HBO Boxing Results: Munguia Defeats Ali
By: Oliver McManus
In the dust of Linares-Lomachenko over on ESPN there were two more world title tilts live on HBO, from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, in a card lacking the hype of legacy but delivering buckets of credibility and tasty match-ups.
Sadam Ali vs Jaime Munguia was the headlining bout with Ali’s WBO Super Welterweight title at stake – Munguia, 28-0, arrived in New York the vast underdog having taken up the challenge on less than two weeks’ notice, following Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith’s withdrawal, and Ali, 26-1, was on a quest to prove his victory over Miguel Cotto last year was not a mere fluke.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
The fight started off with Ali visibly looking the smaller, more diminutive figure – his opponent a natural middleweight – and whilst Ali looked to be the more mobile of the two fighters and put his sprightly figure to good use, it was Munguia who started off the brighter with a clipping left hand dropping the champion in the first round… twice.
The Mexican challenger seemed in complete domination, easing his way into his rhythm and never completely stepping up the gas, round two came and he simply reverted back to his jab that saw him have so much success in the first – the key, beforehand, was to work on the counter-attack but Munguia simply did not give Ali a chance to impose his gameplan, twice more would Cotto’s conqueror crumple to the canvas.
That was before the bell to signal the end of round two even went and when it sounded again to start round three, the story was much the same – sheer domination from the unexpected challenger who was putting to short shrift the naysayers, seizing his chance opportunity at the title – a near knockdown in the third put beyond doubt whether this would go the distance with the crowd warming to Munguia.
A third of the way into the fight and at the fourth round came the climatic ending, another knockdown from a supreme, confident Munguia left Ali out of his depth and reeling – in visible pain, this wasn’t a fluke victory by Munguia, this was an utter demolition job, a bank robbery almost, and there could be no questioning the skill and shot selection from the brave 21 year old… AND NEW WBO SUPER WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.
Rey Vargas, expecting a “wild war” went into his fifth world title fight against a game, gritty, Azat Hovhannisyan, following two comfortable points victory in the back-end of 2017 to retain his WBC Super Bantamweight title against Oscar Negrete and Ronny Rios, respectively.
Hovhannisyan, nicknamed crazy, was also coming off the back of a win over Ronny Rios – a sixth round knockout – in March of this year and was confident of continuing his momentum all the world to grabbing that prestigious world title belt.
And he started off looking the fresher, more prepared of the fighters, going to the centre of the ring in the opening round in a bid so shock Vargas into submission but it failed to rattle the Mexican who instead opted to trade some bruising shots with his Armenian counterpart.
Startled but little else, Vargas hit back with some big shots of his own but came off visibly worse when a cut above his left eye started to open up… superficial damage, that’s all.
The brawl-like contest continued much into the first third of this fight and it seemed evident that Azat was aware the only way he was going to win this fight was by pushing Vargas into the unknown, the uncomfortable.
But whilst Vargas was, arguably, mentally uncomfortable, he was physically serene and targeted the body of Hovhannisyan – everyone’s weak point – sending huge combinations into the guts of the Armenian before letting a flurry unravel towards the latter stage of the third round.
Aware that this was have success, Vargas continued this onslaught of an assault to the Armenian’s body and started to utilise his left hook a bit more – really opening up Azat – but the challenger responded in the sixth with, a last, do or die effort, swinging wildly in an attempt to connect with a final bomb.
The fatigue showed going into the final half with Vargas’ attempted-toppler slowing demonstrably and suffering from the affects of the body shot – another cut was opened up, this time above Vargas right eye – and whilst there were periods of success for the challenger they were all too brief and all to rare.
A brawl, an ugly but spectacular brawl, Vargas dealt with it comfortably enough to earn the win on all three scorecards, 112-116, 111-117, 110-118.
HBO Boxing Preview: Ali vs. Munguia, Hovhannisyan vs. Vargas
By: Oliver McManus
Live on HBO this coming weekend there’s a mammoth world title double-header from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York promoted by Oscar de la Hoya, on behalf of Golden Boy Promotions,featuring Sadam Ali – Jaime Munguia and Rey Vargas – Azat Hovhannisyan.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Twitter Account
Topping the bill is the WBO Super Welterweight world championship clash between Sadam Ali, 26-1, and Jaime Munguia, 28-0. Munguia is a name fresh on the mind having been hotly linked as a replacement opponent for Gennady Golovkin in the wake of Canelo’s failed drugs test – the Nevada State Athletic Commission would go on to refuse to sanction the proposed bout – but the 21 year old Mexican has his crack at world title glory on at the weekend.
A crack that’s arose purely as a result of yet another withdrawal – this time to the mandatory challenger and, former WBO Super Welterweight champion, Liam Smith who was forced to pull out in thanks to an allergic reaction; the hope is that they’ll reschedule the fight for August with Frank Warren keen to bring it to the United Kingdom.
Mugnuia will be in his third fight of 2018 having secured two third round knockouts against Jose Carlos Paz and Johnny Navarrette already with the latter being enough to secure the WBC Latino title. Over the past twelve months Munguia has worked on his footwork and hand-speed enabling him to perform to the more archetypal explosivity expected of a Mexican boxer.
In particular he packs a wincing left upper-cut which he floats around with sublime accuracy and split-second timing, leaning his whole body into the shot, as he did with specific effect against Alvaro Robles in 2016 before having sense-of-mind to pounce when Robles had beaten the count and send in a flurry towards the body to finish the fight.
Sadam Ali will always be known as the man who stole the show for Miguel Cotto’s farewell party thanks to his narrow (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) unanimous decision victory over the Puerto Rican in December of last year.
Determined to prove that victory was through his own hard-work and skill as opposed to the combination of luck and a past-it Cotto, Ali will be in no mood to take his time when the bell sounds for round one.
From his 26 victories he’s hailed 14 KO’s and whilst many of those have been against lesser opponents, he’ll be looking to take the fight to Munguia right from the off with his in-your-face fight style enough to put off the most virtuous of fighters.
Whether it’s fair or not there will likely be no praise for Ali regardless of the manner in which he wins for he is expected to a job on his challenger, comfortably so, after all this IS a man who’s never gone 12 rounds before, never even been scheduled for the full 12 but then again, we’ve had this sort of match-up before – I’m thinking James DeGale vs Caleb Truax I, no-one gave Truax a chance but then he went and shocked the world.
Nearly did it twice.
Rey Vargas vs Azat Hovhannisyan for the WBC Super Bantamweight title completes this HBO World Title double-header as Vargas looks to make the third successful defence of the belt he first claimed in February 2017 thanks to an MD win over Gavin McDonnell.
