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List of Articles by Eric Armit



The Past Week in Action 17 October 2017 - Part I

By Eric Armit
PhilBoxing.com
18 Oct 2017


Groves decks Cox.

Highlights:
-George Groves crushes Jamie Cox to retain his WBA title and move forward to a fight with Chris Eubank Jr
-Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz retain their titles with comfortable wins
-In the super welter card in New York Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo and Erislandy Lara retain their tiles
-Omar Narvaez wins IBF eliminator and hopes to become a three division champion
-Karim Guerfi stops Stephane Jamoye to retain his European title
-Reece Bellotti and Liam Cameron win Commonwealth titles
-John Ryder knocks out WBA No 1 Patrick Nielsen


October 12

Perols, France: Bantam: Karim Guerfi (26-3,1ND) W TKO 8 Stephane Jamoye (32-8). Light: Yvan Mendy (39-4-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Florian Montels (10-2-2). Welter: Mohamed Kani (12-0) W PTS 8 Patrick Momene Mokamba (5-21-4). Light Heavy: Mathieu Bauderlique (13-1) W TKO 1 Giorgi Beroshvili (29-19-2), Middle: Christian Mbilli (6-0) W KO 3 Martin Owono (7-18-3).
Guerfi vs. Jamoye
Perols, France: Bantam: Karim Guerfi (26-3,1ND) W TKO 8 Stephane Jamoye (32-8). Light: Yvan Mendy (39-4-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Florian Montels (10-2-2). Welter: Mohamed Kani (12-0) W PTS 8 Patrick Momene Mokamba (5-21-4). Light Heavy: Mathieu Bauderlique (13-1) W TKO 1 Giorgi Beroshvili (29-19-2), Middle: Christian Mbilli (6-0) W KO 3 Martin Owono (7-18-3).
Guerfi vs. Jamoye
Guerfi retains the European title with a repeat victory over Jamoye. Guerfi came out firing in this one. Usually aggression is Jamoye’s strong suit but in the first round Guerfi was already scoring with stinging shots from both hands as he showed impressive hand speed and accuracy. Jamoye took the second. He matched Guerfi punch for punch and sent the champion reeling with a left to the side of the head. In the third Jamoye continued to march forward forcing Guerfi to stand and trade but the Frenchman’s accuracy and the porous defence of Jamoye saw Guerfi take the round. Both fighters landed some cracking head punches in a frantic fourth but Guerfi started to take control in the fifth refusing to get into a brawl and snapping Jamoye’s head back with quick punches from both hands. Courage is a by-word in the Jamoye family and Jamoye kept trying to walk through everything and keep pumping out punches. However Guerfi was now scoring with some real head bangers singly and in bunches and even finding time for some showboating. By the end of the seventh the Belgian was being backed up taking a beating and looking tired with a small cut over his left eye and a swelling under the eye. Guerfi really cut loose in the eighth shaking Jamoye with head punches and when the towel came in from the Belgian’s corner it was the right decision. Guerfi, 30, has had one title shot losing a close decision to Juan Carlos Reveco for the interim WBA fly title in 2012. He may have to wait for another title chance as WBC champion Luis Nery is awaiting the decision on a positive test, Jamie McDonnell is under instruction to defend the secondary WBA title against Liborio Solis and both Zolani Tete and Ryan Burnett may be faced with mandatory defences. Jamoye announced his retirement at a boxing show in Herstal on Saturday night. As a former European and European Union champion and twice a challenger for the world title he has probably been one of the most successful Belgian boxers in recent years.
Mendy vs. Montels
Mendy wins a keep busy fight but fails to shine. The world rated Frenchman was thrown by a late replacement of opponent. According to the promoter the fight with Joseph Laryea fell through when the Ghanaian’s management demanded an increased purse before boarding a plane and the promoter looked elsewhere. Mendy won this one easily without ever getting out of second gear and admitted he had trouble getting motivated and took it easy against Montels in the late rounds as he felt that his inexperienced fellow countryman deserved to be allowed to go the distance for taking the fight at such short notice. Scores 100-90 from all three judges. The 32-year-old Mendy, the WBC Silver champion and their No 3, has had to watch Luke Campbell, who he outpointed in 2015 fly past him to a title shot and is hoping it will come his way next.
Kani vs. Mokamba
Montpellier boxer Kani gets unanimous decision over Mokamba after eight tough rounds. The French southpaw was a big favourite but Mokamba made him fight hard for the win. Scores 78-74 twice and 78-76 all for Kani. The 37-year-old Mokamba is 1-7-1 in his last 9 fights but has only lost once by KO/TKO.
Bauderlique vs. Beroshvili
Too easy for French Olympian Bauderlique here. Georgian Beroshvili looked much the bigger man and tried to force Bauderlique back. Bauderlique took Beroshvili to the ropes and landed a wicked left to the body and a left uppercut followed by a right as Beroshvili retreated along the ropes to a corner. Bauderlique then threw a right that missed but Beroshvili went down on one knee. He got up and began to walk across the ring to his corner with the referee following. Beroshvili’s second climbed into the ring and began to treat a vertical cut over the right eye of his fighter so the referee waived the fight over. No real value in this fight for the Olympic bronze medallist. He is rebuilding after over confidence saw him stopped inside a round by Romanian Dragan Leper in June. The 28-year-old southpaw needs better opposition than this. In fairness to Beroshvili he was a late replacement and the cut was bad. He is now 2-10 in his last 12 fights.
Mbilli vs. Owono
Canadian-based Mbilli makes it 6 out of 6 inside the distance Owono was willing to stand and trade hooks and uppercuts and looked competitive until a left to the head sent him down late in the first round. He made it his feet and fought back well to the bell. A left from Mbilli put Owono down again at the start of the second. Again Owono fought back but a right to the head dropped him to his knees. A tigerish Mbilli harried Owono to the bell but Owono survived and even landed a couple of nice counters of his own. Mbilli came out to finish it in the third and despite some gutsy resistance from Owono he finally dropped to his knees and just sat out the count. The 22-year-old Cameroon-born Mbilli represented France at the 2016 Olympics and came away with a bronze medal. He is signed with Yvon Michel and really looks to be an outstanding prospect. Owono has now won only one of his last twelve fights.

