Tragedy and Chances – The Andrew Golota Story
By: Ste Rowen
The Story of Andrew Golota The ‘Foul Pole’ Who Caused a Riot & Almost Changed New York Boxing Forever Andrew Golota on a rare occasion of resilience.
He stares down at the changing room floor, towel over his head, tears in his eyes. It had happened again. “You can be champion of the world.” Lou Duva, boxing’s most famous manager screams at his fighter. ”The only person stopping you is you. Nobody but you.” Andrew Golota had been offered the opportunity of redemption five months on from the night he almost completely destroyed his reputation. Now against the very same opponent, a man who won bronze at the 1988 Olympics was repeating the same mistakes and displaying the lack of fight he had shown earlier in the year, which for any boxer is a baseline requirement.
But here in this Atlantic City changing room the future looked truly bleak, and it was all down to one man and the events that led him to become one of the most famous names in the sport.
Boxing is a pretty easy sport to find the men you love to see lose, and maybe that’s what turned an almost childlike giant into a fan favourite in that sense. Andrzej Jan Golota was born in 1968’s Wroclaw, Poland to an alcoholic father and a mother he learned very early on couldn’t cope with him on her own. His father committed suicide when Andrzej was just five years old, and a year later the small boy still reeling from the most horrific circumstances was given up to an orphanage by his one remaining parent.
Fortunately, he was reunited with his extended family when his aunt gained custody of her nephew, but the tragedy of having been given away never left the future heavyweight contender. His aunt however was unable to control the temper of an ever-growing menace. Both literally and figuratively.
Fights, expulsions and trouble with the law led the authorities to send Andrzej to a military training centre in Legia, where Golota’s boxing story began. “My family was against my boxing. They did not think I should do such a brutal sport,” Andrew reflected back in 1996. “They were scared I would get a flat nose.” However much of a discipline boxing is famed to be when it comes to helping troubled children, some boys just can’t be completely saved, and trouble follows them around like a bad smell. “I just wanted to make him look silly.”
‘Silly’ wasn’t exactly how Piotr Bialostocki viewed it when he faced the wrath of Golota, by now already a bronze medallist Olympian when the infamous event occurred in 1990. As the story goes, full of Dutch courage, Bialostocki challenged the 200lb+ boxer to a fight and a short time later he awoke in a bin, treated to a pair of black eyes and his clothes removed. Presumably so that he would sleep easier without them, you know, or not.
The incident was brought to the attention of the police and once again put the now 22-year-old back in the sights of the authorities. Forced to make arguably the most significant decision of his life, he prepared to leave the country that had moulded him and mere months later touched down in Chicago.
Golota always finds it amusing to imagine the faces of the police hunting him down on an armed robbery charge only to see the ‘fugitive’ six years later, on HBO PPV, potentially one win away from fighting for a heavyweight world title.
“In Poland today I am a hero AND a wanted man.”
Speaking barely any English and having very limited contacts in America, Golota not only began to establish a professional boxing career but linked up with one of the sport’s great figures, Lou Duva, former soldier, businessman, boxer, trainer, manager and owner of promotional company, Main Events.
It was all in the Pole’s hands, not only the resources to work with, but a heavyweight division stacked with supreme boxers willing to fight all comers. Although it wasn’t without some almost major hiccups that could’ve derailed Golota’s momentum. At 23-0, the unbeaten man was accused of biting his 24th professional opponent, Samson Po’uha.
In a sign of things to come, Andrew was cruising through the early rounds but after taking a powerful right hand that shook him up, the Pole began to panic. Held the Samoan in a clinch and in Po’uha’s version of events, Golota bit his foe. Photo’s seen after the fight proved that Po’uha wasn’t lying and despite being stopped in the 5th round, the result stood.
Golota’s first strike.
He was a supposed bogeyman before he really stepped up. Chicago resident, via Poland, Andrew headed into his July 1996 bout, his most important fight to date vs. Riddick Bowe with a 28-0 (25KOs) record, but it was from that bout that fans became accustomed to the crazy personality that would expose the Eastern European fighter on the world stage. “How do you train for a bum?” Golota’s next opponent, former world champion, Riddick Bowe proclaimed to the media.
It was an interesting turn of phrase even for boxing’s standards, but at a time when it was mainly American’s dominating the glamour division it’s not surprising that Bowe was so confident. However, despite Riddick taking the win, it wasn’t Riddick that won it, more that Andrew lost it. “Don’t throw anything below the shoulder!” Duva, once again in Golota’s face in the corner, yelled at his man. “Just hit him in the head.” But the vulnerable child from years ago was coming out once again in Andrew. The need to run, which to this day seems ridiculous as anyone who watches the fight back can see that the crazy Pole is well on top, but he couldn’t resist the urge to fire shots below the belt. By the 7th the referee had, had enough and unfortunately for the rest of Madison Square Garden, so had Bowe’s team.
Once the referee waved off the fight and disqualified Andrew for continuous low blows, Riddick’s corner rushed into the ring charging and pushing at Golota and chaos ensued. Punches flying in every direction, Lou Duva dropped to the floor on his back, and then the crowd turned on each other. Media reports from journalists ringside likened it to a fight between black and white because of the large attendance of Polish New Yorker’s in attendance and Bowe being from Brooklyn.
