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WBSS Results: Tete & Tabiti Win Decision Victories


By: Ste Rowen

It was a night made for the travelling fighters in Ekaterinburg as bantamweight Zolani Tete and cruiserweight, Andrew Tabiti overcame Russian opponents, both in unimpressive decision victories, to progress to their respective WBSS semi-finals.

Zolani Tete, 27-3 (21KOs) heading into tonight, started the fight as we hoped he would, on the front foot looking to impress his power upon Mikhail Aloyan early. The Armenian-born Russian however is no stranger to Tete’s offensive approach thanks to Mikhail’s supreme amateur experience (2 world championship golds and Olympic bronze in 2012).


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

With 20 seconds left of the 1st round, the WBO champion landed a long-left hand and followed it with a short right, forcing Aloyan, 4-0 (0KOs), to stumble to the ground and score an early 10-8 for Zolani. The knockdown setup a sprightly round 2, and although Tete seemed to remain on top, there was clearly a competitive fight to be had. At the beginning of round 4, Aloyan sprung a right hand and landed cleanly onto the chin of the champion, waking up the Russian crowd and shaking away any complacency Tete may have had as the fight headed into the middle rounds.

By the 7th it remained competitive but, Zolani’s jab looked as if it was seeing him through the rounds. Even when Aloyan had a brief, bright spot, the WBO champ’s jab looked as if it was regaining the momentum. At times, it threatened to fall under the category of awkward as neither seemed willing or able to engage on the inside, instead, tying each other up. Both southpaws fell to the canvas a few times as a result, and not because of a punch.

Rounds 9 and 10 continued much the same and in the final minute of the 10th the referee looked as if he took a point from the South African for consistently pushing away. Then just before the final bell for the round, the ring doctor was called over to check on a cut sustained above the right eye of Mikhail. He was allowed to continue into the championship rounds but very little changed in terms of the style of fight the Ekaterinburg audience was viewing. With 50 seconds left of round 11, Aloyan was deducted a point for holding.

They made it to the final bell and, politely applauded by an uninfused crowd, the final scorecards came back as 114-111 (x2) and 114-110 all for Tete, and still the WBO champion said post-fight,

‘‘It was a good fight. Aloyan proved he is one of the best, that’s why he went the full 12 rounds with me…The jab is always working for me. My corner is always telling me to use my legs, because my legs are also my defence so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.’’

And who does he hope to fight in the final four of the WBSS,

‘‘I’m wishing Ryan Burnett can win. I’ve always wanted to fight him. I believe he is going to win in his next fight and I will meet him in the semi-final.’’

Tete, as mentioned, now goes on to the semi-final stage to face either, WBA champion, Ryan Burnett or, Nonito Donaire, who fight on the 3rd November in Glasgow.

Andrew Tabiti vs. Ruslan Fayfer

Getting the second season of the cruiserweights underway, the two unbeaten fighters, Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, 16-0 (13KOs) and Ruslan Fayfer 23-0 (16KOs) both decided on a tentative start. Fayfer took a more offensive, come-forward approach but both boxer’s proved risk-averse through rounds 1-3.

It was clear which of the two trains out of Mayweather’s boxing gym, but Tabiti’s quick hands weren’t matched with volume. A number of times through the middle rounds, ‘The Beast’ landed a power shot, but struggled to follow it up before being tied up by the Russian or even put off by his own caution. By round 7, and by now as ugly as a fight can get, it was clear Ruslan was struggling too figure out his American foe. Pre-fight, the Russian said he was the more experienced of the two, but the lack of quality in his past opponents was telling.

Andrew’s punch-output had slowed right down by the 8th, Fayfer was forcing the pace of the bout but continued to struggle to land anything of significance, despite finishing round 8 on top. A similar pattern followed right through to the final bell. Fayfer rushed in, Tabiti evaded the attack, but neither gave the fans much to enjoy. With 33 seconds of the 12th, Ruslan was deducted a point for continuously leading with the head, it set a fire in the Russian to go all out but Tabiti was savvy enough to see the round out.

A was a fight so awkward, it was anyone’s to win. But it was ‘The Beast’ who took it, 116-111, 115-112, 114-113 all in favour of the Vegas fighter. Tabiti spoke to Barry Jones post-fight,

‘‘I love Russia, I love coming out here fighting, it was a wonderful experience. The guy was awkward, but he came and brought the fight. He seen I had the speed on him, so he wanted to make it awkward and dirty.’’

‘‘My game plan was to last the beginning of the fight and then later on try and kick it up.’’

