The Past Week in Action 24 May 2017 - Part I
By Eric Armit
Thu, 25 May 2017
-11 world title fights
-Japan goes 6-1 in 7 world title fights
-Americans Terrence Crawford, Gary Russell and Gervonta Davis all win inside the distance in their title defences
- Plenty of incidents including Andre Dirrell winning the interim IBF title whilst on the floor and his uncle assaulting Andre?s opponent Jose Uzcategui in the ring and much more in an action packed incident filled week of boxing
Paris, France: Super Welter: Cedric Vitu (46-2) W TKO 10 Marcello Matano (17-3). Light: Marvin Petit (21-1-1) W PTS 12 Jerobe Santana (15-1). Light Heavy: Serhiy Demchenko (18-11-1) W TEC DEC 5 Hakim Zoulikha (24-9). Light Heavy: Louis Toutin (7-0) W KO 1 Hugo Kasperski (29-8-1). Super Feather: Samir Ziani (25-3-1) W PTS 10 Samir Kasmi (22-12-1). Cruiser: Siril Makiadi (8-1) W KO 1Herve Lofidi (5-2).
Vitu vs. Matano
Vitu win IBF eliminator with stoppage of Matano. Vitu used his southpaw jab to take the first round and added uppercuts from the same hand before shaking Matano with a left hook in the second. Matano was also cut over the right eyebrow and bleeding from the nose. Despite that he was pressing hard and Vitu was standing and trading instead of using his physical advantages. Matano did not have the power to hurt Vitu and was rocked by a series of punches in the fourth but Vitu seemed to be cruising doing some showboating and taunting and that was allowing Matano to score with hooks to the head and body and get into the fight. Matano continue his forward march and was outworking Vitu and things seemed to have swung his way as a bruise was forming under the left eye of the Frenchman. Vitu changed that late in the ninth when he floored Matano with a right. The volume of noise was so loud that the bell was not heard and the round overran slightly. Vitu put Matano down again in the tenth and although he was up at four the referee took a careful look at him and stopped the fight. The 31-year-old Vitu has lost only once in his last 29 fights and has won 11 fights in a row. With the first two positions in the IBF ratings vacant Vitu was the highest rated fighter at No 3 and as Matano was No 4 Vitu now has a win over a rated fighter so can go to No 1 and get a shot at Jarrett Hurd. Matano fought bravely here but was outgunned. His No 4 rating was farcical. He was stopped in seven rounds by Julian Williams in March last year and in his only fight since then he beat a guy with a 2-57-1and that was enough to elevate him to the second top place in the IBF ratings. What a farce.
Petit vs. Santana
Petit wins the vacant European Union title with unanimous decision over Spaniard Santana. Petit got into his stride first scoring well with uppercuts inside as Santana tried to use his edges in height and reach to keep the fight on the outside. The Frenchman was strong, more aggressive and had quicker hands. He was able to get past the Spaniard?s jab and Santana had to fight from the third round with a nose injury. Petit was coming forward most of the fight with Santana not really using his jab well and not throwing enough punches. There had been bad blood before the fight when Petit pushed Santana and it was the same in the fight with Petit pushing Santana onto the back foot and dominating the action scoring with short hooks and uppercuts inside. Although slow and one paced Santana eventually made some improvement over the closing rounds. He was able to slow Petit with body punches and force the action but by then the fight was Petit?s. The Frenchman showed some clever defensive work when under pressure and Santana put in a big effort in the last round but despite an anomaly in the scoring Petit ran out a clear winner. Scores 118-109, 118-110 and a too close 115-113. The only loss suffered by 26-year-old Petit was a wafer-thin decision against Yvon Mendy for the French title in 2013 and this is his eighth win on the bounce since then. The 24-year-old ?Chocolatito? Santana from Las Palmas, the WBC Youth champion, had no complaints about the verdict.
Demchenko vs. Zoulikha
Demchenko wins the European Union title with split technical decision over champion Zoulikha. Demchenko is very one dimensional. He uses a left jab to both score and keep his opponents off balance. When he does use his right or employs his left as anything but a jab he can be crude. However Zoulikha had a lot of problems in trying to get past the jab and although using a wider variety of punches he was too often short or inaccurate. For Demchenko it was jab, jab, jab and some overhand rights. Zoulikha was having to leap in and fire quick burst. He had some success with clubbing rights making it a close fight. Demchenko had been cut over his left eye in the second round and a clash of heads in the fifth saw the cut bleeding heavily so the fight was stopped and went to the scorecards with two judges going 48-47 for Demchenko and the third seeing Zoulikha in front 49-46. The 37-year-old Rome-based Ukrainian Demchenko first won this title with a fine win over Mirco Ricci in March last year but relinquished it to fight a losing battle with Mehdi Amar for the European title in June. Former French champion Zoulikha, 30 had a bad run of four losses in a row but rebounded last year with three wins including a victory over Kevin Thomas Cojean to win the vacant European Union title.
