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The Past Week in Action 27 May 2024: Okolie Destroys Rozanski in 1; Catterall Gains Revenge Against Taylor; Mbilli KOs Heffron in 1


PhilBoxing.com



Jack Catterall wins over Taylor.

Highlights:
-Lawrence Okolie wins the WBC Bridgerweight title with first round destruction of Lukasz Rozanski and there are wins for Fiodor Czerkaszyn and Ihosvany Garcia.
-Jack Catterall scores unanimous decision over Josh Taylor to gain revenge for his controversial loss to Taylor in 2022. There are wins for Cheavon Clarke, Paddy Donovan and Gary Cully
- Christian Mbilli scores a first round kayo over Mark Heffron and Arslanbek Makhmudov knocks out Miljan Rovcanin in the second round.
-Batyrzhan Jukembayev stops Ivan Redkach in the fifth round
-There are inside the distance wins for Jermaine Franklinn and Ali Akhmedov in Detroit
-Vlad Panin scores controversial second round win over Devon Alexander
-Former European Championships gold medallist Balasz Bacskai wins the vacant WBO European titles and retires with an 18-0 record.
-Alexei Papin halts veteran Isaac Chilemba in three rounds.
- Dana Thorsland outpoints Seran Cetin in defence of her WBC and WBO bantamweight titles
-Commonwealth champion Tysie Gallagher retains her title as she outpoints Stevie Levy to become the first holder of the female version of the British super bantam title


Major Shows

May 24

Rzeszow, Poland: Bridgerweight: Lawrence Okolie (20-1) W TKO 1 Lukasz Rozanski (15-1). Middle: Fiodor Czerkaszyn (24-1) W TKO 7 Jorge Cota (31-7). Light Heavy: Ihosvany Garcia (13-0) W KO 2 Lukasz Plawecki (7-2-2). Super Middle: Jaan Czerklewicz (13-1) W PTS 8 Paul Valenzuela (28-12,1ND).



Okolie vs. Rozanski
Okolie demolished Rozanski in the first round to win the WBC Bridgerweight title. As he was giving away 4” in height and a similar amount in reach Rozanski knew he needed to get inside to fight and started by coming forward in a crouch stabbing out punches. Okolie quickly fell into a clinch with neither man doing any useful scoring. Rozanski again came forward in a crouch sticking out his jab and they clinched again without either able to do any work. Quick action from the referee saw both warned for punches to the back of the head. Okolie found the target with his jab and a left to the head seemed to shake Rozanski. Okolie then landed an overhand right that sent Rozanski crashing to the canvas on his back. He immediately climbed to his feet and after the eight count Rozanski tried to come forward but was forced back to the ropes and another right which curled around the back of Rozanski ear put him down again. Rozanski was a little slower getting up and complained the punch had landed to the back of his head which was as much a case of Rozanski dropping his head forward as the punch was in transit as any intent from Okolie. After the count Okolie drove Rozanski to the ropes and landed a crushing right cross and a brutal right uppercut that dropped Rozanski to his hands and knees. He climbed up at seven but was still badly shaken and the referee waived the fight over making former WBO cruiser champion Okolioe a two-division champion. This was his first fight since losing his WBO belt to Chris Billiam-Smith less than a month ago. For Rozanski it was a case of the biter bitten as he had beaten both Artur Szpila and Alen Babic in the first round in his last two fights.
Czerkaszyn vs. Cota
Ukrainian-born Pole Czerkaszyn halts Mexican Cota in seven rounds. Czerkaszyn made a steady start in the first and then built the pressure in each subsequent round. He was landing jabs and straight rights with Cota firing back occasional counters but too slow to threaten Czerkaszyn and he was spending more and more time pinned against the ropes. Czerkaszyn connected with a couple of hard rights late in the seventh but did not seem in any trouble so it was a surprise when his corner threw in the towel. Czerkaszyn had his 22 fight unbeaten run ended when he lost an upset decision against unbeaten Frenchman Anauel Ngamissengue in August 2023 and now has two wins in his recovery plan. First fight in 17 months for Cota and fifth loss by KO/TKO.
Garcia vs. Plawecki
A too ambitious Plawecki pays the price for deciding to take the fight to hard-punching Cuban Garcia. Plawecki’s tactic led to an entertaining first round but a disastrous second. As they traded punches a vicious left hook from Garcia sent Plawecki crashing to the canvas and sliding out under the bottom rope. He lay on his back on the ring apron and the referee counted him out. Garcia, 28, is a dark horse with quick hands and plenty of power as his ten wins by KO/TKO evidence. He has scored wins over experienced Ryno Liebenberg and 22-1 Patrick Rokohl.
Czerklewicz vs. Valenzuela
Czerklewicz forced the pace from the start using his longer reach to force Valenzuela back. Valenzuela was unable to find any punching room and was constantly trapped against the ropes and under pressure. Czerklewicz upped his pace from the third with Valenzuela having a small measure of success with left hooks. The pace began to tell on the 37-year-old Mexican as Czerklewicz continually switched his attacks to head and body but Valenzuela’s experienced helped him make it to the final bell. Eleven wins in a row for the 6’2” Czerklewicz but his lack of power-3 wins by KO/TKO-might be a problem. First fight for Valenzuela since April 2022 when he beat former WBO interim super welter champion Patrick Teixeira on a disqualification.