The MSG had some kind of ‘The Warriors-esque’ haze dropped over where you either tried to get out or fight a stranger. The New York Times labelled him the ‘Foul Pole’. The MSG banned any boxing events from taking place at their venue for three years. Golota was public enemy number one, something you really don’t want to be, especially in America.
And yet the boxing world was ready to do it all over again within the same year. The question was, can a leopard change its spots? No.
Rinse and repeat for the rematch five months later, only this time the fight lasted three rounds longer and there was no riot in the Convention Centre, only the riot happening in Golota’s head. Andrew seemed firmly on top once again, a jab wasted in the annals of boxing, but he just could not get out of the mental block of sabotaging himself, earning a second straight disqualification.
In most sports that would usually be the end of someone playing in the big leagues, at least for a little while, but boxing isn’t like that. Ten months after the shame that came with losing to Bowe by DQ again, the Pole was awarded with a shot at WBC champion, Lennox Lewis – it sure pays to be in business with Duva. But Golota was knocked out in a single round and despite having three more shots at a world title, fell short on each occasion.
A draw, a decision loss, and another 1st round KO. The ‘Foul Pole’ can’t help himself from losing control. His legacy.
Accusing Golota of never trying would be going too far, but in those moments when he was on the brink of legacy-defining performances, he quit, he fell way short of his talent, but then again, he’s still had a career 95% of professional boxers train for.
Rene Alvarado Wins by TKO to Dethrone, Upset Andrew Cancio
By Robert Aaron Contreras
If fighting is natural, boxing is genetic.
On Saturday, Rene Alvarado joined twin brother Felix, who holds the IBF light flyweight belt, as the first Nicaraguan siblings to simultaneously hold world championships. It was a seven-to-one oddsbreaking, knockout performance for Alvarado (32-8, 21 KO) who dethroned defending champion Andrew Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KO).
The fight ended after the seventh round, when Cancio’s trainer told referee Raul Caiz Sr. that his charge had received enough punishment in the main event of DAZN’s broadcast from Indio, California
“It’s a feeling that’s very hard to describe,” Alvarado said, through a translator, getting used to a new gold strap over his shoulder. “It’s something I wanted ever since I started my career. Now Nicaragua has a new champion. Twin brothers. All glory goes to Nicaragua.”
The championship fight was a rematch of nondescript meeting between Alvarado and Cancio in 2015, before the limelight ever had a spot for them, which the American took on an eighth-round TKO.
Out of the gate, seemingly out for revenge, in a frenetic pace, Alvarado immediately bashed up Cancio. From every which way, the challenger stole the opening round with an array of looping punches.
Cancio had Alvarado where he wanted him in Round 2, in close quarters. So Alvarado used his long arms to beat the champion to the punch, sitting on winging right hands. Their weight pressed against each other, Cancio went downstairs twice only for four punches to be returned in his direction.
Cancio’s focus shifted to slicing apart his man’s guard by going up the middle. But the spindly puncher proved he could catch.
Alvarado assumed his fencing stance for the third period. His eyes never left his target when Cancio tried barreling into him. The challenger mashed right hooks into Cancio’s face. Cancio was being whipped around. His head fell over his center of gravity and into Alvarado which the Nicaraguan responded by using his forearms to muscle Cancio’s dome in line for more careening blows.
Admirably, Cancio’s right and left straights went on tilting… at windmills because Alvarado was cruising from the outside. His elongated jab set up flashing right uppercuts, followed up by a left hook. An overhand right bounced off Cancio before more slinging punches from Alvarado—just as a sidearm pitcher would—brought in the doctor ahead of the fifth stanza.
Alvarado drilled into Cancio some more in the fifth. Though it would not the same heavy artillery in the sixth and seventh rounds. Cancio’s face glowing crimson, he experienced his best round if only because Alvarado took most of the three minutes off.
The damage had already been done.
Cancio’s corner could be heard on the broadcast giving his pupil “one more round.”
Too bad Cancio’s strategy in the fateful inning was no different. Short straight lefts initiated his combo, followed by a downward right crosses. Not creative enough to deter Alvarado. At this point stretching out left hands, then snapping together right and left butchering, chopping strikes.
That Round 7 wasn’t particularly punishing but did nothing to reassure Cancio’s trainer that it would be safe to let the action continue.
The punch stats painted a clear picture as Alvarado landed 232 of 703 (33 percent). And Cancio connected on 154 of 559 total blows (28 percent).
It turned out, getting one back on Cancio was never Alvarado’s main goal. Instead, history.
“My objective was to make sure I became champion on this important day,” Alvarado said. “When Alexis Arguello became champion for the first time.”
Arguello earned his first title 45 years ago to the day over Mexican legend Ruben Olivares, also in California. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez turned up for the occasion, spurring his countryman on from the front row.
Alvarado came into the fight unbeaten dating back to the spring of 2017. Before that, he was on a 6-6 run that included a massive defeat to Cancio. Now he has won eight straight and due for a homecoming.
Can Xu defends featherweight crown
Featherweight world titlist Can Xu retained his belt for the second time this year as he decisioned Manny Robles III in chief support of DAZN’s broadcast competing with a heavyweight pay-per-view.
Xu (18-2, 3 KO) who earned his 126-pound world title in January—defending it four months later—never took his foot off the petal, doubling the punch output of Robles (18-1, 8 KO). The judges had it 118-110, 120-108, and 119-109, all for the Chinese champion.
