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HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai, Inoue vs. Nieves, Cuadras vs. Estrada

By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division will take center stage on HBO as three fights in the division, which includes two world title fights and a WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator will take place.

Photo Credit: USA Today

The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark Card. This card is stacked in the super flyweight division. Additionally, former UFC fighter Nam Phan will compete on the undercard as well as former world title holder Brian Viloria.

The following is a preview of the three planned televised fights on Saturday night.

Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator

The opening bout of the broadcast will be between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada, two boxers in the junior bantamweight division that previously faced, and lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

Both boxers stand at 5’4” and have a reach of 66”. Cuadras is twenty nine years old and two years older than Estrada. Both boxers have considerable power. Estrada has twenty five stoppage victories on his record while Cuadras has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Estrada appears to have the edge in power in recent fights however, he has stopped three of his past four opponents while Cuadras only has two stoppage victories in the past five fights.

Cuadras appears to have the slight edge in amateur experience. Estrada claims an amateur record of 94-4, while Cuadras won a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003.

Estrada only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017, but that can be partly explained by a surgery he had to his right hand. Cuadras fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.

Cuadras has defeated the likes of David Carmona, Richie Mepranum, Luis Concepcion, and Wisaksil Wangek. Estrada has a slightly better resume as a professional and has defeated the likes of Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, and Brian Viloria.

This should be an entertaining bout and could go either way, but Estrada is considered by many to be the second best super bantamweight behind Chocolatito and they appear destined to rematch in the near future.

Naoya Inoue (13-0) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title

Naoya Inoue is a world titlist form Japan that is starting to generate a lot of buzz in the boxing community.

He’s a world champion at only twenty four years old and has spent his entire career fighting in Japan. He’ll be six years younger than Nieves on fight night and will also have about a half an inch height advantage. However, he is giving up about an inch in reach.

Inoue also appears to have the power advantage. In thirteen fights he already has evel stoppage victories, including three of his past four fights. Nieves only has nine stoppage wins in twenty professional fights and is coming off of a loss.

Both boxers experienced moderate success as an amateur. Inoue won the gold medal in the 2011 President’s Cup and Nieves was a silver medalist in the 2011 National Golden Gloves.

Inoue has faced good opposition ever since his professional debut. His list of notable wins include Kohei Hono, David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, and Adrian Hernandez. Nieves is coming off of a loss to Nikolai Potapov. His only notable wins were against Oscar Mojica and Stephon Young.

Many expect Inoue to wow the crowd on Saturday night with a dominating victory against Nieves. A win may set up a possible big money fight with Roman Gonzalez, provided Gonzalez also wins his bout on Saturday.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

This bout is a rematch of their barn burner fight which saw Rungvisai pull off the stunning upset victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Many fans in attendance, and many members of the media, thought Gonzalez did enough to win the fight despite the fact he was knocked down in the first round.

In fact, CompuBox stats showed that Gonzalez had outlanded Rungvisai in ten of the twelve rounds, but still wound up losing the fight.

Gonzalez and Rungvisai are both thirty years old and stand at 5’3”. Gonzalez will have a slight half and inch reach advantage on Rungvisai. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record, but has only stopped one opponent in his past four fights. Rungvisai has thirty nine stoppage wins to his resume and has stopped nine of his past ten opponents.

However, Rungvisai lacks amateur experience and Gonzalez won the gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships.

Gonzalez fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada.

Rungvisai fought once in 2017 and five times in 2016. However, three of those fights in 2016 were against debuting fighters and most of his wins came against suspect competition. His biggest wins to date were against Jose Salgado and Roman Gonzalez. He has a loss to Carlos Cuadras on his resume, and his other three losses came within the first five fights of his career.

Many felt Gonzalez won their first encounter and many expect him to emerge victorious in their rematch. However, you can not discount the heart that Rungvisai showed in their first fight and he appears to be a boxer with legitimate power in his hands that can end the fight quickly.

This should be another entertaining scrap, but it’s a scrap that Gonzalez is expected to win in a way that will take it out of the hands of the judges.

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ShoBox Results: Miller and Menard Win Convincingly, Eyubov and Nieves in Close Bouts

ShoBox Results: Miller and Menard Win Convincingly, Eyubov and Nieves in Close Bouts
By: William Holmes

Tonight’s edition of ShoBox The New Generation was broadcast from Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, New York and featured a heavyweight bout between prospect Jerrell Miller and Fred Kassi (18-5-1) in the main event of the evening.

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Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0) met Karim Mayfield (19-3-1) in the opening bout of the night in the welterweight division.

Eyubov has knocked out all of his opponents and has never gone past the third round, while Mayfield has lost three of his last four fights but he has faced some top notch competition.

