What’s Next For Gary Russell Jr?
By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr not only made a statement inside of the ring by easily defeating Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but he also did so outside of it. Shortly after his win, Russell announced to everyone that he no longer intends on campaigning at the Featherweight division.
Now why would a fighter who has held his world title for the past five years be content with dropping his belt? Well, that’s an easy question to answer. Since 2015, Russell has stepped inside of the ring just once. His claims of no other title challengers willing to step up and face him might actually be true.
In the sport of boxing, when you are bereft of a world title, then you’re essentially the hunter. If you are one of the few that reaches championship status then you become the hunted. That just simply isn’t the case with Russell.
So now, he’s ready to go back on the hunt for a world title, but this time, in another weight class at 135.
With the move up in weight, the fans should be excited about the possibilities that could be next for him. Let’s take a look at the next best options for Russell in his next ring outing.
This seems like a very cruel way to be introduced to the Lightweight division doesn’t it?
The star power in Russell’s soon to be new division is ridiculous. But none seem to shine brighter than the young Devin Haney. Technically, Haney doesn’t have a belt anymore since he was stripped of his WBC crown following shoulder surgery, but that shouldn’t stop this contest from happening. Both fighters are strong, fast and have the sort of skills that can rival anyones in the entire sport. Haney is the sort of scalp that Russell would love to have on his resume. Now that they are going to be in the same division, he could make that a reality.
At this point, Gervonta Davis might need Gary Russell Jr more than he realizes. Davis might be a two division undefeated world champion but his lack of competitive opponents is becoming glaring. Russell has been calling out Davis for quite some time now. With all but one of his contests going the distance, Davis is clearly a big puncher. Yet, Russell seems incredulous to that statement. Well, now that they are in the same division, Russell can find out for himself.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez Winner
It may not have been officially announced, but a contest between unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF belt holder Teofimo Lopez is going to happen in the next few months. Usually when a fighter moves up in weight, he or she will seldom if ever go straight for the best fighter in the division. Russell, on the other hand, is the sort of fighter who seems more than willing to take on the top dog of the weight class. The winner between Lomachenko and Lopez would most certainly be identified as the number one fighter in the division. A distinction that Russell wants for himself.
The previously mentioned contest on this list would be great, but this is the fight that Russell would want the most.
Gary Russell Jr. Defends Title in Unanimous Decision Over ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar
Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KO) turned away a dangerous challenger Saturday night. He put together a hefty lead and pranced across the finish line against Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KO), earning a unanimous-decision victory at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Russell, defending his WBC crown for the fifth time, was too fast for Nyambayar early on until things evened up in the championship rounds when Russell’s gas tank took a hit. Still, Russell, behind flaring jabs and zipping combinations, bested his opponent, winning 118-110, 116-112, and 117-111.
The oldest beltholder at 126 pounds, the points win may have been his featherweight envoi.
“We wanted Leo Santa Cruz… we wanted Gervonta Davis,” Russell told Jim Gray after the fight. “If we gotta move up in weight for these guys to feel as though they have some sort of advantage to take the fight, then we’ll do so.”
Holding onto the belt for five years, itching for a new division may give the impression that Russell has cleaned out the ranks at featherweight. But not so. Fighting once per annum, this was just his fifth defense. Anticipation was still high, despite the challenger’s light record on paper, given Nyambayar’s power and Olympic pedigree.
Through the first four rounds, at least, Russell had Nyambayar in check. Both men opened the fight from a crouched position before the challenger took initiative and the center of the ring. Feints and right crosses made up the Mongolian-born technician’s initial attack. Meanwhile flashing double and triple jabs from Russell secured an early lead.
Russell, 31, continued fighting in reverse while southpaw jabs kept flying. It was disciplined maneuvering and a technical jockeying for position in both directions.
Nyambayar, 27, attempted to parry and cut off the ring but was unable to solve the fluttering puzzle in front of him. Russell, occasionally found himself backed into a corner, yet subtly side-stepped out of danger and, at times, simultaneously skid a right hand across his opponent’s chin.
Nyambayar would eventually get a finger on the trigger in the fifth and sixth stanza. Hooking off his jab and upping the pressure, he touched Russell here and there. Soon enough he found especial success targeting the champion’s body with left hooks.
Quick exchanges opened the seventh session. It began a pattern of Russell’s, who would step into the trenches at the bell before resorting back to circling the outline of the ring. From a comfortable distance, Russell put together his hands upstairs. Through the next handful of rounds Nyambayar forgot about his left hook and instead gladly ate whimsical one-two combos for a chance at a big right hand.
In Round 10, Russell got off to another good start: his hands moving in short bursts but with little venom. It did not stop Nyambayar from getting off his best moment of the fight. Walking Russell into a corner, the American tried turning out of it to his left, but “King Tug” had a right hand waiting for him. The punch was clean. Russell’s eyes lit up and Nyambayar stung him with another two-handed volley.
Russell gathered himself but seemed sapped in the eleventh frame. Grappling became more prevalent and he was visibly less elusive. Up close, Russell still had an edge in hand speed: initiating phone booth combos with a throw-away punch to Nyambayar’s elbow before immediately following up tp his man’s head with a right-left salvo.
Naturally, there would be no floating like a butterfly in Round 12. Nyambayar assumed the center of the ring and punched through Russell’s guard. Now capable of parrying the champion’s feeble jabs, the Mongolian puncher swiped away incoming blows and stuck out a right hand to mask sweeping left hooks to the body: digging and digging some more. A light shiner emerged under the left eye of Russell. But no matter Nyambayar’s closing effort, the fight was still out of reach.
Running out the clock, a smile crossed Russell’s face.
“I’m a perfectionist,” said Russell, who extended his win streak to seven in a row. “We put the work in the gym. I’m one of the longest reigning champions for a reason.”
While the scorecards leaned significantly toward the defending champion, the punch states were nearly dead even. Russell landed 134 of 867 total punches (15 percent), including 104 of 399 power shots (26 percent). Nyambayar, to his credit, connected on 122 of 707 total punches (17 percent) and 101 of 482 power punches (21 percent).
Rigondeaux is champion again
Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KO) won a split decision over former champion Liborio Solis (30-6, 14 KO) to claim a vacant WBA bantamweight title, gaining the nod from the judges who had the bout 116-111 and 115-112 in Rigo’s favor and 115-112 for Solis.
In pursuit of a second divisional crown, Rigondeaux, 39, has been full surprises. First, opting to drop down to bantamweight—the opposite direction of most aging fighters. Then doling out fireworks in his eighth-round TKO over Julio Ceja last summer.
Rigondeaux continued his personal renewal in the opening round. Directly in the face of Solis, Rigo was unconcerned with the brawling attack from his opponent, who let loose left uppercuts and hooks. Most were blocked by the Cuban maestro, who would wait for Solis to open up and hurl, vicious straight left hands into the Venezuelan’s exposed chin.
The gameplan worked well enough at first. That is until a minute later one of those left hooks from Solis landed flush and left Rigo momentarily stunned. Rigondeaux collected himself but just before the bell, Solis caught him again, this time turning, cracking him with a winging right hand, visibly shaking his senses.
Rigondeaux would not take anymore chances. He entered the second round with a new philosophy—better known as his old, tried-and-true approach of technical proficiency. Called boring by most.
So now pawing from mid-range with a jab, the rounds piled up in his corner. Unsurprisingly, followed by audible booing from the audience.