October 13

London, England; Feather Reece Bellotti (11-0) W TKO 6 Jason Cunningham (23-4). Super Fly: Charlie Edwards (12-1) W PTS 8 Craig Derbyshire (5-23-3).
Bellotti vs. Cunningham
Bellotti comes from behind to overpower champion Cunningham to win the Commonwealth title. Bellotti had the edge in power but clever boxing from Cunningham more than compensated for that. Bellotti set a fast pace from the start. He was throwing lots of punches but Cunningham was showing some good defensive moves and placing his punches better. Bellotti continued to press in the third scoring with rights and left hooks. Southpaw Cunningham was countering on the back foot with rights and lefts of his own. Cunningham had a strong fourth as Bellotti looked to be slowing from the frantic pace and the champion was boxing well in the fifth until a right hook from Bellotti put him down late in the round. Cunningham was badly shaken but got up and made it to the bell. He was still feeling the effects of that punch as Bellotti stormed forward in the sixth landing a succession of hard punches until the referee stepped in to save Cunningham. Bellotti, 26, makes it 10 wins by KO/TKO including his last 8 on the bounce and he is yet to have to go past seven rounds for victory. Cunningham, 28, was making the first defence of his Commonwealth title and is a former undefeated Commonwealth bantamweight champion and had won his last six fights.
Edwards vs. Derbyshire
Edwards keeps busy with routine points victory over experienced Derbyshire. Referee’s score 80-72 for Edwards. The 24-year-old former IBF flyweight title challenger has relinquished his British super flyweight title and is looking for bigger fights now. Derbyshire came in as a late replacement but went the distance as he usually does

Sheffield, England: Middle: Liam Cameron (20-5) TKO 8 Sam Sheedy (18-3).
Cameron becomes the Commonwealth champion at the third attempt as he halts a game Sheedy who fought hard to hold on to his title but had to give way to the power of Cameron in the end. As expected the flashing southpaw skills of Sheedy saw him build an early lead. Cameron was having to walk through some flak to get close enough to land with clubbing punches but Sheedy is not a big puncher so Cameron was slowly able to work the body. Sheedy was well in front after three rounds but the roof fell in the fourth. A left hook put Sheedy down for the first time and body punches had Sheedy on the floor twice more and although he beat the count each time he also lost a point for a deliberate butt in a disastrous round for Sheedy. The champion was not about to hand his title over and he produced some of his best work in the fifth and sixth to drag himself back into the fight and even look like a potential winner. That hope was washed away in the seventh as another body punch put Sheedy down and by the end of the round he was in deep trouble and was saved by a standing count. There was no way back from there as a left hook had Sheedy reeling in the eighth and a sustained barrage of punches saw the referee step in and stop the fight. Cameron had lost to Luke Blackledge and Zac Dunn both on points in two previous shots at the Commonwealth super middle title but now he has a belt of his own and a best career win. Sheedy had only lost on split decisions against Navid Mansouri for the English super welter title and Tommy Langford for the British middleweight title so he suffers his first loss by KO/TKO.

