HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Valdez, Conlan, and Ramirez Entertain and Win
By: William Holmes
Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and featured two world title fights which featured two popular Mexican boxing stars.
The co-main event of the night was between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Jessie Hart for Ramirez’s WBO Super Middleweight Title and the main event was between Oscar Valdez and Genesis Servania for Valdez’s WBO Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
The undercard featured several up and coming prospects, including Irish Olympian Michael Conlan. Tonight’s card was supposed to start on ESPN, but the baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers ended later than expected and the fight card started on ESPN News.
Michael Conlan (3-0) opened up the telecast against Kenny Guzman (3-0) in the featherweight division in a six round bout.
Conlan has 340 fights as an amateur compared to 47 amateur fights for Kenny Guzman, who also works a full-time carpenter.
The first round was more of a feeling out round as Guzman was able to land some decent shots but Conlan was clearly the better technical boxer. Conlan switched to a southpaw stance midway through the first round with some moderate success.
Conlan switched back into an orthodox stance and was sitting on his punches more in the second round. Guzman’s left eye was showing signs of swelling and blood was coming from his nose as he was taking some heavy shots from Conlan. Conlan landed a heavy right hand in the final ten seconds of the second round that sent Guzman falling backwards to the mat. He was able to get back up before the count of ten but was still wobbly and the referee waived off the fight.
Michael Conlan wins by TKO at 2:59 of the second round.
The next fight of the night was for the WBO Super Middleweight Title between Jesse Hart (22-0) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0).
Ramirez was slightly taller than Hart, who was active with his jab early on. Hart was very active while circling and was able to stay on the outside in the opening round.
Hart continued to stay active with his jab into the second round and appeared to be a little hesitant of Ramirez’s power. Hart had a habit of ducking his head low when he gets in tight and Ramirez was able to take advantage of that with a short right uppercut that sent Hart crashing to the mat. Hart was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but he was badly hurt.
Hart had a decent third round and was given time to recover from a low blow by Ramirez, but Ramirez had an excellent fourth round and appeared close to stopping Jesse Hart several times during that round.
Ramirez kept up the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and was landing a high number of power shots. Hart was able to slip in a few shots of his own, but he also lost his balance several times in the corner of the ring.
Hart may have stolen some of the middle rounds from the sixth round to the ninth as he was able to land some decent counter shots and avoid getting hurt again. Hart had a very strong ninth round with good straight right hands, but Ramirez showed a strong chin and was able to continue to walk forward.
Both boxers left everything in the ring in the championship rounds with both boxers landing heavy blows and absorbing heavy punishment. But Ramirez ended the final round as the aggressor.
It was an entertaining and competitive bout. The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 for Gilberto Ramirez.
The main event of the night was between Oscar Valdez (22-0) and Genesis Servania (29-0) for the WBO Featherweight Title.
Servania is a Filipino boxer who trains in Japan. This was his first professional fight outside of Asia.
Servania showed a lot of head movement early on and had some success with his left hook, but Valdez was far more active and was landing good shots to the body.
Valdez was in control in the second and third rounds and simply out landed the constantly coming forward Servania.
Servania was able to score a flash knockdown in the fourth round on Valdez as he was backing away with his hands down. Valdez was in some trouble at the end of the round when Servania was able to catch him off guard with a good combination.
Valdez turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the fifth round when a clean left hook sent Servania crashing to the mat. Servania was able to get back to his feet and slug it out with Valdez as the round came to an end, but he was badly hurt.
Servania may have stolen the sixth round with a round ending combination, but Valdez outworked Servania for most of the round. Valdez appeared settled in the seventh round and was the more aggressive fighter.
Valdez’s body work won him the eighth round and he was cruising by the ninth. Sevania, to his credit, never stopped coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches.
Servania was reaching for his punches in the tenth and eleventh round and never had Valdez in trouble. Vadez just continued to pile up the points by throwing at Servania whenever he got in range.
The final round was exciting as Servania came right at Valdez to exchange to start the final round and took several risks throughout, but his punches just weren’t powerful enough to hurt Valdez or put him down again.
Oscar Valdez defends his title with scores of 116-110, 119-111, 117-109.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Figueroa, Guerrero, Shields, Caballero, Negrete, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Figueroa, Guerrero, Shields, Caballero, Negrete, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 23rd to May 30th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Former World Champions Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero to Meet in Welterweight Brawl
A matchup between exciting former world champions Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) headlines an action-packed night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes on Saturday, July 15 in the first boxing event at the newly-renovated NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from the first boxing event at the Coliseum since Mike Tyson headlined in 1986.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing fans what I’m known for – exciting fights,” said Figueroa. “I’ve been quietly training and preparing in Indo, California with Joel Diaz and now it’s time. I’m looking forward to a great fight with Robert Guerrero on July 15 in front of a New York crowd. I can’t wait to show everyone at the Coliseum and on FOX and FOX Deportes what ‘Panterita’ is all about.”
“Both me and Omar Figueroa like to bang on the inside, which should make for great entertainment, but Omar is going to find out on July 15 that he’s facing a man who has his back against the wall and is going to leave everything in the ring,” said Guerrero. “I’m going to give the millions who’ll be watching on FOX and FOX Deportes a fight to remember. This is going to be a classic Mexican war and I’m coming out on top.”
The FOX and FOX Deportes broadcast will see unbeaten contender “Sir” Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) battling undefeated Long Island native and fan favorite Seanie Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) in a light heavyweight showdown.
“I have fought more times at Barclays Center than anyone, so it’s exciting to get to fight in a new venue not too far from home,” said Browne. “We might be in Seanie’s immediate backyard, but I’m just down the block, so he really isn’t any more at home than I am. I know he’s a hard-nosed fighter with a come-forward style. I’m preparing for a tough opponent. A win won’t come easy, but we have to take care of business. I am just ready to display my talent on national television and continue my climb toward a world title.”
“It is a dream come true to be fighting at the Coliseum, which is literally right next to the track where I run every day,” said Monaghan. “It is an honor to represent Long Island in the first boxing event held at this venue in 31 years. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I feel that this bout will bring a new chapter in my career. I have a lot of respect for Marcus Browne, but let the best man win. On July 15, I am putting everything on the line.”
Also televised in prime time, Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs)meets Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KOs) in an all-Polish heavyweight showdown that promises fireworks.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and give my fans another exciting fight,” said Szpilka. “With two Polish heavyweights fighting, you know there will be power and pride on display. I’m training harder than ever to get this victory in front of the great Polish fans in New York. This will be my first step towards getting back to fighting for the heavyweight world title.”
“I can’t wait to fight again,” said Kownacki. “Most of my past fights were at Barclays Center, so fighting at the Coliseum will be a new and exciting experience. I am training very hard. A win on July 15 puts me one step closer to becoming a world champion. Szpilka will not stand in my way.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $50 (not including applicable fees) and are on sale Thursday, May 25 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.nycblive.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE beginning Friday, May 26 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 516-231-4848.
“Boxing’s grand return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is going to be wall-to-wall action,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “The PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes main event between Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero is destined to be a bloody slugfest. The co-featured bout between Staten Island’s light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne and Long Island’s undefeated ‘Irish Rocky’ Seanie Monaghan will bring the heat on a summer night in Long Island. While Marcus and Seanie will bring in a big local crowd, the heavyweight grudge match between Poland’s Artur ‘The Pin’ Szpilka and Polish American Long Islander, by way of Brooklyn, Adam ‘Baby Face’ Kownacki will pack the house with Polish fans. As a Long Islander, I am proud to promote the first fight card at Nassau Coliseum in 31 years. July 15 will be a fun, action-packed night of boxing entertainment from beginning to end; the remainder of the card will be stacked with old-school brawls including local talent.”
“The Coliseum has a rich history in boxing, having hosted notable fights with the likes of Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Gerry Cooney, among others,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “We are thrilled to build on the sport’s heritage on Long Island, and to bring boxing back to the venue 31 years later with a major event on network television.”
A high volume puncher with an exciting style, Figueroa has returned to training with Joel Diaz in California leading up to this fight and looks to make his presence felt on July 15. Representing Weslaco, Texas, Figueroa is undefeated since turning pro in 2008 and won a lightweight world title by defeating Nihito Arakawa in a 2013 Fight of the Year standout. He followed that victory up with successful defenses against Jerry Belmontes and Daniel Estrada. The 27-year-old most recently defeated former world champions Ricky Burns and Antonio DeMarco in his last two outings.
