By Robert Aaron Contreras
Super lightweight upstart Keith Hunter (12-0, 7 KO) proved he has Sanjarbek Rakjmanov’s number, defeating him for the second time on Friday night. Hunter, originally slated to face blue-chipper Malik Hawkins, found himself in the ring with Rakjmanov (12-3-1, 6 KO) for the second time within a single calendar year when the Uzbek bruiser stepped into the ShoBox main event on a week’s notice.
Hunter, competing for the fourth time at Sam’s Town Hotel in Las Vegas, never let his rival dictate the tale of the fight, softening up Rakjmanov with a tremendous jab, scoring one knockdown, and laying on heavy abuse in the final round, winning 98-91, 97-92, and 98-91 to remain undefeated in his five-year career.
After the fight, Showtime color commentator Raul Marquez offered the victorious man high praise.
“Hunter left no doubt in the rematch,” Marquez said. “This fight and the rounds he won very decisively. I only gave Rakjmanov one round. Hunter is a really good prospect: tall, rangy, and knows how to use that to his advantage.”
Hunter did benefit from a large reach advantage: seven-and-a-half inches to be exact. Rakjmanov got a taste of that in their first encounter which Hunter got off to an early, poking at the zealous shorter puncher.
Hunter, 27, returned to his bread and butter this weekend. This time hooking off that picturesque jab in the opening round. Rakjmanov was again seen parrying a few jabs from a crouched position. But when Hunter continued layering his offense with different artillery, the match slipped out of his reach.
There were long right hands that opened the second frame for Hunter. They landed flush, she audibly thudding off Rakjmanov’s temple. The same punch floored Rakjmanov in their first fight. This night, just under the two-minute mark of Round 3, it was a follow-up left hook that skid across the Uzbek’s head and the stout puncher fell over, catching himself with gloves to the canvas: an unquestionable knockdown.
Hunter’s output was ample through the middle stages. His one-two volleys were crisp. But sometimes he overextended himself, especially in the fifth round, wherein he was susceptible to arcing left hands form Rakjmanov. Same as their first go, Hunter ate his man’s best punches and soon Rakjmanov would be reduced to singular punching.
Rakjmanov, however, bit down on his mouthpiece for the sixth stanza. It was his cleanest round, scoring by pitching fastballs upstairs, chopping blows to Hunter’s head. The taller man dropped his hands and relied on elaborate upper-body movement but the round was Rakjmanov’s.
It looked as though Rakjmanov could carry the momentum over into the seventh inning when he quickly drove Hunter to the ropes. But Hunter created distance between himself and any incoming windmill punches. Then the focus from the broadcast became centered around an apparent injury to Hunter’s power, right hand (later revealed to have little swelling but still supposedly injured according to Hunter’s corner).
Those sharp, spearing right hands from Hunter diminished in the eighth and ninth rounds but he was still all smiles.
Well ahead, Hunter broke out of his corner for the final round eager to mix it up with Rakjmanov. This level of bloodrival action defined the excellent seventh round they shared last year. And Hunter clearly wanted to do it again.
Bouncing in and out, Hunter was seen hitting at his opponent—his right hand included. Even when Rakjmanov rushed in and wrapped up the bigger combatant, Hunter managed to tag his clinging assailant, curling his long pendulums into Rakjmanov.
In the final minute, Rakjmanov was overwhelmed. That distance he craved to close for so long was now his worst enemy. Hunter in his face, and the center of the ring, nicked Rakjmanov up and down, hooks and uppercuts crashing into the crumbling figurine.
At a glance, the ShoStats were peculiar. For all his dominance, Hunter only landed 17 percent of his total punches, compared to Rakjmanov’s 31 percent clip. But the American landed both more power punches and body shots, in addition to 500 more jabs, and totaling nearly 1,100 punches.
It was unreal output that did not go unnoticed by either the judges or Rakjmanov who was out on his feet in the waning seconds.
The decision marked Hunter’s second win over the 10-round distance. He is unbeaten, doing his fighting bloodline proud, as the younger brother to heavyweight popularizer Michael Hunter II, and son to their father, the original Michael “The Bounty” Hunter, who battled through the notable heavyweight scene of the 1990s.
Now a veteran headliner, Keith Hunter is beginning to make a name for himself.
Tripleheader Highlights: Big Punches and Huge Upsets
To open the broadcast, Mayweather Promotions had high hopes for two of their associates, Kevin Newman (11-2-1, 6 KO) and Richardson Hitchins (11-0, 5 KO).
Hitchins, for one, took care of business, decisioning Nicholas DeLomba by wide margins, not giving up a single round in this 10-round junior welterweight bout. A former Olympian, he used his fast hands to drill into DeLomba with classic combinations and pull out an unanimous decision (100-90 across the board). The ShoStats painted a clear picture as Hitchins landed 192 of 585 total punches (33 percent) while DeLomba only connected on 81 of 447 (18 percent).
Newman was less impressive, losing in a big upset to the unrecognizable Genc Pllana (8-1-1, 4 KO).
Pllana’s unorthodox fighting may not have looked as pretty as to be expected from someone with the self-styled nickname “Sexy Albanian” but it was good enough to overcome 5-1 underdog odds. It was an unremarkable fight, save for typical Jay Nady antics, but the ringside panel was in agreement, turning in three scores 96-94 for the visiting Kosovan brawler.
Pllana, 26, was far busier than his opponent from the beginning. He opened the fight with three consecutive harsh blows to the back of Newman’s head, to which referee Nady quickly threatened a disqualification. The rest of the way, Pllana never quite got on Nady’s good side but continually stamped Newman’s in the face with an array of winging punches from inconceivable angles, walking the house fighter down in an amateurish manner, often standing upright (arching his back, to boot) allowing his lead hand to dangle below his waist.
The 28-year-old Newman may have landed at a more accurate clip, regularly landing a flickering jab to this man’s body, but was showed zero ability to adapt or command the momentum. This despite having the promoter behind him and Roy Jones Jr. in his corner.
According to the broadcast’s ShoStats, Pllana landed 74 of 602 punches (12 percent) and Newman connected on 96 of 315 (30 percent).
