Stevenson Easily Dispatches Guevara, Greer Skates by Potapov
By: William Holmes
The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Card.
The undercard was streamed on ESPN+ and the telecast started off with a an IBF Bantam Weight Eliminator between Joshua Greer Jr. (20-1-1) and Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1).
This fight started off slower, with both boxers feeling each other and Potapov using his height to his advantage with sharply timed counters. Greer appeared to have trouble getting to his offense in the second round, and was slightly outlanded by Potapov by the third round.
Greer kept his feet moving in the fourth round and looked like he was gaining confidence and throwing more punches. Greer kept up the high pace in the fifth round and had outlanded Potapov 51-36 punches by this round. Greer was able to land several clear shots to the body.
Potapov was able to land a few good punches in the sixth round, but Greer was still picking off most of Potapov’s punches. Potapov was the aggressor in the seventh round and landed several good straight right hands in the center of the ring.
Potapov looked like he wasn’t deterred by Greer’s alleged power in the eight round and was landing good counters and punches in bunches. The ninth round was close, but Greer was the fighter that was pressing forward.
By the tenth round the fight was still up for grabs, and Greer appeared to hurt Potapov with body shots in this round.
Greer’s corner stressed the importance of winning the final two rounds in order to win the fight, and he appeared to listen to his corner and pressed the action while looking for the knockout.
His late fight surge appeared to have been just enough. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, and 115-113 for Joshua Greer Jr.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing
The main event of the night was between Shakur Stevenson (11-0) and Alberto Guevara (27-4) for the NABO Featherweight Title.
Guevara has had great success in Mexico, but little to none outside of it.
Guevara took the fight on short notice and didn’t look like he was in the best of shape. Stevenson opened up the first with a good lead right hook and was pressuring Guevara from corner to corner. Guevara looked scared to exchange with Guevara and spent most of the opening round on his bike.
Guevara was chased again by Stevenson in the second round and took several had punches to the body. One body led to a knockdown, but Guevara was able to get back to his feet. He was pursued by Stevenson again until Stevenson landed a right to the chin of Guevara and sent him down for a second time in the second round.
Stevenson continued to hunt down Guevara in the third round, but landed a left hand below the belt on Guevara and the referee gave Guevara time to recuperate. The fight restarted and Stevenson immediately went on the attack and had Guevara off balance. Stevenson sends Guevara down for the third time in the fight with a combination to the head.
Guevara meekly attempted to get up at the count of nine, but he was badly out matched, and the referee waived off the fight.
Shakur Stevenson wins by KO at 2:37 of the third round.
Fight Preview: Moloney Twins vs. Tanzanian Late Call-Ups
By: Ste Rowen
In the early hours of Saturday for most, but prime time in Australia, Moloney twins Jason and Andrew each take on opponent’s that they hope will lift them into world title contention in the bantamweight and super-flyweight divisions respectively.
At Seagulls Rugby League Club in New South Wales, bantamweight, Jason, 18-1 (15KOs) has already, once before had his chance for a championship belt when he entered the World Boxing Super Series but was beaten at the first hurdle by then IBF titlist, Emmanuel Rodriguez. It’s been almost eight months since that split decision loss in Orlando but Moloney remains confident not only that he defeated Rodriguez but that he has the tools to take on the biggest and the best at 118lb,
‘‘I feel I beat Rodriguez but that is in the past. I want world titles this year so for me a fight with the WBA number one (Liborio) Solis for the world title is one that I would love.
There’s talk of Rigondeaux fighting at bantamweight too. If I had to fight him, I would do it happily.’’
In his last outing, Jason ‘The Smooth One’ dismantled Cris Paulino inside five rounds which was set to lead the Australian into a bout with Cesar Ramirez of Mexico, but due to a late pull out Moloney will instead share the ring with 23-4 (13KOs), Goodluck Mrema. The Tanzanian may have a similar record to Jason’s original opponent but, as long as the home fighter continues to impress, he should deal with Saturday’s opponent handily. Goodluck hasn’t had much luck in his run of previous fights; he went three for three in 2018 and two of those defeats were stoppage losses including a 1st round KO defeat to Marlon Tapales.
But, with a second world title shot on the horizon, 28-year-old, Moloney promises fans he’s not taking his new opponent lightly,
‘‘I always prepare correctly no matter the circumstances. It’s what being a professional is all about…You can never overlook any opponent, look what happened to Anthony Joshua last week. I can’t let slip ups like that happen to me.’’
The Australian sits third in both the WBA and WBC rankings so any, as Moloney put it, slip ups at the weekend, and he could kiss goodbye to his world championship hopes any time soon.
Andrew Moloney will be hoping to catch up to his brother’s progress in the pro ranks sooner rather than later as well on Saturday night. Though Andrew remains unbeaten with a record of, 19-0 (12KOs), ‘The Monster’ has yet to challenge for a world championship belt. So far, Moloney’s biggest victory came in his final fight of 2018 when he defeated Luis Concepcion in the 10th and final round.
Since the impressive Concepcion victory nine months ago, like his brother, Andrew has fought just once, an 8th round stoppage of Miguel Gonzalez in a WBA title eliminator at super-flyweight, with the current superfly WBA champion being Great Britain’s, Kal Yafai, a man that ‘The Monster’ has never been afraid to call out,
‘‘As people know, I’m on the verge of becoming mandatory for Kal Yafai and that’s the fight I want. If not him then another world champion. I just want to be a world champion and I believe I will become one in 2019.’’
The parallels with his brother continue as Andrew will be facing a late change of opponent in another Tanzanian, and baby-faced, Selemani Bangaiza, 15-5 (5KOs), but Moloney despite talking of a big future and this possibly being his last fight in Australia, also promises he has his feet on the ground to ensure he puts on a show for his home crowd,
‘‘I intend on putting on an explosive display on Saturday night and show why I believe I’m the best 115-pounder in the world.
It’s a dream to be signed to Top Rank and it reiterates why I have to be on fire this weekend. This could be my last fight in Australia for a long time and if it is, I want to make sure it’s a performance people remember.’’
