Stevenson Defeats Gonzalez To Win WBO Title
By: Sean Crose
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada hosted a night of Top Rank Boxing on Saturday, featuring a card that was aired live on ESPN +. The main event was the battle for the WBO featherweight title between the 12-0 Shakur Stevenson and the 23-0 Joet Gonzalez. Before the main event, however, two other fights were presented for the live ESPN + audience. First, the 21-1-1 Joshua Greer Jr faced off against Cleveland’s 19-2-2 Antonio Nieves. The scheduled 10 rounder was for a couple of minor titles (the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantam Title, and the World Boxing Organization NABO Bantam title).
The first round was a tight affair, with neither man allowing himself to truly unload on his opponent. The second round didn’t showcase an inordinate amount of action, either. Things began to pick up in the third, as both fighters began to find their sea legs. Nieves landed a terrific left at the beginning of the fourth, but was unable to capitalize on it. In the fifth, it appeared as if Greer was searching for a big shot that he had yet to land. Still, the fight remained close. Nieves landed well and got aggressive at the end of the sixth.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Greer came out blasting in the seventh, though Nieves was able to survive and engage throughout the rest of the round. Greer landed well in the eighth, before dropping Nieves with a low blow. Yet Nieves ended up closing the round by landing well himself. Greer began to dominate in the ninth of what had slowly become an entertaining match. Greer went down in the tenth, and the two fighters had to be separated at the final bell. Greer was still able to walk away with the UD win.
The next fight saw the 11-0 former Olympian Mikaela Mayer facing the 7-3-0 Alejadra Soledad Zamora for the NABF Female Super Featherweight title. The match was a scheduled 10 round affair. Mayer dropped her opponent in the first. To her credit, Zamora got back to her feet and exchanged throughout the round. Still, the first belonged to Mayer. The second round was exciting, as well, with both women trading shots. Mayer was controlling the fight, but Zamora was brave and game. The bout remained aggressive throughout the third.
The fourth saw Mayer start to beat up her opponent. The skill deficit had started to become obvious. Mayer continued to beat up Zamora in the fifth. The bout was about at the point where it no longer was necessary to continue the proceedings. The sixth showcased more of the same from the previous few rounds. In between rounds, Zamora’s father/trainer wisely and kindly stopped the bout.
It was time for the main event. The first round was basically a feeling out process, though Stevenson was able to jab a bit and throw some straight rights to the body. The second round saw Stevenson continue to do the same while Gonzalez feinted a lot, but didn’t do much else. The third and fourth rounds were identical – with Gonzalez missing his target and Stevenson landing point friendly, Olympic style punches. After five it was clear Gonzalez would have to unleash his inner Marcos Maidana if he hoped to have any chance of winning. Gonzalez had a stronger round in the sixth than he probably had in the previous five rounds, but his skill level was nowhere near that of his foes.
A mauling Gonzalez and a strangely inactive Stevenson told the story of the seventh. Stevenson regained control in the eighth. An aggressive Gonzalez stalked Stevenson in the ninth. Stevenson was no longer as dominant as he had been earlier in the fight – but he was still winning. Still, the rising star’s lack of activity seemed to cost him the tenth. Stevenson regained control in the eleventh, then went on to dominate the twelfth. Needless to say, Stevenson won a wide decision victory, along with a world title.
Shakur Stevenson Fighting For More Than Just a World Title
By: Hans Themistode
Time sure does move fast doesn’t it?
It feels like just the other day, every one associated with the red, white and blue were pulling for Shakur Stevenson to bring home the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Well, 2016 wasn’t that far away now was it?
Just three short years ago, Stevenson was dazzling the crowds in Rio De Janeiro. He made everyone back home in America proud as he brung home the silver medal. There was no need for Stevenson to stay in the unpaid ranks. He proved that he could hang with many of the top boxers in the world.
His decision to turn pro was an excellent one. 12 fights with no defeats provides credence to that statement.
Like other pro fighters, the road to the top was supposed to be a slow one. There was no need to rush him, he was after all, just 18 years of age. Unlike many young fighters who enjoy working there way from prospect, to contender to world champion, Stevenson was impatient.
After two years of fighting easy opposition, Stevenson made a huge statement earlier this year when he outclassed former title challenger Christopher Diaz. It was an eye opening performance. Stevenson gave a glimpse of what the future would be like, but who knew that the future would be coming so soon.
After knocking out Alberto Guevara in just three rounds in his most recent ring appearance. Stevenson had effectively worked his way to the mandatory position in the WBO sanctioning body. He will now fight for the vacant world title when he takes on Joet Gonzalez at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, in Reno, Nevada.
What should be your typical championship level fight, is anything but normal at this point.
Stevenson and Gonzalez have a history together. One that is a bit messy once you dive into it. Stevenson is currently dating Gonzalez’s sister. Jajaira, who is a terrific boxer in her own right, met Stevenson several years ago and developed a bond with him. That bond however, is one that her older brother and Stevenson’s opponent would like to see change.
“I never liked him since the amateurs,” he says, enumerating the ways of his dislike: “Fake-ass handshake… Loud, obnoxious, disrespectful… The way he dresses, half his ass showing. That ain’t no style. I mean, you think that looks cute? Come on, man, pick up your pants.”
Stevenson has since fired back with taunts of his own.
“He’s a bitch,” said Stevenson.
Although the main storyline of this rivalry has been the relationship between Stevenson and Gonzalez sister, there is something else that hasn’t garnered nearly as much attention.
While preparing for the biggest fight of his life, Stevenson suffered a major loss in his life. The death of his father Alfredo Rivera. Their relationship has been a rocky one over the years but Stevenson does hold a broken heart when he enters the ring.
“If I’m being honest with you, I’m bipolar,” Stevenson said of his relationship with his father. “I’m a bipolar type of person. Sometimes me and him would talk, and sometimes he’d reach out to me and I’d kind of shy away from him because I still had some anger inside of me. I’m dealing with it well. I’m hurting because that’s my blood. That’s my Dad and I can’t go and look him in the face, knowing he’s not here no more. At the end of the day, he did love me and with my boxing, he loved what I became.”
What was supposed to be nothing more than a title shot has morphed into a love story and much more. Hopefully the winner of this contest can put everything else behind them. For Stevenson however, that might be much easier said than done.
Fight Preview: Greer vs. Nieves, Stevenson vs. Gonzalez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions Card that will be televised live on ESPN+.
Former Olympian Shakur Stevenson will be fight for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title as he takes on veteran Joet Gonzalez. The co-main event of the night is a bantamweight fight between Josh Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Other bouts on the card include a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Alejandra Soledad Zamora.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Website
Boxers such as Albert Bell, Frank De Alba, Jason Sanchez, Andy Vences, and Mark Bernaldez will be fighting on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Josh Greer Jr. (21-1-1) vs. Antonio Nieves (19-2-2); Bantamweights
Josh Greer is a young prospect that has been extremely active since 2017. He fought twice in 2019, four times in 2018, and four times in 2017. His opponent, Antonio Nieves, is seven years older than him and has not been as active. He fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017…in which he lost both fights in 2017.
They are the same height and Nieves will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Neither boxer is known for their power, Greer has twelve stoppage wins while Nieves has eleven. However, Greer has won four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Nieves does appear to have an edge in amateur experience, as he was a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist while Greer does not have any notable amateur titles or medals.
Greer has defeated the likes of Nikolai Potapov, Giovanni Escaner, Daniel Lozano, Glenn Dezurn, and James Smith. His lone loss was to the undefeated Stephen Fulton and he has a draw with Mario Ayala. Both his loss and draw were early on in his career.
