Gennady Golovkin: “A Little Bit Scared” Of Derevyanchenko
By: Sean Crose
“I have the best opponent, Sergey,” says the 39-1-1 Gennady Golovkin, who will be battling Sergey Derevyanchenko for the IBF world middleweight title on October 5th at Madison Square Garden. “I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a very good fighter. This is a real fight. I’m a little bit scared because he’s good. I know his team is very strong. And I’m scared because he looks good. He looks strong. He feels it’s his time right now. Maybe – this is boxing, nobody knows. So if you want to watch a real show, a real fight, come to MSG on October 5 or watch live on DAZN.”
For the 13-1 Derevyanchenko, the Golovkin fight offers a chance of a lifetime, after having dropped a close decision to Daniel Jacobs for the IBF crown last year. “I’m really excited and happy,” he says, “to be at Madison Square Garden…thank you to my team, and I want to give thanks to Gennady Golovkin for the opportunity as well. I know exactly who I’m getting in the ring with. He’s the former middleweight champion of the world, one of the best fighters in the world, but his time is coming to an end and I want to be the one that makes that time come to an end.”
It had been assumed throughout the fight world at different times that both Golovkin and Derevyanchenko would be facing Canelo Alvarez this year. While neither man is set to face the Mexican star (who Golovkin has already fought in two highly controversial bouts), the October 5th throwdown between Golovkin and Derevyanchenko has been well received within the fight world. Golovkin is one of the most well known fighters in the sport, which Derevyanchenko is well respected.
“There’s been a lot of speculation recently about who he’s (Golovkin’s) going to fight,” says promoter Eddie Hearn. “Is it going to be Canelo? The thing that’s most important in a fighter’s career is to take control of your career. Have a strategy, have a plan, don’t worry about other people. And right now, we have a plan with Gennady’s career that’s extremely exciting to dominate the division and it starts on October 5 at the Mecca of boxing.”
With neither Golovkin nor Derevyanchenko relying on Canelo to dictate their futures for them, the focus is on the New York City fall matchup. “I’m so excited,” Golovkin says. “First of all, I’m happy to be back home, my second home. Thank you to my family at MSG for always supporting me. Of course, I’m very excited right now. Right now, I work with the best people from boxing.” This will be the Kazakh warrior’s seventh appearance at Madison Square Garden, while it will be Derevanchenko’s second appearance at the “Mecca of boxing.” The Golovkin-Derevyanchenko match will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. Other fights on the card have yet to be made or announced to the public.
Fight Preview: Juan Estrada vs. Dewayne Beamon
By: Ste Rowen
A beats B, B beats C, C beats A. The triangle theory has often been disproved throughout the years in boxing, and in recent years, the super-flyweight division has been the proof in the pudding.
Former superfly king, Roman Gonzalez reigned supreme and unbeaten until his 46th bout when he was controversially dethroned by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. It was a defeat that came four years and two divisions higher since, Gonzalez defeated this weekend’s headliner, Juan Francisco Estrada via decision for the world light-flyweight title. The Rungvisai/Gonzalez rematch was much more decisive as the Thai poleaxed Gonzalez inside four rounds.
By 2018 Rungvisai was WBC king and began to look upon the 115lb elite with hunger to secure his legacy. Five months on, the Thai champion defeated Estrada via majority decision, but the Mexican wasn’t prepared to allow his super-fly world title hopes to fade out. Juan trained hard and rebuilt his credentials. After the defeat to Rungvisai, the 29-year-old was 36-3 (25KOs), but he revitalised himself over seven months. Wins over Felipe Orocuta and Victor Mendez setup the rematch with Srisaket.
Over twelve torrid rounds of a Fight of the Year contender, Juan battled his way to a comprehensive, twelve round decision to claim his first world title at superfly, as well as the Ring Magazine strap, and avenge defeat. That’s where the Mexican finds himself now, after an impressive run of fights, including a 2017 win over Carlos Cuadras, Estrada, in his home city of Hermosillo, steps in the ring with 16-1-1 (11KOs) American, Dewayne Beamon.
It’s a serious step down in opponent for Juan Fran compared to Rungvisai as he prepares to fight Dewayne, but the WBC champion has been talking up his opponent,
‘‘Beamon is a complete, fast fighter but we will make him change up his style. We are mentally prepared for a war of twelve rounds.
I am sure that it could be a fight of the year contender.’’
Saturday’s main event will be Beamon’s seventh consecutive fight in Mexico where he’s 5-1-1, having dropped a surprising decision to Martin Tecuapetla only to avenge the loss two months later with an eight-round unanimous decision. In fact, this weekend will be just the fourth time the California native is scheduled for twelve rounds, with the furthest he’s even gone is the ten-round distance.
With Estrada’s talk of unification with IBF champion, Kal Yafai next, ‘El Gallo’ will most likely not allow complacency to scupper his plans.
On the undercard…
Heavyweight, Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic, 8-0 (6KOs) will be hoping to add another win in a new country when he comes up against Mexican, Mario Heredia. Hrgovic heads into the weekend off the back of a first round KO of Gregory Corbin back in May, whilst Heredia was last seen scoring a split decision victory over veteran, Samuel Peter. A fight that saw the Mexican hit the canvas.
The Croatian sensation is hoping for another early night when he steps in the ring with Mario,
‘‘My preparations have gone perfect and I can’t wait to step in the ring again…We have done some things differently this time, which you will see on August 24.
I hope it is going to finish like my last fight, but we will see. Knockouts are always more attractive for fans.’’
Silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics, Shakhram Giyasov of Uzbekistan takes another impressive jump up in quality to take on former lightweight world champion, Darleys Perez.
Giyasov, 8-0 (6KOs) who fights at super-lightweight has so far made a smooth transition into the professional ranks, hardly losing a single in his eight bouts so far. Colombian, Perez,34-4-2 (22KOs) is on the downward turn of his forty-fight career, but the 35-year-old should represent a good marker of how Giyasov is progressing so early as a pro.
Ortiz Knocks Out Orozco In High Octane Card
By: Sean Crose
It was called “The Homecoming,” and that’s what it proved to be for undefeated welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz in Texas on Saturday night, as he bested Antonio Orozco in high octane fashion before a hometown crowd at the Theater in Grand Prairie. Ortiz was the headline attraction of a card, streamed live on DAZN, that wasn’t found lacking in the thrill department.
Before the main event, the 15-1-1 Joshua Franco did battle for the third time with fellow bantamweight Oscar Nagrete, whose own record walking into the contest was 10-2-1. The two men had not only met twice previously, Saturday night was the third time IN A ROW the two men faced off against one another – a true oddity in today’s fight game. Theie first battle, which went down in October 2018, ended in a draw. Their second battle, which went down last April, saw Franco win a somewhat controversial split decision victory. The third fight was supposed to clear the air once and for all regarding who was the better man.
Things didn’t go as planned, though the fight wasn’t a disappointment. Far from it. Franco seemed to be in a bit of trouble early on, as the harder hitting, and perhaps stronger, Nagrete moved forward with bad intentions. Franco was able to find his footing, however, and was able to fire off combinations with impressive quickness and timing. Not that Nagrete was willing to be denied. He kept up his attack for the most part, and, sure enough, was able to continue to land throughout the bout. The scheduled 10 round affair ultimately went to the cards, and was declared a draw.
The high energy atmosphere didn’t die down when the opening bell rang for Ortiz, 13-0, and Orozco, 28-1. Having won all of his previous bouts by knockout, Ortiz was clearly looking to impress his home audience. He went straight for the kill, hoping to make it a quick night. Orozco was tough, and experienced, however, and his skillful defense kept Ortiz from getting the early knock out. Orozco was interested in being more than just an opponent, for he engaged in an exciting fight with Ortiz, employing effective counter punching and possibly frustrating the rising welterweight. Ortiz kept his cool, though, worked the body, and kept firing crisp, rapid shots.
