Crawford vs. Kavaliauskas, Commey vs. Lopez Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, New York will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest card to be televised live on ESPN.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight Championship against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be a IBF Lightweight Championship match between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez Jr.
The undercard is also stacked with talent. Michael Conlan will face Vladimir Nikitin in a featherweight bout that will be a rematch of their 2016 Olympic bout. Other fighters to keep an eye on include Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Mickey Bey, and George Kambosos Jr.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
<strong> Richard Commey (29-2) vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. (14-0); IBF Lightweight Title </strong>
Teofimo Lopez is one of Top Rank Promotions’ young guns with an incredibly high ceiling. He’s only twenty two years old and has under fifteen fights as a profressional, but he’s already fighting for a world title.
Lopez is ten years younger than Commey and will be giving up about two and half inches in reach. Lopez has been the more active fighter of the two, as he fought three times in 2019 and four times in 2018. Commey only fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017.
Lopez does appear to have a large edge in amateur experience. He competed in the 2016 Olympics for Honduras and was a US National Golden Gloves Gold Medalist. Commey has no major international accomplishments as an amateur.
Commey has two losses on his record, but they were both by close split decision to Denish Shafikov and Robert Easter Jr. He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Isa Chaniev, Alejandro Luna, and Hedi Elimani.
Lopez has yet to taste defeat as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani, Edis Tatli, Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard, William Silva, and Vitor Jones.
It will be interesting to see how Lopez handles the reach advantage of tested and rugged veteran. Commey is experienced and will be able to take advantage of any mistakes that Lopez may make. But Lopez is the good fighter with a strong punch.
This writer sees Lopez dominating in the middle to late rounds to win a decision victory.
<strong> Terence Crawford (35-0) vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1); WBO Welterweight Title </strong>
Terence Crawford is one of the world’s best fighters, but he struggles to land big meaningful fights in a talent rich welterweight division.
Crawford is thirty two years old and the clock to get a big name fight in his athletic prime is starting to tick. His opponent isn’t much younger as Kavaliauskas is thirty one years old. Kavaliauskas will have abount a once inch height advantage but Crawford will have a three inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had extensive amateur backgrounds. Crawford was a former PAL Champ and a US National Champ as an amateur. Kavaliauskas represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Kavaliauskas has been slightly more active than Crawford. He fought once in 2019, but fought three times in 2018 and in 2017. Crawford fought once in 2019, and twice in 2018 and in 2017.
Crawford has never tasted defeat as a professional and has won rather convincingly in every bout he’s been involved in. He has defeated the likes of Amir Khan, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.
Kavaliauskas lone blemish on his professional record was a majority draw with Ray Robinson in Philadelphia. He has defeated the likes of Roberto Arriaza, Juan Carlos Abreu, David Avanesyan, Mahonri Montes, and Prenice Brewer.
Crawford has been angling for a big name fight for what seems like a majority of his career. He deserves it, but beating Kavaliauskas is expected of him and likely won’t add much hype for his chance at a big name fight.
Herring Gets Past Roach In Fresno
By: Sean Crose
Fresno, California hosted Top Rank’s ESPN+ card on Saturday night. First up was a battle of heavyweight contenders. Kubrat Pulev, 27-1, stepped into the ring for a scheduled 10 rounder against the 26-2 Rydell Booker. Although the ESPN broadcast team pointed out Booker’s lack of conditioning, the veteran fighter had himself a solid first round. Pulev controlled the ring in the second. The European fighter began coming in strong behind his jab in the third.
Pulev continued to jab his way along through the fourth. Booker was looking completely ineffective. “He’s ready to quit,” Pulev’s trainer said in between rounds. “But you’ve got to make him quit.” The fight was so one sided that by the fifth round, it was worth wondering why Pulev wasn’t finishing things early. Booker ended up coming alive a bit in the sixth. By the seventh, however, it was back to business as usual. The eighth round essentially saw more of the same. Pulev continued to work away in the ninth, while Booker did little at all. For some reason, though Pulev couldn’t stop his man. Perhaps it was because he continually fought in straight punching, European style. Still, it was enough to wing Pulev the tenth, as well as the entire fight. He walked out of the ring with a UD win.
It was time for the main event. The 20-2 Jamel Herring stepped between the ropes – after a brilliant military entrance – to defend his WBO title against the 19-0-1 Lamont Roach. Former Marine Herring worked the body well with crisp punching in the first. Herring slipped early in the second, but got up and continued to stalk his prey. Herring’s fast, effective punching told the story in the third. Roach started to land in the fourth round, but Herring controlled the fifth.
The sixth round was competitive. Although it appeared that Herring was winning, Roache was definitely in the fight. The seventh saw Herring be able to nullify and avoid Roach’s forward attack. The bout was proving to be a story of speed and accuracy edging solid determination. Things remained close in the eighth. Roache went down in the ninth, though it was ruled a slip. Both men fought well through the tenth round. Herring was able to find his range better in the eleventh…until Roache found and hurt his man at round’s end. The final round saw Roach coming after his man. Herring survived, but the round belonged to Roach.
The judges ruled it for Herring via unanimous decision.
Stevenson Defeats Gonzalez To Win WBO Title
By: Sean Crose
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada hosted a night of Top Rank Boxing on Saturday, featuring a card that was aired live on ESPN +. The main event was the battle for the WBO featherweight title between the 12-0 Shakur Stevenson and the 23-0 Joet Gonzalez. Before the main event, however, two other fights were presented for the live ESPN + audience. First, the 21-1-1 Joshua Greer Jr faced off against Cleveland’s 19-2-2 Antonio Nieves. The scheduled 10 rounder was for a couple of minor titles (the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantam Title, and the World Boxing Organization NABO Bantam title).
The first round was a tight affair, with neither man allowing himself to truly unload on his opponent. The second round didn’t showcase an inordinate amount of action, either. Things began to pick up in the third, as both fighters began to find their sea legs. Nieves landed a terrific left at the beginning of the fourth, but was unable to capitalize on it. In the fifth, it appeared as if Greer was searching for a big shot that he had yet to land. Still, the fight remained close. Nieves landed well and got aggressive at the end of the sixth.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Greer came out blasting in the seventh, though Nieves was able to survive and engage throughout the rest of the round. Greer landed well in the eighth, before dropping Nieves with a low blow. Yet Nieves ended up closing the round by landing well himself. Greer began to dominate in the ninth of what had slowly become an entertaining match. Greer went down in the tenth, and the two fighters had to be separated at the final bell. Greer was still able to walk away with the UD win.
The next fight saw the 11-0 former Olympian Mikaela Mayer facing the 7-3-0 Alejadra Soledad Zamora for the NABF Female Super Featherweight title. The match was a scheduled 10 round affair. Mayer dropped her opponent in the first. To her credit, Zamora got back to her feet and exchanged throughout the round. Still, the first belonged to Mayer. The second round was exciting, as well, with both women trading shots. Mayer was controlling the fight, but Zamora was brave and game. The bout remained aggressive throughout the third.
The fourth saw Mayer start to beat up her opponent. The skill deficit had started to become obvious. Mayer continued to beat up Zamora in the fifth. The bout was about at the point where it no longer was necessary to continue the proceedings. The sixth showcased more of the same from the previous few rounds. In between rounds, Zamora’s father/trainer wisely and kindly stopped the bout.