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Keith Hunter (11-0, 7 KO) will now rematch Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (12-2-1, 6 KO) in the main event of this weekend’s ShoBox: The New Generation broadcast after an undisclosed injury forced Malik Hawkins off the card. The action takes place on Feb. 28 at Sam’s Town Hotel in Las Vegas.
News of the super lightweight shakeup broke on Monday. A matchup between Hawkins and Hunter would have paired up two of the most talented and tallest undefeated prospects in the division. After going 5-0 in 2019, Hawkins added his name to the growing list of excellent fighters out of Maryland. A group highlighted by beltholders past and present like Gervonta Davis and Jarrett Hurd.
Hunter, 27, also represents a strong cohort of boxers. Big ones too. He is the son of Mike “The Bounty” Hunter Sr., a former heavyweight contender and veteran of 35 fights, who passed along his skills to his sons. That includes Michael Hunter II, the 31-year-old heavyweight who recently battled Alexander Povetkin to a draw. Michael’s only loss remains a decision to the master-boxer Oleksandr Usyk.
Younger brother Keith last year also found himself fighting down to the wire. With none other than Rakhmanov, who he meets again on Friday.
Rakhmanov, 30, of Uzbekistan, lost the first meeting but closed out the year with a stoppage victory over an undistinguished veteran by the name of Andre Byrd, who had enough after four rounds. Rakhmanov has lost just one other time in his career, also on points, dropping a decision to Texan welterweight Marquis Taylor in 2018.
The rematch with Hunter will be Rakhmanov’s first 10-round contest. A former national champion, in addition to a first-place finish at the 2009 Asian Amateurs, he transplanted to Las Vegas upon earning a promotional contract with Floyd Mayweather’s TMT.
Hunter, born and bred in Las Vegas, met Rakhmanov in April 2019 at the exact same venue, Sam’s Town Hotel which has been a showcase for Mayweather’s stable. So it could be said Hunter was operating in enemy territory despite fighting in his hometown. Hunter would nonetheless edge out a split-decision verdict after eight rounds of tense activity.
A second-round knockdown from Hunter put the B-side up early, carrying him triumphantly over Rakhmanov’s late flurry.
Hunter, a six-foot technician, holds a considerable height advantage over the barreling Uzbek. So he was smart to continually prod out a massive orthodox jab through the first three minutes. It paid extreme dividends in the second stanza when Hunter followed it up with a right cross that buckled Rakhmanov’s knee, accounting for the only knockdown of the fight.
In the fourth round, Hunter could be seen working in an uppercut and feinting a number of bolo punches. Rakhmanov remained persistent, never giving up the center of the ring. He found some success in the opening frame with an overhand left. But was unable to score again with the wild shot until the sixth round. From there the flinging punches poured in.
Hunter had to survive big blows over the final three rounds. Rakhmanov transforming into a crouched devil. Ultimately it was not enough. One referee gave Rakhmanov a 76-75 score but was overuled by nods of 77-74 and 76-75 in the American’s favor.
Worth nothing was the terrific punches traded to close Round 7. The two men actually acknowledged their special rivalry and exchanged a friendly headbutt at the bell, as if to say they could do this violent dance again some day.
On Friday, just a year later, they get their chance to.
Hitchins, Newman Complete Tripleheader in separate bouts
Richardson Hitchins 10-0, 5 KO) is a celebrated farmhand of Mayweather Promotions and he fights in the co-main event of the night against Nick DeLomba (16-2, 5 KO) over a scheduled 10 rounds.
The 22-year-old Hitchins, is a two-time golden glove champion out of Brooklyn, who will be making his 2020 ring debut. A representative for Haiti at the 2016 Olympics, he extended his unbeaten ledger with four wins in 2019, including two stoppage victories.
Having already performed on some of the sport’s biggest stages, fighting multiple times at Barclays and once at the MGM Grand, Hitchins graduated to the 10-round distance in his last bout, also at Sam’s Town. There he decisioned another Vegas welterweight in Kevin Johnson.
DeLomba, 29, seems to have a decent record on paper. He is riding a five-fight win streak. But fighting exclusively out of Rhode Island, against limited talent, he is expected to be nothing but lunchmeat for Hitchins.
Kevin Newman II (11-1-1, 6 KO) is also under the TMT banner and he will be the first of the Showtime tripleheader to compete. Just a teenager when he began training under Jeff Mayweather, he was familiar with the Mayweather stable when he officially joined their ranks in 2014.
Newman, 28, experienced a short setback against California native Mark Anthony Hernandez in 2017, losing on points in a sixth-round undercard match. But following three consecutive victories, Newman exacted his revenge over Hernandez, defeating him last year by unanimous decision.
His opponent on Friday is Genc Pllana, a 26-year-old Kosovan super middleweight who is 2-1-1 over his last four, all against unheralded competition.
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 16th to September 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Stevenson-Gonzalez Tickets on Sale
Tickets for the highly anticipated vacant WBO featherweight world title fight between unbeaten stars Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez — Saturday, October 26 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center — go on sale TODAY, September 23, at 10 a.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy, Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $110, $70 and $40 (not including applicable fees) can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.
A pair of undefeated Northern Nevada-based prospects, JJ Mariano and Diego Elizondo, are slated to appear on the undercard.
Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is no stranger to Reno fight fans. He won multiple national tournaments there as an amateur, including the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in late 2015. Stevenson went on to capture a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 22-year-old last fought July 13 in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, knocking out Alberto Guevara in the third round.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs), the WBO No. 2 contender, is a seven-year pro who has scored three consecutive knockouts. A Los Angeles native, Gonzalez is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Manuel Avila.
Stevenson-Gonzalez and a co-feature will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
DAZN to Launch on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex
DAZN, the world’s largest sports streaming service, is now available to Comcast customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available over the Internet to millions more on Xfinity X1 this fall, marking DAZN’s first distribution deal with a major U.S. video and internet provider.