And who would he prefer to fight in the semi’s,

‘‘I think Dorticos has the more credible name, so I’d like to fight him.’’

Tabiti now progresses to the semi-finals where he will fight either, defeated semi-finalist of last season’s WBSS, Yunier Dorticos or, Mateusz Masternak, who meet next week in Orlando.

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WBSS Preview: Tete vs. Aloyan; Tabiti vs. Fayfer


By: Ste Rowen

After last weekend’s fights in Yokohama, the World Boxing Super Series for the bantamweights and super-lightweights is well underway. Naoya Inoue and Kiryl Relikh, progressed through to their respective weight-class tournaments and this weekend in Ekaterinburg, Russia the second bantamweight quarter-final between WBO champion, Zolani Tete and Russian, Mikhail Aloyan takes place for the right to face either WBA champ, Ryan Burnett or Nonito Donaire at the semi-final stage.

Tete, the South African responsible for the quickest knockout in world title fight history (11-second wipe-out of Siboniso Gonya) shot himself into the wider audience’s view after he defended his IBF super-flyweight title for the first time, against Paul Butler, stopping the challenger in eight rounds.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Zolani decided against chasing unification, opting to have two homecoming bouts, returning to England 12 months on from the Butler win, and seek out the best at bantamweight. He would eventually achieve his aim of becoming a two-weight world champion after that same record-breaking Gonya KO meant Tete became the new WBO world champion, putting the rest of the division on notice.

Despite an underwhelming 12-round decision, first defence over Omar Andres Navaez, the South African southpaw, speaking at Thursday’s press conference, is confident he can score the knockout this Saturday,

‘‘As a world champion you need to adjust and adapt in each and every style that a boxer brings…Aloyan is one of the best fighters in the Super Series. I believe it’s going to be a good fight and definitely I’m gonna take him out…Whatever he is bringing, it won’t have any place to stay.

My focus is to become a unified world champion.’’

Zolani, 27-3 (21KOs) currently on a run of 11 straight wins, even set his future ambitions further than the WBSS,
‘‘After I win all the belts in the bantamweight division, we’ll move up to the next division.’’

Tete’s opponent on Saturday night has an interesting history. Born in Armenia but raised and fought for Russia in the amateurs, Mikhail Aloyan, 4-0 (0KOs), was an outstanding amateur picking up gold medals in the 2009 & 2016 World Championships. Aloyan briefly added the 2016 Olympic silver medal until tests came back positive for the stimulant, Tuaminoheptane and the Court of Arbitration of Sports ruled on stripping the silver from Mikhail.

Though the Russian maintains his innocence, he hasn’t let it affect his acceleration through the early stages of his pro career. Also a southpaw, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist has fought twice as at super-fly and twice at bantamweight, winning minor titles in both divisions. The combined record of his last three opponents is 46-1-2 (19KOs) and curiously, all four have so far all been from Nicaragua.

Aloyan, wasn’t allowing Tete’s talk of knockouts distract him at the press conference,

‘‘The fact that this fight takes place in Ekaterinburg, means we have an opportunity to bring out the best of our performance.

He is a strong opponent because he is a world champion…I’m not as experienced as a professional but we will see what happens on October 13th.’’

‘‘I will not speak about my opponent’s weaknesses.’’

The second season of the WBSS cruiserweights also gets going at the Ekaterinburg Expo, as unbeaten, American prospect, Andrew Tabiti steps into the ring with fellow undefeated fighter, Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0 (16KOs).

Tabiti, 16-0 (13KOs) was last seen sharing the ring with career-heavyweight, Lateef Kayode. An opponent ‘The Beast’ dispatched with inside 5 rounds with a precision right hand uppercut. It put to bed any demons left behind Tabiti’s controversial decision victory over cruiserweight veteran, Steve Cunningham on the Mayweather/McGregor undercard last year.
On Thursday, Tabiti, fighting outside of the US for the first time, was in confident mood,
‘‘I’m coming to this man’s country and take what he has. I’m on my A-game, I hope he’s on his A-game. It doesn’t matter how many fights he’s had; the quality of opponent is not anything for me to be afraid of.
I’m just coming to knock this guy out, that’s the only thing I’m worried about.’’

Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0(16KOs), born and raised in Russia, has mainly fought his career out above the 200lb limit, but in 23 fights, has yet to fight an outstanding name. The 27-year-old was taking a reserved approach in front of the media,
‘‘The fact I have more fights than my opponent does give me the ground to say I do have more experience than him…I am not going to reveal anything, I will show everything during the fight.
Everything you should see, you will see on Saturday night.’’