Toutin vs. Kasperski
A new star is born as teenager Toutin wins the French title. The experienced Kasperski was defending the national title for the first time and made a confident start. He was getting through with jabs and some nice hooks with Toutin landing some choice hooks of his own. Kasperski landed a sharp right uppercut to the chin of the youngster and Toutin responded immediately with a vicious left hook to the body. Kasperski back away bent in half in agony and went down on one knee. He tried to get up and made it half way but the pain was too much and he dropped to his knees as the referee completed the ten count. Toutin has won all of his fights by KO/TKO and is now the French champion despite having less than 13 rounds on his ledger. The young gypsy is hoping to emulate Julien Lorcy, the only boxer from the French gypsy community to win a version of a world title. Kasperski, a former French super middle champion, gets his first loss by KO/TKO which makes Toutin?s achievement even more spectacular.
Ziani vs. Kasmi
This one was the best fight of the night as Ziani gained revenge for a 2013 loss and regained the French title by a majority verdict. Demchenko must have used up the allotment of jabs for the night as neither of these fighters employed one. It was toe-to-toe, head-to-head stuff from first to last. They both elected to stand and trade hooks, uppercuts, swings and a few punches which were a combination of all three. The pace was hectic with a lot of offence and very little defence on show. They kept that pace up all the way. Kasmi was hindered by a cut over his left eye but in the end it was the strength of Ziani that decided the fight. He had Kasmi finally taking a step back and stumbling along the ropes in the ninth and after Kasmi was on top for the early part of the last the strength and firepower of Ziani had Kasmi pinned on the ropes and under pressure at the bell. Scores 97-93 and 97-94 for Ziani and 95-95. A great little scrap. The 26-year-old Ziani was due to win a close fight. His loss to Kasmi saw one card have a two point difference and one a one point difference in favour of Kasmi. When he lost to Richard Commey in 2014 two of the scores were 96-94 for Commey and when he was beaten by Guillame Frenois for the European title in November all three judges had it 115-113 for Frenois. Naturally his aim now is another fight with Frenois. Former European Union champion Kasmi is now 7-3 in his last 10 fights but loses only against top flight opposition.
Makiadi vs. Lofidi
Makiadi wins the vacant French title with dramatic kayo of Lofidi. Lofidi came out punching and had Makiadi on the back foot. He was quicker and had the better technical ability. He took Makiadi to the ropes a couple of times landing some hard rights. He continued to press the fight forcing Makiadi to the ropes again and moving in throwing punches. He was carrying his left hand low and Makiadi landed a booming right to the chin. Lofidi staggered back on wobbly legs and Makiadi now drove Lofidi to the ropes and landed a dozen chopping rights that put Lofidi down on his back half out under the ropes and the referee waived the fight over without a count. After not turning pro until he was 32 and losing his first pro fight the well-educated financial consultant has now won 8 in a row, 3 by KO/TKO. Lofidi also lost his first pro fight and was a slight favourite here.
Tucson, AZ, USA: Super Bantam: Diego De La Hoya (18-0) W PTS 10 Erik Ruiz (16-7-1). Super Middle: D?Mitrius Ballard (17-0,1ND) W PTS 10 Adrian Luna (20-5-1). Light: Robert Manzanarez (35-1) W PTS 8 Erick Daniel Martinez (13-7-1).
De La Hoya vs. Ruiz
De La Hoya marches on with wide unanimous decision over game Ruiz. In a fast-paced bout Ruiz was marching forward trying to turn the fight into a brawl and he had some success in the opening round. After that De La Hoya was boxing skilfully on the back foot banging home counters and firing home quick bursts of combinations. The skill and hand speed together win some good defensive work saw a maturing De La Hoya dominating the action. The sixth and ninth rounds were pure war with both standing and trading hard punches and Ruiz staged a strong finish at the end of the last round but De La Hoya was quicker and more accurate and the decision was never in doubt. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 but Ruiz gave De La Hoya a harder fight than those scores indicate. The 22-year-old Mexican had first cousin Oscar at ringside and was celebrating the birth of his first child last month. He is maturing and improving but needs stiffer tests to enable an assessment of how far he can go. He is rated IBF 6(4)/WBC7/WBO 10 with his best wins over Jesus Ruiz and Orlando Del Valle. Oxnard-based Ruiz is now 3-5-1 in his last 9 fights but in there are a draw with Horacio Garcia (30-1) and a win over Hanzel Martinez (23-2) so a credible opponent..
Ballard vs. Douglin
Ballard gets his toughest fight so far and only just squeezes past Luna. Ballard built an early lead and he needed it in the end. After edging a furious first round Ballard put Luna down with a right in the second. Luna beat the count and was still feeling the effects of the punch in the third. From the fourth Luna started to roll and Ballard found himself in a real donnybrook. Luna was taking the fight to Ballard with Ballard having to show good defensive work to match Luna?s aggression. Luna had a good eighth when he had Ballard badly shaken and took the ninth but Ballard battled back and did what he had to do to take the last. Scores 95-94 twice and 97-92 all for Ballard with the knockdown in the second round the deciding factor. The 24-year-old ?Big Meech? Ballard wins the vacant WBC USNBC title, his first title as a pro. As an amateur he was National Golden Gloves champion in 2010 and 2011, the US Under-19 champion, National PAL gold medallist and US Ringside World champion. Luna was very much a surprise package. This was his first fight in the USA and he came in as a late replacement. There was nothing in his record that said he would be this tough but the 27-year-old ?Tyson? nearly provided a shock.