In Round 7, Rigo did punch in a knockdown. His back against the ropes, he timed Solis perfectly with a long left uppercut. And combined with consecutive heavy left hands, Solis fell into the ropes, which he otherwise would’ve hit the deck. As much was clear to referee Benjy Esteves Jr. who initiated an eight-count.
Solis was also rattled in the tenth inning. But the only takeaway were the additional boos from the crowd when Rigondeaux ran out the clock six minutes later.
A storied amateur career long behind him, and a bewildering quit job to Vasyl Lomachenko still haunting his record, Rigondeaux lacks direction. Against Ceja, and the opening round here, he seemed eager to shake off his dull reputation with the one language every fan speaks: action. But all it took was one clean punch from Solis to convince him otherwise.
Gary Russell Jr. Defends Featherweight Title Against ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Gary Russell Jr. (30-1, 18 KO) does not move at the same speed as everybody else. Quick to strike but slow to sign, he finally has another worthy challenger, facing Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KO) in defense of his WBC featherweight championship, headlining a PBC on Showtime billing on February 8 from the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The fight comes a week after a scalp of Russell’s, that being JoJo Diaz, dethroned former titleholder Tevin Farmer by decision. His own points win over Diaz only looks better in hindsight. And without doubt the oft-criticized American could use the goodwill. Totaling four title defenses since lifting the WBC’s green belt, Russell has routinely maneuvered his way into easy touches and sparse ones at that, turning away Diaz two years ago already.
Fighting on Saturday will be his first since May 2019: par for the course, having fought once a year since 2014. That same year he was wildly outboxed by Vasyl Lomachenko. A year later, in 2015, Russell astonishingly lifted the strap from Jhonny Gonzalez, at the time featherweight’s most lethal hitter.
That was March 2015 when Russell ripped Gonzalez apart, earning a fourth-round TKO. His fists moving in blinding patterns, it was his masterwork. But the frustration surrounding Russell has little to do with him as a fighter instead Russell, the champion, who like his fists, operates at a different frequency, a timetable only he can decipher.
Five years on, Russell, 31, is preparing for just his fifth defense, making an art of inactivity and manipulating time: pushing the sanctioning body’s patience from the sidelines before slipping in a mandatory defense at the eleventh hour. Russell enjoys the throne, transfixed and immovable at the center of a raging continuum. Last May, he even seemed to go backwards in time in order to resurrect Kiko Martinez, presumably from the coffin he had been laying in since his past days as as super bantamweight contender.
Unsurprisingly, Martinez did not last five rounds with Russell. But against every boxer’s will, the clock keeps ticking. Father Time (and gravity, they are related after all) having recently forced out Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez to junior lightweight, Russell is by far the oldest beltholder at 126 pounds. Older than Shakur Stevenson by practically a decade. Of TBRB’s top-8 featherweights in the world, Russell is the only one over the age of 30. Helping round out the Top 10 is Oscar Escandon, 36, who lost three straight before a miraculous upset over Jhack Tepora propelled him into the rankings.
In 2018, Russell pulverized Escandon. It took the champion seven rounds to do it. And that was seven too many for most as the the fight was chided when it was announced. Escandon being only 3-2 in his previous five fights, it was deservedly labeled a squash match.
So what was the difference when a year later Nyambayar, commonly referred to as “King Tug,” did the same thing to Escandon? For starters, Nyambayar did it faster: ending his man’s night in three rounds. Knocking him out in fewer than his previous opponents was just what the former Olympian should aim for. Moreover, the 27-year-old California transplant was just nine bouts into his career, laying the foundation to a healthy career after a notable rise out of Mongolia.
King Tug’s two-handed sequence that left Escandon on his back was a tremendous follow-up to the flash knockdown he suffered just before that against Filipino veteran Harmonito Dela Torre. Nyambayar would otherwise have little trouble, winning a wide decision verdict over eight rounds. But nothing was more impressive than his most recent appearance.
In a WBC eliminator, Nyambayar met Claudio Marrero, who is no slouch of a puncher, and a well scienced southpaw. It was a sink or swim contest for Nyamabar, a hump every blue-chipper has to get over, but not one every blue-chipper welcomes after just 10 fights. He would handle Marrero, stunning him early and eating his opponent’s biggest shots to earn a unanimous decision victory and a date with Russell.
Rigondeaux highlights undercard
In chief support, Guillermo Rigondeaux will be trying his fragile hands at bantamweight. Unlike most aging fighters found ballooning up in age, the 39-year-old Rigo is moving down, from 122 pounds to 118.
Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KO) will be welcomed to the category with a WBA title fight against Liborio Solis (30-5-1), who years ago briefly held a belt at 115 pounds. The contest will be Rigondeaux’s third performance under the handling of Al Haymon. Opting to sign an exclusive contract with the PBC after calling “no mas” opposite Lomachenko in 2017. The Cuban legend has since won two straight, each by knockout.
Solis 37, is no spring chicken. But his recent run fighting in Latin America, after a failed series of bouts with Jamie McDonnell, has paid off, winning five in a row, including three by KO. Rigondeaoux, despite pushing 40, is still leagues above that competition Solis saw, made up of part-timers and tomato cans.
In other bouts scheduled for the show, Russell’s brothers are also suiting up for action. Sharing the same first name, both Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio are the undefeated, younger siblings to the featherweight champion. Antuanne, 23, competed in the 2016 Olympics and Antonio, 27, was a runner up in the national amateurs.
Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan: “I Relish This”
By: Sean Crose
“Its a privilege to me to be in these types of fights,” Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan tells me. The 30-3 middleweight will be starting off the new year with a bang when he faces the 24-0 Jaime Munguia in the undefeated former world champion’s divisional debut. “It’s great to have this opportunity,” O’Sullivan says. “I relish this.” Some may argue the odds are stacked against the Cork, Ireland native heading into the January 11th Munguia fight. Munguia, after all, is taller, and over ten years younger, than O’Sullivan. What’s more, the fight is being held at San Antonio’s Alamodome, very close to Munguia’s native Mexico. O’Sullivan, however, is quietly confident.
“I’ve fought many people in their back yards,” he says. Plus, he has a genuine respect for Mexican fans, whose passion for boxing has remained strong through the sport’s ups and downs. He also has respect for Mexican fighters, and their famous come-forward style, a style he himself if known to employ in the ring. If anything, the battle with Munguia should be a colorful one. “I’m looking forward to it,” O’Sullivan says. It’s clear the man’s telling the truth, for O’Sullivan has proven he’s nothing if not a fighter willing to face the odds head on.
A prime example of this willingness was O’Sullivan’s quick return to the ring after being knocked out by David Lemieux in 2018. Many fighters might take a considerable amount of time off before slipping back in between the ropes. O’Sullivan got back in the ring as soon as possible, beating Gabor Gorbics less than three months after the Lemieux fight. “I wanted to get back in the ring,” O’Sullivan says. Although he credits Lemiuex with winning fair and square, O’Sullivan feels he could have truly won their battle. “If he hadn’t landed that punch,” he says, “I would have won that fight.”
The thirty-five year old isn’t planning on making any mistakes when he faces Munguia in a few weeks. He’s aware of the trouble Dennis Hogan gave the then WBO super welterweight champion last April by being able to land effectively on Munguia. “I believe,” O’Sullivan tells me after I bring up the fact Hogan doesn’t hit as hard as he does, “I definitely punch harder than Hogan.” Of course, Munguia punches hard himself, which is one of the reasons why O’Sullivan is working to enter the ring in prime form. I ask if he’s set up camp in his native Cork. “I’m training actually in Dublin,” he tells me, explaining that he returns to his family in Cork when camp is done for the week. It’s not an easy life, but O’Sullivan knows boxing isn’t an easy endeavor – and Munguia isn’t an easy opponent.
