Friday, December 14, 2018

Makings of a Modern Classic as Hart Seeks Redemption Deep in the Heart of Texas?


September 22, 2017 was supposed to be the evening when Philadelphia native and super middleweight contender Jesse “Hard work or Hollywood” Hart was going to fulfill his destiny and win the WBO portion of the world championship. It was the lifelong goal of the power punching contender, whose father Eugene “Cyclone” Hart was one of the key staples in middleweight boxing during the golden age of middleweights in Philadelphia during the 1970’s. Cyclone never reached the world championship level, despite becoming a legend in the city having gone to war with many of the greats of his time. 


So, it was only natural that one of his sons would take the reins from the legendary father in what had become the family business. Many of the trials and tribulations that would go along with the long journey through childhood, a decorated amateur boxing career, and his rise through the professional ranks were documented in articles about Hart over the past two years.       

Jesse Hart: The spotlight has arrived

When will the spotlight catch up to Jesse Hart?


Across from Jesse Hart (25-1) (21) that night last year in Tucson, Arizona was the current WBO champion of the world Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (38-0) (25), who himself was aiming to prove that he was indeed the best super middleweight champion in comparison to the other champions in the loaded division. What wound up taking place was one of the most underrated fights of the year. It was a back and forth battle that saw constant action, with both fighters asking crucial questions from each other.  

Going into that fight, Hart was viewed as a power puncher, although many viewed him as a natural talent that had lacked the credible opposition to solidify that he was unequivocally the best contender in the division. As the action started, Hart boxed and moved away from Ramirez, a southpaw that loves to apply constant pressure on his opponents. It didn’t take long into the second round, before Ramirez landed a left uppercut to the chin of Hart, whom he caught bending over. A clearly hurt Hart was knocked to the canvas (his chin and ability to take a heavy punch had many picking Ramirez prior to the fight) and although he gamely rose to his feet, he was clearly dazed. 


Two things usually result from this type of situation occurring to a first-time contender. They are either overwhelmed by the combination of ensuing pressure from the champion, along with the severity of the moment, and wind up folding due to the pressures of the moment. Or their natural talent and crafted abilities take over and they rise to the occasion and discover that yes in fact, they do belong at this elite level of competition. It would be the latter in this instance that pushed the fight forward.  
  
Half way through the back and forth fight the questions about both Hart and Ramirez were answered. As both warriors asked and answered these questions, the fans were the beneficiaries of witnessing just how the pitched battle would eventually play out. With the fight reaching the championship rounds, Hart hurt Ramirez with a powerful right uppercut half way through the round. When Ramirez took a step back (something that is not in his DNA as a fighter), Hart failed to capitalize on the moment. He did however continue to box and move, and wound up landing another powerful punch, this time a looping right hand that also stunned the champion. Ramirez rallied in the twelfth and final round as the bell sounded to end the fight. It was clear to all that the outcome would be close. All three judges scored the fight in favor of Ramirez, with two judges scoring it 115-112 (7 rounds to 5) and the third judge scoring it 114-113 (6 rounds a piece, with the extra point to Ramirez due to the second-round knockdown).  

Clearly disappointed, Hart recognized that he would be on the short end of the close decision as the scores were being read by the ring announcer. To his credit, Hart stated that he would return and instantly started to beat the proverbial drum for a rematch.  


Fast forward 15 months and the boxing world will look to Corpus Christi and to the rematch that many hardcore fight fans have been waiting for. While most of the sport is focusing on the events that will take place the next night in New York City, and the showcase of boxing's biggest draw south of the heavyweight division. It’s this super middleweight rematch that has all the makings for a classic fight that this writer would not be shocked, if like its predecessor, turned into a fight of the year candidate. Just looking at what was learned in the first fight about both the champion and the challenger and the type of fight that took place, this rematch, unlike most second fights, should deliver in the action department. 


You see during the first fight, when both fighters successfully quieted all the doubters that questioned their legitimacy, they also learned things about each other in terms of the types of intangibles that can’t be taught or crafted during the hours of training in the gym. Heart, determination, and the willingness to continue to fight through the heat of battle were things that both fighters showed. Although they both showed this courage, it was the unfamiliarity and bits of caution from both men during the heated up-close exchanges that seemed to prevent their first fight from possibly being an instant modern classic.  

Entering the rematch, Jesse Hart has been a man on a mission, with one goal on his mind, seeking revenge for his lone professional loss. Prior to the first fight, it was all about winning the world championship for both himself and his family (primarily his father), and Ramirez happened to be the man standing in his way. Now you get the sense that this fight is about exacting a bit of revenge and righting a wrong, since Hart believes that he lost their first fight more than Ramirez won it, with the extra bit of incentive being that world championship.


Hart has won three fights in a row since their first encounter, while Ramirez has stayed somewhat active winning two fights. Ramirez has stayed relatively quiet about Hart, only a few times mentioning that he beat Hart once and he will do it again. While Hart has been vocal after each of his three knockout victories (all on ESPN) taking the opportunity to call out Ramirez for his chance at redemption. Hart has done so after each victory with such intensity, that you get the feeling Ramirez has become an obsession.   

  
Add into the mix that the biggest draw in the sport, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, will have his name in lights on the marquee at Madison Square Garden the next night as he competes for another version of a super middleweight championship. For his part in the division, Alvarez has mentioned that he will now fluctuate between middleweight and super middleweight to make the biggest fights for the fans. Winning this fight and having control of the WBO portion of the world championship in this division could mean the opportunity for a career high pay day down the road.  

These ingredients added together, especially the fact that both fighters are familiar with each other and their demeanor that we learned from their first fight should have them continue to push each other to both their mental and physical limits. This means that we just may be in for the instant modern classic that last September was on the cusp of becoming.  Hart vs. Ramirez 2 can be seen on ESPN+ this Friday night at 10 PM, with the undercard starting at 6:30.





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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tevin Farmer Looks to Put an Exclamation Point on 2018!


Let’s rewind to this time last year, December of 2017, when Farmer seemed to clearly out box Japanese contender Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas on HBO to fulfill his dream of winning a world championship. His gallant efforts allowed the masses tuning in on HBO the chance to see his pure boxing skill set. However dominant it seemed Farmer was, the three judges scoring the fight at ringside gave the decision to Ogawa. However, the aforementioned effort put forth by Farmer was not lost by the fans in the arena, fans watching at home, or the HBO broadcast team. 

It only seemed right that Ogawa would fail his post-fight drug test and was stripped of the title belt that he was awarded in an unjust manner. With the title still vacant, it was a no brainer heading into 2018 that Farmer would once again be in line to capture the crown. The fact that it took until August of this year for a fight between Farmer and Billy Dib to be made in Australia for the vacant belt was a bit of a surprise. Farmer, to his credit, was unfazed by the long layoff and this time put on such a clear dominating performance that the judges in Australia unanimously crowned him the new world champion. Step one complete for Farmer, who for all his talk about being a world class elite fighter over the past couple of years (including calling out Gervonta Davis on several occasions), could stake that his claim as one of the best in the division.


We are currently in an age within the sport when many of the star attractions in the sport, and for that manner many of the new champions, take plenty of time off in-between fights, especially when capturing their first championship. Farmer, to his credit, along with his new promoters Matchroom Boxing USA (whom he signed with before the Dib fight), have decided that an active Farmer is a dangerous Farmer. Just over two months after the win in Australia, Farmer was defending his title in Boston on the undercard of his promoter’s stateside debut. He easily dispatched of James Tennyson with some vicious body work stopping him, something that he is not known for, having just six stoppage wins in twenty-seven victories. Which brings us to this Saturday night at the Garden in New York. 


For the second time in as many months and for the third time in four months, Farmer will be in action in a meaningful fight. For that matter, with the magnitude of this fight card, which is being headlined by boxing's biggest attraction outside of the heavyweight division, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in his New York City debut. This may not just be the biggest fight this year for Farmer, but the biggest fight of his entire career. It is certainly light years away from where Farmer, a fighter that at one point early in his career brought to the ring a record of 7-4. After a twenty-fight win streak that saw Farmer begin to master his craft, he will take on the dangerous Francesco Fonseca (22-1-1) (16), whose only professional defeat came at the hands of Gervonta Davis for the same IBF title back in August of 2017. Since that time, Fonseca has won three fights in a row, all by stoppage, although it was against limited opposition.  


Farmer will be featured for the second time on the APP DAZN, however, this time with Alvarez as the key American attraction being signed to the streaming service, Farmer is in position to display his skills in front of the largest audience of his career. This is something that is not lost on Farmer. 