May 25

Leeds, England: Super Light: Jack Catterall (29-1) W PTS 12 Josh Taylor (19-12). Cruiser: Cheavon Clarke (9-0) W KO 8 Ellis Zorro (17-). Welter Paddy Donovan (14-0) W TKO 9 Lewis Ritson (23-4). Light: Gary Cully (18-1) W PTS 10 Francesco Patera (29-5). 



Catterall vs. Taylor 
Catterall gains revenge for his split decision defeat in 2022 as he scores unanimous decision in this one.
The first round saw both boxers probing with their right jabs. Catterall landed a good right to the head and although Taylor was taking the fight to Catterall he was having problems getting into range. They clashed heads early in the second and luckily neither was hurt but as they were both constantly leaning forward clashes were inevitable and they clashed again at the start of the third. Tayor had a better round attacking with more purpose and he made good use of his right hook to offset the side on stance of Catterall. The fourth saw Catterall work hard and accurately with his jab slotting punches through the guard of Taylor as Taylor came forward and he landed a left to the head that forced Taylor to back away. At that point I had it 39-37 for Catterall with the three judges having Catterall ahead 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37 for Catterall. Catterall moved even further ahead in the fifth as he caught Taylor time and again with stabbing jabs then scored with a series of punches including a hard left hook and although the pace dropped in the sixth again it was Catterall doing the superior work. For me Taylor was now four points behind and the fight was slipping further and further away from him. He responded by taking the seventh and eighth. He put Catterall under more pressure staying on top of him giving Catterall no punching room and connecting with some good lefts as Catterall’s output dropped. My score at that point was 77-75 for Catterall with the judges scores 79-73, 79-74 and 77-75 for Catterall. The ninth saw Catterall bounce back moving more using his jab again and he put together a flashing combination that forced Taylor to retreat. Taylor came on strong at the end of the round but it was Catterall’s round. It was Taylor’s turn to up his pace and in the tenth he had Catterall backing up under a series of body punches to take the round. The eleventh was a big round for Catterall. As Taylor came forward Catterall met him with a left hook that staggered Taylor and had him backing off badly shaken. Catterall followed him across the ring to the ropers firing punches with both hands. Catterall then threw away the chance to force a finish as he became entangled with Taylor. He wrapped his arm around Taylor’s neck and as he leant over he tipped Taylor off balance and forced Taylor down then fell on top of him. Although Catterall had more success in the round Taylor had recovered in the time the tangle was sorted out and was able to fire back. The last saw Catterall forcing hard early in the round and Tayor taking over and finishing stronger to take the round-but it was not enough. I had it 115-113 for Catterall but the judges had it 117-111 twice and 116-113 for Catterall. There was no title on the line but who needs one anyway? This means Catterall can now go looking for a world title shot. He has said he is targeting Teo Lopez but Lopez is defending against Canadian Steve Claggett on 29 June and if Lopez wins there will be pressure for him to defend against Spaniard Sandor Martin who floored Lopez but lost on a split decision in a title fight in December 2022 and No 1 challenger Antonio Barboza is in line for a title chance. Time for reflection for Taylor. He thought he won here and will probably move up to welterweight as a third Catterall fight does not seem on the cards.
Clarke vs. Zorro
Clarke wins the vacant British title with kayo of Zorro. In the early action Zorro boxed cleverly on the back foot using his jab and plenty of nifty footwork to avoid the attacks of the slower Clarke. Zorro continued to hold Clarke off and when Clarke did get inside he was holding to smother Clarke’s hooks and uppercuts. Zorro moved onto the front foot over the third and fourth but that did not work so well so he went back to boxing at distance in the fifth and connected with some strong counters. Clarke stepped up the pressure from the sixth getting through with jabs and thumping rights and Zorro’s output dropped as he was forced to hold more. He was given a warning for holding at the start of the eighth and Clarke was then able to force Zorro to the ropes and landed a huge right that made Zorro buckle at the knees and retreat tom the ropes. Clarke closed in and three clubbing right sent Zorro down and he was counted out. Clarke, 33, gets his seventh win by KO/TKO. Jamaican-born Clarke who beat current WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billiam-Smith in the amateurs represented Jamaica at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the switched to represent England/Great Britian winning a silver medal at the European Championships, a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and competed at the Tokyo Olympics. Zorro,31, lost his unbeaten tag when he was knocked out in one round by Jai Opetaia in December.



