Fight of the week: Robbie Barrett vs. Scott Cardle. A close, hard fought action packed scrap

Fighter of the week: Julius Indongo totally dominant against Ricky Burns

Punch of the week: Left hook to the body from Kevin Lejarraga which cut poor Kris Santa in half

Upset of the week: Julius Indongo was always considered to have good chance of winning over Ricky Burns so I go for Barrett’s win over Cardle

One to watch: Canadian Custio Clayton as he goes to 11-0 9 by KO/TKO


April 13

Tokyo, Japan: Super Feather: Masayuki Ito (21-1-1) W TKO 9 Lorenzo Villanueva (32-3). Welter: Keita Obara (17-2-1) W PTS 8 Larry Siwu (24-8).

Ito vs. Villanueva

Ito halts Filipino southpaw Villanueva and retains the WBO Asia Pacific title. Ito had Villanueva hurt in the first round and put him down with a right in the second but the fight was far from over. Villanueva got up and took some punishment to head and body in the following rounds but fought back hard and his punches caused a swelling around the right eye of Ito. Ito was getting through with hard punches in the sixth and seventh and put Villanueva down with a right in the ninth. Villanueva was finished and the referee stopped the fight. Ito’s makes it ten wins by KO/TKO. His only loss is a majority decision against unbeaten Rikki Naito. He has won his last four fights and is rated WBO 4/IBF 10/WBC 15. Villanueva, 31, won his first 23 fights before losing on a second round knockout against Daud Yordan for the IBO feather title in 2012. He had won 10 of his 11 fights since then but has not impressed.

Obara vs. Siwu

Obara gets the win but has to fight hard against Indonesian Siwu.  Both are tall boxers for the weight. Obara made better use of his jab and scored with hooks to the body but Siwu although throwing less was getting through with rights. Obara stepped up the pace but Siwu proved stubborn and fought back well. Obara continued to attack the body but punches from Siwu had Obara showing swellings around both eyes. The local fighter won but it was tougher than expected. Scores 79-74, 78-74 and 77-75 all for Obara. The Japanese puncher gets win No 15 by KO/TKO. With his other win being a technical decision this is the first time Obara has won a fight that went the distance and with his two losses coming by KO/TKO only 2 of his 20 fights have gone the distance. This is Obara’s first fight since being halted in two rounds by Eduard Troyanovsky for the IBF and IBO titles in September. Siwu, a former Indonesian champion had won his last two fights.

April 14

Ontario, CA, USA: Welter: Jessie Roman (21-3) W TKO 5 Luis Joel Gonzalez (11-5-1). Super Light: Manuel Mendez (15-1-2) W RTD 4 Luis Arceo (28-16-5).

Roman vs. Gonzalez

Roman gets his career back on track with stoppage of Gonzalez. After a cautious opening Roman got the better of some trading late in the first scoring with a long left jab and some sharp counters against southpaw Gonzalez who landed some straight lefts. Roman scored well early in the second and then started working the body. Seconds before the bell he landed a right which staggered Gonzalez badly and he almost went down They fought chest to chest through the third with Roman banging hooks to the body and scoring with flashing uppercuts until he put Gonzalez down with a straight right. Gonzalez was up immediately. When the action resumed Roman sent Gonzalez down on his knees with a series of hooks to the body and the bell went just as Gonzalez made it back to his feet. In the fifth another left hook to the body sent Gonzalez to his knees and the referee waived the fight off without a count. First fight in nine months for 25-year-old Roman who, after winning his first 16 fights, went 4-3 in his next 7 losing last time out to unbeaten Eddie Ramirez in July last year. Now four losses in a row for Gonzalez.

Mendez vs. Arceo

Mendez gets win over seasoned Mexican Arceo. Mendez was tracking Arceo around the ring for the first two rounds getting close and scoring with lefts to the body. Arceo kept moving and was throwing more and landing more than Mendez but could not keep Mendez out. In the third Mendez began to land heavy right to the head and one of those opened a cut over the left eye of Arceo. He survived a doctor’s examination but things looked bleak for the veteran. Arceo threw everything at Mendez in the fourth but lacked the power or the strength to keep Mendez out. Arceo was soaking up hand shots to head and body and with blood trickling from the cut over his left eye at the end of the round his corner pulled him out of the fight. After losing his first pro fight the 26-year-old Mendez is now 15-0-2 in his last 17 and has 11 wins by KO/TKO. No niceties for Mendez just sheer unrelenting pressure. “El Vampiro” Arceo is showing all of his 38-years. At one time his record stood at 20-1-1and now it is 8-15-4 in his last 27 fights and 0-5-1 in his last 6 fights.

