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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Hooker Retains Title, Stops Saucedo in 7th


By: Michael Kane

Oklahoma will continue to wait for their first world champion since Sean O’Grady in 1981. Alex Saucedo was hoping to become Oklahoma’s second ever champion but fell short in his bid against the champion Maurice Hooker.

4102 fans were in the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City to see if their man, Saucedo, could do it. Once again Hooker was on enemy territory, he won the WBO Junior Welterweight title in June when he travelled to Manchester to take on hometown favourite Terry Flanagan for the vacant title, winning by split decision.

There was to be no decision after this fight. Saucedo started well and landed a big right hand. This put Hooker on the canvas in the second, sending his fans into ecstasy. Hooker was bloodied but Saucedo didn’t finish him.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Moving on to the 5th, Saucedo had Hooker against the ropes but the champ came back in the closing stages of the round.

In the 6th Saucedo’s eye was starting to look swollen.

The fight was over in the 7th as Hooker took control of the fight, Saucedo suffered a standing eight count after Hooker landed a right hand. Hooker went on to stop Saucedo later in the round, winning by TKO.

“Alex is a great fighter. He came to fight, and I came to fight,and I went right at him,” Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KOs) said. “I knew the first couple of rounds would be tough, but eventually it would be my time to take over.”

Saucedo (28-1, 18 KOs) said, “He’s a champion for a reason. Now I am going to rest, enjoy my family, and come back stronger. I gave it my very best in the ring.”

In the other big fight on the card, NABF Welterweight champion Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0, 17 KOs) defended his strap against undefeated Roberto Arriaza (17-1, 13 KOs).

It took the Lithuanian 3 rounds to put the Nicaraguan, Arriaza away to retain his NABF title and add the WBO Inter-continental title.

Kavaliauskas now wants a shot at World champion Terence Crawford, who was ringside.

“I want the best in the welterweight division, and the best guy right now is Terence Crawford.” Said Kavaliauskas. “I am ready for that fight next.”

Arriaza said, “I know I had him in trouble. I was the one who was dominating and was in control of the fight. I’m sure that I was going to finish him within six rounds, but he surprised me with a punch to the back of the ear and then connected with me while I was on the canvas.”

In other results:

Super Lightweight: Cletus Seldin (22-1, 18 KOs), KO 1, :26, Nelson Lara (17-11-4, 9 KOs).

* Left hook to the body put Lara down for the count

Super Bantamweight: Jonathan Guzman (23-1, 22 KOs), unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Roberto Castaneda (23-11-1, 16 KOs). Scores: 99-91 3X.

Middleweight: Tyler Howard (16-0, 11 KOs), KO 1, 1:30, Isiah Seldon (12-2-1, 4 KOs).

Light Heavyweight: Trevor McCumby (25-0, 18 KOs), unanimous decision, 8 rounds, Felipe Romero (20-16-1, 14 KOs). Scores: 78-73, 78-72, 77-73.

Lightweight: Albert Bell (13-0, 5 KOs),TKO 6, 3:00, Carlos Padilla (16-9-1, 10 KOs).

Bantamweight: Aaron Morales (5-0, 3 KOs), unanimous decision, 6 rounds, Francisco Lapizco (8-9, 2 KOs). Scores: 59-55 3X.

Super Welterweight: Paul Kroll (2-0, 2 KOs ) TKO 2, :13, Antonio Wattell (1-6-1, 1 KO).

Super Bantamweight: Rasheen Brown (2-0, 0 KOs), majority decision, 4 rounds, Sebastian Baltazar (1-3, 0 KOs). Scores: 38-38, 39-37 2X.

Lightweight: John Rincon (1-0, 1 KO) KO 1, 1:24, Emanuel Williams (0-1).

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Hooker vs. Saucedo


By: Michael Kane

Home town fighter Alex Saucedo is challenging champion Maurice Hooker for the WBO Super Lightweight title at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma on Friday 16th November.

This will be Hooker’s (24-0-3, 16 KOs) first defence of the belt he won back in June when he beat Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England. The Texan it seems doesn’t mind travelling to his opponents back yard.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) is looking to emulate Sean O’Grady, by becoming Oklahoma’s second world champion. Its been a long wait, 1981 was the year O’Grady won the WBA Lightweight title. Saucedo last fought in June, when he stopped Leonardo Zappavigna in a fight of the year candidate.

Both boxers used to spar and train together when they were younger so should know plenty about each other.

“We both were young back then. We got better. I got better. He’s better. I just got a little more better than him. It’s going to be a good fight come Friday. I’m here in Oklahoma. I don’t care where I fight. It’s on.” Hooker said when asked about their past history at the press conference.

Hooker is unfazed fighting in Oklahoma, “l’ll fight anywhere. Outside your house, in front of your house, in the ring, on the sidewalk. I don’t care where I fight as long as I fight. I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I can outbox him. I can fight you on the inside. Come Friday, we’re going to see a good fight.”

Saucedo is dreaming of becoming the 2nd world champion from Oklahoma. He said, “I grew up just around the corner I always had the dream to bring championship fights back to Oklahoma, and now its here. I’m not going to let this opportunity go. I’m ready. We prepared ourselves in Big Bear for a very good fight. Like I’ve said, I’m ready for anything Maurice brings that night. I’m going to take that belt from him.”

When asked about his fight with Zappavigna, Saucedo replied, “It was a very tough fight. Everyone enjoyed it. I’m glad we’re here at this fight now. That fight got me to this point. Like I said, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Also on the card, Californian based Lithuanian Egidijus Kavaliauskas defends his NABF welterweight tiltle against Nicaraguan Roberto Arriaza (17-0, 13 KOs).

Kavaliauskas (20-0, 16 KOs) won the NABF belt Mahonry Montes in September last year and has went on to successfully defend it twice.

Arriaza last fought in May and recorded a unanimous decision win over Juan Ruiz. Arriaza won the WBO Inter-continental title in March when he KO’d Sammy Valentin in the first round.

Press Conference quotes:

Egidijus Kavaliauskas

“Every fight for me is a step toward my dream. My dream is to become a world champion, so every fight for me, I’m bringing 100 percent of me because it’s a step. A big step. This fight is the same.”

“Big respect to Roberto. He’s a very good fighter. He and I have a similar style, so I know it will be a great fight.”

Roberto Arriaza

“I think this is a great opportunity. This is the opportunity of my life. I want to thank everyone involved for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been working hard for this.”

“I know he’s a great fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. Like always, I have a lot of faith, and in the name of God, I’m going to be victorious once again.”

Bob Arum

“It’s great to be back in Oklahoma City. It’s our second time here this year. {Sean O’Grady} is the pride of Oklahoma City. I never promoted Sean here, but he won the title from Hilmer Kenty of the Kronk group in Atlantic City, the {WBA} lightweight championship.”

Sean O’Grady

“I’ve kept my eye on Alex Saucedo since he was about 12 years old. And I can tell you right now, the kid can fight. He grew up in the amateurs. He was a great little fighter, even as a young man. At 12, 13, 14 years old, he was a great little fighter.”

“I like Maurice Hooker. He too has a great background in the sport of boxing. This is going to be a terrific matchup.”

ESPN, Midnight ET

Maurice Hooker (champion) vs. Alex Saucedo (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO junior welterweight world title

ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET

Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Roberto Arriaza, 10 rounds, Kavaliauskas’ NABF welterweight title

Cletus Seldin vs. Nelson Lara, 10 rounds, super lightweight

Jonathan Guzman vs. Roberto Castaneda, 10 rounds, super bantamweight

Albert Bell vs. Carlos Padilla, 8 rounds, lightweight

Trevor McCumby vs. Felipe Romero, 8 rounds, light heavyweight

Tyler Howard vs. Isiah Seldon, 8 rounds, middleweight

Aaron Morales vs. Francisco Lapizco, 6 rounds, bantamweight

Rasheen Brown vs. Sebastian Baltazar, 4 rounds, super bantamweight

Paul Kroll vs. Travis Conley, 4 rounds, super welterweight

John Rincon vs. Emanuel Williams, 4 rounds, lightweight

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Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Macias Loses to Karass in War


By: Ken Hissner

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions put on a card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California televised live on ESPN2. Neeco “Rooster” Macias lost for the first time to 37 year-old veteran Jesus Karass in his career ending fight setting a record over three thousand punches thrown!