Indio, CA, USA: Super Light Ismael Barroso (20-1-2) W KO Fidel Maldonado (24-4-1,1ND). Super Light: Lopez (33-2-1) W KO 2 Pablo Cesar Cano (30-7-1,1ND) W Marcelino.
Barroso vs. Maldonado
In his first fight since losing to Anthony Crolla in a WBA title fight Barroso floors and halts Maldonado. The first two rounds were fairly even with both working their southpaw jab and firing occasional lefts but it was an untidy fight with Maldonado just the busier and more accurate in the first. Maldonado had the better of the action over most of the second. Barroso was looking to counter Maldonado as he came forward and near the end of the round he connected with a hard right to the head that momentarily shook Maldonado. In the third Maldonado was boxing nicely until an overhand left from Barroso crashed onto the side of his head. He stumbled a couple of steps then collapsed into the ropes and down on his knees. After the eight count he held, wrestled and stayed out of trouble to the bell but was showing an ugly bruise under his right eye. Maldonado was just trying to stay out of trouble in the fourth but stupidly worsened his situation by landing 6 or 7 patty-cake punches after being told to break and was deducted a point.. Maldonado seemed to get his confidence back early in the fifth again taking the fight to Barroso. Not good tactics and a series of lefts to the head from Barroso shook Maldonado and burst the swelling under Maldonado’s right eye which started to bleed and put Maldonado back on the retreat. The doctor examined the damage under Maldonado’s eye but let the fight continue. Barroso was dominating the sixth and dropped Maldonado with a left to the body and Maldonado took the full count on his knees. The 34-year-old Venezuelan had dropped out of the ratings but will be hoping to work his way back into contention and with 19 of his 20 wins by KO/TKO he is still a danger man .Maldonado was 5-0-1 in his last 6 fights.
Cano vs. Lopez
Lopez shocks Cano with crushing second round stoppage. Cano dominated the first putting Lopez on the back foot scoring with jabs and working him over on the ropes. By the end of the round both fighters were showing small cuts. Cano continued to outwork Lopez in the second but Lopez was throwing some hard rights which were just swishing past Cano’s chin. As they exchanged punches one of those rights a real hammer slammed into the side of Cano’s head. The punch stiffened Cano for a split second and then he went over and down on his back. He struggled to his feet only just making it but stumbled back into a corner and when the referee completed the eight count he waived the fight off. Lopez was unbeaten in his first 30 fights without really achieving much. He was inactive in 2016 and lost a split decision to Mike Perez in April this year so did not look a dangerous opponent. A big setback for former WBA interim WBA super light champion Cano. He badly needed a win after losing two of his last three fights.

Tampa, FL, USA: Bantam: Daniel Lozano (15-4) W PTS 10 Ricardo Rodriguez (16-5). Super Feather: Teo Lopez (7-0) W KO2 Josh Ross (3-6-4). Super Bantam: Antonio Vargas (4-0) W KO 2 Miguel Rebullosa (4-5). Heavy: Ivan Dychko (2-0) W KO 3 Rodriguez Cage (0-1).