Manzanarez vs. Martinez
Southpaw Manzanarez continues his winning ways as he takes every round against fellow Mexican Martinez. Scores 80-72 from all three judges. The 22-year-old Phoenix-born Manzanarez turned pro at 15 and has reversed his only loss. He now has 14 wins in a row 11 of those by KO/TKO. ?Facebook? Martinez drops to 2-7 in his last 9 fights.
Panama City, Panama: Feather: Jorge Sanchez (17-2) W PTS 10 Bryan De Gracia (20-1-1). Super Feather: Irving Berry (23-6-2) W RTD 3 Eliecer Lanzas (17-10-3). |Super Feather: Jaime Arboleda (10-0) W RTD 4 Jorge Mendez (4-4-1).
Sanchez vs. De Gracia
?Bufalo? Sanchez pulls off a minor upset as he takes the decision and ruins the unbeaten record of fellow-Panamanian De Gracia with a very close unanimous decision. De Gracia used his height and reach to build an early lead. Sanchez had more success getting inside from the fifth round and De Gracia lost his way and started to fade out of the fight. Scores 96-94 from all three judges for Sanchez. After winning his first 15 fights Sanchez suffered back-to-back losses in 2016 against Gavin McDonnell and Venezuelan Franklin Manzanilla but this victory will put him back in the ratings. ?The Rock? De Gracia, 23, had won 8 of his last 9 fights by KO/TKO. After drawing his first pro fight his 20 wins had seen him rated WBA8 and WBC 13 but he will have a rebuilding job to do and is looking first for a return with Sanchez.
Berry vs. Lanzas
Berry returns with a win after almost three years away from the sport. He was much too good for mediocre Nicaraguan Lanzas who retired after three rounds. The 31-year-old Berry lost to Argentinian Jonathan Barros for the WBA secondary feather title in 2010. He retired in 2014 after losing 4 fights against very high class opposition. Six losses by KO/TKO now for Lanzas who is 3-6-1 in his last 10 fights.
Arboleda vs. Mendez
Arboleda has an easy one as he beats up Nicaraguan Mendez for four rounds with Mendez retiring at the end of the fourth. The classy 22-year-old Panamanian makes it 8 wins by KO/TKO. He is looked upon as one of the best prospects in Panama having won a gold medal at the Central American Championships and also at National level. He comes from a boxing family. His late brother Jose was a world rated fighter who died in an car accident in 2009 at the age of 27and brother Jesus who is serving a six year jail sentence. He is managed by Ernesto Marcel Junior the son of the great Panamanian world champion. He is already rated No 7 by the WBA and one to watch. First loss inside the distance for low grade opponent Mendez.
Hamburg, Germany: Light Heavy: Igor Mikhalkin (20-1) W PTS 12 Thomas Oosthuizen (27-1-2). Heavy: Christian Hammer (22-4) W PTS 10 Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf (22-6-1). Cruiser: Mario Daser (13-0) W TKO 3 Ola Afolabi (22-6-4). Super Light: Fatih Keles (9-0) W PTS 10 Rafik Harutjunjian (10-2). Super Welter: Sebastian Formella (15-0) W PTS 10 Denis Krieger (13-5-2).
Mikhalkin vs. Oosthuizen
Mikhalkin wins the vacant IBO title with unanimous decision over Oosthuizen in an all-southpaw contest. Oosthuizen made a good start using his big advantages in height and reach. He was able to box on the outside stabbing home the jab and landing straight southpaw lefts. Mikhalkin struggled to get past the jab but he had a better second round closing the distance with Oosthuizen not being as mobile. The fight did not deviate from that pattern. Mikhalkin was pressing getting inside and working away with both hands with Oosthuizen too often finding himself pinned to the ropes and unable to make use of his jab. Mikhalkin ramped up the pressure as the rounds went by and Oosthuizen slowed and his work rate and accuracy fell away. Mikhalkin suffered a small cut over his left eye in a clash of heads but it was never a factor. Mikhalkin scored with some neck-jerking head punches in the eighth then Oosthuizen stormed forward throughout the ninth trying to turn the fight around but Mikhalkin did some good defensive work and countered the South African?s attacks. Over the closing rounds the Russian simply outboxed and out punched a tired Oosthuizen and ran out a clear winner. Scores 118-110 twice and 118-109 all for Mikhalkin. The 31-year-old former undefeated European champion returned from a one year ban for a positive test with a low level win in March. That positive test cost him his European title and his world rating but this win puts him back in the picture. Oosthuizen, 29, a former IBO super middle champion has shown indiscipline which has seen him have only three fight in the last two years. He has let down those who built him and effectively thrown away his career. He does not seem to understand that when you bite the hand that feeds you it could result in you getting the finger!