Born and raised in Gilroy, Calif., Guerrero is always in exciting contests having gone toe-to-toe with Danny Garcia in a FOX main event in 2016 and Keith Thurman sandwiched around a hard fought victory over Aron Martinez. Prior to 2015, the 34-year-old picked up victories over Andre Berto, Secluk Aydin and Michael Katsidis while winning world titles in multiple divisions. The brawling warrior has been in several “Fight of the Year” candidates throughout his career, including a memorable brawl in Southern California with Yoshihiro Kamegai in 2014, and he also challenged former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
The undefeated Browne enters this fight after an electrifying performance in February that saw him drop former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. before knocking him out in round six. The 26-year-old defeated previously unbeaten Radivoje Kalajdzic in April 2016 after a big 2015 that saw him defeat veteran contenders Gabriel Campillo, Aaron Pryor Jr., Francisco Sierra and Cornelius White. The 2012 U.S. Olympian fights out of Staten Island, New York after an exceptional amateur career that saw him win the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at light heavyweight.
One of the most popular fighters representing Long Island, Monaghan looks to solidify his first world title shot when he faces Browne on July 15. Monaghan competed in the 2009 New York Golden Gloves before turning pro, reaching the final before dropping a memorable contest to fellow Long Island-native Joe Smith Jr. He has yet to taste defeat in as a professional while battling a slew of veterans eager to test his championship mettle. Monaghan added two more victories in 2016 as he stopped Janne Forsman in five rounds and beat Fernando Castanedo in December.
The always entertaining Szpilka returns to the ring after a defeat at the hands of heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder in 2016 as he attempts to get back on the path towards world title contention. The aggressive-minded 6-foot-3 Szpilka, had a four-fight win streak entering the Wilder bout as he picked up a 10-round unanimous decision over former cruiserweight world champion Tomasz Adamek in 2014 and stoppage victories over Yasmany Consuegra, Manuel Quezada and Ty Cobb in 2015.
A two-time New York Golden Gloves champion, five of Kownacki’s last six victories have come at Barclays Center and he now hopes to bring that winning mindset to the Coliseum. Originally from Poland but now living in Brooklyn, Kownacki stopped previously once-beaten Joshua Tufte in January of this year after 2016 saw him earn a stoppage of Jesse Barboza in June and a decision over Danny Kelly in January. He will take on the toughest test of his career in his countryman Szpilka.
Undercard Announced for Next Detroit Brawl Show at Masonic Temple Featuring the Return to Michigan of Claressa Shields
The undercard has been announced for promoter Dmitriy Salita blockbuster “Detroit Brawl” on Friday, June 16, 2017, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit and it features an impressive mix of local and international prospects in high-stakes match-ups.
Thus far, five exciting bouts are scheduled in support of the eight-round main event featuring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (2-0, 1 KO) of Flint, Michigan, taking on Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship and the 10-round co-main event between undefeated Detroit cruiserweight Demetrius Banks (9-0, 4 KOs) and Detroit via Russia’s Alexey Zubov (14-1, 9 KOs).
Tickets for “Detroit Brawl” are priced at VIP $200, Box Seats $100, Floor Seating $100 & $55, and balcony seating $40, and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster.com.
In the night’s main supporting bout, undefeated welterweight pulverizer Bakhtiyar Eyubov (12-0, 10 KOs) of Aktjubinsk, Kazakhstan, will look to stay busy waiting for his next high-profile step, as he attempts to inflict his crowd-pleasing style on always-tough Cesar Soriano (27-35-1, 16 KOs) Iztacalco, Mexico, over six rounds.
In another of the chief supporting bouts, Detroit’s rising talent and “Great Lakes King” Ja’Rico O’Quinn (6-0, 5 KOs) returns to action in a six-round bantamweight brawl against David Martino (2-2, 2 KOs) of San Felipe, Mexico.
Also scheduled is an all-action six-round super welterweight battle between Antonio Urista (7-2, 2 KOs) of Lansing, Michigan, and highly decorated former amateur star Serdar Hudayberdiyev (3-0, 2 KOs) of Turkmenabat, Turkey.
Opening the night will be a six-round super lightweight tilt between Staten Island, New York via Kazakhstan’s Dimash Niyazov (10-0-3, 4 KOs) and Grand Rapids, Michigan, veteran Ramon Guevara (10-24-2, 6 KOs); as well as a four-round welterweight bout between undefeated Jacob Bonas (2-0-1, 1 KO) of Bellville, Michigan, and Clinton Township, Michigan’s Tony Brooks (1-1).
“This is an exciting show from top to bottom,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Every fight has been chosen for its excitement level. I am proud to be presenting it to the boxing savvy fans of Detroit, America’s comeback city and home for world-class boxing.”
More fights, opponents and rounds will be announced shortly. On fight night, doors open at 7:00 pm and the fights begin at 8:00 pm.
Irvin Gonzalez Starting to Make Waves in Super Featherweight Division
New England’s top prospect with 10 pro fights of less, undefeated hometown favorite Irvin Gonzalez, is on a fast track going into his June 10th headline fight in the third installment of the “New England’s Future” series, at the DCU Center (Exhibition Hall) in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“New England’s Future 3” is presented by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), which is owned and operated by retired three-time, two division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera and his son, Anthonee (A.J.) Rivera.
The 21-year-old Gonzalez (6-0, 6 KOs) takes on Raul Lopez (10-2-1, 5 KOs), of Bronx (NY), in an eight-round main event for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All-American super featherweight championship.
Pro boxing returns to the DCU Center for the first time in 11 years, ironically, when promoter Jose Antonio Rivera defeated Alejandro Garcia, by way of a 12-round unanimous decision, for the World Boxing Association (WBA) World super welterweight title.
“I am excited to watch Irvin’s boxing career flourish,” promoter Jose Rivera remarked. “He has all the tools to become a world champion. Fighting for the UBF championship will be the first of many and I am glad that we are able to give him this opportunity. I see big things for Irvin and I hope fans come out Saturday night, June 10th, to support him and the other local boxers.”
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Gonzalez said. “I’m blessed to be fighting in Worcester for my first title. It’s not a big title but it’s like taking baby steps to a world title. Since I started boxing at the Boys & Girls Club, I always wanted to be like Jose, a three-time world champion. Now, it’s my turn, and I’m fighting again in my city.”
Gonzalez has a perfect pro record: six rights, six wins by knockout. However, he’s only had fought a grand total of eight rounds, and June 10th he’s in a scheduled eight-round match. The well-spoken youngster isn’t concerned with the step up in rounds and opposition.
“I’ve been asked about that by a lot of media, trainers and other fighters,” he explained. “I’ve always trained like it’s for a world title fight, 12 rounds, so I’m not worried about going into deep water. I’m in magnificent shape, three weeks before the fight, and even in the amateurs I’ve always gotten stronger as the fight went along. In sparring, I get stronger, so going eight isn’t a problem for me.
“I don’t really know much about my opponent. He won a few national titles but hasn’t fought too often. I’ll see what he brings into the ring and then adjust. I know I’m taller.”
Gonzalez learned a lot when he was a sparring partner for Guillermo Rigondeaux in Florida that was supposed to be a six-week training camp that ended after three weeks due to Rigondeaux’ fight being cancelled.
“I learned a lot about different training methods that I now use,” Irvin continued. “His techniques are phenomenal. I was around a world champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and I saw his work ethic. After all he’s accomplished, he still has a great work ethic, and I learned from him that a fighter need continue working like he does until the day it’s all over. It’s not all about money, it’s having fun every day, doing what we love.”
Randy Caballero to put NABF Super Bantamweight Title on the Line Against Oscar Negrete
Undefeated NABF Super Bantamweight Champion and Coachella native Randy “El Matador” Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) will make his first title defense close to home as he takes on Los Angeles’ Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete (16-0, 6 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a 10-round main event for the June 30th edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
This marks the 50th show that Golden Boy Promotions has put on at Fantasy Springs.
Former IBF and WBO Featherweight Champion, Mexican actor and circus performer Jorge “El Maromero” Paez (79-14-5, 51 KOs) will be the VIP guest for this June 30th Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card. Best known for a fight career spanning nearly 20 years and three weight divisions, Paez faced many of the boxing greats in the 1990’s including Oscar De La Hoya, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas and Jesus Chavez. As the VIP guest of the night, Paez will be in attendance for the fights and will be on hand to meet fans; sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN broadcast begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 10 P.M. EST/7 P.M. PST
Caballero, a former IBF Bantamweight World Champion, looked impressive coming back after a long layoff on the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN in March, taking a unanimous decision off of a game and rugged Jesus Ruiz. Now, Caballero takes on an undefeated fighter for only the second time in his career.