It was time for the main event. The first round was basically a feeling out process, though Stevenson was able to jab a bit and throw some straight rights to the body. The second round saw Stevenson continue to do the same while Gonzalez feinted a lot, but didn’t do much else. The third and fourth rounds were identical – with Gonzalez missing his target and Stevenson landing point friendly, Olympic style punches. After five it was clear Gonzalez would have to unleash his inner Marcos Maidana if he hoped to have any chance of winning. Gonzalez had a stronger round in the sixth than he probably had in the previous five rounds, but his skill level was nowhere near that of his foes.
A mauling Gonzalez and a strangely inactive Stevenson told the story of the seventh. Stevenson regained control in the eighth. An aggressive Gonzalez stalked Stevenson in the ninth. Stevenson was no longer as dominant as he had been earlier in the fight – but he was still winning. Still, the rising star’s lack of activity seemed to cost him the tenth. Stevenson regained control in the eleventh, then went on to dominate the twelfth. Needless to say, Stevenson won a wide decision victory, along with a world title.
Fight Preview: Greer vs. Nieves, Stevenson vs. Gonzalez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions Card that will be televised live on ESPN+.
Former Olympian Shakur Stevenson will be fight for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title as he takes on veteran Joet Gonzalez. The co-main event of the night is a bantamweight fight between Josh Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Other bouts on the card include a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Alejandra Soledad Zamora.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Website
Boxers such as Albert Bell, Frank De Alba, Jason Sanchez, Andy Vences, and Mark Bernaldez will be fighting on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Josh Greer Jr. (21-1-1) vs. Antonio Nieves (19-2-2); Bantamweights
Josh Greer is a young prospect that has been extremely active since 2017. He fought twice in 2019, four times in 2018, and four times in 2017. His opponent, Antonio Nieves, is seven years older than him and has not been as active. He fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017…in which he lost both fights in 2017.
They are the same height and Nieves will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Neither boxer is known for their power, Greer has twelve stoppage wins while Nieves has eleven. However, Greer has won four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Nieves does appear to have an edge in amateur experience, as he was a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist while Greer does not have any notable amateur titles or medals.
Greer has defeated the likes of Nikolai Potapov, Giovanni Escaner, Daniel Lozano, Glenn Dezurn, and James Smith. His lone loss was to the undefeated Stephen Fulton and he has a draw with Mario Ayala. Both his loss and draw were early on in his career.
Nieves has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Christian Esquivel, and Alejandro Santiago Barrios. His losses were to Naoya Inoue and Nikolai Potapov.
This should be an intriguing and possibly close fight. Nieves has been in the ring with some very tough opponents and Greer is a young up and coming contender. Greer has to be considered a slight favorite in this fight, and it should help determine if he’s a legitimate challenger or not.
Shakur Stevenson (12-0) vs. Joet Gonzalez (23-0); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this looks to be the toughest fight of Shakur Stevenson’s career.
Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage over Gonzalez, but that will be negated by the two inch reach advantage that Gonzalez has. Both boxers are young, with Stevenson being twenty two years old and Gonzalez being twenty six years old. Both boxers are undefeated as a professional and have been fairly active.
Stevenson fought three times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Gonzalez fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. It appears that Gonzalez might have a slight edge in power as he has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Stevenson has only stopped seven. But three of the past four fights by Stevenson have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience and accolades. Stevenson was a former US National Champion as an amateur and a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gonzalez has no notable amateur championships.
Stevenson is a southpaw and Gonzalez fights out of an orthodox stance. This can often be a problem for less experienced fighters, but for a boxer with the amateur pedigree of Stevenson, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Aelio Mesquita. Every boxer Stevenson has defeated had a winning record at the time.
Gonzalez has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Rodrigo Guerrero, Rafael Rivera, and Derrick Murray.
This fight will be a good test for Stevenson as he chases his first legitimate world title. Gonzalez should challenge him, but Stevenson is one of the sport’s brightest prospects and it’s likely he will show the world why on Saturday night.
Artur Beterbiev Bashes Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Round 10 to Unify Titles
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Nearing the end of the broadcast, Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KO) could be seen in the center of the ring holding up two belts—one green, the other red. Yet it was a third title, unseen, abstruse as ever, that mattered most of all. That lineal title, pried from the shaky grip of Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KO) in the tenth round, where referee Gary Rosato could only bear to watch the previously undefeated Ukrainian knocked down three times before signaling the end to the championship bout.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Beterbiev added Gvozdyk’s WBC strap to his IBF belt; the contest also represented light heavyweight lineage: often called the true championship: “the man who beat the man who beat the man.” Gvozdyk unseated Adonis Stevenson last year for the nominal title and now the honor belongs to Beterbiev.
The action was a power struggle until the very end. The champion out of Ukraine, Gvozdyk gained control early behind quick successions of right and left hands. In fact, the bell rang and without a thought of a touch of gloves, Gvozdyk opened the fight with a snapping one-two, quickly setting the tone with a right hand upstairs and then a left to the body of Beterbiev.
Suddenly, in the final seconds of the first round, the giants wrapped each other up, chippy blows reigned down from Beterbiev, and Gvozdyk tipped over. Clearly a slip, the ref initially called a knockdown before it was overturned by the commissioner.
For the next two rounds, Gvozdyk could be seen outlanding Beterbiev, a 34-year-old from Russia who owned a crushing victory over the defending WBC champ back in the amateur circuit. The rounds may have been tallied for Gvozdyk but a couple of cross-counters from his opponent, hurled over Gvozdyk’s straight punches, caught his attention.
In Round 3, Beterbiev was generating incredible amounts of force in close quarters. The short blows chipped away at Gvozdyk’s confidence, ruddying his face in the process.
Gvozdyk, 32, carried on his sharpshooting. Tagging away at Beterbiev with a finely tuned offense: left jabs and right crosses zipping up and down. The Russian bulldozer kept him honest with singular punching, including feinting right uppercuts only to shoot straight left hands.
The rest of the way, Beterbiev was established in the center of the ring. And in the fifth stanza his best shots were a pair of wrecking ball right hands to Gvozdyk’s midsection; they took the air right out of him.
Both men were doing their best to outdo the other. A race to beat the other man to the punch. Exchanges exploded across every inch of the canvas. Coalescing, then rushing to land a shot as they disengaged. The end of the sixth inning was especially great. The opposing champions traded parallel right crosses. Gvozdyk even hit the deck; it was only another slip.
Gvozdyk, though, was on the verge of a real knockdown in the ninth, flustered more than ever. Beterbiev had seek-and-destroy pulsating from his eyes. Clubbing right hands touched up Gvozdyk. A mauling attack ensued consisting of uppercuts and body blows, pausing only to push Gvozdyk away so as to create enough space and leverage for more punishment.
In the fateful tenth period, a slinging right hand landed on Gvozdyk’s temple and sent him to one knee. The Ukrainian puncher stood back up. He tried grappling before jabbing with the Russian predator. Beterbiev’s left hand had no problem busting open the feeble guard of the shaken champion and plugged away for the second knockdown.