“I’m on another level and people are starting to realize. Right now, I’m just trying to make history with every fight. December 15th, I will show everyone once again that I am one of the best in the world,” stated Farmer.  Farmer isn’t the only one that is believing that his star and name in the sport is light years away from where it could wind up.


Although fans tend to like fighters that are blood and guts warriors, like Arturo Gatti, or powerful punching machines, like Mike Tyson, fighters with master skills in terms of their defensive elusiveness and ability to control the action in the ring by putting on boxing clinics have also been financially rewarding for both fighters and their promoters. Think Pernell Whitaker in the late 80’s and early 90’s as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport. Many times, his showmanship and pure craft filled arenas and had millions tune in to his fights on premium networks and pay-per-view. With boxing's distribution landscape changed and the APP DAZN affiliated with promoters like Matchroom Boxing, a good showing by Farmer could lead to him being the headliner of future DAZN events.


“Tevin Farmer is one of the most inspirational stories in boxing. He’s won twenty fights in a row and is one of the fastest improving young stars in boxing. I’m pleased that with Eddie Hern (Matchroom Boxing) and DAZN, he is now the most active champion in the ring, said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.


“Another day, another big night.  I’m looking to do the same thing I did to Tennyson – but much faster,” claimed Farmer. One thing is for sure, if Farmer is indeed able to make yet another impressive statement with not just a win, but a dominate performance against Fonseca, it most certainly will put Farmer in the conversation for nothing but big fights in 2019, including the fight that he has been chasing after for two years now, a unification fight with WBA champion Gervonta Davis.



Photo - DiBella Entertainment



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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

This Past Week in Action with Eric Armit


Highlights:

-Vasiliy Lomachenko decisions Jose Pedraza to unify the WBA and WBO lightweight titles

-Emanuel Navarette outpoints Isaac Dogboe to lift the WBO super bantamweight title

-Michel Soro wins the vacant secondary WBA super welterweight title with stoppage of Greg Vendetti

-Kell Brook wins WBA final eliminator with points victory over Michael Zerafa

-Jono Carroll and Guillame Frenois draw in IBF super feather eliminator

-Thabiso Mchunu beats Thomas Oosthuizen and Thulani Mbenge halts Miguel Vazquez in South Africa

-Rene Alvarado outpoints Carlos Morales in WBA super featherweight eliminator

-Prospects Alex Besputin, Teo Lopez, Anthony Fowler, Karim Arce, Mohammed Rabii, Mickael Diallo, Filip Hrgovic and Jeyvier Cintron score wins.

World Title Shows

December 8

New York, NY, USA: Light: Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1) W PTS 12 Jose Pedraza (25-2). Super Bantam: Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) W PTS 12 Isaac Dogboe (20-1). Welter Alex Besputin (12-0) W PTS 12 Juan Carlos Abreu (21-5-1,1ND). Light Teo Lopez (11-0) W KO 1 Mason Menard (34-4). Super Light: Abdiel Ramirez (24-3-1) W TKO 8 Michael Perez (25-3-2). Heavy: Guido Vianello (1-0) W KO 2 Luke Lyons (5-2-1).
Lomachenko vs. Pedraza


After a studied start Lomachenko gets into his stride and outboxes and outscores a clever Pedraza. He comes close to an inside the distance win with two knockdowns in the eleventh round and takes the decision to unify the WBA and WBO titles.

Round 1
A very cautious opening from both fighters. Pedraza probed with his jab and landed a couple of light straight rights. Lomachenko came to life late in the round and scored with three lefts which was just enough to have him edge the round.
Score 10-9 Lomachenko

Round 2
A good round by Pedraza. He boxed cleverly with plenty of movement, jabbed sharply and slotted home some straight rights. Lomachenko landed a hard straight left late in the round but this time that was not enough.
Score 10-9 Pedraza                                                                                                Tied 19-19

Round 3
Pedraza again boxed well at the start of the round and Lomachenko’s face was already red from the attentions of Pedraza’s jab. Lomachenko fired home some bursts of punches to take the round but all three rounds had been close.
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 29-28

Round 4
Lomachenko was finding Pedraza a difficult target. The Puerto Rican was switching guards, employing lots of upper body movement and landing light jabs and straight rights. Lomachenko was getting much closer and he landed some hefty lefts in the round to take it.
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 39-37

Official scores: 39-37, 40-36 and 39-37 for Lomachenko

Round 5
Pedraza’s round for me. He kept stabbing out his jab and adding straight lefts with Lomachenko finding it hard to penetrate Pedraza's tight defence. Pedraza’s punches were not hard but he landed a lot more than Lomachenko in this round.
Score 10-9 Pedraza.                                                                                Lomachenko 48-47

Round 6
Best round so far for Lomachenko. He had his jab working and began to land some hard straight lefts rocking Pedraza a couple of times. Pedraza kept throwing light punches but Lomachenko was blocking or ducking them
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 58-56

Round 7
Lomachenko was now in control. He was pressuring Pedraza for the whole three minutes bobbing and weaving around and under the Puerto Rican's punches and then rocking Pedraza with quick bursts of hooks and speedy jabs
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 68-65

Round 8
More pressure from Lomachenko. With the angles he was creating Pedraza was often not even seeing the punch coming. Lomachenko took him to the ropes and unloaded with hooks until Pedraza forced his out into the ring centre but he was soon back on the ropes again under fire.
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 78-74

Official scores: 78-74, 80-72 and 78-74 for Lomachenko

Round 9
Pedraza boxed well enough to stay out of trouble for much of the round but was not landing anything. Lomachenko unleashed bursts of punches over the last 30 seconds. Pedraza was dodging and diving but plenty got through in another dominant round for Lomachenko
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                         Lomachenko 88-83

Round 10
Unexpectedly a round for Pedraza and he won it well. He stayed in the center of the ring firing right jabs and left hooks. When Lomachenko tried to press he moved back quickly firing counters and Lomachenko just could not get close enough to really land anything of note.
Score 10-9 Pedraza                                                                                 Lomachenko 97-93

Round 11
Perhaps his success in the last round made Pedraza a bit overconfident and he paid for it. Just past the minute mark Lomachenko shook him with a couple of left uppercuts. When another left staggered Pedraza Lomachenko poured on the punches landing time and again with hooks, uppercuts and overarm rights. Pedraza was being blown one way and then the other until dropping to one knee. He was up at eight but when the action resumed there were just twenty seconds left in the round. Lomachenko went after Pedraza and he went down again but it looked like a case of just trying to buy time to the bell. He timed it just right with the bell going as he got up at the count of eight.
Score 10-7 Lomachenko                                                                     Lomachenko 107-100

Round 12
Lomachenko managed to land some heavy lefts in the last but Pedraza survived by moving and moving and deserved in the end to go the distance.
Score 10-9 Lomachenko                                                                     Lomachenko 117-109

Official scores: 117-109, 119-107 and 117-109 for Lomachenko`

The 30-year-old Ukrainian continues to set new record with his fourth different title over three divisions in just thirteen fights. If the fight with Mikey Garcia can be made it would unify the four lightweight titles and would be a great fight.  Pedraza, a two-division champion himself said he was proud of the effort he put on in this fight against such a great fighter as Lomachenko. He certainly posed some problems early with his movement and snappy jabs and can hold his head up high and look for some more big fights when he returns to action.

Navarette vs. Dogboe

Navarette lifts the WBO title as he uses his speed, longer reach and a high work rate to decision champion Dogboe who fades badly over the last four rounds.