Hammer vs. Benmakhlouf
Hammer struggles to retain his WBO European title just squeezing past Algerian-born Benmakhlouf. The challenger took the first two rounds being the busier fighter and holding off late rallies from Hammer in both rounds. Hammer did not look to be in the best condition and was behind on points at the half way mark. From the sixth Benmakhlouf tired and his work rate dropped. Hammer floored Benmakhlouf late in the sixth and that proved important in the scoring. Hammer also had a good seventh pinning Benmakhlouf on the ropes and pounding away to the body. The eighth and ninth were close with Hammer probably doing just enough to edge them but Benmakhlouf finished the stronger and took the tenth. Scores 96-94 twice and 96-93 for Hammer with that sixth round knockdown being the main factor in Hammer?s win. The 29-year-old Hamburg-based Romanian is 14-1 in his last 15 fights losing to Tyson Fury and beating Erkan Teper and David Price. He is No 2 with the WBO but was not impressive here. The 40-year-old Benmakhlouf is really just a cruiserweight and in that division he suffered losses to Roy Jones Jr. for the WBU title in 2013 and Taylor Mabika for the WBFederation title in his last fight in December.
Daser vs. Afolabi
Daser wins the vacant IBO International title with victory over a shadow of the fighter Afolabi once was. Afolabi was competitive over the first round. Daser looked bigger and stronger and was forcing Afolabi back but Afolabi was countering with combinations. There was a short break as Daser was given time to recover from a low left from Afolabi. That was as good as it got for Afolabi. Daser was bulling and bullying Afolabi around the ring in the second. Daser was drilling home body punches with Afolabi visibly wilting and it was no surprise when he slumped to one knee after a couple of body punches. He slowly got to his feet and was trapped on the ropes taking punches at the bell. Daser continued to punish Afolabi?s body in the third. Afolabi tried to punch back but had no power and eventually after a couple more thumps to the body from Daser he dropped to his knees. The referee started the count but Afolabi?s corner man jumped into the ring and the fight was stopped. Daser wins the vacant IBO International and, although there is some doubt about it, the WBO European titles. The 28-year-old Daser is a self-made property millionaire. He turned pro in 2009 and up to 2011 he scored 11 wins. He was then inactive for five years. The 37-year-old former IBO and interim WBO champion Afolabi was having his first fight for 15 months and hopefully his last. A whole storm of abuse was hurled at Afolabi for his poor performance and the WBO supervisor indicated they would refuse to recognise the fight as for their European title. Afolabi?s response to the abuse was to advise that he had suffered an arm injury in training two weeks before the fight but was not about to turn down the EURO 160,000 as it was the biggest purse he had ever received. He felt the sport owed him something for all the bad breaks he had suffered so did not regret his performance.
Keles vs. Harutjunjian
Keles wins the vacant WBO European title but Dutch-based Armenian Harutjunjian could feel he was more than a little unlucky. There was never much between them. Keles looked the harder puncher but neither fighter was in any trouble in the fight. A draw would have been a fairer decision but Keles had ?home? advantage and took the decision. Scores 97-92, 96-95 and 95-94 for Keles. The 27-year-old Turk, a former European gold medallist and Olympian, will now probably get a WBO top 15 rating but he still has a long way to go. Harutjunjian, 29, had been stopped in three rounds by Filipino Sonny Katiandagho in July last year but had scored a win over Felix Lora in October.
Formella vs. Krieger
Formella wins the vacant IBO Continental title with wide points victory over Moldovan Krieger. The German used his longer reach to control the fight and Krieger found it hard to land with anything of note due to the excellent defensive work from Formella. Just when it looked as though Formella was on cruise control Krieger finally found the target with a left hook and Formella was on the floor. He was shaken but after the count took control again and boxed his way to victory without any more scares although Krieger fought hard enough to make an entertaining contest. Scores 97-92 twice and 98-92 all for the 29-year-old Formella. The Polish-born dockyard crane driver is a former Global Boxing Council champion and has been matched careful against some experienced but moderate opposition and is building a good following. Hamburg-based Krieger is now 1-4 in his last 5 fights.
Bolton: Super Feather: Zelfa Barrett (17-0) W PTS 10 Eusebio Osejo (28-21-3,1ND). Heavy: Alex Ustinov (34-1) W TKO 1 Raphael Zumbano (39-15-1), Light Heavy: Luke Blackledge (23-3-2) W TKO Olegs Fedotovs (22-31).
Barrett vs. Osejo
Barrett scores two knockdowns on the way to a points win over competitive Osejo. A confident Osejo launched some furious attacks in the first and had obviously come to fight. He even found time for some early showboating. Barrett was boxing cleverly on the back foot, planting home sharp accurate counters and slowly taking charge of the fight. After outboxing the aggressive Osejo for most of the fourth round Barrett landed a couple of flashing combinations and then dumped Osejo on the seat of his pants with a peach of a left hook. Osejo was up quickly and the bell went at the end of the count. Osejo kept trying to force the fight with Barrett finding more and more gaps for his jab and quick counters. Barrett dished out some severe punishment in the eighth in the form of hooks to head and body and in the ninth finished a series of fast punches with a booming right that put Osejo flat on his back on the floor. The gutsy Nicaraguan beat the count and then just stood in front of Barrett trading punch after punch. He was rocked by more rights but made it to the bell and Barrett showed his admiration for Osejo?s fighting spirit by touching gloves at the end of the round. Barrett rocked Osejo a couple more times in the tenth but Osejo deservedly made it to the bell. Referee?s score 99-90. The 23-year-ol Barrett has good skills and had won his previous 7 fights by KO/TKO. He showed his ability and his power here. Osejo did a great job of giving Barrett ten tough rounds. The Spanish-based Nicaraguan is 0-8-1 in his last 9 fights but there is a draw with Kiko Martinez and a split verdict loss to Evgeny Gradovich in there and he gives value for money.