Aged 27 but looking closer to 47, it’s predictable that Vargas carries with him a mature head with plenty of wisdom – both in the ring and out of it – but the Mexican possess an underrated knockout power brought to the fore when countering an opponent’s lazy jab. It really is a work of art.
That being said you’ll never see the 31 fight veteran searching for a stoppage, he’d much rather outbox his opponent, keeping a high tempo, being clever with his shots to do damage in terms of fatigue and mental fortitude but never relentless.
That victory over Gavin McDonnell was arguably Vargas’ finest fight, boxing to punch perfection against a game, gutsy Gavin who threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at him.
Hovhannisyan represents one of the easier voluntary defences that Vargas could have made, ranked number nine by the WBC and having two losses in the early stages of his career to nothing opponents represents enough chinks in the armour of this, otherwise, untested boxer for Vargas and his team to be willing to take the chance.
Nonetheless the Armenian will be coming to fight in a manner similar to McDonnell, seeking to throw bombs from the very beginning in a bid to take Vargas into the unknown – forget a phone box fight, this could be a postage stamp fight if Crazy gets his way.
You suspect the champion will use all of his experience and tactical awareness to nullify the threat of Hovhannisyan but Azat will be seeking to galvanise the momentum he gained by knocking out Ronny Rios in the 6th round in March – the very same Ronny Rios who, last August, took Vargas all the way to points.
It’s a case then of the tactician vs the magician and it’s never a magic trick without fire… BRING IT ON.
Gennady Golovkin Treats His Fans to a Show while HBO Gives Viewers Boxing at a Bargain
By Vishare Mooney
Vegas’s loss ended up SoCal’s gain, as the Canelo-GGG pay-per-view cancellation yielded a bargain for boxing fans watching around the world, and in attendance, at the gorgeous and affordable outdoor boxing venue that is the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA. Despite the circumstances, GGG Promotions and HBO together produced a collection of solid bouts, including the first ever live telecast of a women’s fight and leading to the ultimate showcase of their featured fighters, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1 34KO) against Vanes Martirosyan (36-4-1 21KO). According to Nielsen Media Research, the HBO telecast peaked at 1,361,000 viewers, making it cable tv’s number one rated boxing telecast in 2018. Saturday’s show also broke StubHub’s record for highest grossing boxing event.
Triple G merchandise were worn by fans throughout the entire venue that evening and even the night before during Golden Boy Promotions Garcia vs. Velez bout. GGG merchandise were sold then too and fans were seen wearing GGG hats alongside young girls wearing Ryan Garcia “The Flash” tees. Such is the power of a champion – your merch is worn on fight nights when you’re not fighting.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/GGG Promotions
But enough shop talk. Let’s talk about the fight.
This fight seemed an unexpected pit stop for the Big Drama Show 2 that was teased last September seconds after the controversial draw that extended the Canelo-Golovkin saga – two fighters vying for the prefix “undisputed.” After the controversial draw came the controversial “tainted meat” followed by the controversial choice of replacement fighter. (Max Kellerman actually suggested Golovkin went from a fighter who was avoided to one who was avoiding top challengers. Oy.) Let’s not forget the posturing on social media from an angry Canelo and attention needy Billy Joe Saunders. There was all this drama but not the good kind, the junk kind, like a bag of Cheetos, easily consumed yet unsatisfying.
Golovkin wanted a fight. He didn’t want to waste a camp. Having fought two or three times per year throughout his entire pro career, wanted to stay active. He wanted to give his fans a show on Cinco De Mayo and then finally move on to the next, and more lucrative card his fame deserved. And maybe, as viewers saw, in the two rounds his opponent remained standing, he also needed to remind people just what his job was in the ring: seek, destroy, defend the belts.
It’s difficult for promoters and for media, to hype up a fight when the champion is a soft spoken Kazakh, whose English is limited, who smiles easily, avoids trash talk and can actually be mistaken for an IT guy on a date when he wears Bijan. I am sure it’s not easy to get ‘likes” when your fighter isn’t a charming 19-year-old, predicting a fourth round knockout with a left hook while simultaneously holding promotions on Instagram. And so, Golovkin, the old school fighter, has to make up for all of these shortcomings the only way he has ever known – on fight night.
On May 5th, under the stars and klieg lights, as the now familiar thudding beat of his fight song began and fans roared in anticipation, GGG walked out of the tunnel, in his hooded blue and gold Kazakh fight robe, looking like a royal grim reaper, his left arm on trainer Abel Sanchez’s shoulder and Jack White’s “Seven Nation Army” doing some trash talking for him.
I’m gonna fight ‘em all/A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back/They’re gonna rip it off/Taking their time right behind my back.
GGG spent round one surveying Martirosyan, finding his range, his opponents vulnerabilities. He threw a couple of tentative punches and got caught with a right and follow up left from Martirosyan. The crowd cheered in surprise and support for the challenger who had promised that he would not “run away” from GGG in the ring, as was the effective strategy of Golovkin’s last two opponents. Martirosyan, in his 36 bouts had never been downed. After the bell, Sanchez told his fighter he seemed tight, fight announcer Jim Lampley mused “It does look that way. As if Golovkin had a lot of pressure to deal with. A lot of outside the ring stuff.”
Golovkin had taken a few solid shots from Martirosyan and it seemed, at the start of the second round that it would be a longer night than anticipated. After all, the last time Golovkin fought at StubHub it was 2014 against veteran Marco Rubio and that fight only lasted two rounds before the KO…But we all know what happened. Deja Vu.
12 seconds into Round 2, when Golovkin threw a vicious uppercut to Martirosyan’s chin, that would have brought Martirosyan down had he not literally hung onto Golovkin to avoid a knock down call, the crowd sensed danger. At 1:26 left in the round, Golovkin throws Martirosyan a hard left hook that ultimately puts Martirosyan against the ropes to a barrage of nine, yes nine, punches to his head: a powerful overhead right cross, jab, jab, jab, right cross, right, big left hook, right, big left hook. And down.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/GGG Promotions
From my seat I saw Martirosyan’s back against the ropes, his head violently bobbing right and left as Golovkin’s fists met their target. As his opponent collapsed to the floor, Golovkin backed away and looked grimly on as the referee counted.
“Boxing is not easy,” said Golovkin, before the fight. “Boxing is not a game. It’s serious business.”
Golovkin knows his fans. He gave them what they wanted. No hype. A show of pure boxing. Let’s hope Golovkin, in the rarefied world of high stakes fights, finds his way back to StubHub in the not too distant future and that HBO finds a way, and not by accident, to provide amazing non pay per view fights for the masses – for true boxing fans.