Lozano vs. Rodriguez
Lozano cleans up another past defeat as he gets unanimous decision over Rodriguez. In a fight that made a slow start Lozano built an early lead and shook Rodriguez with a right in the fourth. Rodriguez was really rolling over the middle rounds but Lozano moved back into control and staged a strong finish to emerge the clear winner. Scores 97-93 twice and 98-92 all for Lozano The 27-year-old Floridian “Scorpion” lost three in a row in 2015 to David Carmona, Rodriguez and David Quijano. He was inactive in 2016 but this year has beaten both Carmona and Rodriguez. A run of four wins saw Rodriguez thrown in with Naoya Inoue in a WBO title fight in May but he was knocked out in three rounds.
Lopez vs. Ross
Lopez gets another inside the distance win as he floors Ross four times on the way to a second round stoppage. So far the 20-year-old Olympian has taken less than 20 rounds to register his wins. National Golden Gloves winner Lopez won the US Trials for the 2016 Olympics but there was no spot available in his division through that route so he entered the Americas’ Qualifiers representing his Honduran roots and won through that way and represented Honduras at the Olympics. Now three losses by KO/TKO for Ross.
Vargas vs. Rebullosa
Vargas was much too good for novice Rebullosa and put him down in the first with series of punches. Vargas was close to ending it in the first but a tumble to the floor gave Rebullosa some breathing space and he was still there at the bell-just. It was too easy for Vargas who did some showboating at the start of the second and then ended it with a few punches to the head. Rebullosa was up at eight but did not protest when the referee stopped the fight. The 21-year-old Vargas was US National champion and Pan American Games gold medal winner and USA Boxing Elite Male Athlete of The Year in 2015. He had a struggle to get to Rio as he suffered losses at both the US Olympic Trials and the Americas Qualifier but rebounded from those set backs to get to Rio. Rebullosa should try another sport.
Dychko vs. Cage
Former top amateur Dychko has no trouble in disposing of poor novice Cage. It was a surprise that Cage hung around for any time at all but in the third three brutal rights to the head sent Cage down and out. Dychko, 27, a Kazak based in Florida won bronze medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and collected two silver medals and a bronze medal at the World Championships. At 6’9” (206cm) he is an interesting addition to the pro ranks. He has won both of his fights by KO/TKO. First pro fight for Cage.

San Juan, Argentina: Super Light: Damian Yapur (15-7-3) W PTS 10 Mauro Godoy (29-2).
Big upset as Yapur outpoints champion Godoy to grab the national title on a split decision. Godoy was the favourite and he looked a likely winner over the first two rounds as he was the one coming forward. He was using his longer reach to keep Yapur on the back foot and scoring with rights to the body. The third and fourth were close but Yapur was lunging past the jab and scoring with left and right hooks. He dragged Godoy into a brawl in the fifth and was scoring with body punches inside. A clash of heads saw a lump developing over the right eye of Godoy. In the sixth Godoy went back to working his jab again and banging home hooks to the body to level things up. The seventh and eighth were very close with Yapur just edging them with his counters but Godoy went back to his jab to take the ninth. They both fought hard in the last but it was Yapur who outworked Godoy and emerged the winner. Scores 98-96 ½, and 97-93 for Yapur and 94-97 for Godoy. Yapur, the Argentinian No 7 lost a wide unanimous decision to Godoy for the South American title in March so sweet revenge. Godoy had a winning streak of 21 fight snapped by a first round loss to Xavier Luques Castillo but beat Castillo in a return on his way to an unbeaten run of ten bouts going into this one..

Melbourne, Australia: Light: George Kambosos Jr (13-0) W KO 9 Kaewfah Tor Buamas (25-3). Light Heavy: Blake Caparello (26-2-1) W KO 3 Fabiano Pena (15-9-1). Super Feather: Joel Brunker (32-2) W PTS 6 Tiger Tor Buamas (19-2). Super Middle: Jake Carr (15-1) W PTS 6 Quintin Carey (3-3).
Kambosos vs. Tor Buamas
Kambosos retains his WBA Oceania title and adds the vacant IBF Pan Pacific title to his collection with win over Thai Tor Buamas (Krai Setthaphon). Kambosos worked to his game plan slowly breaking the tough Thai down until he was ready to be taken. Kambosos put Tor Buamas down in the eighth and then three times in the ninth for the win. The 34-year-old from Sydney now has seven wins by KO/TKO. He was No 7 in the WBA ratings but will be hoping to move up although there are some big names above him. Kambosos was celebrating the recent birth of a daughter so a good time for him. Tor Buamas, 31, suffers his second loss by KO/TKO. He won his first 23 fights but against real opposition he is now 2-3.
Caparello vs. Pena
Caparello keeps busy with predictable win over Brazilian-based Mexican Pena. The 31-year-old southpaw was making the first defence of his WBA Oceania title. His losses have been against Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavy title in 2014 and on points to Andre Dirrell in April last year. He has won four on the bounce since losing to Dirrell and is No 15 with the WBA. Now eight losses by KO/TKO for Pena who loses inside the distance whenever he tries to move up
Brunker vs. Tor Buamas
Brunker easily his way through a time-filler as he wins every round on his way to a unanimous decision. Brunker needs to avoid British fighters and British shores as his two losses have been to Lee Selby and Josh Warrington. He has won four in a row now. He seems to like Oriental food as three of those victims were Thai and the other an Indonesia. Tor Buamas (Khamron Klaphaisan) has a misleadingly impressive record. Nine of his opponents had never had a fight and the rest have only been marginally better.
Carr vs. Carey
Like Caparello and Brunker former undefeated Australian champion Carr is also reconstructing his career. He had to overcome an early shock in this one when he was floored in the first round but Carey lacked the experience to capitalise on that. Carr took over the fight and floored Carey in the fourth and fifth rounds to take the unanimous decision. The 26-year-old local fighter was looking to further his career when he went to the USA but was given a very tough first fight and lost on a sixth round stoppage against Mike Gavronski. Carr has now won four in a row. Too much too soon for novice Carey.