“We trained very hard. We wanted to show everybody war!” Xu explained in markedly improved English before calling for a unification with Josh Warrington—”Josh, you called me out. You see me here, I’m here. I’m featherweight champion of the world—and giving the California crowd an enthusiastic “gracias.”
In Round 1, the bodies quickly hit the deck. It was referee Edward Hernandez, not the fighters, who visited the canvas.
Robles retreated to his right from incoming offense from Xu at the same time Hernandez was shuffling in the same direction and the two collided with the ref losing his balance.
The theme of the night became evident in the second round. Both men traded from medium-range, keen on establishing combos revolving around sharp uppercuts.
The third round saw Xu’s uppercuts make contact with his challenger’s midsection.
Robles returned stiff orthodox jabs upstairs. While Xu worked off his cultured lead left hand, hooking and slashing in rhythm.
The two-handed attack from the champion took sole control of the center of the ring by Round 4 and Xu’s output only ramped up in the fifth and beyond.
The waves of punches drove Robles backwards. The American was jammed into the corner in Round 7. His offense was reduced by the eighth to sitting on the balls of his feet, waiting for Xu’s fists to complete their cycle, and toss back singular, flinging left hooks.
Robles could no longer keep his hands up in the tenth period. There his nose opened up, bleeding. Xu took advantage, stuffing right and left straights followed by angling left hooks.
Completely balanced, the champion’s feet inched to and fro, right and left, out and away, nothing otherworldly, but consistently shifting position. Once taking a step back and planting his right foot and driving that kinetic energy through his legs up to a straight right into Robles’ face.
The interchanging punches did not stop in the championship rounds. Robles managed to press forward, though his punches has little pop. Xu put him in a corner near the end of the 12th, where Robles mustered up the little he had left for a two-way blitz before the final bell.
Of total landed shots, Xu landed 402 of a whopping 1,562 punches (25 percent) while Robles connected with 199-of-765 (26 percent).
Andrew Cancio Defends Title in Rematch with Rene Alvarado
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
No rematch is created equally. A return match can be called if the first go seemed like a fluke. Other times, the initial match proved to be such a scintillating matchup that public demand forces the two parties to do it all over again.
In June, WBA titleholder Andrew Cancio had already slung the gold belt over his shoulder. But speculation over former champion Alberto Machado’s conditioning left Cancio no choice but to affirm his claim of the WBA super featherweight title in a rematch. And he did by scrambling Machado’s insides with a left hook to the body, inducing a third-round knockout.
Now set to defend his strap for the second time, Cancio’s biggest challenge this weekend might not be the man in front of him—who he already holds a win over—but instead the fight card going on in Las Vegas, with Deontay Wilder at the top of the bill. The heavyweight star participates in a rematch of his own with Luis Ortiz after their classic slugfest last year.
So eyes may be limited for Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KO) as he tackles a former opponent in Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KO). DAZN will carry the action on Nov. 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The two previously met in 2015 when Cancio picked up a knockout victory in the eight round. The stoppage was well needed for the California native who had just dropped a bout to Ronny Rios. The future champ would lose once more (to JoJo Diaz) before putting together his masterpiece, stringing together four consecutive wins, culminating in two blowout victories over the sharpshooting beltholder Machado.
Four years on, the loss almost seems like an anomaly for Alvarado. It was part of a mediocre run across the lower tier of the division, competing between the U.S. and his homeland of Argentina. Recognizable names like Rocky Juarez, Jayson Velez and Yuriorkis Gamboa were too much for Alvarado. He lost to all of them and was 8-6 over his previous 14 bouts before mounting a seven-fight win streak, that dates back to the summer of 2017, on his way to a mandatory title defense this weekend.
The Argentinian veteran’s real watershed moment came on the undercard of the Orlando Salido vs. Mickey Roman melee. Alvarado had the warring ways perfectly suitable to support the violent main event and rushed out to an early lead against perennial contender Denis Shafikov, eventually earning a split-decision nod.
From there Alvarado’s pursuit for gold was on. He separated himself from the pack, including a decision over journeyman Carlos Morales, who just before that extended blue-chip prospect Ryan Garcia.
Much like his rival, Alvarado is experiencing a late surge. Already 30, the visiting challenger is still younger than Cancio, aged 31.
Cancio’s age and experience, though, is his advantage, only giving him longer time to adapt and evolve. He is some kind of boxing amoeba. Resurrected from his middling days as a featherweight, he is now elite; a banger by nature, he’s demonstrated that he can fight backwards—against the likes of Dardan Zenunaj—or simply seek and destroy as he did with frightening efficiency against Machado, twice.
As for the rest of the card, it is a relatively thin—totaling just nine bouts. The show includes featherweight beltholder Can Xu, who in the beginning of the year became the third world champion ever from China. He defends his belt for the second time against undefeated tyro Manny Robles III.
Andrew Cancio Looks to Prove His Title Win Was No Fluke
By: Sean Crose
One of the interesting side effects of huge upsets in boxing is that fans are left to wonder if it was all just a fluke. Sometimes they arguably find out– as they did when Lennox Lewis regained his heavyweight title against Hasim Rahman almost twenty years ago. Sometimes, however, it all remains a mystery (we can guess, but can only imagine what would have happened if there was a Tyson-Douglas II). On Friday night, subscribers to DAZN will see for themselves whether Andrew Cancio’s stunning knockout of Alberto Machado last winter was indicative of a simple bad night for Machado – or of something more telling.