O’Sullivan does have an ace up his sleeve, however, when it comes to finding success in the toughest of sports: the fact that he’s colorful, both in and out of the ring. Whether he’s donning a handlebar mustache, offering a quick quip on a conference call or engaging aggressively in the ring, O’Sullivan is a fighter fans like to see in action. “I think it comes naturally to me,” he says of his persona. “It’s not a show.” Still, the fighter is looking to put on quite a performance when he faces Munguia on the 11th. The night should be anything but dull.
Gary Russell Jr. Discusses Showdown With Kiko Martinez And Future Fights
By: Hans Themistode
WBC Featherweight champion, Gary Russell Jr (29-1) will make his annual appearance in the ring this coming Saturday night on March 18th, when he takes on former champion Kiko Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs). Their contest will be taking place at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Martinez hasn’t held a world title in over five years, he also hasn’t faced anyone of note since a 2017 majority loss to Josh Warrington. This matchup is widely regarded as a mismatch. Although Martinez is just 33 years of age, his fight against Russell will be the 50th of his long career. Since a 2014 loss at the hands of Vasiliy Lomachenko back in 2014, Russell has been nothing short of dominant. He has reeled off five straight wins with three of those victories coming via stoppage.
The problem for Russell is not his talent, but it is his activity level. He has fought just once a year since 2015. High level professional fighters aren’t known for having a rigorous fight schedule. Most step inside of the ring two or three times during a calendar year. Russell’s lack of fights over the years is alarming. If it was up to the current WBC champion he would be much more active. So who exactly is to blame for his lack of activity?
“We have to get one of these fighters to get in the ring. People keep asking why do I compete once a year? It’s not because of me, it’s because none of these fighters are willing to get in the ring and compete against me. None of these champions want to get in the ring with me.”
Russell is a tremendous fighter. He is mostly regarded as possessing the fastest hands in all of boxing. In terms of who exactly are these other champions that don’t want to face him inside of the squared circle, Russell didn’t mince words.
“I wanted Leo Santa Cruz, I wanted Carl Frampton when he was a champion. I want everyone. It seems like I will never get the Cruz fight.”
The frustrations for Russell have seemed to reach their breaking point. The current belt holder has a plan if he doesn’t get the unification bouts that he desires.
“After this Kiko Martinez fight, if I don’t immediately get Leo Santa Cruz then I am vacating my title and I will be moving up to challenge Miguel Berchelt for his WBC title. From there hopefully I can land the Gervonta Davis fight because that is a fight I want as well.”
It sounds as though Russell has his eyes set on bigger and better things going forward. Whether it is a unification fight at 126 or a host of new challenges at 130. The first step however, he must get past the rugged and battle tested veteran Kiko Martinez. According to Russell, don’t expect this contest to go the distance.
“I can’t predict how this fight will go exactly but I don’t think it will last all 12 rounds. I just don’t believe that this guy has the skillset to last all 12 rounds with me.”
Showtime Boxing Preview: Wilder vs. Breazeale, Russell vs. Martinez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will host a heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
This bout will be put on by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be televised live on Showtime.
Garry Russell Jr. will also be appearing on the card and will take on Kiko Martinez for Russell’s WBC Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both title bouts.
Gary Russell Jr.(29-1) vs. Kiko Martinez (39-8-2); WBC Featherweight Title
Whenever the name of Gary Russell Jr. comes up a debate follows if he’s a legitimate pound for pound fighter or not.
He’s a boxer who’s only blemish on his record came at the hands Vasily Lomachenko, a fighter most will agree is a pound for pound great. However, he’s also a boxer that has only fought once a year since 2015 and frustrates fans for his inactivity.
Russell will be facing Kiko Martinez on Saturday, a 33 year old boxer with eight losses on his resume and five of those losses coming since 2013. Martinez has been very active, as he fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Martinez will also have about a two inch reach advantage and a half inch height advantage over Russell.
However, Russell has a clear edge in his resume of defeated opponents and amateur background. He won several national tournaments as an amateur in the United States and represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Martinez does not have the amateur pedigree of Russell.
Russell has defeated the likes of Joseph Diaz, Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Christopher Martin. Martinez has defeated the likes of Marc Vidal, Hozumi Hasegawa, Jeffrey Mathebula, and Jhonatan Romero. He has losses to the likes of Carl Frampton (twice), Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, and Josh Warrington.
Even though Martinez has been more active than Russell, he doesn’t’ have the talent of Russell and has several losses and draws in recent years, including two losses by stoppage. This shouldn’t be a fight that Russell will have issues in.
Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) vs. Dominic Breazeale (20-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
This won’t be Dominic Breazeale’s first chance at a heavyweight title. When he last challenged for the heavyweight title he was stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua.
On paper, it appears unlikely this fight will be much different.
Breazeale has power, as he has stopped eighteen of his opponents, but he also can be stopped, as he only made it to the seventh round when he faced Anthony Joshua. He’ll need a strong chin when he faces Wilder, who has stopped thirty nine of the forty opponents he has faced, and even knocked down Tyson Fury in their disputed draw.
Both boxers stand at 6’7” and Wilder will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage. Wilder fought twice in 2018 and in 2017 while Breazeale only fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Both boxers represented the United States in the Olympics. Wilder competed in the 2008 Olympics while Breazeale competed in the 2012 Olympics. Wilder however was able to medal while Breazeale did not.
Wilder has beaten the likes of Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Breazeale has beaten the likes of Carlos Negron, Eric Molina, Izuagbe Ugonoh, Amir Mansour, Fred Kassi, Yasmany Consuegra, and Victor Bisbal.
Wilder is looking for a big money fight but has remained steadfastly loyal to Al Haymon and Showtime. Dominic Breazeale stands in his way of that big money fight, but it’s an obstacle that Wilder should be able to overcome.
Gary Cully Impresses in Belfast as Conrad Cummings Claims European Glory
By: Oliver McManus
MTK Global returned swiftly to Belfast as they promoted their penultimate show before Christmas featuring some of the hottest talent from both sides of the Irish border.
Conrad Cummings initially stepped in to fill the boots of Luke Keeler in a contest for the WBO European Middleweight belt against Brian Rose – that contest scheduled for December 14th. Fight week saw Rose withdrew citing injury and in came, unbeaten Hungarian, Ferenc Berki to keep the title fight alive.
On the scales and in the ring, Cummings looked far more physically impressive than his counterpart but Berki came to win, despite assumptions, as he tried to work a nice, downward right hand for much of the first round. A tentative opening couple of rounds saw both fighters looking to stake a foothold in the bout without expending too much energy.
Berki, the Hungarian national champion at welterweight, entered the ring for the first time in 10 months and, unquestionably, against the significantly best opponent of his career. Whilst the initial energy manifested itself in trying to experiment, almost, through the motions, it was Cummings who fought well from behind the guard.
Principaly targeting the body shot, Berki found his mark with a repeated left hook but seemed to register little in way of response from his 27 year old counterpart.
An argument could be made for Cummings to do more passive work, utilising the jab more frequently, but seemed like doing enough throughout the rounds to nab them on the scorecards. A tepid first half of the fight saw the bout fail to ignite as one might have hoped but Cummings carried out the necessary work – he didn’t do it with a particular explosivity, mind, but was doing well against an opponent who refused to engage.