Nadi, Fiji: Super Welter: Siliveni Nawai (8-0) W TKO 1 Jese Ravudi (6-3-1).
Nawai makes it two first round victories in a row as he halts Ravudi inside a round. The 23-year-old Nawai was fighting in his hometown and now has six wins by KO/TKO. Ravudi, whose father was Fijian light heavy champion has done most of his fighting in Australia and was expected to give Nawai a tough test.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Hidenori Otake (30-2-3) W PTS 12 Hinata Maruta (5-1). Fly: Keisuke Nakayama (10-2-2) DREW 12 Jobert Alvarez (17-2-2).
Otake vs. Maruta
Otake retains the OPBF title with unanimous decision over younger and less experienced Murata. The challenger made good use of his advantages in height and reach in the early rounds but Otake marched forward behind a high guard to get inside and work there. After four rounds the fight was evenly poised with two judges seeing it 38-38 and the third having Otake up 39-37. Over the middle rounds Otake took control. He closed down Murata’s attacking options constantly taking the challenger to the ropes and scoring well with hooks to head and body. After eight rounds Otake really had the fight won being 78-74 up on all three cards. Maruta made a big effort over those closing rounds but was unable to turn the fight around despite a strong finish and Otake was a clear winner. Scores 116-114 twice and 117-111 all for Otake. The 36-year-old was making the second defence of his title. He is rated IBF 9(7)/WBC 15. He has lost only one of his last twenty-six fights but that was an important wide decision defeat against Scott Quigg for the secondary WBA title in 2014. He has now won his last 8 fights but a title shot has to be a very distant hope. Murata, 20, won the WBC Youth title in only his third fight but had never gone past seven rounds and Otake was just too experienced for him.
Nakayama vs. Alvarez
Nakayama holds on to his OPBF title but looks lucky to do so. In this all-southpaw scrap it was Filipino Alvarez who made the better start scoring well with his right hooks and making good use of his better skills. Despite Alvarez’s good start after four rounds two of the judges had it even at 38-38 whilst a better indicator of the action to that point saw the third judge have Alvarez 40-37 in front. Nakayama stepped up his pace and scored well with rights to the body but Alvarez’s clever work saw him pull ahead although the fight was still close with the Filipino in front 77-75 twice and 77-76. Nakayama could see his title slipping away and he found another gear. Alvarez began to fade and those two factors saw the home fighter close the gap and hang on to his title. Scores 115-113 for Nakayama, 115-114 for Alvarez and 115-115. The 29-year-old Nakayama was making the first defence of the regional title but he is treading a thin line. He is 4-0-1 in his last 5 fights but three of his win have either been majority decisions or split decisions and this one follows that pattern. “Little Pacman” Alvarez, 27, has been on a roller coaster ride. He lost on points to Juan Francisco Estrada but rebounded with a kayo of Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez and then went down again being stopped inside a round by Miguel Cartagena. He steadied things this year with two wins over modest opponents.

Nowy Dwor Mazowiecki, Poland: Super Middle: Norbert Dabrowski (21-7-2) DREW 10 Jordan Kulinski (5-1-1). This was a good, close fight and as in their first meeting it ended all even. Kulinski was the busier but the experienced Dabrowski showed a sound defence and landed some good punches. A left in the second from Dabrowski sent Kuliski’s mouthguard flying into the crowd but by the end of the round Kulinski was coming forward again. Kulinski continued to come forward and scored with some good rights in the fifth with Dabrowski countering well in the sixth landing lefts to the body. They fought hard on even terms over the next three rounds. With his greater experience Dabrowski paced the fight better and rocked Kulinski with a right to the head in the last. Scores 95-95 twice and 97-93 for Dabrowski. Dabrowski looked to have edged it but it was close. These two fought a six round draw in March last year which was only the second fight for the 23-year-old Kulinski.
October 14