The fight was close in the sixth, but Ortiz was able to finally assert himself by sending Orozco to the mat. Rozco gamely got up, but was subsequently sent down again. Back on his feet for the second time, Orozco was able to hold Ortiz off for a bit. There was still plenty of time left in the round, however. By the time Ortiz sent Orozco to the mat for the third time, the referee wisely called off the fight. Up and coming slugger Ortiz had certainly been challenged, yet he had proven himself ready and able to rise to the occasion.
Vergil Ortiz and Antonio Orozco Are Ready to Battle
By: Sean Crose
“I want to thank Golden Boy and Eric Gomez;” says welterweight contender and rising Golden Boy Promotions star Vergil Ortiz. “He was the first guy to discover me when I was an amateur and gave me this opportunity, and I’m just really grateful for it.” The hard hitting 13-0 Ortiz has won all his bouts by knockout, proving himself a valuable asset to his promoter. This Saturday night he’ll be facing the 28-1 Antonio Orozco in a scheduled 12 round affair which will be aired live on DAZN from the Theater at Grand Prairie, Texas. Orozco is no one’s easy out, which means the fight can certainly prove to be interesting.
“We know the tremendous fighter that Vergil Ortiz is,” Orozco says, “and everyone knows my style of fighting. This is going to be a fight you don’t want to miss. It’s a great opportunity, putting us both towards that world title shot again, and I’m looking for to that victory on Saturday.” For Ortiz, this means a chance to make his mark as future star in the starstruck welterweight division. For Orozco, it means a chance to do what others have been doing in boxing lately – surprising people. Count an Orozco win to be up there with Ruiz-Joshua and Pascal-Browne as one of the bigger upsets of the year.
Ortiz, however, makes it clear that he’s grounded in his rise up the division and that he takes his opponent this weekend very seriously. “I think everything has been said already,” he claims. “I’m not here to mess around. Golden Boy has given me some tough fights and I have passed them with flying colors, even though I’m color blind. Orozco is a very tough opponent, I’m not taking him lightly at all.”
Ortiz also speaks highly of Orozco, opting out of the shallow trash talk that sometimes comes with the fight game.
“He deserves all the respect in the world,” says Ortiz, “especially on that ring. It’s sink or swim…good thing I’m a good swimmer. I’m just looking forward to seeing those familiar faces in the audience. Best of luck to Orozco. This isn’t personal, we are here to support our families.”
DAZN will also feature a bantamweight battle on Saturday evening which is well worth noting, for the 15-1-1 Joshua Franco will engage in his third, that’s third, battle with the 10-2-1 Oscar Nagrete. Franco won their last battle by split decision. The first fight between these two ended in a draw. In short, there’s much to like about this matter of unfinished business. “ I think I won the first one,” says Franco. “I won the second one, and this time is even going to be worse for him.” Nagrete, of course, sees things differently. “I fought two exciting fights in the past,” he says. “Those two fights were very good fights, emotional fights, where I felt like I won, and most people have told me that I won. I’m here to prove that I won and show that I am the true champion.”
“I hope Joshua Franco is prepared,” he adds, “and I hope that this time, he comes to fight and not to run.”
Fight Preview: Ramirez vs. Hooker, Farmer vs. Frenois
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
This Saturday, on DAZN, a unification is at hand between WBC beltholder Jose Carlos Ramirez and WBO claimant Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker. This despite the the heavy criticism both men faced for not joining the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).
So while the WBSS finale between fellow junior welterweight champions Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor remains in limbo, the title staged is being propped up in Arlington, Texas—not far from Dallas where Hooker was a touted amateur fighter.
Ramirez vs. Hooker, 140-pound unification
Undefeated in 53 fights between them, both men regrettably turned in iffy performances earlier this year.
Hooker, for one, admitted in March to not taking seriously his challenger Mikkel LesPierre. As a result, it took the 29-year-old defending champ three attempts on the scales before finally hitting the 140-pound mark.
In Hooker’s defense—literally—LesPierre hardly edged a single round. Hooker turned him away by wide margins, befuddling the challenger at the end of his own 80-inch reach. The Texas-born boxer repeatedly straightened out his jab into LesPierre, peppering the New York transplant up and down. Mostly down, with a keen focus on setting up left hooks to the body.
A left hand from Hooker to the liver in the ninth round resulted in the only official knockdown. But additionally in the fifth stanza, a combination wobbled LesPierre, eventually falling to the canvas in a delayed reaction, which referee Benjy Esteves inexplicably called a slip.
Nonetheless, Hooker only gave up three rounds across all three judges’ scorecards. It was a dominant outing following a melee with Alex Saucedo, a finely-tuned combination puncher. Hooker was nearly finished in the second round by Saucedo. Hooker though finally got to his man, and pelted him down in the fateful seventh round.
It was a bruising display for a man with a frame such that it might suggest he can only box and move, relying on his gigantic arms that often make for awkward inside-punching sequences. But hanging back and utilizing his cartoonish length is never a bad plan either. His reach is without a doubt the longest of any high-level junior welterweight and lengthier than even heavyweights like Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz.
Andy Ruiz Jr., of course, proved the shorter—less imposing—man can always prevail. Ramirez will try to turn the same trick.
In addition to a unification, this weekend also represents Ramirez’s third title defense. He is unbeaten since turning professional in 2012. His has been a natural development in California, becoming a hit in his native Fresno. So much so Hooker reportedly wanted no part in fighting in his opponent’s domain, per BoxingScene.
Ramirez, though, had no problem traveling to Texas or even New York where he triumphed over Albany, NY’s own Amir Imam. In 2018, the visiting fighter earned the WBC belt, bullying Imam en route to a decision victory.
Ramirez, 26, secured his next two title defenses back home in Fresno. First he banged up the world-rated Antonio Orozco for a points win. His second defense against the excellent southpaw Jose Zepeda was not as easy as Ramirez escaped with a split-decision.
Zepeda however had never before been decisively beaten. A perennial contender, the Mexican challenger is not just a tricky southpaw but one with power, to boot. Ramirez experienced that firsthand, hardly landing cleanly on Zepeda. But the champion’s output was just enough to nick the rounds he needed. Fights at the elite level tend to be tit for tat. This one could have went either way.
Ramirez in proving he could pull himself out of a tough go and win big fights was the real takeaway.
Tevin Farmer vs. Guillaume Frenois, 130-pound title fight
Interestingly enough, both men here are coming off fighting the same opponent: Jono Carroll.
Frenois, a 35-year-old Frenchman, took on Carroll first. The two met last December in an eliminator for Farmer’s belt. Carroll, of Ireland—sporting too thick a beard for a boxing match that typically requires shaving down such facial hair—took an early lead. Frenois though bided his time, riding his bicycle, until Carroll’s barnstorming assault simmered down. As Carroll’s stalking approach became less creative, the French boxer applied a nice jab fighting in reverse to take back the second half of the bout.
The two settled for a split-draw, a reasonable decision.
Farmer’s time with Carroll was not any more fun. In March, the 28-year-old American headlined his first show on DAZN. It doubled as a homecoming defense in his native Philadelphia—a welcome occasion after lifting the strap in enemy territory over the Australian Billy Dib.
Carroll again got off to an early lead and by the end threw over 1,000 punches the champion’s way. The scrappy challenger ended up pushing Farmer the distance. Farmer was miserably unmotivated to fire back through the early-to-middle stages. But he turned it up in the final handful of rounds: clearly beating Carroll to the punch: clearly a combatant built for the championship distance.
