Sloan, IA, USA: Super Middle: Ronald Ellis (14-0-2) DREW 10 Junior Younan (13-0-1). Light: Thomas Mattice (11-0) W TKO 7 Rolando Chinea (15-2-1). Super Light: Montana Love (9-0) W PTS 8 Sam Teah (12-2-1).
Ellis vs. Younan
This clash of two former high grade amateurs ends all even on the Showtime New Generation show and the USBA title remains vacant, It was a clash of styles and a fight which fell into two distinct halves. At the outset Ellis was pressing hard but Younan, a flashy, quick fighter was getting his punches off first and he had the better of a late exchange of shots to take the opening round. Ellis did better in the second as Younan’s output dropped. The third was a close round with Younan doing more and Ellis not having the same success as in the second. Younan did better at the start of the fourth but Ellis finished the round strongly. At that point Younan was in front on all three cards at 39-37 twice and 40-36. He also used some sharp counter punching to edge the fifth. Ellis finally began to roll from the sixth. His pressure was telling and he was landing some choice left hooks and he went on to sweep the seventh and eighth. As the pace dropped Younan moved and countered well enough to take a ninth a round he badly needed to win. Ellis edged a close tenth rocking Younan with a right uppercut and seemed to have just done enough to get the win. Scores 96-94 for Ellis, 96-94 for Younan and 95-95 so both guys preserve their unbeaten tag. For Ellis, the 28-year-old brother of unbeaten Rashidi Ellis, this was an exercise in shedding rust as he returned from injury in his first fight in 13 months. He was National Golden Gloves champion in 2010 beating Terrell Gausha in the tournament. Younan, 22, won a whole bundle of local and national Youth titles before turning pro a few weeks after his18th birthday and is one to watch.
Mattice vs. Chinea
Mattice comes from behind to halt Chinea. For most of the fight Chinea set a ridiculously fast pace. He was rolling forward throwing bunches of punches from both hands. Mattice just could not get into the fight. He was constantly on the back foot and too often fighting with his back against the ropes. After six rounds Chinea was on his way to victory being ahead 59-55 in the cards. In the seventh Mattice, a noted power puncher, found the punch he badly needed. A right suddenly had Chinea in deep water and Mattice landed a series of punches punctuated by a left hook that sent Chinea towards the floor and the fight was stopped. “Gunna Man” Mattice, 27 is a former US National Championships bronze medal winner. He has nine wins by KO/TKO including five in his last five fights. Puerto Rican Chinea, 26, was coming off an impressive win over unbeaten Kenneth Sims Jr and can rebound from this.
Montana vs. Teah
Montana takes a chance in coming in as a late substitute and it pays off as he wins majority verdict over Teah. Southpaw Montana used his speed and superior skills to outbox Teah. Teah kept pressing but had trouble handing the slick boxing of Montana. Montana’s lack of preparation, he came in at four days notice, began to tell over the closing rounds which let Teah into the fight. Teah finished the fight strongly but it was already a lost cause. Scores 78-74 twice for Montana and 76-76. Montana, 23, said he had injured his left hand early in the fight. He had been sparring with Robert Easter and Adrien Broner which must have helped. Liberian-born Teah just lacked the skill to match Montana.
Florence, Italy: Cruiser: Fabio Turchi (14-0) W TKO 1 Dario Balmaceda (15-17-2). Light Heavy: Vigan Mustafa (19-3) W TKO 2 Nicola Ciriani (15-2-1). Fly: Mohammad Obbadi (14-1) W PTS 6 Khvicha Gigolashvili (16-26).
Turchi vs. Balmaceda
Easy win for southpaw Turchi as he blasts out a sliding Balmaceda. Turchi scored early with his strong right jab before flooring Balmaceda with a stunning left hook. Balmaceda only just beat the count but body punches dropped him again and the towel flew in from the Argentinian’s corner with just one second left in the round. The 24-year-old “Stone Crusher” makes it 11 wins by KO/TKO and retains the WBC International title. Turchi has good amateur credentials being Italian champion four times, winning a gold medal at the Mediterranean Games, silver at the World Military Games and a bronze at the World Youth championships in a 106-9 record. Balmaceda, 33, a former Argentinian super middle title challenger suffers his tenth loss by KO/TKO and is 2-5 in his last 7 fights.
Mustafa vs. Ciriani
Minor surprise as Mustafa floors and halts champion Ciriani to win the Italian title. Ciriani made a confident start taking the fight to Mustafa who boxed well on the back foot. Ciriani stepped up the pace in the second forcing Mustafa to the ropes but as he moved in a short left hook put him down heavily and the fight was waived off. Kosovon-born Mustafa wins the title at the grand old age of 38. Back in 2011 he suffered a heavy kayo loss and decided to retire. He was away from the ring for over five years but after returning in 2016 he had scored three wins before this title challenge. Ciriani, 29, was making the first defence of the national title and had won 11 of his last 12 fights but the roof fell in on the bricklayer here.
Obbadi vs. Gigolashvili
Former unbeaten EU champion eases his way back with a points win over Georgian Gigolashvili. Obbadi’s skill and speed were too much for the taller visitor. Obbadi made a big effort to stop Gigolashvili over the last two rounds but the Georgian was still there at the final bell. The 24-year-old Moroccan-born Obbadi is rebuilding after a loss to Cristofer Rosales for the vacant WBC International flyweight title in October. Gigolashvili has only failed to go the distance once.
Sheffield, England: Bantam: Josh Wale (26-9-2) W TKO 9 Bobby Jenkinson (11-4-1). Super Fly: Brad Watson (11-2) W TKO 10 Loua Nassa (10-1). Super Fly: Kyle Yousaf (13-0) W PTS 6 Isaac Quaye (31-16-1).
Wale vs. Jenkinson
Wale retains the British title with late stoppage of Jenkinson. The fight started badly for the champion as a clash of heads in the first round saw him cut over his right eye. Despite that Wale took the fight to the clever boxing Jenkinson. Wale was willing to walk through the counters from Jenkinson and his strength and aggression began to tell with Jenkinson cut by his left eye and Wale boxing hands down to show his confidence. There was a moment of stupidity in the eighth. With Wale having Jenkinson rocking someone at ringside attempted to throw a chair into the ring. Luckily no one was hurt. Wale continued to batter away at Jenkinson in the ninth and put the challenger down with a right to the head and the fight was stopped. The 29-year-old “Outlaw” now has 13 wins by KO/TKO and needs one more defence to win a magnificent Lonsdale Belt for himself. Former Commonwealth champion Jenkinson drops to four losses by KO/TKO.
