PBC on FS1 Results: Joyce and Figueroa Win
Over in Ontario, California – around 35 miles east of Los Angeles – Victor Ortiz and John Molina were meant to be facing off over the course of a scheduled 12 rounds with both men looking for one final crack at the big time. That was until Ortiz got himself in a spot of bother with the police, having handed himself in on charges of sexual assault – a wholly serious affair – promoter Tom Brown was forced to bump Brandon Figueroa vs Oscar Escandon to main event with The Hearbreaker, Figueroa, looking to move 17 and 0 against the gritty Colombian and former world title challenger.
Flying high as a professional, Brandon Figueroa was seeking to claim the biggest scalp of his career in the form of Oscar Escandon and with a streak of three successive knockouts, he certainly fancied his chances pre-fight of getting the job done within the scheduled 10 rounds.
Figueroa stood firm at the centre of the ring, statuesque for the first thirty seconds before resting on the shoulder of Escandon and working the inside pockets, getting big shots his Colombian opponent along with the occasional swift overhand.
Escandon looked to push the case for himself and extended his jab frequently, looking busy and fresh with his work but landing nothing of particular substance. Figueroa, on the other hand, was landing the more noticeable shots with a cracking straight left landing flush to the face of his opponent.
Fighting in the light blue shorts, Figueroa took a heavy tumble in the second – and a tumble, only – and sought to double up on the jab as he switched stances periodically. A real tussle emerged on the ropes with both men firing across the horizon, Escandon tagged the younger boxer with a god body shot to bring a wry smile from the face of Figueroa.
A real postage stamp fight over the opening third of the fight, both men were mixing it with good shots of their own but it was the younger fighter that, perhaps predictably, was showing the better energy and landed a couple of solid left hooks to keep Escandon in check.
Escandon was seeking to echo the plan of Figueroa in working on the inside and wearing down the body and whilst he was finding moderate success, it was hard to claim he was winning the fight.
Cut above the left eye, it made no difference to the strategy and confidence of Figueroa who snapped in and out of range from his counterpart but remained ever constant with accurate jabs and crisp left hand shots.
Round 5 of a scheduled 10 saw the fight from a little more with Figueroa starting to dictate the pace of the bout to greater effectiveness, good left hooks from the body saw Escandon visibly slow in his movements but he kept firing shots into his opponent – showing plenty of guts.
Figueroa snapped back immediately, hurting his man but chose not to follow up in pursuit of a stoppage and the rhythm continued into the latter half of the fight with both men finding pockets of success throughout each fight but Figueroa controlling much of the bout with his superior work-rate and more vicious punch intention.
Just when the bout looked destined for a routine points victory, Figueroa wound up and landed a flush right uppercut to the chin of his man to send his to the canvas in an instant – Escandon tried to get back up but only collapsed back, a sickening punch and a mesmerising knockout. Job done for Brandon Figueroa.
Joe Joyce, the British protagonist, was making his Stateside debut against Iago Kiladze, the Georgian Grizzly Bear, with the Juggernaut seeking to make an immediate splash over in America.
Up against Kiladze this fight was always going to be a “Joe Joyce showcase” with there being very little genuine hope of Kiladze springing an upset but the former cruiserweight prospect is known for his ability to make situations difficult so it was pertinent that Joyce stuck to the fundamentals that have seen him go to 5 and 0 in the space of a year and claim the Commonwealth title along the way.
The arts graduate from Putney, London, was punching downwards against a smaller opponent but Kiladze scampered across the ring during the early phases, skipping his way along the ropes on his toes and evading the awkward limbs of Joyce.
With eyes set on his Georgian counterpart in a manner akin to a bird of prey, Joyce never looked anything but focussed and mirrored Kiladze’s movement to an inch, Joyce began to target the body and, as he did, Kiladze threw back some adventurous shots of his own.
Into the second round we moved and a huge hook, seemingly from nowhere, sent Kiladze to the canvas with an audible thud. Sensing the stoppage was near, Joyce continued to pepper the body of his more experienced opponent, sinking his hands into the ribcage of Kiladze.
Kiladze, beginning to look worse for wear, seemed now to stagger as opposed to scamper and a left hook followed by a right and another left to the head of Kiladze saw his head bobble around like a ship in a stormy sea – the scarlet red face of Kiladze was a testament to the power that Joyce possesses.
