Alexander Besputin Defeats Radzhab Butaev, Braekhus Dominates Victoria Noelia Bustos
By Rich Lopez
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing hosted a card at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, in Monaco, Monte Carlo. The card was streamed on DAZN and it featured a pair of undefeated Russian welterweights fighting for a vacant world title. In addition, the world’s best female fighter Cecilia Braekhus was in action and other undefeated fighters were featured.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
The main event was for the vacant WBA Welterweight title in a battle of undefeated Russians. Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KO’s) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Radzhab Butaev (12-0, 9 KO’s) to win the WBA title. The shorter fighter Besputin used his quickness and his movement to have success against the taller Butaev. From rounds 1-2, Besputin displayed his speed and movement, using different angles to confuse the aggressive Butaev. The southpaw, Besputin, was also landing straight left hands to the head of Butaev and was also effective going to the body. In round three, there was good action from both fighters. Overall Besputin was making Butaev miss punches. Both fighters had good exchanges in round four, with Butaev getting the better of them. In round five, Besputin started the round good but then Butaev landed a right hook that staggered Besputin. Butaev landed a few more shots but Besputin survived the round. Besputin got back into his groove and started to show his effective footwork and speed to confuse Butaev in rounds six, seven, and eight. Butaev kept making the mistake of following Besputin around but not cutting off the ring or letting his hands go. In round nine, Butaev did have a good comeback round and finally got busy. Butaev trapped Besputin on the ropes and both guys traded punches with Butaev getting the better of exchanges. Once again Besputin regrouped and went back to work. He out boxed the taller Butaev in rounds ten and eleven. Butaev was getting tagged a lot but showed a good chin. In the final round, Butaev came out hard and went for the knockout but could not do it. All three judges scored 116-112 for Besputin.
Alexander Besputin is now the WBA world champion in the super talented welterweight division. Besputin looked good and showcased great boxing ability. Let’s see how his career progresses going forward in the welterweight division.
The co-feature was in the women’s welterweight division. Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus (35-0, 9 KO’s) of Norway, made her return to the ring. Braekhus scored a ten round unanimous decision over Victoria Noelia Bustos (19-5) of Argentina. In typical Braekhus fashion, she starting boxing well and utilizing her jab in the first round. Then she started to nail Bustos with right hands. Braekhus continued to outbox Bustos in round two. In round three, Bustos made a good attempt to get in the inside of Braekhus but Braekhus used her reach and speed to offset Bustos. In rounds four and five, Braekhus continued to clearly outbox and outwork the shorter Bustos. In round six, Braekhus landed a left hook that dropped Bustos and was clearly a knockdown. However, the ref ruled it a slip. Braekhus went back to work in the seventh round. She kept popping Bustos with left jabs and right hands. Bustos increased the pressure in round eight and even managed to land a good right hook on Braekhus. In round nine, Bustos had a little better success with her nonstop pressure but Braekhus kept her distance well. In the final round, Braekhus closed the show with good body movements and landing good counter shots. It was a good effort by Bustos but she was outclassed by the superior Braekhus. The judges scores were 98-92 (twice) and 99-91 all for Braekhus.
The long reigning champion Braekhus can simply hang up the gloves with an undefeated record. However the best female fighter in the world wants to keep fighting on. Who can beat her? I think the next challenge for her would be a fight against WBO Super Lightweight champion Katie Taylor. That’s if Taylor decides to move up in weight.
In a competitive super featherweight fight, undefeated Welshman Joe Cordina (10-0, 7 KO’s) scored a ten round unanimous decision over Mexico’s Mario Tinoco (18-5-4, 13 KO’s). From the opening round, Cordina showed his speed and boxed well. Every time Tinoco got close, Cordina would clinch in the inside. Round two was a good round for Tinoco as he was able to get inside and land body punches. In rounds three and four, Tinoco had some moments landing effective body punches but was being outworked by Cordina. In round five, Cordina had a dominating round by connecting hard right hands on Tinoco. Tinoco came back in round six as he got close landing hook shots to the body and head of Cordina. Round seven was a good round for Cordina as he went back to moving and boxing. Tinoco could not be counted out and had a good eighth round. Tinoco now started throwing jabs that were jolting the head of Cordina. Both men had good exchanges in the round. Round nine was another good round with punches exchanged from both fighters. Both fighters battled to the end in round ten to close the show. At the end, Cordina won by scores of 98-92, and 96-94 (twice). The 96-94 scorecards were right but the 98-92 scorecard was a little too wide. It was a good battle, with Cordina winning the fight by being more effective with cleaner punching.
By winning, Cordina won the vacant WBA Continental Super Featherweight Title and he looks to be a top contender to look out for.
In heavyweight action, undefeated Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (20-0, 16 KO’s) of China, scored a ten round unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20 KO’s) of Ukraine. In rounds one and two, the taller Zhang used his distance well. Zhang was landing straight left hands on the head of Rudenko. In round three, Rudenko finally landed some good counter shots while he was against the ropes. Zhang turned this around and landed a right hand on the temple of Rudenko that stunned him. Zhang landed a few more punches that backed up Rudenko against the ropes. However, Rudenko managed to survive the round. From rounds 4-6, Zhang was slowing down but did enough to win the rounds and Rudenko could not close the gap. In round seven, Rudenko landed hard right hands that backed up a very fatigued Zhang. From rounds 8-10, both men were tired and slow, which did not generate any action. Zhang landed some left hands to the body and head of Rudenko in the closing rounds. Zhang won by scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.
This was the first time that Zhang went past six rounds in a fight and it showed as he was completely tired in the late rounds. Also the year layoff did not help Zhang either. This was a step up in competition for Zhang and he passed it but not too impressive. Hopefully Zhang stays more active if he wants to be considered the Big Bang in the heavyweight division.
In the opening bout of the DAZN card, undefeated Thulasi Tharumalingham (6-0, 4 KO’s) of Germany, won an unpopular six round unanimous decision over Alexander Benidze (13-27-3, 6 KO’s) of Georgia. The opening round started well for Thulasi. He moved around and boxed well while Benidze came forward but could not land any punches. This all changed in the second round. Benidze caught Thulasi with a right hand that dropped him. Thulasi was caught with his hands down and he paid the price. Thulasi got up and finished the round. Benidze continued his assault in round three. He landed more right hands that dazed Thulasi. In round four, Benidze continued to outwork Thulasi and was mixing his attack to the body as well. In round five, some tape got loose on the gloves of Thulasi. Thulasi immediately took a knee to signal to the ref that his tape was loose. Benidze still had a great round and Thulasi’s defense was poor as he always kept his hands down. Thulasi tried to finish the round strong letting his hands go but it seemed a little too late. However, Thulasi got lucky and won a unanimous decision by scores of 58-55, 57-56 (twice). It was a terrible decision and Benidze was robbed of victory.
Besputin vs. Butaev and Cecilia Braekhus Fight Previews
By Rich Lopez
Boxing action will pick up right after Thanksgiving and DAZN will have a live card in store on Saturday. Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing will host a card at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, in Monaco, Monte Carlo. The fight card will feature a pair of undefeated welterweights fighting for a vacant title. In addition, the world’s best female fighter Cecilia Braekhus is back, Hughie Fury returns, and other undefeated prospects will be featured.
