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The Past Week in Action 28 June 2020

Berchelt (R) against Valenzuela.

-Miguel Berchelt returns with a stoppage over Eleazar Valenzuela in anon-title fight
-Joshua Franco wins the secondary WBA title at super fly with graphite-thin unanimous verdict over Andrew Moloney
-Jason Moloney looks good with retirement victory over Leonardo Baez
-Abraham Nova makes it 19 wins as he decisions Avery Sparrow
-Chris Diaz impresses as he outscore Jason Sanchez

June 23

Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Fly: Joshua Franco (17-1-2) W PTS 12 Andrew Moloney (21-1). Feather: Chris Diaz (26-2) W PTS 10 Jason Sanchez (15-2).

Moloney vs. Franco
Moloney loses the secondary WBA title in his first defence as Franco stages a strong finish to take a very close unanimous decision. Moloney made a fast, confident start in the first. He was on the front foot stabbing out jabs and firing straight rights and mixing in left hooks. Franco was cautious and throwing very little. The second round was more even. Franco was on the front foot more and letting his punches go rocking Moloney with a left uppercut. Moloney continued to work well with the jab and ended the round with a series of hooks. Franco was the aggressor for much of the third as he landed with jabs and sweeping hooks at distance. Moloney again finished the round strongly but Franco had done enough to make it his round, Franco was the aggressor throughout the fourth but Moloney was boxing neatly on the back foot finding gaps with his jabs and banging home left hooks.
Scores: Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 39-37 Moloney, Judge Julie Lederman 39-37 Moloney, Judge Dave Moretti 40-36 Moloney
The fifth was Franco’s best round so far. He was strong with his jab, crowding Moloney and moving forward with hooks and uppercuts as he upped his work rate. Moloney was less accurate and being outworked. The champion forced his way back into the fight in the sixth. He was getting his punches off first and then moving to deny Franco a chance to connect with his long hooks. In the seventh Maloney alternated between getting inside and working to the body and standing off and beating Franco to the punch and he was more accurate with his punches. The eighth was close. Franco pressed hard letting fly with hooks from both hands and started the round well. Moloney then used speed movement and accuracy to pick up the points and his better finish gave him the round.
Scores: Judge Jarman: 78-74 Moloney, Judge Lederman 77-75 Moloney, Judge Moretti: 78-74 Moloney.

Franco connects at Moloney.

Franco’s round. The fight had been fought at a fast pace and now in the ninth Moloney looked to be tiring. He was throwing less and being caught with punches he had slipped before as Franco applied more and more pressure. The tenth was a good round for Franco. He was again coming forward throwing long swinging hooks looking stronger and rattling punches off Moloney’s head. Moloney went down briefly but it was more of a slip/push and there was no count. Suddenly an overhand right from Franco opened a cut over the left eye of Moloney. That fired up Franco and he was raking Moloney with punches at the bell. In the eleventh Franco forced Moloney to the ropes and connected with a series of head punches. They caused Moloney to overbalance and he put his gloves on the canvas to avoid toppling forward. That resulted in a count which proved to be the moment that decided the result. When the standing eight count was finished Franco pursued Moloney around the ring connecting with some heavy head shots. Moloney was mostly using his left glove to protect the cut that was bleeding again and that opened him up to right hooks over the last minute of a punishing round. Franco pressed hard in the last. Moloney boxed and moved but it was Franco who was doing the scoring and he took the round.
Scores Judge Jarman 114-113 Franco, Judge Lederman 115-112 Franco, Judge Moretti 114-113 Franco.
In the end it was that time moment in the eleventh when Moloney’s gloves touched the canvas that cost him his title. Franco paced the fight better and was much stronger over the closing rounds. He had Moloney reeling in the eleventh and the champion might well have gone down anyway. Texan Franco was an outsider . He had gone 1-0-2 in three tough bouts with former WBC bantamweight title challenger Oscar Negrete and outpointed 17-2 Mexican Jose Burgos. With the real WBA champion being Ramon Gonzalez and Juan Francisco (WBC), Jerwin Ancajas (IBF) and Kazuto Ioka WBO) holding the other versions of the title he still has to prove he is worthy of a place alongside them but at 24 he has time to develop further. Moloney complained of feeling dizzy and nauseas after the fight and was taken to the hospital for examination where he was diagnosed as having suffered two perforated eardrums which must have affected him in the fight and as his nose was also broken he had some serious handicaps to overcome. Although it was closed Moloney stated he thought Franco was a worthy winner but the 28-year-old Australian will still be a threat in this division.
Diaz vs. Sanchez
Puerto Rican “Smurf” Diaz continues his rebuilding process with a unanimous decision over Sanchez. Diaz was in charge from the outset. He was quick off the mark with his jabs and his fluid movement gave Sanchez problems. He built an early lead with Sanchez not really able to get into the fight until after the half way mark when he upped his work rate. Even then the better, quicker and more accurate work was coming from Diaz as he shook Sanchez late in an impressive performance. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Diaz. He has lost badly in fights against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO super feather title and Shakur Stevenson for minor IBF and WBO titles. There are indications that he may decide to drop down to super bantamweight in the future. Sanchez was also aiming to put some bricks back in his career wall after being floored and outpointed by Oscar Valdez in a challenge for the WBO feather title in June last year.