Ustinov vs. Zumbano
Ustinov gets first round win in a travesty of a fight. Zumbano was down in the first 30 seconds although it looked more like a push than a punch. Ustinov then proceeded to batter Zumbano around the ring with the Brazilian occasionally trying to punch back. A series of chopping rights finally convinced the referee he had seen enough and he stopped the fight. Now 25 wins by KO/TKO for the 6?7 ?? (202cm) from Belarus. It is a sign of how bad the WBA are that this 40-year-old lumbering giant is their No 3. He has earned this high position by beating rivals such as Travis Walker, Maurice Harris and Konstantin Airich. It would be funny if it was not so serious. Zumbano is really just a record padder who loses anytime he tries to move up.
Blackledge vs. Fedotovs
Former undefeated Commonwealth champion Blackledge eased his way back into the winning column with a stoppage of Latvian Fedotovs. Blackledge was on top all the way and the Latvian?s corner threw in the towel in the fourth to save their man further punishment. First fight for Blackledge since his loss to Callum Smith for the British title in December. His other losses have been to Erik Skoglund on a very close decision in Denmark and to Rocky Fielding and he will be looking to get a couple of wins under his belt and then go for a title. Fedotovs is now 1-9 in his last 10 fights.
Pont-Audemer, France: Fly: Thomas Masson (17-3-1) W TKO 9 Olek Hryshchuk (16-1). Bantam: Georges Ory (8-2-1) W PTS 10 Jeremy Beccu (10-4).
Masson vs. Hryshchuk
Masson wins the vacant European title with dramatic ninth round stoppage of Hryshchuk. Always a slow starter Masson ceded the first two rounds to the busier Ukrainian but then made good use of his longer reach to outbox Hryshchuk. After four rounds two judges had it 38-38 and the third had Masson in front 39-37. The Frenchman continued to outscore Hryshchuk over the middle rounds. It was the classier work and harder punch of Masson against the higher work rate from Hryshchuk. After Masson looked to have just edged the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds Hryshchuk battled back to take the eighth and although behind on two cards at 78-74, 77-75 one judge had him in front 77-76 and he seemed to be starting a roll. That ended in the ninth when a devastating uppercut sent Hryshchuk down on one knee. He indicated to the referee that he was badly hurt and the referee stopped the fight. A former undefeated French and European champion Masson was out for almost a year due to a knee injury but having won his last 9 fights will now be looking to land a world title shot. Hryshchuk was having his first fight outside the Ukraine and his record includes 9 wins over fighters who either had never had a fight or never won a fight but he did get a technical decision over useful Filipino Jason Canoy and was very much in this one until the dramatic finish
Ory vs. Beccu
Ory wins the vacant French title with unanimous decision over former top amateur Beccu. Ory had lost a close unanimous decision to Beccu in 2015 and had lost his last fight but he produced the goods here. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 97-94. Beccu was French amateur champion in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and competed at both the European Championships and the Olympic Games but he has now failed in two attempts at the national title and it looks as though he is not going to make it beyond domestic level as a pro.
Ontario, CA, USA: Feather: Erick Ituarte (17-1-1) W PTS 8 Isaac Zarate (12-3-2).
Ituarte climbs off the floor and gets split verdict over Zarate in a fight promoted to main event when feature fighter Giovanni Santillan was refused permission to fight due to dehydration from making the weight. Ituarte was generally pressing the fight with southpaw Zarate boxing on the retreat showing good defensive moves and sharp counters. In the third round one of those counters in the shape of a left hook put Ituarte down. He beat the count and the fight continued to be a close one to the final bell. Scores 76-75 twice for Ituarte and 77-74 for Zarate. Ituarte wins the vacant NABF Junior title. A 22-year-old Mexican based in Santa Ana, California, Ituarte now has 10 wins in a row, 9 of them on points. Zarate, also Mexican, was having only his second fight in 19 months.
New York, NY, USA: Super Light: Terrence Crawford (31-0) W RTD 10 Felix Diaz (19-2). Light: Ray Beltran (33-7-1,1ND) W KO 2 Jonathan Maicelo (25-3,1ND). Welter: Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) W PTS 8 Ed Paredes (38-7-1). Light Heavy: Steven Nelson (7-0) W TKO 2 Gilberto Rubio (7-6). Super Light: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) W PTS 8 Agustine Mauras (6-3-3). Feather: Shakur Stevenson (2-0) W TKO 1 Carlos Suarez (6-4-2).