“We’re thrilled to give our Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex customers access to DAZN’s live and on-demand programming starting this fall just in time for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports this year,” said Daniel Spinosa, Vice President, Entertainment Services for Comcast Cable. “With new content from partners like DAZN, coupled with our aggregated UI, X1 is the best way to experience live sports at home, and with Flex we can extend this great content, integrated experience and voice control to our Internet-only customers directly on their TVs.”
As part of a new global initiative DAZN for Operators, DAZN now provides a turnkey opportunity for cable, satellite, mobile and internet providers to offer DAZN’s premium sports content as a major value add to their customers.
“DAZN for Operators is our new partnership program, in which we collaborate with the world’s leading pay TV operators, ISPs and mobile carriers to make the live sports experience even more accessible and better to watch for fans,” said Ben King, DAZN SVP, Global Distribution and Business Development. “We couldn’t think of a better inaugural partner than Comcast.”
Later this year, customers will be able to find DAZN’s content more deeply integrated within the X1 and Flex experiences, including direct access within the sports hub, the ultimate destination for all things sports on X1 and Flex, and the ability to call up a specific program with the Xfinity Voice Remote (“show me ChangeUp”). Flex is now included with an Xfinity Internet-only subscription, providing new and existing customers with the ability to easily access their favorite streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.
The launch coincides with DAZN’s blockbuster fall schedule of combat sports events. “Fight Season on DAZN” features:
– Oct. 5 – Triple G vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko – IBF Middleweight World Championship
– Oct. 26 – Bellator 232: Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima – Welterweight Championship
– Nov. 2 – Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev – WBO Light Heavyweight Championship
– Nov. 9 – KSI vs. Logan Paul II
– Dec. 7 – Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II – WBA, WBO, IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Since its introduction to the U.S. market in September 2018, DAZN has continued to add to its content portfolio, which includes thousands of live and on-demand sporting and other events each year. In April, it premiered a live MLB show ChangeUp that features the best action from around the league each day. The service also unveiled a new docu-series 40 DAYS which pairs celebrity executive producers with boxers to document their preparation leading up to fight night. On Sept. 9, the long-awaited daily talk show from former NFL All-Pro punter Pat McAfee launched on DAZN.
DAZN offers an annual pass for $99.99, and also a monthly option at $19.99 for those customers more focused on flexibility.
Wallin Returns to Hero’s Welcome in Sweden After Battle with Tyson Fury
Newly emerged top heavyweight contender Otto Wallin enjoyed a national hero’s homecoming yesterday in his native Sweden.
Basking in the glory earned by his epic stand against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday, September 14, Wallin was greeted at Stockholm airport by countrymen eager to celebrate with their newest sports star and then whisked off for a national media tour.
“It felt great to have such a welcome at home in Sweden,” said a proud Wallin. “The media and the people are really backing me more and more and that’s awesome. Boxing in Sweden needs all the attention it can get and it feels good to be part of helping boxing at home and to be a role model for the kids.”
Wallin sat for several interviews including Sweden’s national publicly funded radio, Sveriges Radio, important sports newspaper Sportbladet and gave an emotional tribute to his late father in SVT’s popular Morning Studio, watched by 36.4% of the country.
Though Wallin was ultimately deemed to have lost on the scorecards after 12 tough rounds, the respect he earned from Fury and boxing fans worldwide has instantly taken him to recognizable status on the heavyweight boxing landscape.
“Otto had an outstanding fight against Tyson Fury and a well-deserved hero’s welcome in his homeland,” said his promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “Although he didn’t get to take home the belt, it feels like he did to his fans in Sweden. As he said after the fight, it was a great learning experience and he’s definitely proven to himself and the boxing world that he is a big part of the heavyweight division. The sky is the limit for Otto and I am very happy that he has achieved celebrity athlete status in the US and back home in Sweden.”
Wallin is scheduled for additional Swedish media appearances today and the rest of the week.
Kevin Hunter Ready to Challenge the Elite in the 140 Pound Division
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated super lightweight, Keith “The Bounty” Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs), now ranked WBA #12, is ready to face anyone in the top ten of the 140-pound division as he enters contender status.
Hunter who recently out boxed Cameron Kreal (16-14-3, 4 KOs) by a wide decision, a fighter who despite his record not looking the best, was a heavily avoided fighter. In his previous fight before that, Hunter defeated, Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-2-1, 5 KOs) by split decision. Both wins come on his opponents home turf. Hunter has continuously looked to fight the best and is creating momentum organically through each performance.
“I have faced tough opposition in my last two bouts beating Cameron Kreal and Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, both who were fighting on the “A” side with their promoter, Mayweather Promotions,” said Keith Hunter, who is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. “I feel I am ready to face the best and this world ranking just puts me closer to getting those fights.”
Keith Hunter, who is the younger brother of Heavyweight contender, Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs), comes from a boxing family. His father Michael Hunter Sr. (26-7-2, 8 KOs), had a successful career in the 80’s.
“I am fighting mostly as professional since people don’t put enough respect on my father’s name, and I feel that continuing his legacy is very important to me,” Hunter continued. “I am excited for what the future holds and like I said, I’m ready for anyone.”
“Hunter is a special fighter, he is talented, but also is a courageous fighter, who fights with tremendous heart,” said Prince Ranch Boxing’s CEO Greg Hannley. “It is exciting to see that he is now ranked in the top fifteen of the WBA as this can lead to some great fights in the future.”
Hunter is currently ranked #12 by the WBA and is awaiting a fight date as he looks to fight for a top ten opponent.
Carlos Monroe to Defend Title on Saturday in Atlanta
On Saturday, September 26 at Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, World Boxing Association Fedalatin Champion Carlos Monroe, in his biggest fight to date, defends his title against former world title challenger Javier Francisco Maciel. In the co-feature, Eric Moon will fight Mike Guy for the American Boxing Federation (ABF) title, as there will be eight bouts in all.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
Carlos Monroe (16-0, 13 KOs) was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta age 3. As an amateur he won NINE consecutive Georgia State Golden Gloves tournaments. He also was two-time Florida State Golden Gloves champion. “Every year I competed n the state Golden Gloves, I won,” stated Carlos. In the 2015 Olympic trials, even though Carlos won his final bout, he was unable to fight further due to a major cut from an accidental head butt.