The second half saw Cummings more lucid in his movement, leaning back with a relaxed upper body as he began to move with more freedom. In turn we witnessed small pockets of activity from Berki but, in honestly, the Hungarian’s shots seemed to be thrown without full commitment.
The ninth round saw the home fighter continuing to impose his game plan of relaxed counter boxing against a fighter who, he knew, was posing very little threat. A fresher, fitter fighter from fights previously, it was clear to see that Cummings had full-belief in his ability to out-work his opponent and never looked like forcing the cause.
In the final round Berki came out knowing that only a knockout would do and upped the work-rate, met in turn by an increased aggression from Cummings who carried the rounds. With 40 seconds left saw the away fighter land the only shot of note, from his side, as he shimmed on the ropes and sunk three left hooks towards Dynamite, forcing him to take a knee.
An accomplished performance from Conrad Cummings who boxed effectively to nullify an opponent who very little to work around. Marred only by the momentary blip in conversation in the final round, Cummings looked to have plenty left in the tank if required.
99-90, 98-91 and a, oddly close, 95-94 saw the Craigavon-born man claim the WBO European Middleweight title.
Gary Cully has begun to impose himself on the domestic lightweight scene with the southpaw moving to six and 0 before his fight with Mohammed Kambuluta. The Tanzanian boxer represented a step up for the Irishman but it was Cully who went into the year-ending fight full of confidence.
Fresh off a third round knockout over Jordan Ellison on October 5th, Cully was in no mood for to play the waiting game with the 22 year old looking to close out, four fight 2018, in style. Kambuluta emerged swinging wildly as Cully stood, the taller man, at the centre of the ring. Long and rangy from the southpaw stance, Cully landed a repetitive reaching right-hand in the early stages in place of his jab.
Keeping mobile, it wasn’t long until the Naas native landed a well-placed left-hook out of the break to drop his travelling opponent and, with the challenger rushing on, he dropped Kambulta with an rapid, in the pocket, combination of shots.
Looking like he wanted out of the fight, it would take one more push from Cully to finish the job and so it proved with the MTK prospect landing accurately with the left, throwing quickly and accurate to fore Kambuluta to the canvas for a third time – the referee stopping the contest with 12 seconds to spare of the first round.
Gary Cully moves to 7 and 0 in the lightweight division with a classy victory – the 22 year old should look above himself for fights in 2019 because, certainly, he has all the talent required to make the step up in class.
Third on the bill was Padraig McCrory, fighting at super middle, in his sixth professional encounter. With slots on BT Sport this year and Sky Sports last year, McCrory is already making the move into the limelight as he continues his development.
Opposite him was Gabor Detre, a Hungarian with a winning record of 5 and 4, and The Hammer looked to make short work of his opponent. Immediately positioning himself at the centre of the ring, the taller frame of McCrory looked honed in on his target from the off.
A stiff right hand hook, one minute in, landed square to the side of Detre’s face to rock his opponent. The legs began to weaken as McCrory loaded up with each and every shot, fainting out the left jab in between. A heavy right to the body of Detre saw the Hungarian get fatigued and, in rather anti-climatic scenes, the referee called the fight off with just over a minute left off the first round.
An understandable stoppage with Detre getting hurt by each shot, McCrory advanced his record to 6 and 0, three wins by knockout, to set up a blockbuster 2019.
The other fights on the bill saw Sean McComb take a step up fight against, ever game, Zoltan Szabo in a free-flowing fight. A comfortable night for the super lightweight prospect who moved to 5 and 0 thanks to a 60-53 win. Paddy Gallagher worked through the motions over six rounds against Fernando Valencia, landing with heavy hands, to secure a 60-54 decision. Philip Sutcliffe Jr returned to the ring after after 53 weeks out, the super lightweight looked to draw his opponent in and claimed every round to win by a margin of 40-36. Stevie Collins Jr’s fight witnessed momentary confusion with the opponent led to believe the bout was scheduled for four. Six it went with Collins winning 60-54. Making his debut on the card was Stephen Webb, nephew of Commonwealth Games champion Jim, who floated in and out of range to secure the victory by 40-36.
HBO PPV Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Rematch, Plus Full Undercard
By: William Holmes
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin PPV
HBO PPV: $84.95
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Start time: 8PM ET/ 5PM PT
TV Undercard: Jaime Munguia vs Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook
David Lemieux vs Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Moises “Moi” Fuentes
On Saturday, September 15th the long awaited rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will finally occur for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles.
They were originally to fight on May 5th, but a positive test for clenbuterol scuttled those plans. Canelo claimed the trace levels detected were due to contaminated meat, which was met with some skepticism by Golovkin and his team.
Jaime Mungui and Brandon Cook will meet in the co-main event of the night for Munguia’s WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. David Lemieux and Gary O’Sullivan will also meet in a middleweight bout with possible future title implications.
Other boxers such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Moises Fuentes, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Alexis Rocha, and Brian Ceballo will also be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the three top fights for Saturday’s HBO PPV offering.
David Lemieux (39-4) vs. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2); Middleweights
David Lemieux is only twenty nine years old, and will be five years older than Gary O’Sullivan come fight night, but in ring years he’s significantly older. He’s been in some tough fights with some tough competition and already has thirteen more professional fights than O’Sullivan.
They’re about the same size, O’Sullivan will have a slight ½ inch height advantage. They both have decent power. Lemieux has stopped thirty three of his opponents while O’Sullivan has stopped twenty. However, Lemieux only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights while O’Sullivan has five victories in a row by stoppage.
They also have both been stopped. Lemieux has two stoppage losses while O’Sullivan has one stoppage loss on his record.
They both have been fairly active. He fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and twice in 2016. O’Sullivan fought once in 2018, four times in 2017, and once in 2016.
Lemieux does have an edge in amateur experience. He won the Canadian National Junior Championships in 2006 while O’Sullivan does not have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Lemieux’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and earlier in his career to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubion. He has beaten the likes of Elvin Ayala, Hector Camacho Jr., Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens, and Karim Achour.
O’Sullivan’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. He has defeated the likes of Berlin Abreu, Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Melvin Bentancourt, and Matthew Hall.
If this fight happened three years ago Lemieux would be considered the favorite. But he looked slow and old in his loss to Billy Joe Saunders and he is starting to show signs of ring wear. O’Sullivan on the other hand, has been riding a good win streak and looked sensational against a solid young prospect in Antoine Douglas.
This writer has to pick O’Sullivan in a minor upset.
Jaime Munguia (30-0) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Jaime Munguia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best young fighters and at the age of twenty one is already a legitimate world champion.
He has exceptional power. He has twenty five stoppage wins and has stopped six of his past seven opponents. He’s also eleven years younger than his opponent Brandon Cook, who only has thirteen stoppage wins, and already has one stoppage loss.
Munguia has been incredibly active. He already fought four times in 2018 and fought seven times in 2017. Cook has also been active and fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Munguia has the better amateur pedigree. He was a Gold Medalist in the Mexican National Championships and turned pro at the age of 16.
Cook’s lone loss was to Kanat Islam by TKO in 2017. He doesn’t have any big victories of note, he has defeated the likes of Miguel Suarez, Steven Butler, and Hector Santana.
Munguia has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Sadam Ali, Jose Paz, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and Johnny Navarrete.
On paper, it’s hard to find anything that Bradon Cook does better than Jaime Munguia. It’s likely we will see that in the ring too.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2); WBA/WBC Middleweight Title
Gennady Golovkin has to be considered one of, if not the best middleweight boxers in the 21st century. However, he doesn’t have that big signature win over an exceptional opponent on his resume.