The first fight between the two men last February looked like it would go according to plan, as the then 20-0 Machado dropped the 19-4 Cancio hard in the first round. Cancio, however, got to his feet, and then proceeded to fight on, to the point where he viciously attacked the Regular WBA Junior Welterweight titlist Machado’s torso. Machado ended up going down on three occasions, and the referee stopped the bout in the fourth round. It might have been upset of the year material – had a certain Andy Ruiz not come around to face Anthony Joshua in New York a few weeks back. Now, however, Machado is looking for redemption.
On the other hand, Cancio is looking to show the world that he’s exactly where he belongs in the divisional pecking order. An electric company employee in California, Cancio certainly doesn’t engage in the flashiness contemporaries like Tyson Fury, and Adrien Broner do. As Cancio told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports: “I’m 100 percent committed to boxing, it’s just that I don’t get to stay at home and rest all day.” A family man first and foremost, Cancio is a man whose responsibilities keep him grounded.
It’s that underdog quality, however, that leads to Cancio’s appeal. Should he win again Friday, after the opening bell rings at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California, the fighter can expect that appeal to become more widespread. In order to reap greater attention (and, subsequently, more money), though, Cancio will have to get through a Machado who clearly isn’t intending to have a repeat of the first fight. It’s been reported the native of Puerto Rico had trouble in the lead up to his first battle with Cancio. If that’s true, and this camp has been smoother, Machado might prove to be a more formidable foe than he was during the first throw down.
Five UK Based Fighters Who Need a Big 2019
By: Oliver McManus
12 months can be a long time in the sport of boxing – it can see you go from the cusp of retirement to the brink of a world title and for these next boxers, they’ll be hoping that 2019 is the year for them because these are five fighters in need of a BIG 12 months.
Photo of Jay Harris and Kristian Touze
Andrew Selby – Flyweight
There was a time, not so long ago, that we thought we had seen the last of Andrew Selby when he announced “I’m not fighting anymore”, quite understandably this prompted confusion because for a long time he had been scheduled to fight for the European title – indeed a clash with Vincent Legrand was postponed back in June – and Selby was deemed, by many, far good a talent to be allowed to go to waste.
Last month, at last, there was some good news as Jamie Sanigar won the purse bids for his challenge to, Frenchman, Legrand and set a firm date for the Welshman’s return – October 27th at the Newport Centre. Since then there has been mixed signals about the fight with no official confirmation save for the European Boxing Union website who, incidentally, have assigned officials for the contest but the good news is that Selby is back in the gym with fire in his belly, once more.
Further to that, consider the former Team GB member has been mandated to fight Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar in a world title eliminator with the winner set to face, WBC Champion, Cristofer Rosales – a man who Selby comfortably outpointed last May – and you start to see the makings of a sensational 2019 where, if all goes well, we could see the crowning of a new British world champion.
Anthony Yarde – Light Heavyweight
With one sharp intake of breath we get reminded that Yarde is the number 2 ranked challenger with the World Boxing Organization and, swiftly after, it is explained to us that he’s still not ready for a world title because he’s learning the trade.
Now there’s nothing wrong with either of those statements but the constant juxtaposition of the two leave me crying out for Yarde to have a monumental 2019 and this is nothing to do with Anthony Yarde, not at all, because he is a genuinely nice guy and rather this frustration is born out of a desire for him to do well and prove critics wrong – at least, attempt to prove them wrong.
Since fighting Nikola Sjekloca on December 9th, Yarde has seen his stock fall with the 27 year old facing, less than inspiring, Tony Averlant and Dariusz Sek in the meantime; that performance against Sjekloca was a top quality, high energy, explosive performance against a respectable opponent whilst against Averlant and Sek it is almost as though he’s dropped down to their level.
Next out on October 20th Yarde, now 16 and 0, will face the Argentine national champion Walter Gabriel Sequeira who steps up to the plate after, it is believed, Sean Monaghan priced himself out after initially accepting the fight – regardless, the whole boxing world wants to see Yarde get in the ring with an opponent will provide him with a solid test and there are plenty of British light-heavies that would be gunning for the fight.
Hopefully, for him and us, 2019 will see Anthony Yarde start to really make his mark on the 175lb scene.
Lawrence Okolie – Cruiserweight
British, Commonwealth, WBA Continental Champion with only 10 fights under his belt, things are going pretty well for Okolie from a belts point of view and you certainly can’t criticise Okolie for the guys he’s been willing to face – Isaac Chamberlain, Luke Watkins and Matty Askin in only his eighth, ninth and tenth fights.
That’s all fine and dandy but his much-hyped contests against Chamberlain and Askin, in particular, have failed to live up to the expectations as Okolie imposed a largely physical, holding game-plan much to the irritation of those watching.
Far be it from me to criticise a professional boxer unnecessarily but Okolie himself admits his performances were disappointing and, yes he got the win, but he’s in a situation where he needs to start letting his hands go and relaxing through the bout in order to become a big Box Office attraction.