In the Main Event previously unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-1 (10), of Lancaster, CA, suffered his first loss to veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 29-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in the winners career ending fight over 10 rounds of non-stop action.


Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Page

In the first round Macias ran across the ring landing like a buzzsaw pinning Karass in his own corner. Karass gets in one to three of punches from Macias. The 37 year-old Karass in the final fight of his career can’t get off the ropes. Karass was returning as many punches as Macias. Both fighters were landing uppercuts galore.

In the second round Macias picked up where he left off pinning Karass against the ropes. The face and head of Karass was already red. An accidental head butt caused a cut over the right eye of Macias. Referee Thomas Taylor halted the action to take a look at the cut. A right hook from the southpaw Macias rocked the veteran Karass. Karass slides across the ropes trying to get away from Macias but couldn’t get away from the attack from Macias.

In the third round once again Macias has Karass against the ropes. Both are mostly landing wicked body shots. This one could have been held in a phone booth. Karass landed a good right hand to the chin of Macias who has no defense. The slugged it out right up to the bell. In the fourth round the “human buzzsaw” Macias had Karass against the ropes in the latter’s corner. Karass backs Macias up several steps until Macias backs Karass back into the corner. The trunks of Karass are covered with blood from the cuts from Macias. Both are throwing leather at a non-stop pace.

In the fifth round it body work from both continued with Karass sliding along the ropes into a neutral corner as hundreds of punches being thrown by both fighters. In the sixth round Macias finally went to the head with a left hook. Macias got warned for hitting Karass behind the back from referee Taylor. Karass was out landing the younger Macias. Karass walked back to his corner slowly looking exhausted.

In the seventh round head’s clashing and punches flying. Karass is out punching the 10 year younger Macias off the ropes. Well over a thousand punches landed with Macias closing in on the two-thousand mark. In the eighth round Karass tried to push Macias back with little success. The punches from Karass started getting wider being out landed two to one. Right up to the bell they were throwing punches.

In the ninth round Macias continues to start the round rushing over backing Karass against the ropes. It’s Karass landing more than Macias in this round. Fortunately for Karass the ropes are covered with leather or his back would be raw. Karass is out landing the younger Macias two to one.

In the tenth and final round of the career of Karass it was the only round Macias couldn’t rush across the ring since both fighters had to touch gloves. Within seconds Karass was backed against the ropes and still out landing the younger Macias. Karass continues to land the harder punches. It was non-stop punching from both fighters with blood coming from the cut over the right eye of Macias. It was a record setting amount of punches thrown and landed by both fighters. What a fight! Over three thousand punches thrown!

Scores were 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94 for Karass. This writer had it 95-95.

“I want to thank God being able to be in the ring with Karass,” said Macias.

Unbeaten NABF Featherweight Champion Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 17-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, won a split decision over Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-7 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, over 10 rounds.

In the first round Gonzalez came out firing punches off the jab while Robles was slipping and blocking punches with hand’s held high. In the final minute Robles goes on the offense backing up Gonzalez. A right from Robles on the chin buckled the knees of Gonzalez. In the second round Gonzalez countered with left hooks to the head of Robles who had his hands high. Robles got in a left hook to the chin of Gonzalez. Gonzalez switched to southpaw for a matter of seconds before returning to orthodox. It was a close round.

In the third round Gonzalez landed a solid combination to the chin of Robles. Both boxers went to the body of one another. Robles is wearing down Gonzalez. In the fourth round Gonzalez held his own but fell behind losing every round. Switching back and forth has not confused Robles who keeps looking for the knockout.

In the fifth round Robles missed a right and got countered by a left hook from Gonzalez to the chin. Robles landed a 3-punch combination to the body of Gonzalez. Robles missed a pair of right’s. Gonzalez backed Robles against the ropes landing a solid left hook to the nose drawing blood from Robles.

In the sixth round Gonzalez with hands to his side coming forward landed a left hook to the head of Robles. Referee Ray Corona allowed Gonzalez to hold a straight arm in the face until Gonzalez landed a right on the chin of Robles. Gonzalez countered with a right to the chin of Robles. Robles came back hurting Gonzales with a flurry of punches with a right doubling Gonzalez over. Robles landed punches right up until the bell.

In the seventh round Robles came out looking angry while it was Gonzalez landing left hooks while Robles went back to hands held high blocking punches best he could missing countering chopping right’s. Robles countered a Gonzalez left hook with a right cross to the chin. Gonzalez landed a solid right to the chin of Robles. It was the best round so far.

In the eighth round Gonzalez landed a pair of left hooks but got countered by a Robles right to the chin. Gonzales was pushed to the ropes then landed a right cross to the chin of Robles. Gonzalez had Robles turning southpaw on the defense. In the ninth round Gonzalez continues landed the left hook that doesn’t seem to have much power on it but is landing counting as points. Gonzalez had a right blocked but landed a double left hook to the body of Robles.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez went on the attack until he ran into a right from Robles. Gonzalez knew he needed a knockout to pull the fight out landed a solid left to the chin of Robles. Robles continued to miss a chopping right to the head of Gonzalez. Robles finally got warned for holding down the head of Gonzalez. Robles won but didn’t impress.

Scores were 96-94 Robles, 96-94 Gonzalez and 97-93 for Robles as did this writer score it.

In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 19-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, easily defeated Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-4 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 over 8 rounds.

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Macias, Sanchez and Robles lll on ESPN2 Thursday for Golden Boy Promotions


By: Ken Hissner

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be featuring three 10 round bouts all qualified to be main events at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, CA, over ESPN2 Thursday night. All three California boxers are looking to enter the world rankings with victories.

The main event features unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-0 (10), of Lancaster, CA, in his toughest test yet against upset minded veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 28-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in a 10 round bout.


Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account

In the co-feature Super Bantamweight Emilio Sanchez, 16-1 (8), out of N. Hollywood, CA, takes on veteran Enrique “Duende” Bernache, 24-11 (12), out of Guadalajara, MEX, in a 10 round bout.

Unbeaten Featherweight Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 16-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, takes on tough Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-6 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, in a 10 round bout.
In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 18-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, taking on Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-3 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, winner of 4 of his last 5 fights, in an 8 round bout.
There will be additional bouts featuring top prospects unbeaten Aaron McKenna of Ireland out of L.A., Jordan White, 5-1, out of D.C. and unbeaten Elnur Abduraimov, out of Uzbekistan.

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Berchelt-Roman: Fight of the Year Being Guaranteed By All Involved


By Jake Donovan

Miguel Berchelt and Miguel Roman not only don’t feel any pressure about living up to the Fight of the Year expectations surrounding their upcoming title clash; they’re both prepared to raise the ante.

The pair of knockout artists from Mexico are set to collide for Berchelt’s 130-pound title this Saturday live on ESPN+ from Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas. From the moment their super featherweight title fight was announced, many in the industry hailed it as a can’t-miss slugfest.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

It’s the one aspect of the fight on which both combatants agree.

“I trained very hard for this fight; I want to knock him out,” Berchelt (34-1, 30KOs) boldly stated during Thursday’s final press conference ahead of his fourth title defense. “Blood, emotion and entertainment are guaranteed (in this fight) and I’m here to knock him out.”

It’s reasonable for Berchelt to predict a knockout anytime he steps into the ring. The red-hot puncher from Merida, Mexico—who turns 27 later this month—has been extended the distance just once in his past 21 starts dating back to 2012.

The bulk of his career has comprised of quick hits, in fact having never been past six rounds prior to his title challenge of Francisco Vargas in Jan. ’17. Berchelt validated his credentials as a leading contender, going tooth and nail with his countryman before surging late and forcing a stoppage in the 11th round to win his first title.

Just six months later, Berchelt would go even deeper into a contest, being extended the 12-round distance for the only time in his career in decisioning Takashi Miura. Despite having to go to the scorecards, Berchelt’s power was still evident in dominating the former champ from Japan.

A pair of 3rd round knockouts have comprised of his 2018 ring campaign, both taking place in Mexico. The latter came in June against former featherweight beltholder Jonathan Barros, topping a card that saw Roman (60-12, 47KOs) extend his four-fight win streak—all by knockout—with a two-round blitzing of previously unbeaten Michel Marcano.