“I’ve told everyone who will listen that my goal is to regain a world championship belt, and this is another step on that path,” Caballero said. “I know my opponent is undefeated, but he’s never been in the ring with anyone close to my ability, and I’m confident that I’m going to take his “0” on June 30.”
Negrete has built a solid resume culminating with a shutout, unanimous decision over Victor Ruiz on Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas.
“I’m excited to compete for my first regional belt, especially on ESPN,” Negrete said. “People may overlook me, but after June 30, everyone will know that I am a force in the super bantamweight division.”
In the co-main event, standout amateur and WBC Youth Super Featherweight Champion Lamont Roach, Jr. (13-0, 5 KOs) of Washington, D.C. will defend his title for the first time against a soon-to-be-named opponent in a 10-round scrap.
Hoping to make TV time, heavy-handed Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (4-0, 3 KOs) from San Diego, California, returns to Fantasy Springs for the first time since knocking an opponent clear out of the ring last September. This time, he will take on Miguel Barajas (2-2, 1 KO) from Guadalajara, Mexico in a six-round match-up of super featherweights.
On the non-televised portion of the card, lightweight contender Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee will bring his unblemished record to the desert in an eight-round fight against a soon-to-be-named opponent.
Welterweight KeAndre “The Truth” Gibson (16-1-1, 7 KOs) will look to come back from the first loss of his career when he takes on Dennis “The Spartan” Dauti (14-2, 7 KOs) of Naousa, Greece in an eight-round affair.
Hot off his professional debut, standout amateur Luis Feliciano (1-0) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and fighting out of Rancho Cucamonga will be back in action for a six-round super lightweight showdown against Baltazar Ramirez (3-2, 3 KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
And opening up the card, Philadelphia native Damon “No Smilin” Allen (11-0-1, 5 KOs) will put his undefeated record on the line in an eight-round match-up of lightweights against a soon-to-be-named opponent.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Friday, May 26 start at $25 and will be available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.FantasySprings.com
Vasyl Lomachenko: Where Does He Rank Among Boxing’s Greats?
Vasyl Lomachenko: Where Does He Rank Among Boxing’s Greats?
By: Harry Hogg
Hailing from a small port side town in southwest Ukraine, Vasyl Lomachenko’s rise to the top of boxing has been nothing short of sensational. In the space of three years, the man they call ‘High Tec’ is a two time world champion in two different weight classes, fighting in some of boxing most prestigious arenas. Achievement’s that most fighters spend their entire careers chasing, Lomachenko has reached in just 9 professional outings. His dazzling movement and footwork flow rhythmically with his deadly punch accuracy and hand speed. Off the back of his brutal dismantlement of Jason Sosa in Maryland, Lomachenko is now recognized by many as the best fighter in the world. Heavyweight legend George Foreman described him as “The best fighter since Muhammed Ali”.
But the manner in which he has so easily despatched of his opponents has stirred the echoes of another question, where does he rank among boxing greatest?
Lomachenko turned professional back in 2013 after an amateur career which boasted a monstrous record of 396 victories with just 1 defeat, as well as two Olympic gold medals. Under the guidance of Bob Arums ‘Top Rank’ promotions, the Ukrainian claimed his first world title in just his third fight.
A majority point’s victory over the world class Gary Russel Jr ensured Lomachenko’s place in history, equalling Saensak Muangsurin’srecord as the only other fighter to claim a world title so quickly in their career.
A record that dwarfs those of his modern day rivals, with Floyd Mayweather having to wait until his 18th
fight and Manny Pacquaio his 25th. Going back further with the likes of Whitaker, Ali, Duran,and Chávez who were all taken into double figures before eventually claiming their world titles.
The stats for Lomachenko are impressive as well, according to the data collected by CompuBox, the 29 year tops the Plus/Minus list (Percentage of punches landed minus punches taken) with +20.9.The highest score since Floyd Mayweather’s +24.5 in his retirement fight against Andre Berto in 2015.
But perhaps the most impressive statistic of them all is the percentage of punches landed on Lomachenko. With just 16.1%, no other fighter in the world today comes close, even the magnificent defensive genius Guillermo Rigondeaux. Astatistic that speaks volumes for Lomachenko when you consider his full throttle intensive attacking style. As oppose to Rigondeaux’s tight guard and counter-punching stance.
The numbers are there for all to see, but focusing solely on his in ring technical ability, there are few that compare. Once described as boxing’s “Picasso” Lomachenko oozes class and seems flawless in every department.
A lot is made of his electric movement and ability change the angles instantly, keeping his opponent guessing where the next punch is coming from. Add that to his ferocious intensity, speed and excellent defensive awareness, you have arguably the most complete fighter of his generation.
Widely regarded as the best amateur fighter of all time, his finest performance to date was undoubtedly his 2016 victory over Nicolas Walters in Las Vegas. A fitting way to mark Bob Arums 2000th promotional event. Walters, supposedly meant to be the Ukrainian’s toughest test, was outclassed from start to finish. The golf in class was such that Walters refused to continue after the 7th round. “I was holding on just to survive the round, It would be stupid to come out after that last round” said Walters.Rarely have we seen someone make a top level opponent look so ordinary. The performance was reminiscent of Mayweather’s masterclass against Saúl Canelo Álvarez backin 2013.
Making the transition from the amateur ranks to the professionals is no easy task. Fighters are often eased into the paid ranks with countless safe fights against below average opponent’s, before eventually making the step up to world level.
Lomachenko is the exception to that rule, and the reason why is evident. His persistent desire to fight top level competition one after another without the need for warm up bouts is admirable.
This of course comes with a great deal risk, minor errors can be punished, Lomachenko found this out first hand in his one and only defeat of his professional career in 2014. A controversial split decisionloss to the tough Orlando Salido in Texas.
Despite the controversy surrounding Salido’s significant weight advantage and persistent low blows, Lomachenko would have no doubt learnt from his slow start, and reluctance to let his hands go in the first half of the fight.A potential rematch between the two would surely bring a different outcome.
His promoter Bob Arum described him as being “in a class of his own, there’s nobody who can do what he can” he said. “Anybody who loves boxing has to love this kid and the way he performs”.High praise indeed, from one of boxing’s most respected figures. A man who has promoted some of the sports most premier superstars such as Pacquiao, Ali, Chávez, De La Hoya, Hagler and Hearns.Arum noticed Lomachenko’s outstanding ability did not hesitate to throw him in deep end straight away.
It is difficult to say with any real certainty were Lomachenko ranks amongboxing’s greats at this early point. After allhis professional career consisting of nine fights is only just short of four years old. But one thing is for certain, we have never seen a fighter quite like him in recent memory. Despite already laying claim to two world titles and being widely considered as the worlds pound for pound king, the Ukrainian star knows that his toughest tests are still to come. Potential super fights against the likes of Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford or even the exciting Gervonta Davis loom on the horizon. But from what we seen so far, Lomachenko has everything he needs to go on a cement himself as one of boxing’s greatest ever fighters.
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
By: William Holmes
Bob Arum’s “three amigos”; Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez, and Jessie Magdaleno will compete on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson California on Pay Per View (PPV). This PPV will be produced and distributed by Top Rank Promotions without the assistance of HBO or Showtime.
These three Mexican boxers have been training together in Carson, California in preparation for this bout and are ready to defend their titles. Also appearing on the undercard will be US Olympian Shakur Stevenson and Ukranian Olympian Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.
The following is a preview of the three televised title bouts.
Jessie Magdaleno (24-0) vs. Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
The first title bout of the night will be between Jessie Magdaleno and Brazilian boxer Adeilson Dos Santos.
Magdaleno has a deep amateur background and was the 2009 US National Champ as an amateur and a National Golden Gloves Champion. Dos Santos has no notable amateur background.
Dos Santos will have about a four inch height advantage and is the same age as Magdaleno. However, Magdaleno has seventeen stoppage wins on his resume while Dos Santos has fourteen stoppage wins, but was also stopped once.
Both boxers have been semi active in the past two years. Magdaleno fought two times in 2016 and three times in 2015 while Dos Santos fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Magdaleno has never tasted defeated while Dos Santos has gone 4-2 in his past six fights.
Magdaleno has beaten the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda. Dos Santos has no big name wins, and his biggest wins to date have come against opponents such as Devis Perez and Marcos Martinez. Dos Santos has lost to Fabian Oscar Orozco and Kid Galahad.