London, England; Super Middle; George Groves (27-3) W KO 4 Jamie Cox (24-1).Super Middle: John Ryder (25-4) W KO 5 Patrick Nielsen (29-2).
Groves vs. Cox
Groves retains his WBA title, and moves on to meet Chris Eubank Jr in the semi-final of the WSSB as he finishes Cox with a devastating body punch.
Round 1
After some early feeling out Groves was the one doing the scoring. He was drawing Cox on to some right counters and landing with hooks to the body. When Cox tried to force the fight late in the round Groves landed well with a left/right combination.
Score 10-9 Groves
Round 2
Cox had thrown very little in the first but he made up for that in the second. He forced Groves to the ropes and unloaded with both hands. Groves did a good job of covering up and blocking most of the punches but it was a positive start from Cox. Over the second half of the round Groves was scoring with quick accurate rights and near the end of the round he looked to have staggered Cox with two rights.
Score 10-9 Groves 20-18
Round 3
Groves was boxing cleverly in the third walking Cox on to right counter. Cox got through with a long left which was the best punch he landed so far. That sent Groves back to the ropes and Cox piled in looking to capitalise on that and he landed some heavy punches until Groves wrestled himself off the ropes. The fight got untidy for a short while with Groves being warned for wrestling Cox to the floor. Groves did some good work countering late in the round scoring with an eye-catching right uppercut and straight left. It was close but the greater accuracy gave it to Groves.
Score 10-9 Groves 30-27
Round 4
Cox came marching forward in this one pressurising Groves hard and that was his downfall. As he followed Groves to the ropes Groves landed a left to the head and then rammed home a devastating right to the body. Cox took a step back and then collapsed to the floor in serious pain and was counted out.
Groves, 29, was making the first defence of the WBA title. It took him four challenges before he won the title but he boxed with real class here and the finisher was as good a body punch as you will see. Another great advertisement for the WSSB as who knows whether Groves and Eubank would have met if not for the lure of the prize in this tournament. Former undefeated Commonwealth champion Cox had prepared for this one with a burst of activity that saw him score three wins in two months but Groves was a huge step up in quality of opposition for Cox and the gap was too wide.
Ryder vs. Nielsen
Ryder gets big win as obliterates world rated Dane Nielsen in a contest between southpaws. Before the sound of the first bell had died away the Dane landed a hard straight left on Ryder. That had no effect on the British fighter. Nielsen looked to be more mobile and have quicker hands but a left uppercut on the inside from Ryder looked to have shaken him and although smaller with a shorter reach Ryder did good work with his jab as the round ended. Nielsen was all aggression at the start of the second throwing right jabs and right hooks and making good use of his hand speed and longer reach. Ryder was walking him down and just before the bell he landed a good combination and then a left to the body followed by thunderous right that sent the Dane’s mouthguard flying across the ring and dropped him to one knee. He got up bad was badly shaken. The bell went at the completion of the eight count and Ryder kindly pointed the way to his corner for the befuddled Dane who had blood dripping from his nose. Ryder was on the front foot in the third raking Nielsen with hurtful left uppercuts with Nielsen not able to stop Ryder getting inside and now the Dane was showing a growing bruise under his right eye. For me Nielsen took the fourth. He used good movement to stay off the ropes and slotted home right jabs. Nielsen was doing well in the fifth until just a few seconds left on the clock. As they traded punches Ryder landed a huge right hook. Nielsen took a couple of steps and then was motionless out on his feet with no defence and a left to the head and another right hook put him on the canvas flat on this back, The referee counted him out but should have immediately waived the fight over. Nielsen needed aid to get back to his corner and they administered some oxygen. A huge win for the 29-year-old “Gorilla” as Nielsen was rated No 1 by the WBA No 3 by the WBO, No 6 by the WBC and No 11(9) by the IBF. Losses in important fights against Nick Blackwell, Jack Arnfield and in his last fight in April to Rocky Fielding had put a question mark over Ryder’s future now he will have leap-frogged over them all and his reward could be a world title fight in 2018. It was a crushing loss for Nielsen. Yes it cost him his ratings but it was a particularly brutal knockout and who knows that effect that could have. His only previous defeat had been a points loss to Dmitry Chudinov for the interim WBA middle title in 2015. He had won seven fights since then but against very modest opposition.