Donovan vs. Ritson
Donovan wears down Ritson for a ninth round stoppage. Southpaw Donovan boxed a cool and controlled fashion in the early rounds boxing mainly ion the retreat with Ritson advancing behind a high guard and using his jab to set Donovan up for rights. Donovan was able to reach Ritson with some good left hand counters to the body but Ritson closed the distance over the fourth and fifth and doing a better job of cutting off the ring. Donovan went down in the sixth but it was ruled a slip as he ducked to avoid a Ritson punch and both scored with some useful shots. Donovan switched tactics in the seventh going onto the front foot taking the fight to Ritson on and getting through with lefts. He continued those tactics successfully in the eighth trapping Ritson in a corner and then along the ropes for the second half of the round scoring with hooks and some neck-snapping uppercuts with Ritson firing enough occasional counters to convince the referee he was still in the fight but only just. Donovan against drove Ritson to the ropes in the ninth and was bombarding him with punches when the referee stopped the fight. Donovan was making the second defence of the WBA Continental belt with his fifth consecutive inside the distance victory. Only his third fight in three years and second ninth round loss for Ritson and his third heavy loss in his last five fights and although only 30 he needs to think about his future inn boxing.
Cully vs. Patera
Cully outpoints Patera taking a unanimous decision. Patera knew he would have to take the fight inside against the 6’2” Cully and he did that in the first focusing on body punches with Cully using right jabs and straight lefts to score but with Patera taking the round. Cully did better in the second and third keeping his jab in Patera’s face landing left uppercuts and some quick combinations. Patera had problems closing the distance in the fourth as Cully kept the fight mainly outside but the Belgian had more success in the fifth and sixth. He was moving forward behind a high guard bobbing and landing hard to the body with bothn hands. The seventh saw both have some success and the eighth was also close. In the ninth Patera was tiring and mainly on the back foot whilst Cully worked well with his jab and straight lefts but Patera staged a storming finish to take the tenth and make it close. Scores 96-94 twice and a too wide 98-92 for Cully. He suffered a crushing defeat when he was floored twice and stopped in three rounds by Mexican Jose Felix in May last year but a win over Reece Mould in November went some way to restoring his reputation. Two-time European champion Patera again showed his excellent skills and tactic expertise but just came up short here. He is 10-1 in his last eleven fights with the defeat coming on points against the hugely talented Keyshawn Davis in July 2023.

MAY 22

Plant City, FL, USA: Super Light: Batyrzhan Jukembayev (23-1) W TKO 5 Ivan Redkach (24-7-1). Super Feather: Jonhatan Cardoso (17-1) W PTS 10 Adam Lopez (17-6,1ND).