Watson vs. Nassa
Watson makes history as he becomes the first fighter from the Channel Island of Guernsey to win an English title. Local fighter “Golden Kid” Nassa was definitely the favourite here and for most of the way the fight went in accordance with the script. Nassa took the first two rounds with his neat, clever boxing. Watson managed to land some shots in the third but also suffered a cut to his nose. Nassa outboxed Watson over the fourth and fifth to build a commanding lead. He did the same for much of the sixth but late in the round a right from Watson floored Nassa for the first time in his career. Watson tried to end things then but Nassa survived. Nassa fought back hard in an exciting seventh as both just stood and traded punches and in the eighth both were rocked. Watson began to dominate a tiring Nassa in the ninth before flooring him with a right in the tenth. Nassa beat the count but was floored again and although he made it to his feet the fight was stopped. Watson, 27, was coming off two consecutive losses but gets his fifth win by KO/TKO and the English title which had been vacant, At 22 Nassa has time to recover from this and come again.
Yousaf vs. Quaye
Yusaf cruises to victory over Ghanaian Quaye. The lanky Sheffield fighter won every round and is ready for better opposition, Referee’s score 60-54. Former Commonwealth title challenger Quaye has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
Adler, Russia: Cruiser: Murat Gassiev (26-0,1ND) W TKO 12 Yunier Dorticos (22-1). Light: Roman Andreev (21-0) W TKO 9 Craig Evans (17-2-2). Cruiser: Max Vlasov (42-2) W RTD 10 Olan Durodola (27-5). Light: Hurricane Futa (24-7-1) W KO 7 Vage Sarukhanyan (17-2-1). Super Middle: Fedor Chudinov (17-2) W RTD 7 Timo Laine (21-10,1ND). Bantam: Mikhail Aloyan (4-0) W PTS 10 Alexander Espinoza (15-1-2).
Gassiev vs. Dorticos
Gassiev scores dramatic last round finish to unify the IBF and WBA titles and move through to the final of the WSBB tournament in Jeddah in May against Olek Usyk.
Gassiev handed the initiative to Dorticos and conceded the opening round. He immediately went on to the back foot and threw very few punches. Dorticos had his jab working well and landed some hefty body punches as he shadowed Gassiev around the ring.
Score 10-9 Dorticos
In the second Gassiev was again mainly on the retreat but this time he threw a lot more punches. He scored well with a strong jab and left hooks to the body. Dorticos threw more but landed less and Gassiev edged it.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 19-19
Dorticos was on the front foot for the whole three minutes. He was finding gaps for his jab and letting fly with some overhand rights and hooks to the body. Gassiev was again very accurate but not throwing enough.
Score 10-9 Dorticos 28-29
A one-sided round as Dorticos continued to pierce the guard of the retreating Gassiev and behind the jab came rights to the head and left hooks. Gassiev seemed to have no answer to the jab although he did score with a clubbing left to the head.
Score 10-9 Dorticos 37-39
Dorticos bossed the first two minutes of this one mainly with his jab. Gassiev landed some hard left hooks to the body but was being outscored. Late in the round Gassiev began to throw more and rocked Dorticos with a right to the head. The first time either fighter had been hurt.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 47-48
Gassiev changed tactics in this one. Now he was the one coming forward. Dorticos was still pinging Gassiev with jabs but Gassiev was landing stiff jabs and thumping body punches with Dorticos on the retreat for most of the round.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 57-57
This was a close round. The action all took place in the centre of the ring as Gassiev was standing and trading with Dorticos. The Cuban continued to work his jab and scored with uppercuts. The heavy punches from Gassiev were in the form of hooks to the body but Dorticos just outworked him.
Score 10-9 Dorticos 66-67
Another round for Dorticos. He used almost exclusively a jab/right cross approach and found the target consistently throughout the round with Gassiev not getting his punches off and having no answer to the jab of the Cuban.
Score 10-9 Dorticos 75-77
Gassiev needed to get back in the fight and he did here. He landed a four-punch combination early in the round and on four occasions rattled Dorticos chin with uppercuts. Dorticos worked hard but the round belonged to Gassiev.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 85-86
Gassiev was really rolling now. He was looking the stronger and again getting through with uppercuts and cracking shots to head and body. Dorticos closed the round strongly but it was the Russian’s round.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 95-95
Dorticos worked hard in this one. He was throwing more and although not as accurate as Gassiev was pumping out lots punches but looked arm weary. He was taking the round on volume but that changed over the last 30 seconds. Gassiev landed a left hook and then a right to the head and Dorticos was badly shaken and staggered almost going down. Gassiev tried to land another big punch but Dorticos clinched and almost pushed Gassiev over the top rope. The referee split them and Dorticos fought his way to the bell.
Score 10-9 Gassiev 105-104
Dorticos made a good start to the last round again with his jab/right cross approach but the big punches were coming from Gassiev. After being rocked by a couple of Gassiev rights as Dorticos walked in a big left hook from the Russian crashed onto his chin and he went back and down heavily. He was up at five but stumbled across the ring. After the eight count Gassiev landed a couple more rights to the head and a left hook and Dorticos went down again. This time he was up at four and when the action resumed Gassiev forced Dorticos to the ropes and landed a series of punches with a big right putting Dorticos out on his feet. Gassiev punched away as Dorticos slid along the ropes and after more head punches the Cuban slid down and half way out of the ring over the bottom rope and the referee immediately signalled it was over.
Official scores at the finish: 106-193, 106-103 and 105-104 all for Gassiev
The WBSS the gift to boxing that keeps on giving! This was a top class tactical battle between two fighters with high KO percentages (Gassiev 70% and Dorticos 91%). Both also showed excellent skills in a clean open battle where in the eleven and a half rounds the referee never had to call break and never had to issue any warnings. Gassiev won this one not just because he had the better power but also because he fought a measured pace and had more left in the tank at the end. Still only 24 Gassiev will be around for some time. He will start as the outsider against Usyk in what could be yet another WBSS classic. Dorticos wants a return and the 31-year-old Cuban deserves one. He will be a factor in the division once the WBSS tournament is over. His 21 wins inside the distance had only seen him go past six rounds twice and never past ten rounds and that may have been a factor.