ESPN Boxing Preview: Ito vs. Herring, Pedraza vs. Lozada
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida will be the host site of Top Rank Promotions latest boxing card to be televised on ESPN. Masayuki Ito will defend his WBO Junior lightweight title against Jamel Herring, a former US Olympic team member.
The co-feature of the night will also be a lightweight bout with possible future title implications. Former champion Jose Pedraza will face Antonio Lozada in the co-main event.
The undercard will feature several prospects such as Adam Lopez, Jean Carlos Rivera, Jeyvier Cintron, Koki Eto, Steve Nelson, and Yomar Alamo.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Jose Pedraza (25-2) vs. Antonio Lozada (40-2-1); Lightweight Division
Jose Pedraza’s two losses came against two of the best fighters in the lightweight division, Vasily Lomachenko by decision and a TKO loss to Gervonta Davis.
Lozada’s two losses came against fighters not as well known as Lomachenko and Davis. He lost to Roberto Ortiz and Ramiro Alcaraz, though he avenged the Alcaraz loss in a rematch.
Pedraza is thirty years old and one year older than Lozada. Pedraza will be giving up two inches in height to Lozada, and will be giving up an edge in power. Pedraza has only stopped twelve of his opponent and his last five wins were by decision. Lozada however has stopped thirty four of his opponents.
Both boxers have been relatively active recently. Pedraza fought four times in 2018 and only once in 2017. Lozada fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Pedraza has a clear edge in amateur experience as he competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Pedraza has beatedn the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Antonio Moran, Stephen Smith, Edner Cherry, Andrey Klimov, Michael Farenas, and Tevin Farmer.
Lozada’s biggest win to date was an upset TKO victory of the then undefeated Felix Verdejo. He has no other notable wins.
Lozada’s win over Verdejo has given him some notoriety and allowed him to land this fight, but he will be facing a far more experienced and skilled opponent on Saturday. Lozada has the power to pull off an upset victory but on paper it appears unlikely.
But outside of those two boxers Pedraza is one of the best fighters in the lightweight division.
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1) vs. Jamel Herring (19-2); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Ito is a bit of an unknown in the Unite States, out of 27 fights he has only fought once outside of Japan, and that was when he won the WBO Junior Lightweight Title.
Ito is only 28 years old, five years younger than Herring. However, he will be giving up about an inch and a half in height but will have a half an inch advantage in reach. Both boxers have been fairly active, with both of them fighting three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Neither boxer is known for their power. Ito has stopped thirteen of his opponents while Herring has stopped ten of his opponents. However, Ito has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Herring does have an edge in amateur experience, as he competed for the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Ito has defeated the likes of Evgeny Chuprakov, Christopher Diaz, Lorenzo Villanueva, and Takuya Watanabe. His lone loss was to Rikki Naito.
Herring has defeated the likes of John Vincent Moralde, Art Hovhannisyan, and Luis Eduardo Florez. His losses were to Ladarius Miller and Denis Shafikov.
This should be a good fight, but Ito’s technical expertise should overwhelm the two loss Herring.
Saunders Achieves & Underwhelms In Equal Measure
By: Ste Rowen
At the Lamex Stadium on Saturday night, Billy Joe Saunders took the WBO super-middleweight crown at the first time of asking but left a lot to be desired for the fans; whilst Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce lumbered to an early stoppage victory over aged gatekeeper, Ustinov.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; well that’s the mentally that BJ Saunders seemed to enter the ring with when he faced up against Shefat Isufi on Saturday night. The former WBO 160lb world champion saw his opponent, Shefat, as a steppingstone and used him as such. Right from the first bell, the Brit was cruising as he made Isufi constantly miss multiple combinations and fired back with quick hands but a lack of fight-ending power.
At one-point Saunders taunted Isufi in the same way he played with David Lemieux – making his opponent miss widely and then looking into the distance – but, whereas that night in Quebec Billy Joe was facing a legitimate threat with bout-changing power, tonight it was more like Drogon coming up against the Golden Company but less exciting and much more predictable. The away fighter had no answer, struggling to lay a single shot on his confident foe, who continued to call him forward to try and land cleanly.
There was a shaky moment for Saunders in the 6th, when Isufi landed hard with two right hooks that left Billy shakily stepping backwards onto the ropes, but he was savvy enough to move in for the clinch and avoid taking any more significant blows. But it was the only bright spark in a rough night for Shefat. Both men made it to the final bell and the judges scorecards returned as; 120-108, 118-110, 117-111, all in favour of Billy Joe Saunders.
Now a two-weight world champion, Saunders, 28-0 (13KOs) spoke post-fight,
‘‘He caught me in the 6th but he didn’t have me where my legs were gone. I haven’t been in a meaningful fight for 14 months. He’s number one with the WBO for a reason so he’s obviously good.
My ability will always get me further in the sport…I want the big fights, the big names, the big domestic fights and unifications. I moved up from middleweight cos none of them wanted to fight me.’’
It remains to be seen who Billy’s next opponent will be, but with names such as Chris Eubank Jr and Callum Smith, amongst others, fighting at 168lb, Saunders and promoter, Frank Warren will be hard pressed to find an easy matchup they can pass off on the fans if they try.
The co-main event at the Lamex stadium on Saturday night saw Joe Joyce continue his rise towards contending for the top brass of the glamour division, with a 3rd round stoppage of Alexander ‘The Great’ Ustinov. The ‘Juggernaut’ attempted to jump on his opponent immediately; striking from the first bell and forcing Ustinov to either fight fire with fire or look to make it awkward; and credit to the Russian he tried his best to fight back with his own hooks but struggled to get in close to the younger man.
Joyce has a tendency to feint in the slowest possible way and yet still make his opponent take a step back and flinch. So though the speed of the Olympic silver medallist might not be close to someone such as Tyson Fury, the power is clearly a big worry for his rivals. At the start of round 3, Joyce really went in for the finisher, forcing Ustinov to retreat in any and every gap in the ring he could find. Joe through his punches in bunches but began to struggle to land cleanly, even taking a big right hand from his opponent which only briefly halted the ‘Juggernaut’s’ offense. Then, with 1:12 left on the clock, Joyce landed a thudding left hook, dropping Alexander to the canvas, and signalling the end of the bout as Ustinov made a feeble attempt to beat the count.
