European Notebook: Boxing Overseas Full Recap
By: Oliver McManus
It was a busy weekend for boxing across the European continent with Mairis Briedis establishing himself as the best cruiserweight in the world. He cruised, pardon the pun, to victory over Yuniel Dorticos despite the slow start to claim the IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight title. Boxing Insider has a full recap here.
Away from Munich, there was an emphatic victory for Josh Taylor who stopped, mandatory challenger, Apinun Khongsong in just 46 seconds. Taylor battered the Thai with a short body shot which, whilst trademark Tartan Tornado, appeared fairly innocent. Khongsong collapsed to the canvas in apparent agony and stayed there… for several minutes. Even after the decision was announced he dropped to the floor once more and rolled under the ropes. Taylor looked as classy as he always did but Khongsong showed little resistance.
His Thai promoter confirmed there were no broken bones for Khongsong but he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The undercard featured an upset of sorts with Ionut Baluta stopped Davey Oliver Joyce inside three rounds to secure the WBO European title. Baluta came into the bout with a reputation for toppling the applecart: wins against Kyle Williams and TJ Doheny were against the grain and a clear statement of his abilities.
The Romanian was aggressive from the outset to hassle Joyce into discomfort. With a fast pace and non-stop ambition from Baluta, Joyce simply couldn’t settle. The Irish fighter was down once in the third before Baluta forced the stoppage with more punishment.
Former flyweight world champion Charlie Edwards returned to the ring with a relatively routine win over Kyle Williams. Edwards was in his first fight at bantamweight and didn’t have everything his way but was comfortable for the most part. It seemed as though perhaps he lacked the strength, for the time being, to be a real threat at the weight – super flyweight may be calling. Having said that, I’d like to see him in with Baluta next to get a good yardstick as to where he’s at.
Tony Yoka demolished Johan Duhaupas inside a round on Friday night. The 28 year old was in his first bout since September 2019 and wasted no time in bouncing Duhaupas around the ring. From the off, he showed his fellow Frenchman no respect: bulldozing him with heavy fists like it was bat work. There was plenty of aggression but not much finesse.
Duhapaus crumpled under the heavy artillery coming his way. He looked faded and it was hard to take much from the bout. Yoka looked good but did nothing to counteract the question marks that persist around him. The missed drugs tests carry a stigma, too, that’ll be hard to shake. Duhaupas should retire, Yoka needs to be hit before we can make our judgment.
Fellow heavyweight Filip Hrgovic also produced a no-nonsense display to cause Alexandre Kartozia to capitulate in just over four minutes. Kartozia was a late-notice replacement for Ondrej Pala (himself an uninspired choice) and showed little enthusiasm to be in the ring. The Greek opponent was bundling and unrefined in his approach to the contest – often stumbling forward in an attempt to smother Hrgovic. A huge right hand poleaxed Kartozia – pinging him right on the chin – and the lights were firmly out.
Headlining that card in Struer, Denmark was super bantamweight Dina Thorslund who defended her WBO super bantamweight title with a clear and convincing display over Nina Radovanovic. Thorslund moved to 15-0 and was barely bothered by her Serbian opponent who simply wasn’t on the same level as the home favourite.
MTK Global’s Golden Contract was the scene of some scoring controversy in Riga, Latvia. There was initial disarray when Arturs Gorlovs somehow managed to secure a split draw with Felipe Nsue in the cruiserweight division. Nsue, a late Spanish replacement for Damian Chambers, was absolutely dominant for six rounds: Gorlovs’ eyes were swollen by the end of the fight. An absolute disgrace!
The main event saw Ricards Bolotniks come from behind to beat Hosea Burton by some wide scorecards which took the sheen of an otherwise good fight. Burton certainly started off with serenity and after three rounds would have been confident of pushing on towards victory. Bolotniks did, however, start to come into his own rhythm for the second half and boxed well to regain his composure. The Latvian did ultimately out-class the traveling Brit who was gutsy but out-gunned. Two standing eight counts in the ninth round did Burton no favours and Boltoniks advanced to the Golden Contract final with scores of 98-90, 98-90, 100-90.
41 Seconds Is All Josh Taylor Needed Against Apinun Khongsong
Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) was all business tonight. The reigning unified super lightweight world champion stepped into his contest against the previously undefeated Apinun Khongsong (16-1, 13 KOs) as a heavy favorite and it didn’t take long to see why.
Taylor walked his man half way across the ring, got on the inside and landed a body shot that saw Khongsong crumble. He screamed in agony as he rolled on the ground. As the referee continued his count, he realized that it was a moot point and called the contest off with the first 41 seconds of the first round.
Bob Arum Looking to Put Future Fights in Studio Settings in Vegas Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
By: Hans Themistode
Much like every other sport, boxing has come to a complete stop due to the Coronavirus. But promoter Bob Arum is trying to play his part to get it going once again.
When news broke of the Coronavirus or otherwise known as Covid-19, putting an end to roughly every sport around the world, fans could hardly believe it. Arum, like many other promoters, was forced to put several of his shows on ice.
WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson and Featherweight contender Michael Conlan were set to headline their own cards on the 14th and 17th of March, in Madison Square Garden, in New York City. But not anymore. With two of Arums shows already sidelined, the 88 year old promoter is looking into unique ways to salvage the few remaining cards he already has booked on the boxing schedule.
“We’re gonna try to set up a studio atmosphere in Vegas, so we can do fights maybe,” Arum said during Friday’s episode of “The Ak & Barak Show” on SiriusXM. “You know, ESPN, unfortunately for them, doesn’t have content. They don’t have the NBA, they don’t have college basketball, they don’t have the women’s tournament. So, they’re gonna need content. And we can provide content. We’ve talked to the athletic commission here [in Nevada], doing fights in a studio. But we’ve got to get the testing done. We’ve gotta get enough tests here, so that we can test the fighters before the fights, so we can show that they do not have the virus. Or, if they have the virus, they can’t fight. I mean, that’s what we’re working on.”
The first of Arums shows that would be heading towards a studio like setting would be his March 28th, event which was set to take place at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Headlining that card would be unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs).
Next up of the Top Rank schedule is an April 25th, showdown between pound for pound star and unified Bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) and WBO title holder John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs). One week later, unified Lightweight champ Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) was set to make his Top Rank debut against Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs).
With both events most likely to be postponed, Arum is hoping he can still put on shows while this pandemic is currently being sorted out.
Most recently, the UFC kept their event alive by banning fans from entering the arena. Boxing could be following in those same footsteps. It may not be ideal or fun for the fighters involved but at this point, it’s better than nothing.