Showtimes’ Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
By: Sean Crose
Liam Walsh, 21-0, took a crack at the IBF junior lightweight title when he took on American champ Gervanta Davis, 17-0, in a sold out Copper Box arena in London.
Smith showed some nice range in the first, then refused to sit down in his corner. Davis, however, remained patient throughout the second, exuding terrific confidence in the process. It may have been a somewhat even round in the eyes of viewers and judges, but Davis acted as if he was completely in control. Perhaps he knew what would happen, for in the third he put his man down after several seconds of firing heavy shots. The Englishman got up, but that was polished off a few sharp punches later, when referee Michael Alexander wisely stopped the bout.
Showtime, which broadcast the bout, then went across the Atlantic to showcase a card live from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. First up was Rances Barthelemy, the 25-0 junior welterweight from Vegas by way of Cuba. Barthelemy’s opponent was 21-1 Belarus native Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy was well regarded walking into the fight, but Relikh had his man in trouble after dropping Barthelemy in round five. To add to the suspense, Barthelemy dropped Relikh three rounds later. It was an interesting, competitive bout and there was much unhappiness when Barthlemy ended up winning by UD via some very wide scores.
The controversy was followed up by super middleweight Andre Dirrell, 25-2 facing Jose Uzcategui, 26-1, for the chance to face multi-titlist James DeGale (for Dirrell, that fight would be a rematch). The first round wasn’t overly eventful, but Dirrell was jostled by Uzcategui in the second. Indeed, it looked like the man might go down. Dirrell, however, was able to survive the round. What’s more, he was able to work effectively at points, but Uzcategui remained aggressive.
Dirrell came back in the third by employing a very impressive jab and slick defense. By the fourth, Dirrell was in fine form, jabbing and keeping away from his foe proficiently. And Dirrell continued to keep Uzcategui from taking complete control throughout the middle of the fight. Then, at the end of the 8th, Dirrell was hammered after the bell. Referee Bill Clancy subsequently disqualified Uzcategui. Afterward, a rumble erupted and at least one member of Dirrell’s team took shots at Uzcategui.
Word came out that Maryland police were looking for Dirrell’s uncle while essentially keeping Uzcategui in protective custody. It was also reported that Dirrell’s brother may have become violent with a commission member. An ugly scene all around.
It was time for the main event. Featherweight Gary Russell, 27-1, looked to hop back into the public consciousness by looking impressive against 25-2 Oscar Escandon. It was Russell’s second defense of his WBC world title and he had the comfort of fighting within his home state of Maryland. Columbia’s Escandon, however, was planning to make the most of this opportunity. Russell, one of the sports’ more impressive slicksters, may have told the tale in the first round, but Escandon was able to get in his shots.
Both men traded shots effectively in the second, making it a fast paced, close quarters round. Russell, however, was able to drop his man in the third. Escandon got to his feet, but Russell was finding his mark and landing with noticeable power. By the end of the round, Russell was landing hard and often enough to make one wonder if the man would run out of gas should Escandon refuse to be stopped. Russell never had to worry about it. For he stopped Escandon in round seven after what was an exciting, high octane bout. Escandon was a true warrior, but referee Harvey Dock had seen enough of Russell’s power shots landing clean.
To his credit, Russell apologized for the wild antics of the evening – even though they had nothing to him. Boxing could use more of that kind of class.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Lomachenko Dazzles, Usyk and Gvozdyk Victorious
By: William Holmes
The Theater at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland was the host site for tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing card featuring three Ukrainians in the televised portion of the card.
This fight was sold out with an announced attendance of 2,828.
The venue is a new one for boxing and there doesn’t look like there’s a single bad seat in the house and the casino, which opened in December, looked exquisite.
The undercard featured several young victorious high level prospects such as Michael Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The opening bout of the HBO televised card was between 2012 US Olympian Mike Hunter (12-0) and 2012 Ukrainian Olympic Gold Medalist Aleksandr Usyk (11-0) for the WBO Cruiserweight Championship.
Usyk, as the other Ukrainian boxers, had a very large and vocal contingent in attendance.
Hunter took the center of the ring and Usyk jabbed from the outside in the opening round. Usyk’s first big punches of the night were some straight left hands in the first round, but Hunter’s jabs kept it close and it could have been scored for either boxer.
Hunter had a good second round and was the more active of the two boxers, but Usyk was taking the punches of Hunter well. Usyk pressed forward in the third round and he had the head of Hunter snapping backwards with a lot of his punches that landed in the fourth.
The fifth and sixth rounds were clear rounds for Usyk as he appeared to be wearing Hunter down and landed several hard, clean, combinations that get the crowd to its feet and whistling.
Usyk connected at a high percentage in the seventh round and had Hunter back pedaling. Usyk landed some heavy blows in the eighth round and looked like he was close to sending Hunter to the mat.
Hunter tried to go punch for punch with Usyk several times in the ninth and tenth rounds, but he didn’t have the power nor the accuracy of the Ukrainian boxer.