It wasn’t slick, and it won’t live long in the memory, but it does improve Joyce to 9-0 (9KOs) and the heavyweight prospect spoke to BBC Sport post-fight,
‘‘I just thought I’d start fast and see what would come back…He’s a seasoned veteran and every round was different…I came in warm and ready and it’s great to put in a performance here in Stevenage.
I’d like a world title by the end of the year and set myself up for some really big fights in 2020.’’
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Saunders Looking to Become Two-Weight Champion
By: Ste Rowen
It’s been a long time, if ever, that someone has recognised Saunders as the #1 in his division, but on Saturday night the slick southpaw has the opportunity to present himself to a new weight class when he steps into the ring with Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO super-middleweight title.
‘‘I had a terrible 2018, my title was robbed off me.’’ Saunders, 27-0 (13KOs) told the media on Thursday, ‘‘I jumped at this fight when it was offered, and I will become a two-weight world champion.’’
The former world champion was stripped of his WBO middleweight belt last year just weeks before his showdown with Demetrius Andrade when the Brit failed a drugs test for the banned stimulant oxilofrine. It was a moment that set fire to any of the momentum Saunders had carried through from his 2017 dismantling of David Lemieux. Instead of Andrade in October, Billy Joe fought and beat Charles Adamu in December; a bout in which he weighed in at 178lb.
But training again with Ben Davison and sharing the gym with Tyson Fury, Sanders believes he’s back to his best and ready for more than just becoming a two-weight world champion,
‘‘I’ve been training with Ben and it’s been good, enjoyable and great bouncing around with Tyson. I’m enjoying boxing again.
If I do bring it, I should box his head off. Whatever he brings I will fetch ten-fold more…I’m not looking past Isufi, but I am looking for the big names. I know I’ve got it inside me, and nobody’s seen my best…I have to be on my A game and send a message to the other super middleweights.’’
Isufi, 27-3-2 (20KOs), shouldn’t, in theory, set too big of a challenge for the former middleweight champion. Sitting at number one of the WBO’s 168lb rankings, the Serbian-born German has a basic style that, if he doesn’t jump on Billy Joe early, will mean he’ll paying for it as the fight draws on.
Shefat, the former WBO ‘Inter-Continental’ holder also spoke ahead of Saturday,
‘‘If Billy Joe did win, I will congratulate him, but it will be the other way around. He is quick and a hard puncher, but I can also punch, and one punch can make the difference.’’
However, if Saunders is anywhere close to the fighter that defeated Lemieux, or Andy Lee, the UK could be crowning its newest world champion by Saturday night.
Co-main for Saturday’s night world title bout at the Lamex Stadium in Hertfordshire, is ‘The Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce as he attempts to topple Alexander Ustinov as Joyce continues his climb to the summit of the heavyweights.
Joyce, 8-0 (8KOs) was last seen in the ring making swift, brutal work of Bermane Stiverne’s head and body when, in February, the former WBC world champion was broken down by the thudding puncher in six rounds. The Commonwealth champion is keen to continue his knockout streak but is fully aware of the experience his opponent holds,
‘‘Ustinov is a very experienced, big, strong, tough and this is a step up. I have to beat him to get to the next level.’’
Alexander ‘The Great’ Ustinov at 42-years-old is undoubtedly coming to the end of his career and goes into Saturday’s matchup on the back of two defeats. In November 2017, the Russian, 34-3 (25KOs) was dropped en route to a 12-round decision loss to Manuel Charr, then one year later he was stopped by rising heavyweight star, Michael Hunter in nine rounds. The ‘Juggernaut’ however is looking at Ustinov’s strengths rather than his pitfalls,
‘‘I know what he has in his arsenal and what I have to do to beat him. He can punch but I take a shot and give one back.
I’m looking for nine KOs out of nine.’’
Berchelt and Navarrete Win their Rematches
By: William Holmes
The Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Promotions boxing card televised live on ESPN.
Two world title rematches were on display Emanuel Navarrete took on Isaac Dogboe for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title in the co-main event of the night and Miguel Berchelt faced Francisco Vargas for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title.
The opening bout of the broadcast was between Isaac Dogboe (20-1) and Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title . Their last bout ended in an upset victory for Emanuel Navarrete.
Navarrete height and reach advantage was obvious early on as he went to work with his jab and short combinations. Navarrete slipped to the mat in the opening round, but was able to win the early rounds with his movement and combinations. A left upcut by Navarrete had Dogboe slightly rocked in the second round.
Dogboe came out charging in the third round, but Navarrete was able to stop that momentum with a sharp left uppercut that left Dogboe with shaky legs. Dogboe would start off strong in the opening minute of the fourth and fifth rounds, but Navarrete would have Dogboe hurt by the end of the round with his reach and power.
Navarrete scored a knockdown in the sixth round when a combination from him had Dogboe falling backwards in the the ropes. Dogboe continued to take a beating into the ninth round, but showed tremendous heart as he attempted to stay in the fight.
Isaac Dogboe’s corner, with his father as the lead trainer, threatened to stop the fight in the tenth round but sent Dogboe out to continue fighting anyway. The uppercuts of Navarrete continued to snap the head of Dogboe backwards and Dogboe needed a knockout in the final round in order to secure a win.
However, Navarrete continued pound on Dogboe in the final round and scored another knockdown. Dogboe got back up to his feet but on wobbly legs, and his father correctly decided to throw in the towel and stop his son from receiving further punishment.
Navarrete wins by TKO at 2:02 of the twelfth and final round.
The main event of the evening was between Miguel Berchelt (35-1) and Francisco Vargas (25-1-2) for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title .
Berchelt and Vargas last fought two years ago, with Berchelt coming out on top.
Berchelt showed good hand early on and was crisp with his combinations. Vargas was coming forward and did land some good overhand rights, but Berchelt was landing at a higher rate. Berchelt did get warned twice for low blows in the first.
Berchelt was landing some heavy lead left hooks in the second despite being warned for low blows again. There were some fierce exchanges in the second, but Berchelt was getting the better of Vargas.
Berchelt’s double left hook to the body and head were landing in the third, though Vargas did connect with a good combinations after Berchelt turned to the referee to complain about a low blow landing on him. Vargas was warned bout using his head in the third from the referee.