June 25

Las Vegas, NV, USA: Bantam: Jason Moloney (21-1) W RTD 7 Leonardo Baez (18-3,1ND). Light: Abraham Nova (19-0) W PTS 10 Avery Sparrow (10-2,1ND. Feather: Orlando Gonzalez-Ruiz (15-0) W PTS 8 Luis Porozo (15-3).

Moloney vs. Baez

After twin brother Andrew lost his WBA title two days before it was up to Jason to restore family pride and he did so in style forcing a tough Baez to retire after seven rounds. Moloney looked composed in the opening round. He was getting his punches off first and mixing in some crisp hooks. Baez the bigger man was strong but slower and advancing in a straight line whereas Moloney kept using plenty of lateral movement. Baez pressed hard at the start of the second and connected with a couple of rights to the head. Moloney continued to be quicker to the punch and late in the round stood inside and outworked Baez. It had been a close round and Baez complained after a clash of heads saw him cut over his right eye. After Baez scored with some clubbing shots in the third Moloney went inside again in the fourth and looked stronger forcing Baez back with hooks and uppercuts. Baez landed heavily in the opening exchanges in the fifth before Moloney took control going toe-to-toe with Baez and getting the better of the trading inside. After an even start in the sixth Moloney was hammering home straight rights. Baez tried to walk through the punches but was taking punishment. In the seventh Baez put in a big effort but a cut was opened over his left eye and Moloney pounded him to head and body. Baez looked spent and his corner retired him in the interval. At the end Moloney was up by five points on two cards and three on the other. The 29-year-old Australian’s only loss was a split decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez in a challenge for the IBF bantam title in a WBSS Tournament fight in 2018. This is his fourth win over good level opposition since then and he is rated WBA 3/IBF 4/WBC 4/WBO 5. This win is No 18 inside the distance and he should get another title shot late this year or early next once the WBSS Tournament is completed. Mexican Baez, 24, had won 11 of his last 12 fights including a victory over unbeaten Argentinian Alberto Melian and former WBA Interim champion 25-2 Moises Flores so a demanding test for Moloney.
Nova vs. Sparrow
Nova retains his 100% record with unanimous decision over Sparrow. The cagey, slick Sparrow gave Nova plenty of problems over the early rounds. Although this was Sparrow’s first fight for fifteen months he showed no rust. Not a noted puncher Sparrow found the target with light, quick jabs and used plenty of movement to frustrate Nova. Sparrow had taken the fight at just three weeks notice and Nova attempted to slow him by working the body but Sparrow was throwing more and looked to be in front after five rounds. Nova increased his punch output over the second half of the fight and finally began to use his edges in height and reach. A right to the head rattled Sparrow in the eighth and Nova built on that success to stage a strong finish sweeping five of the last six rounds. Scores a too wide 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Nova. A good learning fight for Nova against a difficult opponent. The 26-year-old Nova is Puerto Rican-born of Dominican parents and was US National Champion in 2014 but failed to make it through the US Trials for the 2016 Olympics. His father and four of his brothers also boxed. He has split his fighting time between the USA and Belgium. He is No 7 with the WBO but needs some more fights before he is ready to tackle such as Miguel Berchelt or Leo Santa Cruz. Despite his lack of experience Philadelphian Sparrow has already scored upset victories over 19-1-1 Jose Lopez and Hank Lundy. On the debit side an inside the distance win over Jesus Serrano in 2018 was changed to a No Decision as Sparrow tested positive for a banned substance.
Gonzalez-Ruiz vs. Porozo
As with Nova Gonzalez also found himself in a testing fight against an awkward opponent. It looked as though Gonzalez might add to his ten inside the distance wins when he floored Porozo with a peach of a southpaw left hook in the second round. Luckily it came late in the round as Porozo was badly shaken. Porozo has a good chin and beat the count. From there Gonzalez had problems landing cleanly on the Ecuadorian who used a crouching, forward leaning style to befuddle Gonzalez. After Gonzalez took the third Porozo got into the fight and was clawing back Gonzalez’s lead over the fourth and fifth. There were breaks in the action in the fifth, sixth and seventh due to low punches from Gonzalez but he put the fight beyond Porozo’s reach with a knockdown in the seventh and a strong eighth. Scores 77-73 twice and 76-74 all for Gonzalez. The 24-year-old with the “Golden Left Hand” is one of the hottest prospects around but Porozo was a difficult opponent to look good against. Gonzalez is being matched sensibly and will have better nights. Porozo had a wealth of amateur experience having represented Ecuador at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 and 2011 World Championships and former WBA super featherweight champion Alberto Machado is the only one to have beaten him by inside the distance.

