The Past Week in Action March 10 2016
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand: Minimum: Wanheng Menayothin (41-0) W TKO 5 Go Odaira (12-4-3). Bantam: Petch Sor Chitpattana (36-0) W RTD 5 Vincent Bautista (4-3-3). Bantam: Kongfah (16-1) W PTS 6 Prayoot Yaijam (4-13).
Wanheng vs. Odaira
Wanheng makes fourth successful defence of his WBC by crushing Odaira. Cautious opening with southpaw Odaira slightly more active, scoring with a couple of straight lefts as Wanheng trailed him around the ring. Wanheng landed a couple of rights but Odaira looked to have just edged the round. Wanheng was all business in the second stepping up his pursuit of Odaira with a right making the challenger stagger back. Odaira was quick and clever but his punches were just light arm punches so he had nothing to stop the advance of Wanheng. In the third a right to the side of the head sent Odaira to the canvas. He was up at three and when the action resumed Wanheng was able to pin Odaira on the ropes and get through with some heavy hooks. Odaira foolishly tried to punch his way out of trouble. It was as though he had never heard of the word clinch, but he made it to the bell. In the fourth Wanheng was hunting Odaira for the whole three minutes. The Japanese fighter was surviving with some quick footwork and smart ducking and diving but had to swallow two hard rights. At the end of the fourth the scores were 39-36 twice and 40-35 all for Wanheng. Odaira was proving elusive in the fifth until Wanheng landed a right uppercut that sent Odaira back to the ropes. He followed up with a left hook and four chopping rights that put Odaira down with the referee immediately waiving the fight over. Now 16 wins by KO/TKO for the 30-year-old Thai. He would beat IBF champion Jose Argumedo and WBO title holder Kosei Tanaka and a fight with Hekkie Budler would make a great unification battle between the two best minimumweight fighters on the planet. Odaira, 31, had done nothing of consequence since being stopped in seven rounds for the vacant IBF and WBO titles in December 2014 and this was his first fight for a year.
Sor Chitpattana vs. Bautista
The world rated Thai had lots of height and reach over the small Filipino but was unable to catch Bautista over the first two rounds with the Filipino usually in full retreat until they swapped punches at the end of the second. Southpaw Sor Chitpattana did a better job of cutting down the ring in the third so they traded a few punches and by the fourth it was totally one-sided with Bautista just trying to survive and Sor Chitpattana banging home 5 and 6 punch combinations. In the fifth Sor Chitpattana was ripping in body punches and uppercuts with Bautista getting punished whenever he tried to land any punches of his own. It was a lost cause and Bautista retired at the end of the round. Sor Chitpattana was making the first defence of his full WBC Youth title and the WBC No 5 now has 23 wins by KO/TKO but this was an abysmal excuse for a title fight and Sor Chitpattana has yet to face anyone in the top 50 let alone top 15. Bautista’s last fight in December saw him lose over six rounds to a guy with a 2-5 record but the WBC were content to let him fight for one of their titles against their No 5.
Routine easy win for Kongfah. He looked a little quicker and sharper than previous fights but it is still boxing by numbers and too often he is on his heels instead of his toes. He was able to land his jabs and straight rights and some meaty left hooks to the body but by standing in the pocket admiring his work he was getting caught by too many punches. A left/right combination sent Yaijam staggering at the bell to end the third and although his glove touched the canvas that happened after the bell. Kongfah handed out a steady beating in the last three rounds but could not put Yaijam down and left himself open too often to counters as he comes in with his head high and his left arm-well somewhere, but not where it should be. He wins every round but looks vulnerable. Yaijam has lost 10 of his last 11 bouts and was just there to fill the other corner.
Kyoto, Japan: Bantam: Shinsuke Yamanaka (25-0-2) W PTS 12 Liborio Solis (23-4-1). Light Fly: Ganigan Lopez (27-6) W PTS 12 Yu Kimura (18-3-1).
Yamanaka vs. Solis
Yamanaka had a good first round. He was scoring well with his southpaw right jab and a straight left over the top of Solis’s own left staggered the Venezuelan. In the second as Solis came inside he was off balance and a push which landed on his shoulder, rather than a punch, tipped him over. He was down and unhurt but the referee rightly applied a count. Yamanaka continued to be dangerous with his straight lefts and Solis was struggling to get into the fight. Solis came out firing in the third and a straight right to the chin sent Yamanaka backwards and down. He was up immediately and Solis went after him driving Yamanaka to the ropes and scoring with uppercuts inside. Yamanaka monetarily shook Solis with a right hook and escaped from the ropes. Yamanaka looked to have weathered the storm and he shook Solis with a right left combination but walked on to a straight right that sent him down for the second time in the round. Again Yamanaka was up quickly and when the action resumed with only 11 seconds left in the round Solis again took Yamanaka to the ropes and landed a hard right just before the bell rang. The first punch of the fourth round was a hard straight left from Yamanaka and then he landed a series of right/left combinations and he was back in charge. The open scoring showed all three judges had Yamanaka in front 37-36. Yamanaka used his edges in height and reach to outbox Solis in the fifth with the Venezuelan having to lunge with his attacks to try to get inside and in the sixth, seventh and eighth Yamanaka was again banging home his straight lefts to the head of Solis he couldn’t seem to miss with them whereas Solis was relying on wild rights and missing too often. After eight rounds the judges all had it 77-72 for Yamanaka. In the ninth a right/left combination from Yamanaka delivered a glancing blow to the chin/shoulder of Solis and he went down but the punches had not landed cleanly. Solis was up immediately and after the eight count was rushing into the attack forcing Yamanaka onto the back foot for the rest of the round. Yamanaka was banging home straight lefts again in the tenth with a desperate Solis trying to land one big punch but failing and eating a lot of shots for his trouble. Yamanaka boxed more conservatively in the eleventh with the only excitement being when they both fell into the ropes with Solis ending up on the ring apron and Yamanaka on the floor inside the ring. Solis needed a knockout in the last but it was Yamanaka who came closest opening a gash on the nose of Solis and having the challenger under fire at what should have been the bell only for the fight to continue for another 20 seconds after the clock had run down! Scores 117-107 from all three judges. Yamanaka, 33, was making the tenth defence of his WBC title. Solis, 33, is a former WBA super-fly champion who lost his title on the scales before his unification match with IBF champion Daiki Kameda but won the fight. Two things were missing from this fight, there was very little or no body punching and no close quarters stuff. Yamanaka does not fight inside. Every time Solis got inside Yamanaka just grabbed him and I did not see one punch inside from Yamanaka.
Lopez vs. Kimura
Lopez outboxes the home fighter to win the WBC title. He wins easily but has to settle for a majority decision. The Mexican just about edged the first as both fighters made a cautious start. Lopez took the second as he scored repeatedly with southpaw straight lefts and although Kimura came on at the end of the round the challenger had done enough. Lopez also added the third to his collection. He was ducking under Kimura’s punches and scoring with right hooks to the body. Over the fourth and fifth Lopez continued to roll he had no trouble getting inside and scoring to the body with hooks from both hands and scoring from the outside with straight rights as Kimura was waiting too long to let his punches go. Kimura had more success over the second half of the fight as Lopez tired from the fast early pace and the champion made some inroads to the lead Lopez had built but again and again Lopez was able to bang home fast combinations with Kimura too slow to respond and Lopez was a clear winner in this one. Scores 119-109 and 118-110 for Lopez and a ridiculous 114-114 from of all people the Mexican judge! The 34-year-old Mexican, despite some good performances, had made a habit of losing the big fights being stopped in two rounds by Denver Cuello for the WBC Silver title and beaten on points by Pedro Guevara for WBC world title in July. Guevara then lost the title to Kimura on a hotly disputed split decision. Talk of an all-Mexican Lopez vs. Guevara return match had cold water poured over it as the WBC have decreed that Filipino Jonathan Taconing is the mandatory challenger. Kimura, 32, was a disappointment he just did not have a plan for dealing with the southpaw style or the speed of Lopez and was well beaten.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Light: Michael Perez (24-1-2) W TEC DEC 6 Martin Honorio (33-9-1). Super Feather: Chris Gonzalez (13-0) W KO 1 David Rodela (17-13-3). Super Bantam: Oscar Negrete (13-0) W PTS 8 Neftali Campos (11-1).