Rosato made it clear to Gvozdyk he had one more chance. So when two more right hands forced Gvozdyk onto another knee, it was no surprised the fight was over.
The punch stats revealed a slight edge in activity from Gvozdyk, landing118 of 614 total punches (19 percent) while Beterbiev connected on 161 of 515 total shots (31 percent). Of course it was the power numbers that carried Beterbiev across the finish line and he was successful on 40 percent of his power punches (113 of 283) whereas Gvozdyk landed just 27 percent of his own power shots (94 of 354).
Gvozdyk suffered the only defeat of his professional career. It is just the second for him and his stablemates Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, who together ran unchecked at the championship level. Usyk, for one, picked up a lineal title of his own at cruiserweight against Murat Gassiev in none other that Moscow, Russia.
Vengeance it could be said is Beterbiev’s and his countryman. Though having transplanted to Canada, he may be a lone wolf. He is as much in the light heavyweight division, by himself—atop them all, their new king.
Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9 KO) def. Luis Collazo (39-8, 20 KO) by decision
Abdukakhorov is still undefeated, scoring a technical decision over Collazo, after a headbutt in the tenth and final round opened up a severe gash over the gutsy veteran’s right eye.
Just a minute into Round 10, Abdukakhorov again found himself cornered, pressured into the ropes by the tattooed, snarling figure in front of him. He zagged diagonally to his right to escape, but Collazo simultaneously threw his weight into an overhand left putting both of their heads on a collision course.
The result was a clash with such force that Collazo tumbled over, hitting the deck. The American southpaw lifted his head to reveal a glowing red split above his eye, blood quickly streaking down his face.
Referee Benjy Esteves immediately sent the fight to scorecards. And all three judges scored the fight in Abdukakhorov’s favor: 98-92, 99-91 and 97-93.
Abdukakhorov, a 26-year-old technician out of Uzbekistan, remains unbeaten since turning professional in 2015.
Collazo, 38, may be longer in the tooth but was still competitive. At least until injuring his right arm halfway into the fight. Abdukakhorov’s pattering punches secured the first round but did nothing to keep the older man off of him. Collazo gladly walked through his opponent’s composite punching in the second frame.
Abdukakhorov was forced to outmaneuver Collazo’s barreling attack the rest of the way. His potshotting served him well. Switching between southpaw and orthodox, the Uzbek stylist repeatedly outjabbed Collazo over the distance.
But the action belonged to Collazo when Abdukakhorov caught himself in any corner of the ring. Sweeping right hand left hooks bounced off the upstart’s face. The American, though, could not keep up the pace: his offense all but limited to one hand in the latter stages and his gas tank depleting as the bout went on.
Abdukakhorov’s flawless record leaves him on the cusp of a world title fight, already the No. 1 contender to Errol Spence Jr.’s IBF belt. He is also world-rated by the WBC and WBO. Collazo saw his three-fight win streak snapped, a resurgent run that dated back to 2017.
Artur Beterbiev vs Oleksandr Gvozdyk is a Can’t Miss Fight
By: Hans Themistode
Big fights come around in the sport of boxing, but not as much as they should.
The anticipation for a huge boxing event is almost like no other. Two star boxers at the peak of their powers going blow for blow to determine who is better, gives chills to the fans who witness it.
This Friday night at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, IBF Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) will look to prove that he is the best in the division when het takes on fellow champion, WBC belt holder Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs).
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Since the announcement of this contest, the boxing world has been buzzing. It is truly a 50/50 bout between these two champions. With so many great boxers currently in the Light Heavyweight division, these two will be given the chance to prove that they are a step above the rest.
This matchup hasn’t just gotten fight fans excited, but it has also brung joy too long time boxing promoter Bob Arum.
“We’ve had some really good fights this year,” said Arum. “But I think this unification battle between Gvozdyk, the WBC champion and Beterbiev, the IBF champion is something really special. Not only do I think it will be fight of the year but I think it has the capability of being one of the best all-time boxing matches.”
Those are lofty expectations set by Arum, but one that could very well come to fruition.
Throughout the brief career of Beterbiev, he has proven to be a force in the division. His run to the IBF title has been one like no other. He has flat out dominated his competition in every aspect. None of his 14 pro fights have made it the distance. Still, even with a championship belt safely in his possession, he has faced no one of note.
Gvozdyk will prove to be his toughest opposition to date. The WBC titlist has had an impressive run through the division in his own right. His attraction as a true big time fighter began in 2017, when he dismantled former contender Yunieski Gonzalez. Gvozdyk toyed with him that night to the tune of a stoppage win. He would later stop Craig Baker later on that year as well.
The biggest win in the career of Gvozdyk occurred in 2018. He managed to fight his way to a mandatory position against long time champion Adonis Stevenson. In the bout, Gvozdyk stopped Stevenson in the eleventh round to claim his first ever world title.
This contest between these two heavy hitting champions have all of the ingredients to be a special night for the fans.
“I really look forward to a knock down drag out fight,” said Arum.
Gvozdyk is clearly the better boxer but he’s not a bad puncher either. He’s the complete package. Beterbiev is not just a good puncher, he’s a devastating puncher. He puts his opponents to sleep. I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys were on the deck at some point in the fight. Two great fighters, two undefeated fighters, fighting to unify the Light Heavyweight belts.”
With the anticipation for this contest at an all-time high, fans and media alike can’t wait to see the outcome this Friday night.
Fury vs. Wallin, Navarrete vs. Elorde Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World, Tyson Fury, will make his return to the Mecca of boxing.
Tyson Fury will be taking on undefeated challenger Otto Wallin on ESPN+. This bout will be promoted by Top Rank Promotions in association with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. Tyson Fury was fighting in Las Vegas in his last bout and has made a quick return to the ring.
The co-main event of the evening is a WBO Junior Featherweight Title Bout between Emanuel Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde. Other boxers on the undercard include a junior welterweight bout between Jose Pedraza and Jose Zepeda and a junior bantamweight bout between Carlos Cuadras and Jose Maria Cardenas.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Emanuel Navarrete (28-1) vs. Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Navarrete exploded into the scene with his back to back victories over former champion, Isaac Dogboe, in convincing fashion.
On Saturday he’ll be facing the grandson of a Filipino Legend, Flash Elorde, in the co-main event of the evening for his WBO Junior Featherweight Title.
Navarrete will be giving up about one inch in height to Elorde, but he will have a significant age advantage as he is eight years younger. Navarrete will also have the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppages on his resume, while Elrode only has fifteen.
Both boxers have been fairly active. Navarrete fought twice in 2019 and four times in 2018. Elrode fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Navarrete has beaten the likes of Francisco De Vaca, Isaac Dogboe (twice), Jose Sanmartin, Glen Porras, and Luis Bedolla Orozco. His lone loss was early on in his career, in 2012, to Daniel Argueta by decision.
Elorde has spent almost his entire career fighting either in the Philippines or Malaysia. He fought once in the United States, and lost to Jerry Guevara in 2011.
Elorde has no big name wins on his record. But his most notable victories include Shohei Kawashima, Ratchanon Sawangsoda, Likit Chane, and Terdchai Doungmontree.