The show was designed to build intrigue toward their eventual head-on collision, a path that began with Roman actually stepping in for his upcoming opponent on a night that forever changed his hard-luck career.

Berchelt was due to defend his title versus Orlando Salido last December, only for a hand injury to force him off of the HBO-televised show. Salido agreed to an offered stay-busy fight with Roman, who accepted the assignment on less than six weeks’ notice but proved more than game for the cause.

What was perceived as a Salido showcase instead turned into his forced retirement party, as Roman battered his countryman en route to a 9th round stoppage victory. The feat marked a bizarre 2017 ring campaign, beginning the year with a stoppage loss to Miura in a final eliminator—on the same night Berchelt trumped Vargas to win the strap—and then ending the year with the type of win that put him back squarely in the title picture.

“I’m very happy this fight is happening,” stated Roman, who—like his opponent—has been the distance just once in his last 21 starts, a run that includes 19 knockout wins. “I’ve dreamed about a fight like this since I turned pro at age 17. It’s finally happening on Saturday and I plan to leave everything.”

Berchelt is the heavy betting favorite going in, but many expect Roman to pull the crowd with the fight taking place just north of the U.S./Mexico border from his hometown of Juarez, Mexico—a city which incredibly has yet to boast a champion among the nation’s rich boxing history.

“I will be the first ever champion in the history of Juarez,” Roman firmly proclaimed. “That gets me going and I am very motivated for that very reason. I am going to leave everything in the ring.”

The bold claims from both boxers are music to Bob Arum’s ears—especially since the Hall of Fame promoter has already established a very high ceiling for this weekend’s clash.

“I guarantee this {fight} will be considered, once it’s finished, a contender for Fight of the Year,” stated Arum, who doesn’t have a vested interest in either boxer other than his Top Rank promotional outfit securing the rights to present the event through ESPN’s streaming service. “This is no ordinary fight. This is going to be a great, memorable fight.”

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Miguel Berchelt vs. Miguel “Mickey” Roman


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest offering on the streaming network, ESPN+.

WBC Junior Lightweight Champion Miguel Berchelt will defend his title against Miguel “Mickey” Roman in a fight that most think will be an action packed bout.

The co-main event of the evening will be between Miguel Marriaga and Jose Estrella in the featherweight division.

Other boxers on the undercard include Saul Rodriguez, Robson Conceicao, Sagadat Rakhmankul, Jose Estrella, Claudio Tapia, Joey Laviolette, and Vaughn Alexander.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The following is a preview of the main event of the evening.

Miguel Berchelt (34-1) vs. Miguel Roman (60-12) WBC Super Featherweight Title

Allegedly, this is a fight that’s been wanted by both fighters for a very long time. At an earlier pres conference, Berchelt told the media,” Roman and I have wanted this fight for a very, very long time. He asked for this opportunity, and I am happy to give it to him. This is going to be a great fight, but I know it will end with my hands raised. I am young and hungry. It doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in his backyard. El Paso and Juarez are going to be my towns when it’s over.”

However, Mickey Roman feels comfortable since the fight is taking place near his home town. Roman told the media, “He’s talking all of this stuff, that he’s going to take my head off and things like that. El paso is my town. If he thinks he’s going to come in here and be talking like that, he’s got another thing coming.”

Berchelt should be considered by many to be a strong favorite. He only has one loss while Roman has twelve, and he’s six years younger than Roman. He will also have about a two inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.

Both boxers have good power. Berchelt has stopped thirty of his opponents while Roman has stopped forty seven. Berchelt has been stopped once early in his career while Roman has only been stopped twice.

Berchelt and Roman are both pretty active. Roman already has over 72 professional fights. He fought twice in 2018, three times in 2017, and three times in 2016. Berchelt fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016.

Berchelt has an edge in amateur experience. He’s a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion in the elite category while Roman doesn’t have any notable amateur accomplishments.

Berchelt lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez. He has defeated the likes of Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Francisco Vargas, Suriya Tatakhun, and Rene Gonzalez.

Roman has defeated the likes of Michel Marcano, Orlando Salido, Nery Saguilan, Juli Giner, and Daniel Ponce DeLeon. His wins against Orlando Salido and Daniel Ponce DeLeon are his most impressive and occurred recently.

However, Roman has a history of losing when he steps up in competition, and he does have a large number of losses. He has losses to Genaro Garcia, Jorge Solis, Miguel Beltran Jr., Antonio Escalante, Jonathan Victor Barros, Javier Fortuna, Antonio DeMarco, Dante Jardon (lost the rematch), and Takashi Miura.

Roman is a dangerous opponent for Berchelt in that he’s an experience rugged fighter who has already been in the ring with some of the best. But Berchelt is a top rated prospects with a high ceiling, and he’ll have a significant size advantage and age advantage on Saturday night.

This fight will feature some fireworks, but at the end Berchelt will likely be holding his hand up high.

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Felix Alvarado Knocks Out Randy Petalcorin In Seven, Wins Vacant Jr. Flyweight Title


By Jake Donovan

The third time proved to be a charm for Felix Alvarado.

A relentless workrate coupled with a sustained body attack paved the way for the 29-year old from Nicaragua to capture a vacant junior flyweight title, halting Randy Petalcorin in seven rounds Monday in Pasay City, Philippines.

Petalcorin did his best to keep pace but was ultimately sent home courtesy of three knockdowns in round seven. The last of the three forced the Filipino to the canvas for the full ten count, producing a knockout at 2:04 of round seven.

It was never that easy for Alvarado, whose previous title bids resulted in back-to-back road losses to Kazuto Ioka in Japan and Juan Carlos Reveco in Argentina. The latter defeat came in June ’14, with Alvarado having rattled off 15 consecutive wins—all but one coming inside the distance—coming into Monday’s clash with Petalcorin, a former interim titlist making his first attempt at a real belt.

Their main event battle—which aired live on ESPN+ in the United States and TV5 in the Philippines—was fought at a furious pace and supremely high skill level. Alvarado forced the action early and essentially throughout, while Petalcorin favored efficiency over volume, the southpaw riding out the early exchanges and countering with straight lefts highlighting his combination punching.

Realizing that Alvarado wasn’t going to let up, Petalcorin took the initiative in the middle rounds in his best efforts to keep his opponent at bay. The biggest difference in their methods of attack was body punching. Whereas Petalcorin sought to take the lead when the opportunity arose, Alvarado never stopped going downstairs.

It was an investment that reaped dividends, even if it meant giving away rounds to reach his end goal. During nearly every exchange, Alvarado would at some point catch his foe with a left hook or right hand to the body, often setting up the shots with straight right hands upstairs.

Meanwhile, Petalcorin’s strategy only proved aesthetically pleasing but not particularly effective. The 26-year old title hopeful often found a home for his left hand, but never put enough behind it to make Alvarado break stride. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but rather his absorbing a tremendous amount of body punches taking the sting off of his attack.

Alvarado picked up on this as the fight entered the second half, intensifying his own offensive attack. A right hand upstairs followed by one to the body forced Petalcorin to a knee just inside the first 40 seconds of round seven, at which point in the round he’d already landed six purposeful body punches.

Petalcorin managed to beat the count but was visibly struggling to catch his breath as referee Ernie Sharif—after giving the boxer a hard look—elected to allow the action to continue. Alvarado went right back on the attack, at times a bit wild but settling down just long enough to prompt his foe to once again take a knee just past the one minute mark.

The sequence looked to have finally beaten the fight out of Petalcorin, who was up at eight but bearing a lost look on his face as Sharif asked if wanted to continue. Action resumed, with Alvarado finishing off the local favorite with a flurry of power punches. A left hook to the body knocked the wind out of Petalcorin, with a right hand upstairs serving as window dressing as he once again fell to a knee.

This time, Sharif reached the full ten count in waving off the contest at 2:04 of round seven.

Alvarado (34-2, 30KOs) has now racked up 10 straight knockouts—all within the past two years—amidst a current 16-fight win streak. With the win, he picks up a title left behind by Hekkie Budler, whom he was supposed to challenge earlier in the year after the South African boxer inherited two mandatory challengers following his two-belt win over Ryoichi Taguchi this past May.