Perez vs. Honorio
Perez gets unanimous technical decision over Honorio as both suffer cuts. Honorio was the aggressor early and had some success at the start of the first but Perez finished the round strongest. In the second head clashes saw Perez cut over his left eye and Honorio further back on his head. The cut suffered by Perez affected his game plan and he began to work on the outside using his jab more and scoring with good body punches. Honorio kept coming forward but his work rate dropped and Perez was picking up rounds by being busier and more accurate. At the end of the sixth round despite the handicap of the cut Perez was looking to continue the fight but the doctor overruled him and had the fight stopped. It went to the score cards with Perez winning by 60-54 on all three cards. “The Artist” Perez – his names are Michael Angelo – suffered his only loss when he was forced to retire against Omar Figueroa in 2012 but he has collected nine wins and a technical draw since then and is rated WBO 4/WBA 6. The 26-year-old from Newark was NGG champion in 2008 and twice New Jersey Golden Gloves champion. Mexican Honorio, 36, lost to Robert Guerrero for the IBF feather title in 2007 and on a majority verdict against Juan Carlos Salgado for the IBF super feather title in 2012. He was inactive for 18 months after losing to Antonio Orozco in May 2014 and this is his second fight since returning.
Gonzalez vs. Rodela
Gonzalez does not like to hang around so he got this one over early – as usual. Rodela elected to trade which was a big mistake as Gonzalez backed him to the ropes and unleashed a right that put Rodela down and out. The 20-year-old Californian has only had to go the full six round distance once for a win and now has eight first round wins and only two opponents have lasted beyond the second round. Rodela, 33, was a good level amateur and made a promising start as a pro but has now lost 8 of his last 9 fights.
Negrete vs. Campos
“Jaguar” Negrete wins again as he takes wide unanimous verdict over Campos. Negrete shook off a hard right from Campos in the first to score with left hooks to take the opener. From there Negrete was always in charge of this one. He continually forced Campos to the ropes and his pressure had Campos on the defensive for round after round. Negrete had Campos hurt with body punches on a couple of occasions but never looked like winning inside the distance. Scores 80-72 from all three judges, Negrete, 28, was a star member of the Colombian amateur team winning the national title a number of times, getting a gold medal at the South American Championships, a silver at the Central American & Caribbean Games and competing at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 World Championships so plenty of solid amateur experience behind him. Campos was unbeaten but a misleading record as 8 of his victims had never won a fight and the other three victims had only 5 wins between them.
Tampa, FL, USA: Super Feather: Orlando Cruz (23-4-1) W PTS 10 Romulo Koasicha (25-6). Welter: Sammy Valentin (6-0) W KO 4 Cosme Rivera (38-22-3).
Cruz vs. Koasicha
Cruz makes it three wins since returning from a lay-off. The Puerto Rican southpaw used superior southpaw skills and speed to negate the longer reach of the Mexican and despite Koasicha fighting hard it was at times a very one-sided fight. After an impressive first round Cruz put Koasicha down in the second. Koasicha tried to get close enough to be competitive but the footwork of Cruz constantly left Koasicha reaching with his punches and getting caught with hard counters. Cruz almost finished it in the sixth when he put Koasicha down twice, but the Mexican survived and continued to try to get into the fight but the most he achieved was to convince the judges to score one round for him but by the end he was a battered and bleeding loser. Scores 99-88 twice and 100-87. Cruz, 34, retains his WBO NABO title. After consecutive losses to Orlando Salido for the WBO feather title in 2010 and to fellow-Puerto Rican Gamaliel Rodriguez in 2014 Cruz was inactive for 14 months before returning with a win in June last year and he is now No 8 with the WBO. Koasicha, 24, was coming off a tenth-round kayo loss to Vasyl Lomachenko for the WBO feather title in November.
Valentin vs. Rivera
Valentin takes on by far his most experienced opponent to date and knocks out veteran Rivera in four rounds. The young local fighter showed no respect for Rivera’s breadth of experience and after some initial resistance from Rivera was landing quick hard punches for the first three rounds in the fourth a couple of body punches put Rivera down in agony and he was out of the fight. The 21-year-old Valentin won a cupboard full of trophies as an amateur finally winning the NGG title in 2014. He was born in the Bay area and his father was a kick boxer back in Puerto Rico. Valentin has a big local following having first been profiled by the local paper at the age of 9 and having set up a foundation when he was 16 to promote the collection of toys for children in hospital. One to watch. Rivera, 39, lost to Zab Judah for the IBF/WBA/WBC welter titles in 2005 but is no longer a force. He is 3-9 in his last 12 fights with 7 losses by KO/TKO in that dismal recent record including the last three fights in a row ending inside the distance.
Sosnowiec, Poland: Cruiser: Krzys Wlodarczyk (50-3-1) W TKO 2 Valery Brudov (42-8). Super Welter: Krzys Kopytek (12-0) W PTS 8 Stanislas Salmon (25-5-2). Heavy: Pawel Kolodziej (34-1) W TKO 2 Wladimir Letr (6-7).
Wlodarczyk vs. Brudov
Wlodarczyk looks sharp in return to the ring. In the opening round both fighters were working behind their jabs. Brudov was coming forward but his jabs lacked sting and usually fell short. Wlodarczyk’s jabs were stronger and he also landed a straight right and a sharp left uppercut. Brudov was again on the front foot in the second as both fighter looked to step up the pace. Wlodarczyk stabbed out two jabs and surprisingly Brudov tumbled to the floor. He was up at four but had climbed up awkwardly. The referee completed the eight count and Brudov indicated he was willing to carry on. Before they could exchange punches the referee noticed one of Brudov’s seconds on the ring apron with a towel and the fight was stopped. Apparently Brudov had injured his right knee at the knockdown but there was no obvious sign of that. First fight for the 34-year-ol “Diablo” since losing his WBC title to Grigory Drozd in September 2014. Russian Brudov, 39, has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but all to high class opposition.
Kopytek vs. Salmon
Pole Kopytek outpoints Frenchman. Kopytek had a good first round coming close to putting Salmon down. He had Salmon hurt again at the start of the second and late in the round a left hook dropped Salmon heavily. He made it to his feet but took more punishment before the bell rang to save him. Kopytek took the third and fourth but looked tired and Salmon had a good fifth round as Kopytek’s work rate dropped. The local fighter was back on track in the sixth and eased his way to victory over the closing rounds. Scores 79-72 twice and 78-73. Kopytek extends his winning run but nine points wins in a row indicates a lack of punching power. Former French champion Salmon lost only one of his first 25 fights but has been largely inactive recently and this is only his fourth fight in just over three years.
Kolodziej vs. Letr
Kolodziej gets quick win in his return to action. Letr actually had the better of the first round in this all-Polish fight scoring well with his jab. In the second it was a massacre. Kolodziej floored Letr with a right, then for a second time with double left hooks, again with a long right cross and for the fourth and last time with another right and the fight was stopped. The 35-year-old Kolodziej was having his first fight since being knocked out in two rounds by Denis Lebedev for the WBA cruiser title in September 2014. The 6’4” (193cm) Pole had 19 wins by KO/TKO. Letr, 28, was giving away 5” in height so not much chance of coming out a winner any way. He is now 2-4 in his last 6 fights.
Ngam Wong Wan, Thailand: Super Fly: Chatpetch (14-3-2) W KO 4 Iwan Key (10-16-3). Super Bantam Nop (14-0) W RTD 4 Junar Adante (6-4-1).
Chatpetch vs. Key
Chatpetch dismisses poor Indonesian. Over the first two rounds Chatpetch had trouble settling against the awkward style of Key. He found the answer in the third, flooring Key with a left hook to the body. Key managed to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the round but a body punch put him down in the fourth and he was counted out. The 25-year-old Thai was making the third defence of his full PABA title and has 8 wins by KO/TKO. He lost his first three fights so is now unbeaten in 16. Indonesian Key has lost his last 5 fights by KO/TKO.
Nop vs. Adante
Nop retains his PABA title as Adante retires after four rounds. The Thai is not a noted puncher but handed out punishment from the start pouring it on heavily in the third and fourth and Adante retired at the end of the round. Sixth defence of the full title from Nop. His opposition has been a diet of poor imports. Adante has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
Panama City, Panama: Super Bantam: Ricardo Nunez (28-5) W PTS 8 Wilner Soto (15-1). Super Light: John Renteria (12-3-1) W TKO 6 David Lobo (16-1). Super Feather: Freddy Fonseca (16-2-1) W TKO 1 Nando Vailarin (9-9-1).
Nunez vs. Soto
El Matematico” Nunez, 28, continues his slow comeback with unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Soto. The Panamanian took the unanimous decision on scores of 79-73 twice and 77-75. First fight in ten months and only the second fight in two years for the former IBF fly and secondary WBA title challenger. After being 24-2 in his first 26 fights he was stopped by Moruti Mthalane for the IBF title in 2012 and lost a technical decision to Juan Carlos Reveco for the secondary WBA title in 2013. A stoppage loss to Jonathan Arias in February 2014 was his last fight before this one. Soto, 25, had built his unbeaten record on poor opposition back home in Colombia.