Jukembayev vs. Redkach
Jukembayev halts a worn looking Redkach in five rounds. Jukembayev was in charge all the way. He was quicker and more accurate with his southpaw jabs and getting past Redkach’s guard with straight lefts and hooks from both hands. Redkach tried to get his own southpaw jab working in the second but jabs and lefts from Jukembayev quickly had him on the retreat and Jukembayev trapped Redkach against the ropes and scored with a selection of straight lefts and body punches. Jukembayev handed out more punishment over the third and fourth. There was a protracted discussion in Redkach’s corner as to whether he was going to come out for the fifth. He did but spent the whole time with his back against the ropes with Jukembayev unloading on him and the referee stopped the fight. Fifth consecutive win for Jukembayev as he tries to work his way to a title shot. He was floored and lost on a retirement against Subriel Matias in May 2021 so will be hoping to get a chance for revenge now that Matias is IBF champion but his only current rating is No 12 with the WBA. At 38 Redkach looked a candidate for retirement. After being 19-1-1 he has dropped to 5-6 in recent activity and this was only his second fight in three years. 
Cardoso vs. Lopez
Cardoso gets a well-deserved split decision over Lopez. From the first Cardoso was coming forward behind his jab and connecting with rights. Lopez was bobbing and weaving and then surging forward from a crouch with bursts of hooks. The fight was fought at a fast pace from bell to bell with plenty of fierce exchanges. Both were rocked on occasion but always fired back and neither was in serious trouble. There was never a great deal between them and the deciding factor was that Cardoso worked hard for three minutes in every road but Lopez tended to work in short bursts. It was quality work from both fighters and provided high entertainment from start to finish. Cardoso took the decision on scores of 99-91 and 96-94 with a dissenting vote of 97-93 for Lopez. Brazilian Cardoso, 25, gets his third win in a row in Plant City action. Lopez is a quality fighter but has been matched tough with losses against Stephen Fulton (majority decision), Oscar Valdez twice, Isaac Dogboe (another majority decision) and Abraham Nova. 

MAY 23

Detroit, MI, USA: Heavy: Jermaine Franklin (23-2) W RTD 6 Devin Vargas (22-11). Super Middle: Ali Akhmedov (21-1) W RTD 2 Encarnacion Diaz (18-5,1ND). 
Franklin vs. Vargas
Franklin gets in some target practice against a flabby but resilient Vargas. For Franklin this was really just target practice and all that the 42-year-old Vargas brought to the fight was guts and the ability to absorb punishment and keep fighting. Franklin shook Vargas with punches in the first and second rounds but Vargas made it through the third without any further drama. A right uppercut sent Vargas down in the fourth and although badly hurt and bleeding heavily from the nose Vargas managed to beat the count and fought back bravely in the fifth. Late in the sixth. with Vargas against the ropes Franklin connected with a left hook and a right and Vargas dropped to the canvas. He was up quickly with the bell going before the referee could start a count but wisely Vargas did not come out for the seventh. Local fighter Franklin was 21-0 before losing a majority decision against Dillian Whyte in November 2022 but lost a wide unanimous verdict against Anthoiny Joshua in April last year. Vargas was captain of the US Boxing Team at the 2004 Olympics but he is 0-5 in his last 5 fights including inside the distance defeats against Zhilei Zhang and Charles Martin. 
Akhmedov vs. Diaz
Akhmedov demolishes Diaz in two rounds. Akhmedov spent much of the first round studying what the Costa Rican southpaw had in the way of skill. In the second a left hook had Diaz retreating to the ropes. A right followed by a left hook had Diaz dropping to one knee. He was up at eight and tried to take the fight to Akhmedov but a left hook and a right cross sent him tumbling to the canvas. The referee counted to eight and then just waived his arms to end the fight. Kazakh Akhmedov’s only defeat came in a fight against Carlos Gongora for the vacant IBO middleweight title in December 2020. Going into the twelfth round He was five points in front on two cards and ten on the third but was knocked out with just 63 seconds remaining in the fight. He has rebounded with five wins but is currently unrated. Diaz, 40, had campaigned at super lightweight and was carrying 20+lbs extra weight in this fight. 

MAY 24

Edmonton, Canada: Middle: Vlad Panin (19-1) W TKO 2 Devon Alexander (27-8-1).
Panin beats Alexander in two rounds but some controversy. Neither fight committed themselves in a slow open round. In the second with Panin in a corner Alexander landed a left to the body and Panin scored with a right to the body and then a down left on the back of Alexander’s head. Alexander went down on his back and was still on one knee complaining when the referee showed Alexander nine fingers and then stopped instead of counting Alexander out. Alexander stood up and the referee indicated for him to step forward but instead Alexander took a couple of steps back and went down on one knee and the referee waived the fight over. Twelfth win in a row for the Belarusian. First fight for thirteen months for Alexander, 37, who has not won a fight since 2017.