Los Angeles, USA: Super Feather: Charles Huerta (19-5) W TKO 3 Ivan Delgado (11-2).  Huerta hits too hard for Delgado. Huerta was in charge early using a stiff jab and chopping rights to keep Delgado on the back foot. Both were letting heavy punches fly early but Huerta was the more accurate. They went right at it at the start of the second with Delgado firing left hooks but he was set back on heels by a right counter from Huerta which put Delgado on the back foot again. Huerta had the best of the rest of the action doubling up on his jab, still landing chopping rights and adding left hooks to the body. Just seconds after the bell to start the third Huerta put Delgado down with the first punch he threw-a chopping right of course. Delgado was up at five but after the eight count Huerta exploded all over him banging home punches with both hands and as Delgado sagged towards the floor the referee stopped the fight. After going 2-3 in a run of five fights Huerta was then inactive for three years before returning in December last year and losing on a split decision to Carlos Morales. He looked sharp here with win No 12 by KO/TKO. Delgado fought hard here but could not match the power of Huerta.

Oxon Hill, MD, USA: Light Heavy: Dmitry Bivol (10-0) W TKO 4 Samuel Clarkson (19-4). Sergey Kuzmin (10-0) W RTD 3 Keenan Hickman (5-2-1). Heavy: Hasim Rahman Jr (1-0) W TKO 1 Ralph Alexander (0-1).Welter: Malik Hawkins (11-0) W RTD 2 Carlos Soto (13-1-2). Heavy: Joey Dawejko (17-4-4) DREW 8 Rodney Hernandez (10-5-2).

Bivol vs. Clarkson

Bivol makes the second defence of his interim WBA title as he blows away Clarkson with three knockdowns and can now look forward to some higher profile fights.

Round 1

It was almost all over in the first as Bivol landed a right to the head and another to the body. He backed Clarkson to the ropes and put him down with a left/right combination to the head. Clarkson was up quickly but there was still more than two minutes to go in the round. Bivol worked Clarkson to the ropes again and dropped him for the second time with a straight right. Again Clarkson was up quickly but under pressure. He went down again but the referee ruled Bivol had pushed Clarkson over and Clarkson made it to the bell.

Score 10-7 Bivol

Round 2

Bivol pressed hard in the second and again landed some heavy punches but Clarkson made use of his southpaw jab to hold Bivol off for some of the time but it was another round for Bivol who staged a strong finish

Score 10-9 Bivol                                                                                           20-16

Round 3

Once again Bivol was in control forcing Clarkson back around the ring and landing heavy punches. Clarkson tried to fight back but did not have the power to halt Bivol’s forward march.

Score 10-9 Bivol                                                                                           30-25

Round 4

After an exchange of jabs Bivol began to score with straight rights. Clarkson then had a good spell using his southpaw jab but when he tried to move inside a counter from Bivol put him down. This time he was badly hurt and struggled to get up. He was in no condition to continue and the referee stopped the fight.

The 26-year-old Kyrgyzstan-born Russian comes from very mixed parentage with a Moldovan father and a Korean mother. He has 8 wins by KO/TKO and has useful wins over Cedric Agnew, Felix Valera and Robert Berridge but this was an easy defence with Clarkson not rated in the WBA top 15. He is a two-time World Cadet champion, European Youth champion and was Russian champion in 2012 and 2014 so good credentials but he needs better opposition and he will find the in Nat Cleverly the holder of the secondary WBA title. Texan Clarkson, also 26, was floored twice and lost every round against Jesse Hart in 2014but had won nine on the bounce including victories over Agnew and Jerry Odom but was outclassed here.