Nieves has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Christian Esquivel, and Alejandro Santiago Barrios. His losses were to Naoya Inoue and Nikolai Potapov.
This should be an intriguing and possibly close fight. Nieves has been in the ring with some very tough opponents and Greer is a young up and coming contender. Greer has to be considered a slight favorite in this fight, and it should help determine if he’s a legitimate challenger or not.
Shakur Stevenson (12-0) vs. Joet Gonzalez (23-0); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this looks to be the toughest fight of Shakur Stevenson’s career.
Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage over Gonzalez, but that will be negated by the two inch reach advantage that Gonzalez has. Both boxers are young, with Stevenson being twenty two years old and Gonzalez being twenty six years old. Both boxers are undefeated as a professional and have been fairly active.
Stevenson fought three times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Gonzalez fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. It appears that Gonzalez might have a slight edge in power as he has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Stevenson has only stopped seven. But three of the past four fights by Stevenson have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience and accolades. Stevenson was a former US National Champion as an amateur and a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gonzalez has no notable amateur championships.
Stevenson is a southpaw and Gonzalez fights out of an orthodox stance. This can often be a problem for less experienced fighters, but for a boxer with the amateur pedigree of Stevenson, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Aelio Mesquita. Every boxer Stevenson has defeated had a winning record at the time.
Gonzalez has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Rodrigo Guerrero, Rafael Rivera, and Derrick Murray.
This fight will be a good test for Stevenson as he chases his first legitimate world title. Gonzalez should challenge him, but Stevenson is one of the sport’s brightest prospects and it’s likely he will show the world why on Saturday night.
Chocolatito, the Sandanistas and Human Rights Violations in Nicaragua
By: Ben Sutherland
To many casual fans, the return of Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez probably went largely unnoticed. Just one of several high-profile fights on a stacked Canelo v GGG undercard, many American, Mexican and British fans likely skimmed over the super flyweight bout between Gonzalez – known to his fans as Chocolatito, and former world champion, Moses Fuentes. As with many of the undercard bouts on Saturday night, the fight was a one-sided affair with Chocolatito dominating the early rounds and ultimately stopping Fuentes in the 5th.
What the vast majority of non-Nicaraguan fans likely missed altogether was the colours Chocolatito was wearing on his shorts; black and red, a seemingly minor detail in such a high-profile fight.
However, the political significance of this clothing choice cannot be overstated.
In the early Spring of this year, Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, took steps toward attempting to establish a familial dynasty dictatorship in his country. Simply put, this was a political move which took power away from the Nicaraguan population and distributed it back into the hands of the political elite. Students, outraged by illegality, injustice and implications of such a move, took to the streets in non-violent protest.
What began as non-violent expressions of displeasure quickly turned sour as a government-hired paramilitary force, known as the Sandanistas, was sent to suppress the protests. Civil war erupted in Nicaragua. Angry students clashed with paramilitary forces in the streets in a guerrilla warfare style conflict.
Ortega’s government quickly shutdown all the universities in the country. Medical students were kidnapped so they couldn’t assist with wounded students and hospitals were forbidden to aide these same students under the threat of terrorism charges. In August, the international group which monitored human rights in Nicaragua was forced to leave.
Thousands of students, unwittingly turned into freedom fighters overnight, have now been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Many others have fled to neighbouring countries and further afield in pursuit of safety. Everyday, new horrific stories emerge of torture and cold-blooded killing. A group of students, seeking protection in a church, found themselves barricaded inside and burnt alive by paramilitary forces. Another student, captured by the paramilitary, had his testicles crushed in clamps as he refused to give up information.
Death tolls are only approximate with Ortega’s government monitoring press releases and statistics in both Nicaraguan and Central American media, but the removal of human rights groups and news leaks are both indicative of the severity of the situation.
There is not much room for debate here. Students are being murdered in the huge numbers and the Nicaraguan state is ruling with fear and an iron fist. Regardless of what you may think of Ortega’s ideas, the manner in which he his carrying out his politics is ruthless, barbaric and something which modern day society should have left behind a long time ago.
The colours of Ortega’s Sandanista movement? Black and red. The same colours that Chocolatito chose to wear on Saturday night. This was far from a coincidence, paid off by the government who are desperately trying to save their international reputation, Chocolatito walked to the ring draped in his black and red attire.
In doing so, Chocolatito actively and knowingly, supported and benefited from a tyrannical government which, as I write this article, continues to intimidate, murder and imprison its own people. Perhaps, it was out of fear, perhaps it was greed, but either way, it was a conscious choice to perpetuate the violence in Nicaragua.
At its core, what is international sport really about? Competition, inspiration and above all, showcasing the very best of a country and the world. Sport has long been a vehicle for political change and expression: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, the clash of communism and capitalism that played out over the international sporting stage during the 1980’s or more recently, Russians and Georgians sharing the top spot of the podium in protest against the conflict of their two countries.
Chocolatito had an opportunity, in front of the world’s sporting media, to speak out and do something, but he chose not to. Not only did he choose not to, he chose to support the abuse and human rights violations in his own country.
Contrast this against his fellow Nicaraguan boxer, Cristofer Rosales. Rosales is the WBC flyweight champion of the world and most recently fought on last month’s Frampton v Jackson undercard in Ireland. Rosales was also approached by the government and offered incentives to wear the red and black of the Sandanistas. Rosales refused. He handed back all the gear that the Nicaraguan government had ever given him and alongside his team, walked into the ring wearing black armbands in solidarity with the Nicaraguan students.
Is this entirely Chocolatito’s fault? Who knows, but would I get excited about his comeback and him up as the type of role model sport and boxing needs? No. No I would not.
Finally, I would urge anyone who reads this to go and research recent events in Nicaragua. Perhaps mainstream consumers of media are too desensitised and distracted to care, but you shouldn’t be.
Joet Gonzalez Wins Split Decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera
By: Ken Hissner
Golden Boy Promotions over ESPN Friday night put on a boxing event at the Nova Theater in downtown L.A. showing two female matches prior to the main event with hometown favorite Joet Gonzalez and Mexico’s Rafael Rivera being quite unusual.
Featherweight Joet Gonzalez, 20-0 (11), of Glendora, CA, won a split decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 25-2-2 (16), of Tijuana, Baja, CA, Mexico, for the vacant WBO NABO Featherweight Title.
In the first round both fighters were taking turns being the aggressor. Halfway through the round Rivera landed half a dozen punches before getting knocked back by a Gonzalez left hook to the chin. In the second round Rivera used a good left hook doubling it up on Gonzalez. Gonzalez, the taller of the two can’t hold off Rivera who came forth with combinations to body and head.
In the third round it was the first clinch caused by Gonzalez. Gonzalez tried to hold off Rivera with a jab but it wasn’t enough. Gonzalez seemed to have to take punches in bunches before fighting back. In the fourth round Gonzalez finally put more than a single punch at a time also using an occasional elbow. Rivera continued to throw more in return after Gonzalez lands several punches and moves back.
In the fifth round Gonzalez opened up with a 3-punch combination before Rivera came back with a combination. Whenever Rivera got hit to the head he immediately came back with a flurry. Gonzalez landed a combination and again moved away allowing Rivera to come back at him with a flurry. Gonzalez kept his hands up using a good defense but his face was showing the marks of the battle.