The British heavyweight began to loosen up as the fight progressed and towards the end of a, relatively dull, third round, he exploded into the body of Kiladze – who was on the ropes – twisting the full power of his torso into the shots and dropping the Georgian to the canvas for a second time.
For the third time in the fight Kiladze hit the floor, in the fifth round, with a shot that, actually, was just a tentative, pawing jab from the big Putney man but it was enough, he’d had enough and returned to his corner, to secure Joe Joyce a 6th win and his 6th by knockout.
In the opening heavyweight bout of the evening Efe Ajagba (6-0, 5KOs) took on a fellow unbeaten professional in Nick Jones (7-0, 5KOs) with the 2016 Olympian hoping to get a stiffer contest than his, now infamous, one second bout versus Curtis Harper back in August.
Standing 6foot 5inches tall, Ajagba came into the ring looking like a figure sculpted from clay, impeccably formed and he led with a rangy, reaching left jab before landing some big right hands early on to signal his intentions from the off.
Looking patient from the centre of the ring Ajagba was in clear control even from the immediate offerings and Jones began to soak shots up almost instantaneously, several clubbing rights landing to the temple of Jones with those snapping hands of Ajagba breaking Jones’ guard with an alarming frequency.
With Jones ignoring the warning signs, Ajagba barely even flicked up a gear as he pieced together the punches with ease, throwing a soft left jab to tee up a crunchy nut of a right hook, snapping the neck of his counterpart back to send him crumpling to the canvas. A first round stoppage for Efe Ajagba within two minutes of the bell – the 24 year old moves to 7 and 0 with five of those victories now coming in the opening round.
Earlier on in the evening Jesse Rodriguez advanced his unbeaten record to seven without defeat when he issued Ediwn Reyes with an eight round shellacking, the scorecards were 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73, whilst Stephen Fulton dazzled over the course of eight rounds against, 102 fight veteran, German Meraz with some hard-hitting body shots and impressive hand speed – the scores for that contest were 80-71 across the board as Fulton moves to 14 and 0.
Brandon Figueroa lived up to his name, breaking the heart of Escandon but the real story of the night was Joe Joyce who lived up to expectations and moves on to December 1st, the undercard of Wilder-Fury, with both Luis Ortiz and Gerald Washington as rumoured opponents.
The world awaits!
PBC on Fox Sports 1 Preview: Joyce vs. Kiladze, Figueroa vs. Escandon
By: Oliver McManus
*The main event featuring Victor Ortiz has been cancelled as of 9/27/18.
Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce touches down on US soil at the weekend as he looks to continue his rocketing rise up the rankings against Iago Kiladze over eight rounds. The card itself is headlined by a 12 round welterweight contest between Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr with the pair, who’s combined ages hit 66, looking for one final crack at the jackpot.
Truth be told, both gentleman look as though their best days are behind them but you suspect Ortiz will come into it the more confident with the ever brash 31 year old having held talks to fight Brandon Rios earlier in the year – Ortiz admits that he will be throwing fire from the very off, those are his intentions anyway, and the 12 rounds he shared with Devon Alexander, whilst not of any particularly notable quality, will stand him in good stead.
Photo Credit:PBC Twitter Account
Molina is in his second contest since a brutal, one-sided demolition loss to Terence Crawford – a fight that saw him knocked out in the eighth round – and that initial comeback fight, against Ivan Redkach, was far from impressive. A reckless fight, Molina was dropped before sending his counterpart to the canvas twice to claim a fourth round stoppage but that was a result that flattered to deceive.
These two know that, with all due respect, they are fairly inconsequential names in the welterweight division as it stands with no major draw for those at the top, if they are to get back into the mix where they are even being TALKED about in the same sentence as Amir Khan, Manny Pacuqiao and so on then they need to pull it out of the bag and send a statement come Sunday night.
Joe Joyce will be in his sixth paid contest and goes up against the ‘Georgian Grizzly Bear’ in Iago Kiladze. Once hailed as a prospect to watch in the cruiserweight division – some eight years back – Kiladze returned to the ring in 2017 as a heavyweight, following a two year absence, and since then has racked up wins against Byron Polley and Pedro Rodriguez before becoming the prey against Adam Kownacki and Michael Hunter.
Both those defeats came this year – January and June, respectively – and the odds are stacked firmly against him this time around. He’ll give it a go, though, he always does but this fight is more about getting Joyce the American exposure that Ringstar crave so desperately.