Kuzmin vs. Hickman

Former Russian star amateur Kuzmin was hoping for a high profile match and a convincing win but got neither. Instead he faced late substitute Hickman and his victory came when Hickman suffered an injury to his left arm in the third round. Kuzmin scored a knockdown later in the round and Hickman retired at the end of the round. The 29-year-old Russian has good amateur credentials with a gold medal at the World Championships and gold and silver medals at the European championships as well as twice being Russian champion. He has won a couple of fights in California and has now won 6 of his last 7 fights by KO/TKO but needs to move up soon. Hickman’s last 6 opponents have all been unbeaten fighters.

Rahman vs. Alexander

The son of former world heavyweight champion of the same name had his first pro fight but if you blinked you may have missed it as it took Rahman only 40 seconds to halt Alexander. The 25-year-old “Gold Blooded” Rahman from Baltimore just came up short in all of the major USA championships but it will be interesting to see how he fares as a pro. First pro fight for Alexander also.

Hawkins vs Soto

Hawkins gets early win with Soto pulled out of the fight due to injury. Hawkins jumped on Soto from the start. He had Soto on the retreat and landed a right that immediately saw a swelling around Soto’s left eye. The referee called the doctor to assess the damage. The fight was allowed to continue but just before the end of the round Soto went down on one knee after exchanging punches with Hawkins. During the third Soto’s eye closed completely leaving him open to rights from Hawkins and although he made it to the bell he retired. The 21-year-old “Iceman” Hawkins, from nearby Baltimore, makes it 8 wins by KO/TKO. Mexican Soto came in as a late replacement and was having his second fight after being inactive from May 2014 until February this year.

Dawejko vs. Hernandez

Not much skill but a fair bit of entertainment as Dawejko stutters again in his pro career. It was you hit me and I hit you. Hernandez was hampered by a heavy nose bleed for much of the fight which ended in a split draw. Scores 77-75 for Dawejko, 78-74 for Hernandez and 75-75. After winning a gold medal at the World Junior championship it was hoped that Dawejko would make an impact as a pro. But at 5’10” (178cm) he is not tall enough and at 235lbs (106kgs) he is not quick enough. He had lost only one of his last 11 fights going in and the loss was a good effort against Amir Mansour but he has to be able to beat fighters such as Hernandez to go anywhere. Hernandez has lost to Mike Hunter, Sergey Kuzmin and Zhilei Zhang and has yet to lose inside the distance.

April 15

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Welter: Adrian Veron (20-1) W PTS 10 Marcelo Bzowski (8-4-2).


Veron retains his WBO Latino title with decision over fellow southpaw Bzowski. The fight was mainly one-sided as Veron took control from the centre of the ring in the first and Bzowski was never able to threaten his domination. Veron was scoring with straight lefts and hooks to the body and although Bzowski had a good second round Veron forced the fight and had Bzowski badly shaken in the fifth. Bzowski kept on the move and Veron just didn’t seem to have to power to go that step further towards a stoppage. Bzowski was competitive in the seventh and Veron never really looked as though he would win inside the distance and seemed to take the pressure off in the tenth. Scores 100-91, 98-92, 98-94 all for Veron. The 28-year-old former amateur international suffered a shock kayo loss against Cristian Romero (15-7-1) in 2015 but has rebuilt with six wins in a row and this was his fourth defence of the WBO Latino title. That title gets him a No 7 rating with the WBO. Bzowski really just a prelim fighter and is now 0-3-1 in his last 4 fights.


Cornwall, Canada: Light: Tony Luis (23-3) W RTD 6 Noe Nunez (17-5-1). Welter: Custio Clayton (11-0) W KO 1 Alfredo Chavez (12-9).

Luis vs. Nunez

Luis forces Nunez to retire after a focused body attack slowly broke the Mexican down. Luis was going to the body from the start and Nunez was under pressure all the way. Luis strayed badly low in the fourth and Nunez went down. The fight was stopped to give Nunez recovery time but the relief was temporary. Luis was back to beating the body again and he had Nunez in distress in the sixth with the bell saving the Mexican. That’s was enough for Nunez and he retired in his corner. The 29-year-old Luis was fighting in his home town for the first time as a pro and gets win No 8 by KO/TKO. He came in as a late replacement against Derry Mathews in 2015 for the interim WBA light title and lost a close decision. This is his fourth win since then against reasonable level opposition as he rebuilds. Nunez, 30, is 2-4 in his last 6 fights including a third round stoppage loss to Brit Jack Catterall in 2015.