Many thought he did enough to beat Canelo last year, but Canelo came on strong in the later rounds and was able to make the fight a draw.
Both boxers have good power. Golovkin has stopped thirty four of his opponents, though his power seems to be slipping recently. Canelo also has thirty four stoppage wins. Neither boxer has ever been stopped in their career.
Canelo will have a slight ½ inch reach advantage, but will also be giving up about two inches in height. Canelo will be eight years younger than Golovkin on Saturday, and Golovkin may be showing some signs of rust in his armor with his advancing age.
Golovkin has the better amateur career of the two. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Canelo turned professional at a young age, but did win the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships.
Golovkin has beaten the likes of Vanes Martirosyan, Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado. He has fought twice a year in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Canelo has beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was the Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had a draw very early in his career to a Jorge Juarez.
Both boxers seem motivated and have a genuine dislike of each other since Canelo’s positive steroid test in the spring. In their last fight they appeared to be very respectful towards each other, almost too much.
Golovkin’s age is a big concern and his best days are likely behind him. Canelo also appeared to have figured out Golovkin by the end of the fight and was coming on strong. The fight fans in attendance will also likely be in favor of Canelo over Golovkin.
The intangibles favor Canelo,but it’s hard to pick against a man that has never lost and looked absolutely dominating at times.
This is basically an even fight, but this writer has to give the slightest of edges to Golovkin, only because it appeared that Golovkin should have received the decision last time.
Lemieux, O’Sullivan Trade Barbs On Conference Call
by: Sean Crose
“Lemieux is back!” middleweight David Lemieux said on a Wednesday conference call.”
“You’ll be on your back,” clipped Gary ‘Spike’ “O’Sullivan, his opponent on the September 15th Canelo-GGG undercard at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It was that kind of conference call. Both men are exciting fighters, and both men arguably need to win on the 15th if they’re to be taken seriously as middleweight contenders. I asked each fighter if he was focused on the future or on the task at hand. The answers said a lot about each man’s mindset. While Lemieux expressed confidence, O’Sullivan moved in and made matters personal.
“Nothing personal for Mr. Lemieux” he said, “but I think this is going to be a big night for me…I have my mind on the bigger picture.” That big picture, of course, involves the winner of the Canelo-GGG rematch. When asked which man he preferred to fight in the future, O’Sullivan looked to be an equal opportunity opponent. “I have no preference,” he claimed. “They’re both great fighters.” Lemieux, on the other hand, was more discerning. “I want to fight Canelo first,” he claimed, “then I want revenge against GGG.”
Although both men are known to be entertaining in the ring, Wednesday’s call signified a difference in personalities. Where Lemieux clearly preferred to focus on himself and on his own career development, O’Sullivan engaged in the age old tactic of trying to get in his opponent’s head.
“He got destroyed,” O’ Sullivan said, referring to one of Lemieux’s defeats. “He’s going to get destroyed.” The man also pointed out that: “I’ve never been on the canvas in my career…he’s been down several times.” O’Sullivan furthermore stated that “Lemieux’s going to be easier than (Antoine) Douglas.” Tough words, but Lemieux had some choice words of his own.
“Whenever the opposition got tough,” he said of O’Sullivan’s two defeats, “he lost.” When O’Sullivan quipped that he had never been on the mat in his career, Lemieux quickly responded that “there’s a first time for everything.”
“Don’t worry,” he said to his opponent at one point, “I’m going to beat your ass…keep training hard in the gym, you’re going to need it.” O’Sullivan claimed that Lemieux is “there to be hit.” He also added that “I hit hard.”
“The talk is done” said Lemieux at one point. “”Let’s just walk the walk.” The winner may indeed get a crack at the winner of the main event on the 15th. It’s possible the winner may also get a second chance against Billy Joe Saunders, the titlist whose defeated both men,at some point. Although some consider neither Lemieux or O’Sullivan as great fighters, their bout is being viewed as potentially thrilling showdown between two talented, game fighters.
Interview with Gary Rae: A Painter and a Boxer
By: Oliver McManus
On the same card as Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, Gary Rae took to the ring for the eight time as a professional boxer with the 29 year old looking to move up the ranks as quickly as possible. A full time painter-decorator, I rang up Gary whilst he was poolside in Tenerife and, whilst I know I’ve got to refrain from too much of an opinion, he has to be one of the nicest guys I’ve met since I’ve started covering the sport of boxing.
Gary is unique in that his trainer, Mark Breslin, has been coaching him since the amateur days – way back in 2010, when the Barrhead super bantamweight first took up boxing – and their relationship, as he goes on to say, has developed to such an extent their like father and son. The following is our conversation, talking everything from last week’s fight, THAT relationship with Mark, targeting titles and, most importantly, what type of sweet he’d be – we’ll start about sixty seconds in;
… “I’m good Gary, I feel like I’ve woken you up!”
No what it is, is, I’m actually on holiday in Tenerife, we’d book it at Christmas time for my mum, my sister, my girlfriend and my eight year old nephew – his first time abroad – and when they first announced the fight it was a strange one, it was originally the 9th June and then they pushed it back a bit and I was flying out at six in the morning on the Sunday (24th) so I had to get from Glasgow back to Barrhead which is around an hour’s drive, pack my suitcase and then get on down to the airport.
How long are you there for?
Just a week, flying back out on Sunday.
I mean, holiday aside, the obvious starting point is the fight on Saturday (against Johnson Tellez), how do you feel it went?
It was great just to get the win, I felt it was a good fight but I was a bit slow to start. He was working well behind the jab and I feel the occasion was a real eye opener for me, I was looking round and thinking “that’s more than my mum and my girlfriend cheering for me”. It was an awesome atmosphere to come out just before Josh but I think I was trying a wee bit too hard for the stoppage. Near the end I was loading up trying to chase Tellez around the ring instead of cutting it off but it was a great experience for me and he was throwing some shots back, caught me with a couple.
He was only small but he really didn’t stop throwing punches, was it hard to get into your rhythm?
Yeah it really was, at the weigh in I knew he was pretty small but when we got into the weigh in I thought “my god, he’s tiny” and from then I knew it would be really difficult to catch him clean, I think a few times it was hard to get down to his level, I’m used to throwing shots straight, but he was so small and I don’t think I’ve even sparred with anyone that small but it was hard work to put punches together.
He could just roll and step out the distance, I have quite long levers but I couldn’t get the distance for a couple rounds; he was throwing the punches and moving around and his shots were ones that could have been dangerous if I wasn’t fully switched on.
I tried to keep it 1, 2, 3, back to basics and keep my distance, land some nice body shots. I haven’t seen it back myself but my coach, Mark (Breslin), was telling me to keep my distance and not to get involved too close because he was worried about head-clashes and getting a cut. I did end up getting a wee lump above my left temple from a clash of head – it was nothing major, it went down after a couple days.
And this was your third fight of 2018, how often can we expect to see you out in the remaining six months?
I would like to be out again as soon as possible, to be honest, I’m always of the opinion that although I still work full time, boxing is my other job and it’s my full time job, too. It’s my job to always be ready to fight – I’m a painter and decorator so at any moment I’ve got to go and paint someone’s house and I think it should be the same the other way round, I should always be ready for a fit. I’m always fit, I’m always in the gym and I live a healthy life so I am always ready whenever I get the opportunity.