Carson, CA, USA; Feather: Abner Mares (31-2-1) W TEC DEC 10 Andres Gutierrez (35-2-1). Feather: Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) W TKO 8 Chris Avalos (27-6-1). Super Light: Antonio DeMarco (33-6-1) W KO 1 Eddie Ramirez (17-1). Feather: Roberto Marroquin (27-4-1) W KO 5 Ruben Tamayo (26-11-4).
Mares vs. Gutierrez
Mares keeps his secondary WBA title with unanimous technical decision over Gutierrez when the fight is halted due to a bad cut over the challenger’s left with Mares already cruising to a comfortable win.
Round 1
Mares made a fast start as he peppered a static Gutierrez with jabs and hooks with Gutierrez too slow to counter
Score 10-9 Mares
Round 2
Gutierrez was letting his hands go more and pressing harder. Mares was comfortable on the back foot raking Gutierrez with jabs and fast combinations and outboxing the less experienced challenger and opening a cut over his left eye with a punch.
Score 10-9 Mares 20-18
Round 3
Mares continued to score easily on the marching Gutierrez rattling punches off the challengers head. They were stinging hurtful shots but to his credit Gutierrez scored with some shots of his own late in the round.
Score 10-9 Mares 30-27
Round 4
Mares stood and traded more in the fourth. That gave Gutierrez the chance to get home some hooks but it was still the fast hands of Mares that were doing the damage as he bombarded a wide open Gutierrez.
Score 10-9 Mares 40-36
Round 5
It did not get any better for Gutierrez in the fifth. Mares continued to pump out counters although not as accurately as in the previous rounds. Gutierrez was sticking to his task marching forward throwing punches having some success but not enough.
Score 10-9 50-45
Round 6
The doctor had a long look at Gutierrez before the start of the sixth as there was blood trickling from his left ear but he was allowed to continue and had a good round. Mares was not loading up on his punches and Gutierrez pressed harder getting inside and hooking to head and body and did enough to edge the round
Score 10-9 Gutierrez 59-55
Round 7
Mares was scoring with flashing combinations in this one. Gutierrez had some success when he could take Mares to the ropes but it was a series of rights to the head from Mares that caught the eye and gave him the round.
Score 10-9 Mares 69-64
Round 8
The pace dropped a little in the eighth but those right hands from Mares continued to land and now the cut over the left eye of Gutierrez was much worse with blood trickling down his face as Mares connected with more rights.
Score 109 Mares 79-73
Round 9
Despite the blood Gutierrez kept marching forward hoping somehow to change the fight but Mares was on the back foot slotting counter after counter until Gutierrez’s face was a smeared with blood.
Score 10-9 Mares 89-82
Round 10
For the first time in the fight Gutierrez was going backwards. Mares landed punch after punch to the left side of Gutierrez’s face which was looking a mess. After another couple of shots landed on the injury the referee stopped the fight and took Gutierrez over for the doctor to examine. The cut was much longer than earlier in the fight and the doctor advised the fight be stopped. Although the cut had been made by a punch some accidental fouling by Mares had worsened it so the fight went to the scorecards with the incomplete tenth round scored 10-9 to Mares 99-91
Official scores: 99-91 twice and 100-90 all for Mares
The 31-year-old three-division champion was making the first defence of the title he won on split decision against Jesus Cuellar in December. Any all-Mexican fight featuring any two out of Mares, Santa Cruz or WBO champion Oscar Valdez would be a huge attraction if they could be made but things are never that easy. The WBA have said they want one world champion in each division but if you think they are going to mandate a fight between their real champion Santa Cruz and the holder of their secondary title Mares then you don’t know the WBA. Jesus Rojas is their interim champion but there are allegations of a positive test for Rojas in his title winning fight and No 2 is Chinese fighter Can Xu who would be a hard sell and No 3 is Carl Frampton. Now that would be a big fight Mares vs. Frampton but we will just have to wait and see what develops. Gutierrez showed guts and determination but was out of his class. He walked forward in a straight line with a defence that had more leaks that gaggle of Welsh rugby supporters (yes I know it is spelt leek) and I don’t think he has it to move any further up in class.
Santa Cruz vs. Avalos
Santa Cruz retains the WBA title with stoppage of a courageous but limited and outclassed Avalos.
Round 1
Santa Cruz was firing accurate jabs and catching Avalos with hooks and uppercuts. Avalos was standing and trading but his shots were mostly being blocked and those from Santa Cruz were landing
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz
Round 2
Avalos tried to keep pressuring Santa Cruz but was constantly being knocked back by powerful jabs and rocked by right crosses and hooks inside and already the fight was looking one-sided.