Clayton vs. Chavez

Clayton whacks substandard opponent Chavez inside a round. A cracking right from Clayton just before the bell put Chavez down and he was counted out. It is now 9 wins by KO/TKO in his last 10 fights for the 29-year-old Montreal-based native of Nova Scotia. He may just be the best Canadian prospect out there right now. He was Canadian champion three times competed at two World Championships and was a quarter-finalist in the London Olympics. He lost to Errol Spence in the 2011 World Championships but in his vested days scored wins over Oscar Molina, Cameron Hammond and Tommy Langford. Fifth loss by KO/TKO for Chavez who is now 4-8 in his last 12 fights.

Deauville, France: Super Welter: Zakaria Attou (25-6-2) W PTS 12 Maxime Beaussire (23-1-1). Attou keeps his European Union title as he gets the split decision and takes away Beaussire’s unbeaten tag in a hard fought close bout in front of Beaussire’s home fans. It was a case of the strength and aggression of Beaussire against the better boxing and experience at a higher level for Attou. Beaussire was taking the fight to Attou from the outset marching forward letting his punches go. Attou was countering nicely until a left hook from Beaussire had him hanging on just before the bell at the end of the first round. Beaussire kept pressing staying on top of the champion but Attou had a good third with right crosses. The pattern of the fight rarely varied. Attou was quicker and more accurate with his punches but Beaussire was busier and the harder puncher. Attou seemed to be pacing the fight better but he was shaken again in the ninth but used his experience and some judicious holding to survive. Beaussire tried to stage a strong finish marching forward and throwing plenty of punches. He had some success but Attou kept getting through with counters and did enough to earn the decision and keep his title. Scores 115-113 twice for Attou and 116-113 for Beaussire. Fighting in the other guy’s territory holds no fears for Attou. He fought a draw with Italian Emanuele Della Rosa (36-2) for this vacant title in Italy and then beat the world rated Italian back on home soil to become champion. The 34-year-old EBU No 5 is 6-0-1 in his last 7 fights and must be hoping to land a shot at the European title against the winner of Cedric Vitu’s defence against Orlando Fiordigiglio. Beaussire, 25, has good wins over Frank Haroche Horta, Roberto Santos and Artem Karpets and will come again. The evening was not a total loss for him as he proposed to his girlfriend in the ring and at least there he got the decision he wanted. Once again this fight shows just how hard it is to win one of the EBU’s titles. They don’t give them away.

San Pedro de Alcantara, Spain: Welter: Kevin Lejarraga (21-0) W KO 1 Kris Santa (15-9-2). Feather: Andoni Gago (17-3-2) W KO 2 Mark Szoros (4-1).

Lejarraga vs. Santa

Lejarraga finish this one with the perfect body punch. Hungarian Santa came out throwing punches twice forcing Lejarraga to the ropes. Some shots were being blocked but Santa was landing others to head and body. Santa kept walking forward letting his punches go and Lejarraga countered him with a wicked left hook to the body. Santa went down in considerable pain and never looked like getting up as the referee counted off the ten seconds. The “Revolver” from Bilbao, 25, has 17 wins by KO/TKO. He has signed with Lou DiBella so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the USA. Sixth loss by KO/TKO for Santa.

Gago vs. Szoros

Gago takes a bit longer but gets the win with a second round kayo of Hungarian Szoros. The 31-year-old from Bilbao, a former undefeated Spanish champion, gets his sixth win by KO/TKO. He lost a close decision to world rated Viorel Simion in Romania in October and was returning to action after a creditable showing against IBF champion Lee Selby last month. He climbed off the floor in the first round and fought hard until stopped in the ninth. Szoros just a novice.

The show was held as a homage to Antonio Benitez. The unbeaten Spaniard was knocked out in the tenth round of a fight for the Spanish super welter title in November and suffered a cranial hematoma but a successful operation has seen him out of hospital and making a good recovery.

Glasgow, Scotland: Super Light: Julius Indongo (22-0) W PTS 12 Ricky Burns (41-6-1). Light: Robbie Barrett (15-2-1) W PTS 12 Scott Cardle (21-1-1). Super Fly: Charlie Edwards (10-1) W PTS 12 Iain Butcher (16-3). Light: Charlie Flynn (8-0-1) TEC DRW 3 Ryan Collins (13-2-1). Super Bantam: Joe Ham (11-0) W PTS 10 Scott McCormack (5-3-1). Cruiser: Lawrence Okolie (2-0) W TKO 1 Lukasz Rusiewicz (22-30).

