Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez and Gvozdyk Win at Madison Square Garden
By: Ken Hissner
At Madison Square Garden on St. Patricks Day Saturday night over ESPN Top Rank Promotions put on a good seven fight promotion with two title fights including Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Imam in the Main Event.
Super Lightweight Jose Carlos Ramirez, 22-0 (16), of Avenal, CA, won a spirited fight in defeating Amir “Young Master” Imam, 21-2 (18), of Albany, NY, out of Davie, FL, for the vacant WBC World Super Lightweight title over 12 rounds.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Imam opened up with a combination. Halfway through the round Imam landed a right uppercut to the chin of Ramirez rocking him. It was a spirited round. The second round Ramirez landed half a dozen unanswered punches. Imam used a very effective jab in the round. Ramirez countered an Imam jab. In the third round Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes with body shots. Imam showed quicker hands while Ramirez more power. Both scored well at the end of the round.
In the fourth round of a competitive round it looked like Imam won his first round. In the fourth round both landed left hooks. Halfway through the round Ramirez landed three left hooks to the body and head of Imam. In the fifth round Ramirez dug several left hooks to the body of Imam. Midway Ramirez rocked Imam with a right hand to the chin forcing him to clinch. Near the end of the round a chopping right from Ramirez to the head of Imam got his attention. In the sixth round the action continued with Ramirez pressing the fight and Imam countering at times.
In the seventh round Ramirez continued coming forward out working Imam. Ramirez ended the round with a solid right to the chin of Imam. In the eighth round Imam landed several right hands to the chin of Ramirez. Ramirez landed two rights to the chin of Imam who had his back to the ropes. Both landed good left hooks to the body. In the ninth round Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes with a flurry of punches. Imam worked the body of Ramirez who had blood showing from his mouth.
In the tenth round Imam landed a triple jab to the chin of Ramirez driving him backwards. A Ramirez hard left hook drew blood from the nose of Imam. Ramirez landed several punches to the head of Imam. In the eleventh round Imam landed a triple jab to the chin of Ramirez but was countered by a double left hook to the body and head by Ramirez. Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes.
Ramirez countered a jab with a left hook and right to the chin of Imam. Both were landing punches at the bell. In the twelfth and final round Ramirez drove Imam backwards with a double jab followed with a right to the chin of Imam. They were landing punches at the bell with referee Ricky Gonzalez getting between them at the bell.
Judge McKaie had it 117-111, DeLuca 115-113 and Steward 120-108 This writer had it 118-112.
Light heavyweight Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk, 15-0 (12), of UKR and Oxnard, CA, won a lopsided decision over Mehdi Amar, 34-6-2 (16), of Marseille, FR, for the interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title over 12 rounds.
In the first round Gvozdyk presses Amar in a battle of jabs for the most part. In the second round Amar landed a left hook to chin of Gvozdyk within ten seconds. Both boxers exchanged combinations to head. Gvozdyk landed a double left hook to the body of Amar. Good round of action with Amar landing the last punch, a left hook to the chin of Gvozdyk. In the third round Gvozdyk landed a lead straight right to the chin of Amar early in the round. Amar landed a 3-punch combination to chin and body of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk landed a combination just prior to the bell.
In the fourth round Gvozdyk landed a flurry of punches driving Amar back against the ropes. Halfway through the round Gvozdyk landed a power right to the chin of Amar knocking his head back.
Amar landed a good left hook to the chin of Gvozdyk prior to the bell. In the fifth round Gvozdyk landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Amar. Amar worked on the body of Gvozdyk. In the sixth round Amar landed a chin followed by a right uppercut to the chin of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk continued to control the fight.
In the seventh round Amar landed a good 3-punch combination to the body and head of Gvozdyk. A stiff jab from Gvozdyk knocked out the mouthpiece of Amar. Prior to the bell both landed punches and fell into the first clinch of the fight for referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. to separate the boxers. In the eighth round Gvozdyk landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Amar. Amar took the fight on 5 weeks notice after three opponents turned down the fight. Amar landed a good right to the chin of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk had swelling over the right eye.
In the ninth round it continued in the favor of Gvozdyk. Several clinche’s in the round of a really clean bout. Gvozdyk landed half a dozen punches prior to the bell. In the tenth round Amar knowing he was behind tried to be more aggressive but couldn’t out punch Gvozdyk. In the eleventh round Amar landed a flurry of punches backing Gvozdyk up several steps. Amar landed a good left hook to the head of Gvozdyk just prior to the end of the round.
In the twelfth and final round for the first time in the fight Amar started moving away from Gvozdyk avoiding his punches. Gvozdyk lands a flurry of punches causing a cut by the left eye of Amar who came back with a left hook of his own.
Judge Morgan had it 119-112, Taylor 116-112 and Hazzard, Jr. 117-111. This writer had it 120-108.
Lightweight Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo, 23-1 (15), of San Juan, PR, lost in the tenth an final round to Antonio Lozada, Jr., 39-2 (33), of Tijuana, MEX,
Super Featherweight Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz, 23-0 (15), of Barranquitas, PR, stopped Braulio “El Chavo” Rodriguez, 19-3 (17), of Santo Domingo, DR, at 0:28 of the fourth round for WBO NABO title.