Andreev vs. Evans
Andreev wins the vacant WBO International title as he wears down and halts gutsy Evans. As expected Andreev exerted heavy pressure from the start. Evans scored well with his right jab at distance and landed some good left hook counters but could not keep Andreev out. The Russian was marching forward and pumping out hooks and uppercuts whenever he was getting past the jab. When they stood and traded in the early rounds Evans held his own and had Andreev bleeding from the nose in the third but Andreev pressed and pressed and Evans was spending more time up against the ropes with Andreev pounding away to head and body. Evans did better in the fourth as he managed to stay off the ropes used his jab and countered well with uppercuts. Andreev was hunting Evans down in the fifth and for most of the round Evans was strictly on the defensive but he exchanged heavy shots with the Russian as the round closed. Andreev was relentless over the sixth, seventh and eighth maintaining a frantic work rate ignoring counters. Evans who looked to be tiring and had suffered a small cut over his right eye with Andreev also cut there. In the ninth a right from Andreev drove Evans to the ropes and Andreev landed two rights that had Evans sliding down the ropes. He was sat on the middle rope with his hands down and Andreev landed three more head punches before the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. The 31-year-old Russian now has 15 wins by KO/TKO. He is No 3 with the WBO and with Nos. 1 and 2 Ray Beltran and Paulus Moses fighting for the vacant title he will move to No 1 and probable get a title shots later in the year. Evans, 28, came in at short notice which contributed to his fading late in the fight. He has been in a series of tough domestic fights against Scott Cardle and Thomas Stalker and was the WBO European champion. A win would have put him in line for the title shot and he fought hard here but the relentless pressure from Andreev was too much for him in the end.
Vlasov vs. Durodola
Vlasov uses speed skill and accuracy to beat down Durodola to win the vacant WBC Silver title on a late stoppage. From the start Vlasov was using quick bursts of punches from both hands and then clever movement to dodge Durodola’s counters. Many of Vlasov’s punches were fast rather than powerful but when he did sit down on his punches he was able to stop Durodola in his tracks and he even rocked Durodola early with a jab. Both fighters were indulging in some rough stuff but the referee stamped that out early which helped the fight flow. Over the third and fourth Vlasov was darting in with a cluster of punches and then moving inside to deny Durodola the room he need to get his punches off. Vlasov momentarily switched to southpaw in the fifth and thumped Durodola with a hard right. Durodola was marching forward swinging but missing the target. Vlasov upped his work rate in the sixth landing a series of uppercuts and in turn Durodola pressed much harder in the seventh but Vlasov got through with a hard right and was working Durodola over on the ropes at the bell. Durodola was slowing in the eighth and Vlasov was banging home more rights at the start of the round and staggering Durodola with another right late in the round. Vlasov continued to boss the action in the ninth and in the tenth after an early effort from Durodola it was Vlasov following the retreating Durodola around the ring and landing hooks and uppercuts. One left hook looked to have split open a cut on Durodola’s lower lip and he was shipping punishment at the bell. In the interval after much discussion Durodola retired. The 31-year-old Russian is No 3 with the WBC, WBA and WBO but will have to await the final outcome of the WBSS tournament to see which road opens for him. Since moving up from super middle he has won his last 12 fights including victories over Rakhim Chakhkiev and Denton Daley but would struggle against both Olek Usyk and Murat Gassiev. Kansas City-based Durodola suffers his fourth loss by KO/TKO having been beaten inside the distance by both Mairis Breidis and Dmitry Kudryashov and at 37 has gone as far as he can.
Futa vs. Sarukhanyan
Wild man Futa wins the WBC International title as he flattens Sarukhanyan with a left hook. Futa lived up to his nickname here as he came out throwing punches with the ferocity forcing Sarukhanyan on to the back foot. Futa ran into some right hand counters but just shrugged them off and continued his onslaught. His attacks were wild and crude and he twice fell to the canvas in the second after missing with wide swings. Sarukhanyan boxed neatly at the start of the third but then made the mistake of standing and trading and was put on the floor by a left hook. He made it to his feet and Futa was too wild in trying to finish things and Sarukhanyan recovered and scored with a quick combination at the end of the round. Sarukhanyan boxed well to take the fourth and fifth. He was scoring with quick jabs and rights, tying Futa up inside and moving too quickly for Futa to catch. with Futa’s blind rushes almost sending himself head first out of the ring. Futa stepped up the pace in the sixth. Sarukhanyan was able to score with counters but was under pressure throughout the round. Sarukhanyan again scored well with counters in the seventh. Futa looked to be tiring and Sarukhanyan pushed him to ropes and bombarded Futa with punches. Suddenly Futa uncorked a wicked left hook to the chin which put Sarukhanyan down heavily on his back and the referee immediately waived the fight off. The 30-year-old Futa was a modest 5-4 in his last 9 fights and only No 7 in the Japanese ratings but back in 2016 he destroyed Australian Will Tomlinson with a similar left hook so is a dangerous if crude and wild swinger. Armenian-born Sarukhanyan had won his last nine fights including victories over Gamaliel Diaz and Hedi Slimani but paid the price for trading with a puncher.
Chudinov vs. Laine
Chudinov keeps the WBA International title with inside the distance win over gutsy Laine. Chudinov quickly took control of this one using a stiff jab and rights to the body. Laine fought in spurts but there was no real power behind his punches. Chudinov mixed in left hooks and uppercuts in the second but Laine had a good spell with some hooks to the body. There was too much mauling and brawling in the third and Laine, who came in as a very late replacement, was already dropping his hands. Laine spent much of the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds trapped on the ropes as Chudinov banged away with body punches and overhand rights. Laine had very little left but he battled back hard at the end of the sixth with even Chudinov showing signs of slowing. Laine gave it one last try over the first two minutes of the seventh but for the last minute he was totally spent and Chudinov hammed home a series of body punches over the closing seconds. There was some confusion as to whether Laine had retired or not but in the end the sensible decision was taken and the fight was over. Russian Chudinov, 30, is a former WBA super middle champion. He won the secondary WBA title with a victory over Felix Sturm and defended it by beating Frank Buglioni and was upgraded to full champion. He lost that title to Sturm in a return match. Sturm tested positive for a banned substance the investigation took so long that Sturm chose to vacate the title. Chudinov then lost to George Groves for the title in May last year. This is his third win since then and he is No 3 with the WBA so yet another one waiting to see how the WBSS pans out. Finn Laine, 33, had won 6 of his last 7 fights. He gave it a good try here but the notice was too short for him to be in top condition and he did well to last as long as he did.