Farmer has only punched in six knockouts in his 34-bout career. His fists were still mighty enough in 2018 to take out a puncher like James Tennyson by fifth-round TKO, focusing on piercing his challenger’s midsection. Farmer’s punch selection was daunting, adapting to lack of freak physical traits and relying on accuracy which matters most when dishing out liver shots. Farmer has always been one for adapting, developing over his career from an 8-4-1 club fighter, to a surging world champion, unconquered since 2013.
Frenois, far older than Farmer, is similarly a southpaw and undefeated since 2013 all the same. Amid his 15-fight win streak, the French stylist claimed in 2016 the European title, decisioning Samir Ziani, who remains Top 15 by multiple sanctioning bodies.
Two title defenses of the Euro belt followed before Frenoi left his beloved France for Yorkshire in the United Kingdom to pair off with Carroll.
Now Frenois has at last a crack at the world level. Few expect him to outduel his fellow southpaw. But a touch taller than Farmer, with a reliable chin to take whatever the champ has, it is not an impossible scenario.
Rey Vargas Overcomes Tomoki Kameda’s Early Assault to Defend Super Bantamweight title
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KO) fought off his toughest and most experienced title challenger to date, former beltholder Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20 KO).
Three identical scores of 117-110 were met with boos from the crowd in Carson, California but Vargas overcame an early assault from his foe, adjusting in the middle stages to take advantage of his incredible size, and keep Kameda at bay to earn a justifiable unanimous decision.
“Kameda has a lot of experience but I fought an intelligent fight,” Vargas said in the ring. “The idea was to throw a lot of punches. I knew he was going to push forward but we made it a smart fight.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
The first two rounds appeared to belong to Kameda, 28, of Osaka, Japan. He continually befuddled the much taller Vargas, 28, with snapping overhand rights and calculated pressure—never darting in from the same angle twice, never giving the defending champion a standstill target to tee off on.
Flickering body punches set up lethal overhand rights from Kameda. And Vargas, punching in reverse, was unable to establish any early offense.
Vargas moved forward with purpose in the third period. But Kameda wrapped up his man to avoid being caught in a corner. The sizable champion relied on his range, navigating the outside of the ring, tossing out a long jab and smashing hooks into Kameda’s gloves. The Japanese banger remained effective with vicious, arcing blows focused upstairs.
The action grew chippy in fourth frame. Though over the next three rounds Vargas would outwork his challenger. Kameda was a bully up close but tried jabbing with the Mexican beltholder, which Vargas was going to win every single time.
Now picking Kameda apart, Vargas stepped in with elongated jabs, pausing to interchange right and left uppercuts. He had stole the momentum back and a telling moment in Round 7 demonstrated the fight’s unfolding narrative as Vargas pumped out two consecutive jabs, followed by a straight right hand (one-one-two) that skid off the left side of Kameda’s wincing face.
More prodding left hands from Vargas caught Kameda off guard, who would eat the shots while cocking back right hands.
In Round 8, there continued the undulating pattern between both men’s contrasting gameplans. Kameda, commending the center of the ring, walked the champion down, but in too much of an uncreative, straightforward manner that Vargas routinely deterred with long hooks. The Japanese brawler didn’t let off, dipping and gluing himself at times to Vargas’ chest, delivering very short punches to the midsection.
Slinging uppercuts from Vargas were more eye-catching and surely gained more attention from the ringside judges. Kameda found no success on the inside in the ninth and tenth stanzas. Even when he made it inside he opted to clamp up Vargas.
Urgency was at its peak by the penultimate round. With the end in sight, Kameda came barreling in. And Vargas’ offense disappeared, avoiding any exchanges. Kameda clinched up with his opponent and wasn’t shy about punching out of the break.
Early in Round 12, Kameda drove Vargas to the ropes, and as referee Jerry Cantu was between the two, he stuffed two punches into Vargas. The champion played up the punches, but on principle, Cantu deducted a point from Kameda.
The few minutes remaining were made up of Kameda chasing down a roaming Vargas, chippy shots reining down from all over, desperation punches—the creative pressure that stole the first segment of the fight, gone; as was all hope.
Kameda conceded the night to Vargas. “I recognize Vargas,” he said, refuting the jeering audience members. “I respect him as a champion—he won.”
The hefty output from Vargas amounted to nearly 800 punches, landing 173 of 793 total shots (22 percent) while Kameda landed 133 of 394 total punches (34 percent). The Mexican slugger threw over 400 jabs. Kameda, less than 100.
Now the five-time defending champion, Vargas seems to have turned his attention to unified titlist Danny Roman, who was in attendance.
“Danny, you are here,” Vargas said. “We need to unify titles. Why not? I want three titles. We’re ready. The people want the fight. When Mexicans fight another Mexican, it’s a war.”
Ronny Rios shocks Diego de la Hoya by sixth-round knockout
After continually falling short at the world level, Ronny Rios (31-3, 15 KO) pulled off the biggest win of his career, upending rising star Diego de la Hoya (21-1, 10 KO). It was blood and guts, two-way action through five rounds but early in the sixth period, a two-punch combination from Rios sent de la Hoya to a knee, and despite rising to his feet, the hotshot prospect let the referee know he had had enough.
It was nothing short of a feeling-out round in the opening three minutes. By the second round, Rios loosened up, briefly buckling DLH’s knees with a winging right hand. De la Hoya stuffed a couple of his own right hands into the chin of Rios and the action picked up in both directions.
Both men traded in the center of the ring—another classic SoCal melee seemed imminent. Each relying on their own brand of box-fighting: Rios firing short, chopping blows; de la Hoya’s right and left hands flaring here and there from a longer range.
Rios, 29, was eager to stay on top of his man to open the third stand. He immediately let his weight carry him onto a overhand right. Some left digs to the body complimented the assault. So the 24-year-old de la Hoya, now battling a bloody nose in addition to his rabid veteran opponent, began putting his hands together: various right and left hands always preceding a sharp right uppercut.
The younger combatant continued to have success, stepping into a long jab, and doubling up on lead right crosses. His combinations flowed effortlessly, but Rios went to work—not as pretty
But punches still careening in from every angle: right hooks followed by a sweeping left.
The violence seemed to simmer down in the fifth period. Early on here, de la Hoya refused to engage except on his own terms. Rios shot in and DLH easily sprang backwards, away from danger. Then he would blind his man upstairs with an elongated jab; once Rios lowered his hand and raised his gloves to catch it, a right uppercut from de la Hoya found its target through the older man’s gloves.
Rios wouldn’t be denied for long. Some left hooks bounced off of de la Hoya’s head. And the prospect was forced to bite down on his mouthpiece as he returned fire.
Both men walked out for the fateful sixth round composed. After a quick exchange, Rios coiled up his body to throw a left body hook, and then a slashing right uppercut that crashed into de la Hoya’s head. The upstart went down and after speaking with referee Rudy Barragan, his undefeated ledger was gone.
Rios has now won back-to-back bouts. Since 2014, his only two losses were a title fight and title eliminator. Five of his previous six wins are by knockout.
According to DAZN’s punch stats, Rios connected on 131 of 316 total punches (42 percent) and de la Hoya landed 112 of 336 total punches (33 percent). Rios also delivered 52 parent of his power punches, compared to DLH’s 45 percent.
What’s Next For Demetrius Andrade?
By: Hans Themistode
Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs) didn’t just defeat former title challenger Maciej Sulecki (28-2, 11 KOs) in front of his hometown crowd in Providence Rhode Island, he flat out dominated him. It was a one sided beating from start to finish. Neither of the three judges could find a single round to give to the challenger. It was the sort of performance will force the rest of the division to take notice. Simply put, Andrade was scary good. Now the question is, who’s next for the WBO belt holder?
As Andrade was performing in front of his hometown fans in Providence Rhode Island, WBC champion Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs) was performing in front of his own hometown crowd in Houston Texas. Charlo put on his own dominant performance against Brandon Adams.