Renteria vs. Lobo
Panamanian Renteria wins the vacant WBA Fedecaribe title when Lobo is forced to pull out of the fight due to an injury. The 24-year-old “El Emperador” makes it ten wins by KO/TKO. He is 4-2-1 in his last 7 fights and one of the losses was in a fight for this title so second time does it. Costa Rican Lobo, 23, had won 8 of his last 9 fights against very modest opposition.
Fonseca vs. Vailarin
Southpaw Fonseca blows away poor level opponent Vailarin in 125 seconds. The 24-year-old Costa Rican makes it 11 wins by KO/TKO. Panamanian Vailarin has now lost 7 in a row 6 by KO/TKO.
Asuncion, Paraguay: Super Light: Carlos Portillo (18-0) W TKO 2 Luis Cevero (10-11). National champion Portillo floors Argentinian Cevero three times for a stoppage win in the second round. Now 14 wins by KO/TKO for the local fighter. He has won his last 7 by KO/TKO with only one of those fights going past the second round. He wins something called the International title of the World Pugilistica Commission. To put his record into perspective before this fight 11 of his opponents had no traceable record and the other six could only muster 7 wins between them so veteran Cevero had more wins than all of Portillo’s 16 previous opponents put together. Cevero, 44, was having his first fight for over two years.
Norwich, Norfolk: Heavy: Sam Sexton (22-3) W TKO 4 Peter Erdos (9-10-4).
Former CBC champion Sexton continues his rebuilding programme with win over modest Hungarian. Fighting in his home city Sexton was jabbing strongly and landing with heavy punches from the start with Erdos just shaking his head and continuing. However the Hungarian’s right eye was rapidly closing and in the fourth a right from Sexton had Erdos turning away just as the towel came in. Sexton, 31, has lost twice inside the distance against Dereck Chisora for the British and CBC titles and was knocked out in four rounds by David Price for the same titles in 2012. He was inactive from March 2014 until returning last September and this is his third win since then. He is hoping to get back into title contention. Erdos, 39, is 0-5-1 in his last six fights and this is his third loss in a row by KO/TKO.
Motherwell, Scotland: Super Feather: Ronnie Clark (15-3-2) W TKO 10 Jordan McCrory (9-2-1). Super Light: Eddie Doyle (17-3) W PTS 10 Shaun McShane (3-3-1)
McCrory vs. Clark
Dundee fighter Clark wins vacant BBB of C Scottish Area title with late stoppage of local fighter McCrory. The 31-year-old southpaw was making his second run at winning the Scottish title. After being unbeaten in his first 13 fights he then went 3-3 in his next six with all of the losses to unbeaten fighters. This is his ninth win by KO/TKO. McCrory, 24, already holds the Scottish title at lightweight so was moving down trying to land a second title but instead gets his first loss by KO/TKO.
Doyle vs. McShane
In a contest between local boxers Doyle wins the vacant Scottish title with very close decision over McShane. Referee’s score 96-95. Doyle, 31, won his first 12 fights before losing in one round to Willie Limond for the vacant CBC title, a fight I supervised. Since then Doyle is 5-2 in his 7 fights and has won his last three. McShane, 35, who did not turn pro until he was 33, was in his first ten round fight but it did not show and he deserves a return.
Dudley, England: Light Heavy: Ricky Summers (11-0) W PTS 8 Carl Wild (14-25-5). Summers comes through a tough fight with experienced Wild to remain undefeated. The neighbourhood hope was slightly in front until the end of the fifth. He then put the fight beyond the reach of Wild with a knockdown in the sixth. It got rough in the seventh with Summers losing a point for illegal use of his elbow but he already had a winning lead. Referee’s score 78-75. The 28-year-old “Digger” is making steady progress. Wild, 29, a former Central Area Champion, had only one fight in 2014, one in 2015 and this is his first in 2016.
Washington, DC, USA: Heavy: Luis Ortiz (25-0,2ND) W KO 7 Tony Thompson (40-7). Welter: Jesse Vargas (27-1) W TKO 9 Sadam Ali (22-1). Feather: Oscar Escandon (25-2) W KO 7 Robinson Castellanos (23-12). Light Lamont Roach (10-0) W PTS 8 Jesus Lule (8-16-1). Super Middle: D’Mitrius Ballard (12-0,1ND) W TKO 2 Leosvy Mayedo (8-3).
Ortiz vs. Thompson
Ortiz hugely impressive as he dominates and knocks out Thompson in a non-title fight. Ortiz established his jab early doubling-up on it to keep Thompson going back. He was also letting his southpaw lefts go. Ortiz threw a jab and Thomson ducked under it. As he came up he was nailed by a straight left. Thompson went down heavily and looked badly shaken. He got up at seven and when the action restarted Ortiz missed with some more lefts as Thompson saw out the round. In the second Thompson used his own jab more but Ortiz was walking him down and there was danger every time the Cuban unleashed his left. The second knockdown came in the third round. Ortiz spent the whole round trying to line Thompson up for another left cross. Thompson scored with a hard left that seemed to momentarily hurt Ortiz but just before the bell a long left landed behind the right ear of Thompson and he went down. When he got up the bell had already rung to end the round. Thompson was a bit more positive in the fourth standing and firing some punches. Ortiz began to play act winding up his left and Thompson responded by signalling Ortiz to bring it on. At the end of the round Ortiz was unloading heavy shots and Thompson was already looking a beaten fighter. Thompson was able to score with jabs in the fifth as Ortiz was just walking after him and looking to land one big left but not really connecting. Ortiz was stalking again in the sixth. He landed a few lefts but none of them connected clearly until with 40 seconds to go in the round Ortiz found the opening he had been looking for. He ducked under a right from Thompson and a straight left to the side of the head sent Thompson down on his back with his head resting in the bottom rope. He tried to get up but was counted out. The 36-year-old Cuban, the WBA interim champion, makes it 22 wins by KO/TKO. Thompson, 44, was never in the fight and never a threat as he gets his third loss by KO/TKO. Losses to Kubrat Pulev, Carlos Takam and Malik Scott indicates that retirement or just a scalp for younger boxers to collect seems to be his future.
Vargas vs. Ali
Vargas wins the vacant WBO title with impressive stoppage of previously unbeaten Ali. This one started at a fast pace with both fighters trying to establish their jab from the outset. Over the first three rounds, all of which were close, Ali just seemed to have the quicker hands and was more mobile. He was fighting on the back foot gliding in quickly and getting through with jabs and hooks and some crisp straight rights. Vargas was on the front foot and putting more power into his shots but reaching at times. At the start of the fourth Vargas looked to be taking the fight over. He was using his jab to force Ali onto the defensive and scoring with long rights which Ali could not seem to get away from and a body punch certain hurt Ali. However over the last minute of the round Ali turned on the power and he had Vargas against the ropes and under fire as the round ended. The action at the start of the fourth turned out to be an indication of what was to come as over the fifth and sixth Vargas got stronger and stronger and Ali was struggling to stay competitive. Vargas was again making use of a stiff jab to set Ali up for long right crosses and was walking Ali down relentlessly. By the end of the sixth Ali was showing the signs of battle with bruising and lumps on his face. Vargas continued to dominate the action in the seventh and in the eighth a thudding overhand right put Ali down heavily. The referee interrupted the count briefly at seven to order Vargas to a neutral corner. Ali got up and was a badly shaken boxer. Vargas jumped on him in the ninth driving him to the ropes and unloaded with both hands. Ali escaped but he was driven to the ropes again and another right sent him down in a heap. He made it to his feet but one more right had Ali staggering and the fight was stopped. Vargas, 26, was adamant that irrespective of the result of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley fight he next wanted the chance to gain revenge for a points loss to Bradley for the interim WBO last June. Certainly on this performance Vargas has earned a seat at the top table. Ali showcased his talent in the early rounds but in the end he faded under the pressure from the harder punching Vargas. At 27, the Brooklyn “Wonder Kid” has the time and the talent to rebuild and get another title shot in 2017.
Escandon vs. Castellanos
Escandon wins the interim WBC title with kayo of Castellanos. Mexican Castellanos looked on his way to a win as he showed quick hands and a sharp jab to clearly take the first round and then put Colombian Escandon down in the second. He first speared Escandon with the jab then a left hook and landed a straight right. Although knocked down Escandon was only stung and not stunned and when the action resumed although under pressure he was in no real trouble. In the third Castellanos continued to outbox Escandon confusing the Colombian with clever movement and slotting home left jabs and hooks to the body. Escandon was starting to roll in the fourth putting Castellanos under pressure and to make matters worse for the Mexican a clash of heads opened a bad cut over his left eye. The impetus was all with Escandon now. Castellanos survived a doctor’s examination but was being punished heavily and starting to fade. It was one-way traffic in the sixth with Castellanos tiring badly and at the end of the seventh round a right put Castellanos down and he was counted out just after the bell sounded. The 31-year-old Escandon was due a win. He had twice lost on split decisions, to Nehomar Cermeno and Moises Flores, in shots at the interim WBA super Bantam title. He had shown his class in winning his first 22 fights including a stoppage of current secondary WBA feather champion Jesus Cuellar in Argentina, the only fight Cuellar has lost. Now Escandon is line to fight the winner of next month’s WBC title defence by Gary Russell against Patrick Hyland. “Robin Hood” Castellanos, the WBC Silver champion, had beaten Rocky Juarez in January 2015 so was in a world title fight despite being inactive for 14 months. At 33 he will have a hard job getting back into contention.