This fight should be an easy victory for Navarrete. Elorde brings a well known name in the boxing community into the ring, but there’s nothing in his resume that indicates he should be a tough fight for Navarrete.
Tyson Fury (28-0-1) vs. Otto Wallin (20-0); Heavyweight Division
Tyson Fury competed in one of the most exciting fights of 2018 when he fought to a draw with Deontay Wilder. Since then he has looked to be in tremendous shape and completed dedicated to the sport of boxing and keeping his undefeated record intact.
However, he has chosen an opponent that not many give a chance at giving Fury the first loss in his career.
Wallin has spent most of his career fighting in Europe and Saturday will be his second fight in the United States.
Fury will have about three and a half inches in height in Wallin and about seven inches in reach. Both boxers have been fairly active recently, Wallin fought once in 2019 and twice in 2018, while Fury fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Wallin does have an edge in age, as he is three years younger than Tyson Fury, who is thirty one.
Wallin doesn’t have a notable amateur career while Fury is a former Gold Medalist in the European Union Junior Championships.
Fury has defeated the likes of Tom Schwarz, Francesco Pianeta, Sefer Seferi, Wladimir Klitschko, Christian Hammer, Dereck Chisora, Steve Cunningham, and Kevin Johnson.
It should be noted that Fury didn’t fight for nearly three years after defeating Klitschko.
Wallin doesn’t have any notable victories on his resume. His biggest wins were against Adrian Granat, Raphael Zumbano, Osborne Machimana, and Irineu Beato Costa Junior.
Fury has possible big money fights against either Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua in the future. It doesn’t appear that Wallin will stop those fights from happening.
What’s Next for Vasily Lomachenko?
By: Hans Themistode
Things may have started off competitive but as is often the case for Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), he only got better as the contest went on against Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) at the O2 arena in the United Kingdom. It’s no secret that Lomachenko wants to add the IBF title to his WBA, WBO and now WBC collection. Lomachenko does have options. He can wait for a unification bout or he can take a busy but dangerous stay busy bout in between.
Richard Commey vs Teofimo Lopez Winner
The one belt that Lomachenko has not picked up just yet is currently being held by Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs). A matchup between the two will have to wait as Commey must defend his belt against the supremely talented Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) in December at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko is sure to keep a close eye on that matchup. Whoever wins is anyones guess but according to Bob Arum, the winner will be next in line to take on Lomachenko.
Robert Easter Jr
The best and most compelling matchup for Lomachenko is the winner between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. The one issue with that notion however is that it is roughly four months away.
Lomachenko could opt to bide his time on the sidelines while awaiting the winner, or with roughly one third of the year still remaining, he could theoretically speaking, sneak in one more contest before the year ends.
In steps Robert Easter Jr (21-1-1, 14 KOs), a former belt holder in the Lightweight division. He, just like many others have called out Lomachenko on several occasions. On paper, this contest would not appear to be competitive but with Easter possessing so many physical advantages over his man, it could prove too at the very least be an intriguing contest.
Luck hasn’t exactly been on the side of former Super Featherweight champion Javier Fortuna (34-2-1, 23 KOs). He was comfortably winning his 2016 matchup against Jason Sosa before getting brutally stopped in the 11th and relinquishing his title. Soon after, he earned another title shot, this time at Lightweight against then champion Robert Easter jr. Fortuna was seemingly regnant throughout but due to inferior judging, Fortuna was given an unjust wide decision loss.
His next bout against Adrian Granados saw Fortuna settle for a no contest as he was accidentally knocked out of the ring and could not continue the match. As previously mentioned, luck has just not recently been on his side.
With that being said, he is just 30 years of age and extremely skilled. He is also coming off a unanimous decision victory over Sharif Bogere earlier this year. Defeating the man who currently reigns atop most pound for pound list is a tall order but Fortuna deserves his chance.
Luke Campbell’s Chance To Live Up To The Hype
By: Hans Themistode
For as talented as Luke Campbell is, and his talent level is off the charts. It isn’t a stretch to say that he has underachieved so far in his pro career. A professional record consisting of 20 wins with just 2 defeats is more than respectable, but more was expected from Campbell.
His first loss, which was a split decision, at the hands of Yvan Mendy, was unexpected. Campbell made amends for that slip up three years later with a one sided victory over Mendy in their rematch.
In 2017, Campbell loss again. This time to WBA Lightweight champion Jorge Linares. It was a close contest but one that Campbell clearly lost. Since then he has bounced back to win three straight fights. Two by knockout, to place himself in the position he is today.
This Saturday night on August 31st, Campbell will take on Vasyl Lomachenko. A man many believe is the best fighter in the world.
You won’t find anyone outside of the circle of Campbell who are picking him to win that fight. It’s understandable but it is also a bit odd.
Coming up through the amateur ranks, Campbell made major noise. He won the European Championship back in 2008. He also won the 2010 Four Nations Challenge. Campbell capped his career in the unpaid ranks by winning the 2012 gold medal.
From there he turned pro. He’s had his ups and downs but has mostly proven to be an excellent fighter. Sure Campbell had massive success as an amateur, but it pales in comparison to his opponent Lomachenko who suffered only one defeat in 397 contest. He also managed to grab not one but two gold medals along the way. In the pro ranks he has climbed the ranks incredibly fast and now reigns atop the Lightweight division.
The argument can be made that no one in the history of boxing has ever had a better resume through their first 14 professional fights. Lomachenko has defeated the likes of Gary Russell Jr, Nicholas Walters, Jorge Linares and fellow two time gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux. In short, he has been phenomenal.
With so much experience at his disposal, is there anything that Campbell can do that can surprise Lomachenko? Most likely no. With that being said however, it doesn’t mean that he should be completely counted out. Campbell will take with him into the ring a two inch height advantage and an incredible six inch reach advantage as well. It also seems as though Campbell will be the physically stronger man in the ring as he has campaigned at the Lightweight division for a significantly longer time.
The career of Campbell has been a good one but not what many were expecting. He has failed during the biggest moments of his career thus far and now, he will enter the ring on Saturday night against his toughest opponent by far.
A win over Lomachenko won’t only allow him to call himself a champion but he will also erase the poor stigma that is currently surrounding his career.
Navarrete Makes Easy Work of De Vaca, Sets up Quick Turnaround for Fury Undercard
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Super bantamweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete took care of business so efficiently Saturday night, he is already gearing up for a return to the ring next month.
Navarrete (28-1, 24 KO) banged away at Francisco De Vaca (20-1, 6 KO), leaving no doubt to who is the most fearsome 122-pound fighter in the world, taking out his challenger inside of three rounds at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
With a blood spattered across De Vaca’s face, and his countenance sinking—his consciousness soon to fall away too—referee Raul Caiz Jr. was left with no choice but to step between the outgunned man and Navarrete in the latter part of the third round.
The quick knockout was impressive enough to convince Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum to bring him back in time for the undercard to Tyson Fury’s heavyweight battle:
“He is Mexican—he’s proud to be Mexican. Sept. 14 is Mexican Independence Day weekend and the best fighter in Mexico will be there defending his title,” unabashedly promoting his man.
Navarrete was locked and loaded from the onset. His massive 72-inch reach—compared to De Vaca’s 65”—was scary as ever. The challenger got a taste of it in the opening round. But it was in Round 2 where those freakish arms began oscillating from every angle.