Vargas had blood coming from his nose going into the fourth round and he got tagged several times with eye combinations in the fourth. Vargas had his best round of the night in the fifth as he continued to come forward and at one point had Berchelt in some trouble by the ropes, but even that round was could have been scored either way.
Berchelt had a dominating sixth round as he loaded up on his shots to the body and head. Vargas looked like he was close to going down in the sixth, but he was able to stay on his feet, though he looked beaten both mentally and physically.
The corner of Francisco Vargas didn’t like what they saw from Vargas and stopped the fight before the start of the seventh.
Miguel Berchelt wins by TKO at the end of the sixth round.
UFC Fight Night 149: Oleynik vs Overeem in St. Petersburg, Russia
By: Jesse Donathan
“If he dies, he dies.” These are the haunting words of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and the classic image of how Russian fighters are still portrayed in the United States today. Ruthless, formidable opponents who represent a direct threat to the western way of life. And just like on the big screen, Russian fighters are on the cusp of making big waves in the arena of combat sports in real life. Enter UFC Fight Night 149 which goes down Saturday night, April 20, 2019 at the Yubileyny Sports Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia on ESPN +. The headlining event will feature two longtime mixed martial arts veterans pitted against one another in 41-year old Moscow native Alexey Oleynik (57-11-1) versus the 38-year old Dutchmen Alistair Overeem (44-17).
Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik is a very dangerous man. A heavyweight with an impressive arsenal of submission hold victories, Oleynik has the skillset to submit opponents from a variety of different positions including his back where fighters are often considered to be at their most vulnerable. Oleynik is a seasoned, crafty veteran who has been in the cage with some of the worlds best stand up fighters, feared strikers who are respected the world over for their particular brand of violence and Oleynik has come out on top against virtually all of them including former K-1 kickboxing and mixed martial arts legends Mark Hunt and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
And with a submission victory over the likes of the great Jeff Monson, a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, Alexey Oleynik is a fighter who has been there and done that. Having defeated some of the worlds best grappling and striking experts in the field of mixed martial arts sporting competition. Oleynik is a true mixed martial artist with a wealth of experience against the very best the sport has to offer across a variety of disciplines.
Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is a fighter who possesses the ability to defeat virtually anyone on the planet on any given night. Not someone you want to tangle with, Overeem is a dynamic striker who at various points in his career has looked virtually unstoppable against a deaths row of striking experts. A popular and controversial fighter, Overeem once failed a performance enhancing drug test with an eye popping 14:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.
To put that into perspective, in an April 5, 2012 mmafighting.com article titled “Alistair Overeem’s T/E Ratio was 14:1 in Failed PED Test” author Mike Chiapetta writes, “The average male produces a T/E ratio around 1:1. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) uses a 4:1 standard for positive tests, and the NSAC uses a 6:1 as its cutoff.”
Overeem is a former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, an elite mixed martial artist who is also the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and interim DREAM Heavyweight Champion who has went on to smash some of the biggest names in the sport today including Mark Hunt, Junior Dos Santos and even WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. If you’re a fan of strikers who look for the finish, Alistair Overeem is a fighter whose record is littered with a trail of unconscious bodies in its wake. On any given night, against any fighter on the planet Alistair Overeem possesses the ability to defeat him in convincing, devastating fashion.
While enjoying a reputation as a feared striker, Overeem is also a crafty submission artist in his own right with a legendary guillotine choke that can easily introduce his opponents to the sandman if they are not prepared to deal with the tricks the seasoned veteran has up his sleeve. Unfortunately for Overeem, in what comes with the territory when you live and die by the sword, “The Demolition Man” is susceptible to being stopped by strikes to those crafty enough to exploit the holes in the veteran mixed martial artists game.
On paper, this is a classic striker versus grappler matchup. Though this is mixed martial arts and anything can happen, the keys to victory for each fighter are relatively clear cut and dry. By looking at their respective records alone it is clear that Oleynik is going to want to take this fight to the mat where he can utilize his submission grappling ability to put Overeem in a compromising position. Unfortunately for Oleynik, he is going to have to close the distance with Overeem in order to drag the Dutchmen to the canvas. Which is going to put “The Boa Constrictor” in striking range with the former K-1 champion though it isn’t like Oleynik hasn’t been here before.
It will be essential for the Russian to keep his hands up, conscious of his own head position as he looks to bring Alistair to the mat for fear of being caught in the Dutchmen’s own web of sticky submission techniques. The good news is that it won’t be hard to find Overeem in the cage, but the bad news is Oleynik is going to have to weather the storm from a straight up killer in order to make it a grappling contest.
Conversely, “The Demolition Man” should avoid going to the ground with Oleynik at all costs, keeping the Russian at the end of his punches, kicks and knee’s. Overeem is going to need to conduct a symphony of destruction while conscious of closing the distance with the Russian submission ace. Overeem needs to be an athletic, dynamic and mobile striker who makes his opponent pay for coming into striking range while maintaining sufficient enough range to minimize Oleynik’s grappling based offensive attack.
There are no mysteries in this fight, the only unknowns are which fighter is going to be able to impose his will over the other first. This is a fight where fighter IQ and the better game plan will mean the difference between victory and defeat. “The Boa Constrictor” will either catch Overeem in an ambush like assault or “The Demolition Man” is going to blow Oleynik right out of the water in a classic grappler versus striker matchup that will only continue to fuel the debate on which style of fighting is best.
Top Rank on ESPN PPV Preview: Crawford vs. Khan, Stevenson vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the host site of Top Rank Promotions’ latest Pay Per View (PPV) offering. Terence “Bud” Crawford, one of the sports pound for pound greats, is slated to face off against international star Amir Khan.
This card will be distributed by Top Rank Promotions in conjunction with ESPN.
The undercard will feature several of Top Rank’s brightest prospects. The co-main event will be between Shakur Stevenson and battle tested veteran Christopher Diaz in the featherweight division. Other Top Rank prospects such as Teofimo Lopez, Felix Verdejo, and Carlos Adames will be featured on Saturday’s card.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Shakur Stevenson (10-0) vs. Christopher Diaz (24-1); Featherweight Division
Shakur Stevenson is probably the best prospect to come out of the United States Olympic team since Errol Spence Jr.