In the sixth round Rivera drove Gonzalez against the ropes with a flurry of punches. Halfway through the round it became a real fight. Gonzalez near the end of the round had Rivera holding on. In the seventh round the fans start chanting “Joet, Joet” urging Gonzalez to be more offensive. Rivera rarely threw a jab living up to his nick name “Bang Bang” throwing punches. Gonzalez was using his strength inside landing a good right uppercut to the chin until a Rivera left hook stopped him from using his strength.
In the eighth round Rivera landed a double left hook to the liver. Rivera came forward low but not throwing punches until he got hit by Gonzalez. In the ninth round Gonzalez continued to come forward with hands held high allowing Rivera to get to his body. Gonzalez comes forward but not throwing the jab much looking for the big punch. Rivera countered a jab from Gonzalez with a right to the chin. Halfway through the round with Rivera inside he would hold Gonzalez’s glove with his arm until seperated.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez used his jab as Rivera tried using his but falling short. Halfway through the round both fighters opened up knowing the fight may be on the line. Both opened up the last thirty seconds right to the bell.
Judges scores were 96-94 Gonzalez, 96-94 Rivera and 97-93 for Gonzalez. This writer had it 96-94 Rivera.
Gonzalez said “I’m calling out all featherweights including Gary Russell. I thought I won the fight easily.” He better watch what he is asking for. “He never hurt me. I knew coming from Tijuana it would be hard getting the win. I thought I won,” said Rivera. In the amateurs the jab scores points but in the pro’s Rivera throwing twice as many punches should have meant a victory.
In the co-main event flyweight Siessa “Super Bad” Estrada, 14-0 (4), of East L.A. easily stopped Jhosep “La Chica de Oro” Vizcaino, 7-7- (3) of Quito, ECU, at 0:20 of round 3.
In the first round it was all Estrada who was taking a flurry of punches and countered with a left hook dropping Vizdaino. In the second round Estrada turned southpaw up until near the end of the round switching back to orthodox. The referee Zachary Young gave Vizcaino a warning to start fighting back.
In the third round Estrada landed many punches to the head before landing a left hook to the liver of Vizdaino who after a slight delay went to the canvas causing referee Young to stop the lopsided fight. To her credit Vizdaino came without a trainer as a substitute replacing the scheduled Christian Gonzalez-German Meraz co-feature.
Super middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo, 12-2 (5), of Los Angelos, CA, stopped Samantha Pill, 3-1 (0), of Fairmont, WV, at 0:41 of the third round in a scheduled 6.
In the first round Cornejo pressed Pill who used a counter jab for the most part. It wasn’t until near the end of the round that a solid punch was landed by Cornejo a right to the chin of Pill.
In the second round Pill drove Cornejo back several steps with a right to the chin. The action picked up when Pill decided to mix it up but took a beating before she started moving as she did in the first round. You can tell Pill was an MMA boxer with little boxing experience.
In the third round Cornejo continued dishing out a beating on Pill. Referee Jack Reis wisely stopped the onslaught early in the round seeing that Pill didn’t know how to cover up taking too much punishment.
Joet Gonzalez & Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera on ESPN Friday
By: Ken Hissner
Featherweight sensation Joet Gonzalez, 19-0 (11), of L.A. looks to keep his unbeaten streak going Friday night in an Oscar de La Hoya Golden Boy Promotion at the Nova at L.A. live, in Los Angeles, CA. He meets Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 25-1-2 (16), of Tijuana, Baja, CA, Mexico, for the vacant WBO NABO Featherweight Title.
Rivera is coming off a loss last September to Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz by decision. Diaz in May lost a lopsided world title challenge to Gary Russell Jr. after giving up the WBO NABO title.
Gonzalez has stopped his last five opponents. In his last and only fight in 2018 he knocked out Rolando “Smooth Operator” Magbanua, 29-7 (21), in 5 rounds. He has yet to get into the world ratings but possibly with a win he can enter the WBO ratings.
In the co-feature lightweight Christian “Chimpo” Gonzalez, 18-2 (15), of Buena Park, CA, takes on Arturo “Reyes” Santos Reyes, 19-10 (5), of Sonora, MEX, in an 8. Gonzalez has lost two of his last four fights including his last fight in February to Filipino Rey “Flash” Perez, 21-9, by an 8 round decision after suffering a pair of cuts on the left eye from an accidental head butt causing a 60 day suspension.
Reyes on the other hand has lost his last four fights to high quality boxers with a 70-4-1 combined record. A month ago he lost a split decision to Matt “Sweet Child” Conway, 12-0, for IBA Intercontinental title over 10 rounds in Pittsburgh, PA.
Super Middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo, 11-2 (4), of L.A. takes on Samantha Pill, 3-0 (0), of Fairmont, W.V., in a 6. Cornejo has won seven straight with her last win in May. She last lost in May in 2016 in Auckland, NZ, by split decision for the vacant WBC World Female Middleweight title to Kali Reis. In her prior fight she won the vacant WBC International Female Super Middleweight Title in August of 2015.
Joet Gonzalez – Ready For The Spotlight
By: Sean Crose
“Every other day, we run six to eight miles,” Joet Gonzalez tells me. “The location varies.” There are nineteen year olds who go to college. There are nineteen year olds who hold down forty hour full time jobs. There are nineteen year olds in the military. There are nineteen year olds who are slackers. There are few nineteen year olds, however, quite like the well spoken young Californian on the phone, who currently holds a record of 19-0, with eleven of those nineteen wins coming by knockout. “I start with jumping rope,” he says of his gym routine while in training, “shadow boxing, spar…go over the game plan.”
It’s a routine and a strategy which has served the rising featherweight well. He’s about to highlight his own ESPN card, after all, when he faces the 25-1-2 Rafael Rivera in Las Angeles on the 13th of this month for the vacant NABO featherweight title. “I take Rafael very seriously,” Gonzalez says, pointing out that Rivera fought the very notable Joseph Diaz last September on about “two to three day’s notice.” Rivera may have lost that fight, but Gonzalez knows that this time out, things will be different in the lead up for his determined Mexican opponent. “With me,” he says of Rivera, “he had time to prepare.”
Growing up, Gonzalez probably wasn’t the sort of kid most people figured would become a headline fighter showing off his skills on national television. “I was a little overweight,” he says, “and I was picked on.” Like many fighters who got their starts as bullied kids, Gonzalez’ father introduced him to boxing. Needless to say, the young man soon became hooked. Aside from his own experiences, Gonzlaez was inspired by Oscar De La Hoya, the man who would someday become his promoter. He speaks fondly of watching the thrilling throwdown De La Hoya had with Fernando Vargas back in 2002. “That really pushed me,” he says. It clearly helped push Gonzalez far, for the young fighter now willfully forgoes a life of ease.
“Obviously,” Gonzalez claims in regards to his athlete’s lifestyle. “I’m not out late.” Although he has a girlfriend, the professional boxer won’t be seen running around out and about with people his own age during all hours of the night. His profession, after all requires a large amount of discipline. Even during the Fourth of July, while everyone else was celebrating, Gonzalez was in the gym training for Rivera. “I could smell the barbecue from outside,” he says. To Gonzalez, however, such temptations are all a part of the job. “When I’m in camp,” he states, “I’m really focused.”
Such dedication leads to good things – one of those things being the ability to sign with a top promoter. De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has not only made good fights available for Gonzalez, the company also offers the kind of exposure that’s hard to come by. “Since I signed with Golden Boy in 2012,” Gonzalez says, they’ve treated me really good.” Gonzalez states the company has gone out of it’s way to make him feel at home. “Just the way they talk to me,” he says, “they treat me like family…not just me, but my (own) family, as well.”