The Mexican champion did a great job interchanging uppercuts—an uppercut, always the bigger man’s ideal punch. Even when De Vaca dug deep for short spurts, forcing Navarrete backwards, the taller puncher would sling left uppercuts from seemingly the opposite corner of the ring.
Then under 30 seconds left in the second period, Navarrete dropped De Vaca at the end of a three-punch combo: back-to-back uppercuts followed by a short, crisp right hand.
De Vaca to his credit got up and looked for a scrap in the fateful third inning. But more punishment was all he had to look forward to. Navarrete hurled his weight into long hooks—windmills that would make another heavyweight champion jealous. Punched into the ropes, a verbal warning from the referee could be heard to the backdrop of a stream of punches clinking off De Vaca’s dome.
Never short on heart, De Vaca did take himself off the ropes of a moment or two. But was back on the defensive as Navarrete’s punches refused to let up. Blood permeating along De Vaca’s face, his hands falling, tension rising as a result of a deadly summer in boxing, referee Caiz Jr. waved everything off 1:54 into the third round.
“I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in L.A.” a beaming Navarrete said, celebrating punching in his second title defense. “I want to fill a lot of arenas.”
Next month, he will help fill a bustling T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Fury fronting the bill.
After that? Bernando Osuna, for one, speculating on ESPN’s post-fight production Navarrete’s future at the super bantamweight limit, citing the champion’s enormous size and what seems to be a daunting weight cut.
For now however he is the best in the class.
Jesse Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KO) def. Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KO) via technical decision
The classic boxer-brawler mixup between Magdaleno and Rivera came to premature end in the ninth round when an elbow worsened a cut on Magdaleno’s nose that he acquired from a headbutt in the fourth period.
Judges Edward Hernandez and Fernando Villarreal scored the fight 89-81 and Zachary Young had it 88-82, all for Magdanelo.
Magdaleno ran rings around his opponent through the first three rounds, zinging punches up the middle between Rivera’s raised gloves.
Rivera turned the tide in the fourth round, biting down on his mouthpiece—barreling in in such a way that caused a gnarly headbutt—but closed the inning plugging away with right and left hooks.
The pressure continued in the fifth round. But Magdaleno’s feet were back under him for Round 6. And a left uppercut rattled Rivera in the sixth period. Magdaleno might have ended the show there if he didn’t get so overzealous pouring on wild punches.
It was a more sound attack from him in the first minute of the ninth round and a counter left hand put Rivera on the ground. Eventually a dazed attack from Rivera ended in an inadvertent elbow and referee Thomas Taylor again called time.
Consultation with the ringside physician spelled the end and Taylor sent the fight to the cards.
In the post-fight interview, Magdaleno summarized his night well.
“It’s just part of the sport, he’s an aggressive fighter,” he said. “This is boxing. I felt great. I felt strong. I felt better than ever. I took off the ring rust. We knew he was gonna come forward so we put our boxing shoes on and outboxed him.”
Sosa and Gonzales Win in Philadelphia
By: Ken Hissner
On Saturday night the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia was the host site for a Top Rank Boxing, Raging Babe Events, and Peltz Boxing Promotions show on ESPN+. The card featured former super featherweight champion Jason Sosa back in Philadlephia for the first time since 2015. He moved up to the main event due to an injury suffered by 2-time world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton earlier in the week.
In the main event former WBA Super Featherweight champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa, 23-3-4 (16), 129, of Camden, NJ, stopped Lydell “Hackman” Rhodes, 27-4-1 (13), 130.9, of Las Vegas, NV, at 1:08 of the seventh round.
In the first round Sosa used all his know how as Rhodes did a lot of clinching. Sosa may have hurt Rhodes early making him run and grab. In the second round Sosa continued having his way while Rhodes gave top referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. plenty of work holding.
In the third round it was a big one for Sosa getting in numerous body shots mostly. In the final ten seconds the fans were yelling “Sosa, Sosa!” In the fourth round between getting held Sosa got in more than enough to take the round hurting Rhodes as the ten second left in the round signal went off with Sosa getting in a body shot. Half a minute later a chopping right from Sosa on the head of Rhodes and down he went for a second time. He beat the count of referee Esteves barely.
In the fifth round a vicious left on by Sosa on the chin of Rhodes and down he went barely beating the count of referee Esteves, Jr. In the sixth round Sosa suffered a cut from an accidental clash of heads by his left eye. He controlled the round with a vicious body attack.
In the seventh round referee Esteves, Jr. wisely stopped the beating Sosa was putting on an unwilling Rhodes when the latter’s corner signaled the end.
Featherweight 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist Cuban southpaw Robeisy “La Tren” Ramirez, 0-1 (0), 125, of Gulphport, FL, suffered a major upset losing in his debut to an outstanding performance by Adan Gonzales, 5-2-2 (2), 125.3, of Denver, CO, by split decision in 4 with a first round knockdown a big reason.
In the first round a chopping left hand on the chin from Gonzales dropped Ramirez for 8-count. of referee Gary Rosato. Ramirez came back well the remainder of the round. In the second round both boxers had their moments.
Gonzales has surprised the Olympic star showing him no respect and landing the lead right. Gonzales left uppercut has been his best punch so far.
In the third round it was back and forth with each boxer getting their licks in. Ramirez may have pulled it out. In the fourth and final round both had their moments with Ramirez twice rocking Gonzales who otherwise seemed to have an edge but Ramirez may have won the round but seemed to need a knockout.
Scores were David Braswell 38-37 Ramirez, Alan Rubenstein 39-36 Gonzales and Rose Lucenda 40-35 Gonzales. This writer had it 38-37 Gonzales. Gary Rosato was ref. “I won it and give Jesus Christ all the glory,” said Gonzales. In the winners corner was Donald and Juaquin Camarena and Steve Mestas.
Middleweight Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga, 12-0 (12), of Brooklyn, NY, 162.3, continued his first round stoppages at 2:24 of the first round over Gregory “Nounou” Trenel, 11-5-2 (3), 162.2, of Dainville, France, in a scheduled 8.
In the first round a right from Berlanga dropped a game Trenel. Upon rising from an 8-count by referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. Trenel was suffering too much punishment when the referee wisely halting the bout for Berlanga’s 12th straight first round ko.
Welterweight Olympian Paul “The Punisher” Kroll, 5-0 (4), 147.9, of Philadelphia, PA, defeated Shinard Bunch, 2-1 (2), 146.6, of Trenton, NJ, over 6 rounds.
In the first round of a very competitive round Kroll had an edge. In the second round Kroll fought southpaw as Bunch ran and grabbed with Kroll easily winning the round. In the third round Bunch landed a right to the chin of Kroll making him go back to orthodox. Kroll went on to control the round.
In the fourth round a Kroll 3-punch combination rocking Bunch against the ropes highlighted the round. In the fifth round Bunch did more holding getting in a couple shots to the chin of Kroll who had much too much ammo for Bunch who spent more time bending over. In the sixth and final round Kroll landed a 4-punch combination. Bunch in only his third fight should have never jumped into a 6 especially with a seasoned former amateur star like Kroll.