The title, however, became available when Budler vacated in lieu of being stripped due to their mandatory title fight failing to secure the minimum purse bid requirement during a hearing in July. Bulder was never keen on defending by the October deadline as it was, opting to relinquish the strap in lieu of being stripped.

Nevertheless, the ugly side of boxing’s politics provided an opportunity for Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22KOs) to challenge for first major title. He’d briefly reigned as an interim titlist, but his first bid at the real thing results in a six-fight win streak coming to a close—and persistence paying off for Alvarado, who joins top-rated flyweight Cristofer Rosales as Nicaragua’s lone current major titlists.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Results: Brant Spoils Murata’s US Debut


By: Michael Kane

Not many people gave Rob Brant much of a chance going into his WBA Middleweight title match against champion Ryota Murata. However Brant left the ring as the new champion.

Brant (24-1, 16 KO’s) showed he meant business right from the start, throwing punches, on the front foot. Murata (14-2, 11 KO’s) smiled through out the first round, as if bemused by Brant’s fast start, possibly expecting Brant to slow down.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Brant continued the fast pace until the 4th round when Murata started to land some heavy body shots, this led to a 5th round in which the Japanese Olympic gold medallist sensed he was gaining the upper hand and was throwing more punches however Brant weathered the storm and ended the round landing several right hands.

Murata had the power however Brant was landing frequently. Brant had now slowed down from his fast paced earlier rounds but was still appearing busier than Murata and landing point scoring shots.

As the championship rounds came, Murata sensed he had to up his game but Brant had his second wind and landed a couple of good right hands in the final round that appeared to hurt Murata.

The judges all scored the bout in favour of Brant, 118-110, 119-109, 119-109.

The statistics showed Brant threw 1262 punches, landing 356 compares to Murata throwing 764 and landing 180.

“This is one of the best moments of my life,” Brant said in the press conference afterwards. “I wasn’t thinking about punch output. I was thinking about winning.”

“This was a great middleweight championship fight,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arun. “Both fighters showed tremendous heart. Congratulations to the new champion. He deserved the win.”

Top Rank are putting a brave face on this defeat for Murata as they had big plans for him, with a fight against GGG or Canelo Alvarez rumoured to be on the horizon. However Brant remains undefeated in the middleweight division, his only defeat coming at super middleweight.

Also on the card at Park Theatre at Park MGM in Las Vegas was Maxim Dadashev defending his NABF super lightweight title against former world champion Antonio DeMarco.

DeMarco (33-7-1, 24 KO’s) showed his champion credentials as he stunned Dadashev (12-0, 10 KO’s) on several occasions throughout the fight. Dadashev had enough about him to survive these scares and come through and retain his belt. Dadashev won the last three rounds to secure the win.

The scorecard was 96-94, 97-93, 98-92.

The bout was a good learning experience for Dadashev, which he said so in the press conference.

“This was a great learning experience for me. DeMarco is a true champion and he thought with great heart and determination.”

Highly rated Irishman, Michael Conlan made his Vegas debut on the card against Italian Nicola Cipolletta, who was making his American debut.

Conlan pressured from the start, with Cipolletta on the defensive through out. Conlan landed several good shots to the body and head in the 7th which forced the referee to stop the fight.

Conlan moves on to 9-0 and is due back in the ring on the undercard of Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton bout in Manchester, England on December 22nd.

“When you fight a guy who is negative and trying to survive, those guys are the hardest guys to look good against,” Conlan said. “He was just negative. Now I want real opponents. I want top 10, top 15 opponents. These are the guys who are going to make me look good. These are the guys who are going to bring out the best of my technical ability. When you see guys trying to survive, it’s a lot easier to survive than fight it out.”

Other Results:
Middleweight: Esquiva Cacao (22-0, 15 KO’s) defeated Guido Porto (25-6-2, 8 KO’s) by unanimous decision 100-90 x3.

Lightweight: Joseph Adorno (10-0, 9 KO’s) defeated Kevin Cruz (8-1, 5 KO’s) by unanimous decision over 6 rounds, 59-53, 59-53, 58-54.

Super Lightweight: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3 KO’s) won by 2nd rd TKO against Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15 KO’s).

Featherweight: Vladimir Nikitin (2-0, 0 KO) won by unanimous decision over 6 rounds against Clay Burns (5-5-2, 4 KO’s). 59-55 x3.

Featherweight: Adam Lopez (11-1, 5 KO’s) defeated Hector Ambriz (12-8-2, 6 KO’s) by 8th round TKO.

Middleweight: David Kaminsky (3-0, 2 KO’s) won by 2nd round TKO against Noah LaCoste (2-1, 2 KO’s).

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ESPN+ Boxing Results: Yarde Defends Title, Corcoran and Garton Engage in a War


By: Oliver McManus

The Brentwood Centre played host to a fiddle of fine fights this Saturday night as Frank Warren promoted some of his most hotly-tipped talents with Anthony Yarde defending his WBO Inter-Continental belt against, Argentine champion, Walter Sequeira; Gary Corcoran and Johnny Garton went at it for the British Welterweight strap; and Umar Sadiq and Zak Chelli put their unbeaten records on the line over eight rounds.

Anthony Yarde, looking to move 17 and 0, was in the ring against Walter Gabriel Sequeira – a man who’s record is composed of 21 wins and 4 losses, although his comprehensive loss to Avni Yilidrim tells you all you need to know – in what was widely expected to be a routine victory.

The WBO’s #2 ranked light heavyweight entered the ring just before 23:00 UK time and the Hackney-born man needed to dispatch with his opponent in double-quick time in order to prove he is of the calibre that he is sold as.

The Beast looked monstrous in comparison to the visiting fighter – officially 5ft10inches but looking a fair sight smaller than that – and Yarde bounced out of his corner immediately, swaggering into the centre of the ring, throwing out a meaningful jab from early doors.

Sequeira offered no genuine counter-artillery during the course of their opening exchanges but was offering some shots back as a reminder of his presence, Yarde controlled the tempo of the fight with a relative ease and, whilst not pushing the cause, was on top of the contest from the off.

The Argentine sought to get in close to the body of Yarde at every possible opportunity, working the inside, forcing Yarde to create the space and angles in order to land convincing shots of his own, some strong body shots were landed by the home favourite as a tentative reminder of the power he carries.

Three rounds in and Yarde started to up the pressure, landing some strong uppercuts to check the chin of Sequeira before a couple of battering shots to head started to take their toll on the man from Argentina – rather tame and underwhelming stuff, in all honest, if truth be told.

“This is the round”, we were told between the third and fourth round, the round for Yarde to look for the finish off the back of a convincing third round but Anthony Yarde got caught up in the clinch far too often, almost refusing to find space of his own, to take a step back and explode into the shots.

Having spent a minute trying to paw around to create the angle, he landed a downwards right hand to Sequeira, from the clinch in order to send his man to the canvas before the contest started and Yarde moved through the motions, dropping Sequeria a second time.

Up again and a calm, composed shot selection from Yarde with two “big” rights and lefts sending the challenger to the canvas for a third and final time with the contest duly waived off – a stoppage victory, sure, but the underwhelming opposition will do little for his reputation.

Yarde looked in control and heavy-handed but not necessarily explosive and dyanamic, a good finish but there’s definitely work to be done.

Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran were the co-main event as the pair faced off for the vacant British welterweight title – Garton, a patient man, had waited nearly three years for this opportunity having been in the shadows of his stablemate Bradley Skeete, who formerly held the belt whilst Corcoran was in the second British title fight of his career.

The crowd were bouncy and so were the fighters, looking eager to get to battle as soon as the fight began and both men came to the centre of the ring, boxing busy, and establishing their respective jabs with Garton edging the initial exchanges with solid one-twos.

Corcoran, the former world title challenger, was showing grit and standing firm at the centre of the ring – true to his words, Corcoran was delivering on his promise to go toe-to-toe with Garton and was throwing some lovely combinations to the body of The Pexican.

Taking a shot to land two, three, four of his own, Corcoran landed good left hooks to the body of Garton before varying up with uppercuts and landed with a dominant flurry in the corner of the rope to sign off the second round in signature fashion.

Fights began to erupt in the crowd in what was a boisterous and ferocious atmosphere as the scraps began to turn ugly but, back in the ring, quality work by both men who were doing their best to remain undistracted by events outside of their control and it was Corcoran who continued to land impressive body shots before a heavy shot cut Garton underneath the eye.