Roach vs. Lule
Roach moves up to eight rounds with decision over Lule who came in as a very late replacement. Lule is really just a not very good 4-6-8 round prelim fighter who already had six losses by KO/TKO and when a Roach combination put him down in the first it looked like an early night. However, Lule proved tougher than expected and although Roach was in charge for the rest of the fight Lule fought hard enough to win some recognition from the judges. Scores 80-72, 79-72 and 78-73 for Roach. The 20-year-old from Maryland turned pro at 18 after winning the USA Youth Championship and is still studying engineering at college. He looks a good prospect. Lule, 31, had only two days notice and did more than his job by giving Roach his first test over eight rounds. Not bad for a guy who was 2-11-1 in his last 14 fights.
Ballard vs. Mayedo
Ballard gives away a lot of weight but destroys Mayedo in under five minutes. Mayedo came in at 175lbs for a 168lbs fight but it made no difference. Ballard had Mayedo hurt in the first but could not finish the job. He put that right in the second using some fierce body punches to floor Mayedo three times for a stoppage. The 22-year-old from Temple Hills has 8 wins by KO/TKO. He is a former NGG Champion who lost to Jesses Hart at the US Olympic Trials. Cuban Mayedo loses by KO/TKO for the second time.
Grozny, Russia: Heavy: Lucas Browne (24-0) W TKO 10 Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1). Welter: Ali Funeka (38-5-3) W PTS 12 Viskhan Murzabekov (12-1). Heavy: Edmund Gerber (26-2) W TKO 2 Brian Minto (41-11). Light Heavy: Umar Salamov (15-0) W TKO 2 Joey Vegas (17-13-2). Super Middle: Apti Ustarkhanov (12-2-2) W KO 2 Thomas Mashali (17-4-1,1ND).
Browne vs. Chagaev
Browne gets off the floor to stop Chagaev and win the secondary WBA title. Over the first round Chagaev, giving away a lot in height and reach, was plodding forward with Browne boxing on the outside just circling away from Chagaev’s strong southpaw left and prodding out jabs. Browne was throwing more punches in the second and Chagaev got through with two lefts to the body and an overarm left. In the third Browne spent more time in ring centre. He was picking the Russian off with his longer reach and getting through with right hooks. The Australian had his best round so far in the fourth as he was constantly getting through with the jab putting Chagaev on the back foot and sometimes standing right in front of Chagaev and exchanging punches. A glancing left from Chagaev late in the round pointing out this might not be a smart tactic by Browne. In the fifth it looked as though Browne was taking the fight over. He was too mobile for the plodding Russian slotting home jabs and right hooks with Chagaev on the retreat and hardly throwing a punch in the round. On the downside Browne was again occasionally standing within punching distance instead of using his speed to outbox Chagaev. Browne was also getting the better of the sixth until late in the round when Chagaev leaped in with a right to the body and a straight left that dumped Browne on the canvas. He was up at five and after the eight count was trying to punch his way out of trouble but a left from Chagaev sent him staggering into the ropes and Chagaev battered away with head punches and had Brown trapped on the ropes until the bell. I had noted that there were 40 seconds left to the bell when Browne was knocked down and with Browne in trouble and now just ten seconds on the round to go the clock disappeared and the round seemed to go on too long. I rechecked and the round went 18 seconds over the three minutes! Things looked bad for Browne as he was now cut over his left eye and also had blood in the middle of his forehead. Amazingly at the start of the seventh Browne marched forward throwing uppercut after uppercut with his right driving Chagaev across the ring so that Chagaev lost what impetus he had from the knockdown and although he did get home some meaty lefts Browne banged back to take the round clearly. In the eighth and ninth Browne outboxed Chagaev. He was back on his toes staying off the ropes and out of corners spearing Chagaev with his jab and slinging in hooks and sharp right uppercuts. Chagaev tried to force the pace more in the tenth but Browne was banging his jab again. Browne backed to the ropes and as Chagaev walked in Browne nailed with a thunderous right hook which sent the Russian staggering back and down. He was badly shaken but got up at seven. When the action resumed Browne was driving Chagaev along the ropes. He landed a series of lefts and rights to the head and with Chagaev not punching back the fight was stopped. The 36-year-old Australian “Big Daddy” makes it 21 wins by KO/TKO. During the fight Chagaev definitely looked the harder puncher and Browne was at his best when working outside but the punch he put Chagaev down with would have floored any heavyweight. Uzbek Chagaev, 37, was carrying 248 1/2lbs (113kgs) on a 6’1” (185cm) frame and looked fat. He is strong and a hard left hand puncher but his limited technique let him down.
Murzabekov vs. Funeka
Funeka shows the value of experience as climbs off the canvas and takes a split decision over Murzabekov when he won the fight clearly. At 6’1” (185cm-the same as Chagaev!) to 5’5 ½” (166cm) he towered over the Russian “Little Tyson”. Murzabekov knew he had to get inside and do as much scoring as he could when he was there. He started at a suicidal pace rushing forward throwing a shower of punches, most of which missed but had Funeka on the defensive. In the second the frantic Murzabekov was again launching himself forward with his arms pumping and a left hook to the head put Funeka down. The South African was up quickly but when the action resumed he was badly shaken and he only just avoided going down for a second time. The fight and Funeka’s tactics changed in the third. The South African was using his jab to force Murzabekov back and was then closing giving the Russian none of the space he needed to get any impetus into his rushes. Funeka dominated the fight from that point and over the second half of the fight the ridiculous early pace Murzabekov had set early in the fight saw him tire rapidly. Funeka was spearing Murzabekov time and again with his jab and getting home some punishing straight rights. In the eleven it even looked as though Funeka might win inside the distance but he too had little left by then and had to settle for a points win. Scores 116-112 and 115-113 for Funeka and a totally ridiculous 117-111 for Murzabekov. Funeka wins the IBO International title. The 37-year-old Funeka totally belied his “Rush Hour” nickname by steadily grinding Murzabekov down. In an incident filled three title fight sequence in 2009/2010 Funeka lost a majority decision to Nate Campbell for the vacant IBF/WBA.WBO light title which became vacant when Campbell failed to make the weight and was stripped. Funeka then fought a majority draw for the vacant IBF title against Joan Guzman and then lost a split decision to Guzman in a return with Guzman 9lbs over the weight and both fighters giving a positive test result. His career looked over in July last year when he was floored four times and stopped by Tsiko Mulovhedzi, a fighter with a 9-7-3 record, for the IBO welter title but this win puts him in line for some lucrative paydays. Murzabekov, 25, fought like a fighter with only 12 pro fights but they will try to rebuild him.
Gerber vs. Minto
Gerber halts veteran Minto in two rounds. Gerber had height weight, youth and reach on his side so it was no kind of test for him. They both swung without much success in the first round but in the second Gerber was more measured. He has a strong jab but is slow. Minto was again just putting his head down and swinging. Gerber used the jab to set Minto up and then landed a straight right that put Minto down. Minto was up early and tried to punch his way out of trouble but was wild again and another straight right put him down for the second time and the fight was stopped. The 27-year-old German-based Kazak won his first 22 fights against carefully selected opposition but in 2012 lost a majority verdict to British journeymen Michael Sprott, who had lost his previous three fights. Despite this in 2013 Gerber was in against Dereck Chisora for the vacant European title and was stopped in five rounds. He then had just one fight in almost two years and this is his second win since returning, but he does not look any different and will be vulnerable to any heavyweight with quick hands and a decent punch. Minto, 41, lost to Marco Huck for the WBO cruiser title in 2010 but was coming off a three round loss to Brit Dillian Whyte in September.
Salamov vs. Vegas
Salamov gets win over Vegas after the Ugandan is forced to pull out in the second round due to an injury. Salamov wins the vacant IBO Inter-Continental title. The Ukraine-based Russian was 6’3 ½” (192cm) to Vegas 5’9” (175cm) so this was far from an even match. Salamov has 12 wins by KO/TKO and holds the WBO Europe title which entitles him to a rating and he is No 10. Vegas, 34, is 1-7-1 in his last 9 fights but Salamov is his third unbeaten opponent in a row so it is tough on the road.