Photo Credit: WBA Boxing Twitter Account
The main event will be for the vacant WBA Welterweight title and it will be a battle of the undefeated Russians. Radzhab Butaev (12-0, 9 KO’s) will face off with Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KO’s). Radzhab “The Python” Butaev, who now fights out of Brooklyn, New York was an outstanding amateur with a reported record of 453-9. He started as a professional in 2016 and the 25 year old has climbed up the rankings rapidly. Within the last year, he has beaten fighters such as: Ramses Agaton, Lanardo Tyner, and Silverio Ortiz. Butaev has punching power and always looks for the knockout. His opponent, Alexander Besputin was an outstanding amateur as well with a reported record of 300-15. He started professional in 2015 and has been fighting out of Oxnard, California.
Besputin has climbed the rankings quick and has beaten fighters such as: Juan Carlos Abreu, Saul Corral, and Breidis Prescott. The 28 year old southpaw also has power and looks for the knockout. As you can see both fighters are nearly identical which makes for a good pick’em fight. Manny Pacquiao is the “Super” WBA World Welterweight Champion and the two Russians are fighting for the regular WBA Welterweight title. Yes the belt situation does not make any sense. However, we should look at the Butaev vs Besputin fight as an exciting fight between two upcoming stars in the welterweight division.
The co-feature will showcase the return of Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus, who is considered the world’s best female fighter today. Why is she the best female fighter? Braekhus (35-0, 9 KO’s) of Norway, has been boxing professionally for twelve years and has been a world champion for ten of those years. She won the vacant WBC and WBA World Female Welterweight titles in 2009 by defeating Vinni Skovgaard. Then she won the WBO title in 2010 by defeating Victoria Cisneros. Later on she became the undisputed champion when she added the IBF title in 2014 by defeating Ivana Habazin. To sum it up, she has made 22 defenses of the WBA title, 23 defenses of the WBC title, 20 defenses of the WBO title, and 8 defenses of the IBF title. More than half of her pro fights were championship fights and she is not stopping yet. Braekhus is also considered one of the best technical fighters in women’s boxing. Braekhus has been off almost for a whole year since her last fight on HBO’s final telecast. The 38 year old will be taking on Victoria Noelia Bustos (19-5) of Argentina. Bustos will try to pull the upset but will be at a disadvantage as she is moving up from the super lightweight to the welterweight division. Bustos most recently lost to Katie Taylor last year but bounced back with a win back in December of 2018.
Also on the undercard will be undefeated Chinese heavyweight Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (20-0, 16 KO’s). Zhang has a good amateur background and was a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the super heavyweight division. He also competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Zhang has been inactive and his last fight was in September of last year. He will be stepping up in competition as he faces late replacement Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20 KO’s) of Ukraine. Zhang will need to be impressive if he wants to remain a force in the heavyweight division.
Also in the heavyweight division, Hughie Fury (23-3, 13 KO’s) of United Kingdom is back in action less than three months from his last fight. Like his cousin Tyson Fury, Hughie would like to make a name for himself in the heavyweight division. He has been a solid pro for six years but has come up short when stepping up in competition. In his last fight, he lost a unanimous decision against Alexander Povetkin. Fury will take on Pavel Sour (11-2, 6 KO’s) of the Czech Republic to stay busy and try to set himself up for another big fight.
Also on the card will be 2016 Olympian super featherweight Joe Cordina (10-0, 7 KO’s) of Wales. Since turning pro in 2017, Cordina has kept a busy schedule and will look to continue his winning ways. Cordina will face his biggest test up to date as he will face off with Mario Enrique Tinoco (18-5-4, 13 KO’s) of Mexico. Most notably, Tinoco stopped the British prospect Jordan Gill last year in an upset. They will battle for the vacant WBA Continental Super Featherweight title.
Also Olympian Thulasi “Tiger” Tharumalingam (6-0, 4 KO’s) of Germany, will be featured on the card. Thulasi was the first Qatari boxer to compete in the Olympic Games. The super welterweight fighter will look to shine and stay undefeated.
Andy Ruiz: “I’ll Make History Again In Saudi Arabia”
By: Sean Crose
“It feels good,” said WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz upon his arrival in Saudi Arabia for his December 7th rematch against former undefeated divisional kingpin Anthony Joshua. “You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.” Ruiz shocked the fight world last June when he stopped Joshua in the Englishman’s American debut at Madison Square Garden. What was essentially supposed to be a glorified tuneup for Joshua on the road to a mega fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury ended up being one of the sport’s biggest upsets in decades.
According to Matchroom Boxing, which is promoting Ruiz-Joshua 2: “The Mexican-American fighter followed his challenger Anthony Joshua into the Kingdom, touching down at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in the early hours of today to set up his own training camp to prepare for the epic bout on December 7.” This will only be the second of the 22-1 Joshua’s fights to take place out of his United Kingdom homeland. Ruiz, on the other hand, has fought in places as diverse as the United States, Mexico, China, and New Zealand. Although reportedly hesitant at first to fight in Saudi Arabia, the defending champion is expected to receive a warm welcome.
In fact, a brand new outdoor arena has been built specially for the occasion of the rematch. Per Matchroom: “The first-ever Heavyweight World Title fight to take place in the Middle East will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.” Promoter Eddie Hearn is (unsurprisingly) coming across as thrilled with the new facility. “The arena and site are utterly breath-taking,” he said, “with a theme park and concert the night before (the fight) as well. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in boxing. The Clash On The Dunes will be a night to remember. We can’t wait.”
Although this will be the first major boxing match to go down in Saudi Arabia, officials clearly feel like the Kingdom is rising to the occasion. “On the night (of the fight),” Matchroom claimed, “more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down.”
Joshua-Ruiz 2, the “Clash On The Dunes,” will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service.
Ritson & Fitzgerald Take the Wins In an Electric Newcastle Night
By: Ste Rowen
In a night highlighted by domestic rivalries being fought, Lewis Ritson and Scott Fitzgerald came out on top in their lightweight and junior-middleweight bouts respectively. Ritson scored a unanimous victory over Robbie Davies Jr, whilst Fitzgerald kept his unbeaten run going also with a unanimous decision win over Ted Cheeseman.
It’s not often the phrase ‘You maggot’ ignites a rivalry but tonight’s main event in Newcastle, England between lightweights Lewis Ritson and Robbie Davies Jr, not solely, but in part was born out of Davies Jr calling out Ritson in his own unique way. Davies, 19-1 (13KOs) heading into tonight, looked confident as he was booed into the ring in Newcastle, knowing that the crowd was going to be on his back from, not just the first bell, but his very first steps into the Newcastle Arena.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
‘The Sandman’ Ritson, a Newcastle native, was drenched in atmosphere with a smile painted on his face as he made his ring-walk. But the home-fighter was on the back foot at the ring of the first bell, with Davies Jr getting in the harsher shots but Lewis began to impose himself from around the second and third rounds onwards.