27 June

Mexico City, Mexico: Light: Miguel Berchelt (38-1) W TKO 6 Eleazar Valenzuela (21-14-4,1ND). Super Light: Omar Aguilar (18-0) W TKO 1 Dante Jardon (32-7). Feather: Rafael Espinoza (15-0) W TKO 2 Luis Guzman (8-15). Feather: Alan David Picasso (14-1) W PTS 8 Florentino Perez (14-6-2).

Berchelt vs. Valenzuela

Berchelt overpowers and breaks down a gutsy Valenzuela. In the first they traded jabs until late in the round when Berchelt let his hands go connecting with long rights and left hooks to the body. Surprisingly the bell went twenty-five seconds early and the action stopped until the mistake was realised and the fight continued. Just before the bell a left hook from Berchelt floored Valenzuela. He was up quickly and the bell went to end the round. In the second Berchelt battered Valenzuela to the ropes and landed vicious hooks to the head and body. Valenzuela took the punishment and then walked though Berchelt’s punches putting Berchelt on the back foot until Berchelt cut loose with more hooks and uppercuts before the bell. Valenzuela took the fight to Berchelt in the third and was getting throught with jabs and hooks. A left from Berchelt landed on Valenzuela’ thigh and Valenzuela was given a short break to recover and then was again forcing Berchelt back. It looked as though he might win the round until Berchelt cut looses with a volley of punches. He staggered Valenzuela with a left uppercut and as he continued to rock Valenzuela with head punches the referee looked on the point of a stoppage but Valenzuela gustily lasted to the bell. In the fourth Berchelt snapped Valenzuela’s head back with hooks and handed out a savage beating. Valenzuela refused to take a step back and continued to walk through Berchelt’s punches scoring with some hard jabs and body shots. Berchelt’s punch output dropped at the start of the fifth allowing Valenzuela some success but by the end of the round Valenzuela looked worn down and exhausted. Valenzuela bravely walked forward in the sixth. Berchelt shook him with hooks and then sent him into a corner with a long left hook and the referee sensibly stepped in to save Valenzuela. Some useful ring time for Berchelt as he looks forward to a fight against former undefeated WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez, the No 1 challenger for his WBC title. Valenzuela made Berchelt fight hard for his win and showed real courage to keep taking the fight to Berchelt. He suffers his fourth inside the distance defeat.
Aguilar vs. Jardon
Aguilar blasts out veteran Jordan in 57 seconds. A left hook shook Jardon badly and two rights to the head had him stumbling backwards. Aguilar followed him connecting with left hooks and as Jardon reached the ropes two thunderous head punches had Jardon reeling and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Both fighters looked surprised at the stoppage and Jardon protested it vigorously but it was a justified stoppage. The 21-year-old Aguilar has 17 wins by KO/TKO 13 of them in the first round but his opposition has been very modest. Jardon, a WBC title challenger at super feather, looked very fleshy at 141lbs and a bit shop-worn but with his experience he was a reasonable test for young Aguilar
Espinoza vs. Guzman
Espinoza makes it thirteen wins by KO/TKO as his fight with Guzman is stopped in the second round. A left hook from Espinoza opened a severe cut on the right eyebrow of Guzman and the doctor ruled that the cut was too bad for Guzman to continue. At 6’1” the 26-year-old from Guadalajara may not be able to stay at super feather for long. Sixth loss in a row for Guzman
Picasso vs. Perez
Teenager Picasso boxes his way to victory over “Violento” Perez. The first round was painful for Picasso as Perez connected with a low punch which could have resulted in castration. Perez did enough to win that round but then Picasso used his skill and speed to win the rest. The much smaller Perez rolled forward making life difficult at times for Picasso but had to take heavy punishment in the seventh and eighth. Scores 79-73. 79-74 and 78-74 for Picasso. Tenth win on the bounce for the 19-year-old Picasso who turned pro at 16. He is progressing well having beaten some good level opposition last year. Perez keeps his record of never losing inside the distance.

