interesting through the round was Rios using a lot of feints, that kept Akhmadaliev on his toes.
Rounds 2 and 3 saw the tempo slowly improve as the fight gradually warmed up with Rios cranking up the pressure round by round.
The first real talking point came in round 4, when an uppercut to the body of Rios left him in agony, that had to tough out. He looked really hurt, but somehow stayed on his feet, as Akhmadaliev tried to close the show but failed. The body shot showed that Akhmadaliev had the power to hurt the challenger, but he failed to repeat the feat as Rios showed his toughness and pressed more. That pressure did see him have success, but he was taking more than he was giving as Akhmadaliev proved to be an accurate puncher, especially with his jab, which helped neutralise the pressure of the challenger.
In round 6, whilst controlling the bout, Akhmadaliev suffered an injury to his left hand, which was a shame, as it left him a one-handed fighter. Despite that the skills of Akhmadaliev shined through as he continued to use his jab and movement well, and out boxed Rios, who kept pressing but having limited success. In round 8 it seemed that Rios was becoming aware that the champion was 100% and pressed a lot more, however that left him in range for Akhmadlaiev's right hook which began to land at will, and took a toll on Rios who was forced to back off late in the round.
Rios managed to see out round 8, despite being hurt late in the round, but continued to take punishment from the right hand of Akhamadliev through round 9. In round 10 Rios pressed more intensely, and it was one of his better rounds, but he continued to struggle to consistent leather as Akhmadaliev's footwork and educated right hand limited the challenger's success overall.
Rios had some of his best moments in round 10, but he failed to build on that in round 11 as Akhmadaliev consistently landed his right hand through the 11th round and even had Rios backing up at times.
With Akhmadaliev clearly up, and fighting injured, it seemed like the bout would be going the distance as we headed into the final round. Akhmadaliev however fought like a man with other intentions and came out in round 12 looking for a finish. He dropped Rios with just over a minute left, Rios beat the count but was under immediate pressure when the fight resumed with Akhmadaliev finishing off Rios as the referee stepped in to save the challenger.
Sadly the hand injury will likely keep Akhmadaliev out of the ring for a while, and after that he is likely going to be forced to face mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales before talks of a divisional super fight with Stephen Fulton can be realised. Sadly that makes it seem likely we won't get that massive undisputed title bout until 2023. As for Rios he showed his toughness, but in the end he was very much second best through out the bout.
On Friday night Florida played host to a world title fight, as WBO Light Flyweight champion Jonathan "Bomba" Gonzalez (26-3-1-1, 14) successfully defended his title for the first time, as he over-came the talented, but under-sized, Filipino challenger Mark Anthony Barriga (11-2, 2).
Early on the boxing skills of Barriga were on show, as he rocked Gonzalez in the opening round, and seemed to have the skills to out box the champion who looked surprisingly apprehensive at times, despite the fact that Barriga isn't a noted puncher. It was high level, high speed chess early on, with Barriga getting the better of it.
Sadly for the Filipino however as the bout went on his boxing skills proved not to be enough, and although he regularly backed Gonzalez up he couldn't ever pin him down, as the footwork and movement of Gonzalez kept him safe and allowed him to pot shot Barriga, who followed Gonzalez rather than cutting Gonzalez off.
Sadly for Barriga the later rounds did not go his way at all, as Gonzalez began to turn the screw in round 9. He became more aggressive, he was more willing to use his weight, size and try to bully Barriga around. That had success in tiring Barriga out, and left the Filipino more and more open to being caught by the heavier shots of Gonzalez, who could never land clean enough to Barriga, but was being outlanded by the champion who seemed to do enough to eek out a very close but fair victory.
After 12 rounds the judges turned in the scorecards. The first of those was 115-113 with the other two being 117-111. We thought the 117-111 scores were harsh, but it was clear that Gonzalez was the rightful winner, and he showed some nice touches here, but we do worry about him against the best at 108lbs, especially given how Barriga managed to hurt him early on and how he had to rely on his size to over-come Barriga, rather than his boxing. That will be a major issue against fighters like Hiroto Kyoguchi and Kenshiro Teraji, who are both strong and powerful Light Flyweights.
As for Barriga we'd love to see him return to his natural Minimumweight division, where he really can make a mark on the world level. Sadly at 108lbs he lacks the physicality and the power needed against the top fighters in the division, and it's a deep division as well meaning there isn't going to be an easy title for him to grab.
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.