By: Hans Themistode
When Deontay Wilder was left a bloody mess following his February 22nd, rematch against Tyson Fury at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, many believed that their rivalry was over.
Tyson Fury had in essence taken everything away from Wilder. His undefeated record, his WBC Heavyweight title and his aura of invincibility now all belonged to Fury.
For the new WBC belt holder, it was a moment that he believed should have come a long time ago. When the two men met for the very first time on December 1st, 2018, Fury was forced to settle for a draw although many believed he had done more than enough to leave that night with the win. The second time around however, Fury left no doubt.
Although Wilder was left battered and bruised, he was far from broken. Less than 24 hours following his defeat, Wilder’s team informed team Fury that they would invoke the immediate rematch clause for a third fight.
Now that Wilder has officially chosen to go down the path of a third fight with Fury, the time and date has officially been set in stone.
The MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 18th, will once again host both big men one more time. News of the official rematch may have surprised several around boxing who believed Wilder should first work his way back up, but promoter Bob Arum was expecting this decision.
“I figured he would do it because I have had enough experience with rematches to know that anything can happen,” said Arum. “Guys can change their strategy and want the opportunity to avenge the loss.”
With the first fight bringing in roughly 300,000 pay-per-view buys, the second almost tippled that number bringing in more than 800,000. The third installment between them could potentially bring in even more eyeballs because of the selected date which is seemingly ideal for everyone involved.
“We realized that date was the favorite of both ESPN and Fox because it comes at a dead time in sports, which is good for the fight,” Arum said. “It’s after the basketball playoffs, baseball is in the middle of the season and there’s no football. It’s the ideal time. The hotel, MGM Grand, also believes it to be an ideal time.”
Since suffering the first loss of his career, Wilder went silent for several days. He did recently put out a statement claiming that his rivalry with Fury is only just getting started.
“The war has just begun,” said Wilder via his social media account.
In order for Wilder’s words to come true, he will need to win his third upcoming fight with Fury. With many believing Fury won the first fight and with Wilder stopped in dramatic fashion in the second, if the former WBC titlist loses yet again, then the war will officially be over.
By: William Holmes
HBO returned to the Forum in Inglewood, California to broadcast their third foray into the Super Flyweight Division, dubbed Super Fly 3.
The Super Flyweight Division is currently one of boxing most intriguing, and it has drawn former World Minimumweight, Light Flyweight, and Flyweight world champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1) out of retirement and into a bout with McWilliams Arroyo (17-3).
Ioka was “retired” for seventeen months, and was giving up size to Arroyo. Ioka went to the body early on but Arroyo was able to land a few good combinations upstairs.
Ioka looked more relaxed in the second round and had Arroyo backing up most of the round, but Arroyo was able to stunt some of Ioka’s momentum in the third with crisp head snapping uppercuts mixed in with a faster consistent pace, but Ioka re-established control at the very end of the round with a hard knockdown from a right hand.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Ioka looked confident going into the fourth round and was taking good angles and landing to the head and body of Arroyo. Ioka took a lot of uppercuts in the fifth round, but continued to come forward landing body shots and did not appear to be too phased by the. Arroyo did end the round with combination ending with a clean left hook.
Ioka initiated the action in the sixth round and engaged in some fierce exchanges in the seventh round with Arroyo. Arroyo showboated as the round came to an end.
Arroyo came forward in the eighth round but Ioka was throwing the higher number of punches. The ninth round was punctuated by a left hook from Ioka and he entered the last round with a comfortable lead.
Arroyo needed a knockout to win the bout in the final round, but he was unable to pull it off.
The judges scored it 99-90, 97-92, and 97-92 for Kazuto Ioka.
The co-main event of the evening was between Donnie Nietes (41-1-4) and Aston Palicte (24-2), two Filipino fighters in the Super Flyweight division.
Nietes was the more polished and experienced fighter of the two, but Palicte was younger and much bigger. Palicte was throwing jabs to the body and head in the opening round while Nietes appeared to focus mainly on the body.
Palicte showed that he was the harder puncher in the second round but was getting out landed by Nietes. Nietes accuracy was better than Palicte in the third and fourth round, but the rounds were close.
Palicte likely stole the fifth round as Nietes looked like he took the round off, but Nietes picked up the action again in the sixth and seventh rounds to retake control of the momentum of the fight.
Photo Credit:HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Both landed heavy blows in the eight round and showcased solid chins. Nietes looked like he was going for a knockout in the tenth round and had Palicte looking like he was discouraged.
The technical superiority of Nietes remained apparent in the final two rounds of the fight, despite his age and size disadvantage. He had Palicte badly hurt in the final round and appeared close to knocking him down, but Palicte was able to survive.
The final scores were 116-112 Palicte, 118-110 Nietes, and 114-114 for a split draw.
The main event of the evening was between Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3) and Felipe Orucuta (36-4) in the Super Flyweight Division.