In a career filled with late replacements and disappointing opponents, this is the 2nd best foe that Joyce has looked to slay thus far and with a combined 13 rounds under his belt – an average 2.6 per contest – it wouldn’t do him harm to get some rounds under his belt.
Bring on that Putney-Mexican hybrid style of dancing after the fight because Joyce looks certain to win unless Kiladze can produce a colossal upset.
Also in the heavyweight division is Efe Ajagba who will be hoping to get more of a challenge than he did last time out – Curtis Harper, that’s all that needs to be said – and he shares the ring with, also unbeaten, Nick Jones over the course of scheduled six rounds.
Brandon The Heartbreaker Figueroa will look to continue his impressive development by adding Oscar Escandon to a CV already 16 names long – his last three fights have seen him emerge victorious thanks to a knockout and it seems that, as the 21 year old goes through the motions, he’s really growing into his man power and that’s not meant in a disrespectful way but his body is still filling out and if you look at the 3, 4lbs that he’s put – on the scales – over the past couple years then you start to understand where that extra power is coming from.
Escandon, vastly experienced, is looking to cause an upset and resurrect his career which is currently on a drastically downward spiral having lost three of his last four and the last two back to back – against Gary Russel Jr and Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Neither are opponents to sniff at, by no means, but you get the impression that Escandon is becoming a bit of a gatekeeper for these up and coming prospects to get a name on their resumé.
Two ageing sluggers, a James DeGale hoping to look as good as he did four years ago, 11 unbeaten prospects – Figueroa, Joyce, Davies, Ajagba, to name four – and a debutant. Sunday night on FOX Sports 1 delivers it all and it is set to be a stonker.
Joe Joyce Defeats Ivica Bacurin
By: Ste Rowen
Coming in as a last-minute replacement for original opponent, Richard Lartey, Bacurin’s resume includes the likes of Carlos Takam and Dillian Whyte. He was stopped by both those men, in fact Ivica always falls short whenever he takes a step up and unluckily for the Croatian, Joyce was another step up.
The ‘Juggernaut’, now 5-0 (5KOs), was on his opponent from the first bell, setting off heavy 1-2s as Bacurin did his best to circle the ring backwards. But with 1:17 left on the clock of the 1st round, Joyce shot a right and left to the top of Ivica’s head, sending him down and keeping him there.
Hughie Fury was in attendance at York Hall, and it seems a British-Commonwealth unification bout would be the obvious fight to make next.
Michael ‘Venom’ Page, a former kickboxer and BellatorMMA fighter, moved to 2-0 with a 2nd KO of, 1-5, Michal Ciach of Poland.
Aiming to ply his trade at light heavyweight, the enigmatic Page, much like his debut performance back in October, was unconventional in his approach to taking out Ciach. Low hands, bolo feints, and jelly legs all within the first round, ‘Venom’ jabbed at his foe, keeping the Pol ineffective and, with just over 40 seconds left on the 1st, dropped his opponent for the first time.
Immediately into the 2nd round, Page landed a huge right hand, sending Ciach to the canvas for a second time and signalling an end to the fight. MVP spoke post-fight,
‘It’s a crazy style, it’s not normal…What I find difficult is, people know who I am so it’s gonna be difficult to call out named fighters.’
Page’s debut win came against 2-11-1, Jonathan Castano so it’s unlikely we’ll see ‘Venom’ fast tracked like his gym mate, Joyce, but it will no doubt be entertaining whoever it is.
Savannah Marshall outclassed 8-2 (5KOs), Alejandra Ayala with a 2nd round stoppage to move to 3-0 (2KOs). The 2014 Commonwealth middleweight champion had already dropped her Mexican opponent before she forced Ayala into the corner and was unable to counter the power shots Marshall was sending her way, before the referee called an end to the bout.
As the only boxer to beat the current IBF and WBC super-middleweight champion Claressa Shields, the ‘Silent Assassin’ will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on the unified champion’s matchup against Hanna Gabriels, which takes place next week in Detroit.
Both fighting in their pro debuts heavyweights, George Fox, 26 and Phil Williams, 32, fought out a close matchup, which saw Fox, nicknamed ‘Future’ come out the victor with a 40-37 scorecard in his favour.