Liverpudlian, Robbie found a second wind in the middle rounds as Ritson began to lay off on the intense pressure he’d set but waned again as the rounds ticked on. Bloodied and bruised both men took the fight to the other in the final round. Lewis boxed well at the beginning of the round but the final stretch turned into a mixture of tit for tat power punches, with a bit of cuddling to add to it as both men made sure they heard the final bell.
The judge’s scorecards returned as, 117-112, 116-112 (x2) all for Lewis ‘The Sandman’ Ritson, who improves to 19-1 (12KOs) and puts himself in line for a world title shot next.
‘‘I said this was my coming out party and I was absolutely right.
I tried to fight him for the first six rounds, I knew I couldn’t do it for the full twelve…It takes two to tango and Robbie deserves praise.’’
In the middle of Davies Jr’s interview Lewis called for the crowd to stop booing in a show of respect to a man he’d clearly settled his bad blood with.
In the highly anticipated co-feature, British junior middleweights Scott Fitzgerald and Lonsdale belt holder, Ted Cheeseman fought a twelve round, all-action bout that saw Fitzgerald rip the belt from the now former holder, via a decision.
Cheeseman, 15-1-1 (9KOs) took the role of the boxer early on whilst Fitzgerald seemed to be searching for the finisher, whether that be the one shot or a swift combination of punches. British champion Cheeseman, defending his belt for the second time held his ground well off the back foot throughout most of the bout, whilst Scott seemed the keener of the two to take the fight to Cheeseman and demonstrate the excitement and power he brought to his previous domestic rivalry victory over Anthony Fowler earlier this year.
Fitzgerald rained down a floury of heavy shots in the 11th to drop ‘The Big Cheese’, firing off a crucial left hand to leave Cheeseman tumbling into the ropes. In the 12th, Scott went hell for leather as Ted continued to attempt to box off the back foot and it seemed to work as he made it to the final bell despite the ferocity of Fitzgerald’s pace.
But it wasn’t to be for ‘The Big Cheese’ as the final scorecards came back, slightly controversially it seemed to some, as, 116-113 (x2), 115-113 all to the unbeaten man, Scott Fitzgerald, leaving Cheeseman to jump out of the ring in disgust.
‘‘It wasn’t anything like how I wanted it but we’ve got it’’ Fitzy, now 14-0 (9KOs), said post-fight. ‘‘Next time you’ll see a better version.
I definitely won the last three/four rounds, but I definitely fell behind. It was a close fight…I’d like to be out again before the end of the year, let’s get the Brian Rose fight.’’
Eddie Hearn: Ruiz-Joshua 2 Can Change Boxing Forever
By: Sean Crose
Strangely enough, neither man was there. In a press conference to officially announce the highly anticipated rematch between former heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua, and the man who stunned the world by besting him, Andy Ruiz, promoter Eddie Hearn did his best to hype the impending bout. With neither Joshua or Ruiz present, however, it proved to be an off seeming affair. Ruiz-Joshua 2 is scheduled to go down on December 7th in Saudi Arabia, though word is making the rounds that Ruiz is unhappy with the arrangement. Still, Hearn spoke in detail about the Saudi Arabia location for the match.
“For us,” said Hearn, “we really wanted to go somewhere where they believed in the sport of boxing and they had a vision.” The promoter went on to praise Saudi Arabia as a qualified host country. “I was lucky enough to attend the World Boxing Super Series,” Hearn continued. “It was a fantastic event, not just for the logistical setup but because of the vibrancy of the crowd, the interest in the sport of boxing. And of course, recently they staged another fight with Amir Khan.”
Ruiz shocked not only the boxing world, but the entire sports world when he essentially beat up Joshua last June in Joshua’s American debut. The Madison Square Garden hosted bout was supposed to be Joshua’s introduction to the American public. Ruiz was essentially a last minute replacement opponent for Joshua after Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller had to drop out due to positive drug tests. In other words, not much was expected of the Mexican-American slugger. To claim Ruiz over-performed would be an overstatement. The heavyset challenger dropped Joshua numerous times before the bout was finally stopped in round seven.
Although he was stunned and thoroughly beaten, Joshua took the loss like a gentleman. The now 22-1 Englishman has also proven ready to redeem himself since the loss. With a rematch clause in place, it was essentially only a matter of where and when Joshua would face the now 33-1 Ruiz again. With a date and location set, Hearn was effusive Monday about the fight being scheduled in a unique location. Ever the salesman, the smooth promoter claimed that “this event can change boxing forever…You could be seeing a big change in the dynamics of the sport.” Hearn added that “with curiosity, the whole world will be watching this fight.”
While the fact that Ruiz-Joshua 2 is scheduled to go down in the middle east is now unarguably a major part of the story, it also brings with it a degree of controversy, something the media is already beginning to take note of. Saudi Arabia is widely seen as a nation ripe with human rights abuses, something that will no doubt continue to be noted as the countdown for the match begins. Whether the country’s reputation will keep fans from embracing Ruiz-Joshua 2 remains to be seen.
Tinoco Torches Gill, Wood Axes Doyle
By: Oliver McManus
Jordan Gill suffered a shock first defeat of his career last night in Nottingham, retiring after the eighth round in a contest that he never truly got into. Enrique Tinoco was the plucky Mexican to catch Gill unawares and did so in punishing style with unsympathetic salvos to the body of the Chatteris featherweight.
On paper this should have been a walk in the park for Gill given the manner in which he brushed aside Ryan Doyle and Emmanuel Dominguez: before the first round started it was more a question of ‘can he get another knockout?’, not ‘will he win?’. Tinoco was in altogether different mindset and, having initially weighed in 5oz over the limit, looked the far bigger man.
That disparity in size was made immediately obvious as Tinoco looked to be carrying that exrta heft behind his punches. There were no surprises as to the speed of this fight as both men looked to establish themselves from the off: neither fighting ceding centre ground. Gill was far more orthodox in leading with the jab whilst Tinoco made use of garish angles to find his man.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Issues arose when the challenger landed with regularity to Gill’s body; the home fighter visibly tensed with as the blows totted up. In the third round Tinoco set things up with a lovely punch to the liver before a quick flurry of punches, thrown with Tinoco marching forward, saw Gill hit the canvas.
From there on in the body was route one for his opposite number, exploiting his achilles heel, and Gill just could not live with them. Every time Tinoco shimmied towards the inside he found Gill an unmissable target – something wasn’t quite right about the 24 year old – and it was only matter of time before he fell once more. A right hook crashed home in the fifth and Gill was back on the seat of his pants.
This was not a one-sided affair such as Sergio Garcia vs Ted Cheeseman but Tinoco gaining in confidence with every passing round. Gill just didn’t look himself: we’ve seen Dave Coldwell’s prospect look far more assured than on Friday night. He did, in fairness, return in the seventh with a far more competent round as he scrambled for a foothold in a contest that was slipping through his fingers like sand in an hourglass.
Tijuana’s tactician respond in the only way he knew how with relentless pressure to assert his dominance. More body shots flooded Gill was immeasurable discomfort and, after being dropped in the eighth, Dave Coldwell opted to withdraw his charge. An understandable decision given the underwhelming nature of Gill’s performance: after the fight it emerged the former champion had suspected food poisoning but, whatever the reasoning, he just couldn’t find a rhythm.