Budapest, Hungary: Super Middle: Balasz Bacskai (18-0) W TKO 3 Kim Poulsen (32-7). Middle: Mikkel Nielsen(13-2) W TKO 2 Renato Egedi (20-2-2). Super Middle: Mate Kis (23-1-2) W DIS 2 Zeljko Stegic (21-2).
Bacskai vs. Poulsen
Bacskai ends his career with a stoppage win mover Paulsen. The former star member of the Hungarian amateur team boxed carefully in the first and then floored the Dane late in the second. Poulsen lasted to the bell but was down again in the third the from a series of punches ending with a right hook and the fight was stopped. Bacskai,36, signs off by aging the WBO European title to his collection. He was a gold medal winner at the World Youth Championships and the European Championships but did not turn pro until he was 30, Poulsen, 37, was 26-1 before losing to Anthony Yigit back in 2015 but is 6-6 since then.
Nielsen vs. Egedi
Nielsen frustrates the hope of a clean sweep for the locals with upset stoppage of Egedi. Nielsen outscored Egedi in the first landing some impressive combinations. A shot from Nielsen shook Egedi in the second and he poured on the punches until the referee was forced to come in and stop the fight. Not a noted puncher, Nielsen, 35 gets his fourth win by KO/TKO and collects the vacant WBO European belt. Egedi went in with an unbeaten run in 19 fights.
Kis vs. Stegic
Kis gets a second round disqualification win over Bosnian Stegic. The referee issued a number of warnings to Stegic before losing patience and disqualifying in the second round for head butts and other infractions. Kis, another former elite level amateur, suffered his only loss back in 2020 when he was stopped by fellow-Hungarian Istvan Szelli. Kis wins the vacant WBO Global title . Stegic had lost his first fight then won his next twenty-one but against very modest opposition.

Balashikha, Russia: Aleksei Papin (17-1,1ND) W TKO 2 Isaac Chilemba (27-10-3).
Papin brushes aside a faded Chilemba in the second. Chilemba showed all of his experience as he boxed his way cleverly in the first round frustrating a dangerous Papin. Papin launched a fierce attack in the second driving Chilemba to the ropes and then tried to beat Chilemba to the floor but the Malawian blocked many of the shots and wriggled off the ropes. A left hook sent Chilemba to the ropes again and this time there was no escape. Papin bombarded Chilemba with punches until Chilemba ended up lying on his back on the canvas and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Papin, 36, now has 16 wins by KO/TKO. His lone defeat came in the shape of a majority decision against Ilunga Makabu for the WBC Silver title in 2019. He was floored and outpointed by fellow-Russian 3-0 Soslan Asbarov last year but the result was changed to No Decision as Asbarov tested positive for a banned substance. Kudos for Papin as Malawian Chilemba’s only other inside the distance loss came through an injury when he had to retire with a broken hand. He has lost on points in title shots against both Sergey Kovalev and Dmitri Bivol and is a former undefeated IBO champion at super middle. He is now 0-4-1 in fights in Russia