Aloyan vs. Espinoza
Aloyan gets split decision over Espinoza after ten round of all-out war in every minute of every round. This was a tough, gruelling fight between two fighters with plenty of skill but somehow it ended up as a trial of strength as they spent every round pumping punches at close quarters with neither willing to take a backward step. Aloyan seemed stronger and had built a small lead after four rounds. In the fifth Espinoza took the points as he scored with a series of rights to the head and he carried that over into the sixth. He shook Aloyan early with a right uppercut and then a cluster of shots to head and body and Aloyan was in trouble. He was just covering up firing nothing back and Espinoza poured on the pressure. For a while it looked as though Aloyan was about to crumble but he fought back at the bell. The seventh was yet another all-action round. Aloyan was cut under the left eye and he again had to absorb a lot of punishment but he also dished out his share and Espinoza looked to be tiring from the huge effort he had put into the sixth. It was punch for punch all of the way through the eighth with Aloyan choosing to box more but it was back to the phone booth in the ninth with Aloyan just looking the stronger and landing some big head punches to take the round. The last round was three minutes of non-stop punching from both men with Aloyan just edging it and for me he deserved the decision but it was mighty close. Scores 96-94 and 96-95 for Aloyan and 96-94 for Espinoza but neither fighter deserved to lose if a great little scrap. Aloyan, 29, retains the WBA International title. He is already rated No 7 by the WBA. As an amateur he beat top names such as Rau’shee Warren, Andrew Selby, Khalid Yafai and Amnat Ruenroeng. He won gold medals at the World and European Championships. He also won a silver medal in Rio but had to return it after testing positive for a banned substance. Nicaraguan “Supernova” Espinoza, 24, the WBA No 8, was also a good class amateur winning a gold medal at the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Central American championships and he gave a world level showing here.
Corpus Christi, TX, USA: Super Middle: Gilberto Ramirez (37-0) W TKO 6 Habib Ahmed (25-1-1). Super Fly: Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1) W TKO 10 Israel Gonzalez (21-1). Super Middle: Jess Hart (23-1) W KO 1 Thomas Awimbono (25-8-1). Super Middle: Rohan Murdock (22-1) W TKO 4 Frankie Filippone (24-7-1). Super Light: Teo Lopez (8-0) W PTS 6 Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-15). Welter: Jose Benavidez (26-0) W TKO 8 Matt Strode (24-6).
Ramirez vs. Ahmed
Ramirez has no problem in retaining his WBO title as he halts an outclassed and overmatched Ahmed inside six one-sided rounds.
Ramirez made good use of his longer reach to keep Ahmed on the back foot. The challenger showed a sharp jab and some clever upper body movement. He was looking to draw the jab and get inside but Ramirez was quicker and scored with a nice combination as the round ended.
Score 10-9 Ramirez
Ahmed made a good start to the round coming forward behind a stiff jab and landing a couple of rights. Ramirez against started to drive Ahmed back and worked the Ghanaian over with hooks and uppercuts. Ahmed scored with a good straight right late in the round but it was another round for Ramirez.
Score 10-9 Ramirez 20-18
Ramirez was landing some crisp right hooks to the body and threading uppercuts through the guard of Ahmed. Ahmed came forward with some combinations of his own. A clash of heads saw Ramirez suffer a cut on the side of his left eyebrow. He kept Ahmed against the ropes for the rest of the round and scored with some hefty rights to the head that had Ahmed floundering.
Score 10-9 Ramirez 30-27
Ramirez bossed the fourth. For the full three minutes he stalked Ahmed around the perimeter of the ring occasionally trapping Ahmed on the ropes and firing home hooks from both hands. There was very little coming back from Ahmed who was really looking to survive.
Score 10-9 Ramirez 40-36
Ramirez handed out a steady and brutal beating to Ahmed in the fifth. Ahmed hardly moved off the ropes and Ramirez was landing heavy hook to the body and neck-snapping lefts to the head. Ahmed seemed hard-wired to circle to his left so Ramirez always knew which way Ahmed was going to go making it easy to cut off the ring.
Score 10-9 Ramirez 50-45
Mercifully Ramirez ended it in this one. He battered the Ghanaian around the ring scoring with some big lefts to the head which had the referee on the point of stopping the fight. Ahmed covered up enough for the referee to give him another chance-some chance-as Ramirez poured on more punishment until with Ahmed’s second already starting to climb the steps the referee jumped in and stopped the fight.
Ramirez makes a successful third defence of his WBO title and makes it 24 wins by KO/TKO although this was one of his easiest fights. A return against Jesse Hart is supposed to happen after he scored a narrow decision win over Hart in September. He has also talked about wanting to fight the winner of the super middleweight WBSS tournament. Habib was never in with a chance here. He showed some nice moves but was way in over his head. He was giving away 6” in height and a lot in reach, was fighting a southpaw, was fighting outside of Ghana for the first time and had never faced anyone even close to the top 50 in the super middles and of his 25 victims most-15-had amassed only 17 wins between them-but hey he was No 4 with the WBO!! At least this exposure will hopefully get him higher profile fights than the domestic walkovers he has been fed in the past.
Ancajas vs. Gonzalez
Ancajas makes a successful fourth defence of his IBF title as he floors Gonzalez three times and halts him in the tenth.
Gonzalez had slight edges in height and reach but Ancajas was quickly threading home his right jab. Gonzalez moved in the throw some body punches and Ancajas landed a lovely left hook counter that sent Gonzalez to the canvas on his rump. Gonzalez was up quickly and after the eight count tried to take the fight to Ancajas but clever movement and quick jabbing frustrated Gonzalez’s attempts.