Ustarkhanov vs. Mashali
Russian Ustarkhanov wins the vacant IBO Inter-Continental title with second round stoppage of tall Tanzanian Marshali. Marshali gave it a try but did not have the power to match Ustarkhanov. The Russian had a 9-0-1 unbeaten streak snapped in his last fight in November when he put up a good display in losing a split decision to former IBF and WBC light heavy title challenger Dmitry Sukhotsky. Third loss inside the distance for Marshali who was 7-1 with a no decision in his last 9 fights with the ND due to a riot breaking out in the arena.
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Welter: Antonio Margarito (39-8,1ND) W PTS 10 Jorge Paez Jr (39-8-2,1ND). Bantam: Emanuel Navarrete (13-1) W TKO 5 Oswaldo Castro (22-7-3). Super Light: Francisco Rojo (16-2) W KO 6 Ramon Hidalgo (6-1). Super bantam: Giovanni Delgado W PTS 10 Cesar Juarez (17-5).
Margarito vs. Paez
Margarito gets unanimous decision over Paez but has to climb off the floor and struggles against a naturally much smaller opponent. Margarito had height and reach over the smaller Paez and used that to control the action in the first. Paez had to get inside to work and he did that in the second as Margarito forgot his jab and they both worked with their head on the other man’s shoulder which set the pattern the rest of the fight. The third again saw them standing and trading and it was a close round that it could have gone either way. Margarito was able to use his superior strength in the fourth and fifth to score with hooks and uppercuts but Paez was also busy with hooks of his own as they battled away in typical Mexican style to the delight of the crowd. In a dramatic sixth Margarito started out using his jab but only pawing with it and Paez was able to get inside and they were trading shots again. An overhand right from Paez suddenly staggered Margarito and as he began to tumble backwards. Paez managed to land a glancing right but missed with two other punches as Margarito went down. He was in deep trouble and almost went over again as he climbed unsteadily to his feet. At the end of the eight count it looked as though Paez was one punch from victory but Margarito used his experience to survive. In the seventh both men showed signs of tiredness. They were still head-to-head but they had no real fire in their punches. In the eighth Margarito was the stronger pushing Paez back and scoring with some sharp uppercuts with Paez showing lumps below both eyes. Margarito was equally exhausted by the ninth but still had the strength to push back Paez but they both found the strength to fight hard in the last although by the end of the round Paez was just trying to stay out of trouble and survive. Scores 97-93, 96-93 and 95-94 all for Margarito. The 37-year-old former IBF/WBA/WBO champion was having his first fight since losing to Miguel Cotto in December 2011 and the inactivity and the years showed in this fight. Margarito is a 5’11” (180cm) tall big welter/super welter. Paez is 5-7” (170cm) tall and weighed 139lbs when losing to Jose Benavidez for the interim WBA super light title in May. Given those stats Margarito made heavy weather of this and was close to a kayo loss in the sixth round. Over 10,000 turned out to watch this fight so Margarito is still a “name” and will be looking to feature in a big fight later this year as glove tampering gets pushed into the background when money talks. Paez, 28, is still a good level fighter. He was outclassed in his last fight by newcomer Carlos Ocampo in November but gave Margarito ten hard rounds and came close to an upset.
Navarrete vs. Castro
“Cowboy” Navarrete gets another inside the distance win. After a couple of even rounds the harder punching neighbourhood fighter Navarrete took over. He applied sustained pressure with Castro unable to do anything to turn the fight his way. Navarrete was landing hard combinations to the head in the fifth when the referee stopped the fight. The 21-year-old Navarrete has 12 wins by KO/TKO including 7 in his last 8 fights. His only loss was in the final of a pro Golden Gloves tournament but since his opponent had not attended the weigh-in Navarrete was declared champion-he lost but he won. Castro, a 28-year-old from Los Mochis, was on a good run with only one loss in his last 19 fights.
Delgado vs. Juarez
Delgado gets upset split decision win over former world title challenger Juarez in a close contest. Juarez made the better start taking the fight to Delgado in the first but Delgado scored with good counters in the second. Juarez was back on top in the third as he kept Delgado on the retreat and scored with long rights. Things swung to Delgado again in the fourth and fifth as he scored with quick combinations on the ever pressing Juarez. The seventh swung the fight again as Juarez was cutting off the ring and forcing Delgado to trade and in the eighth an over-anxious Juarez was deducted a point for a butt. That left Juarez with a hill to climb. He attacked throughout the ninth but Delgado took the tenth and the decision. Scores 96-93 and 96-95 to Delgado and 95-94 to Juarez. The 25-year-old Delgado was out of the ring for 17 months before returning in 2015 when he suffered back-to-back losses to unbeaten fighters Joseph Diaz and Diego De La Hoya. Beating world rated Juarez could jump Delgado over both of those fighters. Juarez, 24, had beaten Cesar Seda and Juan Carlos Sanchez in 2015 before losing on points to Nonito Donaire for the vacant WBO title in December. He was rated No 5 by the WBO going into this fight.
Rojo vs. Hidalgo
Rojo knocks out Hidalgo in six. It was Hidalgo who had the “El Bombadero” nickname but Rojo who had the power. The 25-year-old from Mexico City has won 10 of his last 11 fights and has 10 wins by KO/TKO. Hidalgo was moving up to eight rounds for the first time and he lacked the experience to deal with Rojo.
Birmingham, England: Welter: Bradley Skeete (23-1) W PTS 12 Sam Eggington (17-3). Super Fly: Kal Yafai (18-0) W KO 1 Dixon Flores (12-4-2). Super Bantam: Gamal Yafai (9-0) W KO 7 Bobby Jenkinson (9-2-1). Light: Marcus Ffrench (12-2) W TKO 1 Mike Rooney (9-1). Welter: Ryan Fields (8-2-1) W TKO 5 Karl Wiggins (7-1).
Skeete vs. Eggington
Something of a surprise as Skeete lifts the British and CBC titles with unanimous decision over pre-fight favourite Eggington. The power was with Eggington so if Skeete was going to win he would have to box his way to victory and not get into prolonged exchanges with champion Eggington. That was the game plan and Skeete worked it to perfection. In the first round Skeete was using quick footwork and peppering Eggington with jabs then getting out before Eggington could reply. Eggington had some success in the second scoring with a good right to the body but again Skeete was too busy, too accurate and too quick. The fourth saw Eggington have his best round so far as Skeete was standing and exchanging but in the fifth Skeete got back in the groove and scored with some good combinations and he outscored Eggington in the sixth. In the seventh, as Skeete confessed afterwards, he was enjoying himself and dropped his hands and used upper body movement and fast jabs to take that round. Again in the eighth Skeete pocketed another round with his quick accurate jab and by now the fight was almost already out of Eggington’s reach. That spurred the champion into upping his work rate and he edged the ninth round on the back of some good work with his jab and scored with rights to take the tenth. The last two rounds were close with Eggington fighting desperately to keep his titles and Skeete dredging up energy from somewhere to hold on to his lead. In the end despite Eggington’s strong finish he was unable to close the gap Skeete had created over the first eight rounds. Scores 117-111, 116-113 and 115-113 all for Skeete. The tall 28-year-old from South London had lost to Frankie Gavin for these same two titles in 2014 but had then won the WBO European title and beaten good opposition in Brunet Zamora, Mark Thompson and Stevie Williams. He was rated WBO 8/IBF 11 and will now be hoping for promotion by those two bodies and a place in the WBA and WBC ratings. For Eggington, 22, it is a huge setback after wins over Denton Vassell, Shayne Singleton and Glenn Foot had seen him rated No 15 by the WBC. At 22 he will come again for sure.
Yafai vs., Flores
Yafai blows away former WBC title challenger Flores in 109 seconds. The local fighter went straight onto the attack and landed a couple of head punches before a chopping right had Flores staggering backwards and down with just 29 seconds on the clock. He was up slowly and looked shaken. He tried to fight his way out of trouble actually forcing Yafai back to the ropes and trading punches. As the action moved to ring centre Yafai dug vicious left hook under the ribs of Flores. The Nicaraguan went down rolling over and over in agony and he was still curled in a foetal ball as he was counted out. He needed medical attention and it was over five minutes before he was able to sit on his stool. The 26-year-old British champion from Birmingham wins the vacant WBA International title. A huge talent, Yafai was World Cadet champion, British Amateur champion at 17, and competed at the 2008 Olympics. He now has 12 wins by KO/TKO and is rated IBF 7(9)/WBA 14/WBO 14. Nicaraguan Flores, 21, was given a ridiculous shot at Carlos Cuadras for the WBC title in August and stopped in five rounds. He had rebounded well with an inside the distance win over Jose Perez (16-0) in December. He was rated WBC 11/WBA 15 but outclassed here.