Hunter was fighting well, but likely needed a knockout in the final two rounds to pull out the victory, but he didn’t fight like he needed a stoppage and seemed content with throwing his jab while never really going for the knockout blow.
Instead it was Usyk who had Hunter staggered and wobbly by the ropes in the final round as he went for the stoppage. Usyk was able to score a knockdown in the final round and he followed it up with a furious rally in an attempt to stop the bout. Hunter somehow stayed on his feet and threw just enough punches to keep the referee from stopping the bout.
Aleksandr Usyk wins the decision with scores of 117-110 on all three scorecards.
The next bout of the night was between Yuniesky Gonzalez (18-2) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Gvozdyk and Gonzalez felt each other out by exchanging jabs in the first round and both boxers landed some punches, but Gvozdyk was landing more combinations while Gonzalez was looking for the knockout punch.
Gonzalez spent most of the second round chasing Gvozdyk around the ring while Gvozdyk landed some eye opening combinations.
Gonzalez opened up the third round by throwing everything into his punches but was very wild. Gvozdyk stayed patient and landed short straight right hands that had Gonzalez hurt and followed it up with a combination that sent him to one knee. Gonzalez was able to get back to his feet and ate several hard combinations from Gvozdyk. Gonzalez eventually succumbed to the pressure of Gvozdyk and was sent crashing to the mat.
Gonzalez’s corner jumped up to the ring apron and stopped the bout. Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by an impressive TKO at 2:59 of the third round.
The main event was between pound for pound superstar Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) and Jason Sosa (20-1-4) for the WBO Super Featherweight World Championship.
Lomachenko’s legion of supporters greatly outnumbered the fans of Sosa in attendance.
Lomachenko and Sosa fought a near even first round with both boxer showing good head movement and angles.
Sosa did well in the second round and Lomachenko had to complain to the referee about a possible low blow and a head butt. Lomachenko ended the second round strong with a flurry and may have stolen it with that flurry.
Lomachenko showed off his fancy footwork in the third round but Sosa was landing and throwing some good punches of his own.
Lomachenko had a very good fourth round and was landing some incredible combinations from unique angles. He also had Sosa hurt with a hard straight left hand.
By the fifth round Lomachenko was landing his punches at will and they were coming in lightning quick. Lomachenko was toying with Sosa in the sixth round and landed several good body blows.
Sosa, despite his best efforts, couldn’t find his target in the seventh round as the reflexes of Lomachenko just appeared to be too much for him.
Lomachenko battered Sosa in the eighth round and looked close to knocking him down when Sosa’s back was against the ropes. Sosa though showed incredible heart and grit and was able to survive the unbelievably accurate combinations of Lomachenko.
Sosa attempted to bait Lomachenko in the ninth round by willingly eating some combinations and unleashing an occasional bomb, but he was unable to land any punches.
Sosa, who had taken a beating the entire fight except for the opening round, looked like a beaten down man at the end of the ninth round. He would not come out for the tenth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.
Undercard Quick Results:
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (16-0) defeated Ramses Agaton (17-3-3) by knockout at 2:58 of the fourth round in the welterweight division.
Patrick Harris (11-0) defeated Omar Garcia (6-7) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Jesse Hart (22-0) defeated Alan Campa (16-3) by TKO at 0:44 of the fifth round in the super middleweight division.
Michael Reed (22-0) defeated Reyes Sanchez (26-10-2) by decision with scores of 99-91 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland the Theater at the MGM National Harbor will be the host site for the next installment of HBO World Championships Boxing.
Three bouts will be televised, including a junior lightweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jason Sosa in the main event of the night, a light heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yuniesky Gonzalez, and a cruiserweight title fight between Aleksandr Usyk and Mike Hunter.
The non-televised undercard will feature boxers such as Mike Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2); Light Heavyweight
The opening bout of the night will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yunieski Gonzalez in the light heavyweight division.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds. Gonzalez was a member of the Cuban Amateur Team and had a record of 345-27. Gvozdyk represented the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and will be about three inches taller than Gonzalez. Gvozdyk has also been incredibly active the past two years and four times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Gonzalez fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and stopped ten of his opponents and currently has six straight stoppage wins. Gonzalez lost twice and went 2-2 in his past four fights.
Gvozdyk has already beaten the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gonzalez doesn’t have the resume of Gvozdyk and has beaten the likes of Maxwell Amponsah and Jackson Junior. His losses were to jean pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Gonzalez is a good test for Gvozdyk and this is a rare fight where we see two notable international amateur stars face off in the ring early before their twentieth professional fight. But Gvozdyk is the better skilled boxer and has the bigger wins, he should emerge victorious.
Oleksandr Usyk (11-0) vs. Michael Hunter (12-0); WBO Cruiserweight Title
Oleksandr Usyk is one of the Ukraine’s most prized prospects and he will be stepping into the ring with a former United States Olympian.
Both boxers are undefeated in their professional careers. Usyk has stopped ten of his opponents and Hunter has stopped eight. Usyk will have a slight one inch height advantage but Hunter will have an inch and a half reach advantage.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds, but Usyk experienced a lot of success on the international stage while Hunter experienced success on the national stage. Hunter is a former US National Amateur Champion and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics but failed to medal. Usyk was a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic games.