These two have been linked to each for quite some time now. They are both undefeated and belt holders in the same division. They are considered by many to be the best young fighters at Middleweight, but who is the best? It’s time we ended the debate.
Former unified champion Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) is still a great fighter. He proved that much as he gave Steve Rolls a beating in his last appearance in the ring. Ask fans and media alike and many will tell you that Golovkin deserved the victory in both of his contest against, Canelo Alvarez (more on him later). Instead Golovkin had to settle for a draw and loss.
The long reigning champion still has something to prove. If he can win a fight against Andrade, not only will he show that he still is one of the best fighters in the division but it will also allow him to win the one Middleweight title he never possessed.
Pound for pound stalwart and unified Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) has options. He can move up to Super Middleweight or even go as high as Light Heavyweight to take on bigger men. However, the cinnamon headed super star has a clear challenger in Andrade. It isn’t easy to get a fight with Canelo, but Andrade has earned it. There is a possibility of a third contest with Golovkin but to be frank, Andrade has placed himself slightly above the former Middleweight champion.
There is no need in finding out who makes the most sense for Canelo to take on next. His next test and quite possibly his biggest one is Demetrius Andrade.
Demetrius Andrade Tosses Shutout in Title Defense over Maciej Sulecki
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17 KO) wanted to put on a show on for his hometown faithful as he knocked down Sulecki (28-2, 11 KO) in the first round, setting the tone early for what would be a shutout unanimous-decision victory at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Andrade’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
Andrade, fighting in his own backyard for the first time in his 28-fight career, was firing from his hip like never before against Sulecki, who stood his ground. But Andrade, with heavier punches and supreme ring generalship, picked up every round, winning 120-107 across the board.
“Sulecki came forward the whole night and allowed me to use my tools,” Andrade said in ring after the fight before claiming to have carried Sulecki in hopes of securing a fight with the the other middleweight elite. “I gave people another great 12 rounds of boxing. Sulecki ain’t no pushover… He ain’t no Steve Rolls, ain’t no Rocky Fielding so Canelo [Alvarez] where are your cajones at—let’s get it. There is no more Top 10 guys anymore, I keep beating them. Where’s Canelo? Where’s Golovkin?”
“Forget the WBC shit, whatever that ‘franchise’ belt is. Canelo, let’s go. Let’s unify this division—let’s have one champion.”
The first two rounds saw Andrade more aggressive than ever. The defending champion opened the contest from a crouched position—at times nearly sitting on his heels—and exploding into offense. He pitched volley after volley of overhand lefts.
Taking time to send one or two to the midsection of Sulecki, changing the visiting fighter’s eye level, it wasn’t long before a couple of the winging punches ricocheted off the very top of the challenger’s forehead.
Sulecki was felled onto the seat of his pants within the first 60 seconds. Already at a disadvantage, Sulecki in the second frame attempted to match Andrade’s feints but was quickly overcome with more looping blows, while unable to land cleanly on the mobile champion.
Andrade, 31, didn’t bother throwing a real jab until the fourth stanza. His dynamic, occasionally wild, slugging attack was keeping the 30-year-old Sulecki at bay and the partisan crowd on their toes.
The action cooled in the middle stages. Andrade began relying on constant shifts, continually moving out and away from Sulecki’s right hand. The American would simultaneously swing his back foot around, avoiding Sulecki’s path, and slap his man with a right hand: then a left hook: another right, followed up with yet more stinging left hands. An overwhelming attack.
Andrade was just showing off in Round 7, crouching and sitting so low on his punches, the challenger landed sparingly as his target sank below even his waistline. Otherwise, Andrade was potshotting his way to victory with relative ease. He even dropped his hands, and navigating the roving area around Sulecki, springing in for jolting southpaw jabs and flinging left hands.
The championship rounds were more of the same. The closing minute saw Andrade dancing and shimmying, interchanging his shuffling feet with winging punches, as if mimicking the stylized methodology of Emmanuel Augustus. There were no more knockdowns, few moments of tension, and another easy win (albeit over a quality opponent) for Andrade.
According to punch statistics, Andrade landed 133 of 496 total punches (27 percent) of which 94 were power punches. Sulecki connected on 51 of 331 (15 percent), just 36 were power punches.
It was Andrade’s second title defense since lifting the WBO strap at the end of 2018, making for three wins over just the last eight months. All on DAZN, he is hoping that is enough to lure Canelo out of a superfight with Sergey Kovalev and instead into a 160-pound unification.
Joseph Parker, Khal Yafai take care of business in chief-support
Parker (26-2, 20 KO) and Yafai both needed impressive outings in Rhode Island. But each man seemed to fall short.
First, in a tenth-round knockout over former championship contender Alex Leapai (32-8-4, 26 KO), Parker looked discouraged after more resistance than expected from a washed heavyweight who will turn 40 in a few months.
“I haven’t been in the ring for half a year, I got more rounds than I expected. But damn he has a hard head,” Parker said, with Eddie Hearn standing next to him. “I’m very exciting about my deal with Matchroom [Promotions].”
The fight was still Parker’s from the beginning. The first round was him at his best: masking body punches with flairs upstairs, gently swiping his opponent’s guard and spiking Leapai’s gut with sharp punches. But by the second period, those punches were veering just too low for referee Ricky Gonzalez’s liking and Parker was warned twice.
Parker was back on the offensive over the next two rounds. Leapai found some success walking Parker down for moments in the third round and the first part of the sixth stanza. But the younger man’s jab saved the day, drilling the shot into Leapai’s head and body in Round 7.
Leapai’s nose was leaking by the eighth but Parker let him off the hook. Save for some right crosses, with Leapai missing wildly with overhands, the former champion hardly engaged in that round and the ninth. Alas, two minutes into the fateful tenth, Parker sent a right hand between Leapai’s gloves that made him stumble backwards. And moments later, a big right softened his knees and a follow-up uppercut was all referee Gonzalez wanted to see, waving the fight off.
When asked about his plans amid the new heavyweight landscape, Parker had a few names on his mind.
“I want to avenge the losses I have: Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua. Then I want to fight Andy Ruiz again. He thought he won. I won, that’s what’s in the record books.”
Tucked away under heavyweights despite being a title fight, Yafai, 30, turned away a brash challenger in Alberto Jimenez on scores of 117-109, 119-107, and 118-108. It was no surprise to see all three judges behind the defending champion. But referee Danny Schiavone was on his side too.
The first half of the 12-rounder included a point deduction from Jimenez for holding and Yafai ignoring a call to break from the referee, instead opting to deliver brutal punches to the challenger’s groin. The heinous shots at least opened up the action between the two and the second half of Round 5 was worth the price of admission—antithetical to the boxing lesson the defending champion orchestrated over the first four rounds.
In the seventh period, Jimenez was able to carve up Yafai’s guard. As well as nearly the entirety of the eighth frame. That is until Yafai killed all his momentum with more blows below the belt. And with Jimenez on all fours, referee Schiavone for some reason rushed him to his feet. He should’ve allowed Jimenez at least five minutes to collect himself.
It was all for not. Yafai went back to pelting at his man. The Dominican was complacent to jog off the clock, just like his first title opportunity back in 2014, biding his time far too long. And in the 12th round, the referee was back in the center of attention when he called a knockdown for Yafai. Yet replays revealed more of a cuff and push from the champion that simply threw Jimenez off balance.
Victorious, Yafai has now defended his belt five times, the most of any United Kingdom representative in boxing today.
Andrade vs. Sulecki Preview, Yafai and Parker Fight Preview
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, Demetrius Andrade is up for his second title defense as he heads to his backyard of Providence, Rhode Island, where he won two pairs of National Golden Gloves, before reaching the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympics, and eventually enjoyed an undefeated career in the pro ranks.
Also featured on the DAZN broadcast, in separate bouts, is light flyweight champion Khalid Yafai and one of the sport’s leading heavyweights in Joseph Parker.