Yafai vs. Jenkinson
Gamal makes it a good night for the Yafai family as he wins the CBC title with stoppage of Jenkinson. Yafai is a quick starter and he established his dominance with an all-out attack in the first round. He kept pressurising Jenkinson but the champion fought back strongly. Yafai was just too quick and accurate and his only problem came from a clash of heads in the fourth that saw Yafai cut over his left eye. It was a serious cut but his corner kept it under control and Yafai continued his forward march. At the end of the sixth the Birmingham fighter landed a hard right which put Jenkinson down heavily. The bell saved Jenkinson but Yafai was all over him in the seventh and with Jenkinson trapped on the ropes and shipping punishment he slid to the floor and his corner threw in the towel. The 24-year-old younger brother of Khalid explained away a lacklustre display in outpointing Nasibu Ramadhani in October to a hand injury and he showcased his real potential here. As with brother Kal he was an outstanding amateur winning a silver at the World Cadet Championships, a gold at the European Union Championships, was British amateur champion, won a bronze medal at the European Championships and competed at the 2013 World Championships. Jenkinson, 24, was making the first defence of the title he won with an upset stoppage of Lewis Pettitt in September and although he fought hard here Yafai was just too classy for him.
Ffrench vs. Rooney
Ffrench wins the vacant Midland Area title with quick stoppage of pal Rooney. The fight had not even had time to warm-up when a right to the head from Ffrench put Rooney down. He made it to his feet but was unsteady and the fight was stopped. Ffrench is not a known puncher and this is only his third win by KO/TKO but an impressive one against unbeaten Rooney. Having been caught cold in this one the 27-year-old Rooney will be back.
Fields wins the Midland Area title with stoppage of champion Wiggins. It was a close fight over the first three rounds with Fields making the better start but Wiggins getting into his stride to even things up. In the fourth a right from Fields put Wiggins down and he only just got through the round. Fields closed the show in the fifth putting Wiggins down with a left and the fight was stopped. After losing to Swedish starlet Anthony Yigit on points in 2014 the 23-year-old Fields is 6-0-1 in his last 7 fights. Local fighter Wiggins, 36, was making the first defence of his Midland Area title which he had won with an impressive victory over Rob Hunt (22-3-2) in October.
Bethlehem, PA, USA: Super Welter: Julian Williams (22-0-1,1ND) W TKO 7 Marcello Matano (16-2). Middle: Tony Harrison (23-1) W TKO 6 Fernando Guerrero (28-4). Middle: Avtandil Khurtsidze (32-2-2) W TKO 10 Antoine Douglas (19-1-1). Middle: Ievgen Khytrov (13-0) W PTS 10 Ken McNeil (9-2). Heavy: Joey Dawejko (16-4-3) DREW 8 Ytalo Perea (6-2-2).
Williams vs. Matano
Williams crushes Italian Matano. The Philadelphia fighter had height and reach on his side but did not really need them to overcome the modest Italian. It took Williams a couple of rounds to figure out Matano’s awkward style and after a brief flourish from Matano in the second round it was a gradual process of closing down, breaking down and demolishing Matano. Williams relied mainly on his stiff jabs to start the process and then began to add a series of hooks to the body to slow the Italian. Matano stood up well to the pressure and punishment for a while but was shaken by a left hook in the sixth and further weakened by a sustained body attack through the rest of the round. In the seventh a left hook had Matano all at sea. His legs were all over the place as Williams drove him to the ropes and landed a series of head punches. Matano staggered off the ropes tottering across the ring only to again land up on the ropes Williams landed some heavy hooks and the Italian was taking more heavy head punches and staggering and about to go down when the referee jumped in to save him. “J Rock” Williams, 25, immediately called out IBF champion Jermall Charlo. Although he was rated No 5 (4) by the IBF he could not fill the vacant No 1 spot because he had not beaten a rated fight but with Matano being rated No 6(5) that hurdle is overcome, but to put it into perspective Matano could not even get into the EBU top 15 so in terms of true level of opposition this win was no big deal. Having said that Williams has wins over Joachim Alcine, Freddy Hernandez, Joey Hernandez and Luciano Cuello so is a legitimate contender. ”Il Capitano” Matano, 29, a former Italian champion, had scored wins over reasonable European opposition in Jussi Koivula, Mathias Zemski and Nick Klappert although none of those were in the EBU ratings and he was in over his head against Williams.
Harrison vs. Guerrero
Harrison gets second win as he rebuilds after knockout loss against Willie Nelson. The Detroit fighter had a big edge in reach over southpaw Guerrero and used it both as a points scorer and to set up his powerful rights. Harrison had already scored with some fierce shots in the first and floored Guerrero with a right at the end of the second. Guerrero was badly shaken but got up and the bell went before Harrison could do any more damage. Dominican Guerrero showed some of the form that brought him 25 wins in his first 26 fights over the third and fourth and in the fifth landed a hard right that had Harrison rocked. Harrison was back on top in the sixth and a brutal left put Guerrero down. Guerrero made it to his feet but another series of punches put him down again and the fight was stopped. The tall 25-year-old Harrison now has 19 wins by KO/TKO but how far he can go will depend on how well he took on board the lessons from the loss to Nelson in July. Guerrero, 29, had climbed all the way to No 1 before veteran Grady Brewer burst his bubble with a stoppage in 2011. Guerrero then won four fights against modest opposition before fighting Peter Quillin for the WBO title in 2013 being floored four times and stopped in seven rounds. A third round kayo loss to David Lemieux in 2014 was followed by a good points win over Abraham Han (23-2) in April last year but this loss has derailed any hope of getting back in the ratings.
Douglas vs. Khurtsidze
From the start Khurtsidze was just walking through any punches Douglas threw and taking Douglas to the ropes. Being so much shorter he presenting a very small target and just kept pumping home hooks and uppercuts sticking to Douglas’s chest for the whole three minutes and two left hooks to the chin at the end of the round had Douglas troubled. In the second Douglas was doing better counter as Khurtsidze walked in and just edged the round but the Khurtsidze just kept getting inside and working the body. A clash of heads saw Douglas cut over his left eye as he had to deal with punches, head and elbow of Khurtsidze. Within seconds of the bell for start of the third a left hook to the chin unhinged the legs of Douglas and a series of punches saw him slide down and he ended up hanging half out of the ring suspended over the top and second ropes. Khurtsidze pressed trying to finish it and landed some hard hooks but Douglas punched back throwing bundles of punches but he was not hurting Khurtsidze and was getting into a brawl he could not win. In the fourth and fifth Douglas finally showed some semblance of a game plan as he used a stiff jab and combinations to score. He walked forward and stayed off the ropes for much of the two rounds and as he crashed hooks off Khurtsidze’s chin it actually looked as though Khurtsidze was in trouble but by the end of each round he was firing back. Khurtsidze took the sixth with relentless pressure. The bell had only just been rung for the seventh round when a left hook crashed into the chin of Douglas and he went down. He was up at three and the referee had a hard look at him before allowing the fight to continue. Khurtsidze slammed in punch after punch trying to finish it and then amazingly it was Douglas landing a whole sequence of head shots that had Khurtsidze hurt and looking unsteady. Just for a moment it seemed that Douglas might actually stop Khurtsidze but then the Georgian regrouped and had Douglas on the ropes and under fire at the end of a remarkable round. Douglas had little left in the eighth and ninth. He was allowing himself to be walked along the ropes and into corners with the relentless Khurtsidze belabouring him with hooks and uppercuts. Douglas was finished. He came out for the tenth but a sustained battering from Khurtsidze saw the referee stop the fight. The Brooklyn-based 36-year-old Georgian has tactics but no skill. He skipped school the day they were teaching jabbing. He just walks through everything thrown at him and has amazing stamina. He was averaging almost 100 punches per round for round after round and nearly all of them were power shots. He is just 5’4” (163cm) tall and fights in a semi-crouch so landing body punches on him is almost impossible and his work rate just grinds the opposition down. His only loss was a very close decision to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam for the interim WBA title in 2010 but he was inactive between December 2011 and July 2014. He was rated WBC 9/IBF 12(11) but won the WBO International title here so will get a rating from them also. Douglas had no game plan to counter what Khurtsidze brought. He had the skill but not the power and in trying to match Khurtsidze he punched himself to exhaustion. This was a crushing loss so it will be interesting to see how the 23-year-old recovers and rebounds from this.
Khytrov vs. McNeil
Khytrov wins but gets harder than anticipated time from McNeil. Khytrov was a big favourite in this one but he had trouble subduing McNeil from the start. Although edging the first two rounds Khytrov ran into trouble in the fourth when a clash of heads opened a bad cut over his left eye. The cut continued to leak blood throughout the rest of the fight. Khytrov built a good lead by outboxing and out brawling McNeil and survived two knockdowns in the last round, both from deliberate low punches, so no counts, but no deduction either, and he shook McNeil with a left hook and bundled a tiring McNeil over which did get counted. After the eight count McNeil held and wrestled his way to the bell. Scores 97-92 twice and 99-90 all for Khytrov. The 27-year-old Ukrainian retains his NABF title. A former European gold medallist he has wins over Jorge Melendez and Nick Brinson and is No 14 with the WBC. McNeill, 25, had won his last six fights.