Crawford vs. Diaz
Once again Crawford outclasses an opponent as he slowly breaks down Dominican Diaz to force a tenth round retirement
Crawford cruised through the first round. He worked his way around the smaller Diaz stabbing through jabs and easily evading Diaz?s attempts to get close.
Score 10-9 Crawford
Diaz increased his aggression in the second but it made no difference. Crawford continued to slot home his jabs and short left hooks and dodge, turn or tie-up Diaz when he got close.
Score 10-9 Crawford 20-18
Diaz managed to close the gap a little in the third but Crawford was giving another boxing master class. He was not loading up on his punches but was making Diaz pay as he marched in and scoring with short hooks.
Score 10-9 Crawford 30-27
Crawford was noticeably sitting down on his punches more in the fourth. Diaz was still pressing but in his frustration leaving more gaps for counters as he lunged forward,
Score 10-9 Crawford 40-36
Diaz had no choice but to continue to bull forward and every time he threw a punch he was leaving a gap through which Crawford threaded a counter and a left uppercut was the class punch of the fight so far. Diaz finally began to get through with some punches as the round continued and a strong finish saw him make it the closest round so far but Crawford?s accuracy gave him the round.
Score 10-9 Crawford 50-45
Crawford dominated this one. He outboxed the challenger from outside and when he stayed in the pocket was scoring with short hooks and then dodging out again with Diaz swishing air
Score 10-9 Crawford 60-54
There was plenty of action in the seventh. Diaz was just walking forward ignoring Crawford?s punches and scoring with swinging lefts and rights. Crawford turned the tables forcing Diaz to the ropes and scoring with hooks. Crawford let himself down with some taunting as Diaz decided to stay on the ropes and let Crawford come to him as the champion did enough to add that round to his tally.
Score 10-9 Crawford 70-63
Crawford gave out another boxing lesson in the eighth. Diaz did not seem able to decide whether he needed to be going forward or make Crawford come to him but it made no difference. Crawford scored with jabs hooks and uppercuts and looked to have hurt Diaz with a left to the body just before the bell.
Score 10-9 Crawford 80-72
All of the fight seemed to have gone out of Diaz in the ninth. He spent the whole round with his back against the ropes as Crawford teed off with right hooks to the ribs and clubbing lefts with Diaz just looking defend and hardly throwing a punch.
Score 10-9 Crawford 90-81
Diaz?s left eye was nearly closed but he survived a doctor?s inspection at the start of the round. Diaz was mainly focused on survival. He fought in spurts and near the end of the round was staggered by some blazing left uppercuts and right hooks and Diaz corner pulled their man out of the fight.
Score 10-9 Crawford 100-90
Another masterly display by Crawford as he makes the fifth defence of his WBO title and second of his WBC title. It is difficult to see who in this division can match the 29-year-old from Omaha. Jason Pagara is his mandatory WBO challenger and Amir Imam his WBC but neither poses a threat. Namibian Julius Indongo was imperious in outclassing Ricky Burns and Rances Barthelemy is on a good run but Crawford would be favoured to beat them both. Mikey Garcia could come up from lightweight but it will soon be time for Crawford to move up and look for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, or the winner between Kell Brook and Errol Spence. Dominican Diaz, a former Olympic gold medal winner, has taken almost eight years to work his way to a title shot. He has a future but is unlikely to get another title shot.
Beltran vs. Maicelo
Beltran wins short and brutal fight as he climbs off the floor to kayo Maicelo. Beltran was walking Maicelo down with the Peruvian on the back foot shooting out jabs. As Maicelo lunged forward he threw a couple of light body punches and his head banged into Beltran?s face and Beltran went over to the floor. Beltran?s was up immediately tapping his head to show it was not a punch but the referee applied the eight count. Beltran had suffered a cut over his left eye in the collision. When the action restarted Beltran continued tracking Maicelo then their heads clashed and the fight was paused due to a cut on the top of Maicelo?s head. They exchanged shots and Maicelo seemed to be rocked just before the bell. Maicelo was coming forward throwing punches in the second and putting Beltran on the back foot. That came to an end when Beltran exploded a left hook on Maicelo?s chin which put the Peruvian down on his back out cold. The referee waived the count. Maicelo was down for quite a while and eventually was taken from the ring on a stretcher but waived to show he was OK. Beltran wins the vacant WBA International title. He drew with Ricky Burns and lost a wide decision to Terrence Crawford in WBO title fights. He did beat Takahiro Ao for the vacant WBO title but failed to make the weight and was then banned for a positive test. Following an impressive win over Mason Menard in December he was rated WBO 2/IBF 3(2)/WBC 4/WBA 12 so another title challenge is almost a certainty. Maicelo, 33, lost to Darleys Perez for the interim WBA title in 2015 but had put himself back in the picture with wins over Brandon Bennett (19-1) and Jose Felix (35-1-1).