Garton paid little notice to the nick, walking forward himself and taking advantage of the Corcoran’s lack of head movement, firing in some good shots and ensuring Corcoran wasn’t having it all his own way – only three rounds in and it was shaping up to be a cracker.

A former English, Southern Area and IBF European title holder, Garton has been no stranger to pressure fights against an array of strong domestic contenders but it was Corcoran who, arguably, was landing the stronger shots as he pushed Garton to the ropes in a relentless fashion with shot after shot being thrown at the Peckham man.

The cleaner work and more crips shots were being landed by Garton but Corcoran was eye-catching in his work, fighting true to his nature and turning the fight into a real battle.

This rhythm continued as we neared the middle portions of the fight with both men standing their ground at the centre of the ring – no quarter asked and no quarter given – throwing their shorts and absorbing the punishment that was coming their way. A thrilling bout that ebbed and flowed with both men finding pockets of success, Corcoran the more rugged man whilst Garton looked to piece things together in a calmer fashion.

Calmer in this fight, make no mistake, was still ferocious in any other. Garton received a large cut to the head in the sixth round but came out fighting in the seventh as he continued to put together the more composed work.

Claret seeped across the face of Garton throughout the round with Corcoran looking to seize his opportunity, rallying with successive shots to the head of Garton but the fight was mainly being fought to the body with both men landing some brilliant punches.

Warriors, at the core of it, they kept on coming forward with each and every round, embroiling each other in physical warfare but the shots, as punishing as they were, took little toll on either man with both digging in and continuing the pace they began with.

If you were to be hyper-critical you could say Garton looked a little ragged in the eighth round as Corcoran found more openings more angles for success; Garton returned to the safety of the jab whilst Corcoran continued to march forward and throw solid right hands.

That criticism could be flipped completely on its head in the following round as Corcoran began to look the more scruffy fighter, conceding ground for the first time in the bout and being beaten to the punch on numerous occasions as Garton simply refused to relent, swinging the full weight of his body into the punches to force Corcoran onto the back foot.

Blood now decorated the face of both men, the shorts once white with blue trim and white with red, respectively, were gradually turning a pale shade of pink.

After the middle rounds saw Corcoran working his way into the fight and taking the upper-hand, it was Garton that rallied from the ninth round on with storming left hooks seemingly landing at will to snap the head back of his younger opponent but, regardless, Corcoran kept on coming back with fire of his own to keep Garton in check.

Stunning work, simply sensational work from both men who were showing just what the Lonsdale belt means to these guys in a fight full of heart that and as we entered the eleventh Corcoran staggered, almost, to his customary position at the centre of the ring but a ferocious left sent his legs stiffening to the ropes, he ducked and weaved but Garton kept on landing.

A left hook, that trademark shot, forced Steve Gray to step in and halt the bout with Corcoran deemed to be taking too much punishment, Johnny Garton claimed the British welterweight strap with a breath-taking display of guts and glory via an eleventh round TKO.

WHAT A FIGHT!

Umar Sadiq and Zak Chelli – three and four fights without defeat, respectively – were pitting their unbeaten records against each-other over the course of a scheduled eight rounds in a genuine 50-50 fight.

Chelli, the more explosive of the two, began the fight in the centre of the ring as he bounced in and out of the pocket before landing some right hands to the body of Sadiq – Chelli looked relaxed in his body language and comfortable in his footwork but Sadiq, himself, was staying busy with his footwork, staying at range.

A positive start from Chelli, still in full-time education, who retained the higher work rate whilst staying patient and composed in the process – the mild-mannered man was landing full-blooded right hands, seeking to unload with real bad inentions.

Sadiq, 10 years the elder fighter, looked to grow into the fight as he landed the rangy left hand with an increased frequency though an argument could be made for him using the jab more often in order to disrupt the rhythm of his, more combative, opponent.

Towards the halfway stage we went and Chelli maintained the more aggressive fight style but Sadiq was landing with more consistency now and landed a decent right hand as the bout began to warm up – a tepid start from the older fighter, an incredibly down-to-earth man, but things were starting to heat up as Sadiq began to push forward on his lead foot.

Neither fighter was landing with arrow-like precision but the sixth round saw a delightful over-hand right connect from Chelli, a punch that Sadiq walked onto in the process of trying to land a heavy shot of his own, and dropped his man to the canvas but the thirty year old shock it off, got back up and straight back into the fight. Around forty-five seconds later, the Ilford man landed a strong over-hand right of his own with Chelli scampering around the ropes.

A nip-and-tuck fight in which neither man solidified their individual advantages, it was Chelli who fought the more aggressive fight but, as rounds went on, Sadiq started to come forward more and walk his opponent down, popping out shots more frequently and bringing the pace of the bout back into his control.

The eight round saw the Umar Sadiq that many expected to see emerge as he began to impose a physically-commanding gameplan on that of Chelli, bullying his man around the ring, trading leather before a smacking left hook from Chelli, in the final seconds, saw the tide turn and the 20 year old began to unfurl an endless parade of shots, trying to take Sadiq out, but the bell rang to signal the end of a cracking eight rounds between two classy, classy, super-middleweights.

Zak Chelli won the bout by 77 points to 74 on the scorecard of Chas Coakley but that only just begun to whet the appetite… a rematch, for the vacant Southern Area belt, has surely got to be on the table?

It’s fair to say that the headlining fight as underwhelming, it was always going to be, but boy we were treated to some cracking fights on the undercard – Johnny Garton, he’s been patient, he’s bided his time, but now it’s his opportunity to seize everything that his talent and heart will bring.

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Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Quigley and Gomez Emerge Victorious


By: Ken Hissner

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions promoted a card at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California on ESPN2. It featured a NABF Middleweight Title bout between Jason Quigley and Freddy Hernandez.

In the Main Event of a NABF Middleweight title defense by Ireland’s Jason “El Animal” Quigley, 15-0 (11), of Woodland Hills, CA, defeated Freddy Hernandez, 34-10 (22), of Mexico City, MEX, over 10 rounds.


Photo Credit: Brandon Magpantay-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

In the first round Quigley was throwing punches using the jab followed by left hooks and lead rights to the head of Hernandez, who was walking into punches. Quigley landed a left hook followed by a right cross to the chin of Hernandez. In the second round Quigley became even more aggressive against the 39 year-old Hernandez landing jabs followed by rights to the chin of Hernandez. Quigley landed a solid right to the mid-section of Hernandez that was heard throughout the arena. Quigley missed with a right but followed with a left hook to the body. While inside, Hernandez landed a double left hook to the body of Quigley.

In the third round Quigley returning to the ring after a year after breaking his right hand was having no problem landing it. A left hook in the previous round put a mouse under the left eye of Hernandez. Quigley missed a left hook but followed through with a right to the chin of Hernandez. Hernandez just couldn’t contend with the foot and hand speed of Quigley through the first three rounds. In the fourth round Quigley landed a combination to the head but got caught with a solid left hook to the chin from Hernandez. Quigley suffered a small cut outside the left eyebrow. In a clinch Hernandez landed half a dozen left’s to the head of Quigley.

In the fifth round heads clashed with Fernandez coming out of it with a nasty gash on his right eyebrow. The ring physician examined it. It seemed to spur Fernandez on as he had Quigley against the ropes slipping most of the punches by Hernandez. Fernandez countered with a solid right to the chin of Quigley. Both threw left hooks with Fernandez getting there first. In the sixth round Quigley was bleeding from the mouth. Fernandez has been very active since getting cut. Fernandez ended the round with a solid right to the chin of Quigley.

In the seventh round Fernandez landed the first punch a left hook to the body of Quigley. Fernandez had Quigley against the ropes landing body shots while the flood is flowing from his cut. Quigley came back with combinations of his own. Quigley landed a solid right to the head of Fernandez. Fernandez had Quigley against the ropes at the bell. Quigley seemed to be breathing heavy going to his corner while Fernandez seemed fresh. In the eighth round Quigley landed a good left hook to the body of Fernandez. Quigley countered Fernandez well as the latter walked in.