With strong amateur pedigree, Okolie was always going to take a hastened route to the top but the cruiserweight sensation needs to go back to basics and work the jab to tee up openings that he can exploit in order to look every bit as good as we know he can be.
Plenty of domestic challengers are salivating at a potential fight with the Hackney-man and I like Okolie, I really like him, but time is a friend not an enemy and, having smashed his way through his first 10 fights, he can afford to be patient for 2019 in terms of names but the performances need to be big.
Okolie needs to be seen as adaptive and exciting otherwise people, having seen what they have, will be inclined to switch off – I’ve little doubt as to the quality and desire of the cruiserweight prospect so he should be able to take it in his stride!
Joseph Parker – Heavyweight
Returning to the ring on December 15th having been subjected to back-to-back losses against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, respectively, Joseph Parker is in danger of becoming the forgotten talent of heavyweight boxing.
Making history by becoming the first New Zealand heavyweight world champion, you’d be hard pressed to suggest that Parker looked impressive in the fight that saw him crowned WBO king – against Andy Ruiz – or indeed in his subsequent defences over Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury and, actually, that fight against Dillian Whyte is, arguably, the best we’ve seen Parker.
That sounds weird to say given that he was on the reverse side of a unanimous decision but when Parker really got into his rhythm he was able to control the tempo of the fight, force Whyte into hot water and he looked like a physically imposing roughhouse fighter as opposed to the technical man we’ve got used to seeing.
It raised questions of WHY haven’t we seen this fire and aggression from the Kiwi before and whilst I can’t answer that question, I look forward to seeing how it impacts the 26 year olds fight plans going forward.
Parker gets the benefit of being in a comparatively weak heavyweight pool of talent than in years previous with a distinct gulf in quality even ranging throughout the top 15 and that should, on paper, ensure that Parker gets back into the world title mix sooner rather than later and, certainly, there are relatively few challengers that you wouldn’t tip Duco’s main man to topple.
The rebuild starts on December 15th, the climb back to a world title shot continues into 2019.
Now this is the slightly left field option for this article because who said I was going for the obvious? Jay Harris is a fighter who has had a frustrating year thus far with the Commonwealth flyweight champion scheduled to defend his belt – won via unanimous decision over Thomas Essomba back in February 2017 – against Dexter Marques back the first quarter of the year before visa issues put that fight indefinitely on hold.
He would fight for the first time in nine months when he entered the ring at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport on August 11th and eased his way to a 60-55 points decision over Critisan Narvaez and with those rounds under his belt he quickly set about establishing a date to defend his coveted belt.
That fight, against Ross Murray, was scheduled for this month but pushed back ever so slightly to November 3rd at York Hall; Mo Prior, the man behind British Warriors, has taken the Welsh flyweight under his wing and is already on a mission to provide Harris with regular fight dates for, put simply, the 28 year old is a sumptuous talent.
With one on the winner of Ryan Farrag vs Sunny Edwards – that bout for the WBO European Super Flyweight strap – Harris has already been mandated for the British Super Flyweight belt as well as the EBU-EU title so there are plenty of opportunities available for the Swansea-man, and that’s without even considering the permutations of the CBC!
By no means is this an exhaustive list of fighters who require a big one next year nor, for that matter, is it the five fighters who need it the MOST but they are guys who, in my opinion, should be hoping to leave a mark over the course of the next 12 months.
For guys like Jay Harris it is through no fault of their own that they are in the frustrating situation that they are and, certainly, there are plenty other candidates for this article – Kell Brook, Amir Khan, Liam Walsh, Roman Gonzalez to name just a handful but keep an eye out on these five fellas as they look for a career-best 2019.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview:Battle on the Goldfields 3- Moloney vs. Concepcion
By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday is packed with a number of intriguing matchups across the world, starting in Australia with the ‘Battle on the Goldfields 3’ card, headlined by exciting prospect, Andrew Moloney vs. former world champion, Luis Concepcion in a scheduled superfly 10-round bout.
‘Monster’ Moloney, 17-0 (10KOs), the current commonwealth super-flyweight champion, has been making moves since his 2014 debut. Though yet to fight outside of Australia professionally, the 2014 commonwealth gold medallist has picked up the OPBF, formerly held by the likes of Kohei Kono and Takuma Inoue; the WBA ‘Oceania’ and of course, the rainbow, Commonwealth title. And though he’s hit the canvas more than once, his unblemished record so far shows the grit the Australian will need in future fights.
Photo Credit: Andrew Moloney Twitter Account
Last time out, Andrew rose from the canvas to earn a 10-round unanimous decision over Filipino, Richard Claveras – a man who was then stopped inside 4 rounds two months later by Sho Ishida.
Speaking to ‘news.com.au’, Moloney is keen to impress this time out in a real step up of opposition,
‘‘Concepcion applies a lot of pressure on his opponents and throws a lot of punches…I need to be extremely fit for this fight and that is why I am training so hard.’’
‘‘I want to show everyone what level I’m at by beating Luis Concepcion and then we will set our sights on Kal Yafai…I have done my apprenticeship and I’m now ready to take on the best in my division.’’
His opponent on Saturday, Concepcion, 37-6 (26KOs), is just three fights removed from his 2016 loss to Kal Yafai for the vacant WBA super-fly strap, a belt the Panamanian held briefly, earlier that same year.