Golovkin Destroys Martirosyian In Two
By: Sean Cross
In what was originally supposed to be a pay per view broadcast superfight, HBOs Saturday boxing card showcased Gennady Golovkin against Vanes Martirosyan for middleweight supremacy. Golovkin was originally scheduled to face Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas in a rematch of their high profile and controversial first match last fall. Canelo was popped with Clenbuterol in his system, however, and the fight was scrapped. Junior middleweight Martirosyan stepped in for Canelo, however, and the fight was moved to the StubHub Center in California.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Before the main event, however, viewers were treated to the first women’s boxing match ever aired live on HBO. Longtime welterweight champ Claudia Braekhus, 32-0, faced Kali Reis, 13-6-1, in a ten rounder. The first half of the fight saw the established champ jabbing her way to what appeared to be a comfortable lead. Things got interesting in the 7th round, however, when Braekhus was dropped by a Reis right hand. Braekus looked effective in the 8th, but was rocked again at the end of the round.
By the ninth, the fight had gone from one sided to competitive. Braekhus may have dominated most of the fight up until that time, but Reis’ assertiveness and power left a question as to how the bout might end. Reis battled gamely in the tenth, but so did Braekhus, which mean Reis was unable to close the show before the final bell. Braekhus ended up taking a unanimous decision win. It was an entertaining premiere for women’s boxing on Home Box Office.
It was time for the main event. Martirosyan, 36-3-1, was first to enter the ring, followed by the champion, Golovkin, 37-0-1. Both fighters looked intensely focused in the moments before the bout. The first round was an active affair – one Martirosyan, who was punching sharply, may have won. GGG tagged his man hard early on in the second. Martirosyan had his moments, but at around the halfway point of the round, a frightening display of punching power from Golovkin put the game Armenian warrior down and out.
“I feel great,” Golovkin said after the bout.
“This is serious business,” he added, “this is serious fight.”
Naturally, the Canelo situation came up. “I’m ready any time,” Golovkin said in regards to a long awaited rematch, adding in reference to all other fighters who might want to face him: “come and take my belt.”
HBO Boxing Preview: Braekhus vs. Reis, Golovkin vs. Martirosyan
By: William Holmes
Gennady Golovkin was supposed to face Canelo Alvarez in a highly anticipated rematch this Saturday in Las Vegas, but a positive drug test for Clenbuterol skirted those plans and have placed the legacy of Canelo in doubt, even though the claim is that the positive test was caused by tainted meat.
Instead Golovkin will get a new opponent in a new venue on Saturday night and the fight will no longer be on Pay Per View. Vanes Martirosyan has offered to set up to the plate to face Golvokin on short notice. The co-feature of the night will be a woman’s bout between Cecilia Braekhus and Kali Reis for Braekhus WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF Welterweight Titles.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/GGG Promotions
Boxers such as Ryan Martin, Bredis Prescott, Nam Pham, Ruslan Madiyev, and Brian Ceballo will be competing on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the two planned televised fights.
Cecilia Braekhus (32-0) vs. Kali Reis (13-6-1); WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF Women’s Welterweight Titles
Cecilia Braekhus is one of the best women boxers that is currently competing. She’s undefeated, has held a major world title since 2009 (WBC and WBA Titles) and is considered a legend in the sport of women’s boxing.
However, she is thirty six years old and is nearing the end of her athletic prime. Her opponent is five years younger and will have a slight half an inch height advantage, but Reis has never defeated an opponent near the caliber of Braekhus.
As an amateur, Braekhus is a former World Silver Medalist. Reis does not have any notable amateur accomplishments to discuss.
Braekhus is 12-0 against former world champions. She has defeated the likes of Makela Lauren, Eva Bajic, Anne Sophie Mathis, Mia St. John, Oxandia Castillo, Myriam Lamare, Ivana Habazin, Jennifer Retzke, Chris Namus, and Erica Anabella Farias,
Reis is a former middleweight world champion, but none of her past three opponents had a winning record. Two of them had a losing record and one had an equal number of wins and losses.
Neither boxer is known for their power. Braekhus has nine stoppage victories while Reis only has four stoppage victories. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. Reis fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Braekhus fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Braekhus will make history as the first woman to compete on an HBO televised female boxing match. This will only be her second fight in the United States, but she does not have an opponent in front of her that should present a major challenge.
Age will catch up to Braekhus soon, but she should have a good showing on Saturday night in her American debut.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1); WBA/WBC Middleweight Titles
Gennady Golovkin was hoping to rematch Canelo Alvarez and get a definitive win, but instead he has to face the determine but heavy underdog Vanes Martirosyan.
Golovkin is thirty six years old and will be four years older than Martirosyan on Saturday night. Golovkin is already showing signs of slowing down. He has thirty three knockout wins on his resume, but his opponents in his past two fights were able to go the distance. Martirosyan will also have a slight one inch height advantage. Their reach is the same. Martirosyan is not really known for his power, he only has twenty one knockouts as a professional.
Golovkin was a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist for Kazakhstan and Martirosyan competed for the United States in 2004 in the Olympics but failed to medal.
Golovkin has been fighting what is now considered a normal schedule for a top tier fighter. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Martirosyan has not been very active and it should be a concern for his camp. He’s fighting arguably the best middleweight in the 21st century and he only fought once in 2016 and did not fight at all in 2017. In fact it will be nearly two years since he has stepped in the ring.
Golovkin has defeated the likes Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, and Kassim Ouma.
Martirosyan has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Willie Nelson, Saul Roman, and Kassim Ouma. His losses were to Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade.
Martirosyan has been known to do better than expected in big fights, but fighting a current top five pound for pound boxer after not competing for two years will be a tall task to overcome.
However, if Martirosyan makes it to the final bell, the bigger question will be how much longer does Golovkin has left as one of the world’s best?
Vanes Martirosyan’s Goal: “To Beat The Baddest Man On The Planet”
By: Sean Crose
“Ronda’s going to come to the event on Saturday,” promoter Tom Loeffler said during a Monday conference call promoting this weekend’s Cinco De Mayo bout between middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin and ring vet (and Ronda Rousey pal) Vanes Martirosyan. Loeffler also added that “Chris Cyborg,” another MMA star, “is supposed to come.” Whether such well known fans will add buzz to a fight that is essentially a quick replacement for a failed megabout between Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez remains to be seen. This Saturday’s match was supposed to be a rematch between Golovkin and Canelo of their 2017 bout, which ended in a controversial draw. Canelo, however, famously tested positive for Clenbuterol, a banned substance, back in February, causing the high profile event to be cancelled.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/GGG Promotions
“He was very frustrated when the positive test first was announced,” said Loeffler. “Gennady really is the party that’s the most affected by this (the Canelo situation).” Loeffler also made it clear that Golovkin is not only eager to move on, but is taking his replacement opponent, Martirosyan, very seriously. “This is a very unique situation,” said Loeffler, who added that “Gennady just kept training” throughout the Alvarez scandal. Likewise, Martirosyan is said to be well prepared. “We just got ready for Golovkin,” the California fighter said when I asked what tweaks were made to his training in preparation for the feared Kazakh.