In the ninth round Quigley became more aggressive landing lead rights to the chin of Fernandez. Quigley landed a solid left hook to the chin of Fernandez. Fernandez landed a right to the chin with seconds to go in the round while it was Quigley who landed a hard right to the chin at the bell. In the tenth and final round Quigley landed a solid left hook to the head of Fernandez. Fernandez kept chasing Quigley getting countered. Fernandez landed a right cross in the final minute of the fight to the chin of Quigley. Quigley used his foot speed well in the final round.

Scores were Alejandro Rochin and Zac Young had it 98-92 while Edward Hernandez, Sr. had it 99-91 while this writer had it 97-93.

In the co-feature Welterweight Japan’s Shoki Sakai, 22-9-2 (12), of Mexico City, MEX, lost to Eddie Gomez, 22-3 (12), of the Bronx, NY, over 8 rounds.

In the opening round Gomez was the busier in a feeling out until a minute left in the round when Gomez landed several right uppercuts to the chin of Sakai. A double left hook from Gomez on the jaw of Sakai sent him back several steps. In the second round Gomez landed a lead right to the head of Sakai. Sakai came back stalking Gomez using his jab following him. Gomez countered with a right to the chin as Sakai was coming in. Gomez backed into the ropes ducking a right from Sakai that landed on the top rope.

In the third round Sakai continued to follow Gomez around the ring until Gomez would stop in the middle of the ring when they would exchange punches before clinching. Gomez landed a chopping right to the head of Sakai while inside. Gomez landed a combination to the chin of Sakai. Sakai has thrown few right hands through three rounds. In the fourth round Gomez countered to the body of Sakai while the latter never threw a punch. Sakai missed a left hook while Gomez countered with a left hook to the chin. Gomez continues to slip punches and lands a left hook to the face of Sakai drawing blood from his nose.

In the fifth round Gomez immediately landed a left hook to the chin of Sakai. Sakai missed with a double jab and a follow-up left hook. Gomez countered a Sakai jab with a right to the chin. Gomez landed a double jab followed by a right to the body of Sakai. Just prior to the bell both exchanged jabs. In the sixth round both boxers exchanged left hooks to the chin. Gomez landed a left hook to the chin while Sakai countered with a left hook to the chin. Gomez landed a double left hook to the head of Sakai. Gomez landed a right to the head of Sakai. Gomez was warned by referee Cantu for using his head inside. Sakai finally landed a solid left hook to the chin of Gomez.

In the seventh round Gomez landed a lead right followed by a left hook to the head of Sakai. Sakai landed a rare combination to the body of Gomez. Gomez continues to be a step ahead of Sakai who kept following him. Gomez slipped to the canvas while referee Cantu called it exactly that. In the eighth round Gomez landed a combination starting with the right to the head of Sakai. Sakai was warned for a head butt. Sakai showed a slight cut under the right eye. Sakai ducked into a left hook from Gomez. Gomez landed a roundhouse right and got cornered by a Sakai right to the head just prior to the bell.

The scores were 80-72 by all 3 judges and this writer.
“It was real hard (very emotional having lost his father days before). Daddy took a week off from work to come out here in camp. He would have been proud today. He might not be here physically but will always be with me. Love you Pop’s,” said Gomez.

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ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Yarde vs. Sequeira, Garton vs. Corcoran


By: Oliver McManus

This weekend sees Frank Warren promoting at the Brentwood Centre, live on BT Sport and streamed on ESPN+, with, his highly-touted light-heavyweight, Anthony Yarde defending his WBO Inter-Continental belt against Walter Gabriel Sequeira; Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran face off for the vacant British Welterweight belt; and imposing prospects Umar Sadiq and Zak Chelli put their unbeaten records on the line at an early stage of their career.

Anthony Yarde looks to move 17 and 0 against an opponent who, truth be told, is underwhelming and whilst it’s understood that Sean Monaghan was initially touted for the bout, the calibre of Sequeira fails to impress.


Photo Credit: Anthony Yarde Twitter Account

Ranked number two by the World Boxing Organization, Anthony Yarde has dealt with his 16 previous opponents in convincing fashion and the widely held frustration of the reluctance to progress him faster seems to be holding him back from truly being appreciated.

The muscular stature of the Hackney-born fighter is imposing with the tattooed physique of Yarde looking bulky, even for the 175lb division, and the speed and power in his hands mark him out as a real threat throughout the duration of his bouts; the first man to stop Nikola Sjekloca and a merciless number over, vastly-underrated, Chris Hobbs are a testament to Yarde’s ability to turn up the heat.

Since that win over Sjekloca, back in December, that heat has cooled ever so slightly with Joshua Buatsi catching the eye of the British public with his consistently explosive performances and Yarde’s performances against Dariusz Sek and Tony Averlant this year seeing him look less energetic than we have become accustomed too.

A man of ferocious talent with anger in his hands, Anthony Yarde has all the assets to reach the top and it’s just a matter of WHEN we see him get that opportunity to showcase his skills; Walter Sequeira will not be that man that allows Yarde to really cement his authority as a player on the global stage – the Argentine national champion has fought once away from his home country, in his 25 professional contests, and lost convincingly to Avni Yilidrim in doing so.

Expect this to be a convincing display from Anthony Yarde and, if it’s not, I’d start to get a little worried.

Johnny Garton, 22-1-1, and Gary Corcoran, 18-2, will be facing off against each other for the vacant British welterweight title – relinquished by Bradley Skeete earlier this year – in what promises to be an enthralling encounter.

For Garton, now aged 31, the title shot has been a long-time with Skeete – close friend and gym mate – having the belt since the turn of 2016 but ‘The Pexican’ has more than earned his crack at the strap having pieced together an impressive CV over the past few years.

Having turned pro in 2011, Garton claimed the vacant Southern Area welterweight belt in 2014 with an 8th round knockout over Adam Battle and since then has overcame plenty of domestic challengers – Nathan Weise, Martin Welsh, Ryan Fields and Tyler Goodjohn – as he added the English title to his name.

Late last year the Peckham-man registered an explosive performance to dispatch with Mihail Orlov in the 10th round of their contest for the IBF European title. Garton made hard work of his opponent and didn’t look as fluid as we know he can but, typically, when he gets into a fight it is easy pickings with Garton working through the motions and piecing together his shots nicely.

Corcoran, on the other hand, will be in his second fight since losing out to Jeff Horn, for the WBO world title, in December last year and Hellraiser goes into the contest off the back of a 5th round TKO win in June.

A second crack at a British belt for Corcoran, who’s previously lost out to Liam Williams for the super welterweight strap, he’s likely to approach it as he does every other fight of his career with a brash, fast-paced, attacking nature.

Known for his fast starts, Corcoran will seek to catch Johnny of guard early doors and impose his own rhythm on his contest; in all honesty this has the hallmarks of a fire fight and both men will probably engage from the centre of the ring – a style particularly suited to Corcoran.

Perhaps the most fitting testament of Corcoran’s ability to mix it at a high level with a mixture of both technique and slug-fest guts is his split decision win against Larry Ekundayo, in July of last year, in a performance that gained the plaudits from all corners of the boxing community – if he brings that level of performance into the ring on Saturday then we’ll be in for a thrilling contest.

Moving onto the clash of the unbeaten super-middleweights as Umar ‘Top Boxer’ Sadiq looks to settle a rivalry against Zak Chelli that has been quietly bubbling under the surface for the past few months.

Possibly the classiest man both inside and outside of the ring, Umar Sadiq has already attracted a huge fan base thanks to his impressive performances and innovative use of social media.
What really matters is his ability in the ring and having come from a strong amateur background he already looks at ease, moving through the motions quickly, and stamping his authority over his three opponents thus far.

Back in June Umar looked at his most complete, yet, with a masterful control of the fight tempo, insightful shot select before unfurling a vicious left hook into the body of Kamil Al Temimi to send the Polish fighter crumpling to the canvas with consummate ease.

Arguably the most terrifying thing about Sadiq is that he’s not even looked out of breath upon the conclusion of his three professional fights – I know they’ve only been four and six rounders, thus far, but it bodes well for the big bouts.

And this is the first real “big” bout of Umar’s career – and, for that matter, Zak’s – because this is going to stand as the acid test for who is the real deal and Chelli, whose father was also a fighter, is supremely confident in his ability to be “Warren’s number one super-middleweight”.