The premium action kicks off at 9 p.m. ET and the undercard is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 KO) vs. Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KO)
DAZN is sticking behind their man. The streaming service has aired Andrade’s last two fights—neither of which particularly moved the needle. Though Sulecki should actually give the American a run for his money.
Andrade, 31, is still the betting favorite—opening at -278 before the line was pushed to -600 approaching the weekend. Sulecki, as much as a two-to-one underdog, is fighting for his first world championship despite being a perennial contender between two divisions.
The defending champion rose to prominence amid a group of supremely talented junior middleweights, alongside Julian Williams and the Charlo brothers—all of whom won world titles. Andrade picked up his first championship belt in 2013 in a decision victory over Vanes Martirosyan. Then spells of inactivity killed most his momentum—in all he competed three times over the next three years. He defended the belt just once before being stripped by the WBO.
After some network freelancing, albeit getting by reasonably skilled fighters like Willie Nelson and Jack Culcay, Andrade agreed to terms with Matchroom Promotions that put him exclusively on DAZN. His title tilt with Sulecki represents the final leg of a three-fight deal.
Andrade’s first two showcases were nothing to write home about. He was given the right platform, headlining one show, where he stunk up the joint in a 12-round decision over the completely unheralded Walter Kautondokwa. His highlights: celebrating a knockdown too soon, nearly hitting the deck himself, and punching a downed opponent.
Of course Kautondokwa was no match for the American champ. Few are when Andrade is on his game. But another soft touch, Artur Akavov, was what fight fans had to settle for in his first middleweight title defense. The Russian challenger was severely outsized and couldn’t initiate an offense against the southpaw circling and buzzing around.
In Sulecki’s previous action, he nearly lost the opportunity to face Andrade. In the penultimate round against Gabriel Rosado, Sulecki ate a two-punch combo that sent him headlong overboard. The Polish banger touched the canvas once more but his early work and two knockdowns the other way were enough for a decision win.
Sulecki is still rated Top 10 in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. In 2018, he extended Daniel Jacobs but was forced to settle for a unanimous decision loss. Before that he met the aforementioned Culcay and beat the bruiser, surviving serious scares in the seventh and tenth periods. Andrade was also rocked badly in the 12th round of his meeting with Culcay, ultimately squeezing out a split-decision verdict.
Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KO) vs. Alex Leapai (32-7-4, 26 KO)
Parker must’ve had mixed emotions when he was in attendance to see Andy Ruiz Jr. upend Anthony Joshua. On his way to facing Joshua himself, the Kiwi boxer-puncher defeated Ruiz on points in 2016.
At the beginning of the month when Joshua refused to continue, Parker was then set to face journeyman Eric Molina. But now Leapai, who stepped in on late-notice, is standing between Parker an a possible rematch with Ruiz or Joshua.
Parker wasn’t as lucky as Ruiz was against Joshua. Nor was he as prepared or aggressive. The heavyweight clash between Parker and the superstar Englishman quickly dissolved into a jab fest: Parker’s hands quick as ever but no match for Joshua’s battering rams.
To Parker’s credit, after the loss he was still recognized as the second-best fighter in the class, and didn’t waste any time against third-tier competition. He was immediately paired up with Dillian Whyte, a dangerous contender. Whyte employed any tactic the referee would let him get away with, putting Parker through a mauling affair, gaining an early lead. With the fight slipping away, Parker turned it up in the championship rounds which in flashes evoked images of the classic slugfests of yesteryear. But in the end Parked walked away with a decision loss.
He finally broke the losing skid in December 2018 against Alexander Flores, a heavyweight out of California who scraped together decent record against the domestic field. Parker turned it on earlier than ever, driving his man to the ropes in the first round. And by the third stanza, a two-handed attack slumped Flores through the ropes for an easy knockout.
Leapai, who trains out of Parker’s neighboring Australia, has a punch too. But not much else. Pushing 40 years old, Leapai has only beaten two separate men since 2013. He has been living off a shocking upset over rising heavyweight standout Denis Boystov, dropping the upstart twice. The win earned Leapai a crack at Wladimir Klitschko.
Klitschko at the time was unbeatable. His jab didn’t take long to set up a couple right hands that sat Leapai down for good in the fifth frame to close the book on the Samoan-Aussie’s cinderella story.
Leapai still had a reputation for a decent punch, smashing 24 of his first 30 victims. So after Klitschko turned him away, both Malik Scott and Manuel Charr sharpened their teeth by winning decisions over the fading heavyweight. Leapai has since remained in his adoptive home, going 2-0-1 over the last two years.
Khalid Yafai (25-0, 15 KO) vs. Norbelto Jimenez (29-8-4, 16 KO)
Now 30 years old, Kal Yafai has a long way to live up to his amateur pedigree or the Eddie Hearn promotional machine. The 2008 Olympian takes on Jimenez, an unknown Dominican, marking his fifth defense. Yet the most recognizable name during Yafai’s reign is likely Israel Gonzalez, who may be a hardened lad but basically Jerwin Ancajas’ leftovers.
It was a disappointing outing with Gonzalez. Especially considering how his IBF counterpart, Ancajas brutally dispatched the Mexican. Yafai never looked lethal, or as finely tuned as he did in his title-winning performance over a legendary warmonger in Luis Concepcion. The Englishman was even on the receiving end of vicious volleys from Gonzalez. He nonetheless won by 12-round decision but was left nursing a hand injury into 2019.
Previously, Yafai’s third title defense was a seventh-round knockout of David Carmona—his first KO in two years. But the champion didn’t act the part at all, fouling on numerous occasions, hitting his challenger low and on the way down. A cleaner performance will do him wonders this weekend.
Jimenez, 28, only has a couple notable names on his ledger. But he is undefeated since 2011, despite his many losses. He raked in all eight of them, remarkably enough, in his first nine fights, starting his pro career on a 1-8 mark. At least one of those fights came against decent opposition—for example, future bantamweight beltholder Juan Carlos Payano, who sparked him in two rounds.
The surging light flyweight has since leveled off at 115 pounds. He even earned his first world title opportunity in 2015, when he pulled out a split-decision draw against the blistering Kohei Kono. Kono, per usual, was the aggressor while Jimenez danced along the outside, occasionally showing off a rangy jab. But mostly opting for slashing hooks to the midsection in-between taunting the Japanese champion.
Recently, Jimenez hasn’t been too active. Saturday will be his first ring appearance in over a full calendar year.
Cancio reclaims world title over Machado by KO; Comeback finish from Soto shocks Acosta
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Friday, Golden Boy Promotions offered up a championship doubleheader on DAZN. From the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California, where title hopes were fulfilled and title hopes, crushed.
Out of the ruckus came two unheralded bangers, now with gold around their waist, and the billing of boxing’s latest stage performers in its great “theatre of the unexpected.”
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Andrew Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KO) def. Alberto Machado (21-2, 17 KO) by third-round knockout
It was seek and destroy for Cancio, leaving no doubt to the legitimacy of his championship claim after again poleaxing Machado in a rematch. This time it took him just three rounds to split the Puerto Rican in half with a left hook to the body.
Cancio, 30, had to do battle with mega-hitter Machado for a second time after a shocking upset four months ago. But Cancio, relentlessly, never taking a step backwards, got the job done, winning by third-round knockout.
“I told you guys I would know him out again,” Cancio said in the ring on the DAZN broadcast. “I told you guys it wasn’t a fluke. I’m here to stay, let’s bring on the other 130-pound champions.”
Cancio was all over Machado from the onset. Immediately taking control of the center of the ring, both hands oscillating toward his opponent’s midsection. For a moment, Machado tried timing the champion coming forward. But Cancio’s crouching approach and the way he blinded his target by jabbing his way in, helped him avoid any real damage.
