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The Past Week in Action: Fulton, Aleem Win Belts

-Stephen Fulton wins the WBO super bantamweight title with unanimous points victory over champion Angelo Leo
-Raeese Aleem scores four knockdowns and stops Vic Pasillas in the eleventh round to collect the vacant WBA interim super bantamweight title

World Title/Major Shows

23 January

Uncasville, CT, USA: Super Bantam: Stephen Fulton (19-0) W PTS 12 Angelo Leo (20-1). Super Bantam: Raeese Aleem (18-0) W TKO 11 Vic Pasillas (16-1). Light: Rolando Romero (13-0) W TKO 7 Avery Sparrow (10-3).Super Bantam: Sharone Carter (12-3) W PTS 8 McJoe Arroyo (18-3).
Fulton vs. Leo
Fulton proves too clever and too strong for champion Leo and wins WBO title with unanimous points victor.
Round 1
Leo started aggressively but Fulton was spearing him with jabs and connecting with right counters. When Leo managed to get past the jabs he was doing good work inside with clusters of hooks and although Fulton put his punches together well Leo did enough to have an edge.
Score: 10-9 Leo
Round 2
Fulton changed his tactics and stood inside swopping punches with Leo. He was the stronger and outworked Leo as they both focused on body shots. Leo did enough to make the round close but Fulton did most of the scoring. Leo was cut beside his left eye in a clash of heads.
Score: 10-9 Fulton TIED 19-19
Round 3
Fulton started this round on the back foot popping the oncoming Leo with jabs and straight rights before moving inside over the second half of the round. Leo made this round closer with hooks to the body but the cleaner work was coming from Fulton.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 29-28
Round 4
Leo’s best round so far. He simply outworked Fulton. Leo was blocking Fulton’s jab and scoring well inside. He rocked Fulton twice with rights late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Leo Fulton 38-38
Official Scores: Judge John McKale 39-37 Fulton, Judge Steve Weisfeld 38-38 Tied, Judge Frank Lombardi 39-37 Fulton

Fulton connects at Leo with a left.

Round 5
A grueling round as they stood toe-to-toe and swapped punches inside. Fulton was proving the stronger man constantly pushing Leo back and scoring with hooks to the body with many of Leo’s punches blocked or low.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 48-47
Round 6
Once again a close-quarters battle. Fulton was outworking Leo with left hooks to the body and snapping his head back with right uppercuts. He used his strength to force Leo back and did a good job of blocking Leo’s punches inside to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 58-56
Round 7
A close round as they both stood trading body punches. Again Fulton was the stronger. He was smothering much of Leo’s work and then putting together a quick burst of hooks and uppercuts throwing more and landing more.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 68-65
Round 8
For a change it was Leo doing the better work inside. Fulton was just leaning on and not working hard but Leo kept pumping out his punches and finished the round strongly scoring with a series of head shots as Fulton was pinned against the ropes.
Score: 10-9 Leo Fulton 77-75
Official Scores: Judge John McKale 79-73, Fulton, Judge Steve Weisfeld 78-74 Fulton, Judge Frank Lombardi 79-73 Fulton
Round 9
Fulton went back to basics in this round. He was on the back foot slotting jab after jab into the puffy face of Leo never letting Leo get inside. Leo just kept marching onto the jab and was too slow to cut the ring off allowing Fulton space to score.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 87-84
Round 10
Once again Fulton changed his approach moving into brawling mode and mixing things with Leo. There was not a lot of clean work by either boxer but Fulton was the one doing most of the scoring and doing a better job of blocking incoming punches.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 97-93
Round 11
Back to boxing for Fulton. He was finding the target time and again with jabs and occasionally stepping in to connect with hard rights. Leo just kept marching forward but he was dripping blood from the cut and had swelling around his right eye and just could not close the elusive Fulton down.
Score 10-9 Fulton Fulton 107-102
Round 12
In a repeat of the eleventh Fulton jabbed and moved and as Leo rumbled forward Fulton clobbered him with rights to the head. Leo could not get close enough for long enough to do any damage and Fulton was already waiving his arm in triumph as the second ticked away.
Score: 10-9 Fulton Fulton 117-111
Official Scores: Judge John McKale 119-109 Fulton, Judge Steve Weisfeld 118-110 Fulton, Judge Frank Lombardi 119-109 Fulton
Philadelphian “Cool Boy” Fulton a former undefeated IBO champion was supposed to fight Leo for the vacant title last year but was ruled out by a positive COVID-19 test. He has scored wins over some good level but not outstanding opponents. He will face tougher tests from WBO No 2 Michael Conlan and No 3 Daniel Roman but was a clear winner here. Leo had looked useful in outpointing unbeaten Tramaine Williams to win the title but was shown to be limited and predictable with his march forward tactics and no Plan B.