Score 10-8 Ancajas
Gonzalez had completely recovered from that first round shock and boxed well behind a fast jab. He scored with a hard right and some body punches. Ancajas was quicker and more accurate landing regularly with his straight left and just did enough to edge the round.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 20-17
Gonzalez started the fourth with a barrage of body punches but then Ancajas took over. His jab was getting past the guard on Gonzalez and he was banging over straight lefts with Gonzalez too slow to counter.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 30-26
Ancajas simply outboxed Gonzalez in this one. Sticking almost exclusively with his right jab he was getting the punch home and leaving Gonzalez swishing air as he tried to counter. As the round ended Ancajas brought the left into play and stopped Gonzalez in his tracks with some solid shots.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 40-35
Gonzalez made a big effort to get into the fight at the start of this round. He pressed hard and upped his punch rate and had some success. However after the first minute it was Ancajas in control. He was doing the pressing and connecting with sharp accurate punches from both hands with Gonzalez on the back foot and not landing anything.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 50-44
Ancajas had to deal with a different set of tactics in this one. Gonzalez went on to the back foot and waited until Ancajas threw his jab and then tried to counter. Ancajas had done of his best work in the earlier rounds with counters but here he had to take the fight to Gonzalez. Ancajas did not have as much success as he had when countering but his jab was still too quick so Gonzalez’s tactic did not work.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 60-53
This was a quieter and much closer round. Neither fighter really threw many punches but again it was a thudding right hook and the accuracy of his jabs that saw Ancajas just have the edge.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 70-62
Ancajas boxed beautifully in this one. He kept his jab in Gonzalez’s face and was letting fly with accurate left crosses. He was ducking under anything Gonzalez threw and coming up with hard counters as he went from controlling the fight to dominating it.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 80-71
Ancajas handed out some serious hurt over these three minutes. He was stabbing home his jab and getting through constantly with his left. Gonzalez work rate dropped and when he did try launch an attack he was running into counters and looked completely disheartened.
Score 10-9 Ancajas 90-80
Ancajas finished in style. Gonzalez tried to take the fight to Ancajas but was rocked by right hook and went back to the ropes. Gonzalez tried to punch his way out of trouble but was put down by a straight left. He climbed to one knee and was up at eight. When the action resumed Ancajas walked forward and landed a thunderous left to the head and Gonzalez went down again and the referee immediately waived the fight off.
Official scores at the stoppage: 90-80 for Ancajas from all three judges
Another master class from the 26-year-old Filipino who has now won 15 of his last 16 fights by KO/TKO including all four of his title defences. He has great, movement, fast hands, a boxing brain and real power. This is a very very tough division with Srisaket, Naoya Inoue, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras and Khalid Yafai all in the picture but Ancajas is right up there with them. He is not yet ready to be put up alongside Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire but is only 26 so who knows how far he can go. Mexican Gonzalez the IBF No 9 gave it a good try here but he never had the speed or skill to extend Ancajas.
Hart vs. Awimbono
Hart gets this poor match over quickly and becomes the first man to stop Awimbono. Hart dropped Awimbono early with a right to the body. Awimbono got up but Hart bombarded him with a series of punches that put him down again and the fight was stopped. All over ion 88 seconds. Hart is the WBO No 1 so in line for a return with Ramirez. This is his 19th win by KO/TKO. Ghanaian Awimbono is now 0-4 in fights in the US and this was his first fight for almost a year.
Murdock vs. Filippone
Australian Murdock impresses in his first fight in the USA. Murdock was just too strong and too aggressive for Filippone. The Australian had no problem with Filippone’s southpaw style and was on top in every round. He handed Filippone a steady beating and Filippone’s corner retired their man after four one-sided rounds. The 25-year-old Murdock, the WBO Oriental champion, extends his winning run to 19 fights and gets win No 15 by KO/TKO. A victory over former WBA champion Manny Siaca back in 2014 is the only win over a “name” on his record but in this fight he was being assessed as a possible opponent for Gilberto Ramirez down the line.
The 37-year-old Filippone had won 8 of his last 9 fights so was a reasonable test for Murdock.
Lopez vs. Sanchez
Olympian Lopez remains undefeated as he outpoints experienced Mexican Sanchez. Lopez took the first round but in the second suffered a bad cut over his left eye in a clash of heads. Despite the cut leaking blood throughout the fight Lopez was never really hampered by it and was just too sharp for the slower Sanchez. Lopez staggered Sanchez with a left hook in the fourth and landed some heavy shots in the fifth on the way to a clear win. Scores 60-54 twice and 59-55. The 20-year-old Lopez was National Golden Gloves champion in 2015 and won the US Olympic Trials. However new AIBA rules meant there was no Olympic place available to him through the US Trials so having Honduran antecedents he entered the Americas qualifier and finished runner-up which got him to Rio but he failed to medal. If his past record is anything to go by Sanchez is finished for the year as he had just one fight in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017
Benavidez vs. Strode
Good to see Benavidez back in the ring and winning. The former undefeated interim WBA champion badly needed some ring time and Strode gave him just that. Benavidez was always on top but Strode was an awkward fighter who took a good punch and stood up well until the fight was stopped with just 39 seconds left in the last round. Benavidez has had a long lay-off after being shot in the leg. It was felt that it could take him as much as two years to fully recover but he has made it in 17 months and will be looking to get back to world title level by next year. He is the elder brother of WBC super middles champion David Benavidez. Strode had lost his last three fights but to good level opposition in Mark DeLuca, Ramon Alvarez and Mike Alvarado.
London, England: Feather: Reece Bellotti (12-0) W TKO 6 Ben Jones (22-7-1,1ND). Super Welter: Ted Cheeseman (13-0) W PTS 10 Carson Jones (40-13-3,2ND). Cruiser: Lawrence Okolie (8-0) W PTS 10 Isaac Chamberlain (9-1). Bantam: Paul Butler (26-1) W TKO 8Jefferson Vargas (5-8).Super Fly: Charlie Edwards (12-1) W TKO 1 Ricky Little (3-2-1). Light Heavy: Joshua Buatsi (4-0) W KO 2 Jordan Joseph (7-2-1). Sean McGoldrick (4-0) W TKO 3 Michael Barnor (14-20-3). Heavy: Nick Webb (12-0) W KO 2 Ante Verunica (3-5-1). Super Bantam: Gamal Yafai (14-0) W KO 3 Jose Hernandez (4-16-1).