Ideally as soon as possible but speaking with Iain Wilson, my promoter, I think he’s having a public show in Paisley Lagoon in October (6th) and I’d like to get out on that after a wee break but as soon as I get home I’ll be back in the gym; it would be great to have two or three by the end of the year, get to 10 and 0 in my second year as a professional, looking at what’s going to come up next and I’m excited to see what we can really do.
Not sure what’s happening with Josh’s world title fight, I see some rumours it may be in New York, but it’ll be great if it’s in Scotland so I can be on the undercard of a world title fight and that would be amazing.
How hard is it to fit training in and around working full time?
Yeah, I can’t lie, it is really hard to get through but as you say it is something I have to get used to because I don’t have loads of money where I can fund being a full time boxer so I work full time, get up at half four in the morning, go and do my training – strength and conditioning or runs – then I go out for eight, nine hours at work, get home and change my clothes and then it’s straight back out sparring, boxing training, strength and conditioning at night.
Every day is planned out from getting up and I try to get to bed as soon as I can, I don’t like to get to bed too late as sleep is really important for recovery and I always have a rest day…
… I have a rest day every Thursday and I’ll always go and visit my gran, go up and have a wee gab with my gran whilst Sunday’s are meal prep day and I’ll make 20-30 meals for the week ahead so, yeah, it is tough work but I love it, I love the sport of boxing and I’m trying to test myself to see how good I am – that’s all it’s ever been about, since the amateur’s and now I’m a bit older than most people at this stage but I’ll give it a good go.
The fight on Saturday was part of a Cyclone Promotions card, live on Channel 5, how did it feel to be on TV or was it just a regular fight?
No it’s a bit of difference, I felt, my first two fights were in Saint Andrews, in Glasgow, and they were broadcast on STV 2 – so not a big channel – but the difference from there to this one was massive, I felt quite a bit nervous and to see all the messages from my friends and family, I was trying not to think about it but I knew everyone back in Barrhead would be watching and wanting me to win and all of a sudden I started thinking “what if I don’t win, what if I don’t perform well” and I had to get rid of those doubts, my coach Mark was telling me it was nothing.
“As soon as you get in that ring it’s just me and you, nothing else matters, just listen to what I say and box well, try and enjoy it but don’t get involved with the crowd” and I think I did that okay, it wasn’t a bad performance, I’d have liked to put together a few more combinations but I did struggle with his height.
As the interview progressed it was clear to see that Gary was one of those guy’s in the professional scene still doing it for the love of boxing as opposed to trying to rake in the big bucks – of course that would be an added bonus but it’s not the driving factor – and there was one distinct inspiration for Gary in his coach Mark Breslin, himself 15 and 0 as a professional, and a man who Gary likens to a father-figure;
For me it’s so important (continuity), I need that. Mark has looked after me since I started boxing in 2010 as an amateur – he had a good amateur, and professional, career, I think he had 15 fights as a pro with 15 wins – he knows what it’s all about but he’s someone I look up to as a father figure. I don’t have a dad in my life and I’ve got a really good bond with Mark, he’s someone who’s got two children himself so he’s like the dad I never had, a really tight relationship, I can speak to him about anything and it’s good to know there’s a mutual trust and genuine care for each other outside of boxing.
Whatever happens Mark will look after me and he knows my mentality and how much I can endure and that we’re not going to fall out over anything because we know each other so well. It’s really great to have that and not many others have that relationship with their coach, other than when they train with their dad, Mark is just loyal to the end.
If we talk about motivation, what is it that gets you through those dark times?
Sometimes if I’m at work, I just sit there and I’m surrounded by paint and I think “I’m going to have work a bit longer, I just won’t go for that run tonight”, when I sit down for five minutes I just think even if I don’t have another opponent I’m always trying to improve, trying to work harder than the next guy to make sure I don’t get beat in the next fight and that’s the way I look at it. If I don’t do it then I’m not going to perform, I’m 100% or nothing with everything I do whether that’s painting or boxing, I always want to do the best job and I will always give 100%, blood, sweat and tears. If I don’t win I want to be able to say it was by the better man not because I didn’t give everything and I will never cut corners, I need to know I’ve given myself the best opportunity.
Super bantamweight at the moment, is there potential for you to move up or down a weight?
They billed the last fight at featherweight, I’ve no idea why…
You weighed in about 123 (lbs) or 124…
Yeah I was eight stone 11 pounds but I was told I could come in up to nine stone – they told me that two weeks before the fight but, by then, I was already down at eight stone nine so I just had a couple days where I could eat and I was eating and drinking. I’m one of these freaks of nature that can still make super-bantam really well, I’m really tall, I think I’m 5”10, I’ve always been slim.
I tell you what, Gary, I’m six foot and I weight about 7st 12lbs…
That’s incredible pal, that’s a proper freak of nature right there. You’ll know what it’s like, then, I’ve got no problem making weight even if I do eat a little bit so I could see myself getting to bantamweight if an opportunity were to pop up but I couldn’t go any lower. If anything were to pop up at bantam, super bantam, even feather, I’m not afraid to shy away from these fights.
Looking at titles then, how long is it before you’re in the mix?
If I’m honest I’m really not sure, I’m ready to fight for the Commonwealth title and I would like that by the end of this year or even next year. I know it was vacant for a while and I was ready, I’m not sure who had it now (Ashley Lane) but I think that could be a title I would be capable of challenging for by the end of this year. I think Thomas Patrick Ward has vacant the (British) title so I feel Jazza Dickens vs Martin Ward, I think Jazza would win that, and it’s been made for the end of July. I think that’s a while away and I need experience before I challenge one of those boys over 12 but I’ve been doing that in sparring. I think I would need more rounds to mentally tick the box to show myself I can deal with the pressure under the lights, I do keep myself fit but I think there would be a difference in the ring mentally, especially when they’ve been there and done it for a few fights, I think a couple of 8-10 round fights then I’d be happy to challenge anyone for anything that came up.
Joe Ham is the Scottish Area champion (although he lost his challenge for the Celtic belt), would you fancy that sort of level or would you rather go straight in with a bigger title?
I’m quite happy to go straight in purely because of my age, I know I don’t really have that long and I would like to just kick on after another couple of fights and try for the bigger fights. I’m not sure if at 34 I still want to be taking punches every other day, working a full time job, I can’t see that happening but if something were to come up, I’m like every other fighter, I dream of a world title but you’ve just got to work towards it and hopefully one day it can materialize, secure me financially for a few years and enable me to do it a bit longer but I can’t see doing a job and boxing AND, potentially, starting a family all at the same time.
When you do retire from fighting would we see you as a trainer, a pundit or would you want to leave the sport behind for good?
Funnily enough one of my amateur coaches has often said he could see me in some capacity after I’ve finished as a fighter and I would love to give back to the Barrhead Amateur Boxing Club and help out there, bring through some young talent from my home town. It gave me so much and there’s plenty of people in Barrhead who go to boxing as a way out from family things, whatever it is, I would love to help out some young boy or girl have a professional career, or even just some amateur titles, to give back to my club that has given me, and still does, give me so much. They’re always watching me, supporting me, asking me questions and have always had my back. They tell me they look up to me and I’m always looking up at them, how strong some of the guys are, it’s a funny circle.
You were on the undercard of Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, did you catch that fight?
Me and my coach, and my second, we went out and we had, part of the deal, tickets to see the main event so we stayed and watched it together. It was a great fight and you could really see Josh learning on the job, it was a great fight, for a boxer and a fan to watch, you could see them both thinking and it was a really well matched fight.
I don’t want to get you to say anything controversial but what did you make of the scorecards?