Dawejko vs. Perea
Two former successful amateurs both continue their stuttering careers as pros. Dawejko took the opening rounds shaking Perea just after the bell for the first with a right in the but was unable to put the young Ecuadorian away and as he tired Perea got into the fight and just did enough to claw back Dawejko’s early lead. At 5’10” (178cm) Dawejko often finds himself giving away height and reach but with Perea at 6’0” (183cm) he was picking on someone almost his own size. The 25-year-old from Philadelphia was World Youth champion before turning pro. He had an uneven start but had 8 won 8 of his last 9 fights with six first round wins in the last 7 fights. His loss was a creditable one to Amir Mansour in May last year. Perea, 22, was one of Ecuador’s most successful amateurs winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, a gold medal at both the Pan American Youth Championships and the Pan American Championships but he has not sparked as a pro and is 2-2-2 in his last 6 fights.
Pilsen, Czech Republic, Light Heavy: Robert Stieglitz (49-5-1) W TKO 5 Ricardo Ramallo (20-9-1,1ND). Heavy: Tom Schwarz (16-0) W KO 1 Gogita Gorgiladze (28-11). Super Welter: Stepan Horvath (16-5) W PTS 10 Davide Doria (13-2-1). Light Heavy: Adam Deines (7-0) W KO 2 Zsolt Dudas (14-2).
Stieglitz vs. Ramallo
Stieglitz gets his second win at light heavy. In his first fight for ten months the former WBO super-middle champion had difficulty getting his range. He began to find the target in the second with Argentinian Ramallo spend too much time ducking and diving and not throwing many punches of his own. In the fifth a body punch put Ramallo down and after the mandatory count a barrage of punches from Stieglitz saw the towel coming in from Ramallo’s corner. The 34-year-old Russian moved up to light heavy after his third loss to Arthur Abraham in July. Ramallo, 32, got a late call to come in for this one. He does not travel well and in June was halted in a round by Renold Quinlan in Australia.
Schwarz vs. Gorgiladze
Easy win for Schwarz as he knocks out Georgian. Schwarz had huge edges in height and reach and 20lbs in weight. He was able to stick out a stiff jab to set up straight rights. Gorgiladze was able to duck under the rights but his own attacks consisted of head down wild swings. An overhand right made the Georgian’s legs wobble. He tried to get inside and clinch but Schwarz scored with three rights and Gorgiladze went down. He got up reluctantly at 9 but more rights put him down again and he was counted out with the ten coming at the same time as the bell. The big, 6’5 ½” (197cm) 21-year-old German retains his WBC Youth title and makes it 11 wins by KO/TKO. He is strong but very slow. Gorgiladze, 22, was just too small to have any chance in this poor title fight and gets his fifth loss by KO/TKO.
Horvath vs. Doria
Horvath wins the vacant WBO European title with wide points decision over Doria. Horvath dominated the fight from start to finish against a very limited Doria and only the Czech’s lack of power and Doria’s tough chin allowed the fight to go the distance. Scores 100-90 twice and 100-88. Horvath, 33, has lost inside the distance to Frank Buglioni, Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Williams and in typical WBO stupidity he could get a world rating for beating Doria. The loser is Italian-born but based in Germany. He is both a teacher of children and a body builder but not much of a fighter.
Deines vs. Dudas
German southpaw Deines scores brutal kayo of Hungarian fellow-southpaw Dudas. The German champion took the first round and then ended it in the second. Deines hurt Dudas on the inside with a left and the Hungarian took three steps bad and then went down on one knee. He arose immediately. It was obviously a knockdown but the referee just wiped the Hungarian’s gloves and signalled for the fight to continue. Deines missed with a left but landed a thudding right hook that snapped back the Hungarian’s head and put Dudas down on his back. It was a heavy knockdown and although Dudas climbed to his feet he was unsteady on his legs and the fight should have been stopped. Instead it continued and Deines landed a left that put Dudas face down on the canvas. It was a bad scene and Dudas needed a lot of attention before being carried from the ring on a stretcher but I believe he was okay later. Deines was not a noted puncher as this is only his third win by KO/TKO. Dudas had won his last 7 fights but poor refereeing put him in danger here.
Arras, France: Fly: Thomas Masson (15-3-1) W PTS 12 Angel Moreno (10-2-2). Fly: Vincent Legrand (21-0) W PTS 6 Elvis Guillen (9-19-4,1ND).
Masson vs. Moreno
Masson retains the EBU title in an entertaining fight with the unorthodox Spaniard Moreno. It would have been easy for Masson to be thrown totally out of his game plan by the strange style of Moreno but he stuck to his task and deserved the decision although two of the scores were harsh on the competitive Moreno. The challenger had a hands-down style with plenty of movement and frantic attacks coming from all angles. Masson tried to stem these attacks with the conventional jab and straight right but Moreno was totally unpredictable and when he pressed he pressed hard. Having said that Masson was more accurate and poised with his work when countering and did his share of in-fighting. Moreno was best when he could take Masson to the ropes and fire punch after punch but Masson was catching a lot of those shots on his arms and Moreno tended to be wide open to counters when attacking like this. The Spaniard was hampered by a cut over his left eye but even with the cut streaming blood he occasionally dropped both hands and invited Masson to do his worst. The pace was hectic. The eleventh was three minutes of action as Moreno just walked forward and never stopped throwing punches. However a lot of them were missing or being blocked and when Masson opened up he was landing cleanly with hooks and uppercuts to head and body. A tremendous last round saw Moreno marching forward pumping out punches and Masson under pressure most of the three minutes. At one stage the Frenchman hit Moreno with five or six straight shots to the head with Moreno just standing with his hands down and then slapping his gloves together and heading back into the fray. A great little contest and it was helped by a referee who let them get on with the fight with a minimum of interruption. Scores 117-111 twice and 115-113 all for Masson although 115-113 looked the best reflection of the closeness of the fight. Masson, 25, was making the first defence of his EBU title and now has a mandatory defence against Valery Yanchy. He has turned his career around with 7 wins in a row and is rated WBC7/IBF 14. It was strange to see that Masson never sat down in his corner between rounds. Moreno, 32, managed by Sergio Martinez, is a former undefeated EU champion and you can be sure there will be plenty of entertainment when the little Spaniard fights.
Legrand vs. Guillen
Just a keep busy fight for the tall French southpaw as he wins every round against Guillen. The 24-year-old 5’8” ½” (174cm) tall Frenchman is rated No 1 by the EBU which makes an interesting position as Masson is trained and managed by Legrand’s father. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Guillen has now lost his last seven fights.
Corbell-Essones, France: Super Welter: Islam Teffahi (19-5-2,1ND) W PTS 12 Karim Merroudj (15-6-2), Cruiser: Arsen Goulamirian (15-0) W TKO 1 Lubos Suda (34-11-1).
Teffahi vs. Merroudj
Teffahi retains the WBC Francophone title with majority decision over Frenchman Merroudj. The Belgium-based Tunisian wins on scores of 117-111 and 116-112 with the third judge having it a draw at 114-114. The 33-year-old Teffahi also holds the WBC International Silver title and is 9-0-1 in his last 10 fights. “Lion Heart” Merroudj, 30, has lost on points to Jack Culcay for the EBU title and Frank Haroche Horta for the French title and was a good test for Teffahi.
Goulamirian vs. Suda
Goulamirian gets a quick win and collects the vacant WBA International title with early stoppage of Czech veteran Suda. The 28-year-old Armenian-born Goulamirian has won 5 of his last 6 fights by KO/TKO but the standard of his opposition is reflected in his absence from the EBU ratings as he languishes down at EU 26. Suda, 39, now has 8 losses by KO/TKO.
Tokyo, Japan: Fly: Daigo Higa (9-0) W TKO 2 Romel Oliveros (6-2-1).
Japanese puncher Higa marches on as he retains his WBC Youth title with stoppage of over-matched Filipino Oliveros. Higa softened up Oliveros in the first by digging in body punches and it was obvious this was going to be over early. In the second body punches put Oliveros down four times and the fight was stopped. The 20-year-old from Okinawa has won of his nine fights by KO/TKO and this was the second defence of his Youth title. He won the title by blasting out the then unbeaten Thai prospect Kongfah in Bangkok in July. Oliveros, 20, is the GAB No 10 light fly and was a lamb to the slaughter here.