Bellotti vs. Jones
Bellotti retains the Commonwealth title with stoppage of Jones. Because he came in over the weight limit Jones could not win the title but Bellotti was never going to let Jones win anyway. The champion had early success opening a cut over Jones left eye in the first round. Bellotti boxed in a more measured way than in previous fights. He was on the front foot from the second round and after taking the third he dropped Jones with a vicious left to the body in the fourth. Jones beat the count and fought back hard. Bellotti continued to box patiently and also continued to dig shots into the body of Jones. Those body shots took their toll and in the sixth a cracking right from put Jones down again and this time the referee stepped in and halted the contest. The 27-year-old “Bomber” Bellotti is in impressive form and this is his ninth inside the distance win on the bounce. Jones, 35, was expected give Bellotti a tough test. He had a 7-0, 1ND run until losing a split decision to Jason Cunningham in April last year for this same title and he has plenty of fights left in him.
Cheeseman vs. Jones
Cheeseman takes a big step up in the level of opposition and gets an impressive win over veteran Jones in an entertaining contest. The fight was closer over the early rounds with Jones starting strongly and Cheeseman under plenty of pressure, Cheeseman’s relatively short pro experience saw him allow Jones to tempt into some fierce exchanges particularly in the fourth round. From the fifth Cheeseman started to go with the original game plan and the fight changed. He was boxing on the outside making use of his longer reach to score with accurate jabs and getting his punches off first. He was much quicker than Jones and also showed good defensive skills as he built a commanding lead. Jones put in a lot of hard work in the ninth looking to find the punch he needed but Cheeseman stuck to his boxing and emerged a clear winner over his first name opponent. Scores 99-91 twice and 100-89. English champion Cheeseman, 22, wins the vacant WBA International title. Jones, 31, came in over the weight and could not win the title. He has enjoyed some good pay days in Britain in two fights with Kell Brook, two with Brian Rose and also against Ben Hall. This was his first fight since losing a technical decision to Antonio Margarito in September.
Okolie vs. Chamberlain
This much publicised grudge match between two unbeaten British fighters saw Okolie score a clear victory in a fight that did not live up to the hype. Chamberlain was down inside the first minute of the fight. It looked more of a push as Okolie lunged in and Chamberlain ducked under a right but Chamberlain was up quickly and made no complaint as the referee counted out the eight seconds. Okolie was wild in his attempts to finish the fight and was given a stern warning after blatantly pushing Chamberlain over late in the round. The fight was messy in the second round and Chamberlain was deducted a point for continually holding. There was very little clean work being done by either boxer. Chamberlain had no real answer to Okolie’s longer reach and was continually lunging under the jab and clinching inside. Neither fighter was scoring a great deal but what clean work there was was coming from Okolie who landed a hard overhand right in the third and he had built a big lead by the half way mark. Chamberlain seemed to be doing better in the sixth as he threw more punches and lunged inside less but he was clipped with a right to the head that saw him lurch sideward and touch the canvas with his glove resulting in another eight count. Over the closing rounds Chamberlain finally began to get into the fight as Okolie seemed to tire, not having been past the sixth round before, the rounds were more competitive with Chamberlain now doing the pressing. Constant holding saw Okolie deducted a point in the ninth but he had a big lead and was a winner by wide margins at the bell. Scores98-89, 97-89 and 96-90 all for Okolie. The 25-year-old Olympian remains undefeated but it showed here that he is still very much a work in progress and he only 25 fights to his name when he qualified for Rio. Chamberlain 23 took too long to get into the fight. He had won the BBB of C Southern Area title despite dislocating a shoulder and with the level of determination he will rebound from this loss.
Butler vs. Vargas
Butler gets win but Hernandez takes him into the last round. Ecuadorian Vargas proved more resilient than many of the Latin American imports and although not constituting any threat to Butler he climbed off the floor in the fifth and was within a minute of lasting the distance when a crunching body punch put him down and he was counted out. Butler, a former undefeated IBF bantam champion makes it nine wins in a row since losing to Zolani Tete for the IBF super fly title in 2015. He is No 4 with the IBF but with the first two positions vacant then IBF champion Ryan Burnett and also Jamie McDonnell, the holder of the secondary WBA title could be fights for him later this year.
Edwards vs. Little
British champion gets quick win as Edwards halts Little inside a round. The former IBF title challenger was several classes above Little. He gets his fifth win by KO/TKO and his fourth since his stoppage loss against Joel Casimero for the IBF title in 2016. He is the official challenger for the European title so will be in line to face the winner of Vincent Legrand’s title defence against Andrew Selby which takes place in France on 28 April. Either of those would be a very tough proposition. Little had not been past four rounds before and this was a poor match.
Buatsi vs. Joseph
Buatsi clubbed his way to victory as he pounded the fight out of Joseph inside two rounds. Buatsi was already rocking Joseph with overhand rights in the first minute of the fight and Jordan was not helping his cause by holding his left low. Buatsi continued to fire rights but Joseph landed a sharp uppercut and a couple of hooks to the body. Buatsi shrugged them off and continued to score with sweeping punches to head and body. Joseph countered well but was badly shaken by a right just before the bell. In the second Joseph stood and traded with Buatsi but was again shipping heavy rights to the head. He found gaps for some counters but then a series of rights to the head had him staggering across the ring to the ropes and as Buatsi got through with more head shots the referee stepped in just as the towel fluttered over the ropes. Then 24-year-old Ghanaian-born Buatsi won the English amateur championships and went on to represent Britain in Rio where he was the surprise packet at the Games winning a bronze medal. This is his third win by KO/TKO. Joseph landed some good punches in this one but just could not match the power of Buatsi.
McGoldrick vs. Barnor
No problems for former top amateur McGoldrick as he halts perennial loser Barnor in three rounds. The 26-year-old from Wales makes it two wins by KO/TKO. He was 18 and still at school when he won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. That medal was subsequently changed to gold after his Indian opponent tested positive for a banned substance. He also won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Ghanaian Barnor is now 0-14-1 in his last 15 fights.