Hard work brings about its own rewards.
Juan Estrada, Naoya Inoue and Sor Rung Win at the StubHub Center, Carson, CA, Saturday
By: Ken Hissner
In the first bout of an HBO Triple Header Juan Estrada, 36-2 (25), of MEX, defeated Carlos Cuadras, 36-2-1 (27), of MEX, over 12 well fought rounds, with a knockdown proving to be the difference.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/K2 Promotions
After 5 rounds of Cuadras controlling the fight in all of the first 5 rounds but in the 6th round it was Estrada’s turn. In the 7th round Estrada with a pair of body shots and a right hand to the jaw of Cuadras rocked him. Shortly afterwards Estrada again rocked Cuadras with a right to the jaw. Even with this finish by Estrada it was Cuadras’ round.
In the 8th round Cuadras seemed to get his second wind doing well until 15 seconds to go in the round when Estrada rocked Cuadras. In the 9th round at the halfway mark Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the side of the head. Cuadras was on the run switching from orthodox to southpaw but Estrada came forward no matter what Cuadras offered.
In the 10th round Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the side of the head. Shortly later a left hook to the head followed by a straight right hand by Estrada knocked down Cuadras. The referee started the count but Cuadras got up before 8. Then the referee gave him another 5 seconds before Estrada was permitted to come forward.
In the 11th round Cuadras boxed well keeping Estrada at bay for the most part. With half a minute to go in the round Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the jaw. In the 12th and final round Estrada landed with left hooks and shortly afterwards with right hands all to the head of Cuadras. Cuadras came back in the second half of the round to possibly pull it out.
All 3 Judge’s had it 114-113 for Juan Estrada though ring announcer Michael Buffer announced the winner was Carlos Estrada confusing everyone. One of the judges handed Buffer his scorecard showing it was Juan Estrada the winner. This writer agreed with the scoring.
In the Main Event in a re-match WBC World super flyweight champion southpaw Sor Rungvisai, 43-4-1 (39), of Bangkok, TH, retained his title knocking out former champion Roman “Chocolito” Gonzalez, 46-2 (38), of NIC, at 1:18 of the 4th round to retain his world title.
In the opening round Rungvisai controlled with his jab and scored more punches. In the second round Gonzalez seemed to come back to take the round. In the third round in a slugfest Rungvisai seemed to pull out the round. In the fourth round twice dropped Gonzalez scoring a knockout. The first knockdown both boxers threw punches at the same time with Rungvisai’s right hook getting there first ending the fight.
WBO World Super Flyweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue, 14-0 (12), of JAP, won by stoppage at the end of the 6th round over Antonio Nieves, 17-2-2 (9), of Cleveland, OH, with Nieves not coming out for the 7th round.
In the opening round Inoue started off with jab after jab and then landed an overhand right to the head of Nieves. Inoue kept Nieves on the defense throughout the round. In the 2nd round Nieves landed 3 consecutive right hands to the head of Inoue. A 3-punch combination by Inoue ending with a left hook to the body got the attention of Nieves. With half a minute to go in the round Inoue landed a solid right hand to the head of Nieves. With the 10 second timekeeper warning Inoue buckled the knees of Nieves but then started back to his corner thinking it was the bell after rocking Nieves but it was the timekeepers warning. In the 3rd round a 3-punch combination to the body of Nieves by Inoue got the attention of Nieves.
In the 5th round a wicked left hook by Inoue caused a delayed knockdown. Inoue continued throwing a majority of left hooks to the body of Nieves until the end of the round. With a minute to go Inoue started showboating. Nieves staggered back to his corner where his trainer stopped the fight.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Rungvisai Stunningly Knocks Out Chocolatito, Estrada and Inoue Win Convincingly
By: William Holmes
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California was the host site for tonight’s HBO Boxing After Dark telecast
The super flyweight division was featured as two world titles were on the line and one world title eliminator fight was shown.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/K2 Promotions
The opening bout was between Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2) and Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) in an eliminator bout for the WBC Junior Bantamweight Title.
Both Estrada and Cuadras have previously lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and were fighting for a chance to have another crack at him.
Cuadras came out firing to start the first round and was able to land jabs and combinations to the body and head. Estrada was throwing punches of his own, but wasn’t landing at the rate of Cuadras. Cuadras ended the first round with a hard right cross.
Cuadras activity continued into the second round as he was throwing more combinations than the stalking Estrada. Cuadras was showing a good variety of punches in the third round, but Estrada ended the round strong with a hard-left hook to the chin.
Cuadras continued to outland Estrada in the fourth and fifth rounds while showboating at times, but Estrada was continuing to come forward and land some hard shots of his own.
Estrada picked up his pace in the sixth round and looked like he hurt Cuadras with a combination ending right cross. Estrada’s uppercut was also finding it’s home and the tide of the fight was turning in his favor.
The seventh round went back and forth and featured several heavy exchanges, but Cuadras was showing signs of tiring and his mouth was wide open.
Estrada’s left hook was landing in the eighth round. Cuadras may have stolen the ninth round with a heavy right uppercut that snapped the head of Estrada backwards, his best punch in several rounds.
Estrada sent Cuadras crashing to the mat in the tenth round with clean straight hand. Cuadras was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but the knockdown solidified Estrada’s path to victory.
Estrada kept up the pressure in the final two rounds of an action-packed bout. At the end of the twelfth round he acted as if he was victorious.
Michael Buffer originally announced the final scores as 114-113 on all three score cards for Carlos Estrada, and Carlos Cuadras celebrated as if he won the fight.
But Buffer corrected himself and the correct score of 114-113 for Juan Francisco Estrada was read.
The next bout of the night was between Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0) and Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) for the WBO Junior Bantamweight Title.
Tonight, was Inoue’s American debut.
Inoue showed off his notorious jab in the opening round and was able to mix in a few uppercuts and left hooks. Nieves was able to block a lot of Inoue’s early punches, but wasn’t able to land anything significant in return.
Inoue’s jab was moving Nieves around the end of the ring in the second round and even had Nieves hurt in the final ten seconds of the second, but Inoue thought the ten second warning was the end of the round and laid off a visibly hurt Nieves.
Inoue started to land heavy shots to the body in the third round and it’s intensity and ferocity picked up in the fourth.
Inoue scored a knockdown with a thudding left hook to the body in the fifth round. Nieves was able to get back to his feet but took a large number of hard body shots in the remainder of the round.
Inoue continued his assault in the sixth round and was landing cracking body shots at will. Nieves was not throwing much in return and looked like he was just trying to survive.
Nieves corner stopped the fight before the start of the seventh round. Inoue wins by TKO at the end of the sixth round.
The main event was between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1) for the WBC Junior Bantamweight Title.
Rungvisai won a shocking upset in a fight of the year candidate in their first meeting.
Rungvisai, a southpaw, looked a lot more confident than the first time they met and came out aggressively and right at Gonzalez.
Rungvisai was able to land his right hands and kept Gonzalez uncomfortable with his pressure.
Rungvisai continued to be the aggressor in the second round but Gonzalez was able to land multi punch combinations even while he was complaining about head butts.
There were several good exchanges in the third round but Rungvisai looked like he was taking the shots of Gonzalez well but landing heavy shots of his own.
Gonzalez came at Rungvisai at the start of the fourth round but Rungvisai was able to land two hooks to the body followed by a right uppercut, and later followed that with a right hook to the chin of Gonzalez that sent him crashing to the mat. He was able to get back to his feet but still in a dazed state and momentarily exchanged with Rungvisai, but another left hook by Rungvisai sent Gonzalez to the mat for the last time.