Round 1
Navarette had a 5” height advantage and a longer reach so Dogboe was quickly moving forward getting past the jab and landing hooks inside. He did a good job of cutting the ring off and although Navarette launched a late attack it was the champions round
Score 10-9 Dogboe

Round 2
A much better round from Navarette as he dominated the round. He took the fight to Dogboe stabbing his jab and landing a nice left hook. He kept up the pressure with Dogboe never able to get on the front foot and Navarette landing with hooks and uppercuts knocking Dogboe off balance with a left and forcing Dogboe around the ring.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                             Tied 19-19

Round 3 
Dogboe made some adjustments coming in low and refusing to be backed up for much of the round. Over the second half of the round Navarette again took over with long swinging hooks. He landed a hurtful right to the head followed by a left to the body and took the round.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                    Navarette 29-28

Round 4
A good round for Dogboe. He moved inside Navarette’s reach firing clusters of hooks to the body. He continued to slip Navarette’s jab and rocked the Mexican with a left hook to the head and connected with more body punches.
Score 10-9 Dogboe                                                                                                Tied 38-38

Round 5
Navarette gave Dogboe a torrid time in this round. He crowded and pressed for the whole three minutes He was landing hooks and uppercuts using his larger physique to push Dogboe back and pumping out punch after punch with Dogboe almost overwhelmed.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                    Navarette 48-47

Round 6
Another round for Navarette. He was setting a frantic pace almost running forward and pumping out punches. He was constantly switching guards and outworking Dogboe. The champion stood his ground more than in the fifth and managed to dig in some body punches.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                         `                          Navarette 58-56

Round 7
Strange tactics from Navarette. In this round he boxed on the retreat which allowed Dogboe to get inside and score with jabs and uppercuts. Navarette’s punch output dropped and he was even being out jabbed in a round won by Dogboe
Score 10-9 Dogboe                                                                                       Navarette 67-66

Round 8
Really strange as Navarette took another round off. He never took a forward step and threw very few punches. Dogboe was able to get through with jabs and work inside with body punches. A gift round for the Ghanaian.
Score 10-9 Dogboe                                                            `                                   Tied 76-76

Round 9
A closer round. Dogboe scored well over the early part and looked to have knocked Navarette over with a right to the side of the head. Navarette complained it landed on the back of his head and the referee agreed not applying a count and warning Dogboe. That seemed to wake up Navarette and he went onto the attack storming forward with hooks and uppercuts forcing Dogboe back and doing enough to just take the round.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                    Navarette 86-85

Round 10
Dogboe had swelling around his eyes and the referee asked the doctor to examine the Ghanaian but he was passed as OK. Dogboe made a lively start scoring with straight rights and Navarette was replying with swinging hooks from both hands. The referee had insisted that water be mopped up from Dogboe’s corner before the round started and as Navarette forced Dogboe back he slipped on the remaining water and slid to the floor awkwardly. That seemed to unsettle him and Navarette dominated the rest of the round landing three clubbing head punches that rattled Dogboe.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                    Navarette 96-94

Round 11
Navarette pursued Dogboe throughout the round. He was almost running after the champion never letting him get set to fire any counters and pumping out left and right hooks with Dogboe just being outworked and outscored. Once again Dogboe slipped badly on water in his own corner. They both tumbled to the floor just before the bell but neither was hurt.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                Navarette 106-103

Round 12
Dogboe fought the last round like a fighter who thought he only had to stay on his feet to be the winner. He was on the retreat for the whole three minutes doing more holding than punching. Once again Navarette was letting fly with hooks and uppercut and driving Dogboe back before throwing Dogboe to the canvas late in the round.
Score 10-9 Navarette                                                                                 Navarette 116-112

The 23-year-old “Cowboy” from Mexico City was a bit if a surprise package. He had won his last 20 fights and the last eight of those by KO/TKO and was No 2 with the WBO but there was not a single rated fighter anywhere in his record. He was just too big for the 5’2” Dogboe and it will be interesting to see how he handles some of the other champions/rated fighters. Diego De La Hoya is the WBO No 1 and that will be an interesting fight if it can be made. Dogboe’s loss will be a huge disappointment for boxing fans in Ghana who had celebrated and feted him for his upset victory over Jessie Magdaleno and his crushing of Hidenori Otake. With the form he showed in those fights the 24-year-old Ghanaian will be back looking for a title fight in 2019.

Besputin vs. Abreu

Besputin scores wide unanimous decision over a tough and rough Abreu. The Russian showed his power early putting Abreu down with a strong straight left in the first round. Abreu has never lost by KO/TKO and he survived this early scare. He wasn’t able to win any rounds but he did make things awkward for Besputin and looked to have shaken the Russian in the fourth. That was momentary success and Besputin had already done enough good work to take the round. Besputin was down in the fifth but he had been thrown there by Abreu. Besputin arose quickly with Abreu looking to land a punch as Besputin was on the way up but he got away with that. Besputin continued to boss the action and had a 10-8 round in the eighth when he knocked Abreu into the ropes and the referee ruled that the ropes had held Abreu up and gave the Dominican another count. There were no more scares for Abreu and Besputin was the winner by 100-88 on the cards and retains the USBA title. Not Besputin’s best performance but Abreu was tough if limited opponent

Lopez vs. Menard

Lopez scores a brutal kayo of Menard. After a few seconds of sparring Lopez landed a right to the head which rocked Menard. He quickly went on the retreat with Lopez tracking him along the ropes. Lopez landed a left hook to the body to the and then an explosive right to the side of Menard’s head that saw Menard  falling face down on the canvas so hard that he bounced. The referee started the count but quickly stopped and signalled for assistance to Menard. All finished in 44 seconds. The 21-year-ol Brooklyn-born Lopez wins the vacant NABF title with his ninth victory by KO/TKO. A former National Golden Gloves champion and US Olympic Trials winner he found his way to Rio blocked as fellow American Carlos Balderas had already qualified through the WBS. Lopez entered the America’s qualifier on behalf of Honduras having Honduran parentage and although he made it to Rio he went out in the first round. Going into this fight his only rating was at No 11 with the WBA but this performance should see him get some serious attention by all of the sanctioning bodies. Life has been tough for Menard since he moved into top level matches with this his third loss by KO/TKO in his last five fights. The other two losses were against Ray Beltran and Devin Haney

Ramirez vs. Perez

Good win for Ramirez as he rebounds from two losses in a row with stoppage of Perez. Ramirez had the perfect start flooring Perez in the first and forcing the fight. Perez fought his way back into the fight and floored Ramirez with a right in the fourth. Ramirez was back on top in the fifth and seemed to be on his way  to a points victory when he produced a couple of uppercuts early in the eighth which dumped Perez on the floor heavily and the fights was halted without a count being needed. Ramirez had an eight bout winning streak snapped by losses to unbeaten Eastern Europeans Ruslan Madiev and Maxim Dadashev. Perez had beaten Miguel Acosta and Martin Honorio and lost to Petr Petrov. He took a split verdict over 32-1-1 Marcelino Lopez in April last year and this was his first fight since then.

Vianello vs. Lyons

Former amateur star Vianello wastes no time in registering his first pro win. He floored Lyons late in the first with the bell saving Lyons. In the second a right put Lyons down and he was counted out. The 24-year-old 6’6” Vianello was Italian Youth and Senior champion and competed at the European Games and the Rio Olympics. Lyons just a novice and way out of his depth.

December 7

Brieve, France: Welter: Jordy Weiss (21-0) W PTS 12 Jose Del Rio (28-8-1). Cruiser: Jean Jacques Olivier (10-2) W PTS 10 Brendon Deslaurier (11-3-1). Heavy: Cyril Leonet (15-10-3) W PTS 10 Dennis Lewandowski (13-3).

Weiss vs. Del Rio

Weiss retains the EU title with unanimous decision over Del Rio. The Frenchman won this with his excellent skills. He was quicker and more accurate with his punches. Southpaw Del Rio pressed hard knowing that Weiss would outbox him unless he could hustle Weiss out of his stride. Del Rio had some success over the first three rounds but by the fourth the stabbing jabs and quick combinations from Weiss had him controlling the fight. The Frenchman was cut on his right eyelid in a clash of heads but his solid defensive work and clean counters saw him outland the Spaniard. Weiss lacks power but makes up for it in speed and skill. Scores 117-111 twice and 118-110. First defence of the EU title for the 25-year-old “Gypsy” who is hoping to get a shot at the European title next year. Former Spanish champion Del Rio was challenging for the title for the second time and his constant aggression made this an entertaining match.

Olivier vs. Deslaurier

Unlike the main event power and aggression took this one with Olivier winning the vacant French title on a split decision. Deslaurier boxed neatly constantly switching guard but he lacked the power to keep Olivier out and the bigger stronger man although landing less landed the harder punches and that led two of the judges to score for him by 96-93 and 95-94 with the third going for Deslaurier 96-93. The 30-year-old from far away Martinique gets revenge for a points loss in 2016 and makes it 6 wins in his last 7 fights. “Gypsy Bomber” Deslaurier, 25, had put together a run of nine wins before losing on points to Mairis Breidis in July and will probably get a return with Olivier in 2019.

Leonet vs. Lewandowski

“Aldo” Leonet had no real trouble winning this one as he took every round against the vastly obese Lewandowski. Leonet was just too mobile for the glacial slow Lewandowski who looked like an over-inflated “Michelin Man”.  Leonet kept moving and firing home quick punches with Lewandowski too slow to counter or cut off the ring. Leonet won on scores of 100-90 twice and 100-91. The 35-year-old Leonet, a former French champion, wins the WBFederation International title. He has improved his record with a run of 9-2-1 in his last 12 fights. He put up a good fight against Tony Yoka in April before being knocked out in five rounds and that improved his stance with the French fans. German Lewandowski, 24, is just 6’2” but has been as high as 280lbs and he looked about that here.