Dos Santos’ resume is void of big name opponents and his two losses came against fighters that are not considered by most to be world class boxers. He went outside of Brazil to fight twice, and went 1-1 in those bouts.
Magdaleno really let the boxing world he’s the real deal with his impressive victory over Nonito Donaire and has the potential to land some more big name fights in the near future. Dos Santos is an opponent who had success in Brazil, but little success either as an amateur or a professional outside of Brazil.
This should be an easy bout for Magdaleno and it shouldn’t be a competitive fight.
Gilberto Ramirez (34-0) vs. Max Bursak (33-4-1); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Gilberto Ramirez is considered by many to be the next Mexican boxer. Ramirez, who turned pro at the age of eighteen, is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion. His opponent, Max Bursak, has fought several high profile boxers and is a rugged veteran.
Ramirez will be seven years younger than his opponent and will have two and a half inch height advantage as well as a four inch reach advantage. He also has the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppage wins while Bursak only has fifteen stoppage wins.
Ramirez only fought once in 2016 due to an injury and fought three times in 2015. Bursak fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015. Bursak fights out of an orthodox stance while Ramirez fights as a southpaw.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur background, but Ramirez already has the better resume as a professional.
Ramirez has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maksim Vlasov, Junior Talipeau, and Giovanni Lorenzo. Bursak has defeated the likes of Nick Blackwell and Brian Vera. His losses were to Zac Dunn, Martin Murray, Jarrod Fletcher, and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
This is another bout on this pay per view that shouldn’t be very competitive. Ramirez should beat the elder Bursak easily.
The bigger question is who will Ramirez face next? Arthur Abraham has already indicated that he wants a rematch, and fellow Top Rank Boxer Jesse “Hard Work” Hart has also called out Ramirez.
Oscar Valdez (21-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (25-1); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this appears to be the best and most competitive fight of the night.
Oscar Valdez is an extremely talented boxer with a high level ceiling. He has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships. His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, has no notable amateur background.
Valdez is four years younger than Marriaga but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one inch in reach. Both boxers have considerable power in their hands. Marriaga has twenty one knockouts on his resume while Valdez has nineteen. Three of the past five opponents of Marriaga failed to make it to the distance while Valdez is currently riding a win streak of five wins by stoppage.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Valdez fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015 while Marriaga fought three times in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Valdez has never been beaten and has defeated the likes of Hiroshige Osawa, Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda, Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, and Ruben Tamayo. Marriaga’s lone loss was by decision to Nicholas Walters, he has defeated the likes of Eduardo Montoya, Guy Robb, and Christopher Martin.
Oscar Valdez is a joy to watch and this Saturday should be no different. On paper it’s the most competitive fight of the night, but in the ring Valdez should blow out his opponent just like the other two Mexican boxers on the televised card are expected to do.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland the Theater at the MGM National Harbor will be the host site for the next installment of HBO World Championships Boxing.
Three bouts will be televised, including a junior lightweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jason Sosa in the main event of the night, a light heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yuniesky Gonzalez, and a cruiserweight title fight between Aleksandr Usyk and Mike Hunter.
The non-televised undercard will feature boxers such as Mike Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2); Light Heavyweight
The opening bout of the night will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yunieski Gonzalez in the light heavyweight division.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds. Gonzalez was a member of the Cuban Amateur Team and had a record of 345-27. Gvozdyk represented the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and will be about three inches taller than Gonzalez. Gvozdyk has also been incredibly active the past two years and four times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Gonzalez fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and stopped ten of his opponents and currently has six straight stoppage wins. Gonzalez lost twice and went 2-2 in his past four fights.
Gvozdyk has already beaten the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gonzalez doesn’t have the resume of Gvozdyk and has beaten the likes of Maxwell Amponsah and Jackson Junior. His losses were to jean pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Gonzalez is a good test for Gvozdyk and this is a rare fight where we see two notable international amateur stars face off in the ring early before their twentieth professional fight. But Gvozdyk is the better skilled boxer and has the bigger wins, he should emerge victorious.
Oleksandr Usyk (11-0) vs. Michael Hunter (12-0); WBO Cruiserweight Title
Oleksandr Usyk is one of the Ukraine’s most prized prospects and he will be stepping into the ring with a former United States Olympian.
Both boxers are undefeated in their professional careers. Usyk has stopped ten of his opponents and Hunter has stopped eight. Usyk will have a slight one inch height advantage but Hunter will have an inch and a half reach advantage.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds, but Usyk experienced a lot of success on the international stage while Hunter experienced success on the national stage. Hunter is a former US National Amateur Champion and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics but failed to medal. Usyk was a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic games.
Usyk has defeated the likes of Thabiso Mchunu, Krzystzof Glowacki, and Pedro Rodriguez. Surprisingly, all of his wins thus far in his career have come against opponents with winning records.
Hunter has yet to face any significant opposition and has defeated the likes of Isiah Thomas and Phil Williams.
This should be an easy win for Usyk, despite the fact his opponent has a good amateur background.
Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) vs. Jason Sosa (20-1-4); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, pound for pound boxer in the world. He fought for a world title in only his second professional fight and is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time World Amateur Champion.
His opponent, Jason Sosa, has more of a Rocky upbringing in the sport of boxing than Lomachenko. Sosa has no notable amateur achievements on the international stage and was born and raised in poverty stricken Camden, New Jersey. He won a world title with an upset stoppage victory over then WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Javier Fortuna and is now in the biggest fight of his life.
Lomachenko will have about a one inch height advantage on Sosa but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Lomachenko’s lone loss was a disputed split decision loss to an overweight Orlando Salido early on in his career. He has since destroyed every other opponent he has faced.
He has already defeated the likes of Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Suriya Tatakhun, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez before he even competed in his tenth professional fight. Lomachenko has stopped five of his opponents.
Sosa has fifteen knockouts to his credit and one stoppage loss. His lone loss was to Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2010, early on in Sosa’s career. He has defeated the likes of Javier Fortuna, Stephen Smith, Jerry Belmontes, Michael Brooks, and Angel Ocasio. Sosa did have a disputed draw with Nicholas Walters, but many felt he lost that fight.
Jason Sosa is a good gritty boxer that consistently puts on entertaining bouts. He has the heart of a champion, but Lomachenko is on a different level than Sosa and that should be immediately apparent.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Sosa gives Lomachenko problems and this should be a relatively easy bout for Lomachenko.
Vasyl Lomachenko: Enter the Matrix
Vasyl Lomachenko: Enter the Matrix
By: Francisco Martinez
April 8th Vasyl Lomachenko enters the ring once again and his opponent Jason Sosa will step into the matrix and experience what Lomachenko calls hi-tech. Both fighters have an opponent in common in Nicholas Walters. Sosa went the distance in a majority decision loss to Walters in a fight many thought he actually won. Lomachenko confused and systematically picked apart Walters until Walters had enough and refused to come out for the 8th round. A decision he made on his own as his team pleaded with him to continue fighting but chose not to after realizing he was starting to take a beating and hadn’t won 1 single round prior to the decision of not wanting anymore of Vasyl Lomachenko after 7 perplexing rounds.