Stevenson is only twenty one years old and has never faced an opponent with a losing record. However, he will be facing the toughest test of his career when he squares off against Christopher Diaz on Saturday night.
Diaz is three years older than Stevenson and is in the midst of his athletic prime. Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage over Diaz.
Both boxers are known for having some pop in their punches. Stevenson has six stoppage victories and has stopped four of his past five opponents. Diaz has sixteen stoppage victories, and four of his past five fights resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson has never been defeated and has beaten the likes of Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Carlos Ruiz. He’s also been extremely active. He fought once in 2019, five times in 2018, and four times in 2017.
Diaz has defeated the likes of Braulio Rodriguez, Bryant Cruz, and Angel Luna. His lone loss was to Masayuki Ito in July of 2018. He fought three times in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience. Diaz has no notable international amateur accomplishments, while Stevenson was a former US National Amateur Champion as well as a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
This should be a good test for Stevenson. He may be distracted with his latest legal issues with pending assault charges, but he’ll be fighting near his hometown of Newark, New Jersey and hasn’t shown many signs of weakness in the ring since his professional debut.
Stevenson should emerge victorious, but Diaz will likely not get stopped.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Terence Crawford (34-0) vs. Amir Khan; WBO Welterweight Title (33-4)
Terence Crawford is currently the best pure boxer that Top Rank has under contract. However, it’s his drawing power as a pay per view star is debatable. But Top Rank should have a better idea of his ability to draw pay per view buys after Saturday’s fight.
Crawford is 31 years old and still in his athletic prime, and Amir Khan is only one year older and also still in the middle of his prime. Khan will have a very slight half an inch height advantage over Crawford, while Crawford will have about a three inch reach advantage.
Crawford does have an edge in power over Khan. He has twenty five stoppage victories, and has stopped his past five opponents. Khan has twenty stoppage wins, but he also has three stoppage losses.
Crawford has been fairly active recently. He fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. Khan has not been very active. He fought twice in 2018, but did not fight at all in 2017 and has only fought four times since 2015.
Khan does have an edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics, while Crawford has success as an amateur in the US National Circuit, including a US National PAL Championship.
Crawford has beaten the likes of Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Breidis Prescott. Prescott is a common opponent that was able to stop Amir Khan.
Khan has defeated the likes of Samuel Vargas, Phil Lo Greco, Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo, Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Paul Malignaggi, Dmitriy Salita, and Marco Antonio Barrera. His losses were to Breids Prescott, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, and Saul Alvarez.
Khan’s speed can give many boxers problems, but Crawford is an exceptional counter puncher who’s hand speed can match Khan. Additionally, Crawford’s knockout power will likely give Khan’s questionable chin issues.
This may be the last time we see Amir Khan in a big meaningful pay per view fight. Expect Crawford to emerge victorious with another stoppage victory.
ESPN+ Boxing Results: Lomachenko and Ramirez Dominate In Victory
By: Hans Themistode
As expected, Vasyl lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) absolutely destroyed Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs). The contest took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
No one expected Crolla to stand a chance and that is exactly how it played out tonight. Lomachenko started off fast. In the opening round he came out aggressive, landing big shots while not giving Crolla a chance to land something in response. In the following round it was much of the same. Crolla just couldn’t get his offense going. Round three was an utter beating. Lomachenko forced his opponent to the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches. What followed shortly after was a bizarre sequence.
Lomachenko landed a ton of shots which had Crolla in serious trouble. The referee looked on closely as though he wanted to stop the fight. Crolla did not throw a punch in return but he did manage to block the majority of shots coming his way. Shortly after Lomachenko continued dishing out his beating the referee stepped in and seemed to wave off the contest. Lomachenko jumped on the ropes and celebrated. To the surprise of many the match was not over. Instead the ref was simply giving Crolla a standing ten count. It confused many fans in the crowd as it seemed as though Crolla’s gloves never actually touched the floor. It was a confusing sequence but Crolla was given another chance to continue the fight.
The following round Lomachenko wasted no time finishing off his man. Another strong attack by Lomachenko resulted in Crolla hitting the canvas face down. The referee immediately called off the match.
There is no sugar coating what took place tonight, it was a mismatch, non-competitive, just a terrible fight. Lomachenko didn’t prove anything tonight. What happened tonight was expected.
Anthony Crolla was not the only one who was overwhelmed tonight. Tommy Carpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs) was dominated tonight in the co main event by Gilberto Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs). It was the first fight for Ramirez at Light Heavyweight and he proved that he can become a force in the division. From the start Ramirez dictated the pace of the fight.
It took Ramirez only four rounds to stop Carpency. After the contest it seemed as though Carpency was in a car wreck. That isn’t just hyperbole either. Ramirez dominated the action. He could be knocking on the door of a title shot in his new division in the not to distant future.
It was a night filled with mismatches. Both Gilberto Ramirez and Vasyl Lomachenko looked impressive tonight. Let’s all hope that we will see both of these fighters back in the ring soon but this time against much better opposition.
Dubai Fight Night Results: Joyce Stops Tiffney In 7; Lasisi Decisions Blandon
By: Ste Rowen
In the heat of the Dubai Friday night, in the Emirates Golf Club, decked out in glorious white armchairs for the attendees, David Oliver Joyce, now 10-0 (8KOs) stopped Stephen Tiffney in brutal fashion inside seven rounds. The co-main event saw Aliu Lasisi score a unanimous decision victory over Ricardo Blandon to claim the vacant WBC ‘International’ belt.
Tiffney, 10-1 (4KOs) heading into tonight, suffered a small cut to his right eye in the first two rounds after a positive start from both men. Joyce was clearly targeting the body of the Scot at every opportunity, unleashing vicious hooks that would help his as the fight drew on.
Photo Credit: MTK Global Twitter Page
Past the halfway mark there wasn’t much between both boxers, in terms of scoring shots and in the closeness of their fighting styles in the ring. Tiffney was having more success with counters, but Joyce’s swift hooks continued to punish his foe’s body. Then with 30 seconds left of round 7, the Irishman landed a wonderful flurry of pin-point punches to drop the Scot. Tiffney rose but David went in for the finisher, and as the bell rang for the end of the round, the referee waved it off as Stephen headed back to his corner. The correct call, if a little late.