Estrada was considered by many to be a heavy favorite going into this fight, and he looked to be in incredible shape.
Orucuta looked to be a langy fighter and was getting tagged by the lead left hooks early on. Orucuta height however made him an awkward target, but he was getting outworked early on.
Estrada focused his jab to the body of Orucuta in the third and fourth rounds and didn’t look too concerned about the power shots of Orucuta. Orucuta looked like he was beginning to tire, but was still able to land some decent shots.
Orucuta touched the ground with his gloves in the fifth round but it was ruled a slip. Orucuta briefly had Estrada in trouble by the ropes in the sixth round.
Orucuta was making it a fight though and got into several fierce exchanges with Estrada in an action packed seventh round. Orucuta however was hurt in the eighth round with a hard right hand that had the fans on their feet.
Photo Credit:HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Orucuta and Estrada continued to go back and forth into the ninth and tenth rounds, and Estrada didn’t appear to look like he wanted to go for the stoppage. Orucuta ability to take a good punch was tested in the final two rounds, and he passed it with flying colors.
Estrada was comfortably ahead in the final round, but he still had a bloody nose from the efforts of Orucuta. Estrada, despite likely being ahead, stepped on the gas pedal in the final round in an effort to get the stoppage and had tagged Orucuta several times.
The final scores were 118-110, 117-111, and 117-111 for Estrada.
By: William Holmes
HBO has put on two previous cards featuring fighters all in the super flyweight division, and they dubbed it “Super Fly”. Saturday will feature their third Super Fly event, and it will be televised live on HBO from the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Three fights will likely be televised. Kazuto Ioka will face McWilliams Arroyo in a bout that will have future title implication. The co-main event of the night will be between Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte for the WBO Super Flyweight title. The main event of the night will be between Juan Francisco Estrada and Felipe Orucuta for the WBC Super flyweight eliminator.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Alexanderu Marin, Bruno Escalante, Joselitl Velasquez, and a WBC Women’s Strawweight title fight between Louisa Hawton and Brenda Flores.
The following is a preview of the two planned televised fights with implications for the WBC title.
Donnie Nietes (41-1-4) vs. Aston Palicte (24-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title
Donnie Nietes is one of the world’s best boxers that most American fans have never heard of.
However, he’s currently thirty six years old and is nearing the end of his prime. He’s also fighting in a new higher weight class. He’s nine years older than his opponent, and will be giving up four inches in height and about two and a half inches in reach.
Both boxers are from the Philippines, but Palicte appears to have had more success as an amateur. He represented the Philippines in the 2008 AIBA Youth World Championships.
It also appears Palicte is the bigger puncher of the two. Only four of his wins went the distance, while eighteen of Nietes wins went the distance.
However, as a professional, Nietes has had the better career and faced the better competition. He has beaten the likes of Juan Carlos Reveco, Komgrich Nantapech, Edgar Sosa, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Raul Garcia, and Moises Fuentes. He was previously a WBO Light Flyweight World Titlist and a WBO World Minimumweight Champion. His lone lass was in 2004 to Angky Angkotta by split decision.
Additionally, Nietes has fought out of the Philippines nine times during his career, so his record isn’t based on beating up lesser known Filipinos in a friendly arena.
The one edge that Palicte might have over Nietes is his age and activity. Nietes fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2017. Palicte has fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Palicte has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, John Apolinario, Oscar Cantu, and Vergilio Silvano. His losses were to Junior Granados and Romnick Magos.
Palicte size and age advantage should help close the gap in skill that exists between him and Nietes, but it likely won’t be enough to help him win the fight.
Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3) vs. Felipe Orucuta (36-4); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator
When we last saw Estrada in the ring, he lost a close bout with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. The fight was close enough for Estrada to remain in title contention.
Estrada is still in the middle of his athletic prime at 28 years old, and will be facing an opponent that is four years older than him. However, Orucuta will have about a three inch height advantage and about a two and a half reach advantage.
Both boxers are from Mexico, but Estrada has had the better amateur career. Estrada boasts an alleged record of 94-4 as an amateur.
Estrada has been fairly active the past three years. He already fought once in 2018, fought twice in 2017, and only fought once in 2016. Orucuta fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016.
On paper it appears Orucuta is the harder puncher. Estrada only has twenty five stoppage victories while Orucuta has thirty.
However, Estrada has clearly faced the better opposition. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Anuar Salas, Hernan Marquez, Rommel Asenjo, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, Brian Viloria. His losses were to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Roman Gonzalez, and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.
Orucuta hasn’t really defeated anybody of note. His best wins so far were against Edgar Jimenez, Juan Jimenez, and Javier Gallo. His losses were to Omar Andres Narvaez, twice in title fights, Jose Cayetano, and Daniel Rosas.
Like to co-main event of the night, the size difference could be a factor. But Estrada is an elite level talent while Orucuta is not.