In a unification fight Namibian southpaw Indongo proves too big and too fast for Burns. He wins a wide unanimous decision to both retain his IBF and IBO titles and win Burns’s WBA title to become the first Namibian to hold two major titles at the same time.

Indongo vs. Burns

Round 1

Indongo had big edges in height and reach and was also a southpaw. He took the fight to Burns from the start and had Burns in full retreat. The Namibian was a bit wild but he scored with long rights to the body and lefts to the head. Burns got through with a couple of counters but it was Indongo’s round

Score 10-9 Indongo

Round 2

Burns did better in the second working from the centre of the ring and getting through with some rights. Indongo was quicker and was finding the target with straight lefts to head and body. Indongo’s round

Scores 10-9 Indongo                                                                                               20-18

Round 3

Indongo’s round. He had Burns in full retreat scoring with his elongated jab and long lefts mixing in some combinations. Burns just had no answer to the combination of Indongo’s height, reach and speed.

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 30-27

Round 4

Burns tried to stay in the ring centre and score with counter rights but that did not work. Soon Indongo was tracking Burns around the ring using his reach to score from distance and Burns was looking for opportunities that were not coming.

Score  10-9 Indongo                                                                                               40-36

Round 5

More of the same in the fifth. Indongo was pursuing Burns around the ring stabbing home punches from range landing some hard lefts to the head with Burns constantly on the retreat. When Burns did stop Indongo knew the Scot was going to launch an attack and was able to dodge back out of range or tie Burns up inside,

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 50-55

Round 6

Burns had a better round. He was able to get inside and throw some quick punches. Indongo tended to be short with his punches although he did get through with a sharp right/left to the head. Burns edged the round.

Scores 10-9 Burns                                                                                                   59-65

Round 7

Indongo was able to spear Burns at distance with his right jab and bang home straight lefts but Burns was throwing more punches and getting inside more. It was a close round which could have gone to either man but I gave it Indongo.

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 69-64

Round 8

Another round for Namibian and this one was embarrassingly one-sided. Indongo was able to slot home jabs and long lefts with Burns just skating around the ring perimeter and hardly throwing a punch

Score 10-9                                                                                                                 79-73

Round 9

Once again Indongo was dominating the action. A left to the head saw Burns stumble but he quickly recovered. Burns then walked forward throwing punches trying to work inside. He was wild with some of them and Indongo never allowed Burns to fight inside. If Burns got past the jab Indongo just grabbed him and held until the referee broke them up. Indongo was getting through with hooks at the end of the round

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 89-82

Round 10

The round was messy with little clean work. Burns threw enough punches to make it close early but then he handed the imitative to the Namibian who won the round clearly

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 99-91

Round 11

Indongo continued to use his reach and speed to outscore Burns. The Scot had somehow to get close and work inside but just could not get past the right jab and was being caught with straight lefts.

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 109-100

Round 12

Burns needed a knockout but that was never likely. In his desperation he tumbled over a couple of times and it was Indongo who did most of the scoring in a low key last round.

Score 10-9 Indongo                                                                                                 119-109

Official scores: 120-108, 118-110 and a too close 116-112 all for Indongo.

With his height, reach and southpaw style Indongo will be an awkward opponent for any light welter. He was a little wild at times and was holding every time Burns got past the jab but he dominated this fight from first to last. Terrence Crawford rules this division but I can’t see a fight with Indongo holding any attraction for Crawford but when he moves up the division will be wide open. There is no natural successor and Indongo would have a good chance against any of the others in the division. Burns is not finished. The 34-year-old Scot is adamant he will bounce back but that remains to be seen.