The victor and now WBO European featherweight champion, draped in the Irish tricolour, spoke post-fight,
“It was an unbelievable performance…I’ve lived like a professional for the first time ever. The right meals, right training, right speed. I have to give props to my team.
I can mix it with the best. I boxed Valdez in the amateurs in 2009 and they all know I can mix it with them…To all the featherweights out there; David Oliver is in town!’’
The co-feature for the night saw the vacant WBC ‘International’ super-flyweight belt on the line for Nicaraguan, Ricardo Blandon and Aliu Bamidele Lasisi of Nigeria.
Scheduled for 12 rounds, Lasisi was the unbeaten fighter heading into tonight, but it was the 10-1 (6KOs) boxer, Blandon that tried to claim the middle of the ring early. The Nigerian responded well though, stepping off for a moment and firing his own accumulation of jabs. At the end of round 3 Blandon landed an overhand right, not cleanly, but enough to force the flash knockdown and set Lasisi behind on the scorecards.
A round later, the Nigerian was deducted a point for a headbutt which quite clearly seemed to be accidental. But the Dubai resident continued to push on, forcing the Central American to take a back foot and struggle at distance, as the bout headed past the halfway mark. Both men continued to battle it out in a scrappy but fairly quick-paced bout as it drew on into the championship rounds.
Then at the beginning of the 10th, Lasisi landed a quick-fisted uppercut to drop Ricardo and put Aliu into the ascendency. But Blandon then shook up the unbeaten fighter with a thudding right hand at the end of the 11th. Lasisi arguably being saved by the bell. Both men put it on the line for the final three minutes and it was close heading to the judge’s scorecards.
The three scores were announced as, 114-111 all for Lasisi who improves his record to 13-0 (9KOs). Tonight’s victory puts Aliu into a strong position to fight the winner of Sor Rungvisai vs. Estrada 2, next for the WBC world title proper, and he spoke immediately after,
‘‘Blandon is a good fighter, I thought I’d knock him out, but it didn’t o like that. He’s a tough guy. It was great to fight in Dubai.’’
Emirati lightweight, Majid Al Naqbi did his best to impress on his debut bout in front of his home fans with a frenetic but dominant 4th round stoppage over 0-2, Vladimir Lytki.
Southpaw lightweight, Sultan Zaurbek beat up Chenghong Tao before finishing the bout with a thudding hook and add to his now 6-0 (4KOs) pro record.
Debutant Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan unleashed two hammer-like left hands to despatch with Indonesian journeyman, Anthony Holt.
Cesar Mateo Tapia scored a final round stoppage over Gaganpreet Sharma. The super-middleweight left it till the 8th to add his 6th professional KO to his record, moving to 10-0 (6KOs).
Home-crowd favourite and Dubai resident, Larry Abarra picked up a six-round decision win to improve to 8-3-1 (5KOs), over super-bantam, Raymond Commey, whose record now stands at 19-8 (10KOs).
Born in Saudi Arabia, raised in England, super-lightweight, Zuhayr Al-Qahtani earnt a 40-36 (x2), 39-37, unanimous decision win over SK Saheb, 2-1. It was the first time the Saudi-Southpaw, now 6-0 (0KOs) was fighting an opponent with a winning record since turning professional n 2017.
The first stoppage of the night saw 154lber, Ablikhaiyr Shegaliyev, 2-0 (1KO), from Kazakhstan drop the Georgian, Teimuraz Abuladze three times en route to a simple 1st round KO.
Armenian, Anahit Aroyan, moved to 3-0 (0KOs) with a 40-36 decision over fellow female bantamweight, Nongnun Sor Praithong.
Super-bantamweight, Hasibullah ‘The Kalashnikov’ Ahmadi, of Afghanistan improved to 4-0 (0KOs) with a split decision victory over Thai-journeyman, Manot Comput.
ESPN Boxing Results: Gvozdyk Wins By TKO After Ngumbu Hurts Leg
By: Sean Crose
ESPN’s boxing broadcast from Philly on Saturday opened with the 24-3 Ray Robinson facing the 21-0 Egidijus Kavaliauskas in a scheduled 10 round welterweight affair. Lithuania’s Kavaliauskas stalked his man throughout the first two rounds. The next two rounds showcased more of the same, with Kavaliauskas landing with a degree of effect.
The middle rounds saw Robinson picking up the pace a bit. The problem for Robinson was that his opponent hit harder and was able to cut off the ring with some success. The second half of the fight was engaged closer to the center of the ring than the first half. Still, both fighters were cautious, something that was noted (without pleasure) by ESPNs broadcast team. By the last round, Robinson was able to effectively flick his jab, and actually displayed a bit of aggressiveness.
The fight was ruled a majority draw.
Soon it was time for the main event. The last time the world had seen Oleksandr Gvozdyk, the 16-0 fighter had taken the crown from longstanding WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson by beating the aging titlist into what would eventually become a coma. Still in the shadow of that tragic event, the Teddy Atlas protege slipped between the ropes to face the 38-8 Doudou Ngumbo.
Gvozdyk appeared to be the significantly bigger man right from the opening bell. Gvozdyk patiently worked his way through the 1st, while the awkward Ngumbo found his moments. The 2nd round was interesting, with Gvozdyk trying to work the body. The 3d was fairly close, with Ngumbo throwing off the champion’s timing. Ngumbo began to showboat at the end of the 4th. One could be forgiven for feeling the man might have started to dominate, should he have thrown more punches.
The fight was abruptly halted in the fifth, when Ngumbu seemed to hurt his leg with no help from the champion. Oddly enough, the fighter was given five minutes to recover…but the bout was officially stopped after a few minutes, regardless. Gvozdyk was given a TKO victory as the result of a very strange turn of events.
ESPN Boxing Preview: Gzozdyk vs. Ngumbu, Kavaliauskas vs. Robinson
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Oleksandr Gvozdyk will defend his WBC Light Heavyweight Title against Doudou Ngumbu in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN telecast.