Since then, former ‘interim’ WBA flyweight titlist has scored two 2nd round KO’s over limited opposition in, Luis de la Rosa of Colombia and 17-9-1 (15KOs), Luis Carillo; either side of a 2017 unanimous decision loss to then, 12-2-2 (5KOs), Iran Diaz.
But despite the underwhelming run of fights since his last attempt at world honours, ‘El Nica’ is ready to re-establish himself as one of the world’s best 115lbers,
‘‘Fighting inside and out, we have things clear…I’m motivated to win the fight and seek to crown myself again.’’
‘‘I’m sure of the work we are doing to get out with the hand up.’’
Moloney has yet to step into the ring with a fighter of the calibre of Concepcion and the Panamanian’s erratic pressure style and wild power punches when he gets a sniff of blood, will certainly provide the perfect gateway fight to potential title bouts.
But if ‘The Monster’ is as good as he believes, and fights with the same confidence he’s displayed in his previous 17 bouts, Andrew will take great faith in the way the current WBA champion, Yafai handily dealt with ‘El Nica’ two years ago.
Also, on Saturday’s Bendigo card is, son of Kostya Tszyu, Tim, who, in his last outing just over a month ago, took less than two minutes to bizarrely knock out journeyman, Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus. The junior middleweight, 10-0 (8KOS), comes up against Marco Jesus Cornejo of Argentina in another scheduled 10 rounds.
Cornejo, 19-3 (18KOs), has fought and lost, twice already in 2018, dropping an 8-round decision to unbeaten fighters, Damian Jonk in April and then a subsequent 3rd round KO from Christian Mbilli a month later.
‘‘It’s been a very busy fight schedule, but that’s Timmy.’’ Tszyu’s manager, Billy Jennings told the ‘Bendigo Advertiser’. ‘‘One of the difficulties now is, with 10 fights for 10 wins, finding opponents.’’
‘‘When you look at Tim in what he represents in Australian boxing, he’s the marketers dream. He comes from a legendary family, he’s 10-0, clean-shaven, articulate and proud to be a fighter.’’
Northern Irish amateur standout, Conor Wallace will make his professional debut, taking on 19-71-4 (7KOs), Aswin Cabuy. The 21-year-old southpaw was unexpectedly deselected for the Commonwealth games earlier this year, which accelerated his intentions to turn pro. His Indonesian opponent on Saturday, Cabuy is a journeyman whose last victory came via DQ in 2016 against an 11-1, Andrew Green.
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.
Andrew Tabiti: “I’m Just Ready For Anybody”
By: Sean Crose
Last summer, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather –Conor McGregor superfight, a cruiserweight battle occurred between longtime respected veteran Steve Cunningham and rising undefeated star Andrew Tabiti. Entering the ring with a record of 13-0, it might have been assumed that Tabiti, who had stopped all but two of his previous opponents within the distance, would be sure to go in for the kill. That wasn’t the case, though. Rather than get wrapped up in the moment, Tabiti outfought and outskilled his older foe. Cunningham was a crafty vet, after all. What’s more, he had the power to knock down the gigantic Tyson Fury just a few years earlier.
“I could tell he had a high guard,” Tabiti says of Cunningham. “He wasn’t really punching.” Tabiti, perhaps more than most young fighters, knows the value of playing it smart in and out of the ring if one wants to get ahead. Not that he isn’t exciting. Those fast hands and that thudding power have made the Las Vegas native a man to watch.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
Now Tabiti finds himself about to face to another cruiserweight, this time on the eleventh of May, in the guise of 21-2 Lateef Kayode. The bout, which will go down in Vegas, will be aired live on Bounce TV and will mark the first time Tabiti has fought since the victory over Cunningham. “I’m just ready for anybody,” he says. Right now, Tabiti’s goal is to become a champion at cruiserweight and move on to bigger – and more lucrative – adventures. For the man makes it clear he will “eventually go up to heavyweight.”
At the moment, though, the cruiserweight division awaits, a division which is in the midst of a highly regarded tournament to see who the top fighter of the weight class is. It is a tournament which Tabiti didn’t find himself in. Not that the man minds. In fact, Tabiti is up front about where he stood on the ladder while the tournament was being formed. “To be honest,” he says. “I wasn’t a legitimate cruiserweight…at the time I wasn’t top tier.”
The tournament which Tabiti hasn’t been a part of will be over soon enough. At the moment, Tabiti says, he’s “favoring Usyk,” as in Oleksandr Usyk, the 14-0 Ukrainian powerhouse, who will be facing the 26-0 Murat Gassiev in the final battle for division supremacy, which will go down at a yet to be decided upon date. Like many cruiserweights before him, Usyk, should he win, may well make the jump to heavyweight shortly thereafter. So, does Tabiti feel the moment’s top crop of cruisers may elude him? “It’s a chance Gassiev may stay,” he says. “Then again, I see them both moving up.”
Once again, however, Tabiti is unperturbed. As he says: “All blessings come from being patient.”
Some of Tabiti’s confidence may well come the fact that he’s a member of the famed “Mayweather Promotions,” named after the man himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr. “I’ve got a good promoter,” Tabiti says of Floyd. “He puts fighters in a position to win titles…It’s a blessing.” Does the Vegas native ever see Floyd, one of the city’s most famous citizens? “I see him time to time,” Tabiti says. “He’s a man of his word.”