Ponomarev vs. Paredes
Ponomarev outworks Paredes for a well deserved unanimous decision Ponomarev made a busy start. Paredes had slight edges in height and reach but Ponomarev was quicker and used his jab to put Paredes on the back foot. Paredes landed a good countering left with Ponomarev showing a small injury over his right eye. Ponomarev kept Paredes on the back foot over the second and third rounds. He was scoring well with his jab and quick combinations. Paredes showed a good jab but was throwing too few punches. Ponomarev dominated the early part of the fourth but then Paredes unleashed a series of hard head punches which had been missing from his armoury to this point. Ponomarev took over again in the fifth and never let Paredes back into the fight. He was outworking Paredes out jabbing him and scoring inside with left hooks and uppercuts. Paredes work rate dropped. He was still able to slot home stiff jabs and momentarily halt Ponomarev with a right in the sixth but Ponomarev just kept coming with Paredes seemingly giving up on any chance of winning and just looking to stay the distance. They both threw some heavy punches in the last. Ponomarev seemed to shake Paredes with a right and he was still coming forward at the bell. Scores 78-74 for Ponomarev from all three judges. The 24-year-old Russian ?Talent? who turned pro at 17, has good wins over Cosme Rivera, Steve Claggett, Mikael Zewski and Brad Solomon and is rated IBF5/WBO 6/WBA 8. His mother tried to interest him in football, break dancing, basketball and playing the guitar but he chose boxing. When he was 16 a broken wrist caused him to miss the Russian championships so he turned pro at 17. Paredes was once world rated after a 14-0-1 run but then fell away. He had won his last two fights.
Nelson vs. Rubio
Nelson blows away Rubio inside four minutes. . Nelson almost ended it in the first when he floored Rubio with a blistering combination late in the round. Rubio only just beat the count and the punch had also opened a cut over his right eye. Nelson wasted no time in ending it in the second. He put Rubio down twice with body punches and the referee stopped it with just 36 seconds gone in the round. ?So Cold? Nelson, 28, a boyhood pal of Crawford?s, was an Army and US Services champion. He served as a Satellite Communications technician and did a stint in Afghanistan. He went to the Olympic Games in London as an alternate for Marcus Brown but was not needed. He has six wins by KO/TKO. Rubio has lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
Gaibnazarov vs. Mauras
Olympic champion Gaibnazarov blew his first opponent away in 86 seconds so a gutsy Mauras did a good job here of taking the Uzbek prospect the full eight rounds. Southpaw Gaibnazarov is a class act He has oodles of skill and easily outboxed Mauras but never really had him in trouble as he eased his way to winning every round and getting some useful ring time on his record. Scores 80-72 from all three judges. The 25-year-old former World Amateur champion took the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics where he beat Gary Antuanne Russell in the quarter-finals. He looks a can?t miss prospect. Mauras started with a 6-0-3 run in the pros but has now lost his last three on points.
Stevenson vs. Suarez
For Stevenson the situation was the reverse of that of Gaibnazarov. The Olympic silver medallist had to go into the full six rounds for his first pro win but this one took him less than three minutes. He went straight after Suarez scoring with long southpaw lefts. Suarez?s only answer was some head down wild swings. Stevenson continued to hunt the Argentinian down and worked him over on the ropes. A straight right and a left hook staggered Suarez. As Suarez lunged forward a chopping right to the head sent him face down on the canvas. As he tried to get up he fell backwards and the referee stopped the fight. The 19-year-old from Newark is a star in the making. Argentinian Suarez was 1-0-2 in his last three fights but had no chance here.
London, England: Super Feather: Gervonta Davis (18-0) W TKO 3 Liam Walsh (21-1). Feather: Ryan Walsh (22-2-1) W TKO 11 Marco McCullough (17-4). Super Welter: Joe Pigford (13-0) W KO 5 Aarron Morgan (12-1). Light Heavy: Anthony Yarde (11-0) W TKO 4 Chris Hobbs (6-2-1). Heavy: Daniel Dubois (3-0) W KO 1 David Howe (13-5).
Davis vs. Walsh
Davis retains the IBF title with controversial stoppage of Walsh inside three rounds with controversy over whether the fight was stopped too early.
Walsh had slight advantages in height and reach and after starting in his normal southpaw stance changed to orthodox in the round. Davis stuck with southpaw, was quick with his jab and tried a few hooks and did just enough to take the round
Score 10-9 Davis
Davis started the second round feinting attacks to draw the lead and counter. Walsh was again boxing with an orthodox stance and landed a good straight right. Davis became more aggressive over the late part of the round and Walsh switched back to southpaw but neither fighter did enough to win the round.
Score 10-10 20-19
Davis was standing hands down in the third again looking to draw the lead and counter. He then went on the attack throwing mainly straight lefts. Davis had stepped up the pace and he shook Walsh badly with an overhand left. Walsh tried to clinch but Davis shook him off and Walsh danced across the ring with his hands down. Davis followed him and landed two more lefts then a right followed by a chopping left that sent Walsh to the floor. Walsh knelt watching the referee?s count and got up slowly at eight and his legs did a little wobble. The referee had a look at him then let the action continue. Davis walked in landing two more lefts to the head knocking Walsh sideward?s and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
It looked an early stoppage although Walsh?s legs were unsteady after the count and Davis was poised for another knockdown. The referee has to make these instant decisions and it is always better that if he errs at all then it is on the side of safety and although Walsh did have a strong case for being allowed to continue the referee called it as he saw it. The 22-year-old Davis was making the first defence of the IBF title he won with a stoppage of Jose Pedraza in January. It took him three attempts to make the IBF imposed weight check on the day of the fight but he has now scored nine wins in a row by KO/TKO. Walsh, 30, the former undefeated British and Commonwealth champion had the additional disappointment of never getting a chance to really get into the fight and show his undoubted qualities.