This bout will air live on ESPN from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The co-main event will be between Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Ray Robinson in the welterweight division. The winner of this bout could have bigger bouts on the horizon against either Amir Khan or Terence Crawford.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will feature fighters such as Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, Frederick Lawson, Jose Lopez, Christian Mbilli, and Cassius Chaney.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Pulev Defeats Dinu on ESPN
By: Sean Crose
A Bloodied Pulev Conquers Dinu On ESPN Top RankCard
Kubat Pulev literally jumped into the ring at the Hangar in Southern California Saturday night to make himself familiar to American audiences. Although well known among hard core fight fans as a man who challenged, and lost to, Wladimir Klitschko while the Ukrainian was still king of the heavyweight division, the 26-1 Pulev was still essentially obscure in among American sports fans. An impressive performance against the 18-1 Bogdan Dinu in front of ESPN cameras would surely change all that. And so Bulgaria’s Pulev answered the opening bell for ESPN’s live Top Rank broadcast on Saturday night determined to shine.
The scheduled 10 round affair began with both men firing jabs at each other. Pulev, however, quickly, if subtly, established himself as the more aggressive of the two, walking his man down and making Dinu fight off the back foot. An active policeman in his home country of Romania, Dinu was coming off a loss to Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who will face heavyweight king Anthony Joshua this spring at Madison Square Garden. The 6’5 Dinu hurt his man badly in the fourth round. Sure enough, Pulev, who was bleeding profusely, appeared to look in real trouble. Needless to say, Pulev fought back bravely towards the end of round, perhaps even desperately.
The doctor stepped into the ring at the beginning of the fifth, but Pulev assured him he was okay to continue. Needless to say, ESPN’s broadcast team made it clear that the cut would be very hard to contain as the fight continued. Still, Pulev fought quite effectively throughout the round. Pulev continued to fight hard in the sixth. Pulev then began the seventh in ferocious fashion, sending his man to the canvas less than a minute after the opening bell. The problem was that Pulev landed a hard shot on the back of Dinu’s head after the Romanian had hit the mat.
The ring doctor was called in, but Dinu said he couldn’t get up. The man did indeed get up seconds later, however, after the referee ruled the late blow accidental, and was cleared to continue. Pulev was deducted a point. A few seconds later, Dinu was down again. He got up at the count of nine, but then went down for a third time later in the round. The fight was wisely stopped.
Earlier in the evening, Jessie Magdalano, 26-2, bested the 30-6 Rico Ramos in a ten round featherweight affair via unanimous decision.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Bowen vs. McCorry
By: Oliver McManus
Saturday night sees, British champion, Sam Bowen in the first defence of his title as he fights Jordan McCorry. Taking place at the Leicester Arena, newly rebranded as ‘Morningside’, the contest headlines Frank Warren’s second show of 2019.
Bowen, aged 26, claimed the British belt last April with a convincing victory over Maxi Hughes in which he dropped his opponent on two occasions – an emphatic display in which everything seemed to piece together nicely. Carl Greaves’ protégé had to learn his trade on the off-beat small hall scene of Yorkshire and the Midlands. Off the back of that victory, however, he has secured the backing of Warren and BT Sport to really progress his career.
Scheduled to fight Ronnie Clark last October and, more recently, on February 23rd, the Scotsman has withdrawn on both occasions resulting in this, relatively late notice, fight against McCorry. The Ibstock man managed to stay busy in October with a comfortable victory over Horacio Alfredo Cabral, for the WBO Intercontinental belt, in which Bowen mercilessly targeted the Argentine’s body.
Up against McCorry, then, Bowen has a real opportunity to showcase the best of his abilities with his deceptive, energy sapping, punch power hidden behind constant shuffling footwork and a firm jab. Get the win on Saturday and Bowen can start to set his sights higher than his domestic contenders as the push for more titles continues.
McCorry, of course, isn’t coming into the fight as a knock-over job and will be confident his experience should be enough to see off the threat of Bowen. The Cambuslang resident is a two-weight Scottish Area champion having held the lightweight version between 2014 and 2015 before adding the featherweight belt in 2017.
The last two years have seen McCorry picking up the wins to advance his record to 17-4-1. An impressive showing against Jamie McGuire, in which he recovered from a first round knockdown, saw a 98-93 decision go the way of Jordy. A double helping of second round knockouts over, usually durable, Rafael Castillo and Reynaldo Mora give credence for his confidence.
His last fight, however, was a gravely disappointing display out in Switzerland against Patrick Kinigamazi. Losing a unanimous decision over 12 rounds for the World Boxing Federation crown, McCorry’s technique was lacking against an unknown quantity of opponent. He’ll be hoping to rediscover his previous form if he is to upset the odds against a formidable Sam Bowen.
Nathan Gorman will be looking to move to sixteen wins on the trot since turning professional, on Saturday night. Confusion surrounds quite who he’ll be facing with, scheduled opponent, Fabio Maldonado seemingly drafted in to fight Oleksandr Teslenko. Teslenko, for clarity, was originally meant to fight a returning Ian Lewison. Christopher Lovejoy then declared to the world, via Instagram, that he had accept “100 bands” to step in, on five days’ notice, and face Gorman.
I’m told, by people with better knowledge of slang than me, that 100 bands is around $100,000 so that figure seems highly questionable. As it happens Lovejoy has since reneged on his statement and confirmed it won’t be him in the opposite corner. Currently the official line is that Maldonado will be in Leicester come Saturday evening though it seems increasingly unlikely the former UFC fighter will turn up.
Should the Brazilian opt to proceed with the bout then it’ll be his first contest since an uninspiring loss to Oscar Rivas last December. The Steel Hillbilly has built a padded record to now sit 26-1 in the heavyweight division with 25 of those victories coming via knockout. Only six of those have had winning records and 14 were winless.
Sam Maxwell, on the other hand, has got a definite fight in the form of Sadbri Sediri. The unbeaten French fighter, 10-0-1, steps up to the plate after Kelvin Dotel withdrew from the contest earlier in the week.
Maxwell, himself unbeaten in ten professional fights, has built a burgeoning reputation with the distinguished amateur settling into the paid ranks with ease. Imperiously heavy handed, the Mersey-man has seen off eight of his opponents inside the distance. In December he became only the second man to knockout Jamie Quinn and did so with menace and spite – a mini statement but a statement, nonetheless.