Vasyl Lomachenko is arguably the best pound for pound fighter today but to his own account he would humbly disagree and rank others ahead of himself like placing Gennady Golovkin at #1 and Sergey Kovalev along with Terence Crawford in the number 2 and 3 slots. However his team speaks more confidently about Lomachenko as Russ Anber of Rival Gear fame who’s not Lomachenko’s trainer but contributes to the World Boxing Gymnasium formerly known as the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. Anber says this about Lomachenko
“I think he already is (number one pound for pound fighter today) and my argument is when people say, we really can’t consider him because he’s only had 8 pro fights, that’s the reason you should consider him because no other pound for pound great in boxing history (was) even Sugar Ray Robinson wasn’t considered pound for pound great when he only had 8 fights that’s the reason you should consider him. I mean no one has done what this guy has done. You have to give credit where credit is do, I mean this guy has done it now to me. He’s considered or if you don’t want to give him the position or you just consider him nobody has been considered that so early in a pro career. He’s a phenom, there hasn’t been anybody like him in boxing history and I’m talking all the greats. The closes one to probably have that was Roy (Jones Jr.) and they didn’t get him the fights that he wanted at that time but besides him there’s no one this guy is a phenom”
Vasyl Lomachenko’s strength and conditioning coach, Cicilio Flores who’s one of the top S & C coaches in boxing having worked with Sergio Martinez in the primed years of his career knows a special fighter when he sees one and Lomachenko is just that as he explains the differences and similarities between both unique pugilists “you know, they’re two different animals but what they have in common is their mind set and their work ethic, he works hard. They have that movement because it works for them but it’s their freaking mind set man and there’s a couple of moves Lomachenko would do that I would say, wow he looks like Sergio but they train hard man. I remember vividly Sergio’s goal was to become the pound for pound best fighter but Lomachenko is doing it faster he’s in a speed boat, you know and it’s beautiful to see and we’re watching history and it’s beautiful to be apart of”
With possible showdowns in the loom for Vasyl Lomachenko against the likes of Mikey Garcia, Terry Flanagan, Jorge Linares and even Manny Pacquiao, Lomachenko won’t allow himself to slip up “Yeah I want these fights” states a Pacquiao showdown will only be at 135lbs “if we’re talking about 135lbs it would be an interesting fight for me I think not for Manny…he’s has a lot of years and after 30 years, 31 years your (hand) speed slows down” Lomachenko sounding confident that he can match up against the Filipino Icon, Pacquiao but doesn’t allow himself to get too ahead of the conversation before saying it would be to no respect of his April 8th rival in Jason Sosa if he didn’t focus on the task at hand which could be detrimental to his own position and future plans of these possible mega fights.
As great and as flawless as Vasyl Lomachenko has performed he does have a style which he finds a little complicated for himself “all the people know it’s just one style, the Mexican style. I don’t hear about another style. For me it’s Mexican style and second style, I have one more style, Lomachenko style, that’s it” words of confidence by Lomachenko hinting his style isn’t of the norm which many won’t argue for there’s a reason they call him the Matrix.
April 8th Jason Sosa will meet Hi-Tech, Vasyl Lomachenko in a 12 round bout for Lomachenko’s WBO 130lbs title on HBO in the MGM National Harbor, Oxon Hill in Maryland a pivotal fight to the possible future mega showdowns with Mikey Garcia and even Manny Pacquiao. In this card you’ll also have Lomachenko’s country men in Alex Gvozdyk a highly touted 175lbs prospect along with Oleksandr Usyk who’s considered by most the best cruiserweight at the moment and will be defending his WBO title.
So tune in this April 8th live on HBO for a glimpse at the present in boxing with Vasyl Lomachenko and the future of boxing with Alex Gvozdyk & Oleksandr Usyk. Follow complete coverage leading up to fight night by using #HBOboxing
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
by John Freund
Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz just weighed in for their upcoming bout tomorrow night at MGM’s Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Both fighters matched the 126-pound weight limit, and both looked determined as they met face-to-face for the final time before their much anticipated rematch.
If Frampton should win this fight, he will likely be crowned the king of the Featherweights, having then defeated 3-division world champion Santa Cruz twice. That would catapult him to the top of what is rapidly being considered boxing’s most competitive weight class. Aside from Frampton and Santa Cruz, prominent Featherweights include Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares, Jesus Cuellar – whom Mares defeated in his last fight, and hard-hitting Oscar Valdez. And let’s not forget about Lee Selby, who is defending his IBF title against former world champ Jonathan Barros on the undercard. Frampton has already declared that should he win his fight against Santa Cruz, he wants to unify the titles in his hometown of Belfast against Selby this summer.
“I just want to be involved in big fights,” Frampton said. “I’m 30 in February. It’s not like I have years and years left, so I want them to all be big fights now. And Selby is a big fight.”
Indeed, should the two UK superstars square-off, it could mean one of Britain’s biggest fights ever, outside of the Heavyweight division. For the Welsh-born Selby, a win against The Ring’s 2016 ‘Fighter of the Year’ honoree Frampton would provide a catapult to superstardom, should he defeat the Irishman in front of his hometown fans.
“He (Frampton) had the stand-out fight with Santa Cruz last year,” Selby told The Telegraph. “It changed his profile overnight. That’s what I’m looking for, that one stand-out fight. I think mine could be against Carl Frampton.”
For that to happen, both men need to be victorious tomorrow night; no small feat for either fighter. Although he is heavily favored, Selby faces a very dangerous opponent in former champion Barros, who has a ton of experience, this being his 47th fight. And Frampton will of course have his hands full during the rematch with Santa Cruz. Should the Mexican-American star regain his title, odds are he and Frampton will square off for a third time, in what could mean another epic boxing trilogy alongside the likes of Barrera-Morales, and Gatti-Ward.
Boxing fans not already prone to rooting for either fighter actually have a tough call tomorrow night. Whom to root for? Frampton-Selby this summer would be epic, but then again so would Frampton-Santa Cruz III.
Hey, with all of the PR trouble the sport has seen recently, it’s nice to know there’s at least one division that doesn’t need heating up… because it’s already red hot. Tomorrow night we’ll find out just how competitive the Featherweight division really is.
Selby Defends IBF Crown Against Jon Barros With One Eye on a Unification Fight
Selby Defends IBF Crown Against Jon Barros With One Eye on a Unification Fight
By: Phil Oscarson
Former WBA World featherweight champion Jonathon Victor Barros (http://boxrec.com/boxer/244423) fought his way to a split decision over Satoshi Hosono in early October. Barros` 41st professional victory laid the path for a mandatory title shot against Lee Selby (http://www.premierboxingchampions.com/lee-selby) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 28th.
This will only be the third fight in the last year and half for Selby since he took ownership of the IBF belt. Selby has made good on each of his two previous title defenses – both by unanimous decision – since he snatched the IBF World featherweight belt away from Evgeny Gradovich in May of 2015. Barros seems to be all that stands in Selby’s way of big payday unification battle at some point in 2017.
Appeal of a Selby-Gradovich Rematch TKO’d
Sports book review (http://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-sites/) was primed to set odds on a potential Selby – Gradovich rematch, but Mexico’s unbeaten Oscar Valdez erased that notion in April of last year. The undefeated Valdez hammered the Russian featherweight, winning by TKO at the 2:14 mark in the 4th round.
Boxing enthusiasts are salivating at the idea of a Valdez vs. Selby unifying title fight, but Selby must first handle the experienced Barros. The main event at the MGM in just over three weeks will throw a third belt holder in the unification conversation.
The Argentinian Has Experience
While Selby would appear to be the odds-on favorite to continue as the IBF titleholder, the Argentinean veteran has the ability to drag the fight out, maintaining a punchers chance at an upset. Selby’s only loss came nearly 8 years ago to Samir Mouneimne a high stamina fighter with a knack for taking fights the distance.
Barros built an esteemed record, undefeated with a single draw during the first 8 years of his career. With 28 victories on his card, Barros was given a shot at the WBA featherweight title in early 2010. Cuban Yuriokis Gamboa would hand Barros his first professional loss, but later that same year he would take advantage of another title opportunity, knocking out Panamanian Irving Berry in the 7th round.
Lee Selby has fought only twice in the last year and a half, albeit both were defenses of his IBF crown. Selby has weathered a barrage of criticism from the boxing world for stepping into the ring one single time in 2016.
All the critical comments from boxing experts aside, Selby might need to worry about shaking off a little rust against a seasoned fighter like Barros. While most predictions give little chance for an upset by the 32-year-old former champion, Barros has 46 fights to draw from, almost double the professional fight count of Selby.
Selby’s United Kingdom based promoter Eddie Hearn has even voiced his criticism of his fighter for only taking to the canvas twice since earning the IBF belt. Hearn’s in all honesty has a valid point since Selby has taken an extended vacation since the Welshman defended his title the second time against the Outlaw – American Eric Hunter.
Selby Eyes Frampton Unification Bout
Also looming on the featherweight horizon is another promising unification fight between the winner of January 28th main event Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz. Selby has already voiced an interest in stepping into the ring against Frampton, but the undefeated “Jackal” must first defeat Santa Cruz a second time in less than a year. Cruz will be looking to avenge his only professional loss courtesy of Frampton in their July title fight at the Barclays Center in New York.
All indications point to the question of how decisively Lee Selby can defeat Barros, not whether Barros has much of a chance to hoist another belt. Selby should be able to win by a wide decision, laying the groundwork for some intriguing future title matchups. But, he better keep both eyes on Barros and not one on a big payday future fight, or he might end up with the second blemish on his professional fighting record.
Jason Sosa Retains WBA Super featherweight title over Stephen Smith!
Jason Sosa Retains WBA Super featherweight title over Stephen Smith!