Although there had been word that problems existed between Tabiti and his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, before the Cunningham fight, it was the senior Mayweather who was in his fighter’s corner that night, just as he had been before. “I’m still trained by his (Floyd’s) dad,” Tabiti says,” though he adds the elder Mayweather isn’t around at the moment due to a death in the family. The duties of the senior Mayweather, then, are currently being conducted by Otis Pimpleton.
Despite his rising star and power backing, Tabiti is, in essence, a simple man. He doesn’t swear. He’s not flashy and he’s not pushing for shock value. “I live a low key lifestyle,” he says. “I just want to be humble. The universe is watching what you give in and what you give back.” Tabiti’s background was a rough one, though one which he didn’t let swallow him whole. “I had a tough upbringing,” he says. “At one point I was staying with a church family.” A church family that didn’t have much patience for things like swearing. Such are the experiences Tabiti has taken into his adult life. It’s the sense of maturity that sets the man apart from other rising stars.
While other up and coming fighters make it a point to be as brash and outspoken as possible, Tabiti says he doesn’t “really like conflict too much.” Not that he minds getting in the ring to prove who the best competitor is. I ask the six foot one inch fighter about the challenges he might face should he move up to heavyweight. This is a supersized era, after all, with enormous individuals like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and the aforementioned Tyson Fury dotting the landscape.
“No, not at all,” he responds after I inquire whether or not he’s concerned of the size of possible future opponents. “I’m very fast,” he adds. “It’s defense. Defense is a major key.” As is confidence, something the twenty eight year old clearly has in abundance. “Boxing’s a technique,” he says. Boxing can also be quite lucrative…if one is able to move onto the upper echelons. That’s something that Tabiti feels can come in time. At the moment, though, the fighter will focus on his May bout with Kayode. Should he prove successful, the spotlight will inevitably, become brighter, something it looks like Tabiti may well be prepared for.
“I like Showtime,” he says of what is now the premiere cable network to broadcast boxing. Tabiti’s showcased his skills on the channel before. Will he do so again in the near future? “Hopefully, the next fight,” he says.
Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV Undercard Results: Davis and Badou Jack Win by Stoppage, Tabiti Decisions Cunningham
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV attraction between all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC super star Conor McGregor.
Fight fans were treated to three bouts on the televised portion of the pay per view card, including two world title fights.
Photo Credit: USA Today
The first fight of the night was between Andrew Tabiti (14-0) and Steve Cunningham (29-8-1) in the cruiserweight division.
Cunningham is a former world champion in the cruiserweight division and Tabiti is prized prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable.
Cunningham had the height advantage and looked to be in great shape. Tabiti was able to stay out of range in the first two rounds, but Cunningham was the more aggressive fighter and forced Tabiti to tie up often. Tabiti’s jab was landing in the second round and he landed a hard right uppercut at the end of a combination.
Cunningham’s punches were missing with increasing regularity from the first round to the fourth round and Tabiti remained an elusive target. Tabiti’s hands were faster and more accurate but Cunningham’s chin was able to take his best punches.
The fifth round featured two blistering combinations by Tabiti in the center of the ring. Tabiti was able to land his jab to the body and head of Cunningham in the sixth round. Cunningham’s frustration with his inability to mount an offensive attack continued into the seventh round.
Cunningham, to his credit, still came forward in the eighth round despite clearly being behind on the cards. He was able to force a few exchanges but Tabiti got the better of them.
Cunningham needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but that knockout never came.
Andrew Tabiti remained undefeated with a decision victory with scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 100-90.
Nathan Cleverly (30-3) faced Badou Jack (21-1-2) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Title.
Jack established himself as the more accurate puncher in the first round and was able to do land some good body shots in the opening round. Cleverly looked like the bigger fight and was able to land some hard straight right hands at the end of the round.
Jack continued his body attack in the second round and he was able to land hard right uppercuts in the third round. Jack’s assault was more vicious in the fourth round and he had Cleverly’s nose busted from numerous uppercuts and left hooks.
Jack came out aggressively in the fifth round and obliterated Cleverly from corner to corner. Cleverly was taking several hard combinations without answering back. The referee let Jack batter Cleverly perhaps longer than he should have, but he finally stopped it near the end of the round.
Badou Jack wins the WBA Light Heavyweight by TKO at 2:47 of the fifth round.
Afterwards, Badou Jack called out Adonis Stevenson.
The final undercard bout was between Gervonta Davis (18-0) and Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1). This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Super Featherweight Title but Davis failed to make the contracted weight.
Fonseca looked awkward in the first round and Davis was able to land hooks and uppercuts to the body. Fonseca ate some heavy combinations in the second round but was able to take some of Davis’ best shots and reply with punches of his own.
Fonseca kept a high guard in the second round but had to absorb blows to the body. Davis began to showboat in the fourth round and landed a few left hooks after putting his hands behind his back, but Fonseca connected with enough punches to maybe steal the round.
Fonseca pressed the action in the fifth round and landed some good combinations to the head and body. Davis was telegraphing his punches and may have lost this round solely based on Fonseca’s activity.
Davis stopped showing off in the sixth round and stuck to a traditional boxing stance and was able to land sharp jabs and hard straight left hands. Davis finally stunned Fonseca in the seventh round with hard hooks but Fonseca stayed on his feet.