Monroe, coached by trainer of world champions Stacie McKinley, made his professional debut on December 16, 2017 and had ten fights in 2018, and this will be his sixth this year. “This is my biggest fight, to date,” said Carlos. “ I have been training in Pompano Beach, Florida, with a lot of sparring partners with different styles, so I am good about making adjustments on the fly. I don’t feel any threats in the ring. Javier is a game opponent and fought a few big names. He comes forward and is a pressure fighter, and I like that.” Monroe likes to work the body and “most of my stoppages have come from body shots.” Carlos lives about twenty minutes outside of Atlanta and will have many family and friends at the fight.
“Carlos is very smart, listens well and is a hard worker,” said McKinley, who has trained Mike Tyson and numerous middleweight world champions. “He has unusual hand speed, and power at the same time. This fight is a step up for him and after that, there will be another step up. I have big plans for him. He leaves home and comes here for to train, has a fight, goes home for week then comes back for another six to eight weeks. He is not just training boxing, he is living boxing and that’s what you need to do to become great. He has a young daughter now and a wonderful promoter, Judy Starkey, who has invested a lot in Carlos to provide for him what he needs to be successful.”
Javier Francisco Maciel (33-8, 23 KOs) from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has fought for the World Boxing Association world middleweight championship and has won numerous regional titles. Maciel has fought world champion Dmitry Pirog and world title challengers Willie Monroe Jr., Francisco Antonio Mora.
“We are so thankful to partners like this that support the nearly 3,000 kids that attend our Clubs each day and help them reach their full potential,” said Missy Dugan, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “Through sports, youth build skills that will serve them now and throughout their lives including self-confidence, good sportsmanship, discipline, and an appreciation of healthy living and exercise.” Kids from several local Clubs will attend. Event organizers are Judy Starkey, an accomplished Atlanta businesswoman and Harry Barnett, who has been involved in boxing for over sixty years as a boxer, manager and promoter.
By: Shane Willoughby
The heavyweight division by many is seen as the most stacked division. With Wilder, Ruiz, Fury and Joshua seen as the top dogs, it’s about time we find out who is the best of the rest, and there are many fighters that can upset the apple cart.
Luis Ortiz, Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev, Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker are all in that tier just below the elite.
However two fighters whose names are rarely called but could be potential dark horses in the division, are set to face each other on the 13th September.
Both Sergei Kuzmin and Michael Hunter are both credible heavyweights with decent wins at the weight.
Kuzmin had an impressive 4th round stoppage over David Price, whilst Hunter, since moving up from Cruiserweight, has stopped veteran Alexander Ustinov and highly-touted prospect Martin Bakole.
However, for both fighters, the matchup between the two is a big step up from their previous opponents. Whilst Hunter has fought Usyk, it was at Cruiserweight and he lost, so a win over the Russian will be his best to date.
The most intriguing factor is both fighters will probably see themselves as favourites going into the matchup. Hunter because of his resume and Kuzmin due to him being the natural heavyweight and the more experienced campaigner.
To top it off, Kuzmin is undefeated, whilst the American has only a single loss which came in 2017. The pair should be more than confident that they can win and push onto bigger things.
Whoever wins this fight should be looking to fight for the title soon after but because of how stacked the division is they probably need another big win over one of the other contenders, or get in a mandatory position.
Most fight fans will make Hunter the slight favourite but Kuzmin is known for pulling off upsets. Anyone with an amateur win over both Hrgovic and Joe Joyce must be a good fighter.
By: Oliver McManus
You’d imagine young Devin Haney has been watching compilations of Deontay Wilder in the last week as the 20 year old produced a highlight reel knockout, reminiscent of the Bronze Bomber, to stop Antonio Moran in the seventh round last night.
Floyd Mayweather’s protege was in his first fight under the DAZN banner and looked eager to make a statement as soon as the first bell rung. In previous contests there was an air of predictability to Haney with him happy to pick off rounds by doing the same thing, effectively, and keeping the contest permanently out of his opponent’s grasp: this fight was a punch perfect display of brutality.
You could probably make a case for Moran starting off the livelier of fighters with the Mexcian looking to box on the front foot but an overhand right from Haney foreshadowed what was to be Moran’s downfall. Haney’s challenger was anything but a ‘typical Mexican’ and appeared a little subdued in his attempts to provide pressure of his own – nothing like the gusto of South America that we know and love.
The champion, defending his WBC International and WBO Inter-Continental belt, was always on top of proceedings be it through a jab that continually peppered the midriff of Moran or as a result of his crisp footwork that took him out of range of his opponent’s swinging limbs. The jab always seemed to be hiding something. It was never a throwaway shot intended to see him through on the scorecards but always with spiteful intentions to set up a fight-finishing attack.
Haney provided good variety to his shots, as well, as he dropped Moran to the floor with a perfectly timed body shot that sapped any remaining will away from the Mexican. For the rest of the fifth round you could feel blood in the water and Haney went after it with a swift salvo of uppercuts interspersed with slamming hooks back to the body. A quieter sixth followed but the seventh round showed why Haney opted to sit on the backburner with a creepily calculated finish to the fight duly following.
An innocent one-two backed Moran up onto the ropes and Haney needed just two shots to finish it from there; a wicked body punch to draw his adversary’s guard down and provide the opening for as clean an overhand right you’ve ever seen from a man born outside of Alabama. Sheer strength akin to Deontay Wilder mixed with the precision and timing of someone like Darcey Bussell – balletic brutality from Devin Haney as he moves to 22-0.
Michael Hunter continued his sudden surge up the heavyweight rankings with an underrated stoppage of Fabio Maldonado. His Brazilian opponent looked as dreich and dour as he has done in any previous step-up with the former UFC fighter holding his guard nervously around the upper chest. Hunter was quick to settle into a rhythm and was teeing off on the face of Maldonado instantly; particularly pleasing was the straight left hand that Hunter would send bolting upwards, colliding smack on the nose of Maldonado time after time, having planted his front foot firmly in the canvas.