By: Ken Hissner
Camden, NJ, resident Jason “Canito” Sosa, 20-1-4 (15) made his first title defense a successful one in Salle des Etoiles, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Saturday night defeating his No. 7 contender the UK’s Stephen “Swifty” Smith, 24-3 (14), over 12 rounds.
It was a hard fought fight with Sosa dropping Smith within seconds of the second round with a left hook to the head. Smith survived but in the third round received a cut just under the right eye brow that bled the rest of the way from a Sosa flurry. Several times the ring physician was called into the ring to inspect the cut. This may have caused Smith to do too much holding throughout the fight.
Early in the fight Sosa was too strong for Smith winning five of the first six rounds. Smith came back to take rounds seven and eight with the ninth close. Sosa finished up like a champion taking the last three rounds.
“He executed everything we worked on. The referee warned him once but should have been more forceful. He’s only had 3 amateur fights. Every time he fights the UK fighter had several hundred fights. It was really a good performance on Jason’s part. We would like to unify by fighting IBF champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza, 22-0” of Puerto Rico. He barely got by Stephen Smith in April of this year,” said Rivas.
Scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 116-112 all for Sosa. In his corner was his trainer and manager Raul “Chino” Rivas assisted by Rashiem Jefferson. At ringside the UK’s Tony Bellew’s had it 8-4 in rounds with the first round even while Dave Caldwell had it 9-3 in rounds. This writer had it 10-2 in rounds.
“Sosa is one of the strongest 130s around if not THE strongest. With only 3 amateur fights he is still learning and has 100% faith in his trainer and in me. He landed some terrific body shots. Smith also landed some good punches and on one occasion he did buzz Sosa but only briefly. Smith also went to the body and was never intimidated but the difference in punching power was obvious. Again, I have to hand it to the WBA for sending 3 judges who were not in the least intimidated by the hundreds of Brit’s screaming every time Smith threw a punch, whether it landed or not. Sosa is the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing….still gets no respect. They keep writing how he got a gift draw with Walters, then trailed big before stopping Fortuna and he was just a 6/5 favorite over Smith. His last 3 fights have been in New York, China and France and the combined record of those 3 guys at fight time was 79-3-1 with 56 KO’s though he went 2-0-1,” said J Russell Peltz.
Smith lost in another title bid in April of this year losing to IBF champion Jose Pedroza at Foxwoods Resort in CT. He has held the British Super featherweight, and the WBC International Silver Super featherweight titles. For Sosa he hasn’t lost in his last seventeen fights which include’s three draws. Right next to Sosa afterwards was his friend and sparring partner Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, who is No. 5 in the WBC super featherweight rankings and Sosa had this to say about Farmer “We train together every day (Cherry Hill, NJ and both trained by Chino Rivas). I have learned a lot from him. I wouldn’t be champ today if it wasn’t for him,” said Sosa.
Afterwards Smith said “I have no excuses. I had a bad start and it cost me. I tried my best but thought I lost. I was forcing the fight after getting cut which is not my style,” said Smith.
Sosa said: “First and foremost I want to thank God. Without Him I wouldn’t be a world champion. I want to thank my trainer Raul rivas, Rashiem Jefferson, Tevin Farmer, Steven Ortiz and Anthony Burgin. “The reason I’m champion today is we put a hell of hard work in the gym. The game plan went the way we practiced in the gym. Every game plan comes out to perfection and that’s why I’m world champion today. (Interviewer: You are a real road warrior) Yes sir I get to tour the world like every world champion should do,” said Sosa. I like traveling the world going into their backyards and sometimes being an underdog. I would like to fight in my home country of Puerto Rico. I hope to fight 3 times next year,” said Sosa.
A Look at the Junior Featherweight Division
A Look at the Junior Featherweight Division
By: Eric Lunger
While the heavyweight division is still in flux with Tyson Fury’s sudden withdrawal from the Klitschko fight, and while fans and commentators are still tying themselves into pretzels over the lack of unification in the middleweight division, there is a golden generation in the junior featherweight class. But unfortunately, though perhaps predictably, all four of the major belts are held by different fighters: Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO’s) WBA; Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KO’s) WBO; Jonathan Guzman (22-0, 22 KO’s) IBF; and Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16 KO’s) WBC.
Let’s take a look at these four stars and see where the division is headed. First off, I will make a confession: I am a huge Guillermo Rigondeaux fan. I know that some find him boring and dull, with a cautious defensive style. He is brilliant defensively, and he will pull some slips and upper body movements that will make you shake your head in disbelief. But he also has tremendous firepower in his left hand and will unleash it with unexpected ferocity. Watching Rigondeaux fight is like playing with liquid gelignite: it might explode at any moment. Unfortunately, Rigo can’t seem to get anyone into the ring with him. His last fight, this summer against James “Jazza” Dickens in Cardiff, Wales, was a disappointment. Rigondeaux and his team did a great job in the pre-fight build up, including an incredible display of athleticism during an open workout in downtown Cardiff, but the bout itself consisted of one round of Rigo measuring Dickens, and a second round in which the Cuban launched a devastating left that broke Dickens’ jaw. His corner waved the fight off.
So the question remains for Rigondeaux: whom to fight next? He only fought once in 2015. He has already beaten Donaire (in April of 2013) by unanimous decision. “Most feared and avoided in the division” is a cliché, but an apt one for Rigondeaux. Carl Frampton said as much after his Santa Cruz fight, bluntly stating that Rigo does not bring enough money to a fight to justify the risk. Rigondeaux has been picked up by Roc Nation promotions, so perhaps there is hope for fans that we might see him in the ring again soon.
Out of the four junior featherweight title-holders, Nonito Donaire is probably the best known. He has 40 professional bouts under his belt at age 33, so he has been around the block more than once. Impressive and articulate in interviews, Donaire knows where he is in terms of his career, and what he expects to get out of boxing over the next few years. He took a loss (TKO in the sixth) to Nicholas Walters in November of 2014, though in that bout he had moved up to the 126 lbs. limit, and Walters did look significantly bigger than Donaire in the ring. Since then, Nonito has been managed well, and has been put into position for an exciting fight on November 5 against Jesse Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KO’s), on the Lomachenko-Walters undercard. I am excited to see how Donaire handles Magdaleno’s speed and power. It should be a compelling bout.
Jonathan Guzman won the IBF belt (which Frampton vacated) by defeating Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12 KO’s) in Osaka, Japan in July of this year. Guzman, from the Dominican Republic, has heavy hands and an attractive, fan-friendly style. He is aggressive without being reckless, comes forward consistently, and possesses excellent hand speed. Guzman handled Wake without any real trouble, though a head clash in the second round open a bad cut under Wake’s right eye. The damage was a factor in the rest of the fight and in the 11th round stoppage. Guzman is tentatively scheduled to defend his belt against Yukinori Oguni (18-1, 7 KO’s) in Japan on December 31st.
Finally, there is Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan. He is an interesting fighter with a long, professional record. Hasegawa won the WBC strap by defeating Hugo Ruiz (36-3, 32 KO’s) last month in Osaka. Hasegawa briefly held the WBC featherweight title, losing it to Jhonny Gonzalez in 2011, but he reigned as the WBC bantamweight champion from 2005 until 2010, making a remarkable 10 successful defenses in that period. For all that, Hasegawa has never fought outside of Japan. A southpaw, Hasegawa fights from range, using a pawing right jab to slap down his opponent’s lead, while looking to land his looping overhand left.
In the Ruiz fight, Hasegawa was better but not dominant. He scored a lot of straight overhand lefts from his southpaw stance, but Ruiz often presented a stationary target. Hasegawa out-pointed Ruiz, but the Japanese fighter was clearly hittable. He is certainly willing to trade and to take a punch in order to land one. The ninth round showcased some incredible action, with Ruiz managing to pin Hasegawa against the ropes and delivering a sustained attack. But, incredibly, the thirty-five year old Hasegawa found the strength to rally, launched his own flurry off the ropes, and blasted Ruiz back into the center of the ring. Ruiz’s corner did not allow their man to come out for the 10th, as Ruiz had sustained significant damage. Do yourself a favor and watch the ninth round again (preferably with Japanese commentary for atmosphere); you won’t be disappointed.
Clearly, Hasegawa is in his later years, career and boxing-wise, with Donaire not that far behind. But Guzman and Rigondeaux are in their prime, and either fighter could make a viable bid to unify the division. What would it take to get Guzman and Rigondeaux together in the ring? In the current atmosphere of fighters tending to avoid risky fights, it will take a lot. But we can dream, can’t we?