In the second period, Machado, the taller man, shifted his focus to landing left uppercuts. But Cancio, bloodied now from a cut on his forehead, waded in methodically, never stepping in with the same punch two times in a row. He had Machado veering toward the ropes in the final minute of Round 2 and stuck in the corner for the final 20 seconds.
Cancio’s varied attack was taking effect. The challenger’s legs were like gelatin to close the round.
In the third frame, Cancio continued to plow forward. Closing in on the two-minute mark, the champ shot a right hand to the body. Then went upstairs with a quick four-punch combination that raised Machado’s defense, and freed up a perfect target along his ribcage. Cancio saw the opening a pitched a left hook that dropped Machado to a knee, where referee Rank Caiz Sr. counted him out.
Machado, who was vocal about his tough training camp ahead of their first meeting, offered up minimal excuses this weekend.
“Look he’s a great champion—he showed that tonight,” Machado said.
The punch stats were as expected with an edge toward the triumphant hometown fighter. Cancio landed 59 of 183 total punches (32 percent) and Machado connected on 42 of 195 total punches (22 percent).
Training part-time around a blue-collar job, Cancio quickly became the sport’s favorite parvenu. And with a champion’s mindset is looking to draw more big challenges, mentioning both his mandatory challenger Rene Alvarado and former foe Jo Jo Diaz.
Cancio has now won four in a row. Three of which by knockout, developing into the bodysnatcher of the division. He hasn’t lost since a brief hiatus in 2016, following a disappointing setback against Diaz. There is a California-sized showdown to look forward to.
Elwin Soto (15-1, 11 KO) def. Angel Acosta by twelfth-round knockout (20-2, 20 KO)
Overpowered and out-punched through 11 rounds, Soto orchestrated a come-from-behind knockout in the 12th and final round to dethrone light flyweight champion Acosta. But not without the help of referee Tom Taylor, who was eager to step in for a premature stoppage. Acosta has the meanest left hand in the division but Soto managed to do him one better in Round 12 as he circled out and away from the defending champion’s attack and smacked a left hook of his own that spelled the beginning of the end.
“I always dreamed of this,” the 22-year-old Soto said in the ring after the fight with his new WBO belt in tow. “I worked really hard for this—I put a lot of effort into this. I thought I was going to lose the fight, but thank God I landed that punch and I won the fight. I dedicate this belt and this win to my family and my corner.”
That left hand wasn’t Soto’s only big punch. After a giving up the first two rounds to a bulldozing Acosta, in the third frame the Mexican battler curled another left hook around Acosta’s guard and a follow-up right hand to put the waning champion on the seat of his pants. Acosta would meet the canvas again but the ref warned Soto for shoving.
Acosta, 28, kept his composure, returning to his bread and butter: spamming his left hook—three or four or five at a time.
The fourth round belonged to Soto too. He shoveled punches into a retreating Acosta. A handful of punches still thudded off Soto’s high guard but he was beating his man to the punch. Up close, Acosta leaned over, pausing for a fleeting moment or two, and Soto struck him with more grimace-inducing body blows.
Soto had found his confidence but his low output over the next five rounds put the fight entirely in Acosta’s hands. The Puerto Rican slugger walked down Soto, chugging away, outworking the challenger with thudding combinations: double left hooks, complimented with short right crosses, and more curled shots up and down.
In the sixth stanza, Acosta took a break from hitting at Soto’s guard to implore the referee to warn his opponent for leading with the head. There was a warning in the seventh period and swelling under Acosta’s right eye.
Acosta continued to pound away. Soto floated in and out, indicative of the three Mexican nationals he won as an amateur. He had a keen focus on the champion’s midsection. But his singular punching wasn’t going to be enough to sway the judges. Acosta was chaining together heavy combinations, doubling the challenger’s output.
By Round 9, Soto began running out of gas, resulting in a mauling episode from the challenger to avoid more punishment. His feet no longer springing him around the ring. More left hooks forced Soto to wrap up in the tenth. And in the 11th, Soto’s face was burning bright, catching big shots, catching them well, but too many to pick up a single round since the fourth frame. Acosta followed him around, sitting on right and left hooks.
As is his nature, Acosta went out for the kill to open Round 12. Immediately on top of Soto, twice firing a combo of a straight right hand and two left uppercuts. But 20 seconds in, that fateful left hand found its mark. With Acosta clearly buzzed, Soto jumped him, shoeshining four body punches for the finish.
The replay showed Taylor with a perfect angle of Acosta’s droopy eyes and dazed look that certainly played into his decision to call a halt so early. Acosta was certainly in danger but still standing his ground. And all just a few weeks from Taylor’s contrasting effort in the PBC headliner between Ivan Redkach and Devon Alexander, where Alexander was floored three times in a round before Taylor jumped in.
“I told the ref he shouldn’t have stopped the fight,” Acosta had a chance to share post-fight. “Sure, he hurt me but it wasn’t enough to cause the stoppage.”
The punch stats revealed Soto landed 162 of 497 total punches (33 percent) while Acosta connected on 230 of 806 total punches (28 percent).
Fight Preview: Cancio vs. Machado II, Acosta vs. Soto
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Often on boxing, a giant upset lends itself to an immediate rematch. And Friday’s return match between Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado is no different, going down on DAZN from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California.
The broadcast will featured a championship doubleheader as Angel Acosta looks to extend his knockout streak. The preliminary action gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cancio and Machado should make their way to the ring at about 11 p.m. ET.
Andrew Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KO) vs. Alberto Machado (21-1, 17 KO)
In February, Machado rolled into California from Puerto Rico with gold around his waist and nearly -2000 betting favorite odds behind him. But three knockdowns in the fateful, fourth round from Cancio would make the native the new WBA super featherweight champion.
Cancio, never tabbed for a future champ, seemed destined to continually fall short against the blue-chip talent of the division. He lost to both JoJo Diaz and Ronny Rios on their ways to fighting or winning world titles. Alas, the California native officially signed with Golden Boy Promotions after upsetting the previously undefeated Aidar Sharibayev, who was billed as one of Kazakstan’s premier prospects.
Then Cancio outboxed Dardan Zenunaj. Or better yet fought off Zenunaj, who never stopped moving forward, culminating in a blistering tenth period. Still Cancio’s cleaner punching took nearly every round off his man, winning across the board.
After opening as an underdog (again) against Machado, Cancio is now sitting at -200. Machado now knows what dog odds feels like, currently as low as two-to-one. Machado has been undervalued before, namely by the World Boxing Association (WBA)—a sanctioning body already known for malfeasance and somehow continues to outdo themselves.
After ringing up an undefeated record, including nine consecutive first- or second-round knockouts, Machado faced Jezzrel Corrales for the WBA’s 130-pound “super” belt. Both men hit the deck before Machado sparked Corrales in Round 8 and this is where the snafu unfolds.
Corrales had earned the distinction (“super” champ, instead of regular) by beating longtime belt holder Takashi Uchiyama. But he missed weight opposite Machado, leaving the gold only available to Machado. But the powers that be went ahead and made Gervonta Davis their “super” champion before Machado could even get back into the ring for his first title defense.
Machado carried on and defended his ambiguous title twice. Last July, he decisioned Don King’s warrior Rafael Mensah. And followed that up with a first-round destruction of former Golden Gloves champion Yuandale Evans.
Before battling Cancio, anticipation was building for a unification between Machado and Davis. Then a few flinging left hands and right hands to the body from Cancio flipped the script. Now Cancio has a chance to secure those kind superfights for himself.
Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KO) vs. Elwin Soto (14-1, 10 KO)
Still on the right side of 30, Acosta has his fourth title defense lined up this weekend as he takes on Soto, of Mexico.
Puerto Rico’s Acosta orchestrated another knockout in his previous fight, where made easy work of divisional immortal Ganigan Lopez. It was the defending champion’s first start on DAZN.