Sediri will be stepping up to super lightweight for this fight, with the WBO European belt on the line, but has been inactive since June. His contests have come across the gymnasiums of eastern France against your archetypal journeyman. Against Maxwell he’ll be in the biggest fight of his career – past or, probably, future.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Yarde vs. Reeves, Dubois vs. Cojanu
By: Oliver McManus
Frank Warren kick starts his promotional operations of 2019 at Royal Albert Hall with two cracking British title fights.
There’s a sensational match-up for the British Middleweight title as Liam Williams looks to defend the belt against Joe Mullender. Williams returns to the ring off the back of his peerless victory over Mark Heffron, in December, but is guaranteed to face more fire on the 8th.
In that fight it was the Welshman who dictated the pace of the fight with a lovely jab and sharp footwork to keep Heffron at bay; Mullender will be a far different challenge as he looks to get right in the face of the champion. Smokin’ Joe has made no bones as to the approach he’ll take with the fight, in simple terms, just ‘punch him more than he punches me’. A tactic that the 32 year old has taken throughout his career and one that consistently produces entertainment.
That all out aggression has produced serious results against genuine fighters with two bruising encounters against Lee Markham for the English title, as well as Lee Churcher and Ben Capps over the last two years – though the result of the Churcher bout was later overturned due to an anti-doping violation.
Not looking past Mullender, who will prove to be more than just a plucky puncher, Williams has stated his intentions to drop back down to super-welterweight and re-establish on the world scene at the lighter division. I am eager to see how far he can go at middle, though, with the Ingle Gym fighter a breath of fresh air in the division. Against Smokin’ Joe we’re guaranteed to see a fight that’ll go up in flames.
Drop down to welterweight and Johnny Garton looks to defend his belt against Chris Jenkins. Garton outclassed Gary Corcoran in a bloodied and battered war last October to claim the vacant title. Jenkins, meanwhile, has had mixed fortunes over the last 12 months with two of his three fights resulting in technical decisions.
Likewise with Williams-Mullender there is no chance of this being a quite encounter and I expect Jenkins to actually come out and try to be the more aggressive over the opening couple rounds. We saw against Corcoran the stamina and the work-rate that Garton possesses so you want to get some early rounds in the bag should the fight end up going the distance.
Jenkins, however, has a tendency to cut over the eyes and the skin around that area is getting weaker with every fight. There might be a reluctance, therefore, to fully commit and engage from inside the pocket. Garton, another one who is susceptible to cuts, has really hit his stride over the last five, six fights with the 31 year old starting to produce consistently polished performances at the right tempo.
Now with that consistency it is time to capitalise on the natural ability that Garton has to fight and maximise the rewards for when he finishes his career. Opportunities haven’t always been available for the Peckham-fighter what with, gym-mate and friend, Skeete holding the British belt. Garton now, though, is the man at the domestic scene so let’s see where he goes from here – it’ll be entertaining, that’s for sure.
Away from the Lord Lonsdale fights you have Anthony Yarde facing Travis Reeves in a contest that bears resemblance to the frustrations of last year – yet another opponent that few people will have heard of.
It’s become increasingly clear that while Yarde possesses considerable punching power, he isn’t this one-punch knock-out artist that can end a fight with the turn of a screw. At least not from what we’ve seen so far. Instead he tires out his counterparts, wearing down their bodily resistance and mental resilience throughout a number of rounds. Yes he drops opponents from well timed, accurately placed, shots but rarely do bouts come round to any thunderous conclusion.
Initially set to face Mehdi Amar on February 23rd, the Frenchman withdrew three weeks prior and then the whole show was cancelled, Reeves stepped up to the plate. Two years older than Amar and eleven more than, 27 year old, Yarde, Reeves will enter the ring with a record of 17-3-2. Nicknamed Seveer – purely for the reason it is his surname background – the American intended to turn professional in 2004 with a fight scheduled in Philadelphia. That bout fell through and Reeves’ career fell into extended disarray with the Baltimore man eventually debuting in 2013. Seven fights in a year saw Reeves sitting with a record of 3-2-2 before returning to Baltimore to string some wins together.
By no means a big puncher, Reeves boasts no wins over recognisable names. Indeed his best performance came against Aaron Quattrocchi in November 2016 when the 38 year old knocked his opponent out within two rounds to claim the USBO Light Heavyweight title. Against Karo Murat last March, Reeves struggled to find a foothold in the contest, taking place in Hamburg, before succumbing to a 12th round TKO – a mercy rule finish, if ever there was one.
A fight that could be the straw to break the camel’s back, Yarde needs a performance more than he ever has before.
The final main fight of the card will see Daniel Dubois up against Razvan Cojanu. Having been postponed from December 15th, Dubois will be looking to make up for lost time and, indeed, lost time to his closest rival Nathan Gorman.
Dynamite heads into his 10th professional contest off the back of a disappointing performance against Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson. That contest, back in October, was a case of repetition throughout the 10 rounds with the American reverting to the ropes whilst Dubois fought fairly one-dimensionally. It was, arguably, the first fight where you Dubois’ youth and inexperience came to the fore – you suspect the process coming at such an early stage will stand him in good stead, though.
Cojanu, on the other hand, returns to UK shores for the second time in just under three months with the Romanian having fought Nathan Gorman on December 22nd. In that bout, 12 rounder, Gorman started off sprightly before fading in the latter half of the contest. Cojanu, to give him credit, recovered from a relatively shaky start to hold his own. Well, when I say ‘hold his own’, he didn’t look like getting knocked out but was a comprehensive second-best. Now with a record of 16 and 5, Cojanu’s most recent trio of losses have come to Razvan Cojanu, Luis Ortiz and Gorman. Only Ortiz has stopped him.
Starting off 2019 with a shared opponent, of the calibre of Cojanu, will be a great yardstick for measuring up Warren’s two heavyweight prospects.
It is March 8th that sees the start of Frank Warren’s promotional adventures – a delayed beginning but one that promises excitement. It’s a Royal Rumble but not as you know it…