By: William Holmes
The quarterfinals of the heavily hyped boxcino lightweight tournament began today on ESPN Friday Night Fights in Laughlin, Nevada. Tournaments have previously helped churn out future stars in boxing such as Andre Ward and Acelino Freitas. Over the next few months ESPN will be televising a lightweight and a middleweight tournament.
After a seventeen minute delay due to college basketball, the tournament started off with the first six round quarterfinal bouts between Yakubu Amidu (21-4-2) and Chris Rudd (12-1). If the opening bout is an indication of how the remainder of the tournament will play out, fight fans should be excited.
Amidu is managed by Vince Vaughn but has experienced most of his success in Ghana, Chris Rudd has been relatively in active the past two years, but has a longer reach and height than Amidu. Amidu was missing short with his punches in the first round while Rudd was finding his range with his jab and looked elusive. Amidu started the fight perhaps slower than he wanted, and really didn’t show signs of warming up until the end of the second round, which featured some great action.
Amidu started to land some heavy blows in the third round, and connected with an uppercut that knocked Rudd’s mouthpiece out of his mouth. However, Amidu was stunned by a left hook from Rudd near the end of the round.
Amidu applied incredible pressure in the fourth round, and often was able to keep the fight in tight and won the round simply on volume of punches. Rudd was able to stay on the outside in the fifth round and used his jab to keep Amidu at bay and turn from the corners before getting trapped by Amidu.
The last round was incredible close like most of the fight and the all three judges had it 57-57. However the tournament does not allow for draws and the fight went to a seventh round. Rudd played it smart and safe and outboxed Amidu from a safe distance in the final.
Overall, a very good opening bout for the Boxcino tournament. The finals scores were 67-66 on all three cards for Chris Rudd.
The next bout of the night was between two Russian competitors in the Boxcino tournament, Fedor Papazov (14-0) and Petr Petrov (32-3-2). The action in this bout was just as good, if not better, than the action in the first bout.
Petrov had previously competed for a world title and was knocked out by Marcus Maidana. Petrov’s performance tonight either speaks to the power that lie in the hands of Marcos Maidana or speaks to the improvement in his ability to take a punch.
Petrov was clearly in excellent shape, and kept up an incredible pace for all six rounds. He was landing hard punches early, and was getting the better of exchanges with Papazov. Papazov had opened up a small cut on the left side of Petrov’s head before the start third round, and had one of his better rounds of the night with some stinging right crosses. The fourth round was violent, both boxers landed brutal punches and threw everything that had at each other. Petrov however was taking the punches well and his attacks were starting to visibly wear down Papazov.
Petrov had a punishing fifth round and Papazov was starting to fade badly. Petrov had Papazov hurt several times in the fifth round, and it was highlighted by a jolting left hook near the end of the round. Petrov closed the fight well and won an entertaining match with scores of 58-56 on all three cards.
Miguel Gonzalez (22-3) and M.A. Mendoza (21-2) was the third bout of the night, and they kept up with theme of action packed fights. Gonzalez was a 2008 U.S. Olympic Alternate and he came in at his lightest weight in the past five years.
Gonzalez started off boxing pretty slick and was able to stay on the outside and out of the range of the wild and free throwing Mendoza. Mendoza did land a few solid straight left hands in the second round, but Gonzalez appeared to control most of the round in a comfortable range.
However, Mendoza continued to throw wild shots but a few them began to get through Gonzalez’s defense in the third round, including an salvo of uppercuts early in the round. The fight was being fought on the inside where Mendoza wanted it, but Gonzalez was holding his own.
Gonzalez continued to outbox Mendoza in the fourth round and knocked him off balance in the fourth round with a straight left hand. He continued to fight smart in the fifth round and went into the corner at the end of the round believing he was ahead on the scorecards, but his corner believed he needed to do more to win.
In the final round Mendoza came after Gonzalez hard and tagged him several times with thudding uppercuts, especially when Gonzalez was stuck by the ropes or standing straight up. The fight stats showed at the end of the fight that Mendoza had landed more punches, but the fight appeared to have been a draw.
The judges felt the fight was close, but not a draw. Gonzalez won a split decision with scores of 58-56, 58-56, and one score of 58-56 for Mendoza.
The final bout of the night was between Sam Neequaye (21-0) and Fernando Carcamo (15-5). Neequaye was considered by many to be a favorite to win it and Carcamo had faced some very good competition but had a less than impressive record.
Neequaye however has faced inferior competition as a professional and it showed inside the ring. Carcamo scored a knockdown in the first round with a body shot while Neequaye was off balance. He closed out the round with a solid left hand near the end of the first.
Carcamo finished the bout in the second round when he hurt Neequaye with a straight left hand. Neequaye attempted to hold on, but Carcamo moved Neequaye backwards against with a right hook and had Neequaye holding on for dear life again. Carcamo connected with another hard left hook and Neequaye, already on rubbery legs, went down again as the referee waives off the bout.
Carcamo advances to the semi-finals with the only stoppage in the quarterfinals at 1:58 of the second round.