Allem drops Pasillas.

Aleem vs. Pasillas
Michigan’s Aleem scores four knockdowns on the way to winning the vacant WBA interim title. Pasillas made a confident start but Aleem was quicker and looked dangerous when he connected. Early in the second a right counter from Aleem put Pasillas down. He made to his feet and only just survived follow-up attacks from Aleem. Aleem outboxed Pasillas over the third, fourth and fifth before dropping Pasillas in the sixth. A left to the side of the head dumped Pasillas on his rump he was not badly shaken but protested the punch had been to the back of the head. Pasillas continued to come forward but was rocked in the seventh. He regrouped and did enough to take the eighth. That success did not last and as he again came forward in the ninth he was clipped by a left counter and put his gloves on the canvas to stay upright resulting in an eight count. The knockdowns in the sixth and ninth had not been heavy ones but a solid right counter in the eleventh was the real thing. As Pasillas hit the floor the referee waived the fight over. “The Beast” gets his twelfth win by KO/TKO but the interim title often seems to be a dead end and the WBA already have a super, a secondary and a gold champion in this division. Pasillas had registered a good victory in halting 17-0 Ranfis Encarnacion in September but was out of his depth here.
Romero vs. Sparrow
Romero gets injury stoppage win over late substitute Sparrow. Romero had Sparrow down very early in the opening round. With just 40 seconds gone a hard left jab sent Sparrow back and his mouthguard flying and a second jab saw Sparrow tumble to the canvas. He was not badly hurt and was up immediately. Romero was quicker and more skilful than the crude Sparrow and put together some impressive combinations in successive rounds. Sparrow kept walking through the punches and stalking Romero. As they traded punches in the sixth Sparrow turned away and went down clutching his right knee. He got up and the referee treated it as a slip so no count. Romero tried desperately to finish the fight. Sparrow survived but lost a point for a very low blow. In the seventh Sparrow was noticeably limping and under heavy pressure when his corner signalled to the referee to stop the fight. Romero was to have defended his WBA interim title against Justin Pauldo but Pauldo was 3.8lbs overweight and Sparrow came in at short notice as a substitute in a non-title fight.
Carter vs. Arroyo
Carter springs an upset as he takes the unanimous decision over former IBF super flyweight champion Arroyo. Carter made a fast start and built an early lead. Arroyo began to claw the lead back from the fourth round and it was close from there but Carter just had the edge. Scores 77-75 for Carter from all three judges. Carter improves to 6 wins in his last 7 fights with the loss being against Angelo Leo. Arroyo, 35, is sliding with 4 losses in his last 5 fights.

22 January

Maipu, Argentina: Welter: Brian Chaves (12-0) W TEC DEC 8 Franco Ocampo (13-2).
Southpaw Chaves rebounds from his first pro loss and wins the WBA Fedebol title with a split technical verdict over champion Ocampo. A right in the opening round sent Ocampo into the ropes which prevented him from going down so the referee gave him a standing count. Ocampo fired back to shake Chaves in the second but a right and a straight left put Ocampo down. He survived only to suffer a cut over his right eye in a clash of heads in the third. Ocampo worked his way into the fight and in the eighth he knocked Chaves off balance with a right and Chaves put his gloves on the canvas to avoid going down. Chaves also lost a point for a deliberate butt making it a 10-7 round for Ocampo but before the round ended the referee called the doctor to examine Ocampo’s cut and it was ruled too serious for Ocampo to continue. The fight was decided on the score cards with two judges going for Chaves on scores of 76-75 and 75-73 and the other 75-74 for Ocampo. First fight for Chaves since being halted in one round by Jeremias Ponce in October 2017. Ocampo had won his last ten fights,