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 20-18
Round 3
Avalos did a bit better in the third. He managed to get inside and work to the body. Despite that success Santa Cruz was still in control scoring with his jab and left hooks to the body and overhand rights.
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 30-27
Round 4
Avalos had his best spell of the fight early in this round. He slammed home a couple of jabs and a series of body punches momentarily putting Santa Cruz on the back foot. From there it was brutal. Santa Cruz marched forward landing booming head punches driving Avalos across the ring and shaking him badly. It looked as though the fight was over but Avalos refused to crumble. The stats showed Santa Cruz was landing 52% of the punches he threw!
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 40-36
Round 5
It seemed unlikely that Santa Cruz had punched himself out but It looked suspiciously as though he deliberately took his foot off the accelerator in this one. His work rate dropped and he was not loading up on his punches. Avalos also was less aggressive and Santa Cruz just did enough to take the round.
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 50-45
Round 6
Again the pace in this one was much slower than over the first four rounds. Santa Cruz could not miss Avalos with his rights to the head. Avalos was able to get through with hooks to the body but the heavier shots were all coming from Santa Cruz-just fewer of them.
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 60-54
Round 7
There was more mauling than scoring early in this one. Santa Cruz was still landing heavy single punches but Avalos was able to work inside and be more competitive than before.
Score 10-9 Santa Cruz 70-63
Round 8
Early in the round Avalos had Santa Cruz on the back foot but then Santa Cruz began to nail Avalos with rights to the head. Avalos was treading water and another brutal right to the head shook him and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight with Avalos protesting strongly. It was the right decision Avalos had no chance of winning and was only going to take more punishment.
The 29-year-old Santa Cruz was making the first defence of the WBA title he reclaimed from Carl Frampton in January. Hopefully it will lead to a return with Abner Mares who Santa Cruz beat on a majority decision in 2015 to win this WBA title. Avalos was fortunate to get a second title shot. After losing in five rounds to Carl Frampton for the IBF super bantam title in 2015 he lost consecutive fights inside the distance to Oscar Valdez and Mark Magsayo then when behind on all three cards he beat unrated Miguel Flores on a cut and a couple of months later suddenly appeared in the WBA ratings. No surprise there.
DeMarco vs. Ramirez
DeMarco proves he is not yet ready to just be a stepping-stone for up and coming younger fighters. Ramirez took the fight to DeMarco immediately forcing the former champion onto the back foot and to the ropes a couple of times and letting go with punches to the body. When he drove DeMarco to the ropes for the third time DeMarco uncorked a left uppercut that had Ramirez staggering back on unsteady legs. Ramirez tried to but time by retreating and holding but DeMarco cornered him and unleashed a series of head punches. A right to the chin sent Ramirez sliding along the ropes and when DeMarco raked him with more head punches the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. Ramirez complained bitterly but he was taking some heavy incoming fire and it was all over in two minutes. Former WBC light champion DeMarco, 31, lost three tough fights in a row to Jessie Vargas, Rances Barthelemy and Omar Figueroa then took 14 months out before returning with win over useful Luis Solis in February. A loss here would have been huge setback but instead he has a good win and victory No 24 by KO/TKO. Ramirez, 25, paid the price for not showing more respect to the former champion as DeMarco was a huge step up from his other opponents. No reason why he can’t come again.
Marroquin vs. Tamayo
Marroquin continues to rebuild with a stoppage of Tamayo. The tall fighter from Dallas took a couple of rounds to break Tamayo down but floored the Mexican in the third. He kept up the pressure and put Tamayo down again in the fourth and on the third knockdown in the fifth the referee stopped the fight. The 28-year-old won his first 19 fights before losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux in a too ambitious shot at the WBA super bantam title in 2012. A 3-2-1 spell was disappointing and he took 13 months out before returning in June with a win. Southpaw Tamayo has very brave management. He has now lost seven fights in a row against tough opposition such as Jesus Cuellar, Oscar Valdez, and Joseph Diaz. Going into this one his last six opponents had combined records of 128-2-2!

Click here for Part II.


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