Two-time Olympian 2016 Bronze Medalist “Irish” Michael “Mick” Conlan, 6-0 (5), of Belfast Ireland, stopped David Berma, 15-3 (14), of Budapest, Hungary, at 1:00 of the second round.
In the first round Berman pressed as Conlan countered. Conlan switched to southpaw midway. Conlan landed a pair of straight left hands to the chin of Berman. A wicked left uppercut to the mid-section by Conlan dropped Berman for a count of nine by referee Eddie Claudio. In the second round a body shot from Conlan dropped Berman. Conlan went right after Berman causing referee Claudio to call a halt.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Ramirez vs. Imam, Conlan vs. Berna, Gvozdyk vs. Amar
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Boxing will return to the Theater at Madison Square Garden to televise three fights on ESPN for a St. Patrick’s Day Boxing special.
The WBC Lightweight World Title as well as the WBC Interim Light Heavyweight World Title will be on the line and televised. Irish Olympic Hero Michael Conlan will also be fighting on the televised portion of the card.
The untelevised undercard will feature some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including Christopher Diaz and Felix Verdejo.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts on the card.
Michael Conlan (5-0) vs. David Berna (15-2); Featherweights
The opening bout of the night will be between Irish Superstar Michael Conlan and Hungarian boxer David Berna.
Berna is one year older than Conlan and has some power in his hands. He has stopped fourteen of his opponents and only has one win by decision. His two losses however were by stoppage. Conlan has four stoppage victories on his resume and will have about a half inch height advantage over Berna.
Conlan has a large edge in amateur experience. He competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics while Berna has no such experience.
Conlan has not faced significant opposition at this point of his career. He has defeated the likes of Luis Molina and Kenny Guzman.
Berna’s only good win on his resume was against Jozsef Ajtai. He stepped up in competition twice and was stopped both times. His losses were to Toka Kahn Clary and Oleg Malynovskyi.
Berna should be able to test the chin of Conlan, but Conlan is too much of a polished boxer for Berna to give him problems.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0) vs. Mehdi Amar (34-5-2); Interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Oleksandr Gvozdyk is another Ukranian boxer that had a successful amateur career signed by Top Rank Promotions.
Gvozdyk is tall for his weight class, he stands at 6’2” and has a 75 ½” reach. He’s thirty years old and only has a few years left in his prime, but he’s five years younger than his opponent Mehdi Amar.
Amar has only fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. Gvozdyk has been very active and fought twice in 2017 and four times in 2016.
Amar has sixteen stoppage wins on his record and one stoppage loss. He has fought exclusively in Europe during his career and has no notable victories. His losses were to Robert Stieglitz, Nadjib MOhammedi, Mehdi Bouadla, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, and Pierre Moreno.
Gvozdyk has stopped twelve of his opponents and never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Craig Baker, Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gvozdyk was also a bronze medalist in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the night. Gvozdyk should be able to win quite easily over the French boxer.
Jose Ramirez (21-0) vs. Amir Imam (21-1); WBC Junior Welterweight Title
The main event of the night will be between the undefeated Jose Ramirez and the one loss prospect Amir Imam.
Ramirez and Imam are about the same height but Imam will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage over Ramirez. Both boxers are in their prime and Imam one year older than Ramirez.
Ramirez has been the busier boxer of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. Imam fought twice in 2017 and only once in 2016.
Imam has eighteen stoppage victories and four of his past fights were wins by KO/TKO. His lone loss was a major upset TKO loss to Adrian Granados. He has defeated the likes of Johnny Garcia, Walter Castillo, Yordenis Ugas, Fidel Maldonado Jr.
Ramirez has never tasted defeated but has defeated the likes of Mike Reed, Johnny Garcia, and Issouf Kinda.
Ramirez has the edge in technical skill and competed in the 2012 Olympics. Imam lost to Errol Spence Jr. in the 2012 US Olympic Boxing trials.
This should be a competitive fight and Imam has the power to pull off a surprise victory, but Ramirez should win a close decision.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Lara, Hurd, Imam, Ramirez, Top Rank, ESPN, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 6th to March 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Lara and Jarrett Hurd to Clash on April 7th
Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.
“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”
“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.
Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.
Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.
The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.
“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”
The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.
“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.
“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”
They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.
“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’
“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”
The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.
‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”
Amir Imam Preparing for Jose Ramirez
Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) is in Pompano Beach, Florida, under the auspices of head trainer Stacy McKinley, in final preparations for his March 17 showdown against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Avenal, California for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight belt Saturday, March 17, at the The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Imam, 27, rated No. 1 by the WBC, boasts a victory by knockout ratio of 86%, including his last three and five of his last seven. Ramirez, 25, WBC No. 3 ranked super lightweight, has stopped 76% of the opponents he has faced, including four consecutive and eight in his last 10 bouts
“Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too!” boasted Imam’s promoter Don King. “I can hardly wait for Saturday night. Start the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” T-minus 124 hours 45 minutes till Ramirez-Imam enter the ring, Saturday night . . .