Rungvisai wins by knockout at 1:18 of the fourth round.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai, Inoue vs. Nieves, Cuadras vs. Estrada
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division will take center stage on HBO as three fights in the division, which includes two world title fights and a WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator will take place.
Photo Credit: USA Today
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark Card. This card is stacked in the super flyweight division. Additionally, former UFC fighter Nam Phan will compete on the undercard as well as former world title holder Brian Viloria.
The following is a preview of the three planned televised fights on Saturday night.
Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the broadcast will be between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada, two boxers in the junior bantamweight division that previously faced, and lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Both boxers stand at 5’4” and have a reach of 66”. Cuadras is twenty nine years old and two years older than Estrada. Both boxers have considerable power. Estrada has twenty five stoppage victories on his record while Cuadras has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Estrada appears to have the edge in power in recent fights however, he has stopped three of his past four opponents while Cuadras only has two stoppage victories in the past five fights.
Cuadras appears to have the slight edge in amateur experience. Estrada claims an amateur record of 94-4, while Cuadras won a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003.
Estrada only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017, but that can be partly explained by a surgery he had to his right hand. Cuadras fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Cuadras has defeated the likes of David Carmona, Richie Mepranum, Luis Concepcion, and Wisaksil Wangek. Estrada has a slightly better resume as a professional and has defeated the likes of Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, and Brian Viloria.
This should be an entertaining bout and could go either way, but Estrada is considered by many to be the second best super bantamweight behind Chocolatito and they appear destined to rematch in the near future.
Naoya Inoue (13-0) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title
Naoya Inoue is a world titlist form Japan that is starting to generate a lot of buzz in the boxing community.
He’s a world champion at only twenty four years old and has spent his entire career fighting in Japan. He’ll be six years younger than Nieves on fight night and will also have about a half an inch height advantage. However, he is giving up about an inch in reach.
Inoue also appears to have the power advantage. In thirteen fights he already has evel stoppage victories, including three of his past four fights. Nieves only has nine stoppage wins in twenty professional fights and is coming off of a loss.
Both boxers experienced moderate success as an amateur. Inoue won the gold medal in the 2011 President’s Cup and Nieves was a silver medalist in the 2011 National Golden Gloves.
Inoue has faced good opposition ever since his professional debut. His list of notable wins include Kohei Hono, David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, and Adrian Hernandez. Nieves is coming off of a loss to Nikolai Potapov. His only notable wins were against Oscar Mojica and Stephon Young.
Many expect Inoue to wow the crowd on Saturday night with a dominating victory against Nieves. A win may set up a possible big money fight with Roman Gonzalez, provided Gonzalez also wins his bout on Saturday.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
This bout is a rematch of their barn burner fight which saw Rungvisai pull off the stunning upset victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Many fans in attendance, and many members of the media, thought Gonzalez did enough to win the fight despite the fact he was knocked down in the first round.
In fact, CompuBox stats showed that Gonzalez had outlanded Rungvisai in ten of the twelve rounds, but still wound up losing the fight.
Gonzalez and Rungvisai are both thirty years old and stand at 5’3”. Gonzalez will have a slight half and inch reach advantage on Rungvisai. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record, but has only stopped one opponent in his past four fights. Rungvisai has thirty nine stoppage wins to his resume and has stopped nine of his past ten opponents.
However, Rungvisai lacks amateur experience and Gonzalez won the gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships.
Gonzalez fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada.
Rungvisai fought once in 2017 and five times in 2016. However, three of those fights in 2016 were against debuting fighters and most of his wins came against suspect competition. His biggest wins to date were against Jose Salgado and Roman Gonzalez. He has a loss to Carlos Cuadras on his resume, and his other three losses came within the first five fights of his career.
Many felt Gonzalez won their first encounter and many expect him to emerge victorious in their rematch. However, you can not discount the heart that Rungvisai showed in their first fight and he appears to be a boxer with legitimate power in his hands that can end the fight quickly.
This should be another entertaining scrap, but it’s a scrap that Gonzalez is expected to win in a way that will take it out of the hands of the judges.
Super Flyweight Super Card: 2017 Just Keeps on Giving
By: Matt O’Brien
“I think 2016 should go down as one of the worst years in boxing history, maybe the worst.” – Oscar De La Hoya, October 2016.
Photo Credit: HBO Sports
The Golden Boy’s sad assessment of the state of boxing almost a year ago may have been somewhat of an exaggeration, but it’s fair to say 2016 was not exactly a banner year for the sport. Still recovering from the stench of the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-letdown in 2015 and facing the prospect of being usurped as the world’s No.1 combat sport by a surging UFC, boxing was certainly in need of a serious shot in the arm.
Many of the sport’s detractors, especially the less informed members of the mainstream media as well as some of the staunchest supporters of MMA, were prepared to go even further than De La Hoya and pronounce the imminent demise of the Sweet Science. Writing for the LA Times in September 2016, for example, reporter Dylan Hernandez confidently declared: “Boxing is dead”.
Well, if boxing is dying, it is one hell of a glorious death. 2017 has been an absolute treat, with a raft of superb cards around the world and several of the best and most meaningful fights across the divisions getting made.
January started with a bang as the world’s two best super middleweights, James DeGale and Badou Jack, fought to a draw in their attempted unification fight in New York. Keith Thurman then unified two welterweight belts in March, while April saw 90,000 fans pack out Wembley Stadium for one of the best heavyweight title fights in recent memory. Errol Spence travelled to the UK for another massive stadium showdown with Kell Brook in May, and in June Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev fought to determine pound-for-pound supremacy in a rematch for the WBO/WBA/IBF light-heavyweight championships. Then in August boxing crowned it’s first undisputed champion for 12 years, as Terrence Crawford captured all four major belts at 140lbs.
Of course, most recently the richest fight in history also happened to take place in a boxing ring and saw MMA’s biggest star easily dismantled over 10 rounds. The list of huge boxing fights in 2017 goes on and on, and this weekend the trend continues.
Boxing’s little men do not always receive the attention or the acclaim that fighters higher up the weight classes typically garner, but it’s hard to ignore this stacked super flyweight card. Three quality fights, two of which are for world titles and feature two of the most talented operators in the sport, while the third pitches two exciting former world champions against each other in a battle of top contenders. There is nothing not to like about this event.
Kicking things off, American viewers will be treated to their first look at Japanese sensation Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (13-0), as the WBO 115lbs champion makes the sixth defense of his title on his American debut, versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) of Cleveland, Ohio. The young phenom is already a two-weight world champion at just 24 years of age and his fluid, rangy technique and vicious body attack is one of the most pleasing styles to watch in the sport. Expect the Japanese prodigy to do the business and set up a return to American soil against one of the other winners on the main card.
The chief supporting bout is a terrific Mexican civil war between former WBC 115lbs champion Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) and former WBA/WBO 112lbs champion, Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2). Since losing a closely contested points decision to Roman Gonzalez back in 2012, Estrada is on a nine-fight win streak, including impressive victories over former world champs such as Brian Viloria, Giovani Segura and Hernan Marquez. Meanwhile Cuadras is also on the comeback trail having lost his title to Gonzalez, being defeated over twelve rounds in the Nicaraguan’s 115lbs debut last year.
In what promises to be an exciting, high-skills match-up, the winner will command a spot as the top contender in the division. This one could go either way, but I’m going with the crisp combination punching of Estrada to see him through to a points victory in a tightly fought bout.