Tokyo, Japan: Super Feather: Kosuke Saka (21-5) W TKO 6 Takuya Watanabe (37-10-1). Super Bantam: Gakuya Furuhashi (27-8-1) W TKO 9 Yusaku Kuga (19-5-1).
Saka vs. Watanabe
Saka made a successful first defence of the Japanese title with stoppage of experienced Watanabe. Saka took the lead early with his aggressive approach and Watanabe struggled to get into the fight but a clash of heads opened a cut over Saka’s left eye in the fourth. Saka survived a doctor’s inspection and was in charge in the fifth with the open scoring showing him 49-46 in front on all three cards. Watanabe tried to take the fight to Saka but a monstrous right shook him badly and when he went down under a shower of punches the referee immediately stopped the fight. Eighteenth inside the distance win for Sato. First inside the distance loss for Watanabe who is 0-3 in Japanese title fights and may now retire,
Furuhashi vs. Kuga
Furuhashi scores a come from behind victory as he halts champion Kuga in the ninth round. In a fast start Kuga was piling forward putting Furuhashi under pressure with Furuhashi looking to stay inside and punch with Kuga. The first three rounds went to Kuga clearly but from the fourth Furuhashi was battling back strongly and in the fifth Kuga looked to be wilting. The scores after five rounds had two judges having Kuga up 48-47 and the third had Kuga in front 48-47. They exchanged heavy punches through the sixth and seventh with Kuga just having the edge. As Kuga seemed to tire in the eighth he was shaken by a big uppercut just before the bell and only just survived the round. Furuhashi jumped on Kuga and floored him at the start of the ninth. Kuga beat the count but was lurching around the ring under Furuhashi’a attack and the fight was stopped. The 33-year-old Furuhashi wins a National title at his third attempt. Kuga was making the second defence of the title in his second spell as champion.

Tijuana, Mexico: Super Fly: Angel Ramos (26-1-2) W PTS 10 Lamberto Macias (14-1-1).
Ramos wins the vacant NABF Junior title with points decision over Macias. Ramos rocked Macias and floored him early but just could not find the punch to end the fight. As the rounds passed Ramos started taking chances trying to put Macias away but was too wild and his corner told him to cool down and box and he settled for a points victory. Scores 98-90 three times for Ramos. He lost to former undefeated IBO champion Maximino Flores back in 2016 and drew with WBC title challenger Dewayne Beamon in 2018 and has scored eight wins since then. After an early draw Macias had registered eleven wins.

Tijuana, Mexico: Fly: Angel Ayala (11-0) W PTS 10 Giovani Gonzalez (10-1).Light Fly: Hector Flores (17-0-4) W TKO 4 Juan Parra (5-4).
Ayala vs. Gonzalez
Ayala wins this clash of unbeaten fighters and takes the vacant WBC Fecarbox title. Ayala floored Gonzalez with a counter right just ten seconds into the first round and put him down again late in the second with a left to the head. After that Gonzalez tried hard to take the fight to Ayala but was rocked by head punches in the seventh and eighth. He showed guts but could not cope with the hand speed and power of Ayala and did well to be there at the end although a wide loser on points. Useful ten rounds of work for 20-year-old Ayala. Gonzalez had won 5 of his last 6 fights inside the distance
Flores vs. Parra
Flores lives up to his “Rapidito” nickname as he scores a dramatic one-punch stoppage of Parra. Flores had worked his way in front over the first three rounds. Southpaw Parra tried to pressure Flores in the fourth but as he walked in he was met by a booming right cross from Flores which sent him down flat on this back as his gumshield went flying across the ring. Parra’s head thudded onto the canvas and the referee waived the fight off immediately. Eighth win by KO/TKO for Flores who has yet to be tested. Parra had won 3 of his last 4 fights.

23 January

Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Bantam: Asror Vokhidov (9-
0) W TKO 9 Thato Bonokoane (10-4-3). Super Bantam: Vladimir Nikitin (4-1-1) DREW 8 Yerzhan Zalilov (11-3-2). Light: Zhora Hamazaryan (10-2-2) W RTD 4 Dmitry Yun (5-1). Super Bantam: Evengii Liashkov (8-1) W TKO 7 Oleksandr Yegerov (20-5-1).
Vokhidov vs. Bonokoane
Vokhidov wins the vacant WBO Oriental title with stoppage of South African Bonokoane. Vokhidov had big edges in skill and speed but did not push too hard early. He slowly built momentum breaking down Bonokoane with stiff accurate punching. In the ninth Bonokoane was dropped by a series of punches and his corner threw the towel into the ring. Tajik southpaw Vokhidov, 25, was an elite level amateur winning the World Youth title and being a three-time Tajikistan champion. This fight was a quarter-final of a WBO super bantamweight tournament. Sowetan Bonokoane has drawn and lost in two South African title fights but this is his first inside the distance defeat.
Nikitin vs. Zalilov
Nikitin and Zalilov end all even in this quarter-final. Nikitin was in control early taking the fight inside and exerting plenty of pressure but head clashes saw him cut a couple of times. The awkward and strong Zalilov came into the fight over the second half. He was finding the target with jabs and crisp uppercuts. Nikitin kept pressing and just when it seemed Zalilov might tire he found another gear and finished strongly to earn a split draw. With no winner it remains to be seen who goes through to the next round of the tournament.
Hamazaryan vs. Yun
Hamazaryan snaps a run of poor results as he stops Yun in four rounds. The taller Yun was boxing well floored Hamazaryan in the second round and had him in some trouble but the bell saved the Armenian. Hamazaryan battled back in the third and in the fourth a thunderous straight right dropped Yun on his back. He staggered to his feet but wobbled badly seeming to have injured his leg. He was unable to continue due to the injury and had to be stretchered from the ring. Hamazaryan was 0-2-2 in his last four fights. This is his seventh win by KO/TKO. Uzbek Yun was up at eight rounds for the first time. Both fighters are based in California.
Liashkov vs. Yegerov
Liashkov moves into the semi-final of the WBO tournament with stoppage of Ukrainian Yegerov. The fight started badly for Liashkov as he suffered a cut on his left eyelid in a clash of heads in the opening round. Despite this the young Russian handed out plenty of punishment in the second and third with Yegerov forced to use all of his experience to stay in the fight. Liashkov continued to dominate and by the seventh Yegerov had nothing left and the referee halted the fight to save him from further punishment. After losing his first fight the 21-year-old Liashkov has now won eight in a row and already has a win over fellow tournament contestant Zalilov. Four consecutive losses for Yegerov who was 20-1-0 before losing to Luca Rigoldi for the European title in 2019.