A first for loss for Jordan Gill but in nowhere near as career-detrimental fashion as the likes of Ted Cheeseman; he’ll be back, he’s already proven his quality at this level, but he’ll have to take lessons from this fight if he is to push on.
The co-main event featured local sensation Leigh Wood finally getting the chance to put on big performance under the bright lights of his home city. The Commonwealth champion was defending his belt against, former holder, Ryan Doyle and this was, without a doubt, the stiffest challenge of his career since losing to Gavin McDonnell in 2014. A sixth round knockout, that reversal was the sole loss on Wood’s career whilst Doyle was looking to respond immediately from a seventh round TKO loss to Jordan Gill.
A contest that started cagily saw neither fighter willing to commit but Wood was showing more ringcraft as he settled on the backfoot, forcing to Doyle to try and close the distance – something he struggled to do. The defending champion looked to be at ease with the situation he found himself in whereas there was, perhaps, a sign of nerves from his challenger.
Wood found his feet early on and hit his stride after the tentative first round but gradually increased his application of pressure, tightening his grip on the contest. Confidence was never an issue for the local man who began to unfurl hook after hook to push his challenger up against the ropes and, when there, let his hands go with crisp accuracy and timing.
Doyle offered little to threaten his opponent and appeared to be a sitting duck, just waiting to drop from a sustained attack and the cork popped in the tenth round. Wood opened up the defence of his opponent through planted body shots before as clean a punch as you will ever see put the contest beyond all doubt. A ferocious counter left-hook twisted the head of Doyle, figuratively and literally, and that was that. Punch perfect from Ryan Doyle.
Big time boxing has been away from Nottingham for a little while but, if last night is anything to go by, it’ll be back very, very soon.
Wood vs. Doyle, Gill vs. Tinoco Fight Preview
By: Oliver McManus
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing bring boxing back to the much-forgotten city of Nottingham this Friday, the first Sky show there since the heydays of Carl Froch. Boxing never truly went away, though, with shows being promoted regularly on a small-hall level and talents such as Ekow Essuman and Nina Bradley forcing their way into the spotlight.
Jordan Gill gets the honour of headlining at the Nottingham Arena with a defence of his WBA International title. The featherweight, 23-0, is one of the last fighters sticking by the old adage “20 for learning, 20 for earning”, with a patient development stretching back to his debut in 2012. Turning professional on his 18th birthday, the featherweight was a popular product on Sheffield and Peterborough shows, continually putting in mature performances to pick off rounds, and contests, with ease.
Not many had him down as someone with a big punch but, actually, as he’s got into the habit of making championship weight he’s begun to showcase his menace. Holding his punches well, the featherweight is on an impressive run of three straight knockouts (seven, in all) and has done so on each occasion through a simply ferocious body of punches. It’s that spite and aggression that, perhaps, you wouldn’t have seen at the beginning of his career.
His opponent, Enrique Tinoco, has been inactive since a six round victory in March, last year. His career has been blotted with various red and blue dots on Boxrec – five losses and four draws – without any real wins of note. In 2017 the Mexican was in the away corner for Devin Haney’s 17th contest and lost all eight rounds, comfortably so. Knocked out in 2014 by Miguel Roman, Tinoco kissed the canvas thrice in third round.
Easy on the eye and a joy to watch, it’s great to see Gill getting the backing from Matchroom and topping these NXT GEN cards. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes too big for these type of shows, however.
Local fighter Leigh Wood, from Gedling, will feature in the co-main event as he looks to defend his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Ryan Doyle. Wood won the belt, vacated by Gill, on March 2nd with a second round knockout against, over-matched, Abraham Osei Bonsu. He’s been knocking on the doors of a title for the last twelve, eighteen months having been made mandatory to the British at one point.
Similarly to Gill, Wood hasn’t rushed anything in his career and is now reaping the benefits. A sole loss to Gavin McDonnell is certainly no disgrace and the 31 year old has subsequently notched up wins against Josh Wale and Lee Glover to prove he’s beyond a domestic level. Naturally more of a heavy hitter than, his divisional counterpart, Gill has dropped his opponents on fourteen occasions and always seems to keep an extra something for these big fights.
Doyle, meanwhile, is coming off a loss to Gill – it all seems to tie together nicely – having formerly held this very Commonwealth title. Brought in as an away opponent for Reece Bellotti in June 2018, the Lancashire fighter was having none of it and duly set about dispatching Bellotti within five rounds and ending any hype or hope surrounding his opponent. The former champion, though, has done just as much of the groundwork as his adversary and has always leapt at opportunities – against Isaac Lowe, James Tennyson, Bellotti, Gill. We know, to an extent, what we’re getting from the 27 year old and that is, very simply, a proper boxer who leaves everything in the ring.
History shows, as well, he’s got a knack for revenge. Having suffered a last gasp knockout reversal to Ian Bailey, they met again and Doyle boxed his ears off for 10 rounds. Don’t bet against him doing the exact same and regaining his Commonwealth title. Now this is a pick’em.
On the undercard there are two fights that stand out, perhaps for obvious reasons, in Terri Harper vs Claudia Lopez and Fabio Wardley vs Dennis Lewandowski.
Harper was involved in an all British “super fight” against Nina Bradley earlier in the year – what should have been a watershed moment for women’s boxing in the country – and is leading the charge despite being just 22 years of age. She’ll look to defend her WBC International title but, my word, does she have a sensational future ahead of her.
Wardley is one of those heavyweights going under the radar and, for a guy announced in fight wek, his opponent is no slouch. Having been in with Tom Schwarz and Cyril Leonet, albeit losing both, Lewandowski knows his way around the ring but Wardley should have enough to see him off inside the distance.
Don’t go far because boxing is back in Nottingham and, if they’ve any sense, it won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Canelo vs. Jacobs, Ortiz vs. Herrera Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions will match their best welterweights against each other to unify the WBC, WBA, and IBF Middleweight Titles.
This bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The co-main event of the night will be between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Mauricio Herrera in the welterweight division. Other undercard fights will feature boxers such as Pablo Cesar Cano, Michael Perez, Joseph Diaz Jr., Sadam Ali, Lamont Roach, and Jonathan Oquendo.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0) vs. Mauricio Herrera (24-8); Welterweight Division
Vergil Ortiz is a young up and coming prospect that has twelve wins on his record, as well as twelve stoppage victories. He’s only twenty one years old, and will be facing someone that is seventeen years his elder who only has seven stoppage victories.
Ortiz will have about a two and half inch height advantage over Herrera, but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Ortiz has been very active and fought once in 2019, three times in 2018, and five times in 2017. Herrera has not been as active. He fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Ortiz also has a significant edge in amateur experience. He’s a former National Silver and Golden Gloves Champion, while Herrera has no notable amateur achievements.
Ortiz hasn’t faced any top level competition yet, but has defeated the likes of Jesus A. Valdez Barrayan, Roberto Ortiz, Juan Carlos Salgado, and Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez.