Castlebar, Ireland: Light: Christian Uruzquieta (18-4-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Ray Moylette (11-1). Middle: Gary O’Sullivan (29-3) W PTS 8 Gabor Gorbics (26-14)


Uruzquieta vs. Moylette

Mexican Uruzquieta ruins the welcome home party for Moylette with a deserved split decision over the Irishman.  Both were finding the target early. Moylette was tending to land smart jabs and rights to the head. Uruzquieta was targeting the body. There were plenty of fiery exchanges with Moylette looking to have moved into the lead after three rounds. Uruzquieta staggered Moylette briefly in the fourth and then nearly finished the fight in the fifth. As they exchanged punches Moylette went down from a right. He only just beat the count and was floored again later in the round. Moylette survived and fought back hard over the second half of the fight with the rounds being close. Scores 96-92 and 95-94 for Uruzquieta and 95-94 got Moylette. Uruzquieta, 28, wins the vacant WBC International Silver title. Fighting in the other man’s back yard is nothing new for Uruzquieta. He has fought five times in Canada going 2-1-2 with upset victories over Steven Wilcox and Roody Pierre Paul and drawing with Mario Perez before losing to Tony Luis and unbeaten Mathieu Germain so he was a tough test for the Irish former amateur star.  Moylette, 28 was the first Irish boxer to win a gold medal at the World Youth Championships and later added both the Irish title and a gold at the European Championships. He competed at 2011 and 2013 World Championships and the 2013 European Championships. Now he will have to regroup and rebuild.

O’Sullivan vs. Gorbics

In his first fight since being crushed inside a round by David Lemieux O’Sullivan gets eight rounds of useful work against Hungarian Gorbics. O’Sullivan was his usual aggressive self and Gorbics spent most of the fight going backwards. He came out of his shell on a couple of occasions to stand and trade but O’Sullivan had much the harder punch and Gorbics would quickly go back on the defensive. O’Sullivan rocked Gorbics in the sixth and seemed to ease up over the last allowing Gorbics to last the distance. Referee’s score 80-72 for O’Sullivan. The 34-year-old from Cork has good wins over Nick Quigley and Antoine Douglas but lost a big fight when being stopped by Chris Eubank Jr in 2015. He is an entertaining fighter and there are plenty of good fights to be made for him. Gorbics usually goes the distance but was halted in five rounds by Anthony Fowler in October

Mexicali, Mexico: Super Light: Sergio Ortega (20-2) W TKO 2 Lizandro De los Santos (24-17-1). 

Local fighter Ortega gets quick victory. After dominating the first round just one minute into the second a hail of punches from Ortega sent De los Santos down. He made to his feet but was taking more incoming shots and the referee stopped the fight. Now 14 wins by KO/TKO for Ortega. He was inactive in 2016 and 2017 and this is his fourth win since returning to the ring. De los Santos slips to 2-7-1 in his most recent ten fights.

Mexico City, Mexico: Light: Antonio Moran (24-3) W TKO 2 Victor Zuniga (18-3). 

Moran halts substitute Zuniga in two rounds. In the first Moran was already digging in some hurtful body punches. In the second two left hooks to the body dropped Zuniga. He made it to his feet at seven and when the action resumed tried to take the fight to Moran. Very quickly hooks and uppercuts had Zuniga backing up and a series of punches to head and body had Zuniga tumbling to the ropes and the referee stopped the fight. The 6’0” tall 25-year-old Moran has wins over some useful and experienced fighters and lost a very close decision to Jose Pedraza in June with all three judges giving the decision to Pedraza by 96-94. He now has 17 wins by KO/TKO. Zuniga, 19, probably should not have taken such a tough fight at short notice and suffers his second inside the distance loss in a row having been stopped in one round by unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov in August.

Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico: Super Fly: Jeyvier Cintron (9-0) W DISQ 7 Marvin Solano (21-3). Heavy: Victor Bisbal (23-3) W KO 1 Edson Roberto Dos Santos Borges (30-4-2).

Cintron vs. Solano

Solano proved an awkward opponent with his lunging attacks and Cintron was hustled out of his stride in the first but was landing some good counters. Cintron slowly settled and was outboxing the crude Solano but still having problems with the Nicaraguan’s crazy swinging. Cintron was landing right jabs, straight lefts and lead lefts with Solano dangerous but erratic. They almost came to blows after the bell to end the fourth when Cintron lightly tapped Solano on the head and an angry Solano launched himself at Cintron with the referee having to restrain him. Things began to get a bit wild in the fourth with Solano hefting Cintron onto his shoulders and slamming Cintron into the ropes and almost out of the ring. After that Cintron avoided Solano’s rushes and scored with right jabs and straight lefts. In the fifth Solano missed with a couple of punches and fell back to the floor. He was given a count but it had not been a punch. Cintron fired some flashing combinations and Solano was warned for both pushing Cintron to the floor and a low punch. Cintron continued to pick-off Solano with counter lefts in the eighth. Solano was warned for a couple of low punches and then came madness. Solano landed another low punch and as Cintron doubled up and turned away Solano reached around and landed another punch. Cintron immediately turned and threw himself at Solano and they wrestled and both fell to the floor. At that point the referee stepped in and disqualified Solano. Cintron gets the win but not a satisfactory one. Solano was a strong very awkward opponent but Cintron got the job done. The 23-year-old Cintron is the only Puerto Rican boxer to appear at two Olympic Games. His father was a pro and he is trained by former champion Ivan Calderon. Solano was 8-1 going into this one with the loss being to Russian Olympian Mikhail Aloyan.

Bisbal vs. Borges

This really was a farcical rubbish of a mismatch. Bisbal was 8” taller and 41lbs heavier than Borges. He drove Borges around the ring with heavy rights and then landed a four-punch combination that saw Borges slump to the canvas and the referee waived the fight over half way through the count. The 38-year-old Bisbal, a 2004 Olympian, has had long spells of inactivity and this was his first fight in almost two years. Borges, 45, was having only his fourth fight in three years-disgraceful

East London, South Africa: Bantam: Yanga Sigqibo (12-1-1) W PTS 12 Keyvin Lara (26-3-1).Super Fly: Athenkosi Dumezweni (11-2) W TKO 4 Ulises Lara (21-17-2). Super Light: Marios Matamba (9-0) W KO 4 Siseko Makeleni (7-2). Light Fly: Nkosinathi Joyi (27-5) W KO 7 Mpho Seforo (7-1-1).Light Fly: Nhlanhia Tyirha (4-0) W KO 3 Bongani Sillila (16-6-3).


Sigqibo vs. Lara

South African champion Sigqibo adds the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title to his collection with a points win over Nicaraguan Lara. In a messy, nasty fight Sigqibo’s better skills saw him outpoint the smaller Lara. With his longer reach Sigqibo tried to keep the fight an open one but Lara hustled and bustled and kept busy. There was too much holding for the fight to be entertaining. Lara committed a number of transgressions before finally being deducted a point in the last round for one of his many head butts. Sigqibo did the cleaner work and was the clear winner. Scores 117-112 twice and 116-112. Now nine wins in a row for Sigqibo. Lara, 24, was knocked out in eleven rounds by Kazuto Ioka for the secondary WBA title in 2016 and had since scored eight wins against weak opposition. Lara’s team were not happy with the scoring and felt Sigqibo should have been deducted a point for holding,

Dumezweni vs. Lara

Good win for Dumezweni as he halts Mexican Lara in four rounds. Dumezweni showed good skills and plenty of movement to take the edge off the charging attacks of Lara. The visitor was caught with a right uppercut in the third and forced to take a standing count and only just made it to the bell. Dumezweni continued his attacks in the fourth and put Lara down with a straight left. Lara made it to his feet but after the count another heavy left had Lara defenceless on the ropes and the referee stopped the fight. Dumezweni collects the vacant IBO International title and has won eight of his last nine fights. In two previous fight in South Africa this year Lara had beaten good level local opposition and collected the WBA Inter-Continental super flyweight and WBC International flyweight titles

Matamba vs. Makeleni

Congolese fighter “Machine” Matamba wins the vacant WBO African title with fourth round kayo of local fighter Makeleni. Matamba, who is based in South Africa, gets his seventh win by KO/TKO. Makeleni had won his last four fights.

Joyi vs. Seforo

In his first fight for two years former IBF minimumweight champion Joyi breathes some life back into his fading career with a seventh round kayo of previously unbeaten Seforo to win the vacant WBO African title. After six fairly even rounds a heavy southpaw left from Joyi put Seforo down on his back and he was counted out. After being 22-0,1ND in his first 23 fights the 35-year-old Joyi had gone 4-4 before walking away after a loss to Simpiwe Konkco for IBO minimumweight title in 2016.Seforo was having his first fight for almost a year.