“Styles do make fights,” he added. “GGG’s style and mine fit very well.” Martirosyan has complained that some of his more notable opponents have avoided him in the ring. Unlike slicksters such as Erislandy Lara, however, Martirosyan feels Golovkin will show up on Saturday to fight. “It’s a perfect fight for Cinco de Mayo because it’s going to be two guys going head to head,” Martirosyan said. Martirosyan also claimed that “this is what we dream about. I’ve always wanted these fights.” He’s only been set to face Golovkin for a few weeks, but Martirosyan is exuding complete confidence.
“We’re ready,” he said. “You can wake me up in my sleep and I’d be ready to fight.” With just days to go before the fight, Martirosyan let the media know that he’s still prepping. “I’m in the gym right now,” he said. “I just go done sweating my butt off.” Although he’s eager to engage in an action fight, Martirosyan comes across as a pleasant individual who’s not afraid to engage in humor. As he said good naturedly during the call: “Most of my fans are also GGG fans.” Not that they won’t support Martirosyan during the fight.
As the clock ticks ever closer to the weekend, Martirosyan, who is a huge underdog, has a singular goal in mind:
“To beat the baddest man on the planet.”
HBO Boxing Results: Jacobs Defeats Sulecki, Miller Decisions Duhaupas
By: William Holmes
Eddie Hearn promoted Daniel Jacobs at the Barclays Center in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York tonight on the HBO network.
Three major fight cards were shown on US Television tonight, with the HBO show being broadcast last.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Attendance looked sparse at the beginning of the telecast as Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (20-0-1) took in Johan Duhaupas (37-4) in a WBA Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Miller weighed in at 304 pounds and was able to easily walk Duhaupas down in the opening rounds. He connected with two good overhand rights in the first that forced Duhaupas to cover up.
Miller continued to walk Duhaupas down in the second round and was able to land some heavy uppercuts on Duhaupas by the ropes. Miller was warned to keep his punches up when he landed a shot below the belt in the second round.
Duhaupas was able to land some short combinations in the middle of the ring in the third round but Miller took those shots well and landed several good short shots.
Miller had Duhaupas stunned in the fifth round when he momentarily switched to a southpaw stance. Miller’s controlled the pace and distance in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Duhaupas was able to show enough offense in the eighth round to maybe steal it form Miller.
Miller looked like he was slowing down a little bit in the ninth and tenth rounds but tagged Duhaupas several times in the eleventh round and looked close to knocking him down.
Duhaupas was a little hesitant to come out for the final round but did so at his corner’s urging. He was far too behind to win by decision in the final round and looked like he was trying to survive rather than trying to win as the fight came to an end.
Jarrell Miller wins by unanimous decision with scores of 119-109, 119-109, and 117-111.
The main event of the night was between Daniel Jacobs (33-2) and Maciej Sulecki (26-0) in a WBA Middleweight Eliminator.
The crowd was very vocal throughout this fight and Jacobs looked like the bigger fighter in the ring as Sulecki has spent a lot of his career fighting in the junior middleweight division.
Sulecki showed good upper body movement early on and was able to land a solid straight right hand on Jacobs when he switched to a southpaw stance in the second round.
Jacobs connected with a good hook/uppercut combination in the third round and was getting his timing down better. His shoulder roll defense was working for him and Jacobs ended the third round strong.
Jacobs landed a strong left hook at the end of the fourth round and his cross arm defense was giving Sulecki fits in the fifth round.
Sulecki however remained slick throughout and may have stolen the seventh or eighth rounds, but he wasn’t throwing combinations and seemed ok with landing one to two punches at a time while Jacobs was more likely to throw combinations.
Jacobs hand speed was more apparent in the later rounds though he was getting hit by Sulecki. Jacobs focused more on the body in the tenth and eleventh rounds.
There were a lot of swing rounds in the middle rounds, but Jacobs saved his best round for last when he connected with a combination ending right hand that sent Sulecki to the mat. Sulecki was able to beat the count and end the fight swinging, but Jacobs appeared to have done enough to win the fight.
The judges scored it 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112 for Daniel Jacobs.
HBO Boxing Preview: Miller vs. Duhaupas, Jacobs vs. Sulecki
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will showcase two fights to be broadcast on HBO’s World Championship Boxing Series. Daniel Jacobs, who took Gennady Golovkin the distance and is considered by many to be one of the top middleweights of the country, will take on Maciej Sulecki in a WBA Middleweight Eliminator in the main event of the evening.
The co-main event will feature another WBA Eliminator, but this time in the heavyweight division, as rising Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller will take on Johan Duhaupas.
The undercard will also feature a WBA/IBF Women’s Lightweight Title unification between Katie Taylor and Victoria Bustos which may get some mention on the HBO broadcast
The following is a preview of the two planned telelvised fights.
Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (20-0-1) vs. Johan Duhaupas (37-4); WBA Heavyweight Eliminator
Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller is one of the top talents in the heavyweight division. He previously competed in both boxing and MMA and was very successful in it. In fact he was undefeated for three years in kickboxing before turning pro as a boxer. He was also a finalist in the NY Golden Gloves Championship as an amateur.
Miller is in the midst of his prime and approximately eight years younger than Johan Duhaupas. Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Miller fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. Duhaupas has also been very active, which is surprising for a man his age. He fought three times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Miller usually towers over his opponents, but he will be giving up one inch in height and about four and half inches in reach to Duhaupas. Both boxers have experienced recent success. Nine of the last ten opponents that Miller has fought were defeated by stoppage. Four of the past five fights that Duhaupas has fought resulted in a stoppage victory.
Miller has defeated the likes of Mariusz Wach, Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, Donovan Dennis, and Joey Dawejko. Miller has never been defeated.
Duhaupas has defeated the likes of Jarno Rosberg, Robert Helenius, and Manuel Charr. His losses were to Alexander Povetkin, Deontay Wilder, Erkan Teper, Francesci Ouabeti.
When you compare Miller’s age, strength, and willingness to test himself against good competition in both boxing and MMA to Duhaupas; it becomes clear that Miller should be the heavy favorite in this fight. He could prove a tough challenge for either Joshua or Wilder in the near future.
Daniel Jacobs (33-2) vs. Maciej Sulecki (26-0); WBA Middleweight Eliminator
When Canelo tested positive for clenbuterol, even though he claimed tainted meat as the culprit, many boxing writers placed Daniel Jacobs as the #2 guy in the middleweight division mainly based on his extremely close match with Gennady Golovkin.
His opponent, Maciej Sulecki, is relatively unknown to the American audience but has never tasted defeat.