Herrera has lost three of his past five fights. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Soto karass, Hector Velazquez, Henry Lundy, Johan Perez, Ji Hoon Kim, and Mike Dallas Jr. His eight losses, many of them recently, were to Sadam Ali, Pablo Cesar Cano, Frankie Gomez, Jose Benavidez Jr., Danny Garcia, Karim Mayfield, Mike Alvarado, and Mike Anchondo.
Herrera is a good test for Ortiz in that he has eight losses but was never stopped, while Ortiz has yet to go to the judge’s scorecards. If Ortiz is able to stop Herrera you’ll know his power is for real, but Herrera doesn’t appear to be a real threat to give Ortiz his first loss.
Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2) vs. Daniel Jacobs (35-2); WBC/WBA/IBF Middleweight Titles
Canelo Alvarez is only twenty eight years old, but already has fifty four fights to his resume and has been a champion in the light middleweight, middleweight, and super middleweight divisions.
His opponent, Daniel Jacobs, is thirty two years old and considered by many to be the best opponent that Canelo could face in the middleweight division.
Jacobs will have about a three and a half inch height advantage and about a two and a half inch reach advantage over Canelo. Canelo has the edge in youth, but both boxers are still in their athletic prime.
Canelo and Jacobs both fought twice in 2017 and 2018, which is pretty standard for most champions and top contenders in boxing. Both boxers have pretty decent power, with Canelo stopping thirty five of his opponents and Jacobs stopping twenty nine. However, Canelo only has two stoppage victories in his past five fights and Jacobs only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Canelo turned professional at the age of fifteen so he doesn’t have the amateur accomplishments of Jacobs, but he was a former Junior Mexican National Championship Gold Medalist. Jacobs had a successful career in the amateur circuit in the United States. He’s a former Junior Olympics National Champion and a former Golden Gloves National Champion.
Canelo’s only loss in his career was to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has beaten the likes of Rocky Fielding, Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, and Alfonso Gomez.
Jacobs losses were to Gennady Golvokin in a close decision and a stunning upset knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog. He has defeated the likes of Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Maciej Sulecki, Luis Arias, Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax, Jarrod Fletcher.
This should be a close and intriguing fight. Canelo, rightly, is the betting favorite and he has the more impressive list of victories. However, Jacobs does have a rather significant height and reach advantage on Canelo and he has spent most of his career fighting in the middleweight division. If Jacobs can stay on the outside and use his reach and footwork to his advantage he can pull out the victory.
But the judges have been kind to Canelo in the scorecards before, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the same thing happens on Saturday.
Judging Concerns Hang Over Canelo-Jacobs Fight Week
By: Sean Crose
There is no doubt that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the biggest star in boxing. Even Anthony Joshua, enormously popular as he is in the Europe, has yet to attain the North American appeal that the red haired Mexican star has. Canelo’s popularity among Las Vegas judges, however, has caused many to raise eyebrows. After judge CJ Ross decided to go against her peers and score 2013’s Canelo-Floyd Mayweather battle for the then up and coming Canelo, the now pound for pound talent has stood accused of receiving favorable treatment.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
For CJ Ross wasn’t the only Vegas judge to rule questionably in Canelo’s favor. Cuban slickster Erislandy Lara was denied a victory over Canelo in Vegas after a razor thin twelve round bout. And then came Gennady Golovkin. The highly touted Canelo-GGG fight of 2017 ended in an outrageously controversial draw. Needless to say, most observes felt Canelo should have lost the fight on the scorecards. A 2018 rematch saw Canelo win a decision in a bout that, once again, many felt Golovkin had done enough to win.
Hence the fear that Daniel Jacobs, the 35-2 IBF middleweight champ, will have to knock the 51-1-2 Canelo out if he hopes to win their fight this Saturday night in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Should the highly anticipated Canelo-Jacobs bout go the full scheduled 12 rounds this weekend, some fret Canelo will add Jacob’s title to his own WBA and WBC titles – whether he deserves to or not. This can be problematic, as Canelo is one of the highest paid athletes on earth. Should the public embrace the opinion that Canelo always wins, both Canelo’s and contemporary boxing’s reputations could take a real hit.
However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Executive Director, Bob Bennett, has argued furiously that no corruption is to be found in his jurisdiction. Bringing up his own past, Bennett is quoted by Yahoo’s Kevin Iole as saying: “I indicted a boxing case for a fixed fight, and I traveled all over the country to interview fighters who took a dive to get money under the table and it was proven in a court of law.” Bennett went on to add that “fighters want to come here and fight because they know we will go above and beyond to do that. Any suggestion otherwise is bull s—t.”
Although the Commission’s honesty may be unimpeachable, it’s competence might remain a concern. For intensely controversial judge Adelaide Byrd was named as a potential official for the Canelo-Jacobs bout by the Commission in the lead up to this weekend’s fight.
Canelo vs. Jacobs: A Fight to Unify
By: Oliver McManus
Canelo Alvarez will look to add the IBF world title to his, already, unified collection from the WBA and WBC when he takes on Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas, this Saturday. Jacobs brings that third strap to the table having won the vacant title in October, courtesy of a split-decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Likewise with Crawford-Khan, this isn’t a preview or a breakdown but just some thoughts.
The 32 year old from Brownsville, New York, has been blowing hot and cold over the last two years with that Derevyanchenko fight being closer than necessary but, before that, registering a comfortable win over Maciej Sulecki. Alvarez, meanwhile, is looking to shake off any remaining critics with another emphatic victory – he’ll hope to replicate his three round breakdown of, an overmatched, Rocky Fielding.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The fight itself is an interesting one with Alvarez understandably the betting favourite but Jacobs is far from mismatched. Fielding was dealt with in merciless fashion and looked to be out of his depth from the first punch – but that wasn’t unexpected and certainly not a slur on the Merseyside man. Jacobs, conversely, comes into this fight with a proven track record at world level. More frighteningly, he backs that up with the consistency of finding finishes on the big stage. Against Caleb Truax he looked, for all the world, to be cruising towards victory but still opted to push forward and secure a knockout with less than a minute to go; Peter Quillin was dealt with in less than a round and; Sergio Mora found himself hitting the canvas on seven occasions in a little over 25 minutes.
Canelo, aside, the Miracle Man was responsible for the providing the sternest challenge to Gennady Golovkin. In March 2017 he piled the pressure on the Kazakh, former, kingpin and but for a fourth round knockdown would have been on course to rip the unified belts away from their long-time holder. Now I enjoy watching Jacobs box for he’s rarely boring but I often forget he’s been a world champion, on and off, since 2014.
Now that is an issue because it doesn’t pay to be a forgotten world champion and, arguably, Jacobs is as best known for his loss against Golovkin as he is any of his world title wins – despite their abrupt finishes. I like the fact he jumped at the chance to fight Golovkin and is doing so against Canelo but it all feels at the wrong time. Momentum is a big thing in boxing and we saw that play a part, certainly I feel, in his contest with Triple G. Coming off the back of five top-drawer performances there was an aura around him but he approaches this Canelo contest with one average performance in his bag, I’d have liked to see him have a couple defences, loosen up and then go for the jugular.