The contest never looked like it would last the scheduled ten rounds with Maldonado wobbled easily by the power of Hunter – a lovely one-two straight down the gulley marked the start of the finish as the Brazilian stumbled towards the ropes. Heavy artillery followed as The Bounty Hunter chased his loot with wild swinging shots. His disheveled opponent cut an apathetic look and the referee called a halt to the contest in the second round. Stating the obvious but you can tell Hunter used to be a cruiserweight, the way he dances around the ring with such flight of fancy, but he’s got the heavyweight power to cause serious issues.
It was an even shorter night of work for Filip Hrgovic who required less than a round to dispose of Gregory Corbin. The face of Croatian boxing looked to be searching from the off and he lept in with his jab at every possible opportunity, trying to close the distance in sudden bursts. Corbin, himself, was opting for a similar strategy but he had the odd tendency to dip his about six inches lower when looking to land speculative overhand rights. Hrgovic capitalised on that routine with a succinct step backwards followed a sharp, digging right hand to the cheek of Corbin that saw the American sprawled on the his back. There isn’t really much you can learn from that sort of fight except to say the tactical awareness of Hrgovic was spot on and the execution to back that up was scintillating.
The headline grabber has to be Devin Haney, however, with a performance that, really, showed us exactly why he is so highly touted. A contender for knockout of the year, to boot, and The Dream finds himself firmly on track for achieving just that. We might have to rename the ‘Wilder Windmill’ whilst if Haney can help it – ‘Haney’s Hammer” has an awfully nice ring to it…
By: Ste Rowen
In the slightly surreal surroundings for boxing at Casino de Monte Carlo, former WBA & IBF cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev scored a unanimous decision victory over the unbeaten Mike Wilson to improve his record to 32-2 (23KOs).
Also on the card, American Michael Hunter scored his second knockout in consecutive months with an impressive stoppage of Alexander Ustinov. WBA super-flyweight champ, Kal Yafai scored a controversial decision over Israel Gonzalez, Fanlong Meng took a stoppage win over Frank Buglioni and Kazakh Thunder, Daniyar Yeleussinov stopped no-hoper, Marcos Mojica inside three rounds.
It was Lebedev’s first fight outside of Russia since he lost a split decision to Marco Huck in Germany in 2010, but he started tonight as if he was the home fighter, making the most of the middle ground, punishing Wilson if he dropped his guard even slightly. Wilson was holding his own though, the former US amateur standout might’ve been being beaten to the punch, but it wasn’t stopping him from trying to get on the front foot as it headed into the middle rounds. In the 5th, the Russian landed a huge left hand which the American sucked up but his already bloodied face was getting increasingly redder.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
19-0 (8KOs) heading into tonight, Mike was up for the fight and prepared to take some to land one, the problem was in the landing, specifically that he wasn’t. Lebedev stalked around his foe, measured in his approach, constantly chipping away at the taller man from his southpaw stance. In round 7 Wilson tried to switch it up, countering a lot quicker than before but still struggling to significantly dent the iron-chinned, Lebedev.
As the fight drew on into the final few rounds of the scheduled twelve, Denis began to tire a little, relying more heavily on single power punches. His movement was however good enough to keep the American from creeping back into contention, until he slipped on the canvas in round 11 and took an unforced tumble.
The last time Lebedev fought an unbeaten fighter he was knocked down en route to a decision loss to Murat Gassiev, tonight there seemed no chance of that happening again. As the bell for round 12 rang, it was now or never for Wilson. He had no other choice but to opt for the latter because though Mike came out knowing he needed the stoppage, the 39-year-old was too slick and too wary of getting into a fire fight this late into the bout. Both made it to the final bell, and we went to the scorecards; 119-109 (x2), 117-111 all in favour of Denis Lebedev and he spoke post-fight,
‘‘I would put myself at 4/5, like a big 4. I did everything my coach said. I think I performed well and overall, I’m glad’‘
And who does he want next,
‘‘There are a lot of fighters in my division who want to fight Usyk and I am one of them. I will follow the resolution of the WBA and I hope my side and Usyk’s side can make that happen.’‘
Michael Hunter vs. Alexander Ustinov
Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter yet again fought and won on the road for the second time in just over two months with a 9th round knockout victory over Alexander Ustinov.
‘The Bounty’ Hunter isn’t exactly small, it was obvious which of the two had recently moved up from cruiserweight, but it didn’t stop the American from making the more aggressive start; cleanly landing on multiple occasions with long right crosses. Early on, Ustinov’s only success was coming when he tied Hunter up, despite the Russian’s reach, Michael was countering brilliantly with short left hands.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Alexander the great has lost twice as a pro but only stopped once when he was knocked out by an unbeaten Kubrat Pulev back in 2012, and tonight his chin looked as if it was holding up against the power of the smaller man.
The prize on offer was the WBA ‘International’ belt, previously held by the Russian and most recently wrapped around the waist of Dereck Chisora after his KO victory over Carlos Takam this year, and in round 8 Michael went all out to grab the title early. He fired and landed two huge right hands dropping Ustinov who rose but only just made it to the end of the round.
By the start of the 9th the Russian looked as if he had regained his senses but with just over a minute left of round 9, Hunter once again landed a huge hook, this time with his left hand, and Ustinov slumbered to the ground and his corner threw in the towel.
Just two months ago Hunter, as professional, was famous for going the distance with Usyk, two fights later he’s defeated an unbeaten prospect in Martin Bakole, and a respected fringe contender in Ustinov. No doubt big fights await in 2019 for the 30-year-old. Hunter, now 16-1 (11KOs) spoke immediately after the fight, as did his trainer and former heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman.
‘‘I want that USBA title (last held by Vyacheslav Glazkov in 2015), it’s very important to me. It’s in my lineage, my father held it…I want all the names, but I want that title.’’
‘‘He is the future of the heavyweight division. He’s beating these guys with power…Did you see him? He went down like, TIMBERRR’’
Kal Yafai vs. Israel Gonzalez
WBA super-flyweight champion Kal Yafai made the fourth defence of his world title with an underwhelming and controversial 12-round decision over Mexican, Israel Gonzalez.