London, England: Welter: Lucas Ballingall (18-2) W PTS 10 Kaisee Benjamin (18-4-1) . Super Bantam: Tysie Gallagher (8-2) W PTS 10 Stevi Levy (10-3). Super Bantam: Alireza Ghadiri (10-0) W KO3 Lennox Lythgoe (9-1). Heavy: Tommy Welch (14-0) W KO 1 Brayan Santander (11-2).
Ballingall vs. Benjamin 
Ballingall survives a last round knockdown to outpoint Benjamin. These two were well matched with Ballingall the more mobile and quicker but doing a bit too much flashy showmanship whereas Benjamin worked solidly all the way. Neither is a heavy puncher and Ballingall went for quantity attacking with quick bursts of punches and Benjamin not throwing as much but with more accuracy. Ballingall’s clever boxing and speedier movement gave him the edge and with swelling affecting Benjamin’s vision out of his right eye Ballingall had a good lead giving into the tenth. He was tiring and Benjamin landed a series of hooks to the body which had an exhausted Ballingall holding desperately and he lost his mouthguard gaining a few seconds respite. A right shook Ballingall then three punches dropped him with just 16 seconds remaining in the fight. He climbed to his feet and grabbed Benjamin and made it through the few remaining seconds. Ballingall wins on scores of 96-93 twice and 95-94 and wins the vacant IBF European title. Benjamin suffered back-to-back losses against Dalton Smith and Sean McComb but had won his last two fights
Gallagher vs. Levy
Gallagher wins the vacant British title and successfully defends her Commonwealth title with points victory over Levy. Gallagher was quicker and more accurate with her work. Levy had a good, strong jab but was too often slow in countering the rapier-like Gallagher jabs and frustrated by some excellent defensive work from Gallagher. Levy tried hard to put Gallagher under pressure but she lacked the power to really be a threat. She did still have Gallagher bleeding heavily from the nose over the second half of the fight but was also showing a swelling under her left eye. Gallagher easily held off some wild attacks from Levy over the last two rounds and was a good winner. Scores 96-94 twice and 99-91 for Gallagher. She becomes the first holder of the British female title at super bantam. Levy holds the European Silver title which was not on the line.
Ghadiri vs, Lythgoe
Ghadiri drops and stops Lythgoe in the third. Lythgoe attacked fiercely in the first round twice sending Ghadiri stumbling back along the ropes with stiff right jabs. Lythgoe continued to come forward but Ghadiri landed a couple of hard counters. Ghadiri looked dangerous with his counters in the second and rocked Lythgoe with a right to the head. In the third a right from Ghadiri sent Lythgoe’s mouthguard flying across the ring and then battered Lythgoe with punches until the referee stepped in to have Lythgoe’s mouthguard reinserted . When the action started again a left to the body put Lythgoe down. He got up was immediately down again from a body punch and was counted out on his hands and knees. London-based Iranian Ghadiri wins the vacant IBO Continental title and has won ten of his fights by KO/TKO.
Welch vs. Santander
A farcical excuse for a fight saw unbeaten Welch collapse Colombian Santander in the first round. The 6.0” obese Santander flung himself forward head down flailing his arms. He managed tom rush Welch tom the ropes a couple of times but when Welch managed to push Santander off a series of punches saw Santander collapse to the canvas face down. Santander reluctantly beat the count and then went down to his hands and knees after a couple of punches and just watched the referee count the ten. Ninth inside the distance win for Welch but a waste of ring time. Santander was knocked out in the second round in a fight in April. 

MAY 25

Shawinigan, Canada: Super Middle: Christian Mbilli (27-0) W KO 1 Mark Heffron (30-4-1). Heavy: Arslan Makhmudov (19-1) W KO 2 Miljan Rovcanin (27-4). Light Heavy: Mehmet Unal (10-0) W TKO 4 Rodolfo Gomez (14-8-3).



Mbilli vs. Heffron
Mbilli wipes out Heffron in 40 seconds. Heffron tried to use his longer reach to score with jabs but Mbilli forced him to the ropes. Mbilli landed a couple of body shots and then a right to the head that had Heffron sliding along the ropes. Mbilli followed him and then connected with a savage left hook to the body that sent Heffron down. He managed to get as far as putting his hands and knees on the canvas but then could go no further and crawled along the canvas whilst the referee counted him out. The Cameroon-born Frenchman makes it 23 inside the distance wins. He was defending his WBC Continental and WBA International belts. Although not filling the No 1 position he is rated in the top 3 by all four sanctioning bodies and a real dangerman to Saul Alvarez and Davd Benavidez. Englishman Heffron, a former British and Commonwealth title holder, was just blown away. Talk is that Mbilli will meet Sergey Derevyanchenko in August. 
Makhmudov vs. Rovcanin
Makhmudov cuts down Rovcanin inside two rounds. Rovcanin only just made it outside the first round. A left hook straightened Rovcanin up into the path of a clubbing right which, although it landed on Rovcanin’s shoulder, was powerful enough to send him down and he hung over the bottom rope almost out of the ring. He made it to his feet but it was all over in the second A brutal straight right dumped him on the floor propped up against the ropes and the fight was over. Typical display of brute strength with no real technical skills from Makhmudov. It has won him 18 fights by KO/TKO but his faults were magnified in his fight against Agit Kabayel in December when he was floored three times and stopped in the fourth. Serb Rovcanin has built his record on questionable opposition and quick-time losses against Kabayel and Jared Anderson have shown his ceiling 
Unal vs. Gomez
Montreal-based Turk Unal overcame the 6’3” Texan Gomez in the fourth round. Unal had dominated the fight and had Gomes tottering on shaky legs when the referee stopped the fight in the fourth. This was supposed to be Unal’s first time going ten rounds but instead he collected win No 8 by KO/TKO. Gomez is without a win in his last 6 fights being 0-4-2. 