After A Brilliant Victory, Frampton Publicly Declares He’ll Keep Avoiding Rigondeaux
After A Brilliant Victory, Frampton Publicly Declares He’ll Keep Avoiding Rigondeaux
By: Sean Crose
Why, Carl Frampton, why?
You looked so good on Saturday night against Leo Santa Cruz! Indeed, you looked brilliant. Sure enough, I said aloud that I thought you might be able to actually beat Guillermo Rigondeaux if you two should some way, somehow, get around to actually fighting. You made it clear after beating Santa Cruz convincingly that you still wouldn’t be facing Rigo, however…you just wouldn’t. Fair enough, but make no mistake about it, this avoidance of a gifted foe will follow you around. Count on it.
For while the internet makes life easier for people, it also makes for longer memories. There will always be a tweet or post out there to remind people that you avoided the best competition available. In short, people won’t forget. Perhaps you don’t care. You indicated after the Santa Cruz fight that you’ve got a family to support, after all, and that you need to focus on money. Again, fair enough, but just remember that you’re making a lot more than the average boxing fan right now. A lot more. You’ve also got the looks and personality to have a successful career around the fight game after you retire – so long, of course, as you keep your brains about you.
Oh, and claiming you don’t want to fight Rigo because the match will be boring is lame. Honestly, it sounds like a cop out. Saying, as you did, that you “would fight anyone,” except that you “want to be involved in exciting fights,” smells, frankly, like a duck. Sure, Rigo can be boring. Really boring. Every honest person can admit as much – but he’s in your general weight realm and most think he’s better than you. Although that puts you in a sticky position, it is what it is.
Look, there’s a lot to like about you, Carl Frampton. You’re a gentleman and you’re a hell of a fighter – two things boxing always needs. There’s no doubt you’re physically brave, but it looks like you’ve got a world class case of career fear, even now, during what may well be your crowning ring achievement. And while it’s true there’s good reason for you to have that uneasiness, you’re a professional boxer and professional boxers don’t look good when they obviously avoid tough competition. That’s even true in this day and age.
Again, it’s easy to sympathize with you on this, Carl. For Rigo is indeed the ultimate high risk, low reward opponent. You’re an athlete, however, and an athlete who avoids a legitimate challenge tarnishes his legacy. And that’s something to think about.
Frampton Decisions Santa Cruz in Slugfest, Harrison and Garcia Win by TKO
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Frampton Decisions Santa Cruz in Slugfest, Harrison and Garcia Win by TKO
By: William Holmes
Tonight’s edition of Showtime Championship Boxing was presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and broadcast live from the Barcalys Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The undercard was packed with televised worthy bouts. Amanda Serrano was able to retain her WBO World Featherweight Championship with a first round TKO over Calixta Silgado. This victory sets up a possible title fight with fellow undefeated Heather “The Heat” Hardy, who was in attendance and watched the bout keenly from ringside.
Two bouts were televised on Showtime Extreme before the start of the main card on showtime. Tevin Farmer was able to score a mild upset over Ivan Redkach with scores of 99-89, 98-90, and 98-90 in the lightweight division. Paulie Malignaggi faced off against Gabriel Bracero in the main event of Showtime Extreme and was able to win the decision victory in the welterweight division with scores of 96-94, 98-92, and 98-92.
Photo Credit: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions
The first televised bout on Showtime was between Tony Harrison (23-1) and Sergey Rabchenko (27-1) in the junior middleweight division.
Tony Harrison, a Detroit native that was formerly trained by the late Emmanuel Steward, is a boxer with a lot of promise that lost some of his luster when he was upset by Willie Nelson.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and felt each other out in the opening round. Harrison began to throw more straight right hands and combinations in the second round and was starting to find his target.
Rabchenko was more aggressive in the third and fourth rounds than Harrison, but he wasn’t able to land many punches of significance as Harrison was able to keep his jab in the face of Rabchenko and out of range.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds played out like the earlier rounds, with Harrison pop shotting Rabchenko but not taking any risks to try and finish the fight.
Fans were starting to boo the action in the seventh round and that continued into the eighth, though Harrison was able to land some hard left hooks to the head of Rabchenko.
Harrison scored a knockdown n the ninth round with crisp straight right hand to the temple of Rabchenko that put him on wobbly legs and down to the mat. He was able to get up before the ten count but still had shaky legs and waived off the bout.
Tony Harrison wins by TKO at 1:18 of the ninth round.
Mikey Garcia (34-0) returned from a two year layoff to face Elio Rojas (24-2) in the Super Lightweight Division in the co-main event of the night.
Garcia refused to touch the gloves of Rojas at the start of the bout. Garcia looked good, physically, in the junior welterweight division, but was tentative in the opening round and might have given it away on inactivity alone.
Rojas threw more punches and landed more punches than Garcia in the second round, but Garcia started to warm up near the end and was able to land a hard lead left hook and straight right hand.
Garcia started off the third round by landing some piston like jabs and was chasing Rojas around the ring. He was able to land a short left hook out of nowhere that sent Rojas to the mat and on one knee. Rojas was able to get back to his feet and land some counter punches when the action continued, but was cracked with a hard straight right hand that sent him to the mat for a second time. Rojas, to his credit, was able to survive the round and second knockdown.
Rojas was able to stay on his feet in the fourth round and connect with an occasional straight right hand, Garcia, however, pressed forward the entire round and landed the heavier shots in the round.
Garcia scored another knockdown in the fifth round with a straight right hand. Rojas beat the count again, but got cracked with a left hook from Garcia that sent him to the mat for the fourth, and final time.
Mikey Garcia wins by TKO at 2:02 of the fifth round.
The main event of the evening was between Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1) and Carl Frampton (22-0) for the WBA World Featherweight Championship.
The upper sections in the Barclays Center were closed off, but the bottom half of the arena was packed and many fans of Carl Frampton were in attendance and were very loud and supportive of their fighter and very hostile towards Santa Cruz.
The crowd was deafening in the opening round and both boxers seemed content with trading leather rather than feeling each other out. Santa Cruz appeared to have landed more, but the crowd roared every time Frampton landed a punch and may have titled the scorecards in his favor.
The crowd continued to sing in the second round to spur their fighter on, and Frampton got them exited when he rocked Santa Cruz with a counter left hook and sent him stumbling backwards. Santa Cruz was able to stay on his feet, and land good shots of his own, but that punch likely won Frampton the round.
Santa Cruz looked recovered by the third round and continued to come forward throwing a high volume of punches, but Frampton landed several crisp counters and dug in some heavy body shots.
The fourth round had several good exchanges, but Santa Cruz appeared to land the higher number of punches and caught Frampton by surprise with a good right hand to the temple. Both fighters landed, and took, several hard shots to the head.
The action slowed down in the fifth round, and the slow down clearly favored Frampton. His counter punches were more noticeable this round and Santa Cruz looked frustrated.
The action picked up again in the sixth round and featured both boxers standing in the middle of the ring and exchanging and firing at will, but Santa Cruz appeared to get the better of Frampton and did good work to the body and head.
Santa Cruz did state that he would begin to take over the fight in the sixth round in pre-fight interviews.
It looked in the seventh round that Santa Cruz’s prediction might come true, as he kept up the pressure and took the fight to Frampton. Frampton was still able to land an occasional counter, but he was not landing them as cleanly as he did in the opening rounds.
Frampton retook control in the eighth round by landing good shots to the body when in tight and connected on several hooks to the head of Santa Cruz.
Frampton did well in the opening minute of the ninth round and was matching the work rate of Santa Cruz, which not many people can do. However, Santa Cruz connected with two hard right hands near the end of the round and was doing some damage on Frampton when his back was against the ropes.
The tenth round could have been scored either way, as Santa Cruz pressed the action but Frampton was landing some good counter shots.
The eleventh round was one of Santa Cruz’s best rounds. He landed several hard right hands and appeared to hurt Frampton once or twice, but Frampton was able to land good shots of his own.
The crowd was on its feet in the final round and neither boxer could have felt comfortable going to the scorecards. Several violent exchanges were made in this round, and both boxers landed their fair share of punches and like several rounds before it, could have gone either way.
It was an exciting and action packed title fight. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, 117-111 for Carl Frampton for a majority decision victory.
Undercard Quick Recap:
Josh Taylor (6-0) defeated Evinii Dixon (7-15-1) by TKO at the end of the second round in the junior welterweight division.