Walsh vs. McCullough
Ryan makes it a promising start to the evening for the Walsh family as he retains the British title with a stoppage of McCullough. This was a fast-paced contest from the first bell. Walsh showed plenty of confidence switching guard and throwing fast shots with McCullough having the longer reach just probing with his jab. McCullough had the better of the second round as he made good use of his jab and scored with some heavy straight rights. McCullough again boxed well in the third but Walsh found the target with rights and had McCullough shaken by a pair of rights at the bell. Walsh took the fourth. Late in the round he landed an overhand right and then sent McCullough staggering with a left uppercut and followed that with a hard right. He had McCullough pinned on the ropes but some good upper body movement from McCullough stopped Walsh from landing anything else of substance. McCullough recovered well in the fifth fighting behind his jab and probably doing enough to share the fifth and take the sixth as Walsh change to southpaw in both rounds. In the seventh McCullough was stabbing his jab home with Walsh just not throwing much. That changed late in the round when Walsh shook McCullough with a straight right and had McCullough under pressure to the bell. Walsh had a big eighth as he upped the pace landed some heavy punches and drove McCullough around the ring. McCullough just did not have the power to keep Walsh out. The ninth went to McCullough as he worked hard behind the jab and Walsh did not start letting his punches go until the last 30 seconds. McCullough needed a knockout but it was Walsh who had the power. Late in the tenth he hurt McCullough and drove him to the ropes. Instead of fading McCullough banged back and the exchanged heavy punches with McCullough actually stopping Walsh in his tracks with a right. After another of these ridiculous delays whilst the tape on McCullough?s gloves was reattached Walsh hurt McCullough with a right. And then pinned McCullough on the ropes firing punch after punch until the referee stopped the fight. Walsh, 30, was having his first fight since losing a split decision to Dane Dennis Ceylan for the vacant European title in October. His only other loss was on points against current IBF champion Lee Selby in 2013 and he has the ability to shoot again for the European title or even a world crown. Belfast?s McCullough, 27, had won 5 of his last six fights. He showed excellent skills but just did not have the power to match Walsh
Pigford vs. Morgan
Pigford?s power proves too much for Morgan in a clash of unbeaten fighters. Pigford had height and reach over Morgan and throughout the fight was able to stab home his long lefts. He also found the target with right crosses from distance. Despite the difference in height Morgan was also able to thread jabs through Pigford?s defence. Morgan kept trying to get inside but was having to take punishment to get there. By the fourth Pigford was on top with Morgan having difficulty getting past the jab. They both threw punches after the bell to end the fourth. It is not often you see it but before the start of the fifth the referee indicated to the judges to take a point from both fighters for that after the bell action. Morgan continued to try to work his way inside in the fifth but was caught by a left hook and then a right to the top of the head staggered him. He tottered into the ropes and Pigford followed and landed four rights to the head that put Morgan down heavily and the referee stopped the fight immediately. The 24-year-old from Southampton has won 12 of his 13 fights by KO/TKO and this is his tenth win in a row that way. Morgan had won 8 of his fights by KO/TKO and he was competitive to the end but Pigford was just too big and strong for him.
Yarde vs. Hobbs
Yarde showed his power from the start. He was landing thunderous right crosses and solid left hooks to the body. Hobbs tried to fire back but dropped to his knees after a left hook to the body from Yarde with the bell going as the eight count was completed. Yarde stalked Hobbs throughout the second and shook him with a long right late in the round. Hobbs was mainly on the defensive launching only a few attacks of his own. He tried to survive the third by getting in close and clinching but a left hook to the body dropped him to his knees. He beat the count and went on the retreat but was floored by another body punch at the end of the round. Hobbs was dropped again early in the fourth touching down briefly. He was down twice more and whilst the referee was counting the towel was being waived for the fight to be stopped. The 25-year-old Yarde is impressive. He fights with a casual arrogance but he has the skill, speed and power to back that up. This is his tenth win by KO/TKO. He wins the BBB of C Southern Area title which I am sure will be the first of many titles for him. The only other loss suffered by Hobbs was due to a dislocated shoulder but Yarde was just too powerful for him.
Dubois vs. Howe
Dubois make it three wins by KO/TKO as he destroys the 6-8? (203cm) Howe. After some preliminary sparring Dubois landed a booming right to the jaw that sent Howe down heavily and it was all over in 40 seconds. Dubois, 19, had only a short time as a senior in the amateurs so needs ring time but finding someone to test him is difficult. Howe does not have the best chin, this is his fifth loss by KO/TKO, but that was a devastating right from Dubois.
Click here for Part II.
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