Barrett vs. Cardle

Barrett upsets the odds to win the British title in an epic scrap with Cardle. This one was fought at a fast pace with both fighters probing with jabs and neither fighter committing himself too much or dominating the first round. Barrett made a good start to the second with his southpaw jab and straight rights. Cardle was doing the pressing and banging home good right hooks to the body. As they traded punches an open hand right from Cardle sent Barrett stumbling back and down. There was not a lot of power in the punch and Barrett was up at four and ready to continue after the eight count but the bell went before any more punches were thrown. Excellent third and fourth rounds from Barrett as he boxed cleverly on the retreat and scored with left counters as Cardle was over committing himself. Barrett was outboxing Cardle again in the fifth until a left to the body inside saw Barrett go down in a delayed action fall. Again he was up quickly and dominated the rest of the round opening a vertical cut over and to the side of Cardle’s left eye with a punch. Despite the cut Cardle forced the pace hard in the sixth and finished it strongly but the early work from Barrett was enough to take the round. The seventh, eighth and ninth rounds were all close. Barrett continued to score with straight lefts but was slowing and being forced to stand and trade more giving Cardle the chance to work inside. The tenth was brutal. Barrett was banging home long lefts and despite the blood streaming down his face Cardle was landing vicious hooks to the body from both hands. A classic battle with Barrett probably just in front. There was more guts than skill in the eleventh and Barrett again edged it with his right jab and long lefts. Both gave everything in the last round of what had been a great fight and for me Barrett had just done enough to win it. Scores 115-113 and 114-112 for Barrett and 114-114. The 25-year-old English champion Barrett was the outsider here but his speed, skill and a damaging straight left took him to a deserved victory. Cardle was making the fourth defence of his British title and had been plagued by cuts through some tough fights. This one was close enough for Cardle to deserve a return when the cut heals.

Edwards vs. Butcher

Edwards outclasses Butcher to win the vacant British title. Butcher failed to make the weight for the second time in a row in a fight for a major title. Edwards had height, reach and hand speed on his side and Butcher was always struggling to get into the fight. Edwards boxed on the outside doubling and tripling his jab, changing angles and slotting home shots with both hands. Butcher needed to get inside and he marched forward behind his jab working to the body when he got the chance. That did not happen often enough. Edwards was stabbing home jabs and firing rapid combinations with Butcher not quick enough to counter. Edwards was often fighting with his hands down using excellent upper body movement to slip Butcher’s punches whilst leaving his hands free to fire quick burst of punches. Butcher had some success when he did get close enough to fire hooks to the body. He kept pressing hoping the Edwards would fade from the fast pace. He went after Edwards hard over the last four rounds but even then Edwards was throwing more and landing more. Luckily for Butcher Edwards was not loading up on his punches so Butcher was never shaken or badly hurt but he was never in the fight. Scores 120-108 twice and 120-109 for Edwards. The 24-year-old from Surrey again showed the outstanding skill he displayed in his unsuccessful challenge to John Riel Casimero in September. He has dropped out of the ratings but can work his way back in. Butcher, also 24, a former WBO European champion had won his last five fights but  failed to make weight for a Commonwealth flyweight title in May last year so it was disappointing he again failed here. He has talent but needs more discipline.

Flynn vs. Collins

What was shaping up to be a good fight ended early after Flynn suffered a bad cut in a clash of heads leaving the BBB of C Celtic title still vacant. Flynn took the first round. After some sparring with their jabs Flynn was landing sharp left hooks to the body and overhand rights. Flynn won the second. He landed a good right early in the round, Collins landed a good left/right combination and a straight right but Flynn was scoring with a stabbing jabs and left hooks to the body and shook Collins with a right cross. In the third Flynn score with a short right hook and a right to the head. Collins missed with a right and as he moved forward their heads clash. Flynn immediately stepped back and there was blood streaming from a vertical cut over his left eye and it was obvious he could not continue so it was ruled a technical draw. Flynn, 23, is one of Scotland’s brightest talents. He won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and endeared himself in his speech after getting the medal by adding a thanks to his Ma for doing his washing! Joking apart he is a talented young boxer. Scottish Area champion Collins had won his last five fights and hopefully these two will meet again.

Ham vs. McCormack

Ham wins the vacant BBB of C Celtic title with a points win over fellow Glaswegian McCormack. It was a fairly even fight over the first 4 or 5 rounds before Ham took over. He then controlled the action the rest of the way to emerge a clear winner. Referee’s score 99-92 for Ham. A five-time Scottish champion and British Champion Joe is another of the fine young prospects coming out of Scotland. He comes from an area in Glasgow called the Gorbals. It was once one of the most deprived areas in Britain. The standard joke is that the Gorbals was the only area in Britain where the milk floats are fitted with a rear gunner. Regeneration had banished those bad old days and Joe is hoping to bring a major title back home. McCormack, 23, a former Scottish Youth champion was having his second shot at a BBB of C Celtic title. Third time lucky?