Scores 58-56 by Weisfeld and Braswell while Rubenstein had it 59-55 as did this writer.
Heavyweight prospect Sonny “The Bronco” Conto, 4-0 (3), 214.5, of South Philadelphia, PA, easily defeated Guillermo Del Rio, 2-3-1 (2), 225.5, of So. Houston, TX, over 4 rounds scoring a knockdown.
In the first round it was all the taller Conto teeing off on Del Rio with shots to the body and head hurting him once with a body shot. In the second and third rounds it was more of the same with Conto dominating a game Del Rio with vicious body work. In the fourth and final round Conto dropped Del Rio with a vicious left hook to the body for an 8-count from referee Esteves, Jr. Del Rio managed to be the first of young Conto’s 4 opponents to last the distance. “It was good for him to get some rounds in,” said Frank Conto.
All four judges and this writer had it 40-35. In the winner’s corner were trainer Mickey Rosati, cut-man Joey Eye and assistant Frank Conto. He’s signed with one of Boxing’s top managers David McWater who was at ringside.
Featherweight southpaw Donald “No Love” Smith, 10-0 (6), 126.5, of S.W. Philadelphia, PA, easily defeated Raheem “Bazooka” Abdullah, 3-3 (0), 124.6, of Colorado Springs CO, over 6 rounds.
In the first round within seconds a lead left from Smith on the chin and down went Abdullah for an 8-count from referee Rosato. The much shorter Abdullah managed to get through the round by covering up but not backing off Smith.
In the second round a lead left from Smith on the chin of Abdullah drove him into the ropes. Midway in the round Abdullah landed a lead overhand right on the chin of Smith. Smith ended the round with a combination to body and head of Abdullah.
In the third round a wild right on the chin from Abdullah made Smiths legs almost give in while in a corner. The rest of the round was interesting between the two with Abdullah pressing forward. In the fourth round midway with Smith doing as much coming forward so far a lead left to the body and following with a right hook to the chin was the most action of the round.
In the fifth round a low punch from Abdullah gave Smith a five minute rest. Referee Rosato deducted a point from Abdullah. When action resumed Smith was throwing more punches than previously in the fight. In the sixth and final round Abdullah ran around the ring content in going the distance with Smith landing some body shots.
Scores were 59-53 by LaRosa and Weisfeld while Rubenstein had it 60-52 as did this writer. Lamar Smith worked corner of Smith.
Super Bantamweight southpaw Jeremy “Majic Hands” Adorno, 2-0 (1), 121.9, of Allentown, PA, stopped Fernando Robles, 2-2 (0), 121, of Pearland, TX, at 2:01 of the third in a 4 rounder.
In the first round it was all Adorno moving around the ring like a veteran boxer controlling with his jab and lead left to the mid-section of Robles who may not have landed a punch.
In the second round Adorno landed a double left to the chin of Robles a minute into the round. Adorno was landing on the chin with both hands. In the final ten seconds Robles landed several body shots.
In the third round after half a minute Adrono went inside and got hit in the eye making him blink repeatably. He then shook it off and continued his attack once he stopped moving. His speed of foot and hanld are to quick for Robles. Adorno was warned by referee Esteves, Jr. about using a straight arm. Before you knew it a wicked right hook ro the body of Robles for the full count. Can’t say Robles didn’t make an effort but Adorno is following in his brother Joseph’s footsteps at this point. It was quite a performancee by the young Adorno. His father-trainer Anibal was in the corner.
Ring Announcer in the preliminaries was Lupe Contreras. Jimmy Lennon did the ESPN+ final 3 fights. Timekeeper Fred Blumsteien.
Top Rank IBHOF team of Lee Samuels and Bruce Trampler were working the show in attendance.
Fight Preview: Sosa vs. Rhodes, Berlanga vs. Trenel
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions will partner with Peltz Boxing Promotions to put on an event at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The main event was originally scheduled to be a featherweight fight between Emmanuel Dominguez and Carl”The Jackal” Frampton, but a freak accident caused a facture in the left hand of Carl Frampton, and that fight had to be scrapped.
The junior lightweight fight between Jason Sosa and Haskell Lydell Rhodes was elevated to main event status and the co-main event will be between Edgar Berlanga and Gregory Trenel in the middleweight division.
Other boxers on the undercard include two time Cuban Olympic Gold Medalist Robeisy Ramirez, as well as prospects Paul Kroll, Donald Smith, and heavyweight Sonny Conto.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Edgar Berlanga (11-0) vs. Gregory Trenel (11-4-2); Middleweights
It should probably be noted again that this fight was bumped up to co-main event status after Carl Frampton broke his left hand.
Berlanga is a 6’1 prospect from New York that has stopped every opponent he has faced at this point in his career. He’s a tall middleweight at 6’1 and took second place several times at the National Police Athletic League as an amateur.
Trenel doesn’t have any notable amateur experience. He’s 28 years old and only has three stoppage wins. He has never been stopped in defeat, but has losses to Vincenzo Bevilacqua. Mickael Sanches, Christopher Guedes, and Karim Hayani. None of those boxers are very well known.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Berlanga fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. Trenel fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018. However, Trenel has never fought in the United States before and the combined record of his past two opponents was 13-55-2.
This fight should be a blowout. Anything less than a stoppage victory for Berlanga would be considered disappointing.
Jason Sosa (22-3-4) vs. Haskell Lydell Rhodes (27-3-1); Junior Lightweights
Jason Sosa is a Camden native that formerly held the WBA Super Featherweight Title. He’ll likely have a large contingent of supportive fans in attendance since Camden is a short trip from Philadelphia.
Sosa is the same age as his opponent and will be giving up about two and a half inches in reach but will have an inch height advantage. Both Sosa and Rhodes have not been very active the past two years. Sosa only fought once in 2019 and once in 2018. Rhodes fought three times in 2018, but zero times in 2019 and zero times in 2017.
Neither boxer has an extensive amateur background.
Sosa has gone 2-2 in his past four fights, but two of his losses were to big time opponents. He has losses to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Vasiliy Lomachenko. He also has a loss early in his career to Tre’Sean Wiggins. He has a majority draw with Nicholas Walters and has defeated the likes of Reynaldo Blanco, Stephen Smith, and Javier Fortuna.
Fortuna was the biggest win of his career and he win the WBA Super Featherweight Title in that fight.
Rhodes has losses to Omar Douglas, Edner Cherry, and Sergey Lipinets. His notable wins were against Miguel Huerta, John Nater, and Yakubu Amidu. Rhodes briefly competed in MMA.
Sosa has to be considered a favorite, but Rhodes is a live underdog. The home field advantage should help Sosa on his way to victory.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Conlan vs. Ruiz
By: Oliver McManus
Saturday night sees boxing return to Falls Park for only the second time ever with Michael Conlan the man responsible for bringing verve back to the unique venue. Belfast’s featherweight has become more accustomed to soaking New York arenas in Irish emerald since turning professional but August 3rd will be his third fight in the UK in just over a year.
The event was announced back in May with Conlan set to seek redemption against, his Rio Olympics adversary, Vladmir Nikitn but the Russian was forced to withdraw towards the back end of June. With that pull-out seems to be an end to the once embittered rivalry between the two with Conlan (11-0) looking to pull ahead of his Top Rank stablemate (who has had just three professional fights). In stepped Diego Alberto Ruiz, 21-2, on around about five weeks notice and the Argentine can be expected to pose some wiley questions of Conlan.