Jacobs has the better amateur career of the two. He won the National Golden Gloves Tournament as a middleweight and was a US National Champion as an amateur.
Sulecki will have about an inch and a half height advantage on Jacobs on Saturday night, but Jacobs will have a rather large five inch reach advantage. Jacobs will also have a large power advantage. He has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Sulecki has only stopped ten.
Jacobs two losses were a shocking upset to Dmitry Pirog and a close defeat to current middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin. He has defeated the likes of Luis Arias, Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax, Jarrod Fletcher, and Ishe Smith. Sulecki has never tasted defeat and has defeated the likes of Jack Culcay, Damian Bonelli, Hugo Centeno Jr., and Grzegorz Proksa.
This fight looks like a mismatch. Jacobs is fighting an opponent who has never faced the level of opposition of him in his hometown who doesn’t have knockout power.
Braekhus-Reis To Be HBOs First Televised Woman’s Bout
By: Vishare Mooney
“This marks the first time a women’s bout has been televised live on HBO.” So claimed a press release announcing the matchup between “boxing’s only undisputed world champion Cecilia Braekhus” and “former WBC Female World Middleweight Champion Kali Reis.” The two women will fight for Braekhus’ World Female Welterweight title on May 5th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Even more telling, the fight will be the co-feature of the Gennady Golovkin – Vanes Martirosyan middleweight title bout.
Braekhus, who fights out of Norway, has held her title for nine years and boasts a record of 32-0. “I’m honored,” said Braekhus, “to fight on the same card as the best male fighter in the world, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.” Braekus also spoke well of the Southern California location of her HBO debut. “I’ve heard so many magnificent things about fighting in Southern California and the passion boxing fans have for great fights,” she said. “I’ve been training in Los Angeles for the last six weeks with Lucia Rikjer, and this has been a tremendous camp.” Rhode Island native Reis, 13-61, looks to keep Braekhus from making a 22nd successful title defense.
“I am so proud to help present the first female bout to be televised live on HBO,” promoter Tom Lorffler claimed. “Undefeated World Female Welterweight Champion Cecllia Braekhus, boxing’s only undisputed world champion, will have her hands full against former WBC World Female Middleweight champion Kali Reis.” The bout will be scheduled for ten rounds.
The non-televised portion of the May 5th card will also showcase 21-0 super lightweight Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, as he faces well known 31-12 vet Breidis Prescott. “Best known for his first-round knockout victory of Amir Khan and a decision victory over former world champion Richar Abril,” the press release stated, “Prescott has been in tough for much of his professional career, going the distance against former two-division world champion Terence Crawford and top-rated contenders Roberto Garcia, Paul McCloskey and Fredrick Lawson. Boasting a victory by knockout ratio of 71%, Prescott will be looking to make the most of his Cinco De Mayo rumble with Martin.”
The 25 year old Martin, whose part of Abel Sanchez’ acclaimed stable, “returns to the ring after making a star turn headlining his first card, on March 27, at The Avalon in Hollywood, Calif. Martin blasted Luis Eduardo Florez in the fourth round of their 10-round bout.” The Golovkin-Martirosyan televised card is co-promoted by Loeffler and Don King and will be aired live at 11 pm eastern standard time on HBO.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Dillian Whyte Stops Lucas Browne
By: Ste Rowen
Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte sent a cold message to the rest of the heavyweight scene with a savage one punch knockout of unbeaten Australian, Lucas Browne at London’s O2 Arena.
It was a tentative start from the first bell even as Browne developed a cut late in the round on his left eye. Whyte took over from thereafter though with the cleaner, more precise punching. Browne seemed to be without a game plan, plodding forwards without any obvious intent and no sign of the power he promised to bring pre-fight.
Into the 5th round Whyte was firmly on top, working behind the jab to pick at the cut on Browne’s eye and by now, his busted nose. Then in the 6th round, Whyte fired off a brutal left hook which sent Browne, face first onto the canvas.
Without little hesitation the referee waved it off and Whyte’s celebration became slightly muted as the medics rushed into the ring.
Thankfully, Browne got to his feet and the attention could turn back once again to the victor, in Dillian Whyte, now 23-1 (17KOs) and his future.
‘Hopefully Lucas Browne’s okay,’ said Whyte, ‘I’m a good fighter but no one has seen it yet. I might not have 22 knockouts but I can crack…When they stand up in front of me it’s a different story.’
‘I wanna bring pain, my left hook is back. When I landed I walked away straight away ‘cause I knew that was that.’
The WBC silver champion will now turn his attention firmly to the current titlists, either WBC champion Deontay Wilder or the winner of next week’s unification showdown between WBA & IBF champ, Anthony Joshua and WBO holder, Joseph Parker in Cardiff.
‘Deontay Wilder where you at? June? Where you at Wilder let’s go! No more excuses! I’m number one baby let’s go! People are tired of Deontay Wilder fighting these halfway guys.’
On a potential rematch with Joshua,
‘Joshua want it? I don’t care. I wanna fight Joshua another 3, 4 times in my career.’
On the undercard…
Commonwealth light heavyweight champion Callum ‘The One’ Johnson scored the biggest surprise of the night when he stopped British champion, Frank Buglioni in the 1st round. Johnson, 17-0 (12KOs), coming off an 18-month injury layoff, came out firing and once one landed, Buglioni couldn’t do enough to keep the challenger for the Lonsdale belt off him. Callum had already knocked Buglioni down once before he sent his foe sprawling backwards again on unsure legs and the referee called an end to the fight just before, Buglioni’s trainer, Don Charles threw in the towel. The win blows the British light heavyweight scene wide open now with most of the talk before tonight’s bout being about who Frank face next; Now it’s all about where Callum goes from here with the likes of Anthony Yarde, Bob Ajisafe and even fellow gym mate, Hosea Burton pining for a chance at the British.
With the British lightweight belt on the line, Lewis ‘Sandman’ Ritson faced off against the former British champion, Scott Cardle in the ‘Sandman’s’ second defence. After an impressive all-action 1st round from the challenger, Ritson proved the more ruthless and efficient of the two men. Taking a more composed approach to the 2nd; working behind a strong jab, the champion landed a heavy left hook that left Cardle staggering backwards into the ropes forcing the referee to give Scott an 8-count. Ritson then put his foot down, landing power shot after power shot until Cardle’s corner threw in the towel.
In one of the earliest fights of the night, Dereck Chisora, now 28-8 (20KOs) knocked out Frenchman, Zakaria Azzouzi in the 2nd round of a woeful matchup. Fans were hopeful that Dereck would now move onto to a bout with David Haye protégé, Joe Joyce, on the HayeBellew2 undercard, although post-fight when Haye offered the fight once again to Chisora, Dereck laid out his terms,
‘If he (Joe Joyce) beats me you write me a cheque of £1. If I beat him, you give me your purse against Tony (Bellew) and your tv rights.’