Yeah I thought they were wide, I thought Josh won, don’t get me wrong, but I think Viktor Postol was competitive in every round so I can see, objectively, where some people like you or I would have thought Postol got a round, I can see why other people gave it to Taylor when it was 50-50. I definitely thought once Josh got the knockdown, the championship rounds were all his. I had Josh maybe 115-112, something like that, three rounds but it was a really eachy-peachy fight.
Do you think Josh Taylor is the best fighter in the division?
Oh absolutely, I think when Mikey Garcia moved up earlier in the year you could have said that he was the best but, now he’s back at lightweight, it’s hard not to say Josh is the best in the division.
And I want to end on a random question, if you were a sweet, what sweet would you be?
What sweet, erm, that’s a question.
If it helps I think you’d be a fruit pastille…
A fruit pastille? Ollie, you must be kidding. I tell you what though, I do like a wee kinder Bueno so I reckon that would be a fair shout – I don’t really do sweets but I do like a wee bit of chocolate; not like bars, dairy milk, but, I’ve got to admit, a Bueno is like my cheat food.
Thank you very much Gary, I’ll let you get back on with your holiday – don’t get sunburnt!
No worries Ollie, thank you for the opportunity mate, I’ll speak to you soon.
I don’t quite know how to round up this article, which is odd, but I’ve got to say that Gary, without doubt, is one of the nicest, most personable boxers I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he has all the attributes for a successful career – I’m not quite sure why his nickname is Razor, mind, I think it should be Gary “Bueno” Rae.
Showtime Boxing Results: Russell Defeats Diaz, Stevenson and Jack Battle to a Draw
By: William Holmes
Showtime has shown no signs of slowing down in putting on competitive fights with a split site double header on their Showtime World Championship Boxing telecast.
The opening bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) and Joseph Diaz (26-0) for the WBC Featherweight Title. This bout took place at The Theater at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland.
Joseph Diaz entered the ring first and Russell second to a much louder ovation.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Both boxers were southpaws and Diaz looked like the bigger fighter, but Russell established early on that he had the better hand speed. He was active with his jab in the opening round and had a strong start to the fight.
Russell continued with his jab in the early parts of the second round, but Diaz had some moderate success to the body and ended the round strong.
The third round was a closer round, but it looked like Diaz was willing to take a few punches from Russell in order to land one punch of his own. Diaz ended the round with two good straight left hands.
Diaz kept a high guard in the fourth and fifth rounds but Russell landed the higher volume of punches while Diaz landed the harder shots to the body. Diaz had a strong fifth round, but Russell came back in the sixth round with his active jab and high volume output.
Russell was the first man to throw and land in the seventh and eighth rounds and looked like he was beginning to walk away with the fight. Russell hand speed was on full display in the ninth round as Diaz was simply not throwing enough punches.
Diaz had a better tenth round and took more risks than earlier rounds, but was also countered more often by the faster Russell.
The final two rounds featured several fierce exchanges, and Russell looked like he was beginning to fade a little bit in the last round, but Diaz wasn’t able to do enough to get a stoppage.
The Judges scored the fight 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111.
The last fight televised by Showtime was a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between Champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1) and challenger Badou Jack (22-1-2) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Stevenson, a southpaw, and Jack, fighting out of an orthodox stance, had spent the better part of two rounds feeling each other out and tried to find their range. Stevenson was able to land some straight left hands in the second and was more active in the third, but Jack was able to land some counters in the third round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Jack was able to fire off his punches first in the fourth round but took a good left uppercut from Stevenson with about thirty seconds left. Stevenson was the aggressor in the fifth and sixth rounds while Jack fought mainly out of a tight high guard. Jack was warned for a low blow at the end of the sixth round.
Jack started to come forward in the seventh round and hurt Stevenson with a short right hand followed up by combinations. Jack was snapping the head of Stevenson in the seventh with his uppercuts, but he was warned for a low blow again at the end of the round.
Jack opened up the eighth round with another low blow and Adonis Stevenson was given time to recover. Jack followed up with short right hooks and uppercuts and was able to bust open the nose of Badou jack.
Jack looked like the fresher fighter in the ninth round and had Stevenson stumbling at one point. Stevenson was able to come back and have a strong tenth round when he hurt Jack with a body shot and had Jack peddling backwards.
Stevenson pressed the pace early on in the eleventh round and had Jack in full retreat, but he tired in the middle of the round and Jack re-established dominance in the ring.
Both boxers were able to land some good shots in the final round, but Jack ended the fight strong with a hard combination as the final bell rang.
The judges scored the bout 114-114, 115-113 Jack, 114-114 for a majority draw.
Adonis Steven retains the title with a draw.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Stevenson vs. Jack, Russell vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime network will broadcast two fights from two separate locations on a split site feature.
One fight will feature a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between current champion Adonis Stevenson and the Swedish fighter Badou Jack. This bout will be taking place in Toronto, Canada at the Air Canada Centre. The other bout will be a WBC Featherweight Title between Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr.
Photo Credit: Badou Jack Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both televised fights.
Adonis Stevenson (29-1) vs. Badou Jack (22-1-2); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Adonis Stevenson has often been mentioned as one of the best light heavyweights in the world along with Sergei Kovalev and Andre Ward, but neither of those fights have ever come to fruition and he’s no forty years old and past his athletic prime.
Stevenson will face a very tough opponent in Badou Jack. Jack is six years younger than Stevenson, but has also been more active. He fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016, while Stevenson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
Stevenson will also be giving up about two inches in height to Jack, but he will have a four inch reach advantage. Stevenson will be fighting in his home country which shouldn’t be a big surpise since he has only fought outside of Canada two times. This will be Jack’s first fight outside of the United States since 2010.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Stevenson was a Canadian National Champion and Jack was a Swedish National Champion and a competitor in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Andrzej Fonfara, Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. His lone loss was the Darnell Boone, which he later avenged.
Jack also has a good professional resume, though his level of competition in recent fights surpasses that of Stevenson. His lone loss was a shocking TKO upset loss to Derek Edwards in 2014. He has two draws against James DeGale and Marco Antonio Periban. He has defeated the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony Dirrell, and Marco Antonio Periban.
If this fight happened five years ago Stevenson would have to be considered the favorite. But he’s now forty years old and has been fairly inactive recently while Jack has been steadily facing tougher and tougher competition.
If this fight goes to the Judges scorecards Stevenson may have a slight edge since the fight is happening in Canada, but the timing feels right for Jack to pull off a victory.
Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0); WBC Featherweight Title
Golden Boy Promotions needs to be given credit for their willingness to throw their fighters in the ring with top fighters from other promotions. The Diaz-Russell fight is a good example of Golden Boy taking a risk by putting one of their top guys against an established champion.
Diaz is twenty five and will be four years younger than Russell. However, Joseph Diaz has been very active since 2016. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017 and four times in 2016. Russell only fought once in 2017, 2016, and in 2015.
Diaz will have about an inch and a half reach height advantage and both boxers have the same reach. They both represented the United States in the Summer Olympics, Russell in 2008 and Diaz in 2012.
Diaz is a southpaw, and the only boxer that Russell lost to, Vasyl Lomachenko, was a southpaw. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Russell has made since he last fought Lomachenko.
Russell represents the biggest test of Diaz’s young career. He has defeated the likes of Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Jayson Velez, and Ruben Tamayo.
Russell has been fairly inactive for a world champion, but has defeated some very good fighters. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzlaez, and Christopher Martin. His lone loss was the Vasyl Lomachenko, who has since jumped up two weight classes to dethrone Jorge Linares as the Lightweight Champion.