Davis opened up the eighth round with a stunning straight left hand and had Fonseca stuck in the corner. He connected with a left hook that may have landed on the back of Fonseca’s head, but Fonseca went to the mat holding the back of his head and was unable to get up.
Gervonta Davis wins by knockout at 0:39 of the eighth round.
More Full Coverage: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily, Monroe Decisions Rosado
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily,
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions and HBO put on a four fight pay per view card tonight live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Diego De La Hoya (15-0) , the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya, opened up the card in the division against Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2) in the super bantamweight division. This bout was for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Championship.
De La Hoya was seven years younger than Del Valle and was taking a big step up in competition. De La Hoya was looking for his straight right counter early in the first round but was able to find range with his jab. Del Valle was knocked stumbling backwards into the corner in the middle of the round from a three punch combination, and the few punches he landed didn’t phase De La Hoya.
The second and third rounds were similar in that Del Valle would start off strong and De La Hoya would finish the roung strong. Del Valle showed he was willing to exchange with De La Hoya and held his own during their exchanges, but by the end of the third round it was De La Hoya who was winning the exchanges more frequently.
De La Hoya was tagged early in the fourth round with a sharp right cross, but he fired back with digging body shots. De La Hoya remained the aggressor for the remainder of the fourth and looked like he hurt Del Valle several times. De La Hoya also had control during the fifth round and was able to pop shot Del Valle at a safe range.
Del Valle was hit hard with a straight right counter in the first minute of the sixth round, and he remained tentative for the remainder. By the seventh round Del Valle’s right eye was showing signs of swelling. De La Hoya punished Del Valle to the body and to the head and was physically imposing his will.
Neither boxer stepped on the gas pedal in the eighth and ninth rounds, but De La Hoya was in clear control and landed the higher number of punches.
Del Valle needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout, but that knockout never came.
Diego De La Hoya remained undefeated with decision victory with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (21-0) and Andrew Cancio (17-3-2) was the next bout of the night in the featherweight division.
Joseph Diaz was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and was four years younger than Cancio.
Diaz, a southpaw, stuck to the body in the opening two rounds and was looked very comfortable in the ring. He was able to avoid the punches of Cancio with solid upper body movement and kept his head an elusive target.
Cancio was able to get within striking range in the third round, but took a pounding from Diaz when he got in tight and got his nose busted in the process. Cancio was unable to handle the hand speed of Diaz.
Cancio was able to briefly trap Diaz in the corner in the opening minute of the fourth round and landed some solid body shots, but Diaz took control in the final two minutes and had the head of Cancio snapping backwards from several crisp punches.
Diaz really turned up the pressure in the fifth round and pounded Cancio throughout with combinations at will. Cancio looked outclassed and bewildered, and was simply out of his league.
Diaz’s dominance inside the ring wasn’t impressing the crowd as a wave broke out at the stadium in the sixth round, but at this point it was even clear to the regular fans in attendance that Cancio stood no shot.
Cancio corner was thinking about stopping the fight before the start of the seventh round but they sent him back into the ring. But this round was no different from the previous rounds and he was a punching bag for the talented Diaz.
Diaz’s offensive output dipped in the eighth round, but he still landed at a higher clip and the harder punches. Cancio’s corner repeatedly asked him if he wanted them to stop the fight, but Cancio refused and went back out for the ninth round. Hwoever, in the middle of the round Cancio’s corner wisely decided to stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz impressed with a TKO victory at 2:27 of the ninth round.
Gabriel Rosado (23-9) and Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2) met in the final bout of the televised undercard in the middleweight division.
Rosado looked like the taller fighter, but he was standing straight up while Monroe was boxing with his knees slightly bent. Monroe was able to stay out of Rosado’s range for most of the first round and boxed Rosado effectively by landing the higher number of punches, but none of them could be considered power shots.
Neither Monroe nor Rosado took many risks in the second or third round, but Monroe was landing more punches than Rosado and fought very defensively. The fans started to boo and whistle the lack of action in the third round.
The wave started again in the fourth round, and Monroe continued to safely outbox Rosado. Rosado complained to the referee in the fifth round from an apparent backhand landed by Monroe, but offered little offense after the complaint.
Monroe was sharp in the sixth round and landed several straight left crosses and quick counter jabs. Monroe was able to continue to stay out of the range of Rosado in the seventh round as Rosado was mainly landing at air when he threw punches, but he was pressing the pace and that could have factored in his favor in the eyes of the judges.
Rosado was able to land a few flurries at the end of the eighth round and may have stolen it. It was his most effective offensive output at this stage of the bout.
A cut opened up near the back of the head of Rosado in the ninth round and the referee briefly stopped it to get it attended to, but afterwards both boxers finally threw power shots and both landed heavy shots. Rosado may have scored a knockdown at the end of the round, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Rosado was pressing forward more in the tenth round, but he was not able to land any punches of note while Monroe side stepped him and pop shotted him from the outside.
Rosado needed at least a knockdown in the final two rounds in order to win the bout,but a headbutt in the eleventh round badly swelled and cut the left eye of Rosado and made it much more difficult. Rosado ended the fight better than he started, but it was too little too late.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 118-110, 117-111 for Willie Monroe Jr.