To which Haye simply replied, ‘No.’
Highly rated welterweight prospect, Chris Kongo endured 6 difficult rounds with Serge Ambomo to move to 8-0 (6KOs) after picking up 60-55 victory. Ambomo, now 6-6 (2KOs) is, as Carl Froch put it in commentary, part of the ‘Who needs ‘em club?’ and although it wasn’t pretty, Kongo will have learnt a great deal, along the way to picking up another win.
And finally, Anthony Fowler scored a very dubious 5th round stoppage of unbeaten Frenchman, Kalilou Dembele to move to 5-0 (4KOs). Dembele was down in the 2nd and then again in the 5th but seemed perfectly capable of carrying on before referee, Bob Williams waved it off, despite protests from Kalilou. Fowler will be out again next month on the Khan vs Lo Greco card in Liverpool against an unnamed opponent.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne
By: Ste Rowen
Following the madness of Wilder vs Ortiz in New York, and the anticipation of the upcoming Joshua vs Parker unification bout, you may be forgiven for forgetting about a potential barn stormer in between, in the form of Dillian Whyte v Lucas Browne. The two face-off this weekend at London’s O2 arena in a fight that should set the winner up for a world title shot.
Last time out, the two heavyweight contenders had very different match-ups.
The WBC number one contender, Dillian Whyte, 22-1 (16KOs) took on Robert Helenius for the ‘not-so-coveted’ WBC silver title on the undercard of Joshua v Takam. For 12 labouring rounds, Dillian went in search of his opponent as the Swede evaded Whyte’s attack, but never replied with his own offense. The Brit’s accuracy was substandard that night, and way below the standard he set for himself in his fight of the year contender vs Dereck Chisora just less than a year earlier.
Just like the Chisora fight, October’s clash with Helenius went to the scorecards and though it saw Whyte pick up a comprehensive unanimous decision victory, it was a performance that did very little to help him entice new fans. However, a lack lustre performance has done nothing to deter Whyte’s belief in himself, or his eagerness to knockout his Australian foe,
‘I can’t wait, I hate Lucas Browne and I want to hurt him. He’s said some nasty things and he’s going to have to pay for them.’
‘If I don’t knock him out I will not be happy…Beating him should make me a mandatory challenger. I’m highly ranked across the board. I’ll be a more than credible world title challenger.’
In stark contrast, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne’s last fight was his return fight from a number of disputed failed drug tests that followed his come from behind 2016 victory over Ruslan Chagaev in Chechnya, for the WBA ‘Regular’ belt.
Browne, 25-0 (22KOs) knocked out no-hoper, Matt Greer in the second round at the Punchbowl social club, Sydney, a world away from Saturday’s night venue. The fight told us very little about where Browne is at since his impressive victory over Chagaev 14 months earlier. That bout saw Browne knocked down and cut before steamrolling through the Uzbek in the 10th with continuous right hooks.
That should’ve been the break out fight that setup potential showdowns with the likes of Wilder, Joshua, or even the not yet retired Wladimir Klitschko, but instead Brown returned two positive tests for clenbuterol and then eight months later, a positive sample for ostarine, for which Browne has tried to explain was from a pre-workout he took without checking the contents.
The 38-year-old is now ready to put the past few years behind him and get back on track for a world title shot,’
‘It’s a very silly fight for him. Being number one ranked, to take on someone like me who is a big puncher, I think it’s a very silly fight, but for me it’s perfect. He’s got rankings across the board as well, not just the WBC so I’m extremely happy for this fight.’
Browne isn’t the only one with a questionable record when it comes to drugs. Whyte was suspended for two years back in 2012 when he tested positive for a banned stimulant. Like Browne, Dillian claimed it was due to a supplement he took without properly checking the ingredients.
Concentrating on the two fighter’s actual boxing skills though, this has the potential to be a very gruelling but ugly fight. Neither fights with much concern for defence or seems to bothered about wasting shots, which seems strange for Browne who does have a tendency to cut easily, a weakness Whyte will jump on if the Australian does sustain a meaningful cut early on.
Whyte of course has been knocked out, his sole defeat coming at the hands of WBA & IBF champion Anthony Joshua back in 2015 for the British title, and in his two biggest fights since, Whyte has had to come through adversity against Chisora and briefly in the Helenius fight when he was shaken by a left hook. So, if Browne’s power is legit, he should be able to significantly test Whyte’s chin more than once through 12 rounds of action.
For the winner, a world title shot should be next. For the loser, heavyweight obscurity could await. Proving there’s a lot more than rivalry on the line on Saturday.
On the undercard…
Just a month on from his devastating first round stoppage of Joe Murray, Lewis Ritson, 14-0 (8KOs) returns to the ring for his second defence of his British lightweight belt against Scott Cardle, 22-1 (7KOs). Ritson’s currently on a five fight KO streak, and though heavily favoured against Cardle, it will be a real statement from the Newcastle native if he can score another stoppage victory.
Frank Buglioni, 21-2-1 (15KOs) will defend his British light heavyweight title for the third time against mandatory challenger, Callum Johnson. With the likes of Anthony Yarde, Hosea Burton and Bob Ajisafe waiting in the wings for a shot at the British, Johnson, 16-0 (11KOs) will be hoping to end the constant talk of potential future fights for Buglioni.
The aforementioned Dereck Chisora, 27-8 (19KOs) is also a late addition to the card in what is expected to be a stay busy 8-rounder, since his majority decision loss to European champion, Agit Kabayel in Monaco last November.
Sergey Kovalev Demolishes Mikhalkin; Bivol Shines against Barrera
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returned Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre, defending his WBO World light heavyweight strap against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round bout on HBO Championship Boxing. Kovalev, now age 34, was looking to continue his comeback in the division, after losing two tough fights to now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Accoun
Having dispatched Vyacheslav Shabranskyy with relative ease three months ago, Kovalev’s appeared to opt for a second tune-up against little-know Mikhalkin, who was making his first appearance in the United States. The challenger, a six-foot-one southpaw, came into the bout with a decent record, but no big names on his resume. Scoring only one knockout in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin would have to put on a boxing clinic in order to compete with the heavily-favored Kovalev.
Kovalev dominated the first round, landing stiff jabs and occasional power punches. Mikhalkin stayed behind his guard, and kept his hands home as though trying to gauge what exactly he had in front of him. The second was more of the same, as Kovalev landed hard shots for which his opponent has no answer. In a slightly more competitive third round, Mikhalkin found the range to land a few shots, but Kovalev continued to dictate the pace.