Hand-speed is his biggest asset with a frightening aggression and killer instinct, once he locks onto a target then shots will rain down on his counterpart in an explosive flurry. It’s easy to make comparisons with Chris Eubank Jr because of that style of fighting and Chelli is used to sparring with the Brighton man and that’s where he says he’s doing most of his development –

“When it comes to sparring I find it quite easy to transfer the skills into a fight performance, what I learn on the pads I put to practice in the ring and I treat sparring as a fight so it’s the same, for me”

“I can tell where I’m getting better, when I first started I was rushing things and trying to prove stuff but I learned from Adam Jones that, actually, you don’t need to go chasing knockouts all the time, believe in your ability and the performance will materialize. At the start I was trying to force the knockout but I’m definitely more relaxed now.”

Despite being just 20 years of age, Chelli is freakishly mature in the way he speaks and handles himself out of the ring but equally he’s begun to mature in it, too, as he himself admits he is far less likely to rush out of the gate than when he first started and Sadiq, well he’s Umar Sadiq, he’s silky smooth in whatever he does. This is going to be a great fight – fight of the night, you heard it here first!

October 20th at the Brentwood Centre, Frank Warren showcases some sensational talent and as the Hall-of-Fame promoter himself would say, “IT’S ON!”… BT Sport and ESPN+.

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Crawford-Benavidez Jr. ESPN-Headlined Telecast Most Watched Boxing Event of 2018


By Jake Donovan

While critics of unbeaten pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford continue to demand better opposition, his fans continue to relish his every move in the ring.

Apparently, both sides are tuning in whenever he fights.

Crawford’s latest in-ring conquest—a 12th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez Jr. last Saturday—produced a massive ratings win for ESPN, with the two-hour broadcast as a whole averaging 2.245 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The event—which aired live in front of a sold out crowd of more than 13,300 at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska—produced the second-most watched telecast of Top Rank’s boxing series on ESPN since returning to the network last July. Its debut—Jeff Horn’s controversial upset win over Manny Pacquiao—is the only show to outperform Saturday’s edition.

Even more impressive was the fact that it came on a crowded sports night that saw college football on ABC—a primetime matchup between Top 15 teams Wisconsin and Michigan (6.038 million viewers)—improve by more than 150% over the same slotted event one year ago. Crawford-Benavidez Jr. also competed against live coverage of Major League Baseball playoffs, which at 5.821 million viewers was within 10% of its lofty rating exactly 52 weeks ago.

The positioning of Saturday’s main event came with a strong college football lead-in of its own. Top-rated and defending champion Alabama’s rout of Missouri drew 3.758 million viewers in a game that ended early enough for ESPN to enjoy a rare on-time start for a primetime boxing event.

For Crawford, it’s more than a 230% increase from his previous ESPN primetime appearance, ironically in a far more significant bout. The undefeated switch hitter’s 3rd round knockout of Julius Indongo last August—which made him the first-ever four-belt champion in the history of the super lightweight division—averaged 965,000 viewers over the course of the telecast, with the bout itself averaging nearly 1.3 million viewers.

Specific ratings for each of Saturday’s two-bout telecast were not immediately available. The show also featured unbeaten featherweight Shakur Stevenson—a 2016 U.S. Olympian who earned the silver medal in the Rio Olympics—in a career-best 1st round knockout of Viorel Simion, who’d previously never been dropped or stopped.

According to an ESPN press release over the weekend, overnight ratings landed both legs of the doubleheader as the most watched boxing bouts of 2018. Crawford-Benavidez pulled in a healthy 1.8 overnight rating, slightly more than 80% above that of his pound-for-pound rival and promotional stablemate Vasyl Lomachenko, whose historic off-the-canvas knockout win over Jorge Linares this past May pulled a 1.0 overnight and just over 1 million viewers overall.

Saturday’s win marked the first successful defense of the welterweight title for Crawford (34-0, 25KOs), who won the belt in a 9th round stoppage of Horn this past June. That bout aired exclusively on ESPN+, a decision mandated by the ESPN brass that never seemed to sit well with Crawford and his team.

Ever the soldier, Crawford accepted the terms and ran through Horn in collecting a major title in his third weight class. His run as undisputed super lightweight champion was preceded by a 2014 Fighter of the Year-level campaign that bookended his stay as lightweight champion before moving up in weight.

The first defense of his welterweight title came with harsh pre-fight criticism, and for good reason. The 147-pound division is overflowing with top level talent, but Top Rank’s desire to keep the title defense in-house saw Crawford as high as a 33-1 favorite over Benavidez, a gifted amateur back in his day but who has managed to squander any positive momentum in the pro ranks.

Still, the previously unbeaten boxer from Phoenix, Ariz.—who held an interim title at 140 pounds—was praised for his brave return to the sport after being shot in his left leg in 2016. The 26-year old—whose younger brother David is a currently unbeaten super middleweight titlist—made his comeback earlier this year, a pre-Super Bowl event on ESPN in Corpus Christi, Texas for which Crawford was in attendance. Benavidez Jr. planted the seeds for a budding rivalry, getting into a heated exchange with Crawford and continuing the verbal onslaught throughout the year.

Benavidez Jr. appeared on the undercard of Crawford’s aforementioned win over Horn in Las Vegas this past June, scoring an 84-second knockout of previously unbeaten Frank Rojas. From there, the trash talk only increased, reaching a boiling point when the two landed in a brief violent eruption during Friday’s weigh-in.

To his credit, Benavidez Jr. gave a decent account of himself at least through the first half of Saturday’s main event, but was limited to taunting and absorbing over the final six rounds. Crawford finally decked his heated rival in the final minute of the fight, with an ensuing onslaught prompting referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the contest with just 18 seconds left.

The end result sparked a boisterous response from the partisan crowd on hand, which served as the largest attendance for any of Crawford’s five main events in this building and six overall title fights in his home state of Nebraska.

A hard-line stance is being taken by media members for Crawford’s 2019 campaign to include a mouthwatering showdown with fellow unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence. Momentum for such a fight will only continue to build—much like Crawford’s fan base, as evidenced the numbers produced at the box office and in the ratings this past weekend.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Crawford and Stevenson Deliver Scintillating Knockouts


By: William Holmes

The CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, the hometown of welterweight champion Terence Crawford, was the host cite for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.

The main event of the night was between Terrance Crawford (33-0) and Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0) for the WBO Welterweight Title.

But before the main event, undefeated former Olympian Shakur Stevenson (8-0) met Viorel Simion (21-2) in the junior lightweight division.

Stevenson, a southpaw, used a steady jab early in the first and was able to find his range early with his check right hook. Stevenson landed a crisp two punch combination that sent Simion down to the mat in the first half of the round. Simion got back to his feet but on wobbly legs, and Stevenson landed another combination on Simion who fell face forward again.

Simion got back to his feet again and had to try and withstand an onslaught from Stevenson. Stevenson landed another hard combination that ended with a hard left hook that sent Simion spinning to the ground again.

Simion arose on wobbly legs, and the referee waived off the fight as the round came to an end.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 3:00 of the opening round.

Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. were involved in a scuffle at the previous night’s weigh ins, and appeared to have some legitimate bad blood leading into the fight

Benavidez entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos while Crawford had the support of the crowd behind him.

Both fighters came out in an orthodox stance with Benavidez finding some success early on walking Craword down behind his jab. Crawford switched to a southpaw stance before the end of the first.

Benavidez continued with his jab in the second round, but Crawford began to the target the body. Neither boxer took many risks in the second and could have been scored either way.

Crawford began to land his combination both to the body and head of Benavidez in the third round, but Benavidez’s straight right hand was finding it’s home in the fourth round and he briefly caught Crawford off balance as the round came to an end.

Crawford was landing from unique angles in the fifth but Benavidez was landing some stiff straight right hands in the sixth. Both of these rounds were close, though Benavidez looked like eh was beginning to tire.

Crawford had a strong seventh and eighth rounds as he was continuing to get hit less and less while landing at a progressively higher clip. Benavidez wasn’t able to come forward effectively and looked hampered by his right knee.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Crawford looked like he was close to knocking Benavidez down in the ninth round and had Benavidez’s back to the ropes in the tenth. Benavidez attempted to lure Crawford into an exchange in the tenth and eleventh rounds with his back to the ropes, but when they did exchange Crawford looked like landed the better and more accurate punches.