Super welterweight Tom Ansell handed Fonz Alexander his 83rd career loss (31st in a row) with a 40-35 decision victory.Now 4-0 (1KO) Ansell, 25, landed a huge overhand right in the 1st round to drop his opponent but, though the result was rarely in doubt, he was forced to go the 4-round distance with journeyman, Alexander.
Fighting for the vacant women’s Commonwealth lightweight title, Anisha Basheel of Malawi made lightwork of favourite, Sam ‘SJ’ Smith, now 8-2, to earn a 1st round TKO. Teeing off with heavy hit after hit from the start, the referee was eventually forced into ending the bout with Smith still on her feet. Basheel now moves to 8-5 (8KOs) and becomes the new 135lb Commonwealth champion.
Chris Davies moved to 9-0 with a 4-round points decision over 0-13-2, Callum Ide, but the super middleweight from London is yet to record a victory over a boxer with a winning record or earn a stoppage win.
Joe Joyce vs. Richard Lartey Preview
By: Ste Rowen
If March 2018 was the month of the heavyweight’s current elite, then June is surely it’s month for prospects…and Tyson Fury.
Last weekend saw the return of the lineal heavyweight champion from an almost 3-year hiatus; as well as 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Filip Hrgovic moving to 5-0 (4KOs) with a 4th round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Mexican, Filiberto Tovar.
Photo Credit: Joy Joyce Twitter Account
Next week we’ll see 2016 gold medallist, Tony Yoka 4-0 (3KOs), take on former opponent of Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte, Dave ‘The White Rhino’ Allen in Paris; as well as Daniel Dubois taking on his biggest test in Tom Little at the O2 arena in London for the English heavyweight belt.
But this weekend, at heavyweight at least, belongs to current Commonwealth champion and 4-0 (4KOs), Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce who takes on 12-1 (9KOs), Richard Lartey of Ghana at London’s York Hall.
It’s been a sharp rise for the 2016 Rio silver medallist. Joyce started his pro career in a risky bout with Ian Lewison, who just 12 months previous to their fight, fought Dillian Whyte for the British belt, in which Lewison was eventually grinded down into a 10th round stoppage, of a fairly one-sided fight.
Even so, the risk was high for the ‘Juggernaut’, but the reward was eventually worth it. Overcoming a few awkward, early rounds until eventually finding his stride in his pro-debut and dominating his fellow Brit, forcing Lewison’s corner to throw in the towel in the 8th round.
From there, the talk from Joyce’s corner was big, including his promoter, David Haye eyeing bouts with the best of Britain, as well as attempting to goad Dereck Chisora into a fight with his protégé. More recently, Joyce called out Jerrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on Twitter.
Joe was back out for his second and third pro bouts in February and March this year, spending just less than 4 minutes of combined time in the ring to knockout Rudolf Jozic, and America’s Donnie Palmer. Then it was onto his biggest fight yet, up against the Commonwealth champion at the time Lenroy Thomas, on the undercard of BellewHaye2.
The Jamaican turned up looking in great shape, he always seems to, but once the first bell tolled, his conditioning leant nothing to stopping the ‘Juggernaut’ hurtling towards him. Dropping his foe three times in total before the referee waved off the bout towards the end of the 2nd round, Joe Joyce was now the Commonwealth champion in just 4 fights. Quicker than Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Lennox Lewis and Trevor Berbick. Not a bad record to have, especially if Joyce manages to claim the British as well – currently held by Hughie Fury – within the next year.
It’s not just talent that’s seeing Joe put onto the fast track. At 32, even for a heavyweight, time isn’t exactly on his side if he wants his peak to coincide with facing the very best of his division.
His opponent on Friday will be fighting someone with a winning record for just the 4th time in his pro career.
Lartey knocked out 1-0, Nuzu Azuma in his 4th fight; was stopped by 11-0, Ergun Mersin in the 5th round of his one and only fight so far outside of Ghana; and in September last year he earned a 12-round decision over 13-7-1, Ibrahim Marshall in what would be his 6th fight of 2017.
It’s difficult to ascertain whether the Ghanaian is a worthy opponent for Joyce, his record, despite only 1 defeat, suggests not, and there’s next to no footage online of Lartey, but if nothing else, at least he’s active.
But on Friday night, if all goes to plan for Joyce, his opponent will play just a small supporting act in his performance. It gives the ‘Juggernaut’ an opportunity to defend the rainbow belt for the first time, and it keeps him active, and in the general boxing public’s minds for the future.