Min-Wook Kim (16-1) defeated Louis Cruz (11-2-1) by TKO at 2:33 of the first round in the junior welterweight division.
Jose Gomez (8-0) defeated Josh Crespo (5-4-3) by TKO at 2:31 of the first round in the featherweight division.
Conrad Cummings (10-0-1) defeated Dante Moore (9-1-2) by decision with scores of 59-53, 58-54, and 58-54 in the middleweight division.
Amanda Serrano (29-1) retained her WBO World Featherweight Championship with a TKO victory over Calixta Silgado (14-7-3) at 1:41 of the first round.
Tevin Farmer (22-4-1) defeated Ivan Redkach (19-2-1) by decision with scores of 99-89, 98-90, and 98-90 in the lightweight division.
Paulie Malignaggi (36-7) defeated Gabriel Bracero (24-3) by scores of 96-94, 98-92, and 98-92 in the welterweight division.
More Than A Belt: Santa Cruz vs Frampton
More Than A Belt: Santa Cruz vs Frampton
By: Brandon Bernica
Dreams come to life in the Big Apple. Lives constantly intersect. People from far-reaching locations around the globe converge in this concrete jungle in hopes of capturing the American dream. In New York, competition to the top is a little stiffer, but the opportunities are a little more grandiose.
Saturday night will pit Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton against one another for the WBA Featherweight World Championship. The fight will happen in Brooklyn, New York amidst a crowd of city dwellers who are all too familiar with the struggles of proving oneself. Because, whether Santa Cruz or Frampton realize it or not, more than a belt is at stake in this fight. Just like New York’s inhabitants, they both fought to distinguish themselves from the crowd; now, they will attempt to carve legacies enduring far beyond the splendor of a singular win.
See, fans sometimes look back on these types of fights with remorse, not having comprehended the significance of these matchups when they happened. Truthfully, the glow of this bout hides behind the circumstances around it. Take that the PBC consistently receives flack for showcasing non-intriguing one-sided fights. When a gem such as this one sparkles brightest amongst a lackluster schedule, it’s hard to determine just how compelling the fight really is. In addition, HBO aired a PPV this past Saturday featuring Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol. While experts probably would tout Santa Cruz vs. Frampton as the better choice, being on PPV can make fights appear greater than their actual value.
Two undefeated fighters butting heads is a no-brainer win. But the fighters’ rich resumes and their individual fighting styles accentuate this bout as extraordinary. Both of their resume’s shine with exceptional wins. However, their only shared opponent is Kiko Martinez, a rugged veteran from Spain. Frampton demolished him with two knockouts in two blood-rushing fights, while Santa Cruz went toe-to-toe with Martinez en-route to a stoppage of his own. Martinez (a former champion himself) and his losses to these two men confirm just how far ahead of the pack both Santa Cruz and Frampton are heading into Saturday night’s clash.
Style-wise, this matchup flourishes as a potential slugfest. Frampton excels on both the back foot and front foot, depending on the style he needs to win. He demonstrates power and grit, cycling between gears with ease. Santa Cruz, however, knows one gear: forward. He marches ahead and relentlessly bombards his foes with punches that never seem to seize. While nerves could freeze both fighters into more cautionary styles, something tells me that competing at such a high level will bring the best out of both men. Youth vs. youth. Length (Santa Cruz) vs. compact punching (Frampton). Who wants it more? Who can adapt better?
To add flavor to the storylines surrounding the bout, both men hail from boxing-rich traditions. Frampton comes from the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, to be exact) while Mexican blood courses through Santa Cruz’s veins. Fans from both Mexico and the United Kingdom share rabid passion for their brethren in the fighting ranks. With the rise of various world-ranked fighters from both nations, the potential for a boxing rivalry to form only grows stronger. You can bet the last dollar in your wallet that each side will cheer their lungs out for their man to come out on top.
In the end, country pride looms as a sliver of the backdrop to this pertinent matchup. Boxing’s current landscape opposes top-level fights in favor of money-making draws. Substance decays on the backburner in favor of sizzle. As fans, we wait years for ideal meetings of talent in the ring. Yet we’re so conditioned by the disappointment of boxing politics that it’s tempting to care less when we’re finally thrown a bone. Don’t fall into the trap. Hindsight is 20/20, and years from now, this bout could be known as the defining bout in both Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton’s careers.
Rigondeaux’s Left Leaves Dickens a Broken Man
Rigondeaux’s Left Leaves Dickens a Broken Man
By: Oz Ozkaya
The WBA World Super-Bantamweight clash between champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, and challenger Jamie ‘Jazza’ Dickens, certainly didn’t fail to produce the world class touch that many had paid to see. Sadly, in the short two rounds that were witnessed, it was only Rigondeaux who produced that small glimmer of class. After a steady start, Rigondeaux quickly got his eye in and dealt a fatal left-handed hook shot that broke the jaw of Jamie Dickens.
Leading up to this fight, Rigondeaux, or as he is better known ‘Rigo’, had been caught up in a Visa complication which ultimately led to the cancellation of the previously arranged fight with Dickens, back in March. However, with everything during the build-up running much smoother this time; the fight was all that was left to complete.
Rigondeaux and Dickens, as you could suspect, both talked about defeating one another in their own spectacularly envisaged ways pre-fight. But with Rigondeaux appearing extremely focused through all the press that he had done, in addition to the public pad work sessions where he showed off how quick and skillful he is, it was widely thought that he was going to make light work of Dickens and claim yet another scalp to add to his perfect record of 16-0.
In all fairness his opponent cannot really be criticised for last night, after all, despite receiving a few lightning quick combinations from Rigondeaux in the first, of which he countered twice respectably, he never really got the chance to get going. Once he was back in the corner at the end of the second after Rigondeaux’s venomous overhead left, it was unanimously decided among the Dickens team that it was game over. The heart of Dickens wanted to fight on, but sadly for him the heads in his corner knew it was too big a risk to continue.
Speaking after the fight, a dejected Dickens tells of the motions when Rigondeaux’s left connected.
“Yeh, I knew straight away it was broken. I felt the crack when he landed. I felt it hanging off but I thought that I could carry on. I thought if it was meant to be I could get him but I knew that if he connected again, it was just going to come right off.
“We all made the call at the end of the (second) round. It was sensible really. Paul and Mick (Stevenson) said they had to pull me out, that I couldn’t go back out like that. I wanted to think I could get him but realistically it wasn’t worth it.”
It is unknown at this point as to how bad the damage on his jaw is, but one thing is for certain; The sound that the overhand left Rigondeaux delivered could probably have been heard all the way back in Miami, Florida. It was crisp, clear-cut, powerful… and thrown at the speed of light. Dickens was wobbled and appeared confused from damage, but, somehow managed to survive the onslaught.
After the fight speaking to Box Nation (Who hosted the fight on U.K television), Rigondeaux said that he wanted to stay in the U.K and fight again but only if Frank Warren would like him to. Frank Warren (Queensbury Promotions) was, of course, grinning from to cheek at the mere notion of that idea, Rigondeaux and he then subsequently shook hands in the post-ringside interview.
“I’m not the best, but I’m the most complete,” Rigondeaux said. “I ripped his jaw out. All those guys that want their jaws ripped out, I’m here!”. He then went on to say: ”Not 100 of those guys add up to 1 of me. I want hard fights. People make it boring [against me] once they feel my power.”
The future for Rigondeaux remains to be seen, at 35, this may be his last push to secure some big main event clashes. Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg were two of the fighters named post match, and Rigo appeared un-phased about who could potentially be put in front of him, the only question on his mind; when and where?.
An interesting night of Boxing in Cardiff for sure. The British & Commonwealth Super Welterweight Championship match between Luke Williams and Gary Corcoran producing arguably the best fight of the evening, in what actually turned out to be more of a highly energetic street fight than a boxing match. Williams landing some crushing blows to Corcoran in the early rounds, more memorably a swiftly executed hook managed to open up a large gash above the left eye of Corcoran. His corner then left with the job of keeping patched up thereafter.
Going into the final rounds it was all very ‘from me to you’ with the ever-changing shift in momentum. Despite somehow managing to remain composed from an earlier knockdown (which wasn’t classed as a knocked down as he miraculously bounced off the ropes and landed back on his feet) Corcoran was trying absolutely everything he could to try and slay Williams. But, the opposite happened and after withstanding a lot of tidy jab-by-jab work and meaty body shots, Williams pulled out a stunning KO from his almost empty locker.