Saturday night’s winner of the cruiserweight showdown will fight either Yunier Dorticos or Mateusz Masternak.

The other WBSS cruiserweight quarter finals are as follows;
Yunier Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak – 20th October 2018
Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Mikaelian – 10th November 2018
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov – 10th November 2018

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Andrew Tabiti: “I’m Just Ready For Anybody”


By: Sean Crose

Last summer, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather –Conor McGregor superfight, a cruiserweight battle occurred between longtime respected veteran Steve Cunningham and rising undefeated star Andrew Tabiti. Entering the ring with a record of 13-0, it might have been assumed that Tabiti, who had stopped all but two of his previous opponents within the distance, would be sure to go in for the kill. That wasn’t the case, though. Rather than get wrapped up in the moment, Tabiti outfought and outskilled his older foe. Cunningham was a crafty vet, after all. What’s more, he had the power to knock down the gigantic Tyson Fury just a few years earlier.

“I could tell he had a high guard,” Tabiti says of Cunningham. “He wasn’t really punching.” Tabiti, perhaps more than most young fighters, knows the value of playing it smart in and out of the ring if one wants to get ahead. Not that he isn’t exciting. Those fast hands and that thudding power have made the Las Vegas native a man to watch.


Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions

Now Tabiti finds himself about to face to another cruiserweight, this time on the eleventh of May, in the guise of 21-2 Lateef Kayode. The bout, which will go down in Vegas, will be aired live on Bounce TV and will mark the first time Tabiti has fought since the victory over Cunningham. “I’m just ready for anybody,” he says. Right now, Tabiti’s goal is to become a champion at cruiserweight and move on to bigger – and more lucrative – adventures. For the man makes it clear he will “eventually go up to heavyweight.”

At the moment, though, the cruiserweight division awaits, a division which is in the midst of a highly regarded tournament to see who the top fighter of the weight class is. It is a tournament which Tabiti didn’t find himself in. Not that the man minds. In fact, Tabiti is up front about where he stood on the ladder while the tournament was being formed. “To be honest,” he says. “I wasn’t a legitimate cruiserweight…at the time I wasn’t top tier.”

The tournament which Tabiti hasn’t been a part of will be over soon enough. At the moment, Tabiti says, he’s “favoring Usyk,” as in Oleksandr Usyk, the 14-0 Ukrainian powerhouse, who will be facing the 26-0 Murat Gassiev in the final battle for division supremacy, which will go down at a yet to be decided upon date. Like many cruiserweights before him, Usyk, should he win, may well make the jump to heavyweight shortly thereafter. So, does Tabiti feel the moment’s top crop of cruisers may elude him? “It’s a chance Gassiev may stay,” he says. “Then again, I see them both moving up.”

Once again, however, Tabiti is unperturbed. As he says: “All blessings come from being patient.”

Some of Tabiti’s confidence may well come the fact that he’s a member of the famed “Mayweather Promotions,” named after the man himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr. “I’ve got a good promoter,” Tabiti says of Floyd. “He puts fighters in a position to win titles…It’s a blessing.” Does the Vegas native ever see Floyd, one of the city’s most famous citizens? “I see him time to time,” Tabiti says. “He’s a man of his word.”

Although there had been word that problems existed between Tabiti and his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, before the Cunningham fight, it was the senior Mayweather who was in his fighter’s corner that night, just as he had been before. “I’m still trained by his (Floyd’s) dad,” Tabiti says,” though he adds the elder Mayweather isn’t around at the moment due to a death in the family. The duties of the senior Mayweather, then, are currently being conducted by Otis Pimpleton.

Despite his rising star and power backing, Tabiti is, in essence, a simple man. He doesn’t swear. He’s not flashy and he’s not pushing for shock value. “I live a low key lifestyle,” he says. “I just want to be humble. The universe is watching what you give in and what you give back.” Tabiti’s background was a rough one, though one which he didn’t let swallow him whole. “I had a tough upbringing,” he says. “At one point I was staying with a church family.” A church family that didn’t have much patience for things like swearing. Such are the experiences Tabiti has taken into his adult life. It’s the sense of maturity that sets the man apart from other rising stars.

While other up and coming fighters make it a point to be as brash and outspoken as possible, Tabiti says he doesn’t “really like conflict too much.” Not that he minds getting in the ring to prove who the best competitor is. I ask the six foot one inch fighter about the challenges he might face should he move up to heavyweight. This is a supersized era, after all, with enormous individuals like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and the aforementioned Tyson Fury dotting the landscape.