Ruiz has spent most of his career in the stairwell of the South American bantamweight division – having been WBC Latino and Argentinian champion at that weight – but gained similar levels of success at super bantamweight over the course of 2018. The move to featherweight is a relatively fresh one with the 25 year old only having one previous contest at the weight: a 10 rounder in June in which he looked cagey against Luis Emanuel Cusolito.
From the available footage of his fights he has shown a reluctance to adapt to the style of his opponent and often seeks to fight in a cat and mouse style; frequently playing possum with a tight guard, left hand firmly against the ear, to try and land some counter attacks. That game plan worked particularly well against Diego Pichardo in the middle portions of their contests but likely not against his upcoming opponent.
Conlan, now a professional for two and a half years, is at the point where he can really think about pushing forward and searching for world level fights. Since making his debut, against Tim Ibarra, the Irishman has looked untouchable against his current calibre of opponents and has been in cruise control. He has gone on record as saying he prefers to fight in the face of someone looking to apply pressure and it’s unfortunate that his opponents have shrunk into themselves upon the start of the fight.
Against Ruiz you imagine that Conlan will have to do much of the busy work and look to force openings against an opponent happy to wait it out round after round. The patience and restrain that Conlan has shown in dealing with such tasks hopefully will go out of the window with an eye catching performance in front of an electric home crowd. We know Conlan is good but a reminder never hurts and what better occasion than Saturday night to go footloose and fancy free?
The co-main event sees Chris Jenkins defend his British welterweight title against Paddy Gallagher; the vacant Commonwealth strap is also at stake. Jenkins, born in Swansea, claimed the title with a silky out-pointing and out-classing of Johnny Garton in March but has been out of action since due to a slight hand injury. Gallagher, meanwhile, was meant to face Gary Corcoran in an eliminator last June before cracking his jaw. The Belfast welterweight has subsequently been in action on four occasions with wins against Jay Byrne, Fernando Valencia and Liam Wells and a sole loss to Freddy Kiwitt.
Since stepping up from super lightweight, where he had fought for six years, Jenkins has found a new lease of life at welterweight with the additional seven pounds proving to be, ironically, a weight off his shoulders. The contest against Garton saw a particular penchant for a peppering overhand right that repeatedly caught the defending Champion off guard. He fought to a smooth game plan in a contest that many expected to turn into a fire-fight but ended up being a methodical victory for the Welshman.
His challenger will be in a similar situation to that of Jenkins on March 8th with a clear understanding that this, realistically, might be his last opportunity to fight for the British title. The 30 year old has shown himself capable of fighting to a controlled tempo throughout a contest but has produced a killer instinct in his fights as of late. Against Liam Wells there was a gulf in class between the two men and Gallagher was eager to put the contest to bed in emphatic fashion. The only blip in the last twelve months came against Kiwitt in which Gallagher hit the canvas on two occasions – knockdowns that proved to be the deciding factor in the contest.
A fight between two of the nicest guys in British boxing for the nicest belt in all of boxing – it should be a cracker.
Of course the focus, rightly, will be on the man of the moment in Belfast boxing – nicknamed ‘Four Murals Conlan’ by Sean McComb, who also fights on the undercard – Michael Conlan as he brings the twelfth stage of The Conlan Revolution to Falls Park for a wonderfully unique boxing event. Watch it all exclusively live on ESPN+ in the United States and BT Sport in the United Kingdom.
Jose Ramirez Unifies Belts with TKO over Maurice Hooker
By Robert Aaron Contreras
WBC, nay, unified junior welterweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez is the hottest fighter in the division following a thrilling Saturday night at the College Parker Center in Arlington, Texas, his opponent Maurice Hooker’s de-facto hometown. Ramirez snatched Hooker’s WBO belt with a knockout flurry in the sixth round.
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KO) showed no qualms about traveling from California to Texas. Nor did he when Hooker (26-1-3, 17 KO) nearly spun his head around with check hooks and jolting jabs. The newly-unified beltholder fought through his opponent’s reach advantage, working his patented one-two combination thoroughly and consistently until finally he found his moment to take out Hooker.
“I threw that one-two that works perfectly for me,” Ramirez said after the fight. “He landed some good shots. But real champions always have faith in themselves. I was here with one mission: to be the unified champion of the world.”
Ramirez looked every bit like a man on a mission to open the title tilt. The center of the ring immediately belonged to him and Hooker was soon stumbling backwards from quick flurries. Hooker did straighten out his lengthy jab. But Ramirez stepped on his foot that again caused the taller man lose his balance and hit the deck.
Referee Mark Nelson, at the merciless command of watching a fight in realtime with no replay, called a knockdown. Ramirez at least affirmed the round in his favor by closing the period slipping Hooker’s long arms and stuffing short, straight left hands into his opponent.
In Round 2, Ramirez tried jabbing his way in. But Hooker sat back, relying on his incredible size, and spearing elongated right hands through Ramirez’s guard and occasionally circling out and away to his left with check hooks.
The momentum though was again in Ramirez’s corner in the final minute when he finally pinned his man to the ropes. With Hooker’s back stuck there, Ramirez pressed his weight onto his championship counterpart for leverage and pitched overhand shots to the head.
Ramirez’s navigation looked a little different in the third stanza. Instead of driving forward, the WBC champ shot quick punches upstairs and sidestepped to either side of Hooker. The movement did not stop Hooker from stunning him with chopping right hands in the waning moments of the round… or the chippy punches that ensued after the bell.
Ramirez caught Hooker’s attention in the fourth frame: jab upstairs, left hook to the liver and right back upstairs with a left hook. From there the round reached its symposium of violence, more chippy action resulting in blistering, two-way action.
In Round 5, Hooker’s jab was as daunting as ever—his 80-inch reach longer than many standout heavyweights—but complimented the punch with interchanging checkmark-shaped uppercuts. Ramirez also found moments of success, chasing Hooker down, crashing punches into his man’s raised gloves. Not every punch landed cleanly but it was pouring on enough to prevent any return from Hooker, whose long arms became obsolete in close quarters.
But what a round it was, the crowd worked their way into the broadcast when Hooker turned his focus to Ramirez’s midsection.
Both men traded jabs in the fateful, sixth period. Less frenetic than the round before, the pace could not have lulled Hooker to sleep but the left hand that clipped him with under two minutes to go nearly did. Hooker was visibly hurt and Ramirez pounced with 10 unanswered shots. Referee Nelson had no choice but to call an end to the title fight as Hooker’s eyes basically rolled to the back of his head.
According to CompuBox, Ramirez landed 99 of 414 total punches (24 percent) and Hooker actually connected on 129 of 360 (36 percent).
DAZN correspondent Chris Mannix asked Ramirez if he had his eyes and heart on unifying even more belts when they become available following the proposed Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor WBSS finale.
“Of course, those are the top guys,” Ramirez answered. “I want to get all the titles—that’s my goal.”