Tyirha vs. Sillila

Teenager Tyirha wins the South African title with a third round kayo of champion Sillila. A big right from Tyirha ended the fight. Tyirha had less than fifteen rounds as a pro behind him so this was something of an upset against champion Sillila who had gone 5-1-1 in his last 7 fights and had over 100 rounds of experience. He suffers only his second loss by KO/TKO.

Belfast, NI, Middle: Conrad Cummings (16-2-1) W PTS 10 Ferenc Berki (11-1).

Cummings regains his WBO European title by outpointing substitute Berki for the vacant title. No real problems here for Cummings. Berki was competitive but never a threat. Cummings was already streets ahead when he floored Berki in the tenth to make the points gap a bit wider. Scores 99-90, 98-91 and 95-94. It needs to be noted that the 95-94 was from the Hungarian judge who without the knockdown would have scored his fellow-countryman the winner! Cummings, 27, lost the title on a unanimous decision against to Luke Keeler in April. Hungarian super welterweight champion Berki was a very late replacement after Brian Rose had to pull out through injury. This is only his second fight outside Hungary.

Tampa, FL, USA: Bantam: Melvin Lopez (18-0) W PTS 10 Aldimar Silva (21-15). 

Lopez marches on with win over Brazilian Silva. Lopez bossed the fight in every round and had Silva down in the second and sixth on his way to a comfortable victory. Scores 100-88 for Lopez on the three cards. The 21-year-old from Nicaragua is No 7 with the WBA but has yet to be in with any kind of testing opponent. Silva, 37 (don’t they have any young fighters in Brazil?) is 2-7 in his nine fights.

Las Vegas, NV, USA: Light: Ladarius Miller (17-1) W Ricardo Garcia (14-3-1). Super Middle: Ronald Gavril (19-3) W TKO 2 Antowyan Aikens (13-6-1).


Miller vs. Garcia

Miller gets a majority decision over Garcia thanks to a strong finish. The fight turned into a harder test for Miller than expected. It was a fast-paced entertaining fight over the early rounds. Miller was quicker and slicker but Garcia was more aggressive and scored with some good rights against the southpaw Miller. In the later rounds it became a bit untidy with too many clinches. Miller had a good eighth landing some heavy lefts and outlanded Garcia over the ninth and tenth. Scores 98-92 and 96-94 for Miller and 95-95. The 25-year-old from Memphis is part of the Floyd Mayweather Jr group. He now has nine victories in a row including wins over useful opposition in Jamel Herring and Dennis Galarza. Dominican Garcia is now 0-1-4 in his last 5 fights.

Gavril vs. Aikens

Gavril floors Aikens three times for stoppage win. A cautious opening round saw Gavril shadowing Aikens around the ring. Aikens was prodding with his jab and trying an occasional right. Gavril upped his pace at the end of the round but could not land a telling punch. After tracking Aikens for almost two minutes of the second he finally threw a right cross which knocked Aikens sideward and down on one knee. A straight right put Aikens down again and although he beat the count another right dropped him and the referee waived the fight off without a count. First time back in the ring for the Romanian since his consecutive losses to David Benavidez in WBC super middle title fights. He has dropped out of the ratings but will be trying to work his way towards another title shot. Second loss by KO/TKO for Aikens and only three wins in his last nine fights.

Philadelphia, PA, USA: Super Middle: Kalvin Henderson (11-0) W TKO 7 Brandon Robinson (11-2).  


Henderson proves to be a surprise package as he outboxes local fighter Robinson and floors and stops him in seven rounds. Robinson made a fast start looking to sweep aside Henderson with his early aggression. Henderson just worked patiently with his jab. He was throwing fewer punches than Robinson but by the end of the second round his accurate jabs had started a swelling under Robinson’s left eye which quickly grew and almost closed the eye. Robinson continued to attack but was staggered badly in the third and was forced to go down on one knee under Henderson’s punches in the fifth. Robinson tried to turn the fight his way with a ferocious attack at the start of the seventh but Henderson saw out the storm and then dropped Robinson twice and the fight was stopped. Texan “Hot Sauce” Henderson gets his seventh win by KO/TKO. Robinson had won his last eleven fights but gets his second loss by KO/TKO and it is back to basics for him.

December 8

Levallois-Perret, France: Super Welter: Michel Soro (33-2-1) W TKO 2 Greg Vendetti (20-3-1). Super Middle: Petro Ivanov (10-0-2) W TKO 9 Louis Toutin (12-1). Super Welter: Mohammed Rabii (8-0) W PTS 8 Alex Zhuravskiy (13-5). Cruiser: Joel Tambwe Djeko (14-2-1) W PTS 6 Valery Brudov (44-15). Super Middle: Mickael Diallo (18-0-2) W KO 3 Genaro Quiroga (14-15).



Soro vs. Vendetti

Soro much too good for Vendetti and destroys the American inside two rounds with a brutal combination of shots to win the vacant interim WBA title. Soro had a considerable height and reach over Vendetti. Initially Vendetti was ducking under Soro’s jab trying to move inside but Soro was continuing to just probe with the jab and step back from Vendetti’s rushed attacks. Vendetti had some success as he hustled and bustled in the second. Soro was still just sticking to the jab but when he finally let fly with a right it landed high on Vendetti’s head and his legs wobbled and he backed into the ropes. Soro jumped on him and blasted home a tremendous left hook and two straight rights to the head the second of which had Vendetti out on his feet and as he dropped to the canvas Soro landed two more hooks as the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. The 31-year-old Ivory Coast-born Frenchman makes it 22 wins by KO/TKO. He lost on a split decision to Brian Castano for this same title in July last year. Castano has been “promoted” to secondary champion and Soro is looking for another fight with the Argentinian. Vendetti was out of his class. He was rated No 9 by the WBA after a creditable win over Yoshihiro Kamegai but was in way over his head with Soro.

Toutin vs. Ivanov

Big surprise and big disappointment for French fans as poster boy Toutin is stopped by Ivanov. Over the early rounds an inside the distance win for Toutin looked a good bet. He was his usual march forward punching self. Ivanov had a longer reach but Toutin’s attacks were threatening to overwhelm him. In the second round a left to the body had Ivanov hurt and another saw the Ukrainian backing off and going down on one knee in pain. He made it to his feet and moved and blocked to the bell. Toutin continued to pile on the pressure. He was snapping Ivanov’s head back with jabs and landing hooks from both hands. He was setting a fast pace but also walking onto some hard punches from Ivanov and a growing swelling over his right eye was starting to trouble him. Toutin had never gone past four rounds before having beaten eleven rivals inside four rounds and had one points win in a four round fight. By the end of the seventh Toutin was looking more and more tired. That gave Ivanov the impetus to start coming forward and he was starting to dominate the action. In the ninth Toutin was totally exhausted and only staying on his feet by grabbing Ivanov. He went down once and only just pulled himself up at nine. The fight should have been stopped and finally was when he dropped again. He made it to his feet but he was a shell and did not respond when asked if he wanted to carry on. Ivanov had been eight rounds three times and paced the fight better. He showed guts to fight on after being down in the second but he did not crumble and got his reward in the stoppage of a fighter being touted as a huge prospect. Toutin, 21, a member of the French Traveller’s community and a former European Junior Championships gold medallist will have serious thinking to do. He really should not have been sent out for the ninth round and in the totally exhausted state he was in it could have been dangerous. He will obviously fight on but there is a big rebuilding job required

Rabii vs. Zhuravskiy

Moroccan Rabii continues on his winning way with a points victory over Zhuravskiy. Score 78-74 twice and 79-73. Rabbi is the most successful amateur Morocco has had. He won the gold medal at the World Championships in 2015 beating eventual Rio gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov in the final. He also won a bronze at the Rio Olympics and was a WBS Fighter of the year. Kazak southpaw Zhuravskiy drops to four losses in a row.

Djeko vs. Brudov

Popular “Big Joe” Djeko continues his run of good form with points win over Russian oldie Brudov. Scores 59-53 for the big Belgian on all cards. He has lost only one of his last thirteen fights and the loss was a split decision in Cardiff against Welshman Craig Kennedy. Brudov, 42, is really just a shell now of the fighter who challenged for the WBA and WBO titles and has won only two of his last twelve fights.

Diallo vs. Quiroga

Diallo gives another impressive power display as he uses some heavy rights to kayo Quiroga in three rounds. Although French the 27-year-old Diallo is known as “The Catalan Bomber” and this is his fifteenth win in a row and his fifteenth career victory by KO/TKO. Argentinian Quiroga has lost his last four fights, two in Canada and two in France.