All that being said I don’t imagine it would have made much difference, such is the irreproachable form of Alvarez in recent fights. The Mexican learned from that first contest with GGG and actively changed his game-plan for the second bout to give him a righteous win. Throughout his career we have seen the effortless power that he possesses with a particular menace for shots to the body. In doing so he doesn’t just beat his opponents through outright brutality but systematically breaks their resistance, mentally and physically, punch by punch.
Make what you will of the whole Clenbuterol case but that seems to be fading into the background, for now at least. I find it more remarkable, although probably not surprising, just how far in the pocket of Canelo the WBC are. I can’t remember a time where the president of a governing body has seemingly been toing the line of a fighter and not vice versa. Of course there are allegiances between fighters, promoters and governing bodies but it all seems rather weird in the context of Canelo and Mauricio Sulaiman. Like that “uncle” in the family who no-one is related to.
The 28 year old continues to push for his position at the top of the pound-for-pound list and it is hard to argue with him sitting pretty as number one. Of course a name like Lomachenko is a worthy challenger but when you consider the fact Alvarez turned professional at the age of 15 – without all that stellar amateur pedigree – and has remained, pretty much, at the top of the sport since 2011 then that’s where Canelo starts to edge ahead. For me, anyway.
An, expected, win against Daniel Jacobs would see Alvarez unify belts for the third time in his career. With Jaime Munguia seemingly set on moving up to middleweight, let’s get that Mexican feast on for September and do it in Mexico – do it at the Estadio Jalisco – and create one of the most insane fight experiences in recent memory. I’m allowed to look past Jacobs, though, I’m not fighting him but, for now, the task ahead is on May 4th.
Will the Miracle Man be left needing one or can he turn Saul’s celebrations sour? Tune in exclusively on DAZN to find out and catch the full fight card featuring John Ryder vs Bilal Akkawy as chief support.
Ruiz Lands Dream World Title Shot Against Joshua
Andy Ruiz Jr. has landed a dream World title shot at Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua OBE on Saturday June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Ruiz (32-1 21 KOs) can become the first ever Mexican Heavyweight World champion when he meets AJ at the vaunted Manhattan boxing mecca and comes into the bout in fine form. The 29 year old recorded his 21st KO win on his 32 fight ledger when he forced the retirement of Alexander Dimitrenko after five rounds of their clash in Carson, California ten days ago.
The Californian-based Mexican is in his second World title tilt having pushed Joseph Parker to the limit for the WBO crown in the Kiwi’s Auckland hometown in December 2016, being edged out by the finest of margins via majority decision.
Joshua (22-0 21 KOs) defends his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO crowns for the second time, as his eighth World title fight lands on his hotly-anticipated American debut after KOing Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, London in September. That was the second dramatic KO win for the Londoner in the national stadium of his hometown, with today’s announcement coming two years and one day after his epic victory over former undisputed World ruler Wladimir Klitschko.
Ruiz has a golden opportunity to stop Joshua’s own quest to become the undisputed king dead in it’s tracks, and the challenger believes it is his destiny to stun Joshua and become Heavyweight World champion in the Big Apple.
“The chills – I’m really excited for this fight,” said Ruiz. “There’s nervousness in me, but they’re happy nerves. This is my chance to make history, I want to be one of those greats like Chavez, Tyson, Holyfield, Lennox Lewis. I want to be in that category. Thanks to God for everything that he put in me, I just can’t wait.
“I think the fight is going toe-to-toe, two guys smashing each other’s faces. I’m going in there to throw combinations like I’ve never done before, to improve my speed. A lot of people underestimated me, and I’m used to that. My whole life people underrated me so I’m just going in there to take all. I’m not going in there scared and I’m not going in there nervous, I’m going to go in there mad and to take what’s mine.
“I think being so tall he fights like a big robot. I think with my style, my speed, my movement, I don’t think he’s fought anybody like me. It’s going to be a whole different ball game. All the guys that he’s fought, they usually run around from him. I don’t think he’s good going back. I’m going to bring the pressure, the speed, and the combinations to him.
“When I do pull out this win, everything is going to change. I’m going to bring the titles back to Mexico, it’s going to mean everything. I’m going to be able to change my whole family’s lives; my life and all my kids. It’s a win-win situation right now, but the main thing is to win the fight and make history.”
“Ruiz is a different kind of challenge but one I embrace,” said Joshua. “We have worked in the boxing gym week on week and whomever is put in front of me at Madison Square Garden on June 1 will be dispatched in style. The rent will be collected.”
“After a tricky week I am delighted to announce Andy Ruiz Jr. as AJ’s opponent for his US debut at MSG on June 1,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “People talk about fighting AJ, some even have to fill their bodies with PEDs to try and beat him up, but very few genuine fighters step up and take the challenge.
“When we selected the opponent, I wanted someone with fire in their heart, someone who genuinely believed that they can win and become World Heavyweight champion. Andy showed that desire.
“In my opinion, this is a tougher test than Jarrell Miller. Andy punches harder and is much faster – this is going to be a war. Andy brings Mexican heart but he will meet the best Heavyweight in the world on June head on at the Garden. Do not blink!”
“Credit to Andy Ruiz Jr. for taking on this challenge. He said he wanted to fight for the World Heavyweight championship in 2019 and immediately backed up his words when given the opportunity,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN Executive Vice President, North America.
“We’re also very happy to be working with a true champion like AJ, who told us he would fight anyone put in front of him – even on short notice. Clearly, he is a man of character who is committed to his craft, as well as his partners and the legions of fans traveling in from the UK to watch his US debut.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Andy Ruiz Jr. has snatched the golden ticket for a clash with Britain’s unified champion Anthony Joshua and he’ll bring fast hands, World Heavyweight championship experience – and a more proven pedigree than Jarrell Miller.
“When I saw Anthony in camp last week his message was clear, ‘Line them all up!’ He really wants to dominate the division and Ruiz Jr is the first man in his way.
“It will be an absolutely thrilling night on Sky Sports Box Office as AJ makes his US debut in the iconic Madison Square Garden – and the incredible Katie Taylor bids to become the undisputed world Lightweight champion!”
Joshua and Ruiz clash on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden with Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)
Smith Stops Eggington; Fitzgerald Decisions Fowler
By: Ste Rowen
In his first fight in Liverpool for almost three years, former WBO junior-middleweight champion, Liam Smith made easy work of Sam Eggington, stopping the former European welterweight champion in five rounds to claim the WBC ‘Silver’ belt and hopefully send a message to the rest of the 154lb division.
‘Beefy’ Smith took the front foot immediately and dominated the early rounds, sticking Eggington in reverse and a small cut that that opened up on Sam’s right eye was the early signal of Smith’s dominance. There was nothing fancy in Liam’s display but the speed of which he threw his punches and the power that went into them were clearly far too much for Eggington to keep the bout competitive. ‘The Savage’ seems to know no other way of fighting, whether on top or in adversity, Eggington wants to swing, wants to fight, but Smith was too much.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
It proved as in round five, with his opponent stuck in the corner, Smith landed power shot after power shot without reply until the referee decided enough was enough and ended the main event.