Avellaneda, Argentina: Light: Claudio Daneff (21-3-1) W TEC DEC 6 Damian Rojas (17-3-1). Bantam: Maximiliano Maidana (12-0-1) W PTS 10 Carlos Rodriguez (7-5).
Daneff vs. Rojas
In a clash of southpaws Daneff wins the vacant WBC Latino Silver title with technical decision over Rojas. Daneff dropped Rojas in the first and then used his huge edges in height and reach to build a lead from there. A clash of heads in the fourth left Daneff with a gash on his forehead. The fight continued but in the sixth, after the referee asked the doctor to assess the injury, the fight was stopped. Daneff, a former Argentinian lightweight and super lightweight title holder, is now 10-1 in his last 11 fights. Rojas had found some form and was 8-1-1 going into this fight.
Maidana vs. Rodriguez
Maidana scored a knockdown in the first and then went on to win every round against Bolivian Rodriguez with the judges all scoring it 100-89. He was making the fourth defence of the South American belt. First ten round fight for Rodriguez.

Copenhagen, Denmark: Dina Thorslund (22-0) W PTS 10 Seren Cetin (11-0).
Thorslund continued her reign as ruler of the WBC and WBO divisions with a victory over Cetin. She simply outworked and outpunched Cetin using her usual high work rate and good body punching. The fight started at a hectic pace but after those frantic early rounds Thorslund was able to use her reach to score at distance and also bossed the action when Cetin did get inside. She was focusing on body punches to slow her younger challenger. The champion had a swelling by her left eye from the third round but that never developed to be a factor. Cetin showed her inexperience in not pacing the fight well and she struggled over the second half of the fight and did well to last the distance. She had only gone ten rounds once whereas Thorlund had gone ten rounds nine times. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Thorslund. The Dane has now defended her WBO belt six times and the WBC belt twice. Cetin was unbeaten and had won the WBC Silver title but her opposition had been of a much lower category than Thorslund.
Beziers, Francs: Fly: Mike Esteves (12-2-1) W TKO 7 Mauro Liendro (9-10,1ND). Super Feather: Jaouad Belmehdi (21-1-3) W KO 1 Marcos Martinez (22-6).
Esteves vs. Liendro
Esteves wins the vacant WBC Francophone with stoppage of Liendro. Having at one time weighed 125lbs the former undefeated Drench super bantam title holder had dropped to flyweight to win this one. He was stopped in seven rounds by Italian Vincenzo Picardi in a challenge for the EU bantam title in April last year. Argentinian No 6 Liendo had scored a couple of low level wins last year. 
Belmehdi vs. Martinez
Belmehdi destroys Argentinian Martinez in the opening round. A series of punches dropped Marting face down on the canvas and he was unable to beat the count. Belmehdi was 16-0-3 until Gary Cully halted him in 35 seconds in 2022. He has rebuilt slowly with five wins and picked up the vacant WBC Francophone title with this win. Argentinian No 10 superb feather Martinez had won 4 of his last five bouts. 

Roubaix, France: Light: Laid Douadi (26-0-1) W PTS 8 Reuquen Arce (17-16-2).
Former French lightweight champion Douadi gets his second win this year with a unanimous decision over experienced travelling loser Arce. Douadi won on scores of 78-74v twice and 77-75 so was given some useful work by Arce. Douadi is No 6 with the EBU but might have to face better opposition if he is to get a shot at the European title. Fifth consecutive loss for Arce.