Sheffield, England: Super Welter: Kell Brook (38-2) W PTS 12 Michael Zerafa (25-3). Super Feather: Jono Carroll (16-0-1) DREW 12 Guillame Frenois (46-1-1). Middle: Anthony Fowler (9-0) W KO 1 Jose Paz (23-8-1). Feather: Kid Galahad (26-0) W PTS 8 Brayan Mairena (10-5-1). Super Bantam: Qais Ashfaq (4-0) W TKO 5 Jay Carney (5-4-2).



Brook vs. Zerafa

Brook outpoints Zerafa in a WBA final eliminator. Brook was quickly into his stride. In the first he out jabbed Zerafa and then began to connect with some swift uppercuts bringing blood from Zerafa’s nose and also banged home straight rights. In the second Brook continued to score with his jab and move inside Zerafa’s jab to land rights. He rocked Zerafa with a straight right left uppercut. Zerafa was throwing jabs but was usually coming up short. Zerafa was being forced to box on the retreat but he began to land some rights and a left hooks in a more competitive third. Brook continued to keep Zerafa on the retreat in the fourth and fifth and was still penetrating the Australian’s guard regularly with his jab and getting through with right crosses but Zerafa was starting to find the target with his jab and in the fifth landed two hard rights his best punches so far. Brook was back in control in the sixth and seventh again dominating with his jab and landing heavy rights. Zerafa fought back hard in the eighth. He was standing his ground more and connecting with some powerful rights and he had Brook under fire in the ninth driving him to the ropes with a powerful right cross and then working Brook over. Brook picked up the pace again in the tenth but was no longer as dominant. A confident Zerafa was willing to trade. Brook was just that bit quicker and was again finding the range with his jab and that just gave him the edge over the closing rounds but Zerafa fought all the way coming forward with right crosses and looking to turn the fight his way. Scores 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111 although Zerafa made it look a lot closer than that. The win makes Brook the mandatory challenger to Jarrett Hurd (in the WBA’s eyes-Julian Williams is Hurd’s No 1 challenger with the IBF). Despite that a fight with Amir Khan would be Brooks preferred fight but with talk of a shot at Terrence Crawford for Khan the way forward is far from clear. Three fights outside of Australia and three losses for Zerafa although they have all been tough assignments and he had won his last eight fights.

Carroll vs. Frenois

As we learned from the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight draws solve nothing. This was intended to identify a mandatory challenger for IBF champion Tevin Farmer but since it ended in a draw it leaves Carroll, Frenois and Farmer not knowing what happens next. Although both fighters are southpaws there were a couple of very contrasting styles on show here with Carroll a strong, aggressive fighter and Frenois a classic boxer. Carroll attacked the body hard in the first. In the second he was cut over the left eye but banged back strongly to rock Frenois. In the third it was the Frenchman’s turn to shed blood as he was cut over the right eye. As with the cuts so with the action. Both fighters had good spells and the fight swung one way and then another. When Carroll could hunt Frenois down he was scoring with hard body shots but when Frenois was able to use his jab and could counter Carroll on the way in things went his way. The rounds were close but Frenois seemed to outscore Carroll over the closing rounds with his superior skills and faster hands but he just did not convince the judges so it ended even. Scores 115-113 for Carroll, 115-113 for Frenois and 114-114. Carroll had scored a good domestic win over Declan Geraghty although that hardly seemed to justify a No 4 rating with the IBF (the No1 and 2 slots were vacant as none of the rated fighters had a win over another rated fighter so could not go to either of those two slots) and Frenois was No 3 so the highest rafted fighter. He had won his last 15 fights but there were no rated fighters in his list of victims. Now it is a case of wait and see for them both.

Fowler vs. Paz

Fowler blows away Argentinian Paz with a body punch in just 93 seconds. Fowler quickly found his range with his jab and connected with a couple of quick hooks as Paz tried to move inside. Paz looked painfully slow and predictable with very little mobility. Paz tried a couple of lunging attacks but Fowler countered with a left hook to the body and Paz dropped to one knee spitting out his mouthguard and taking the full count.  The former English and British amateur champion won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the World championships and after five wins in a row by KO/TKO is ready for tougher opposition. In fairness to Paz and to put this win in perspective for Fowler Paz was coming off wins over Omar Chavez and Jorge Paez Jr in Mexico.

Galahad vs. Mairena

Really just some paid sparring practice for Galahad who won every minute of every round as he outclassed a game Mairena. Galahad was constantly switching guards and was penetrating Mairena’s guard with stinging jabs and unloading with rapid combinations. Mairena made an effort to be competitive but he was too slow. Galahad did not really start to get serious until the sixth round when he drove Mairena back with a series of lefts with the Nicaraguan looking likely to fall but he stayed on his feet. Galahad was switching guards again in the seventh and driving Mairena back with a sequence of head punches. Galahad was not loading up on the punches which helped a beleaguered Mairena last out the round. Mairena soaked up punishment throughout the eighth but just threw enough punches to keep the referee from stopping the fight. Score 80-72 for Galahad on the referee’s card. The 28-year-old Sheffield fighter is No 1 with the IBF which puts him in place for a shot at the winner of the Josh Warrington vs. Carl Frampton fight (that can’t be a unification fight as Frampton is only the interim WBO champion) so another big fight night to look forward to in 2019. As usual with the Nicaragua travelling punch bags for Mairena it is four fights in three months and four losses.

Ashfaq vs. Carney

Ashfaq was too classy for Carney. Carney tried to come forward in the first but southpaw Ashfaq landed some hard straight lefts and later in the round a right uppercut started blood flowing from Carney’s nose. Carney continued to try to come forward in the second and third but had to soak up some hurtful jabs and powerful body punches. In the fourth Ashfaq was putting together some flashing combinations but to his credit Carney kept coming back for more. In the fifth some more rapid combinations shook Carney and were enough to have the referee stop the one-sided fight. The 25-year-old from Leeds is another from the conveyor belt of star amateurs moving into the pros. Ashfaq was a Commonwealth Youth gold medallist and won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games losing to Michael Conlan in the final.  He also lost to Conlan in the European Championships final, won a bronze medal at the European Games and competed at the 2016 Olympics. One for the future.

Kempton Park, South Africa: Cruiser: Thabiso Mchunu (20-5) W PTS 12 Thomas Oosthuizen (28-2-2). Welter: Thulani Mbenge (15-0) W RTD 9 Miguel Vazquez (40-7). Middle: Walter Dlamini (16-6-4) W TKO 1 Wade Groth (7-1).

Mchunu vs. Oosthuizen

Mchunu gets revenge for a controversial loss to Oosthuizen in September and leaves no room for dispute with a wide unanimous decision. From the first round it was obvious that Mchunu was a man on a mission. He pressured Oosthuizen from first to last. He was able to walk through Oosthuizen’s southpaw jabs and score inside with ripping body punchers. Oosthuizen showed little movement providing Mchunu with a static target for much of the fight. In fact instead of trying to use his height and reach Oosthuizen too often stood and traded with the much stronger Mchunu. By the end of the fourth round Mchunu had already but a good lead and he kicked on from there. He outworked his fellow southpaw and as Mchunu’s output increased so Oosthuizen’s dropped. It was a one-sided fight and the only thing to Oosthuizen's credit is that he soaked up the punishment and lasted the distance. Scores 119-109,119-111 and 118-111 all for Mchunu. He wins the vacant ABU title and puts himself in line for some high level international fights. Oosthuizen a former IBO super middle and light heavyweight champion has wasted chance after chance to get back into the international mix and may have just blown his last

Mbenge vs. Vazquez

Mbenge retains the IBF title with a stoppage of Vazquez who is on the downward slope. Mbenge was the bigger, stronger man but Vazquez is a wily character and an expert at messing up opponents and breaking up the rhythm of their attacks. There is a large gap in their respective experience but really that was all Vazquez had going for him. Mbenge was tending to try to put Vazquez away with one big punch and rushing rather than working his openings. He used his strength to keep Vazquez pinned to the ropes and slowly broke down the Mexican’s resistance. A body punch dropped Vazquez in the ninth and his corner sensibly pulled him out of the fight at the end of the round. Not an impressive showing
by Mbenge but he and Scot Josh Taylor are the only fighters to have beaten the former IBF lightweight champion inside the distance and Mbenge will hopefully take away some lessons from facing such an experienced campaigner and have many more better nights. Vazquez’s future is to be a test bed for young climbers.  