Yafai, now 25-0 (15KOs), came into tonight off the back of an impressive stoppage win over David Carmona in May, and his intentions were clear early on as he concentrated his efforts on landing a stiff single jab to deter the Mexican from marching forward. Gonzalez was relying on quick spurts of hooks and was seriously lacking anything substantial enough to give the champion anything to worry about through to round 4.
Into the middle rounds and Gonzalez was doing well to tie Yafai up and limit his outside game, where Kal was having the most success in the early stages of the night. With two minutes left of the fifth the two boxers clashed heads, Israel came off worse, lifting his head to reveal a long cut above his left eye. The ring doctor was called in to take a look but allowed the challenger to continue.
Wearing white-gold shorts and gloves, the champion began to pick up his pace as the fight headed into the 8th but his output was lulling. Gonzalez’s energy was good as he bounced in his corner at the end of the round, Israel fought for the IBF strap held by Jerwin Ancajas in February where he was stopped in the 10th round. Tonight, the Mexican made it to round 11 and his punch output increased as Yafai’s hesitancy to land creeped up. Even if it did little to force Kal onto the backfoot, Gonzalez’s accuracy had improved as the fight went on, but he lacked the heavy-handedness needed to overcome a more technical opponent.
Both boxers made it through to hear the final bell and it felt in the balance. Gonzalez jumped up and raised his arms whereas Kal had the look of a defeated man. It was tense as the judges counted their scorecards. They returned as, 117-111, 116-112 all for Kal Yafai. Ridiculously wide scorecards in favour of the Matchroom fighter. Israel immediately stormed out of the ring in anger. Speaking post-fight Kal was self-critical,
‘‘Very sloppy, I’m a bit embarrassed with my performance. I thought the scores were a bit wide but 100% I thought I’d won. I was the aggressor throughout the whole fight, I just wasn’t busy enough…I never made the statement that I wanted to. I’m disappointed in my performance. I’m not happy with that at all.’’
Fanlong Meng vs. Frank Buglioni
Southpaw, Fanlong Meng earnt a 5th round TKO over Frank Buglioni, to claim the IBF Inter-continental light-heavyweight belt.
Buglioni, though lacking accuracy, made an energetic start which kept the former Olympian at bay through to round three where Frank put his foot down and sensed an opportunity to finish things early. But Meng’s credentials were on display in spots. His counter-left hand catching the Brit on numerous occasions.
For the first 90 seconds of the fourth, Buglioni appeared stunned and unable to block the power punches coming his way. However, he regained his composure before the end of the round and fired off his own arsenal to slow down Fanlong’s attack. The two went for it at the beginning of round five of ten, firing 1-2’s then taking 1-2’s and repeat.
The former British champion sustained a deep cut above his right eye, seemingly from a punch rather than a clash of heads, and on two occasions in the fifth the referee called a timeout for the ring doctor to inspect, unfortunately for Frank on the second timeout the doctor called an end to the bout meaning Meng picked up a technical stoppage victory improving his record to 15-0 (9KOs).
Daniyar Yeleussinov vs. Marcos Mojica
2016 Olympic welterweight gold medallist, Daniyar Yeleussinov moved to 5-0 (3KOs) with a third-round stoppage victory over Marcos Mojica.
It was evident from the first bell that there were quite a few levels between the two boxers. Mojica, 16-2-2 (12KOs) who’s fought almost the entirety of his pro career as a lightweight, did his best to evade attack and did reasonably well in the 1st round to avoid the ‘Kazakh Thunder’s’ heavy left hook. However, in the second, Daniyar dropped his Nicaraguan foe with a fast-left hand that partially landed on the back of Mojica’s head, knocking his balance.
Mojica rose and began to open up his own attack, but it was sloppy at best and on more than one occasion he lost his balance trying to get out of the way of the Kazakh’s quick handed combinations. Marcos was dropped for a second time just before the bell for the end of round 2, rising to make it to round three.
Just 30 seconds into the third, Yeleussinov dropped Mojica for a third time and it set up the finale as he unleashed a volley of punches as soon as Marcos rose, forcing the referee to step in and call an end to the fight. Daniyar now moves to 5-0 (3KOs).
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.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland the Theater at the MGM National Harbor will be the host site for the next installment of HBO World Championships Boxing.
Three bouts will be televised, including a junior lightweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jason Sosa in the main event of the night, a light heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yuniesky Gonzalez, and a cruiserweight title fight between Aleksandr Usyk and Mike Hunter.
The non-televised undercard will feature boxers such as Mike Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2); Light Heavyweight
The opening bout of the night will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yunieski Gonzalez in the light heavyweight division.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds. Gonzalez was a member of the Cuban Amateur Team and had a record of 345-27. Gvozdyk represented the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and will be about three inches taller than Gonzalez. Gvozdyk has also been incredibly active the past two years and four times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Gonzalez fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and stopped ten of his opponents and currently has six straight stoppage wins. Gonzalez lost twice and went 2-2 in his past four fights.
Gvozdyk has already beaten the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gonzalez doesn’t have the resume of Gvozdyk and has beaten the likes of Maxwell Amponsah and Jackson Junior. His losses were to jean pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Gonzalez is a good test for Gvozdyk and this is a rare fight where we see two notable international amateur stars face off in the ring early before their twentieth professional fight. But Gvozdyk is the better skilled boxer and has the bigger wins, he should emerge victorious.
Oleksandr Usyk (11-0) vs. Michael Hunter (12-0); WBO Cruiserweight Title
Oleksandr Usyk is one of the Ukraine’s most prized prospects and he will be stepping into the ring with a former United States Olympian.
Both boxers are undefeated in their professional careers. Usyk has stopped ten of his opponents and Hunter has stopped eight. Usyk will have a slight one inch height advantage but Hunter will have an inch and a half reach advantage.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds, but Usyk experienced a lot of success on the international stage while Hunter experienced success on the national stage. Hunter is a former US National Amateur Champion and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics but failed to medal. Usyk was a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic games.