Webb vs. Verunica
Easy win for Webb over poor opponent but ends the fight with a thunderous punch. Verunica proved to be a small flabby fighter with no skill and only wild swings when attacking. Webb staggered him twice in the first round but was forgetting his boxing dropping his hands and just throwing punches wildly although more accurate than the swings from Verunica. Webb boxed better in the second using his jab more and catching the onrushing Verunica with counters. Webb finished the fight with a huge right cross which laid Verunica on the canvas on his back. Verunica was struggling to get up but even as the referee was needlessly counting Verunica’s seconds were in the ring. The 30-yerart-old 6’5” (196cm) Webb gets his tenth win by KO/TKO and his fifth in his last six fights. Webb was a high level amateur over six years but unfortunately on three occasions he had to get past Joe Joyce to win the English ABA but failed each time. He is ready for better opposition. Croatian Verunica gets his fourth loss in a row. He was halted in two rounds by Dillian Whyte in 2014.
Yafai vs. Hernandez
Unbeaten prospect “The Beast” Yafai finishes early in warm up for his challenge to Gavin McDonnell. This really was little more than paid sparring for the brilliant Birmingham fighter. After taking the first two rounds a rib-bending body punch dumped Hernandez on the canvas and he was counted out. Although he has only 14 pro fights behind him the 26-year-old Yafai is already a former unbeaten Commonwealth champion and as an amateur was English champion at 17 and was also British champion and European Union champion. Of his brothers Khalid is the WBA the WBA super fly champion and Galal competed at the 2016mOlympics so a very talented family. Spanish-based Nicaraguan gets his sixth loss by KO/TKO having lost his previous five fights on points.
Belfast, Northern Ireland: Super Feather: James Tennyson (21-2) W KO 1 Arnoldo Solano (14-15). Super Feather: Ronnie Clark (20-4-2) W PTS 6 Dean Evans (6-18-2).
Tennyson vs. Solano
Tennyson destroys Nicaraguan Solano inside a minute. Tennyson was coming forward forcing Solano back. He took Solano to the ropes and landed a hard left to the chin. Solano ducked under the following right but Tennyson dug a wicked left hook to the body and Solano collapsed to the floor in pain and never looked like getting up. The 24-year-old Belfast “Assassin now has 17 wins by KO/TKO. He has lost only one of his last thirteen fights and that was to Ryan Walsh for the British title. Eleven losses in a row for Solano.
Clark vs. Evans
Clark wins a keep busy fight with decision over Evans. Clark took every round. Referee’s score 60-54. The 33-year-old Dundee southpaw makes it 7 wins out of 8 with the loss being to unbeaten Martin Joseph Ward for the British title. Evans drops to 1-7-1 in his last 9 fights.
Puerto Madryn, Argentina: Bantam: Omar Narvaez (48-2-2) W PTS 10 Jesus Vargas (16-12-1). Narvaez goes over old ground as he easily decisions former Victim Vargas. Venezuelan Vargas was competitive early. He had height and reach over Narvaez but that is something Narvaez is used to. Vargas was looking to take the fight to Narvaez but the little Argentinian southpaw set a high work rate. From the third he was getting inside and firing home bundles of short hooks. He is no longer the “Huaracan” of old but still has a good engine. The rounds were a bit closer than the scores suggest but Vargas was too low on power to keep Narvaez out. The sixth was the best round of the fight as they stood and exchanged punches for most of the round but Vargas was already slowing. His work rate had dropped and he was bruised under both eyes. Narvaez tried hard to finish it in the ninth but an exhausted Vargas just did enough to dissuade the referee from stepping in. Somehow Vargas found the energy to match Narvaez in the tenth but just seconds before the final bell was deducted a point for punches to the back of the head. Scores 100-95 twice and 100-90 ½. Now 42 the former WBO fly and super fly champion was using this as a warm up for his delayed shot at Zolani Tete for the WBO bantam title. A win would make him Argentina’s first three division champion but to be honest at 42 he is slower than he was and with Tete’s speed, skill and power plus a 7” advantage in height I can’t see Narvaez even going the distance. The 25-year-old Vargas improved on his previous fight against Narvaez in 2016 when he retired after seven rounds. He is now 2-9 in his last 11 fights.
Inglemunster, Belgium: Super Light: Steve Jamoye (24-4-1) W TKO 9 Hedi Slimani (28-5). Super Light: Ahmed El Hamwi (15-8-2) W PTS 8 Bibi Ondoua (15-9-1).
Jamoye vs. Slimani
Jamoye gets a very important win in bragging rights contest with Slimani. Losing important fights against Sandor Martin, Nicolas Gonzalez and Jason Easton seemed to indicate that the 26-year-old battler was going nowhere. Another loss here would have been a huge blow but he came through with the win he needed and retained his BeNeLux title. Belgian-based Tunisian Slimani had a 19 bout winning streak halted by a loss to Richard Commey in March last year in a fight for the vacant WBC International title and was stopped in five round by Vage Sarukhanyan in another shot at the WBC International title in August so was hoping to get a win here.
Ondoua vs. El Hamwi
El Hamwi comes in as a late substitute and gains a very narrow unanimous decision over Frenchman Ondoua. Scores 77-75 twice and 77-76. After a rocky spell when he went 0-3-1 in four fights the 31-year-old French-based Belgian champion has won his last three. Ondoua is 3-3 in his last 6 fights with all three losses being on decisions which could have gone either way
Halle an der Saale, Germany: Heavy: Tom Schwarz (20-0) W TKO 4 Samir Nebo (10-2-1). Cruiser: Juergen Uldedaj (8-0) W PTS 10 Jakub Synek (8-1-1). Super Middle: Robin Krasniqi (47-5) W PTS 8 Bartlomiej Grafka (20-28-3,1ND).