Finally, the main event on Saturday sees an immediate rematch of one of the most grueling fights and biggest upsets of the year so far, when the unheralded Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) claimed a surprising majority decision over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in March. The Nicaraguan four-weight world champion went into that contest with a perfect 46-0 record and was widely regarded as the finest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Floored in the opening stanza by the naturally bigger challenger, Gonzalez responded well and took firm control of the contest over the middle rounds. The Thai fighter showed incredible guts and resilience to come back into the fight over the second half, though he seemed very fortunate to receive the judges’ verdict – if Gonzalez had won just a single extra point on one of the scorecards, he would have retained his title via majority draw.
In the first fight the two men threw an incredible combined total of 1,953 punches, and the return is likely to be just as bloody and fiercely contested. “Chocolatito” clearly owns the superior skillset of the two, but he is also fighting at a significant disadvantage in weight. The smaller frame and aggressive, counter punching style of Gonzalez also means that he will inevitably spend much of the fight “in the pocket”, with the extra natural strength of the Thai posing real danger. Although I expect the more accurate punching and better defence of the former champ to prevail, as I believe he deserved to last time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sor Rungvisai drag Gonzalez into another war of attrition and make it a close call on the official cards once again.
The fun does not end at the sound of the main event’s final bell, however. In fact, almost as exciting as the card itself are the potential follow-up fights that can be made in the wake of Saturday’s results.
Most obviously, assuming that both come through with a “W”, one of the best matches that could be made – not only in the super flyweight division but in the whole of boxing – would be a blockbuster clash between Japanese star Inoue and Nicaraguan legend Gonzalez. As well as crowning a unified and lineal champion at 115lbs, this would also springboard the winner towards the dizzy heights of boxing’s best practitioners, pound-for-pound. A match-up of this quality would easily surpass any to take place in boxing’s lower weight classes since Michael Carbajal and Humberto Gonzalez became the first little men to headline a PPV card back in 1993, in what turned out to be one of the fights of the decade. It is no exaggeration to say that a potential meeting between “The Monster” Inoue and “Chocolatito” Gonzalez could live up to similar expectations.
Estrada and Cuadras, both in the hunt for a rematch with Gonzalez, could equally provide exciting opposition for Inoue, should a superfight between the aforementioned pair be left to “marinate” a while longer, to use the promotional jargon. Assuming the two Mexicans deliver the kind of drama expected on Saturday, any combination of winner and loser of that fight vs. Gonzalez or Inoue would make for compelling viewing.
Of course, there is also the prospect of either Sor Rungvisai or Nieves – or both – pulling off the upset and throwing a great big spanner in the works. The Thai’s experience and gutsy style make him a tough assignment for anyone, and even coming off a decent losing performance versus Gonzalez he would still present an interesting challenge for Inoue, with a fight between the two South-East Asians no doubt doing great business in Japan. And while Nieves starts as a huge underdog, he comes in without the pressure of being expected to win on his shoulders. The Japanese fighter is boxing away from home for the first time, and while it’s hard to see him losing, Sor Rungvisai’s win over Gonzalez should remind us that no fight is a foregone conclusion.
In short, the possible combinations of intriguing matches emanating from this weekend’s fantastic card are numerous, and the fact that one of boxing’s lowest weight classes is gaining the kind of attention usually reserved for stars in the heavier divisions is a great sign that the sport overall is in very good health.
So, if you know anyone suggesting that boxing is “dying”, you might want to direct them over to HBO this Saturday night – they’ll see that the Sweet Science is alive and kicking. With so many other excellent fights already on the horizon, including the GGG-Canelo megabout and a plethora of mouth-watering match-ups in the World Boxing Super Series, boxing really is booming.
Monster Invasion: Naoya Inoue Comes To America
By: Sean Crose
Twenty four years old. Five feet, four inches tall. Thirteen wins. Zero Defeats. Zero draws. Eleven knockouts. Two world titles in a career that has run a span of less than five years. Meet Naoya Inoue, the WBO World Super Flyweight Champion from the southern portion of Japan, who is about to make his American debut this Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The highly acclaimed Inoue will be one of the headliners on a card deemed “Superfly” because it will present fans with top level superflyweight matches. It is most certainly one of the year’s biggest cards.
Aside from Inoue’s premiere stateside foray, there’s Roman Gonzalez’ much anticipated rematch with Srisaket Rungvisai after their brilliant battle for the WBC super flyweight crown last winter in New York. Juan Francisco Estrada will also be facing Carlos Cuadras, who will be looking to show his mettle after a disappointing performance last March. To be sure, there are those who claim that Inoue has the easiest of the three big fights this weekend. This line of thinking, however, may prove to be wide of the mark. For Inoue’s opponent, Antonio Nieves, might not seem as menacing as Gonzalez, Rungvisai, Cuadras or Estrada, but he’s certainly no slouch.
Boasting a record of seventeen wins, one loss and two draws, the Cleveland native’s lone defeat came by split decision to the undefeated Nikoli Potapov in a fight that was aired on Shobox back in March. He may not be a power puncher, but Nieves has a solid amateur background, an effective jab and the opportunity of a lifetime before him. Expect the fighter, who also works as a banker, to try to make the most of his opportunity in front of HBO cameras this weekend.
The man will have his work cut out for him with Inoue, however. For the fighter known as “The Monster” has terrific footwork, blistering combinations, a sound jab and destructive power. It could, in fact, be argued that Inoue is the complete package. He’s certainly proved his worth in less than fourteen professional fights. One matter of possible concern, though, if the fact that people are expecting a lot from the young man from Kanagawa. An upset loss or a less than stellar showing could harm Inoue’s fearsome reputation. Like Floyd Mayweather just over a week ago, the fighter will walk into the ring knowing anything less than dominance will be seen as a disappointment.
Sor Rungvisai, Gonzalez Hit 7-Day Weight Limit Ahead of Anticipated Rematch
By Jake Donovan
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez remain on course to make weight ahead of their highly anticipated HBO-televised rematch which takes place September 9 at the famed StubHub Center in Carson, California.
As the WBC super flyweight title is at stake, both boxers have been required to perform 30- and 7-day safety weight checks to ensure they are not losing an extraordinary amount of weight during any point in training camp. The WBC requires that participants are to not weigh more than 10% above the contracted weight at the 30-day mark and no more than 5% above said limit at the 7-day mark.
Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39KOs) tipped the scales at 119 lbs. for the first defense of his second time in possession of the WBC title he wrested in a major upset win over Gonzalez this past March at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Gonzalez (46-1, 38KOs) weighed 119.8 lbs. as he looks to avenge the lone loss of a stellar career that has seen title wins in four weight divisions and worldwide acclaim as high among the very best boxers in the world, pound-for-pound.
The maximum weight any super flyweight can weigh in a WBC-sanctioned bout at the 7-day mark is 121 lbs, rounded up to the nearest whole pound.
Both were also well within the 30-day mark, where neither boxer could weigh more than 127 lbs; Sor Rungvisai weighed 123 lbs, while Gonzalez was at 122 lbs.
Their first fight remains among the very best of 2017, many believing it to be second only to Anthony Joshua’s 11th round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko in their epic heavyweight title tilt this past April. Gonzalez suffered the first knockdown of his career, dropped in the opening round of their HBO Pay-Per-View chief support but rallying back and—in the eyes of many observers—seemingly doing enough to retain his title and unbeaten mark.
The three judges felt different, landing a 113-113 even tally on the scorecard of Waleska Roldan (more infamous these days for her 117-111 scorecard in favor of Jeff Horn over Manny Pacquiao this past July) but losing 114-112 on the respective cards of Julie Lederman and Glenn Feldman.