Ecatepec, Mexico: Super Feather: Eduardo Hernandez (17-0-3 10 id row) W RTD 3 Julio David Roque Ler (32-14). “Rocky” Hernandez gets another inside the distance win by forcing experienced Argentinian Ler out of the fight after three rounds. The promising teenager handed out a sustained beating to Ler over the first three rounds and Ler retired at the end of the third citing an arm injury. Hernandez is still only 18-he turned pro a month after his 15th birthday-and this win gives him ten in a row by KO/TKO. Ler, 35, is now based in Mexico. He lost to Jorge Arce in a WBA eliminator in 2007. That was at super-fly. He weighed 129lbs for this one and is 2-8 in his last 10 fights.
London, England: Light: Floyd Moore (13-6-1) W PTS 10 Ben Day (8-1-1).
“Pacman” Moore gets close decision over London-born Day to retain the BBB of C Southern Area title. In the first Day was using his edge in reach to score on the outside but Moore landed a hard right late in the round. Moore scored again with rights in the second but Day came back to outbox Moore in the third and fourth to even things up. Having given away those two rounds Moore banged back in the fifth out-jabbing Day. The sixth, the best round so far, saw Moore getting through with his rights at the start of the round and Day banging back to make it close. Day clearly took the seventh and was on top in the eighth. They both fired off a storm of punches over the last two rounds to try to swing the fight their way and although Moore was cut over the left eye he had just done enough to merit the decision. Referee’s score 97-95 for Moore showed just how close this was. The 25-year-old Moore is in his second reign as champion and has turned a three-bout losing streak into three wins on the bounce. Day, 37, already the Southern Area super light champion, had won his last two fights inside a round and came close to a win here.
Liverpool, England: Robbie Davies (12-0) W KO 6 Jarkko Putkonen (12-2). Super Light: Sam Matkin (7-1-2) W PTS 10 Adam Little (15-1).
Davies vs. Putkonen
Liverpool hope Davies is gradually appearing on the radar and deservedly getting noticed. Davies can fight southpaw orthodox and he did both equally well here as he outboxed Finn Putkonen. The visitor was given a preview of his night when shaken by some hard combinations in the first round. A body shot from Davies in the third had Putkonen hurt and another one in the sixth put him down and out. The 26-year-old from Merseyside wins the vacant WBA Continental title. Equally as pleasing for Davies is that he took Putkonen out in six rounds whereas the Finn lasted the full ten against world rated Jack Catterall in October. Davies has 7 wins in a row by KO/TKO including four first round finishes. His father Robbie Senior represented Britain at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. First loss by KO/TKO for 31-year-old Putkonen.
Matkin vs. Little
Matkin wins the vacant BBB of C central Area title with paper-thin decision over favoured Little. It was a very close fight and a controversial decision with many making Little the winner. Matkin looked the worse for wear at the end but got the decision and the title. Referee’s score 96-95 for Matkin who was having his first fight since losing to Nat Brough for this same title in December 2014. English welterweight champion Little, 25, came down in weight for this one and deserves a return.
Paisley, Scotland: Welter: Mike Towell (10-0-1) W TKO 2 Robert Dixon (13-2)
Towell climbs back from a first round knockdown to win with stoppage of Dixon. In the first round Towell came out firing but was nailed by a right and put down with the punch also opening a cut over Towell’s right eye. Towell again started quickly in the second and although Dixon tried to box his way out of trouble he was overwhelmed by a barrage of punches from Towell and he was under fire and not able to defend himself when the referee stopped the fight. The 24-year-old from Dundee has 7 win by KO/TKO including 5 in his last 6 fights. Dixon’s only other loss was a very close points decision to Lee Mould for the BBBofC Northern Area title in November 2014 after which he was inactive for 11 months.
Houghton-le-Spring, England: Super Bantam: Thomas Patrick Ward (17-0) W PTS 10 Robbie Turley (16-6). Welter: Glenn Foot (17-1) W PTS 4 Lukasz Janik (15-18-1). Fly: Thomas Essomba (7-1) W PTS 6 Sergey Tasimov (10-55-4).
Ward vs. Turley
Ward gets a win that puts him closer to a British title shot. The local fighter took the early rounds. Turley was bringing the fight to Ward but Ward was counter punching with speed and accuracy. Turley took the counters and kept coming but the Welshman’s hopes were dented in the seventh when he lost a point for holding. He finished strongly to take the last two rounds but that was not enough to off-set the sharper punching and accuracy of Ward over the early rounds. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Ward. The 21-year-old Ward is the younger brother of former CBC champion and IBF title challenger Martin. Tommy will be looking to get revenge for the family by beating James Dickens who outpointed Martin for the British title in November. Turley, 29, a former Welsh champion had won 6 of his last 7 fights and his aggressive approach helped make this a close, exciting contest.
Foot vs. Janik
Sunderland boxer Foot just keeps busy with a routine four rounds against late selection Janik. The local fighter had Janik down in the first but the Pole is an experienced survivor and found ways to stay there to the final bell. Referee’s score 40-35. Foot, 28, gets his second win since losing a technical decision to Sam Eggington for the British and CBC titles in July and will be hoping to get a shot at new champion Bradley Skeete. Janik has lost 8 of his last 9 fights but usually goes the distance.
Essomba vs. Tasimov
CBC champion Essomba warms up for a May title defence with points win over a very limited but very elusive Estonian. Referee’s score 60-54 for Essomba who won every round. The locally-based 28-year-old Cameroon fighter reportedly lost his first pro fight in 2009 to French hope Yoan Boyeaux but that may not have been a full pro fight or he was re-instated as an amateur as he competed at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. Tasimov, 41, came in as a late choice. He is 0-27-2 in his last 29 fights but only three of those losses came by KO/TKO.
Huntington, NY, USA: Super Feather: Luis Franco (14-1-1) W PTS 8 Ty Luckey (8-6-2). Super Light: Cletus Seldin (18-0,1ND) W KO 1 Orlando Vazquez (18-8-1).
Franco vs. Luckey
Cuban Franco gets some much needed ring time as he outscores competitive Luckey. Franco did enough to win every round but Luckey punched with him all the way and made Franco work hard for his win. Scores 80-72 twice and 78-74. The 34-year-old 2004 Olympian lost a split decision to Mauricio Munoz in an IBF eliminator in 2012 and drew with Javier Fortuna in August 2013. He was then out of the ring for 16 months returning in February last year and this is his third win since then. In his last fight in November Luckey wasn’t. He was halted inside a round by Puerto Rican banger Alberto Machado so did better than expected here.
Seldin vs. Vazquez
Seldin blows away Vazquez in his first fight for nine months. Seldin showed no ring rust as he floored Vazquez twice, the first with a left hook and the second with a right to the body and Vazquez was counted out. The 29-year-old “Hebrew Hammer”, who has also compete in MMA and body building, has 15 wins by KO/TKO. He did not turn pro until he was 24 and was out of the ring for the latter part of 2015 due to injury. Puerto Rican Vazquez, 33, has been given some tough assignments facing Frankie Gomez, Saul Rodriguez, Jose Zepeda and Stephen Ormond.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Light: German Benitez (15-0,1ND) W KO 9 Horacio Cabral (14-1,1ND). Benitez wins the interim WBO Latino title with kayo of champion Cabral. Benitez made a good start flooring Cabral in the first with a right to the head. Cabral made it to his feet and to the bell. The second was an even round with both scoring with rights but Benitez had the better of the third shaking Cabral with a left. The champion then outboxed Benitez over the fourth and fifth only for Benitez to bang back with a good uppercut and some rights in the sixth. Both landed heavily in the seventh with a right from Cabral knocking out Benitez’s gumshield and Cabral also took the eighth to even up the scores. In the ninth after some furious exchanges Benitez had Cabral on the ropes and threw some hard combinations ending with a right that sent Cabral tumbling sideways to the floor and he was counted out. Benitez, the FAB No 9 at super light, makes it four wins in a row by KO/TKO. Cabral, 26, the FAB No 4 super feather was coming off a good win over unbeaten Sebastian Aguirre but now has some rebuilding to do.
Hobart, Australia: Feather: Luke Jackson (11-0) W PTS 10 John Mark Apolinario (19-7-3). In front of his own crowd Jackson overcomes injury to get wide verdict over competitive Filipino to win the vacant WBA Oceania title. Most of the rounds were close but with Jackson just outscoring Apolinario so the fight was closer than the scores suggest but Jackson a good winner. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91. The former Olympian had a shoulder injury and was advised to cancel the fight but did not want to pull out and disappoint his local following. He suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which also hampered his preparations. As an amateur Jackson, 31, was Australian champion, won a gold medal at the Arafura Games and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games as well as competing at the World Championships and the Olympics. “Iceman” Apolinario, 26, twice drew with Roberto Vasquez for the interim WBA bantam title and lost on points to Koki Kameda for the secondary WBA title.
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