Plant City, FL, USA: Super Light: Ryan Martin (23-1) W RTD 6 Carlos Velasquez (27-37-2). Super Welter: Cecil McCalla (22-4) W TKO 1 Matias Garcia.
Martin returns to the ring with a win. Martin was finding gaps for his jabs and right crosses in the first. Oldie Velasquez had little to offer and Martin was in full control over the second and third. He upped the pressure in the fourth and handed out some severe punishment in the fifth with Velasquez buckling under the barrage of punches. The sixth was another painful round for Velasquez as Martin drove him back with straight rights and although Velasquez finished the round on his feet he had nothing to offer and his corner retired him before the start of the seventh. First fight for Martin since losing to Josh Taylor in the WBSS Tournament in November 2018. He tested positive for a banned substance and is recorded as being under suspension until May 2021 but this is boxing and Ohio (where he is licensed and Florida (where he fought) don’t seem to care about things like that. Thirteenth win by KO/TKO for “Blue Chip” Martin. Nicaraguan Velasquez, 40, has lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
McCalla vs. Garcia
In his first fight in almost a year McCalla has no trouble in brushing aside poor Nicaraguan Garcia. McCalla stalked the pathetic Garcia scoring two knockdowns with clubbing head punches. Garcia just managed to struggle to his feet after the second knockdown but the referee waived the fight off. After going 20-0 at the start of his career McCalla lost to Chris van Heerden, Ishe Smith and Tony Harrison in 2015 and has only fought sporadically since then with this being his third fight almost five years. For Garcia this was his thirteenth loss in his last fifteen fights.

Fight of the week (Significance): Joshua Franco vs. Andrew Moloney as Franco adds his name to the super flyweights roster
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Franco vs. Moloney was a close hard-fought match
Fighter of the week: New super flyweight champion Joshua Franco with honourable mention to Jason Maloney
Punch of the week: The left hook from Miguel Berchelt that put Eleazar Valenzuela down in the first round was a beauty
Upset of the week: Franco was an outsider against Moloney
Prospect watch: Super Lightweight Omar Aguilar 18-0 is worth following
The Federal Commission in Mexico City refused to provide supervisors for the Berchelt vs. Valenzuela show so BoxRec will register all of the fights as No Contest and not as wins/losses.
Mixed fortunes for the Moloney twins but they both put on impressive performances.
Disappointing to see Ryan Martin being allowed to fight despite a ban for doping which will not expire until May 2021.

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Eric Armit started working with Boxing News magazine in the UK in the late 1960’s initially doing records for their Boxing News Annual and compiling World, European and Commonwealth ratings for the magazine. He wrote his first feature article for Boxing News in 1973 and wrote a “World Scene” weekly column for the magazine from the late 1970’s until 2004. Armit wrote a monthly column for Boxing Digest in the USA and contributed pieces to magazines in Mexico, Italy, Australia, Spain, Argentina and other countries. Armit now writes a Weekly Report covering every major fight around the world and a bi-weekly Snips & Snipes column plus occasional general interest articles with these being taken up by boxing sites around the world. He was a member of the inaugural WBC Ratings Committee and a technical advisor to the EBU Ratings Committee and was consulted by John McCain’s research team when they were drafting the Ali Act. He is a Director and former Chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Last year (2019), Armit has been nominated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame to which he said, “Being on the list is an unbelievably huge honour.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eric Armit.

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