All Acosta had to do to find himself fighting on mainstream airwaves was record every one of his wins by knockout—every single one. In March, at Ganigan’s expense, he continued the endeavor, stopped the hardened contender in eight rounds after having before that been relegated to defending his crown on Facebook.
Acosta’s terrorizing left hook resembles a converted orthodox. In lieu of a real jab, he repeatedly rams the shot up and down the side of his victims, complimenting it here and there with curling right uppercuts and overhands. As he demonstrated in his tenth-round finish of Juan Alejo, Acosta is also adept at cutting off the ring.
He’s been defeated just once, losing to Kosei Tanaka but rattled the Japanese virtuoso in the latter stages. Acosta has since rebounded to lift the WBO belt amid four straight victories.
Soto, 22, has never faced a top-level opponent—just two men on his record had more than just 5 professional wins. In his second year as a pro, he suffered his lone loss, a four-round decision, to a novice by name of Danny Andujo. The Mexican-born challenger has yet to lose again, rattling off 12 consecutive wins—mostly by knockout, to his credit.
Naturally, Soto is heading into the weekend as a hefty underdog (+600). He is 2-0 in 2019 (including one victory over a winless palooka) and this unexpected opportunity will be his first time training for 12 championship rounds.
Golovkin Knocks Out Rolls
By: Sean Crose
The main card at Madison Square Garden began on Saturday with an 8 round super welterweight bout between the 8-0 Brian Ceballo and the 14-0-1 Bakhtiyar Eyubov. The first round was an exciting one, with both men swinging and landing effectively. Ceballo had a great second round, moving, sharp shooting and looking like the more skilled of the two. The third saw Ceballo giving a master class while Eyubov came forward like a bull. By the fourth, Eyubov was able to land a bit, but it may not have been enough to take the round.
Ceballo continued to pick away at his man in the fifth. The fight continued to be a clinic in the sixth. By the seventh it was clear the match was all but over. Ceballo cruised through the final round, got the UD win, and made himself a name to watch.
New Orleans’ Marcus McDaniel, 15-0, was up next as he faced the 14-0 Ali Akhmedov in a scheduled ten round super middleweight affair. Akhmedov came on strong in the first. The Kazakh fighter continued to be effectively aggressive in the second. A brutal assault of punches put McDaniel down in the third. McDaniel got up, but the fact that he wasn’t responding clearly caused the referee to stop the fight.
It was time for the main event. An energized looking 38-1-1 Gennady Golovkin stepped into the ring to face the 19-0 Steve Rolls in a scheduled 12 round bout at a catchweight of 164 lbs. Golovkin landed well in the first. The second round was very close. Golovkin landed well – but so did Rolls. The third was also close, though Golovkin landed more frequently. Rolls was holding his own in the fourth, but Golovkin’s combos started taking their toll. Then, with a missle-like left, Golovkin put Rolls smack on his face. The game Rolls tried to get back to his feet, but couldn’t beat the count.
After the bout, Golovkin made it clear that he was eager to face arch rival Canelo Alvarez for a third time. With both fighters operating out of the DAZN tent, a third go round in the controversial Canelo-GGG saga may well be likely.
Ruiz Shocks the World and Stops Joshua
By: Sean Crose
The boxing world was stunned Saturday night when the 33-1 Andy Ruiz…who had just fought in April…thoroughly beat up and stopped the world’s prominent heavyweight titlist, 22-0 Anthony Joshua. Making his American debut, Joshua was dropped numerous times and looked almost puzzled when the scheduled 12 round Madison Square Garden bout was wisely stopped by the referee.
WBA, IBF and WBO champ Joshua had been scheduled to meet Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, but Miller tested positive for numerous banned substances and so a new opponent was needed. In stepped Ruiz, whose only loss had been a close decision defeat to Joseph Parker. Needless to say, no one gave Ruiz much of a chance. This was for all intents and purposes, supposed to be a filler match, a way to showcase Joshua for American fans.Things didn’t work out as expected.
The bout opened with Ruiz facing Joshua’s prominent jab. The much taller Joshua was able to keep his man at bay in the second. Then came the third. Joshua dropped Ruiz with a thunderous hook, making it appear as if it might be an easy night’s work for the Englishman. Ruiz got up, the two men began to brawl, and – amazingly – Joshua himself went down.
The defending champion got to his feet but was then sent down again for the second time in the round. Joshua got up again, but the man was clearly in trouble. The referee asked Joshua to come forward to see if Joshua was okay. Joshua seemed confused. The referee let Joshua off the hook, as the bell rang a moment later.
Things were slower in the fourth, but Joshua was clearly gunshy. The man seemed to hardly fire a shot. The champion looked better in the fifth and arguably took the round, having seemed to have regained his composure. Joshua appeared to be in control in the sixth, but Ruiz was able to find his target toward’s round end. Everything subsequently came to a head in the seventh.
Ruiz sent his man down for the third time in the fight. Joshua got up, but was clearly not looking good. The fight continued, only to see Joshua down yet again. The man clearly looked defeated. Still, the champion got to his feet once more. The referee checked to see if Joshua was okay. Joshua simply looked about – possibly at his corner – and the referee stopped the fight.
Andy Ruiz now holds more titles than anyone in the heavyweight division – something few would ever have expected. It’s hard to overstate the enormity of Saturday’s bout. It may well have been the biggest upset in boxing since James “Buster” Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990. What’s more, major bouts with Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder may well be out of Joshua’s future. Again it’s difficult to overstate the enormity of this upset.
Earlier in the evening, the popular Katie Taylor became the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by sqeaking past Delfine Persoon via close decision. Callum Smith also showed he’s a super middleweight titlist to be reckoned with by wiping out Hassan N’Dam in the third.
Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz, Callum Smith vs. Hassan N’Dam Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions will bring their heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, to the United States to make his US debut and defend his titles against challenger Andy Ruiz Jr.
Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller was originally scheduled to face Joshua, but a positive steroid test forced him to withdraw from the fight and allowed for Ruiz to step up and get this opportunity.
This fight card will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be streamed live on DAZN.
The co-main event of the evening will be a WBA Super Middleweight Title fight between Callum Smith and Hassan’ N’Dam.
The undercard is also stacked and features a women’s lightweight unification title bout between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon. Chris Algieri, Tommy Coyle, Josh Kelly, Joshua Buatsi, and Diego Pacheco are just some of the contenders that will also be competing on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Callum Smith (25-0) vs. Hassan N’Dam (37-3); WBA Super Middleweight Title
Callum Smith is one of the best boxers out of the United Kingdom and Saturday will be the first time he fights in the United States.
Smith will have some noticeable physical advantages over N’Dam. He will have a large three and a half inch height advantage over N’Dam and he’s also six years younger than him. Both boxers have fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Smith appears to be the more powerful puncher of the two. Smith has eighteen stoppages on his record in only twenty five fights while N’Dam has twenty one stoppages on his record in forty fights.
Smith has beaten the likes of George Groves, Nieky Holzken, Erik Skoglund, and Rocky Fielding. He has never been defeated as a professional.
N’Dam has lost to the likes of Peter Quillin, David Lemieux, and Ryoto Murata. He has beaten the likes of Martin Murray, Ryoto Murata, Curtis Stevens, Max Bursak, and Avtandil Khurtsidze.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Smith has success on the national level in Great Britain and N’Dam has competed in the 2004 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
N’Dam has the ability to pull off an upset, as he did when he defeated Murray and Murata. But he’s coming up in weight to face a good puncher who’s significantly younger than him.
This fight is an excellent opportunity for Smith to impress the fans in the United States.
Anthony Joshua (22-0) vs. Andy Ruiz Jr.(32-1); IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Title
Anthony Joshua holds three of the four widely recognized heavyweight titles. He’s considered to be one of the, if not the, best heavyweights in the world today.