‘‘Shot wise I was good, accuracy wise I was sloppy at times, my footwork.’’ Smith, now 27-2-1 (15KOs) said post-fight. ‘‘I didn’t really have respect for Sam’s power, I put it down to that.
I had the worst camp ever, niggly injuries…Give me two fights, then give me anyone at the end of the year.’’
Having held a world title at 154lb and, losing out to Mexican Jaime Munguia for his old belt last year, the target for Liam Smith must be for another shot at the championship belts before the end of 2019.
Anthony Fowler vs. Scott Fitzgerald
A domestic dustup that promised much and certainly delivered saw Scott Fitzgerald drop Anthony Fowler en route to a split decision victory in a fantastic 10-round bout.
It slowly but surely turned into the biggest fight of the card, even overshadowing tonight’s main event, but when junior-middleweight and domestic rivals, Fowler and Fitzgerald entered the ring, the atmosphere in Liverpool was palpable.
It was an intriguing battle for the middle of the ring in the early rounds, with both fighters mirroring the other for punches thrown, although Fowler’s variety of shots seemed more likely to appeal to the judges. But Fowler, 9-0 (8KOs) heading into tonight, suffered through the middle rounds, appearing to tire as Scott began to get more efficient with his punches. Anthony unleashed a barrage of punches in the 9th that clearly affected Fitzgerald as Scott threw very little for the rest of the round.
As volume from the crowd increased, as did Fowler’s attack. The scouser began to have his hands low and felt more comfortable throwing but it wasn’t enough to get his opponent out in that particular round. With just over a minute to go of the 10th and final round, Fitzgerald unleashed a power shot selection that dropped Fowler, and as we were to find out, the 10-8 round was crucial. The final scorecards were,96-94 for Fowler and 95-94 (x2) for Fitzgerald.
Now 13-0 (9KOs) Scott spoke post-fight,
‘‘He’s a tough, big, strong man who just doesn’t stop coming forward… I could hit him with a bat he’d still keep going.
The fight with Ted (Cheeseman) can be made and after that, the rematch.’’
Fowler was magnanimous in defeat,
‘‘I went down, I wasn’t hurt but, fair play I don’t know how he was still standing in the 9th. I don’t like the kid, but he was the better man tonight.’’
David Price vs. Kash Ali
A heavyweight clash to warmup the crowd saw a truly bizarre conclusion as in the 5th round of David Price vs. Kash Ali, the two men toppled over together, and it appeared that Kash Ali bit David whilst they were on the canvas. The Liverpudlian, Price landed a heavy right hook which shook Ali, who entered the fight unbeaten as a pro, and forced him to go for the clinch which resulted in a full-blown tackle, and while Ali lay on top of Price, Kash bit David and hard enough to leave a mark on Price’s body. The official result was confirmed as victory for David Price via disqualification.
Price, now 24-6, spoke immediately after,
‘‘It’s a disappointing way to win. He was in the fight and lost his head, but I hurt him to the body…I don’t wanna share the ring with an animal like that again.
I’ve got the win and we move on. The winner of Lucas Browne and Dave Allen is a fight I’m definitely interested in.’’
Joe Hughes vs. Robbie Davies Jr
One of two super-lightweight title fights on tonight’s Liverpool card saw Joe Hughes and Robbie Davies Jr go hell-for-leather for the EBU European and British belts and in what turned into a close shoot-out over twelve rounds, Davies Jr emerged the winner, with the mixed final scorecards coming back as, 118-110 115-113 115-114 all for Davies.
Robbie, now moves to 18-1 (12KOs) and, with a swollen right eye, spoke post-fight,
‘‘Just grinded it out like you wouldn’t believe. He was like a pitbull…When you have the British and the European, people take notice.
I’m just hoping to push on for a world title now. I honestly don’t believe anyone can beat me domestically.’’
Fighting for the Commonwealth super-lightweight belt, southpaw Philip Bowes improved to 20-3 (3KOs) and defended the rainbow belt for the first time since taking ownership of the title in February with a unanimous decision victory over home fighter, Tom Farrell. Final scorecards were returned as, 118-110 118-111 117-112 all for Philip but it was a lively back-and-forth, if scrappy at times, but the more composed, and measured in his punches-fighter in ‘Quicksilver’ Bowes, saw him get the nod from the judges.
Craig Glover suffered a surprise knockout defeat at the hands of the now, 14-7 Vaclav Pejsar of the Czech Republic. Glover, who impressed in his last outing with a stoppage victory over Simon Vallily, hit the canvas twice en route to a second-round stoppage loss, shifting his pro record now to 9-2 (8KOs).
Returning to the ring for the first time since her surprise first pro-defeat, Natasha Jonas, scored a 60-54 decision victory over 7-2, Feriche Mashauri. Jonas said she’s aiming for the rematch with Viviane Obenauf next.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Edwards vs. Moreno
By: Ste Rowen
An early Christmas present and a dream realised. On the 22nd December last year, and in his second attempt in just fifteen fights, Charlie Edwards, in dominant fashion, defeated Cristofer Rosales to claim the WBC flyweight world championship. It came just over two years since his last world title attempt where he was stopped by John Riel Casimero in ten rounds.
But last December, Edwards was the man on the front foot, prepared to pressure and to take a punch to land two. Almost a coming of age fight for the 26-year-old, that proved he belonged with the elite at 112lb. Edwards has called out the current IBF super-flyweight champion and fellow Brit, Kal Yafai but Charlie’s first defence, this weekend at London’s Copper Box Arena, comes against Spaniard and Sergio Martinez managed fighter, Angel Moreno.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
At a press-conference, Edwards, 14-1 (6KOs) reflected on his world title win and his first defence,
‘‘When the going was getting tough and it didn’t look like it was coming off I had to believe and I had to keep pushing…I’d come in to the gym with Grant (Smith, Trainer) and I was in tears cos nothing was coming off.
I want to be a British great and to be a British great I want to be a multi-weight world champion.
Not only am I headlining my own show, but I’ve got some former Team GB teammates on the show.
Angel Moreno is a great fighter. I think we’ve shared 24-rounds together but it’s gonna heat up really nicely on the night.’’
On paper the signs don’t look good for Moreno, 19-2-2 (6KOs). When the Spaniard has fought outside of his home country (once in France and Ukraine respectively), Angel has come unstuck. A 12-round defeat to Thomas Masson of France, but more significantly a unanimous decision defeat to current WBA flyweight champion, Artem Dalakian, back in 2015 when the Ukrainian was 10-0.
Almost four years on from the Dalakian defeat, Moreno has only fought a scheduled 12-round bout once, his defeat to Masson in 2016. The furthest Angel has gone – and won – is ten rounds vs. gatekeeper, Jose Rivas in the backend of 2017.
However, Moreno will be hoping to follow fellow Spaniard, Sergio Garcia (against Ted Cheeseman), in upsetting the Brit, on foreign soil,
‘‘Charlie is a great boxer, but anything can happen on the night…I don’t think Sergio’s win was any surprise. I will certainly look to take inspiration from that.’’
Also on Saturday night’s card at the Copper Box is light-heavyweight rising star, Joshua Buatsi who looks to improve to 10-0 whilst also winning the vacant British 175lb strap vs. Liam Conroy.