“Yes sir, March 17 is a big day for me and the stakes are real high for both me and him. It’s the first time I get to fight in the Garden and that’s exciting, knowing that greatness has fought there. It’s the first time I am fighting in a main event and first time fighting for a world title,” said Imam. “It’s what I have been working for my whole life and it’s finally here and I’ve got to take advantage of it.
“He’s kind of tall and long just like me, so it’s like seeing each other in the mirror so it is going to be real interesting and it’s going to be an electrifying fight.”
“Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight. If a knockout comes I will take advantage of it but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He’s been aggressive but he may not come out aggressive – you never know. I just have to be smart in the ring and adjust to things he will be doing.”
“I can definitely match his power, I can box when I have to, and I can fight. I can do a lot of things. I can do whatever it takes to get the W. A lot of fighters these days can’t do that – they are one-dimensional fighters. If I have to box or if I have to slug I can do it. I think I am the toughest guy in the 140-pund divisi
“I can just hear them saying “The New.”
Ramírez vs. Imam will headline a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day boxing extravaganza, The Ramírez – Imam world championship fight will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. EDT. It will mark the first time Arum and King have battled each other promotionally on the same card since Miguel Cotto defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight world title on March 12, 2011.
ESPN Scores Highest Rated Boxing Fight on Cable Television in 2018 with Saturday Night’s Top Rank on ESPN
Top Rank on ESPN saw Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retain his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg while fighting under a canopy at the rainy StubHub Center, the famed outdoor boxing venue in Carson, Calif. south of downtown Los Angeles. The telecast includes two of 2018’s top five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018, according to preliminary audience results from Nielsen. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight aired live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and streamed live on the ESPN App.
Top Things to Know
• Last night’s telecast was the highest-rated of the three Top Rank on ESPN telecasts in 2018
• Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN featured two of the five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018
• The main event featuring Valdez vs. Quigg averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, while the co-main event featuring undefeated junior lightweights Andy Vences vs. Erick De Leon averaged a 0.8 metered market rating
Top Boxing Overnight Ratings on Cable Television 2018 (By Fight)
VENCES vs. DE LEON
WILDER vs. ORTIZ
VALDEZ vs. QUIGG
MATTHYSSE vs. KIRAM
KOVALEV vs. MIKHALKIN
The next Top Rank on ESPN is this Saturday, March 17 and features top-rated contenders José Ramírez and Amir “Young Man” Imam fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title. Ramirez vs. Imam will headline a St. Patrick’s Day at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event also features Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO’s), from Belfast, who begins his sophomore professional year exactly where he started his freshman year — at The Garden. The Ramirez vs. Imam world championship event will live and exclusively at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. ET.
Witherspoon Decisions Capers in Atlantic City
Chazz Witherspoon raised his winning streak to eight in a row as he went the eight-round distance by won a unanimous decision over Lamont Capers that headlined a seven-bout card at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
The show, which took place this past Saturday, was promoted by Mis Downing Promotions and Silverspoon Promotions.
Witherspoon was able to outpoint the crafty Capers. Capers was very competitive, but it was Witherspoon’s size and harder punches that proved to be the difference as he captured the via 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 scores.
Witherspoon of Paulsboro, NJ is now 37-3. Capers, who was fighting for the 2nd time in seven days is 9-12-4.
Willis Lockett took a six-round majority decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in a cruiserweight bout.
Lockett of Takoma Park, MD won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57, and is now 16-22-6. Ajamu of Camden, NJ is 28-4-1.
Super Lightweight John Bauza remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over David Morales.
Bauza of North Bergen, NJ won on all cards by scores of 60-54, and is now 9-0. Morales of Managua, Nicaragua is 13-9.
Mike Hilton won a three-round technical unanimous decision over Hector Perez.
The fight was a terrific back and forth brawl when Perez suffered a cut over his right eye in the third frame.
Perez almost made a quick night for himself as he dropped Hilton in the 1st round. Hilton stormed back to register his own knockdown’s in round two and three.
The scores were 28-26 on all cards at the time of the stoppage.
Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 10-0. Perez of Pleasantville, NJ is 3-2
Edgar Cortes won a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Asmat in a featherweight bout.
Scores were 38-37 twice and 39-36 for Cortes, of Vineland, NJ, who is now 6-4. Asmat of North Bergen. NJ is 3-2.
Alejandro Jimenez made a successful pro debut with a 2nd round stoppage over Derrick Pitts in a bantamweight bout.
The time of the finish was 3:00. Pitts is 0-2.
Dan Murray and Latorrie Woodberry fought to a no-contest when Woodberry hurt his shoulder in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round welterweight bout.
“I am ecstatic about Saturday night’s card,” said Mis Downing of Mis Downing Promotions. “The fights were terrific and very competitive. I want to thank the Claridge Hotel and a special thanks to The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Mayor Frank Gilliam for supporting our event. We are excited about what is to come in the future, and we will have a very big announcement shortly about our next event, which will be a very special night of boxing.”