With the loss, Gonzalez saw his super flyweight come to a close after six months and the only of his four weight divisions in which he failed to lodge a single successful defense. The physically blessed athlete from Nicaragua enjoyed lengthy title reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight before moving up in weight in 2014 to wrest the World flyweight crown from Akira Yaegashi.
Four successful defenses followed before once again moving up in weight last September. The move resulted in his becoming the first boxer ever from Nicaragua to capture titles in four weight divisions, surpassing the late and legendary Alexis Arguello—Gonzalez’ boxing idol—after scoring a spirited 12-round win over previously unbeaten 115-pound titlist Carlos Cuadras.
The result this past March makes that very win come full circle. Cuadras obtained his title in a technical decision win over Sor Rungvisai in May ’14, grinding out six successful defenses before conceding his crown to Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Sor Rungvisai has peeled off 16 straight wins since the loss to Cuadras—mostly over nondescript competition but of course no victory bigger than the one he managed over Gonzalez in March to become a two-time 115-pound titlist.
Cuadras (36-1-1, 27KOs) has a chance at a rematch of his own agains the winner of the September 9 headliner, as he appears in the opening bout of the HBO-aired tripleheader. The free-swinging knockout artist from Mexico will take on countryman and former unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada in a WBC final elimination bout.
There was a little more drama in their weight results, although both were ultimately on the mark. Cuadras was well within the limit, clocking in at 119.9 lbs. Estrada (35-2, 25KOs)—whose flyweight run began as inspiring but was plagued by inactivity and injuries before vacating—barely hit the maximum mark of 121 pounds, benefiting from the 5% overage being rounded up to the nearest whole pound.
The 27-year old former flyweight titlist—who managed five defenses before vacating his belts in 2016 to move up in weight—now has six days to lose six pounds. It’s commonly done at higher weights but could prove an interesting scenario for a super flyweight whose body frame obviously isn’t quite as large.
A potential rematch angle also exists for Estrada, provided both he and Gonzalez come out winners in their respective bouts. The two met in a fever-pitched 12-round war in Nov. ’12, with Gonzalez prevailing by unanimous decision in what marked the final defense of his junior flyweight reign. Both boxers moved up to flyweight soon thereafter, but their paths somehow never crossing despite both owning titles at the weight.
Estrada has managed nine straight wins since his loss to Gonzalez.
Wedged in between the two bouts on the card, the evening’s co-feature offers the stateside debut of unbeaten Japanese wunderkind Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11KOs). The prodigious 24-year old talent—who held a junior flyweight belt before moving up two divisions to super flyweight—attempts the sixth defense of his WBO title versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9KOs).
The WBO does not require 30- or 7-day safety weight checks; therefore any such progress by either boxer remains unreported ahead of Friday’s weigh-in.
Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition
Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition
By: Kirk Jackson
Ever since September of 2015, there is a void in the landscape of boxing, as the reigning pay-per-view king and perennial pound-for-pound ruler Floyd Mayweather retired after defeating Andre Berto.
Forget numbers and pay-per-view buys, followers of boxing really want to know is who the best fighter ispound-for-pound?
Since Mayweather’s departure towards the end of 2015,Roman Gonzalez 46-1 (38 KO’s), who at the time was relatively unknown by many boxing observers, ascended towards the top of many pound-for-pound lists.
ESPN, Ring magazine and most notably, the HBO commentary teamjoyfully touted the exploits of the four division world champion from Nicaragua affectionately known as “Chocolatito.” And not without good reason.
Gonzalez is an impressive fighter, boasting extraordinary stamina and an offensive arsenal that would make even the high powered Golden State Warriors envious.
In spite of Gonzalez’s greatness and dominance of the lower weight divisions, his standing as pound-for-pound king was not on steady footing.
Other fighters could be argued as no.1 pound-for-pound.
Fighters such as Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Keith Thurman, along with a few others.
With Gonzalez recently tasting defeat in stunning and controversial fashion, the pound-for-pound ranking reflects the change and displays a new king on the mythical list.
Who steps up to fill the no.1 position?
First thing to establish is the criterion used to judge the qualities of a pound-for-pound fighter
If we are to abide by the “Bible of Boxing” fromRingmagazine,the metrics for analyzing the pound-for-pound list is as follows:
1. Results. This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence over all others.
2. Performance. How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.
3. Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.
All bases are covered with this set of criteria. These are great bench marks to test the merit of fighters and to grade the selected few who make up the pound-for-pound list. The criteria can be subjective, just like with scoring a fight.
Scoring the fight ties in with performance. It is important to note the criterion for scoring a round, tallying up points round by round and ultimately scoring a fight.
Effective Aggression: Assuming the role of aggressor may leave an impression of dominance, but the aggressor must actually land punches and avoid counter-punches in return, in order to be effective.Chasing the opponent and throwing punches does not necessarily suggest fighter is effective with their aggression. Cutting off the ring is a sign of effective aggression.
Ring Generalship: The fighter who controls the pace of the fight; the fighter enforces his/her will and is the conductor of the action. Setting the range, establishing the distance in which the fight takes place, which can include clinching/in-fighting or lateral movement and cutting off the ring.
Defense: How well a boxer is blocking, parrying and slipping punches. Clinching/tying up the opponent, moving around the ring, moving from side to side, presenting different angles is considered defense.
It’s not running; there is nothing stated within the rules of boxing that suggests a boxer must only
step forward throwing punches. It’s important to keep in mind good defense is just as important as offense.
Clean/Effective Punches: To the untrained eye, it can appear as if a boxer is landing a lot of punches, when in fact, most are either blocked, not landing flush or grazing punches. A judge or observer needs to look for hard punches that land clean. Hard punches can definitely constitute as effective, but a boxer should not be penalized if he/she is not a powerful puncher.Again, it’s about clean, landed punches. Clean punches score points.
Now that we have a barometer on how to score rounds, fights, and a general consensus for how to analyze and format pound-for-pound lists, let us proceed with the pound-for-pound selection.
The pound-for-pound results post-Gonzalez loss:
1: Andre Ward 31-0-0 (15 KO’s). Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.
2: Terence Crawford 30-0-0 (21 KO’s). WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion.
3: Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO’s). Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion.
4: Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s).
5: Manny Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s).WBO and lineal welterweight champion.
6: Roman Gonzalez 46-1-0 (38 KO’s).
7: Keith Thurman 28–0–0–1 (22 KO’s). WBA and WBC unified welterweight champion.
8: Vasyl Lomachenko 7-1-0 (5 KO’s). WBO Super featherweight champion.
9: Mikey Garcia 36-0 (30 KO’s). WBC Lightweight champion.
10: Gennady Golovkin 36-0-0 (33 KO’s). Super WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion.