Usyk has defeated the likes of Thabiso Mchunu, Krzystzof Glowacki, and Pedro Rodriguez. Surprisingly, all of his wins thus far in his career have come against opponents with winning records.
Hunter has yet to face any significant opposition and has defeated the likes of Isiah Thomas and Phil Williams.
This should be an easy win for Usyk, despite the fact his opponent has a good amateur background.
Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) vs. Jason Sosa (20-1-4); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, pound for pound boxer in the world. He fought for a world title in only his second professional fight and is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time World Amateur Champion.
His opponent, Jason Sosa, has more of a Rocky upbringing in the sport of boxing than Lomachenko. Sosa has no notable amateur achievements on the international stage and was born and raised in poverty stricken Camden, New Jersey. He won a world title with an upset stoppage victory over then WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Javier Fortuna and is now in the biggest fight of his life.
Lomachenko will have about a one inch height advantage on Sosa but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Lomachenko’s lone loss was a disputed split decision loss to an overweight Orlando Salido early on in his career. He has since destroyed every other opponent he has faced.
He has already defeated the likes of Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Suriya Tatakhun, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez before he even competed in his tenth professional fight. Lomachenko has stopped five of his opponents.
Sosa has fifteen knockouts to his credit and one stoppage loss. His lone loss was to Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2010, early on in Sosa’s career. He has defeated the likes of Javier Fortuna, Stephen Smith, Jerry Belmontes, Michael Brooks, and Angel Ocasio. Sosa did have a disputed draw with Nicholas Walters, but many felt he lost that fight.
Jason Sosa is a good gritty boxer that consistently puts on entertaining bouts. He has the heart of a champion, but Lomachenko is on a different level than Sosa and that should be immediately apparent.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Sosa gives Lomachenko problems and this should be a relatively easy bout for Lomachenko.
Barry Hunter Interview: “To have gone through what they went through and still be standing, is outstanding.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Barry Hunter is a world class trainer out of the Bald Eagle Gym in Washington D.C. He is the trainer for World Champion Lamont Peterson, among many others. Hunter is an old school coach who is emotionally invested in his pupils. He can be seen in many of his fighter’s corners giving inspirational pep talks, even going so far as smacking a fighter to “wake up” in the middle of a bout.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
We were lucky enough to speak with Barry about his star fighters, The Peterson Brothers, as Lamont begins a comeback in the Welterweight division and how the two linked up with their eventual Mentor and trainer.
Boxing Insider: How long have you been training Lamont Peterson?
Barry Hunter: Ever since he was 10 yrs. old. He’s 33, so that is 23 years ago.
Boxing Insider: And how did you guys hook up initially?
Barry Hunter: His brother in Law was the one that initially brought him to the gym. He is, Patrice Harris, who is actually my right hand in the corner. So Patrice was the one that brought Lamont to me.
Boxing Insider: You also train his brother, Anthony?
Barry Hunter: I went to pick Lamont up one day and he, with a few of his siblings ran downstairs with him. Anthony was the one that showed interest towards boxing, so I was the one that brought him with us to the gym.
Boxing Insider: How quickly, training a 10 year old Lamont Peterson, did it take to know that he had something special?
Barry Hunter: The first day. The first day that I trained him, I trained him extremely hard. I would show him a combination or a punch, and if he got it wrong, he would get it right on the second go. But I knew he had something different. His comprehension skills were, at that age, unusual to me.
Boxing Insider: Have you ever seen anything like that before or after, with other kids?
Barry Hunter: After, maybe once or twice. But he was the first that I’ve ever seen like that before.
Boxing Insider: When taking him up the amateur ranks, how good was he?
Barry Hunter: He was definitely a special fighter throughout the amateurs. He had a stellar amateur career. He won many national titles, he was a member of the US team. He was voted athlete of the year, throughout all the sports by the Olympic committee. He was a member of the Pan Am team. Also fought in the Olympic Trials.
Boxing Insider: The Peterson brother’s early life is pretty well documented as being a very rough one. What happened with them as kids?
Barry Hunter: That is a true story. Their mother was in a bad way, which could happen to anybody. And they found themselves homeless at one time. They literally grew up surviving in the streets. They eventually went into foster care. I actually met him, shortly after he got out of foster care.
Boxing Insider: How did boxing “save” Lamont? He could have ended up in a number of other situations.
Barry Hunter: It was a way to express himself. It was an outlet for him and his brother. They could get out whatever inner anger they had. They are special individuals. I look at them as more spiritual then anything. To have gone through what they went through and still be standing, twenty something years later to me is outstanding. The average person would have broken down a long time ago, but they found a way to thrive throughout.
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
By: Brandon Bernica
The first time I glanced at Demetrius Andrade doing work in a boxing ring, I was floored. Right before he was scheduled to fight Vanes Martirosyan for the WBO junior middleweight crown, I decided to scout out this former Olympian. Immediately, his form grabs your attention. Somehow his pristine punches freeze his opponents just out of range. If said opponents try to overextend into his space, he slides to the sides, knowing full well how badly they’re going to whiff before they even punch. His real genius, however, is in his return, in how he seems to choose the right punch at the right time to optimize every exchange for his benefit.
If you think I’m mistaken, I wouldn’t blame you. Andrade is a promoter’s dream – a true talent with proven skills and unbridled confidence. His resume isn’t sparse, either, consisting of wins against well-known contenders like Martirosyan and Willie Nelson. But before you take your money to Bank Andrade and deposit every cent of stock you own, listen. Because Andrade’s story feels incomplete, and it has nothing to do with his performance inside the ropes.
The truth is, Andrade struggles to find an enclave in boxing’s revolving carousel of niches. Not to his own fault, he fights with gusto and barks for any top-dog to go against him. As you start peeling the layers back from Andrade’s career, you notice that the only figures lacking confidence in his abilities are the team around him. Promotionally, Andrade’s never been pushed as an attraction, and it shows in the gun-shy nature of Banner Promotion’s matchmaking for him. Fans have had nothing to get excited about – no big fights, no buzz, no engendering to the public. When he signed a deal to appear exclusively on the Showtime networks, many believed that would be the beginning of an Andrade run at stardom. Instead, Showtime has been reluctant to showcase him, despite little rationale behind that decision. Training-wise, he’s outlasted multiple changes at the helm. While anyone would call it foolish to believe that men like his father and the great Virgil Hunter couldn’t see the prospects in his future, clearly the issue of consistency behind his career lingers.