Korle Gonno, Ghana: Light: Sherif Quaye (24-3-1) W TKO 8 Michael Dodoo (20-3-1). Super Welter: Jacob Tetteh Laryea (12-0) W TKO 3 Danie Lartey (16-8-2). 
Quaye vs. Dodoo
Quaye makes a successful defenced of his WBO African belt as he halts fellow-Ghanaian Dodoo in the eighth round. Quaye has won his last five fights against good level African opposition with his last three victims having combined records of 45-4-2. He is No 14 with the WBO. Dodoo was 10-0-1 in his last 11 bouts 
Laryea vs. Lartey
Laryea was defending his WBO Africa title for the first time and stopped Lartey in the fourth. That’d eleven inside the distance for Laryea and fived losses by KO/TKO for Lartey.

Ixtapaluca, Mexico: Bantam: Rene Calixto (23-0) W PTS 10 Sikho Nqothole (18-3). 
Calixto vs. Nqothole
Calixto outpoints South African Nqothole to maintain his 100% record but this was desperately close. Calixto marched forward throughout the fight but Nqothole proved a slick, clever opponent. He was scoring with jabs and quick rights on the advancing Calixto then sliding away. He was also able to dart inside and ghost away from Calixto’s counters. Calixto kept up the pressured and slowed Nqothole with body punches. Calixto was stronger as Nqothole tired late and won on scores of 96-94 twice and a ridiculous 98-92 with Nqothole looking unluck to lose. Calixto has been carefully protected and this is only his second ten round fight in his 23-bout career. Nqothole is a former undefeated WBO Global champion and has a win over current IBO superb flyweight title holder Richard Malajika 

Fight of the week: (Significance): Jack Catterall’s win over Josh Taylor will hopefully lead to title shot for Catterall
Fight of the week: (Entertainment): Not high profile but Jonathan Cardoso vs. Adam Lopez was an entertaining clash of styles 
Fighter of the week: Jack Catterall with honourable mention to Christian “Solide” Mbilli with another power show 
Punch of the week: The left hook to the body from Mbilli that end his fight with Mark Heffron was brutal but so was the one from Ihosvany Garcia that felled Lukasz Plawecki
Upset of the week: Dane Mikkel Nielsen 12-2 was not expected to beat the home fighter 20-1-2 Renato Egedi but he disposed of him in two rounds
Prospect watch: Cuban Ihosvany Garcia 13-0 (10 by KO/TKO) has wins over Ryno Liebenberg and 22-1 Patrick Rokhol.

Observations

Rosette: To Matchroom for the only big show in town and four competitive high quality matches. The Polish show had a world title fight but the undercard was underwhelming

Red Card: Bob Arum for his attack on the judging in the Catterall vs. Taylor fight. I thought the scores were too wide but I had it 115-113. If the judges scored one round different to the way I saw it that would make it 116-112 and for three rounds it would be 117-111 so disagreeing on three rounds out of twelve is no big deal.
-Lawrence Okolie won the WBC Bridgerweight title on Friday. The limit for the Bridgerweight division is 224lbs. Oleksandr Usyk weighed 223 ½ lbs when winning the WBC heavyweight title last week! Now exactly why was it necessary to have this division between cruiserweight and heavyweight? Surely not for yet another load of sanctioning fees for the huge number of titles in every weight division.
-The WBO claim their Global title is a prestigious, important title that they value highly. If that is so how come that the Global super middleweight title fight on Friday was between Mat Kis No 84 in the Box Rec ratings and Zeljko Stegic No 194 in Box Rec. The winner is probably rewarded with a place in the WBO top 15!
- Aleksi Papin scored a crushing win over Isaac Chilemba at the weekend. Papin’s record includes a No Decision (the sanctioning bodies use No Contest-but the fights appear in the total contests of a boxers record so a No contest is a contest!!). Sometimes there is a story behind the No Decision. In Papin’s case it was a loss against Soslan Asbarov who tested positive for a banned substance. No wrap over the knuckles for Asbarov-he was banned for six years !! Now that might make a few fighters think twice before cheating.
- In my nominated Fight of the Week (entertainment) Jonathan Cardoso beat Adam Lopez on a split decision. One judge had Cardoso winning 99-91 and another gave it to Lopez 97-93 I hate to think what Bob Arum might have said about the judging.

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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