Benavidez needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout and pressed forward in an attempt to finish the bout, but he got hit with a vicious right uppercut that sent him crashing to the mat in a violent fashion.

Benavidez somehow got back to his feet, but was hit with several hard combinations before the referee jumped in to stop the fight and award Crawford the TKO victory.

Terrance Crawford wins by TKO at 2:42 of the 12th round.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Stevenson vs. Simion, Benavidez vs. Crawford


By: William Holmes

Top Rank Promotions will promote a card featuring arguably their best pound for pound fighter, Terence Crawford, in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in the main event of an ESPN televised card.

Crawford will face fellow undefeated welterweight Jose Benavidez for Crawford’s WBO Welterweight title.

The co-main event of the night will be between former Olympian and high level prospect Shakur Stevenson and Viorel Simion in a junior lightweight bout.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The undercard will feature several intriguing fights, including a junior middleweight bout between Carlos Adames and Josh Conley, ad junior welterweight bout between Mike Alvarado and Robbie Cannon, and a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Vanessa Bradford.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.

Shakur Stevenson (8-0) vs. Viorel Simion (21-2); Junior Lightweights

Shakur Stevenson is one of Top Rank’s most coveted prospects, and he was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. On paper he’ll be facing the toughest test of his career, Viorel Simion, a former Olympic participant in the 2004 Summer games.

Stevenson is still very young and will be sixteen years younger than his 37 year old opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage.

Stevenson, a Newark, New Jersey native, has won three of his past five fights by stoppage and has never faced anyone with a losing record. He only has four stoppage wins on his resume, but has been very active since turning pro. He fought four times in 2017 and has already fought four times in 2018.

Simion, from Romania, has nine KO wins on his resume and isn’t known for his power. This Romanian boxer lost the two fights where he stepped up in competition, to Scott Quigg and Lee Selby. Simion has fought mainly in Eurpe and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.

Stevenson has defeated the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Aelio Mesquita, Roxberg Patrick Riley, and Juan Tapia. He also went 2-0 n the World Series of Boxing.

Simion has defeated the likes of Andoni Gago, Alexander Miskirtchian, and Ryan Sermona. The few times he stepped up his level of competition he was soundly beat.

This is a bout that Stevenson should win comfortably, but Simion is a good experienced boxer to gauge where Stevenson currently is in his professional development.

Terence Crawford (33-0) vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.(27-0); WBO Welterweight Title

Terence Crawford will be stepping into the ring with a younger, taller, and longer undefeated challenger on Saturday.

Crawford is still in his prime, but Benavidez is five years younger than him. Benavidez will also have about a six inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.

Crawford does appear to have an edge in power. He has stopped twenty four of his opponents, and seven of his past eight fights were stoppage victories. Benavidez only has eighteen stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by way of stoppage.

Both boxers had relatively successful amateur careers. Crawford was a former PAL National Champion while Benavidez was a former US National Golden Gloves Champion.

Both boxers have been fairly active in 2018 but Crawford has been the more active fighter of the two since 2016. Crawford fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and three times in 2016. Benavidez fought twice in 2018 and only once 2016.

Benavidez was also shot in 2016 and missed all of 2017 as a result.

Crawford has soundly beaten every man he has faced so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Hank Lundy, Dierry jean, Thomas Dulrome, Raymundo Beltran, Yoriorkis Gamboa, and Ricky Burns.

Benavidez does not have the professional resume of Crawford, but he has beaten some decent boxers. He has defeated the likes of Frank Rojas, Matthew Strode, Francisco Santana, Jorge Paez Jr., Mauricio Herrera, and Pavel Miranda.

However, his win against Herrera is disputed by many who thought Herrera deserved the decision in that bout.

This is a major, major step up in competition for Benavidez. Unfortunately for him, he has never faced anyone near the level of Terrance Crawford and it is this writer’s opinion that he will be in over his head on Saturday night.

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Terence Crawford Readies for Homecoming Bout Against Jose Benavidez Jr.


Terence Crawford is excited to be back in Omaha, his beloved hometown and the site of many of his greatest fistic moments. The man nicknamed “Bud” will defend his WBO welterweight world title Saturday evening against Jose Benavidez Jr. at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly the CenturyLink Center), live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET. His four CHI Health Center outings have drawn nearly 45,000 fans, and another packed house is expected.

The long-simmering animosity between Crawford and Benavidez spilled over into Wednesday’s media day, with the pair and their respective teams exchanging verbal haymakers.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The ESPN broadcast will also include 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist and top featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs) in a 10-rounder against the battle-tested Viorel Simion (21-2, 9 KOs).

The action begins on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET and features female boxing sensation Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) versus Vanessa Bradford (4-0-2, 0 KOs) for the vacant NABF super featherweight title, former 140-pound world champion Mike Alvarado (39-4, 27 KOs) against Robbie Cannon (16-13-3, 7 KOs), Omaha-born light heavyweight prospect Steve Nelson (11-0, 9 KOs) taking on Oscar Riojas (17-10-1, 6 KOs), and Carlos Adames (14-0, 11 KOs) battling Joshua Conley (14-2-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant NABF super welterweight title.

Terence “Bud” Crawford

On the beef between him and Benavidez

“It’s been real since day one, since the fight has been announced. It ain’t been nothing but real.”

“I’m just going to go out there and shut him up. That’s it. That’s all.”

On whether Benavidez deserves the title shot

“No. Not at all. But that ain’t the point. The point is we’re here now, and we’re fighting on Saturday. Come Saturday, all the talking will be out the window.”

On people asking about future opponents and not Benavidez

“I’m just gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing, and that’s winning the fights and looking spectacular each and every fight. Everything else will fall into place.”

“It’s part of the game, but I’m not worried about that. They do their thing, and I’ll do mine on Saturday.”

“Once he feels them punches going upside his head, I don’t even know if he’s going to want to stand there next to me.”

Jose Benavidez Jr.

“It’s time to show the world what I can do. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”

“I am here. I am going to take over this city, and I am going to take his belt. I’m not scared.”

“I don’t see anything special in him. I don’t know why everyone hypes him up so much.”

Shakur Stevenson

On whether it’s a challenge to fight a late-notice opponent in Simion

“Honestly, no, because I come from the amateurs where I went into tournaments and didn’t know who I was fighting. I was fighting randoms, never seen them fight before, and then I get in the ring. I saw them across the ring, and I won. I don’t think it made a difference.”

On Simion as a fighter

“This is my toughest opponent as a pro. I never fought an opponent with this type of record. I’m coming here, as always, to put on a show.”

On fighting as ESPN co-feature

“I love fighting on ESPN. I love the fact that I get to fight on Bud’s undercard, and he’s the main event and I’m the co-main event. I’m ready to open the show.”

Mikaela Mayer

On moving down to 130 pounds

“I’m a lot stronger than ever while fighting at a lower weight. I’m coming into my own as an athlete.”

On adjusting to the pro game

“From my first fight to now, I see such a huge difference. There’s such a big difference between the amateurs and the pros. For each opponent, my team and I look at what they do best and how we can counter it.”

“I don’t feel any added pressure because this is what I wanted. I’m going to go in there and get the job done.”

Mike Alvarado

On returning after less than four months removed from his last fight

“Fighting {in Nebraska} the last time in 2017, I had a good knockout. I’m ready to do it again. From that point until now, I got a new trainer. I’ve been doing new things in training. For me to apply what I’ve been working on, I didn’t really have a chance before the last fight. It’s good. I needed some rounds. I had some inactivity.”

On fighting in front a raucous crowd Omaha

“It gives you more motivation, and I like the intensity. I’m happy to be on this stage again.”

Carlos Adames

“I am 100 percent recovered from my foot injury and ready to show the fans that I am the future of the 154-pound division. It’s a big honor to fight on this card, and I want to give the fans in Omaha and watching on ESPN+ an incredible show.”

“Conley is a tough guy, but I am 100 percent prepared. I feel comfortable at 154 pounds. My power is going to be too much for him.”

Crawford-Benavidez and Stevenson-Simion will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with undercards streaming live in the United States at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Remaining tickets to this world championship event, priced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, can be purchased at the CHI Health Center Omaha box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

Use the hashtag #CrawfordBenavidez to join the conversation on social media.

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