Russell’s inactivity should be of concern to his camp, especially since he’s facing a young, undefeated, challenger who has a strong amateur pedigree.
This fight will be close, but age and activity has this writer giving Diaz a slight edge on Saturday night.
Jeff Horn Defends WBO Welterweight Title by Stopping Gary Corcoran
By: Ken Hissner
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, of Brisbane, Australia made his first title defense at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australiaagainst No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran,of London, UK.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “Hornet” Horn, 18-0-1 (12), of Brisbane, Australia, stopped British & WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-2 (7), of London, UK, in a blood filled battle on both sides at 1:35 of the eleventh round.
In the first round Horn used the jab from the start. It took close to half a minute for Corcoran to throw a punch. Horn lands the first combination to the head of Corcoran. A Horn jab knocked Corcoran off balance. In the second round a Horn right to the chin of Corcoran stunned Corcoran. Horn did it again seconds later. Corcoran landed his best punch so far a short right to the chin of Horn. Corcoran warned by referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. as Horn got spun around Corcoran hit him from behind. In the third round Horn landed a 3-punch combination on Corcoran. Corcoran spun Horn around landing a left hook to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran who countered with a left hook to the chin. Both fighters warned for dirty tactics by referee Esteves, Jr.
In the fourth round Corcoran landed a good lead right to the head of Horn. Inside Horn landed a left hook to the head of Corcoran as the fight started to heat up. Corcoran back Horn up with separate left then a right to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran within ten seconds of the end of the round with Corcoran getting the final punch in a left hook to the head of Horn. In the fifth round Corcoran landed lead rights to the head of Horn. Horn landed a pair of uppercuts to the chin of Corcoran. A Corcoran left hook to the right ear of Horn got his attention. Horn warned for holding. Corcoran landed a hard overhand right to the head of Horn. In the sixth round Corcoran landed a solid left hook to the head of Horn after some thirty seconds of action. Corcoran cut on the outside of his left eye. It seemed to urge Corcoran to throw more punches as the blood flowed down the side of his face. Horn was cut by the left eye.
In the seventh round with the fight looking even at the halfway point with Horn taking the first three and Corcoran the last three rounds. Horn landed a good combination to the head of Corcoran. Horn landed a lead right knocking the head of Corcoran back. A Corcoran right to the head of Horn knocked him off balance. Corcoran warned for landing a right to the head of Horn after the bell. In the eighth round Horn was cut on the right eye but he came back with a solid combination. Corcoran warned for holding and then Horn for the same. In the ninth round Corcoran backed up Horn with a 3-punch combination. Blood coming down the eyes of both fighters as it gets rough inside. Horn landed a good right uppercut to the chin of Corcoran.
In the tenth round Horn almost put Corcoran through the ropes with a flurry of punches. Corcoran came back with a combination and showing a smile. Corcoran’s left eye bleeding from Horn’s left hooks. Between rounds the ring physician checked the left eye of Corcoran. In the eleventh round a Horn combination knocked Corcoran off balance. Horn in control of the fight as referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. who did a good job throughout had seen enough of the badly cut left eye of Corcoran stopping the fight to in favor of Horn to the disgust of Corcoran for the fight to be stopped by the urging of his corner.
After Horn took the first three and Corcoran the next three Horn took over taking the last four going into the eleventh round. The talk in the ring after the fight was Horn meeting four division super lightweight champion Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight. It would be a giant of a mountain for Horn winning that one. It also leaves former champion Manny Pacquiao out of the picture hoping for a deserving rematch with Horn.
Super middleweight Rohan Murdock, 21-1 (15), Queensland, Australia, defeated Apti “Tiger” Ustarkhanov, 15-3-3 (5), of Kurchaloi, Russia, for the vacant WBO Oriental title.
IBF Pan Pacific Featherweight Champion Nathaniel “Cheeky” May 19-1 (10), Bunbury, Australia, defeated Aelio “Biro” Mesquita, 16-1 (14), San Paulo, Brazil, for the Asia Pacific Title.
Super featherweight southpaw Paul “Showtime” Fleming, 25-0 (16), of Sydney, Australia, defeated Vergil “Strong Man” Putton, 17-9 (8), of Manila, Philippines.
Jeff Horn to Defend WBO Welterweight Title Against Gary Corcoran in Australia
By: Ken Hissner
The new WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, 17-0-1 (11), makes his first title defense Wednesday at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australia. He will feel at home living in Brisbane as he defends his title against his No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-1 (7), of London, UK.
Horn won the title in his last fight in July over former WBC World Flyweight, IBF Super bantamweight, IBF World Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC World Lightweight and WBO World Welterweight Champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-6-2, by scores of 117-111, 115-113 twice, at the Suncorp Stadium, in Bribane in July of 2017. The fight was close enough that Pacquiao has demanded a rematch in April in the Philippines when as a Senator of that country he is on break. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one!
The 29 year-old Horn has a win over former IBF World Welterweight Champion Randall “Knock Out-King” Bailey, 46-9 and the WBO African Champion Ali Funeka, 39-6-3. Corcoran’s trainer Frank Greaves has complained that Horn has a reputation for coming forward and using a head butt. The allegation is strongly refuted by the Horn camp.
The 27 year-old Corcoran has defeated other unbeaten boxers such as Rick Skelton, 13-0, Rick Goddine, 21-0-1, Liam Williams, 14-0-1, and in July in his last fight over Larry Ekundayo, 12-0.
The Horn camp may be looking past Corcoran having their eyes on Terence Crawford who holds all the four super lightweight title and recently announced he is moving up to welterweight. He is also targeting IBF Champion Errol Spence and WBA & WBC Champion Keith Thurman according to trainer Glenn Rushton. “Jeff has trained for a 12 round bout but I want him to score the knockout. I want this to be a big statement to the rest of the welterweight division,” said Rushton. Horn’s only non-win was against Rivan Cesaire in 2013 but stopped Cesaire in 2014. Horn has never fought out of Australia.
It’s already been announced that American Benjy Esteves, Jr., will be the referee. This writer considers him one of the world’s best having seen him on numerous occasions.
The championship fight will be broadcasted over ESPN 6:30AM EST.
Maliek & Mikhail Montgomery Interview
By: Benny Henderson
The Montgomery brothers were raised on boxing, all three, Maliek, Mikhail and Michael were decorated amateurs. With a combined record of 419-44, and countless awards and trophies, all three have decided to take the plunge as a professional in the bang for your buck sport. Both, Maliek, a super featherweight, and Michael, a welterweight, are 1-0 (1 KO) as a professional, as Mikhail awaits to step in the pro ranks, but should see action shortly as a pro. All three were recently signed by Witness Sports Management, and are excited to see what the future holds.
Sports Management has some major credibility behind the newly formed company, it is ran by boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, who also helped guide the careers of former world champions, Clarence Adams and Steven Luevano. And Jared Shaw, the son of famed boxing promoter, Gary Shaw.
The future looks bright for the Montgomery brother’s, who may be young in age, but have been battle tested in the ring. With youth, talent, the willingness to learn, hunger for success, their father/trainer Michael Montgomery Sr. and Sports Management by their side, it is going to be a thrill to see what is in store for the Montgomery brothers.
In this exclusive interview, Maliek and Mikhail speak out on various topic concerning their boxing career, they both talk about their styles, each other’s greatest accolades, what separates them from other young prospects, and more.