However, Saturday will be the first time he’s fighting in the United States and it’s against an opponent very few believe has a chance at beating him.
Andy Ruiz is a good fighter, he only has one loss on his record and was a former Mexican National Champion as an amateur. However, Joshua is a boxer who has never been defeated and has stopped every single one of his opponents except one. And while Ruiz was a Mexican National Champion as an amateur Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Joshua will have a large four inch height advantage and a very large eight inch reach advantage. They are both twenty nine years old. Joshua fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. Ruiz fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and did not fight in 2017.
Joshua has beaten the likes of Povetkin, Parker, Takam, Klitschko, Molina, Breazeale, Martin, and Whyte.
Ruiz has defeated the likes of Dimitrenko, Johnson, Austin, Liakhovich, Hamer, and Hanks. He has only been beaten by Joseph Parker.
it’s hard to imagine this fight going the full twelve rounds. Ruiz has boxing skills, but he’ll be significantly undersized against a man who’s skills are just as good.
This should be an easy victory for Joshua.
Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz, Jr. Workout Quotes
Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) of the United Kingdom and dangerous Mexican challenger Andy Ruiz, Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) worked out in front of a packed crowd at Brookfield Place in New York’s Financial District just days before their heavyweight title tilt at Madison Square Garden. Joshua will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight Championship titles against Ruiz on Saturday, June 1, at Madison Square Garden and exclusively on DAZN.
On the stacked undercard of Joshua’s U.S. debut, undefeated WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) will make his first title defense against former Middleweight World Champion Hassan N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs). Earlier in the evening, Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs) will face Delfine Persoon (43-1, 18 KOs) to crown the undisputed World Female Lightweight Champion. Taylor owns the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while Persoon holds the WBC strap.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/DAZN
Today’s full live stream is available now on DAZN’s YouTube and Facebook, and includes interviews with Joshua, Ruiz, Smith and Taylor. A full transcription of the interviews is available below.
All fight week events will be streamed on the DAZN platform and social media channels. For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
EPISODE TWO OF 40 DAYS: JOSHUA/RUIZ AVAILABLE NOW!
On training in Miami: “I stayed out of the clubs. I went down to South Beach one day for some lunch which was nice but other than that, it was straight gym work. The way the team sets up my training is that I only have one day off in between, never two back-to-back days off. When you have two back-to-back days off, you have one day for turning up and one day for recovery. So all my recovery was based around that one day so I had no time to mess around.”
On Andy Ruiz, Jr. compared to Jarrell Miller: “I can’t really tell you because I never boxed Miller. Miller was a steady contest because of his punch rate and his physical size, you can’t deny that in the ring. But Ruiz, he’s more of a sound, well-balanced guy. He keeps his feet underneath him and has good head movement. You throw the right hand and he will just duck it, come under and hook you twice. He’s got that kind of confidence in his ability that he can counter-punch and he’s not afraid to have punches coming at his face and slipping them to get back to you. He’s not a scared fighter at all.”
On his United States welcoming: “I should be out there with the people! That’s what I am here to do, to meet people and all for the love of boxing. It is not just about me. It’s about the next show, about the GGG show, whatever is happening on DAZN. It’s just about connecting with the people so they can go back home and say, ‘You heard about DAZN and their boxing?’ And then the sport rises. This is bigger than me.”
On fighting at Madison Square Garden: “I am just rolling with the punches and not trying to get caught up in the hype of it all. The main time when you enjoy it is after the fight. God willing, I win. Then I will look and say, ‘Wow, I’ve really done it at Madison Square Garden.’ I just don’t want to take part, I want to own the night. And that’s why I need to win.”
On managing fighters on the undercard: “I’m fighting, managing fighters. Everything rolled into one. One aspect of the night into another aspect. My winning is their winning then it’s easier for them to do their job. I remember I was fighting on other people’s undercards as well and if I never said it, I want to thank those people for giving me the exposure to be in the position that I am in right now.”
On his entrance music: “I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about the ‘Dipset Anthem.’ Possibly Meek Mill’s ‘Dreams and Nightmares.’ It has to be something from the east coast. Maybe Biggie. The song inspires but so does the crowd. They give that energy, too. I remember in the Olympics, I had been fighting only two-and-a-half years and then I’m in the Olympics so I am thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I remember trying to block out the energy of the crowd. But it’s impossible, you use to much energy trying to do that. So I just absorb all that energy, take that frequency and bring it into the ring. You can’t block it out, you need to absorb.”
On Deontay Wilder’s first-round knockout: “Oh, that was a good one, that was a good one! I am going to be in there in the first round trying to knock out Ruiz but if it don’t happen, it don’t happen. But as long as I get the win, it puts me on that path. And like I have said before, I think Wilder and I need to sit down man to man and talk about how we get this fight made.”
On being the underdog: “Everyone has always doubted me. But look, I came so far, coming from a small town, a small city and now I am doing great things. I am fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the world. I’m here to make history and to become the first Mexican Heavyweight Champion.”
On the pressure of fighting Anthony Joshua: “There’s a lot of pressure on me but I think Anthony Joshua has more to lose fighting a dangerous fighter like me. I am a better opponent than all of the other opponents they were talking about. I am here to win it all.”
On being distracted by a possible Canelo fight: “The fact is, with Canelo, is that if I slip up on Saturday night, that fight doesn’t happen. That’s gone. So that’s what keeps me motivated – that I have to come here this Saturday and win to keep those massive fights alive. I’m fully focused on June 1st. I’m in a very good place and I had a great training camp.”
On fighting at Madison Square Garden: “This is another amazing moment and that’s what I am in boxing for. I want big nights and big fights. Winning the WBSS tournament was a special night and defending that title at Madison Square Garden would be special as well. That is what is keeping me in boxing, that stuff excites me and motivates me.”
On fighting Hassan N’Dam: “He is a good opponent, a very experienced opponent and a former World Champion. Only the very best have beat him. But I believe that I am one of the very best and I should be good enough to beat him. This is no easy fight because he is a tough customer. I am expecting a tough fight and prepared for the best possible Hassan N’Dam. But if the best version of me turns up, I beat the any version of him.”
On being the standout on Saturday’s card: “Hopefully. I hope to steal some headlines and impress with a good knockout or impressive win. But it’s a very good show, some of Britain’s best on the bill. Katie Taylor is on the show and is a special talent fighting for the undisputed lightweight crown. Josh Kelly and Josh Buatsi are both great prospects. It’s a great show for the fight fans.”
On whether he will stay at 168: “I believe I can do both, I can stay here or move up. I believe I can stay at 168 and fight some good champions and hopefully wait for the Canelo fight. Then when I’ve fully satisfied, I can move up to 175. That’s definitely a possibility but there’s still a lot to achieve at 168. 175 is an interesting division because they are all pretty much as good as each other and there are no standouts. It’s a very good division and one that I could look to enter in a year or two. But 168 is my division right now.”
On fighting for the undisputed lightweight crown: “It is amazing to be here. I’ve had to pinch myself that I am fighting for the undisputed championship of the world in just a few days. I know how big of a challenge it is and how tough of an opponent she is. This is why I have trained so hard over these past few years. I have locked myself away over these last few months and went through the trenches to prepare.”
On taking the open workout seriously: “I figure that I should get something out of it if I am here. Just looking at the big crowd here, you can’t help but get excited about this big fight night. I am just hyped up right now.”
On feeling pressure: “There’s a little bit of pressure but pressure is a privilege. It’s just great to be in this position and I would rather be in this position than not. I am going to fight for the undisputed championship in front of so many Irish people but I have dealt with this kind of pressure before.”
On her rise to this spot: “My goal has always been to become the undisputed champion of the world. This isn’t going to be an easy fight, this is going to be the hardest fight of my career. This is a tough, tough challenge, but these are the types of fights that I love as well.”