Note: Results are through March 23
1. GENNADY GOLOVKIN
RECORD: 37-0, 33 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Daniel Jacobs, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
2. ANDRE WARD
RECORD: 31-0, 15 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight (unified titleholder)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
3. VASYL LOMACHENKO
RECORD: 7-1, 5 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Nicholas Walters, Nov. 26, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Jason Sosa, April 8
4. SERGEY KOVALEV
RECORD: 30-1-1, 26 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Andre Ward, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
5. ROMAN GONZALEZ
RECORD: 46-1, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight
LAST FIGHT: L (MD12) SrisaketSorRungvisai, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
6. TERENCE CRAWFORD
RECORD: 29-0, 20 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO8) John Molina Jr., Dec. 10, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Felix Diaz, May 20
7. CANELO ALVAREZ
RECORD: 48-1-1, 34 KOs
DIVISION: Junior middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO9) Liam Smith, Sept. 17, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., May 6
8. MANNY PACQUIAO
RECORD: 59-6-2, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Jessie Vargas, Nov. 5, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
9. KEITH THURMAN
RECORD: 28-0, 22 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Danny Garcia, March 4
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
10. GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX
RECORD: 17-0, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Junior featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO2) James Dickens, July 16, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
Ring Magazine Rankings:
Rank Fighter Record Weight Class Title(s)
1 United States:
Andre Ward 31–0 (15 KO) Light heavyweight Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion
Sergey Kovalev 30–1–1 (26 KO) Light heavyweight WBC Diamond Champion, WBO Super Champion
Gennady Golovkin 37–0 (33 KO) Middleweight Super WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight champion
Román González 46–1 (38 KO) Super Flyweight N/A
5 United States:
Terence Crawford 30–0 (21 KO) Junior welterweight WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion
Vasyl Lomachenko 7–1 (5 KO) Super featherweight WBO Super featherweight champion
Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO) Junior featherweight Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion
SaúlÁlvarez 48–1–1 (34 KO) Junior middleweight The Ring/Lineal middleweight champion, WBO junior middleweight champion
9 Shinsuke Yamanaka 27-0-2 (19 KO) Bantamweight WBC and The Ring bantamweight champion
10 Naoya Inoue 12-0 (10 KO) Super flyweight WBO super flyweight champion
Transnational Board Rankings:
Rank Name Nationality Record Division
1 Andre Ward USA 31-0-0 (15) Light Heavyweight
2 Sergey Kovalev RUS 30-1-1 (26) Light Heavyweight
3 Roman Gonzalez NIC 46-1-0 (38) Jr. Bantamweight
4 Manny Pacquiao PHI 59-6-2 (38) Welterweight
5 Terence Crawford * USA 30-0-0 (21) Jr. Welterweight
6 Gennady Golovkin KAZ 36-0-0 (33) Middleweight
7 Vasyl Lomachenko UKR 7-1-0 (5) Jr. Lightweight
8 Naoya Inoue JPN 12-0-0 (10) Jr. Bantamweight
9 Leo Santa Cruz USA 33-1-1- (18) Featherweight
10 Shinsuke Yamanaka JPN 27-0-2 (19) Bantamweight
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Lomachenko Dazzles, Usyk and Gvozdyk Victorious
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Lomachenko Dazzles, Usyk and Gvozdyk Victorious
By: William Holmes
The Theater at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland was the host site for tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing card featuring three Ukrainians in the televised portion of the card.
This fight was sold out with an announced attendance of 2,828.
The venue is a new one for boxing and there doesn’t look like there’s a single bad seat in the house and the casino, which opened in December, looked exquisite.
The undercard featured several young victorious high level prospects such as Michael Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The opening bout of the HBO televised card was between 2012 US Olympian Mike Hunter (12-0) and 2012 Ukrainian Olympic Gold Medalist Aleksandr Usyk (11-0) for the WBO Cruiserweight Championship.
Usyk, as the other Ukrainian boxers, had a very large and vocal contingent in attendance.
Hunter took the center of the ring and Usyk jabbed from the outside in the opening round. Usyk’s first big punches of the night were some straight left hands in the first round, but Hunter’s jabs kept it close and it could have been scored for either boxer.
Hunter had a good second round and was the more active of the two boxers, but Usyk was taking the punches of Hunter well. Usyk pressed forward in the third round and he had the head of Hunter snapping backwards with a lot of his punches that landed in the fourth.
The fifth and sixth rounds were clear rounds for Usyk as he appeared to be wearing Hunter down and landed several hard, clean, combinations that get the crowd to its feet and whistling.
Usyk connected at a high percentage in the seventh round and had Hunter back pedaling. Usyk landed some heavy blows in the eighth round and looked like he was close to sending Hunter to the mat.
Hunter tried to go punch for punch with Usyk several times in the ninth and tenth rounds, but he didn’t have the power nor the accuracy of the Ukrainian boxer.
Hunter was fighting well, but likely needed a knockout in the final two rounds to pull out the victory, but he didn’t fight like he needed a stoppage and seemed content with throwing his jab while never really going for the knockout blow.
Instead it was Usyk who had Hunter staggered and wobbly by the ropes in the final round as he went for the stoppage. Usyk was able to score a knockdown in the final round and he followed it up with a furious rally in an attempt to stop the bout. Hunter somehow stayed on his feet and threw just enough punches to keep the referee from stopping the bout.
Aleksandr Usyk wins the decision with scores of 117-110 on all three scorecards.
The next bout of the night was between Yuniesky Gonzalez (18-2) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Gvozdyk and Gonzalez felt each other out by exchanging jabs in the first round and both boxers landed some punches, but Gvozdyk was landing more combinations while Gonzalez was looking for the knockout punch.
Gonzalez spent most of the second round chasing Gvozdyk around the ring while Gvozdyk landed some eye opening combinations.
Gonzalez opened up the third round by throwing everything into his punches but was very wild. Gvozdyk stayed patient and landed short straight right hands that had Gonzalez hurt and followed it up with a combination that sent him to one knee. Gonzalez was able to get back to his feet and ate several hard combinations from Gvozdyk. Gonzalez eventually succumbed to the pressure of Gvozdyk and was sent crashing to the mat.
Gonzalez’s corner jumped up to the ring apron and stopped the bout. Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by an impressive TKO at 2:59 of the third round.
The main event was between pound for pound superstar Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) and Jason Sosa (20-1-4) for the WBO Super Featherweight World Championship.
Lomachenko’s legion of supporters greatly outnumbered the fans of Sosa in attendance.
Lomachenko and Sosa fought a near even first round with both boxer showing good head movement and angles.
Sosa did well in the second round and Lomachenko had to complain to the referee about a possible low blow and a head butt. Lomachenko ended the second round strong with a flurry and may have stolen it with that flurry.
Lomachenko showed off his fancy footwork in the third round but Sosa was landing and throwing some good punches of his own.
Lomachenko had a very good fourth round and was landing some incredible combinations from unique angles. He also had Sosa hurt with a hard straight left hand.
By the fifth round Lomachenko was landing his punches at will and they were coming in lightning quick. Lomachenko was toying with Sosa in the sixth round and landed several good body blows.
Sosa, despite his best efforts, couldn’t find his target in the seventh round as the reflexes of Lomachenko just appeared to be too much for him.
Lomachenko battered Sosa in the eighth round and looked close to knocking him down when Sosa’s back was against the ropes. Sosa though showed incredible heart and grit and was able to survive the unbelievably accurate combinations of Lomachenko.
Sosa attempted to bait Lomachenko in the ninth round by willingly eating some combinations and unleashing an occasional bomb, but he was unable to land any punches.
Sosa, who had taken a beating the entire fight except for the opening round, looked like a beaten down man at the end of the ninth round. He would not come out for the tenth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.
Undercard Quick Results:
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (16-0) defeated Ramses Agaton (17-3-3) by knockout at 2:58 of the fourth round in the welterweight division.
Patrick Harris (11-0) defeated Omar Garcia (6-7) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Jesse Hart (22-0) defeated Alan Campa (16-3) by TKO at 0:44 of the fifth round in the super middleweight division.
Michael Reed (22-0) defeated Reyes Sanchez (26-10-2) by decision with scores of 99-91 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.