If anything, Andrade should have the fans in his back pocket, right? Wrong. Fans just haven’t developed any large swell of support for Andrade despite his credentials. One theory behind this disappointing turn out (or turn-away) might be the color of Andrade’s skin. Boxing fans quickly identify black fighters as slick boxer-punchers, lazy bylines moving uninspired, predetermined narratives. And the thing is, Andrade is slick and is a boxer-puncher. But he’s so much more than that. He loves to mix it up. He uses the ring as his playground, bobbing and weaving and punching from every angle the sun shines on. Yet much of this is missed when you box him into stereotypes, limiting perspective to what you expect to see over what you actually see.
If Demetrius Andrade’s story seems unfair, consider this: the man’s thrived under the radar. He grew up in the sliver of the nation in Rhode Island, away from the burning lights of fame. In 2008, his Olympic experience was overshadowed by the likes of Raushee Warren, Gary Russell Jr., and Deontay Wilder. Even against Martirosyan, it was Vanes, not Andrade, who was expected to blossom at the professional level. His ship has tossed and turned amongst the waves already. Fortunately, he’s a pro at righting the ship, thriving in the undertow of boxing. One day, everything will fall in place, or, just maybe, it won’t. To spin an old adage – don’t blame the player, blame the game.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley and Joshua vs. Martin Weigh In Results
By: William Holmes
Tomorrow night HBO will present the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. on Pay Per View. Across the pond a few hours earlier in the day Charles Martin will put on the line his IBF Heavyweight Title belt against former Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Joshua at the 02 Arena in London, England live on Showtime.
Both of the cards held their weigh-ins today and the official weights are listed below.
HBO PPV Boxing Card
WBO International Welterweight Championship
Manny Pacquiao -145.5 pounds
Timothy Bradley -146.5 pounds
WBO Super Middleweight Championship
Arthur Abraham -168 pounds
Gilberto Ramirez -168 pounds
WBO NABO Featherweight Championship
Oscar Valdez -125.5 pounds
Evgeny Gradovich -126 pounds
Showtime Championship Boxing Card:
IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Charles Martin – 245 Pounds
Anthony Joshua – 244 Pounds
IBF Featherweight World Championship
Lee Selby – 125 Pounds
Eric Hunter – 125 ¼ Pounds
Showtime Boxing International Preview: Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua, Selby vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are not the only big names fighting on Saturday, as Showtime Showtime Boxing International will televised two world title fights live from the O2 Arena in London England. The main event of the evening will feature newly minted IBF Heavyweight Champion Charles Martin putting his title on the line against the hard hitting uber prospect Anthony Joshua. The opening bout of the afternoon will be between IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby and Philadelphia contender Eric Hunter.
The main event will have big implications in the heavyweight scene moving forward, as the other two world titlists have big title bouts coming up in the near future. Tyson Fury is set to defend his title again against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder will be traveling to Russia to face Alexander Povetkin. The winner of the bout between Martin and Joshua will have big money options in the near future.
The following is a preview of the IBF Featherweight and IBF Heavyweight title bouts.
Lee Selby (22-1) vs. Eric Hunter (21-3); IBF Featherweight Title
Lee Selby is the current IBF Featherweight Title holder and has fought outside the United Kingdom once in his career. However, on Saturday night he will be fighting in the United Kingdom yet again and will have the fans in attendance cheering for him.
Selby will have a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a one inch reach advantage over his opponent. They are both twenty nine years old and in the peek of their athetlic prime.
Neither Selby or Hunter has any notable international amateur accomplishments and both have average power for a featherweight. Hunter has stopped eleven of his opponents while Selby has only stopped eight.
Hunter’s record is a bit deceiving, as two of his losses were by disqualification, to Mike Oliver and Luis Franco, and his other loss was by split decision to Carlos Vivan way back in 2007.
Selby has defeated the likes of Fernando Montiel, Evgeny Gradovich, and Joel Bunker. Hunter’s biggest wins have come against Jerry Belmontes, Yenifel Vicente, Antonio Escalante, and Rene Alvardo.
This should be a close fight and will likely be action packed. Both boxers like to throw a high volume of punches, and this bout could go either way. But Selby, at this point, has faced the tougher competition and fighting in front of his countrymen should make him a favorite on Saturday.
Charles Martin (23-0-1) vs. Anthony Joshua (15-0); IBF Heavyweight Title
Charles Martin wasted little time in challenging himself after he defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov for the IBF Heavyweight title and accepted a challenge from one of the best prospects the heavyweight division has to offer.
Martin has incredible power and has stopped twenty one of his opponents, but Joshua has even more impressive knockout numbers as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced and only one guy has made it past the third round.
Martin, a southpaw, will be giving up one inch in height and two inches in reach to Joshua. Martin did have some success in the amateur circuit as he is a former National Police Athletic League Champion and was the National Runner up in the Golden Gloves. Joshua however, has reached the pinnacle of the amateurs by winning the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Martin’s biggest victories to date have come against Vyacheslav Glazkov, Vicente Ssandez, Kertson Manswell, Glenddy Hernandez, and Joey Dawejko. Joshua’s biggest victories to date have come against Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, Kevin Johnson, and Raphael Zumbano Love.
This will be the first time Martin has ever fought outside the United States. Joshua has never fought outside the United Kingdom and will have a friendly crowd in attendance supporting him.
Both boxers have been very active the past two years. Martin fought once in 2016, four times in 2015, and five times in 2014. Joshua has fought five times in 2015 and seven times in 2014.
Martin has the power in his hands to score the upset, but Joshua comes from a strong amateur pedigree and has even more power in his hands than his opponent. The longer the fight goes the better the odds are of a Joshua victory, but regardless Joshua should be the favorite to win on Saturday night.