Okolie vs. Rusiewicz

Yet another big man emerging on the British scene. The tall Okolie floored Rusiewicz twice with body punches. Rusiewicz gustily put his own mouthguard back whilst on the floor listening to the count and went back into the action. It did not last long as two head punches from Okolie had Rusiewicz stumbling on unsteady legs and as he turned away and went down the referee stopped the fight. The 6’5” (196cm) 2016 Olympian is worth watching. His two wins have taken a total of less than three minutes. Six losses in a row for Pole Rusiewicz.

Uncasville, CT, USA: Light Heavy: Sullivan Barrera (19-1) W TKO 5 Paul Parker (8-2). Middle: Vaughan Alexander (8-0) W PTS 10 Andres Calixto (7-6).

Barrera vs. Parker

Barrera punches too hard for novice Parker and gets stoppage in the fifth. Despite being on the back foot Parker made the more active start with the best two punches in the first round being a short left hook and along right cross from Parker. Barrera was livelier in the second round but Parker switched to southpaw and scored with enough counters to at least share the round Barrera went over in the round but it was from a push. Parker started out southpaw and then switched guards half way through the round. Barrera was barrelling forward but not really landing cleanly with Parker scoring well at range. Barrera finally his stride in the fourth when he finally began to connect with some stinging punches. His rhythm was interrupted when he accidentally butted Parker. A badly shaken Parker was given time to recover. Early in the fifth Barrera landed a long right and suddenly Parker’s legs wobbled. Barrera jumped on him took him to the ropes and was unloading as Parker slipped to his knees. He was up at eight and in his desperation to finish the fight Barrera was wild with his punches and their heads clashed again. This time it was Barrera who was shaken. After a time out Parker took the fight to Barrera but ran onto a stiff left jab that sent him stumbling back across the ring and he landed on his rump up against the ropes. He was up quickly and when the fight resumed a long right to the head from Barrera staggered Parker and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.  The only loss suffered by the 35-year-old Cuban was a wide unanimous decision against Andre Ward in March last year. He rebounded from that with a seventh round kayo of unbeaten Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in December. More recently he ran away from a fight with Artur Beterbiev and in picking Parker as an opponent he seems to be trying to find his way to a title shot by a different route than the dangerous Beterbiev. Parker fought Shabranskyy in June 2015 and had the Ukrainian down twice in the first round only to be stopped himself in the third. In his last fight in February 2016 he had a good win over Lionell Thompson so this was his first fight for 14 months.

Alexander vs. Calixto

Alexander keeps his 100% record with wide unanimous verdict over modest Calixto. Alexander has a lot of catching up to do so he accepted a short notice switch of an opponent which saw him go up to ten rounds after having had only six four round fights and one six rounder. In the end it proved an easy fight as he came close to a shutout. Alexander is not quick but Calixto was slower so Alexander was able to work the body and as Calixto tired he lost a point in the last round for holding. Alexander won on scores of 99-90 twice and 100-89. The 31-year-old from St Louis is the brother of former WBC and IBF super light champion and IBF welter champion Devon Alexander. He turned pro in 2004 and scored five wins but spent the next 11 years in prison for armed robbery and other offences. He returned to the ring with a win in October 2016. Mexican Calixto had won three level fights going into this one.

April 16

Osaka, Japan: Middle: Koki Tyson (12-2-2) W KO 4 Ahn Sung-Jae (6-4).

Hard punching Japanese fighter Tyson retains his OPBF title with fourth round kayo of Korean. The 6’3” (190cm) southpaw was using his jab to keep Ahn out but was cut in a clash of heads. After winning the first three rounds a straight left to the chin from Tyson in the fourth put Ahn down and he was counted out. First defence of his OPBF title for Tyson (real name Yasutoshi Taroko) and win No 11 by KO/TKO. Ahn was No 13 with the OPBF which was strange as this was his first fight since May 2015!