As the rounds wore on, Kovalev did not look particularly sharp, with some sloppy footwork marring his performance. Still, Kovalev staggered Mikhalkin in the fifth, but the challenger’s southpaw stance seemed to stymie the Champion. In the sixth, Kovalev opened a nasty cut under Mikhalkin’s right eye with a brutal left hand. In addition, Mikhalkin had a significant cut on the bridge of his nose. The seventh was hard to watch. Mikhalkin was beaten and beaten up. With 35 seconds left in the round, the ring-side doctor (rightly) stopped the fight. Kovalev wins by TKO in the seventh.
The co-main event, also in the light heavyweight division, featured WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Barrera, having fought Ward (loss), Shabranskyy, and Joe Smith, Jr. (wins), is familiar to American fight fans, while Bivol is highly-touted for his fundamentals and speed, but is less well known.
In round one, both fighters tried to establish the jab and both fighters did good work to the body. Bivol showed a high level of confidence, not seemingly fazed by the big stage. Barrera opened a slight cut over Bivol’s right eye in the second — replay showed that it was a head butt — and seemed to gain confidence as the round went on, countering Bivol and looking smooth and comfortable. The third was more competitive, as Bivol started to initiate and throw combinations. The pace slowed slightly in the fourth, both fighters standing in the pocket and trying to impose their game plan on the other. Bivol looked to jab and throw combinations, while Barrera was attempting to time and counter his Kyrgyzstani opponent. It was clean and attractive boxing, with no clinches or running.
In the fifth, Bivol began to show a combination of footwork and hand speed unusual at this weight class, and Barrera had no answers. The Cuban showed real resilience in the sixth, mounting a sustained body attack while absorbing some straight right hands from Bivol. The seventh ended with a flurry from both fighters, but Bivol seemed to land the more accurate shots.
Going into the eighth, I saw the fight as fairly close — but in that round Bivol looked fresher and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet, dropping his lead left hand, and throwing combinations. Barrera started to look tired for the first time in the fight. Nonetheless, there was no quit, no resignation in Barrera in these later rounds: he continued to battle and look for opportunities. He just couldn’t find any.
The championship rounds saw Bivol continue to box, showing impressive conditioning, while Barrera could not match the younger fighter’s speed and distance control. In the twelfth, Bivol caught Barrera standing sideways to him. It was an error by the Cuban, and Bivol pounced, landing a jab that stunned Barrera, setting up a straight right. Barrera beat the count, but referee Harvey Dock waved off the bout. Dmitry Bivol boxed cleanly, intelligently, and athletically. It was an impressive performance.
Kovalev and Bivol to Defend Separate Belts on HBO card Saturday Night
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returns Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round light heavyweight WBO world championship bout. Kovalev is coming off a second-round TKO of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year, Ifalso If also MSG, where he won the WBO belt that had been vacated by Kovalev’s nemesis, the now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Kovalev looks to reclaim his light heavyweight titles, which he lost to Ward in November of 2016. Ward nipped a close 12 round decision, winning by one round on all three judges’ cards. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped in a controversial fashion, having taken what some saw as a series of low blows. Kovalev emerged onto the world-wide boxing scene in 2013 when he stopped England’s Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round, picking up the WBO belt for the first time. He then reeled off three stoppage wins and then a 12-round decision over Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014. Having now claimed the IBF and WBA belts, “Krusher” made four successful defenses until running into Ward. Still ranked number one by Ring Magazine, Kovalev, now at age 34, looks to continue his journey back to the undisputed top of the division on Saturday night.
After the two losses to Ward, Kovalev switch trainers to Abror Tursunpulatov, submitting to a much higher level of direction: “I don’t think about what I should do, what I need to do, how many minutes or rounds,” Kovalev told Main Events, “everything is under his plan and his control. I like it, and right now I don’t spend my energy to think about training camp. Everything is under the control of Abror.” And like the veteran he is, Kovalev understands the challenge of fighting a contender like Mikhalkin: “he is very motivated. He comes here [to a Championship bout], and he is very dangerous because it is a great opportunity for his future boxing career … and I should be ready for everything he can bring against me.”
Igor Mikhalkin will be making his first appearance fighting in the US. At age 32, the 6-foot-one southpaw holds the IBO World light heavyweight belt, having outpointed Doudou Ngumbu of France in twelve-round clash in December of last year. With only one KO in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin will have to outbox Kovalev. A slugfest would favor the man they call the “Krusher.” Mikhalkin’s most notable win was over then-undefeated Thomas Oosthuizen (27-0-2) in May of 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, Mikhalkin’s adopted home town.
Mikhalkin knows a bit about Kovalev, however, as they were teammates in their amateur days two decades ago. Mikhalkin says, “What I remember of Sergey from those day, he was always working and training really hard, and doing his job as a boxer. Since then, I’ve seen every one of his fights and I respect him for what he has done.” The Irkutsk-born Mikhalkin knows what an enormous opportunity this is: “I’m not as well known, but I get to fight a very popular opponent, a very dangerous opponent with lots of fans. It would change everything in my life.”
The co-Main event features a fascinating clash between two other world-level light heavyweights, albeit from very different boxing traditions: WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Bivol, 27, is riding a four-fight knock out streak. He won the WBA belt by defeating Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs) of Australia via a first-round knockout. Bivol made a splash last June on the Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard, where he punished a tough Cedric Agnew, stopping the Chicago fighter in the fourth.
Bivol is thankful to be fighting at MSG on the same card as the vaunted Kovalev: “it’s a pleasure to fight on a card where there’s going to be two world champions from Russia, fighting on the same night… I think the fans should be very glad, the Russian fans and all the fans who like both of us, will come and see both of us fight.” The Kyrgyzstan native realizes that Barrera is a real step up in opposition, but he is excited to step in the ring with the Cuban: “I want to fight with the best guys. Barrera accepted our challenge. I’m glad he did.”
Sullivan Barrera, like other former Cuban amateur standouts, started his professional career somewhat late. But he has been busy over the last two years. After losing to Andre Ward in March of 2016 by twelve-round unanimous decision, Barrera reeled off four victories. He earned stoppage wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (2016) and prospect Paul Parker (2017). Barrera then finished a three-fight 2017 with decision wins over Joe Smith, Jr., in July, and Felix Valera in November, the latter on the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy undercard. Saturday night is Barrera’s first title shot, and the Cuban knows that Bivol will be a difficult opponent: “Bivol is a good fighter and it is known that he has speed but we have a plan to adjust to the speed and take it away. We are going to impose ourselves and use our abilities. It would be a dream come true to win the title.”
The action will be broadcast live this Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET/PT on H
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Rungvisai vs. Estrada, Cuadras vs. Arroyo, Nietes vs. Reveco
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night, Superfly 2 will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and will feature several of the best super flyweight boxers in the division today.