“No, not at all,” he responds after I inquire whether or not he’s concerned of the size of possible future opponents. “I’m very fast,” he adds. “It’s defense. Defense is a major key.” As is confidence, something the twenty eight year old clearly has in abundance. “Boxing’s a technique,” he says. Boxing can also be quite lucrative…if one is able to move onto the upper echelons. That’s something that Tabiti feels can come in time. At the moment, though, the fighter will focus on his May bout with Kayode. Should he prove successful, the spotlight will inevitably, become brighter, something it looks like Tabiti may well be prepared for.

“I like Showtime,” he says of what is now the premiere cable network to broadcast boxing. Tabiti’s showcased his skills on the channel before. Will he do so again in the near future? “Hopefully, the next fight,” he says.

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Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV Undercard Results: Davis and Badou Jack Win by Stoppage, Tabiti Decisions Cunningham


By: William Holmes

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV attraction between all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC super star Conor McGregor.

Fight fans were treated to three bouts on the televised portion of the pay per view card, including two world title fights.


Photo Credit: USA Today

The first fight of the night was between Andrew Tabiti (14-0) and Steve Cunningham (29-8-1) in the cruiserweight division.

Cunningham is a former world champion in the cruiserweight division and Tabiti is prized prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable.

Cunningham had the height advantage and looked to be in great shape. Tabiti was able to stay out of range in the first two rounds, but Cunningham was the more aggressive fighter and forced Tabiti to tie up often. Tabiti’s jab was landing in the second round and he landed a hard right uppercut at the end of a combination.

Cunningham’s punches were missing with increasing regularity from the first round to the fourth round and Tabiti remained an elusive target. Tabiti’s hands were faster and more accurate but Cunningham’s chin was able to take his best punches.

The fifth round featured two blistering combinations by Tabiti in the center of the ring. Tabiti was able to land his jab to the body and head of Cunningham in the sixth round. Cunningham’s frustration with his inability to mount an offensive attack continued into the seventh round.

Cunningham, to his credit, still came forward in the eighth round despite clearly being behind on the cards. He was able to force a few exchanges but Tabiti got the better of them.

Cunningham needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but that knockout never came.

Andrew Tabiti remained undefeated with a decision victory with scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 100-90.

Nathan Cleverly (30-3) faced Badou Jack (21-1-2) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Title.

Jack established himself as the more accurate puncher in the first round and was able to do land some good body shots in the opening round. Cleverly looked like the bigger fight and was able to land some hard straight right hands at the end of the round.

Jack continued his body attack in the second round and he was able to land hard right uppercuts in the third round. Jack’s assault was more vicious in the fourth round and he had Cleverly’s nose busted from numerous uppercuts and left hooks.

Jack came out aggressively in the fifth round and obliterated Cleverly from corner to corner. Cleverly was taking several hard combinations without answering back. The referee let Jack batter Cleverly perhaps longer than he should have, but he finally stopped it near the end of the round.

Badou Jack wins the WBA Light Heavyweight by TKO at 2:47 of the fifth round.

Afterwards, Badou Jack called out Adonis Stevenson.

The final undercard bout was between Gervonta Davis (18-0) and Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1). This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Super Featherweight Title but Davis failed to make the contracted weight.

Fonseca looked awkward in the first round and Davis was able to land hooks and uppercuts to the body. Fonseca ate some heavy combinations in the second round but was able to take some of Davis’ best shots and reply with punches of his own.

Fonseca kept a high guard in the second round but had to absorb blows to the body. Davis began to showboat in the fourth round and landed a few left hooks after putting his hands behind his back, but Fonseca connected with enough punches to maybe steal the round.

Fonseca pressed the action in the fifth round and landed some good combinations to the head and body. Davis was telegraphing his punches and may have lost this round solely based on Fonseca’s activity.

Davis stopped showing off in the sixth round and stuck to a traditional boxing stance and was able to land sharp jabs and hard straight left hands. Davis finally stunned Fonseca in the seventh round with hard hooks but Fonseca stayed on his feet.

Davis opened up the eighth round with a stunning straight left hand and had Fonseca stuck in the corner. He connected with a left hook that may have landed on the back of Fonseca’s head, but Fonseca went to the mat holding the back of his head and was unable to get up.

Gervonta Davis wins by knockout at 0:39 of the eighth round.

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