Dlamini vs. Groth

Age is just a number. Dlamini proved this with a first round blitz of champion Groth to win the South African title at the age of 38. It took Dlamini just 42 seconds to blast his way to victory in his second shot at the title. Dlamini also wins the vacant WBA Pan African title. This did not look too hard a defence for Groth as after winning his first twelve fights Dlamini had gone 3-6-4 including two inside the distance losses this year. However Groth’s experience had been very limited with only 30 rounds behind him and with his seven victims having only 14 wins between them.

Zagreb, Croatia: Heavy: Filip Hrgovic (7-0) W PTS 8 Kevin Johnson (33-12-1).  Super Middle: Leon Bauer (15-0-1) W PTS 8 Jorge Silva (16-7).



Hrgovic vs. Johnson

Hrgovic wins every round against seasoned spoiler Johnson and shows his strengths and his weaknesses. He used a strong jab to quickly put Johnson on the back foot with Johnson as usual just backing to the ropes and letting Hrgovic punch away. Hrgovic showed his inexperience by constantly throwing overhand rights. Johnson just kept leaning to his right and punch after punch went over his head. Hrgovic continued to make the same mistake in the second with Johnson tapping his chin to show Hrgovic where the target was. Hrgovic finally landed one of those rights and Johnson’s knees buckled. He did not go all the way down and his gloves did not touch the canvas but he was given a count with the bell going just as the count was completed. In the succeeding rounds Hrgovic started to throw his right straighter and landed more often but Johnson was never really in trouble and fired enough occasional counter for Hrgovic to be a bit more cautious. The Croat tired a bit later in the fight and looked slow and predictable at times but this is early in his career and he will get better. Scores 80-71 from the judges for the home city fighter. The 26-year-old Rio bronze medallist is credited with being the reason for the cancellation of the proposed David Haye vs. Tyson Fury fight in 2013 when he cut Haye in a sparring session. Now 39 Johnson who came into this one weighing a career high weight of 260lbsis just filling the role of a clever punch bag for young hopes.

Bauer vs. Silva

Young German prospect Bauer gets a win but only after being on the floor. Bauer was taking the fight to Silva in the first with his hands held low as is his style. That presented the Portuguese fighter with an opening and he landed a hefty right which put Bauer on the floor. Bauer had no trouble beating the count and from there he dominated the action but was a bit more circumspect. He out jabbed and out landed Silva the rest of the way for a comfortable victory. Scores 78-74 twice and 78-73 for Bauer. The 20-year-old was the youngest ever German professional when he started out at the age of 16. He turned in a poor performance in drawing with 3-1 Atin Karabet in October last year and although he stopped Karabet in June it illustrated that it would not be wise to rush his career. Silva, 35, was having only his second fight in two years and suffers his third loss by KO/TKO.

Carson, CA, USA: Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3) W RTD 7 Victor Mendez (28-4-2). 



The taller Mendez made a good start scoring with some stiff body punches and hurtful hooks with Estrada not forcing the fight hard. Estrada finally started to roll in the third. He was ducking under Mendez’s punches and raking Mendez with strong jabs and straight rights with Mendez looking shaken. Estrada dominated the fourth and fifth stinging Mendez with jabs and putting together some sharp combinations. In the sixth Mendez was on the back foot with Estrada getting through with left hooks to the body and Mendez starting to come apart. In the seventh Estrada was marching forward and landing thudding rights to the head and firing fast bunches of left hooks to the body which took all of the fight out of Mendez who retired at the end of the round. A routine victory for Estrada as he just keeps busy whilst waiting for his next big fight hopefully a return against Srisaket. Mendez has had some good results in the past against quality opposition having only lost on split decision against Luis Nery and Arthur Villanueva and this is his first inside the distance defeat.

Indio, CA, USA: Super Feather: Rene Alvarado (30-8) W PTS 12 Carlos Morales (17-4-3). Light: Hector Tanajara (16-0) W PTS 10 Robert Manzanarez (36-3). Super Light: Jonathan Navarro (16-0) W PTS 10 Manuel Mendez (16-4-3). Feather: Joet Gonzalez (21-0) W TKO 2 Javier Gallo (25-17-1,1ND).



Alvarado vs. Morales

Alvarado outworks Morales in WBA eliminator. Less than a minute into the fight Alvarado launched a fierce attack. Their heads banged together and Alvarado was cut high on his forehead with the blood already running down onto his face. Morales rocked Alvarado with a short right but Alvarado was busier and throwing plenty of punches and by the end of a frantic first round Morales was bleeding from the nose. Alvarado set a fast pace. He was constantly launching attacks and although not always landing Morales was finding it hard to get his own punches off under the pressure. When he could make some space Morales was not throwing as much as Alvarado but was more accurate. Blood continued to trickle from the cut on Alvarado’s forehead but it was tending to run outside of his left eye so was not a factor. Alvarado just kept on attaching wildly with Morales looking to either counter him on the way in or get up close to smother his punches.  Morales was physically the bigger man and he was trying to tire Alvarado with the inside work and keep him on the back foot. After a couple of close rounds which Morales probably edged Alvarado picked up the pace again in the tenth with punches flowing from all sorts of angles and Morales being swamped. They were not power punches but Alvarado just kept pumping them out to the final bell. Scores 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 all for Alvarado. This win puts the Nicaraguan in line for a shot at the secondary WBA title against Alberto Machado. Wins over unbeaten Roger Gutierrez and Denis Shafikov have seen Alvarado go to No 1 with the WBA and given him a chance to make it a family double. Twin brother Felix, who fights with the same limitless ferocity, is IBF light flyweight champion. Mexican Morales has now lost three of his last four fights having been outpointed by Machado before Machado became champion and dropping a majority verdict to un beaten Ryan Garcia.

Tanajara vs. Manzanarez

Tanajara scores unanimous decision over Manzanarez. Tanajara was giving away some height and reach but was very quick and accurate with his jab. Despite that Manzanarez caught him with a left uppercut in the second and dropped him but Tanajara managed to stay there to the bell. Over the third and fourth good movement and sharp jabs gave Tanajara the edge and a swelling was building on the right cheek of Manzanarez. Both were rocked by hard punches in the fifth and Tanajara just did enough to take the sixth. There was too much wrestling in the seven with Tanajara doing what good work there was and Manzanarez getting a stern warning for a low punch. Both fighters slipped to the canvas in the eighth avoiding a punch but the referee considered that a punch from Tanajara had in fact landed and Manzanarez was given a count. The last two rounds were close but in the tenth Manzanarez lost a point for a low punch. Scores 95-92 twice and 97-90 for Tanajara. The 21-year-old from San Antonio was in his first ten round fight. He had a good win in June outpointing 19-1-1 Roger Gutierrez. Manzanarez, 23, turned pro at 15 and lost only one of his first thirty-seven fights but was coming off a majority decision loss to Mercito Gesta in June.

Navarro vs. Mendez

Navarro wins majority decision over Mendez. This was a tough gruelling fight. It was fought at close quarters without much footwork from either fighter but plenty of in close body punching. Mendez had the harder punch but Navarro outworked him throwing and landing more but there was never much between them with Navarro just having the edge. Scores 97-93 twice and 95-95.  Navarro, 27 had scored a stoppage win over unbeaten Damon Allen in August whereas Mendez gets his second loss in a row have been outpointed by 19-1 Sonny Frederickson last month.

Gonzalez vs. Gallo

Gonzalez has it easy in this one and knocks out poor Gallo in the
second round. Little Gallo was giving away too much height and reach to ever really be competitive against Gonzalez. His face was soon bright red from the attention of Gonzalez jabs and he was twice rocked by rights and hurt with a couple of body punches. He had no choice but to surge forward throwing punches but Gonzalez had no trouble blocking them. In the second Gallo rushed Gonzalez to the ropes and punched away to the body. Gonzalez blocked the punches and then staggered Gallo with a left hook and hit him with five quick punches that sent poor Gallo down and out. Gonzalez gets his fifth win by KO/TKO in his last six fights. The 25-yerar-old former US national champion who beat Gervonta Davis on the way to the gold medal was coming off a split decision win over 25-1-2 Rafael Rivera. The gutsy little Gallo has suffered seven losses by KO/TKO.

Brisbane, Australia: Heavy: Demsey McKean (13-0) W RTD 4 Roger Izonritei (12-8-1). Light Heavy: Josh Frederiksen (8-1-2) W PTS 10 Quintin Carey (4-5). Welter: Tysinn Best (9-0) W PTS 10 Nathan Webber (6-1) Light: Jacob Ng (9-0) W TKO 4 Gaige Ireland (5-2-2).