Usyk has defeated the likes of Thabiso Mchunu, Krzystzof Glowacki, and Pedro Rodriguez. Surprisingly, all of his wins thus far in his career have come against opponents with winning records.
Hunter has yet to face any significant opposition and has defeated the likes of Isiah Thomas and Phil Williams.
This should be an easy win for Usyk, despite the fact his opponent has a good amateur background.
Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) vs. Jason Sosa (20-1-4); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, pound for pound boxer in the world. He fought for a world title in only his second professional fight and is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time World Amateur Champion.
His opponent, Jason Sosa, has more of a Rocky upbringing in the sport of boxing than Lomachenko. Sosa has no notable amateur achievements on the international stage and was born and raised in poverty stricken Camden, New Jersey. He won a world title with an upset stoppage victory over then WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Javier Fortuna and is now in the biggest fight of his life.
Lomachenko will have about a one inch height advantage on Sosa but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Lomachenko’s lone loss was a disputed split decision loss to an overweight Orlando Salido early on in his career. He has since destroyed every other opponent he has faced.
He has already defeated the likes of Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Suriya Tatakhun, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez before he even competed in his tenth professional fight. Lomachenko has stopped five of his opponents.
Sosa has fifteen knockouts to his credit and one stoppage loss. His lone loss was to Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2010, early on in Sosa’s career. He has defeated the likes of Javier Fortuna, Stephen Smith, Jerry Belmontes, Michael Brooks, and Angel Ocasio. Sosa did have a disputed draw with Nicholas Walters, but many felt he lost that fight.
Jason Sosa is a good gritty boxer that consistently puts on entertaining bouts. He has the heart of a champion, but Lomachenko is on a different level than Sosa and that should be immediately apparent.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Sosa gives Lomachenko problems and this should be a relatively easy bout for Lomachenko.
HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Valdez vs. Rueda, Crawford vs. Postol
By: William Holmes
Terence Crawford is one of boxing’s best talents and one of Top Rank’s most prized assets. Continued success will likely lead to future and bigger pay per view bouts, but Saturday night will be the first time that he’ll test the waters of pay per view. He will take on Golden Boy Promotions’ Viktor Postol, a credible challenger and a current undefeated title holder, for the WBC and WBO Junior Welterweight Title.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions
Top Rank tried to place WBO Super Middleweight Champion Gilberto Ramirez in the co-main event of the evening in an effort to attract Mexican fans, but an injury to his middle finger on his right hand forced him to withdraw.
However, two time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez will fight in the co-main event when he takes on Argentinian Matias Adrian Rueda for the WBO Featherweight Title and is one of Mexico’s best young fighters.
The following is a preview of both of the world title fights on the HBO Pay Per View Card, televised live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oscar Valdez (19-0) vs. Matias Adrian Rueda (26-0); WBO Featherweight Title
Oscar Valdez was electric in his victory over Evgeny Gradovich in his last bout. He took on, an easily and badly defeated the former world champion in only four rounds.
He has seventeen stoppage victories and has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Rueda is also known for his power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents and is currently riding a ten fight knockout streak.
Neither boxer should have a significant edge in either reach or power. Valdez, however, has a much deeper and successful amateur backgroundValdez is a former bronze medalist in the World Amateur Championship and a Gold Medal Winner at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. He also qualified for the Olympics in 2008 and in 2012.
Valdez also has the better profressional resume. He has defeated the likes of Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, Ruben Tamayo, Jose Ramirez, and Alberto Garza. He has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will be his second fight in 2016.
Rueda has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will also be his second fight in 2016. However, his professional record is void of any impressive wins. This will only be the second time he has fought in the United States and has beaten a large list of unknown boxers in Argentina.
Oscar Valdez was very impressive in his last bout and he will likely steamroll through Matias Adrian Rueda.
Terence Crawford (28-0) vs. Viktor Postol (28-0); WBC/WBO Junior Welterweight Title
This is the best fight that could be made in the junior welterweight division. Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions put aside their differences to match up their two best junior welterweights.
Terence Crawford dominated the lightweight division before jumping up to the junior welterweight division, and the difference in size will likely show as he will be giving up three inches in height and three and a half inches in reach to Postol.
Both boxers were successful on their respective national circuits in the United States and in the Ukraine, but neither experienced major success on the international amateur stage.
Crawford fights out of an orthodox stance, but also switches stances constantly while fighting and confuses his opponent while doing so. Postol fights out of an orthodox stance and has been improving in using his reach to hurt his opponents.
Postol’s best wins were against Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin. He has also beaten Henry Lundy and DeMarcus Corley.
Postol is good enough to beat most junior welterweights, but this writer does not think he is good enough to beat Crawford. Crawford will have to be slick and get within range while avoiding the jabs of Postol, but Crawford has shown his in-ring savy and intelligence are the best weapons he has.
As long as Crawford remains focused and doesn’t look past Postol towards a possible fight with Pacquiao, he should emerge victorious.