ESPN Boxing Preview: Cancio vs. Zenunaj, Kamegai vs. Vendetti


By: Dylan Smith

Andrew Cancio vs. Dardan Zenunaj and Yoshihiro Kamegai vs. Greg Vendetti

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, US. On Friday 17th August 2018

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes 11 p.m. ET

The Main event of the Evening

Californian Andrew ‘El Chango’ Cancio WBA Intercontinental Super Featherweight Champion is a young hungry fighter also working a day job to support his family. His record is 18-4-2 with 14 knockouts. Training in Knuckleheadz gym with the likes of Victor Ortiz and Francisco Santana his corner have a wealth of experience. He is a pressure fighter who digs in his heels and presses forward throwing lots of punches from different angles. With a height of 5’6” and a reach of 68” he is about average for the 130lb weight class but holds a lot of power.

Even after a 572 day lay off he displayed a dominant performance against his last opponent, a tough Kazakhstan Aidar Sharibayev. Cancio threw a total of 735 punches and although only 14% were jabs, he utilised them to find his range to set up combination punches. Also using a perfectly timed lead left hook to put his man down in the 3rd and then again in the 5th with a straight right. Cancio went on to Stop him in the 10th which shows He can carry his power up until the last round of the fight. Andrew Cancio can take a punch well and doesn’t mind taking a couple in order to land a few of his own.

You can expect to see ‘El Chango’ (The Monkey) standing his ground, moving forward using his jabs to set up decent powerful combinations. There will be no dancing around or stepping backwards from Cancio and he will meet his opponent head on. You will see him throw the lead left hook and the straight right hand and may even score a few knock downs.

Albanian Dardan Zenunaj is the former WBA international Super Featherweight champion and has a record of 14-4-0 with 11 ko’s. He is a quick starter and likes to throw heavy hooks to the body and downward chopping rights to the head. He has a good chin and his stamina makes him able to throw none stop punches right the way until the last round. With good footwork he aggressively charges forward with a tight guard to pressure his opponents, forcing them to throw so he can counter.

At 5’7” with a 68.5” reach he is about average for 130lbs but has half an inch reach over Cancio. Although Darda is 2 years older, his debut was in 2011 so Cancio has 5 years more experience in the professional ranks. However having been trained by Robert Garcia he has a wealth of knowledge of instruction in the ring.

Dardan’s last win was against Recky Duley where he dropped his opponent several times before the referee finally stopped it in the 3rd round. Although he lost his last fight it was against a gritty opponent in Carlos Morales who is due to fight the young talented up and comer Ryan Garcia.

Zenunaj will likely walk forward with a tight guard and try to counter Cancio. He will force the pace and is likely to throw close to 100 punches per round.

Even though Dardan Zenunaj trains in California, Andrew Cancio will have the advantage of the home crowd. It will be a high paced fight with both boxers coming forward. Be prepared for an action packed fight with toe to toe action like they are fighting in a phone booth. Who will be the first to take a step back? It’s highly likely there will be a knockout in this bout.

The Co-Main Event of the Evening.

Japanese Yoshihiro Kamegai has a record of 27-4-2 with 24 KO’s. Although having 4 losses on his record he has never been knocked out which is testament to his toughness and ability to absorb punishment. Even at 35 years of age he has fantastic cardio and continuously charges forward. Yoshihiro has a style that looks like and old school boxer brawler, throwing short hooks from the waist belt. He uses good movement to cut off the ring, forcing his opponent against the ropes to throw close range hooks. He should be called the Japanese firefighter as he goes to war in every fight, standing in the pocket and doesn’t back away.

In his last fight in August 2017 was with a legend of the sport, former 5 weight world champion Miguel Cotto for the vacant junior middleweight title. Although losing by a unanimous points decision, at the beginning of every round he ran at Cotto and didn’t stop to take a breather. Kamegai displayed an ability to roll with the punches, turning his head from side to side. Miguel dished out a huge amount of punishment. Even though behind by many rounds, Yoshihiro never gave up and continued to come forward until the very last round.

His last win was against Jesus Soto Karass. It was a rematch having previously fought him a few months before to a decision draw. In this fight however he secured a victory over Jesus. After a barrage of brutal combinations beat him so badly it forced Soto Karass to retire on his stool at the end of the 8th round.

Yoshihiro Kamegai will not be put off by blood or pain and you will likely see him try to resist until the end. With his high work rate and relentless pressure, attempt to Push Greg Vendetti back against the ropes to throw wild hooks to the body and head.

Greg ‘The Villain’ Vendetti New England Junior Middleweight Champion has a record of 19-2-1 with 12 KO’s. He is a powerful puncher, stocky with a solid base. He likes to get up close and uses fantastic pivotal movement, oscillating his upper body, using the momentum to hurl heavy hooks. Mike Tyson-esque from the body movement, hooks and even the black shorts, he has also knocked out his last 2 opponents both in the first round.

Vendetti is a young fighter of 28 years of age. Only debuting in 2013 however he has been very active and this will be his 5th fight in 12 months. The Villain is on a 15 fight win streak and has never been stopped, which is testimony to his toughness.

Greg ‘The Villain’ Vendetti will try to out land Kamegai and force him to miss with his upper body movement. It is likely Greg will want to finish by knockout in brutal fashion. He will have a great test ahead in the Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Both fighters will stand their ground and look to dominate the other with their toughness. Like in true Samurai spirit they will fight until the end and not give up. It’s going to be interesting to see the young fighter’s stamina to be tested and the older fighter’s resilience put to measure. An interesting fight of styles will clash as they both come forward and pull the trigger.

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