McKean vs. Izonritei

Southpaw McKean retains the Australian title with win over Nigerian-born Izonritei. McKean was too young and hit too hard for the elderly Izonritei. After four one-sided rounds Izonritei’s corner retired their man. The 6’6” 28-year-old McKean was making the second defence of the national title and has seven wins by KO/TKO. Izonritei, 43, turned pro way back in 2004. He has had four shots at the Australian title spaced out over a 16 year period. Is that some sort of record?

Frederickson vs. Carey

Frederickson wins the Australian title with majority decision over champion and local fighter Carey. Scores 97-95, 96-95 for Frederickson and 95-95. It was the first ten round fight for the New South Wales State champion and his third win in a row. Carey, 22, was making the first defence of the title.

Best vs. Webber

In an all Queensland fight Best wins the vacant Australian title with yet another very close fight as he gets the decision on scores of 97-92 and 97-93 with the other judge seeing it 95-96.Webber is one of Jeff Horn’s main sparring partners.

Ng. vs. Ireland

Ng too smart and punches too hard for southpaw Ireland and impressively lifts the Australian title on a unique night of four national title fights on one show. After taking the first three rounds some rights to the head followed by a couple of wicked body punches dropped southpaw Ireland to one knee. He made it to his feet but the follow-up attack from Ng had him doubling up and falling back to the ropes and the referee stopped the fight. The tall 24-year-old “Flamingo” Ng put on a victory dance that was more spectacular than the fight as he registers his seventh win by KO/TKO. Ireland was making the first defence of the title.

Brussels, Belgium: Super Light: Samuel Gonzalez (20-5) W DISQ 6 Mohamed El Marcouchi (20-2). 

Unfortunate loss for Belgian El Marcouchi sees him suffer his second defeat. With his fight against Venezuelan fairly evenly poised a clash of heads in the sixth badly dazed El Marcouchi and sent him down. He was in some distress and his second entered the ring to help him leading to immediate disqualification. Italian-based Gonzalez wins the vacant IBO Inter-Continental title and El Marcouchi sees an 18 bout winning streak snapped.

Haemin, Germany: Super Welter: Predrag Radosevic (33-2) W PTS 10 Ronny Gabel (23-6-1,1ND). Light Heavy: Emil Markic (29-2) W PTS 10 Kavin Gebhard (18-2).

Radosevic vs. Gabel

Radosevic just too quick and clever for Gabe. He repeats a previous victory and wins the vacant WBO European title. Gabel kept pushing forward behind a high guard making an easy target for Radosevic who was constantly moving, firing fast, accurate  jabs and hooks to the body and Gabel was too slow to counter. When Gabel did get inside Radosevic either tied him up or blocked his punches and then pushed Gabel off and worked from the outside. Gabel never stopped coming forward but that just made it that much easier for Radosevic to score with counters and he was just too slick for Gabel to ever really threaten and he won every round. The Montenegrin’s two losses have both been by KO/TKO and against high top class opposition in Felix Sturm and Liam Smith. German Gabel was having only his second fight in two years. He lost an early fight to Billy Joe Saunders in 2001 and was outpointed by Radosevic in 2012.    

Markic vs. Gebhard

Markic also picks up a WBO European title as he outpoints Gebhard. Markic had the edge in hand speed and movement and was throwing more and landing more. Gebhard was the harder puncher but had no real answer to the accurate jabbing from Markic who was doubling and tripling his jab and connecting with straight rights Gebhard slowed as the fight went on and became wilder with his punches. In the last round as Gebhard went to throw a wild right Markic nailed him with a three-punch combination that sent him down heavily. He was very shaken but beat the count and survived some heavy shots to make it to the bell with Markic the obvious winner. Bosnian Markic was stopped in four round by Umar Salamov  in May last year and in May this year stopped 23-1 German Denis Liebau to win the WBFederation title. German Gebhard, 37, turned pro in 2003 but was inactive from 2007 to 2016 and won his last seven fights.

Montichiari, Italy: Heavy: Ivan Di Berardino (9-1-1) W TKO 2 Fabio Tuiach (29-6). 

Di Berardino wins the Italian title with second round stoppage of champion Tuiach. After an even first round Di Berardino landed a right to the side of the head that had Tuiach backing to the ropes. Di Berardino followed him and landed two more clubbing rights that turned Tuiach sideward’s hanging out over the top rope and Di Berardino threw another right that landed on the back of Tuiach’s head. The referee stepped in and gave Tuiach a standing count. Di Berardino then landed more heavy rights and when a left uppercut snapped back Tuiach’s head the referee stopped the fight. The 36-year-old Di Berardino gets his sixth win by KO/TKO and wins the national title at the second attempt. Tuiach, 38, was making the first defence of the title in his second reign as champion.

Nogales, Mexico: Super Bantam: Aaron Alameda (24-0) W RTD 9 Breilor Teran (25-17-1). Bantam: Karim Arce (15-0-1) W TKO 2 Carlos Rodriguez 9-4( ). Super Fly: Pedro Guevara (33-3-1) W TKO 2 Jorge (7-13). Super Light: Lindolfo Delgado (8-0) W KO 5 Ricardo Rico (4-7).

Alameda vs. Teran

Alameda pleases his home town fans with inside the distance win over seasoned Venezuelan Teran. The local southpaw controlled the fight from the start with Teran spending much of the time pinned to the ropes. Alameda continued to hand out serious punishment but Teran had a tight defence and a good chin. From the sixth Alameda went into more of a countering role trying to lure Teran out of his shell. It worked and at the end of the ninth round Teran stayed in his corner. Alameda wins the vacant WBC Latino title. Despite his impressive statistics Alameda has only beaten very modest opposition and this was his first fight scheduled for ten rounds. Teran has been in with good opposition such as champions Omar Narvaez, Juan Reveco and Julio Ceja and this is only his fourth loss by KO/TKO.

Arce vs. Rodriguez

Teenage hope Arce much too good for Rodriguez and floors and halts him in the second. Rodriguez made it to his feet but the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight. The 19-year-old nephew of the great Jorge Arce now has six wins by KO/TKO and was coming off a career best win over former WBA champion Alex Munoz. Rodriguez slips to 1-4 in his last 5

Guevara vs. Guerrero

Former WBC light fly champion Guevara just keeps turning over with stoppage of overmatched Guerrero. Guevara lost a majority decision to Ken Shiro in a challenge for his old title in October last year and is hoping for a revenge fight but despite his six wins in his last seven fights has somehow dropped out of the WBC top 15. Guerrero no threat as he has now lost 6 of his last 7 fights 5 by KO/TKO.

Delgado vs., Rico

Delgado maintains his 100% record of wins inside the distance with fifth round kayo of overmatched Rico. The 23-year-old Rio Olympian gave Rico a broken jaw but is yet to face a real test. Third loss by KO/TKO for Rico.

Santa Barbara, Philippines: Minimumweight: Pedro Taduran (13-2) W KO 2 Jeffrey Galero (17-6).  

Southpaw Taduran defends his Philippines title with second round kayo of Galero. The 22-year-old “Rattle Snake” gets his tenth win by KO/TKO. This is his first fight since losing on points in August to WBC minimum champion Wanheng in the fight that moved Wanheng to 51 wins to put him clear of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s 50 wins. Galero, who lost on points to Wanheng in a title challenge in 2015, has slipped away and is 7-6 in his last 13 fights.

Bowie, MD, USA: Super Middle: Demond Nicholson (20-3-1) W KO 2 Fernando Castaneda (26-13). 

Local fighter Nicholson crushes Castaneda in two round. Nicholson repeatedly found the target in the first with some hurtful shots from both hands. In the second a crunching right uppercut put Castaneda down and out. Nicholson, 25, retains his WBC United States title. He does not do distance fights with only three of his bouts having gone to the cards. This is win No 19 by KO/TKO. He lost a split decision to Steve Rolls last year and was stopped in seven rounds in April by Jesse Hart. Castaneda lost inside the distance to Frank Buglioni and Hosea Burton if fights in England.

Fight of the week (Entertainment): Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jose Pedraza

Fight of the week (Significance): Lomachenko vs. Pedraza as it could open the way for a Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia fight to unify the lightweight titles.

Fighter of the week: Lomachenko

Punch of the week: The right to the head from Teo Lopez that sent Mason Menard face down on the canvas

Upset of the week: Petro Ivanov was not expected to beat Louis Toutin let alone stop him and unknown quantity Emanuel Navarette’s win over Isaac Dogboe was unexpected.

Prospect watch: Frenchman Mikael Diallo 18-0-2 (15 wins by KO/TKO) was impressive as was Anthony Fowler 9-0 (8 wins by KO/TKO)



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