Eyubov comes out to try to touch gloves but Mayfield instead cracks him in the face with a straight right hand and came out firing. Eyubov was able to momentarily slow down Mayfield with a straight right counter, but Mayfield came right back out firing. Eyubov began to turn the tide of the first round in his favor after landing a hard left hand followed by a right that stunned Mayfield. Eyubov ended the opening round throwing wild punches.

Mayfield tried to crowd Eyubov in the second round and threw a high number of punches, but Eyubov was able to mix up his combinations to the body and had Mayfield’s mouth open wide by the end of the round.

Mayfield had a much better third round and at times was moving Eyubov backwards. Eyubov appeared to be losing steam as the round progressed and Mayfield looked more confident. By the fourth round Eyubov looked like he no longer had the power advantage and Mayfield was throwing and landing significantly more combinations.

Mayfield was counter punching was crisp in the opening half of the fifth round, but Eyubov was effective to the body in the later stages of the round. Eyubov did well in the sixth round by dancing and landing quick pop shots on Mayfield, but the seventh round could have gone either way as both boxers landed hard power shots.

The eighth round was similar to the previous, with Eyubov pressing forward ripping hooks to the body and Mayfield landing counter combinations. Eyubov was deducted a point in the eighth for a low blow.

The final two rounds could have been scored for either boxer, but Eyubov was the aggressor and never stopped coming in.

The bout was close and the judges scored it 95-94 Mayfield and 95-94 on the other two cards for Eyubov.

Bantamweight Antonio Nieves (16-0-1) faced Alejandro Santiago (11-2-1) in the second bout of the night.

Santiago has fought most of his career below the bantamweight limit and the size advantage for Nieves was evident from the start.

Nieves threw mainly jabs in the first round and was able to touch Santiago from the outside, but he didn’t press forward to try to use his size to his advantage. Santiago countered well in the second round and displayed some surprisingly quick hands in the third round, but Santiago was occasionally hit with a lead jab cross combination.

Santiago had a good fourth round by countering Nieves after he threw his shots, but Nieves looked like he switched tactics in the fifth by re-focusing on his jab. Nieves did have a cut open above his right eye in the fifth.

Nieves tried to trap Santiago in the sixth round but Santiago was able to move out of the way before Nieves could land any significant combinations of note, and when Nieves did land a combination Santiago would answer with his own.

By the seventh round Santiago had landed ten more punches, but neither boxer was landing hard shots that hurt their target.

Santiago made a strong case for himself in the eighth round by turning Nieves and by popping in and out with sharp combinations. Santiago also surprisingly hurt Nieves in the ninth round despite the fact he only has three stoppages to his resume.

The final round was also close and tough to score, like most of the rounds before it.

The final scores were 96-94 Nieves, 96-94 Santiago, and 95-95 for a split draw.

The next bout of the night was between Mason Menard (31-1) and Bahodir Mamadjonov (18-2) in the lightweight division.

Mamadjonov fought out of a southpaw stance and Menard fought out of an orthodox stance. Menard was the longer boxer and pressing forward, while Mamadjonov was able to land good body shots and left hooks in the first round.

Both boxers were stepping on each other’s feet in the second round, but Mamadjonov looked to be able to control the distance better and was more effective with laying traps for his opponent.

Mamadjonov was looking stronger in the middle rounds and opened up a cut over Menard’s left eye in the fourth round. Mamadjonov focused on that eye in the fifth and sixth rounds and just looked like the more experienced boxer.

Menard had a huge seventh round when he scored two knockdowns. The first one was from a double right hand on Mamadjonov by the corner that sent him down, and later with a body shot that forced Mamadjonov to touch the canvas with his gloves.

Mamadjonov may have won the eighth round and recovered nicely from the two knockdowns in the previous round, but Menard was pressing the action. Menard rocked Mamadjonov in the ninth round with a hard straight right hand and pounded on him by the ropes. Mamadjonov went out on his feet and collapsed to the floor when the referee stepped in between them. The referee immediately stopped the fight when he fell to the floor.
Mason Menard with another big knockout at 2:26 of the ninth round.

The main event was between undefeated Jarrell Miller (17-0-1) and veteran contender Fred Kassi (18-5-1) in the heavyweight division.

Kassi came in several pounds overweight than his usual fighting weight and he was tentative in the opening frame. Miller was able to block most of Kassi’s punches and kept walking forward lookingfor the perfect opportunity. Miller ended the round by digging some hooks into the body.

Miller was clearly not afraid of Kassi’s power in the third round and at times he seemed like he was willingly taking punches to his head in order to land one punch in return. He did have Kassi hurt with body shots in the second.

Miller had Kassi hurt in the third round with a right hand to the temple followed up with a barrage of digging hooks to the head and body. Kassi looked like he was close to hitting the mat, but didn’t go down.
Kassi refused to come out for the fourth round due to an injured right hand. Jarrell Miller remains undefeated with the technical knockout.

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