Buatsi, 9-0 (7KOs) was last seen in the ring making lightwork of former super-middleweight IBO champion, Renold Quinlan – knocking him out in the 1st round. In fact, Josh has stopped his last three opponents in the 1st round and now, with the British belt vacant, the timing seems perfect for the much-hyped Buatsi to take his first significant belt as a pro,
‘‘The title is part of the journey I’m taking. So Conroy is the man that’s been put forward and March 23rd, it’s gonna happen…I’ve been getting the sparring that’s been more than ten rounds. As the rounds go on I get better, stronger, fitter. I’ll be there from 1-12 so whatever number it is, I’ll take it.
Don’t be surprised if it’s the 1st.’’
Conroy, 16-3-1 (8KOs), has been waiting a while for a shot at the Lonsdale belt. The 26-year-old is on a 9-fight win streak, stretching back to late 2015. His five straight stoppage victories also make Conroy more than a live dog against the Olympic silver medallist. He seemed in confident mood when he spoke to the media,
‘‘It’s been a long time coming. I won my British title eliminator in 2017 and I’ve been working relentlessly…It’s not about the opponent, it’s about the title. No matter who it was, I would’ve took it.’’
Fighting in an intriguing British-Commonwealth cruiserweight unification, British (and former Commonwealth champ, Lawrence Okolie takes on current Commonwealth titlist, Wadi Camacho in a scheduled 12-rounds.
Okolie, 11-0 (8KOs) has been understandably criticised for past bouts, especially against former British champion, Matty Askin where, despite his proven punching power, Lawrence took a very hug-filled approach to fighting to see him through the full twelve rounds. But if any British cruiserweight can force the action out of Okolie, it must surely be Camacho.
And the two men have a shared opponent in Isaac Chamberlain who Okolie dropped twice and decisioned over twelve and Wadi was beaten over ten.
Camacho, 21-7 (12KOs), claimed the Commonwealth with a Technical Decision over Arfan Iqbal and combined with hooking up with a new team, is confident of defeating the odds-on favourite,
‘‘I’ve been reborn since my last two fights and whoever was there watching it, what you saw was just a little glimpse…Everyone knows I’m an entertaining fighter. I’ve never been in a dull fight and I’ll give it my all.’’
Lawrence fought just last month, dropping Tamas Lodi four times en route to a 3rd round TKO, and after, at times, looking a little confused on how he wants to fight as a pro, Okolie is keen on another short night on Saturday,
‘‘I see Wadi on social media calling me names but when he comes up here he’s very quiet and respectful so hopefully he can bring that same energy from social media to the fight…When I stop and think, I was working at McDonalds and yet somehow I’ve become an Olympian, somehow I’ve won the British title, somehow I’ve won the Commonwealth title, somehow I’m gonna knock out Wadi Camacho on Saturday.’’
Hooker Re-Ups With Matchroom And Roc Nation
By: Sean Crose
“I want the WBC title,” says WBO superlightweight champion Maurice “Mo” Hooker, who has has recently decided to extend his contract (which is co-promotional) with Matchroom Boxing and Roc Nation Sports. “Everyone come to DAZN! Anybody – come to DAZN. Jack Catterall came all the way over here to America to watch me fight. Just wait young grasshopper, you will get your turn.”
Hooker openly admits he is not pleased with his most recent performance, which was against Mikkel Les Pierre at the Turning Stone Casino on March 9th. Although Hooker won by unanimous decision, the fighter clearly felt he could have done better work in the ring. “I give myself a C- in my performance,” he says. “I wasn’t good but I had to push. Look, you live and you learn. If you judge me from this fight, you better not get in the ring thinking the same thing because I am coming for you.”
“Making weight was my fault,” he continues, referring to the trouble he had getting on point for the Les Pierrie battle. “I was in the room messing around. That was my fault. I’m learning as I go. I’m not done yet at Super-Lightweight, I want the massive fights.”
Although Hooker might be engaging in a fair bit of self-criticism at the moment, Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn is still clearly pleased to still have the superlightweight in his stable. “I’m delighted to extend our agreement with Maurice and Roc Nation Sports,” he claims. “Maurice will return this summer, most likely in Dallas, giving him three World title defenses in just seven months.” Hearn’s fighters are beginning to stand out from others in the fight world due to their high rate of activity. The promoter states that Hooker will be no exception.
“We like to keep our world champions nice and busy and we want to push for unification match ups in 2019,” he says. “I believe Maurice is the best 140lber in the world right now and we look forward to helping him prove it on DAZN.” Indeed, being a part of Matchroom means Hooker will be showcasing his talents on DAZN, the streaming service which has lately gobbled up some of the top fighters in the business, such as Canelo Alvarez, and Gennady Golovkin.
“We’re excited to announce that we’ve been able to extend our co-promotional deal of Maurice Hooker with Matchroom Boxing USA,” claims Dino Duva of Roc Nation. “It’s a great partnership and we look forward to working with them not only with Maurice but on other fighters moving forward. Maurice is on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars on DAZN and this deal completely solidifies that.”
Austin “Ammo” Williams Signs With Matchroom
By: Sean Crose
“My goal is to be the greatest, most influential fighter of all time!”
So says Houston’s Austin “Ammo” Williams, who – it’s been announced today, via press release – has signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing. “Eddie Hearn noticed my talent,” the fighter says, “and provided me the platform needed to make this a reality – for that I am forever thankful and I cannot wait to strut my stuff live on DAZN.”
“Former Team USA member and #1 ranked 165lber Williams is the latest amateur talent to pen promotional terms with promoter Eddie Hearn,” Matchroom claims, via press release, “and the 22 year old Houston talent brings a formidable body of work into the paid ranks.” Williams, has twice been a USA Boxing Western Regional Champion, as well as a two time Houston Golden Gloves Champion. He was also named Gulf Association’s Most Outstanding Boxer in 2017. Such an amateur resume has made the fighter a hot commodity as he prepares to enter the pro ranks.
“I’m delighted,” says Hearn, “to welcome Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams to the Matchroom Boxing USA team. Ammo is one of the most exciting young amateur fighters I have seen and in just 47 amateur fights has established himself at #1 in his weight class.” Williams is said to compete at middleweight with the possibility of moving up to super middleweight. At the moment, the DAZN streaming service airs the fights of Canelo Alvarez, Demetrius Andrade, Daniel Jacobs, and (possibly) Gennady Golovkin.
“He is a huge puncher and has all the attributes to be a star in the sport,” says Hearn. “We look forward to keeping him nice and busy why he learns his trade all around the world…we are assembling the strongest young team of fighters in America and I’m excited to watch them all grow live on DAZN at home and in the UK on Sky Sports.”
William’s management team is also happy with the signing. “Austin Williams possesses all the qualities you want in a fighter,” Churchill Management’s Sam Katkovski says. “Beyond his viciousness in the ring, he will amaze fans with his personality and quickly become must see tv. We at Churchill are excited to partner with Matchroom Boxing USA to begin his career journey.” Williams, according to Matchroom, will “join (the) paid ranks in April.” No opponent or overall schedule has been named in the Matchroom press release.