Tevin Farmer def. Guillaume Frenois by unanimous decision
Farmer cruised to another successful title defense—and cruise is certainly the right word. He was extended the entire 12-round distance by his challenger Frenois, of France. And for the second time in a row the American world champion took the last couple rounds off. In the end the judges still awarded Farmer the fight on scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 119-108.
A big speed advantage was quickly realized by Farmer, leading Frenois around early on. Frenois opened up in the third. But the defending champion was back on top over the next couple rounds.
In Round 6, Farmer would be warned for a blow that strayed way below the belt. It could not have happened at a worst time for the challenger as it was Frenois’ best round so far. Another low blow occurred in the tenth period and referee Mark Calo-oy couldn’t let it go, deducting the American a point.
The foul did nothing to convince Farmer to close out the show emphatically. For in the final stages, Frenois clipped his man with multiple left hooks and conceivably stole the final three rounds. In the end, it did not matter.
A glance at CompuBox suggests the right man won. Farmer landed 167 of 636 total punches (26 percent) while Frenois connected on 75 of 425 total punches (18 percent).
In the post-fight interview, Farmer summed up his performance before eluding to why he let off the gas across the finish line.
“I came out here and did what I had to do,” Farmer said. “My hands are always messed up. I come in here and I win and I keep winning.
“I don’t care about the crowd,” Farmer continued as Frenois could be seen in the backdrop, propped up on the corner post to draw cheers from the Texas audience. “You going to love me or you going to hate me. My speed and my IQ won the fight,” Farmed concluded.
When asked of the possibility of unifying his belt with WBA belt holder Gervonta Davis, Farmer took the opportunity to set the record straight and express the plans he has in mind for his career.
“Eddie Hearn has sent [Davis] multiple offers,” Farmer said. “I want all the champions out there. But if I can’t make those fights, give me JoJo Diaz.”
Teofimo Lopez Fights Masayoshi Nakatani in Title Eliminator
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Returning on July 19 to New York’s Madison Square Garden, it is clear Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO) was made for boxing’s grand stage—as much for his brass and post-fight celebrations as for his knockouts.
Top Rank Promotions have moved to give the Brooklyn wunderkind his own card on ESPN+ against the undefeated Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12 KO) in title eliminator. On the line is a matchup with IBF beltholder Richard Commey, who Lopez—never one for reticence—began to point out the flaws the lightweight champion demonstrated over Ray Beltran in his last title defense. Beyond that, Bob Arum and Co. already have plans for a unification against one Vasyl Lomachenko.
In April, Lopez was again at MSG. There he picked up a ruinous knockout, this one over European standout Edis Tatli. Tatli had never before been convincingly defeated—his two losses were by conflicting decisions. But the 21-year-old Lopez, with the perspicacity of a star twice his age, eventually plugged a right hand to Tatli’s midsection that spelled the end of the bout in the fifth round.
One win away from a world title fight, Lopez has been fast-tracked to stardom since his professional debut in 2016. Top Rank had no qualms about signing him directly out of the Summer Olympics in Brazil, where he represented Honduras. The burgeoning puncher so far is dominating his competition, registering 11 knockouts in his first 13 pro contests.
His shining moment in the paid ranks came in 2018, pitted against a hardened contender in Mason Menard. Lopez blew him up with an overhand right in under a minute and the knockout went mainstream for Menard’s collapsing in rigor mortis. It complimented Lopez’s celebratory dancing and prancing earlier that year over Diego Magdaleno.
Magdaleno, a former title challenger himself, was made to look like a complete tomato can. Two leaping left hooks in the seventh period from Lopez left the veteran disheveled, stiffened right up on the canvas.
Nakatani, rated No. 3 in the division by the IBF, does not come close to carrying the same kind of punch and is not nearly the household name Lopez is. But in his own right, Nakatani did enter the sport a touted prospect in Japan and since plied his trade among the country’s quality domestic scene.
While there are no lights as bright as the acme of boxing venues that is MSG, the Japanese underdog has at least served as the headliner back home in nine of his previous 12 fights, dating back to 2014 when he won the OPBF lightweight trinket. He enters the weekend an 11-time defending titleholder—the third tier belt it may be, but still a sought-after strap in Asia that prepares its claimant for the full, 12-round distance.
Most recently, Nakatani extended his unbeaten ledger against the well-experienced puncher Hurricane Futa. He excellently negated the barreling Futa with his immense size, jabbing, and managing the momentum of the contest from a safe distance. Hooks from Nakatani would open up his countryman’s eyebrow and the cut forced the referee to call the bout in the fourth frame. It was just Futa’s second stoppage in 34 bouts.
The Japanese after all has three inches in height and reach on Lopez. That length, with his being just under 6-feet tall, gives Nakatani his best (and only) chance of upending one of the sport’s most promising fighters.
Co-Main Event: Maxim Dadashev (13-0, 11 KO) vs. Subriel Matias (13-0, 13 KO), junior welterweight eliminator
Dadashev, a 28-year-old Russian, is a spectacular talent training out of Oxnard, California under Buddy McGirt as well as a part of Egis Klimas’ ballyhooed stable of Eastern Bloc destroyers. His knockouts have made the rounds but his game revolves around adept, even flashy, footwork.
Marching up the sanctioning body rankings—top 5 by both the WBC and IBF—Dadashev is undefeated, turning away a handful of notable opponents. He is already 1-0 on the year. Typically a slow starter, he got off the canvas in March to defeat Ricky Sismundo by fourth-round knockout.
A grafting left hand in the second round from Sismundo put Dadashev on the ground. But the hotshot puncher, soon after detonated a left hand onto his opponent’s chin, all the while moving backwards, for an impressive finish.
Like most prospects stateside do, the California transplant picked up the NABF belt. And he defended the secondary title over former world champion Antonio DeMarco. Demarco was able to rattle Dadashev some time in Rounds 7 and 10. But Dadashev secured a decision victory, outboxing an aged Demarco the rest of the way.
Matias, 27, may be a lesser-known up-and-comer, but he is no less a dangerous one. The Puerto Rican slugger, who is a world-rated super lightweight by three sanctioning bodies, has yet to be read the scorecards in his professional carer. He is a sound composite puncher, bashing all 13 of his opponents inside of six rounds. This includes two-time Olympian Patrick Lopez and the hard-hitting pair of brothers Breidis and Daulis Prescott.
After making the elder Prescott quit from four rounds of steady punishment, Matias two months later dropped Fernando Saucedo in the opening round. And that was enough to convince the opposing corner to pull their man out. Matias’ victim—whose gaudy record of over 60 wins is par for the course for Argentina’s manufactured, promotional machine—was still technically a former world title challenger. As low as featherweight, sure, but not even a sizable two-divisional champion like Rances Barthelemy could take out Saucedo. It took Matias three minutes.
In March, Matias was at the top of the bill in his native Puerto Rico. He had a welterweight veteran in front of him, giving up inches in height to Wilberth Lopez. The same Lopez to extend the distance a bevy of heavy-handed bangers like Alex Saucedo, Isaac Dogboe and Ivan Baranchyk. Matias banged him out in six rounds.
All told, Matias presents Dadashev a real challenge. In fact, the Russian’s team must be confident in him given the high risk-low reward that a lethal, unheralded puncher like Matias concretizes.