Schwarz vs. Nebo
Schwarz halts Nebo in four rounds. The unbeaten German hope had lots of height and reach over Syrian-born. Nebo. In the first Schwarz used a strong jab to force Nebo on to the back foot and keep him on the ropes for much of the round. Schwarz launched a sustained attack with clubbing shots to head and body. Nebo weathered the storm and then invited Schwarz to try some more. Schwarz landed some more jabs and had no trouble getting out of the way of wild swings from Nebo. The was some confusion early in the second. A punch from Schwarz drifted low. Nebo stepped back and indicated the foul to the referee. Initially the referee started forward as if to signal some recovery time for Nebo he was too slow and said nothing Schwarz waded in and landed some punches. The riled Nebo and he wrestled Schwarz to the floor for which he was deducted a point. Schwarz again finished the round with strong jabs. In the third Nebo was more aggressive and had some success with lunging attacks but was wild with his punches. In the fourth Schwarz landed a combination of hard punches to the head. Nebo was bundled back to the ropes and Schwarz kept punching even as Nebo was lying over the top rope with his back to the ring. The referee stepped in and stopped the fight. The stoppage looked premature and Nebo protested. The 23-year-old 6’5 ½ (197cm) Schwarz retains the WBO Inter-Continental title and wins the vacant BDB version of the German title. This was his first fight since April 2017 after surgery for a cervical injury. He has 13 wins by KO/TKO and although he has yet to meet even any European rated fighter he is No 5 with the WBO. His No 13 rating with the EBU is a better indication of the opposition he has faced. He is young, big and strong but untested. Nebo had won his last ten fights by KO/TKO but looked crude and limited.
Uldedaj vs. Synek
German-based Albanian Uldedaj was in control from the outset. This was his first ten rounder and he paced the fight well. He floored a tiring Synek in the eighth and then again in the tenth. Synek made it to the final bell but was well beaten. Scores 100-89 twice and 100-88. The 20-year-old Uldedaj wins the vacant German International title. Synek, 33, gets his first loss.
Krasniqi vs. Grafka
Krasniqi returns to action and gets in some useful ring time against Pole Grafka. Krasniqi had to work hard for his win. He rocked Grafka a few times with right uppercuts but Grafka refused to fold and did enough to steal a round or two giving Krasniqi just the fight he needed to get back into form. Scores 79-73, 78-75 and 78-75 all for Krasniqi. The former WBO and secondary WBA title challenger from Kosovo was having his first fight since losing on points to Arthur Abraham in a non-title fight in April last year. Grafka had won his last two fights.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Feather: Masaru Sueyoshi (17-1) W TKO 8 Ken Osato (13-2-1). Sueyoshi retains the national title but only after a scare. After taking the first two rounds Sueyoshi was put over by a right from challenger Osato in the third. He beat the count and got back into the fight. He established a clear lead and after the fifth all three judges had him in front 48-46. Osato pressed hard in the sixth but Sueyoshi took control in the seventh. The fight ended in the eighth when a right from Sueyoshi opened a cut over the left eye of Osato and also caused immediately swelling. The referee had the ringside physician examine the injury and he decided it was too severe for Osato to continue and since the damage was caused by a punch Sueyoshi was declared the winner. He was making the first defence of his Japanese title and gets his fourteenth win in a row. He is No 10 with the WBO but can’t afford any slips like that in the third round. Osato, 23, was 9-0-1 in his last 10 fights and moving up to ten rounds for the first time. He was unlucky with the cut and will be hoping to get another title shot somewhere down the line.
Arendal, Norway: Cruiser: Kai Robin Havnaa (12-0) W TKO 2 Daniel Vencl (9-6). Light Heavy: Tim Robin Lihaug (17-4) W PTS 8 Vasyl Kondor (18-19-1). Light Heavy: Leon Bunn (7-0) W PTS 6 Jozsef Racz (7-20-1).
Havnaa vs. Vencl
Norwegian hope Havnaa halts replacement foe Venci. The big local followed orders from his trainer Joey Gamache and spent the first round studying Czech Venci. In the second a right floored the visitor. He made it to his feet but with Havnaa landing more heavy stuff the towel came flying in from the Czech’s corner. The 29-year-old Havnaa is the son of the former WBO cruiser champion Magne Havnaa. He has ten wins by KO/TKO. No names yet as he is being carefully matched but it is good to see boxing shows again in Norway. Venci drops to three losses by KO/TKO and is 3-4 in his last 7 fights.
Lihaug vs. Kondor
Lihaug returns to the winning column with a comfortable victory over Ukrainian Kondor. No real problems for Lihaug as he floors and outboxes Kondor all the way for the wide unanimous decision. Scores 80-71 twice and 80-70 for Lihaug. The 25-year-old from Bergen had lost his last two fights. He has been carrying the banner overseas for Norwegian boxing and this is only his second fight in his home country. Now 13 losses in a row for poor Kondor.
Bunn vs. Racz
German prospect Bunn gets back into action after a lay-off due to a hand injury. The young Sauerland fighter struggled a bit in the first round but did enough to take it. From the second he began to find his rhythm applied constant pressure and outboxed Hungarian Racz, Scores 60-54 from all three judges. The 25-yearold from Frankfurt looks very useful. Now eleven points losses in a row for Racz.
Naha, Japan: Fly: Daigo Higa (15-0) W KO 1 Moises Fuentes (25-5-1).
Higa defends his WBC title for the second time as he destroys Fuentes with a body punch. Higa was giving away lots in height and reach and Flores tried a few rights in the early sparring. Fuentes walked Higa back to the ropes a couple of times and landed sharp left hooks to the body. A left from Higa staggered Fuentes but he seemed to recover until a straight right to the jaw made his knees dip and Higa banged away with hooks from both hands. Fuentes fought his way off the ropes but a shot to the body had him retreating and after a right from Higa he dropped to his knees but the damage was done by that body punch. Fuentes spat out his mouthguard and got up just as the referee was waiving the fight over. Second defence of his title for 22-year-old Higa who has won all of his 15 fights by KO/TKO and 15 consecutive inside the distance wins is a Japanese record. Mexican Fuentes is a former WBO minimumweight champion but was stopped in seven rounds by Kosei Tanaka in a fight for the vacant WBO light fly title in 2016.
Fight of the week: Mikhail Aloyan vs. Alexander Espinoza a ten round war. Honourable mention to Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos excellent technical contest but not a war
Fighter of the week: Murat Gassiev with honourable mention to Jerwin Ancajas
Punch of the week: Plenty but the right from Nick Webb just beats the Murat Gassiev left hook that put Dorticos down for the first time. Honourable mention to the left hook from Hurricane Futa that ended fight with Vage Sarukhanyan
Upset of the week: Hurricane Futa for his stoppage of Vage Sarukhanyan
One to watch: Italian cruiser Fabio Turchi 14-0 with 11 wins by KO/TKO and honourable mention to Olympian Teo Lopez 8-0 also making impressive progress