The first Superfly card featured a stunning upset by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai over longtime pound for pound kingpin Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and the super flyweight division features some of the best pound for pound boxers today.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will feature a WBA Flyweight title fight between Brian Viloria and Artem Dalakian. The winner of that bout could be a future opponent for any of the main card fighters.
The following is a preview of all three televised fights.
Donnie Nietes (40-1-4) vs. Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3); IBF Flyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a title fight between Filipino Donnie Nietes and Argentinean Juan Carlos Reveco.
Nietes has been a world champion since 2008 and first held a title in the minimum weight division. The problem with Nietes is that he has fought mainly in the Philippines and has not faced significant opposition, despite the fact he has had a long title reign.
Nietes is already thirty five years old and his opponent is thirty four years old. Both boxers are considered by most to be near the end of their prime. Reveco is giving up about an inch in height and about two inches in reach to Nietes.
Nietes is not known for his power. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents, and he only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights. Reveco has nineteen stoppage victories, and zero stoppage victories in his past five fights.
Reveco has been to Japan to compete in world title fights, but mainly fights in Argentina. He has fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016. Nietes only fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Nietes has been a world champion since 2008 and has defeated the likes of Edgar Sosa, Raul Garcia, Moises Fuentes, and Gilberto Medina. Most of his opponents would be relatively unknown to most American boxing fans.
Reveco’s resume is also lacking that big win to tout. He has defeated the likes of Felix Alvarado, Karim Guerfi, and Masayuki Kuroda. He held the WBA World Flyweight Title for about two years. His losses were to Kazuto Ioka twice and a loss early on in his career to Brahim Asloum.
Nietes does have some fanfare in the Philippines but at the age of thirty five it’s unlikely he’ll ever catch the same kind of popularity and fanfare of Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao. Nietes has the talent to pull off the victory on Saturday, but it’s likely his next fight will be against another competitor on Saturday’s card that will be highly favored over him.
Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1) vs. McWilliams Arroyo (16-3); Junior Bantamweights
This is the only bout of the night that is not an official title bout. But Carlos Cuadras is one of the best contenders in the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division.
Arroyo is thirty two and is three years older than Cuadras. They both are the same height, but Cuadras will have about a two inch reach advantage on Arroyo.
Both Cuadras and Arroyo had success in the amateur level, but only Arroyo represented his country in the Olympics. Arroyo represented Puerto Rico at the 2008 Olympics and won gold at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships.
Cuadras fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has twenty seven knockouts on his resume but only has one stoppage win in his past five fights. Arroyo fought zero times in 2017, once in 2016, and once in 2015. He has three stoppage wins in his past five fights.
Arroyo’s inactivity is of concern. He has lost two of his past three fights. His losses so far in his career were to Roman Gonzalez and Amnat Ruenroeng. He also lost early on in his career to Takashi Okada. Arroyo does not have a lot of big victories on his resume. He defeated the likes of Ronald Ramos, Miguel Tamayo, and Foilan Saludar.
Cuadras has been very active and fought two very close decision losses to Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez. He has victories over David Carmona, Luis Concepcion, Wisaksil Wangek, and Victor Zaleta.
Wisaksil Wangek is also known as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who fights on Saturday’s main event and the man who recently beat Roman Gonzalez.
Arroyo’s inactivity and losses in recent fights are big negatives that are hard to ignore. Cuadras should be able to walk out the victor.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Rungvisai became a well known name in the boxing community when he won a stunning majority decision over Roman Gonzalez in March of last year and then followed it up with a career defining knockout over Gonzalez in their rematch.
While his power and conditioning cannot be denied, he still has readily apparent weaknesses that technical boxers should be able to exploit.
Rungvisai, a southpaw, is four years older than Estrada. Rungvisai will also be giving up about an inch in height and about two and a half inches in reach.
Rungvisai fought twice in 2017 and five times in 2016. In activity will not be an issue for him. Three of the past five fighters he faced were making their professional debut at the time. Estrada fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
Rungvisai notable victories were his two over Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez. He had no other notable victories prior his fights with Chocolatito. Three of his losses were early on in his career to Akira Yaegashi, Yushin Yafuso, and Kenji Oba in Japan. His only other loss was to the co-main event participant Carlos Cuadras.
Estrada’s only losses were to Roman Gonzlaez in 2012 and to Juan Carlos Sanchez in 2011. He has defeated the likes of Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, Giovani Segura, Hernan Marquez, and Anuar Salas.
Rungvisai was able to win HBO’s Fighter of the Year in 2017, but he’s facing another talented opponent on Saturday in which he’s expected to be the underdog.
Rungvisai has shown he can hang with some of the sport’s best, but he’ll need to be fighting at his best in order to pull off another upset on Saturday.
Anthony Joshua Fighting Joseph Parker on Showtime Ends Speculation of Possible Move to HBO, For Now…
By: Bryant Romero
It was finally announced on Monday afternoon that indeed Showtime would televise the Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight unification title fight on March 31. Putting an end to the speculation that the British superstar was making a move to HBO for the time being at least, which has been whispered in boxing circles since Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has developed a working relationship with HBO and Peter Nelson. It was believed with HBO’s initial investment into showcasing some of Hearn’s fighters that it could ultimately result in getting the services of the 28 year old Anthony Joshua.
However, Showtime will air Joshua’s sixth straight fight on the network in their bid to become the permanent home of the British star. Rival HBO has been making a strong push to air Joshua’s fights but because of his previous contract with Showtime, the network has the right to match any offer made. It was reported by ESPN, that HBO place a strong bid of $1.95 million for the U.S. rights to air Joshua-Parker. But Showtime is committed to retaining the services of Anthony Joshua with the ultimate goal of televising and owning the rights of the much talked about anticipated showdown between Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and WBC champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).
Promoter Eddie Hearn may have other ideas though, especially when it comes to when a Joshua/Wilder fight takes place. For now both Heavyweight champions will take interim fights with Joshua looking to unify with WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) and Wilder taking on his most dangerous challenge to date in fighting top contender Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) of Cuba. Wilder and his team are hoping for a statement win over the dangerous Ortiz that could lead to much needed value and negotiating power at the table when it come to talks of a potential Joshua fight.
However, it appears very unlikely that a Joshua/Wilder fight will take place next if both come out victorious in their next bouts. Top contender Alexander Povetkin (33-1, 23 KOs) of Russia is waiting in the wings and may be called as the next mandatory for the WBA strap that Joshua holds. Povetkin has already agreed to fight David Price on the undercard of Joshua/Parker that can raise his profile in England for potential Joshua fight in the summer.
Just how long will Showtime continue to outbid rival HBO to retain the services of Joshua since a Wilder fight may not be in the cards for this year?