General Madariaga, Argentina: Super Middle: Sebastian Papeschi (16-3) W PTS 10 Marcelo Coceres (29-2-1). Welter: Juan Leal (12-1) W PTS 10 Alfredo Blanco (21-9).
Papeschi vs. Coceres
Papeschi climbs off the canvas to a take a split decision over Coceres and gain revenge for a loss in November last year. Papeschi’s better boxing saw him edge the first two rounds but in the third a strong right from Coceres put Papeschi down. He managed to beat the count and luckily for him the bell went before Coceres could land another punch. From there the rounds were close with Coceres just doing enough to stay in front but Papeschi staged a strong finish and fought his way ahead to take the verdict on a split decision. Scores 97-92 and 96-93 for Papeschi and 95 ½ -94 ½ for Coceres. Papeschi wins the interim Argenrinian title. Coceres lost on an eleventh round stoppage against Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO title in November 2019 but has struggled in his two fights with Papeschi. There is talk of a third fight to decide the winner in their series.
Leal vs. Blanco
Leal had problems early with the awkward and aggressive Blanco and fell behind in the scoring. Leal’s cooler, more accurate work saw him come on strong over the middle rounds and then edge ahead as he refused to be drawn into a brawl by Blanco. Realising he was behind Blanco put in a big effort over the last two rounds but Leal remained in control. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Leal who wins the vacant Argentinian title with his seventh victory in a row. The more experienced and much travelled Blanco was 5-1 going in with his loss being against Alexander Besputin in April 2019.
Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina: Super Light: Hugo Roldan (19-0-1) W PTS 10 Saul Huenchul (11-5).
No problems for Roldan as he is much too god for Huenchul, Roldan was too strong and too busy for Huenchul who was never able to really get into the fight and could not match Roldan’s hand speed. Roldan was finding plenty of gaps for his quick attacks and effortlessly switching guards to keep the inexperienced Huenchul off balance. Only Roldan’s lack of real power allowed Huenchul to last the full ten rounds. Scores 100-93½, 98 ½ -92 ½, 98 ½ -93 ½. Roldan, the Argentinian No 4, will be looking to challenge for the national title this year. Huenchul was stopped in seven rounds by Jose Acevedo in a challenge for the lightweight title in 2019.

Charleville-Mezieres, France: Middle: Bruno Surace (17-0-2) W PTS 10 Diego Natchoo (21-3-4,1ND).
Important victory for Surace as he faces his most difficult opponent so far and emerges with a wide unanimous decision and wins the vacant French title. In a battle of light punchers the speed and skill of Surace overcame the experience of former champion Natchoo. Scores 98-92 for Surace on all three cards. The 22-year-old University student from Marseilles had met only very modest opposition and was in his first ten round fight. “L’indien” Natchoo was on a useful run with just one loss in his last 13 fights.

Fight of the week (Significance): Stephen Fulton’s win over Angelo Leo provides a new champion at super bantamweight
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Gakuya Furuhashi vs. Yusaku Kuga was a war
Fighter of the week: Stephen Fulton the new champion
Punch of the week: Counter right from Hector Flores that flattened Juan Parra was monstrous
Upset of the week: Sebastian Papeschi’s win over Marcelo Coceres was a shock result as was Sharone Carte’s victory over McJoe Arroyo
Prospect watch: None that caught my eye this week

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. Armit has been nominated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame the past two years (2019 and 2020) 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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