WBSS on DAZN Preview: Taylor vs. Martin; Burnett vs. Donaire
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night two of Britain’s best take to the ring for the World Boxing Super Series as 140lb number two, seed Josh Taylor of Scotland, fights undefeated American, Ryan Martin; while WBA bantamweight champion, Ryan Burnett of Belfast, steps in with future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire. Watch the fight on DAZN.
Whether watching at home or inside the arena you’re sure to remember at least one thing from Josh Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series quarter-final vs. Ryan Martin, and that’s noise. When the ‘Tartan Tornado’ appears to the crowd for the first time on Saturday, the Scottish crowd will erupt. Covering Martin, in a cacophony of sound he’s never felt before as a boxer.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Taylor’s professional-breakout fight was in his five-round dismantling of super-lightweight gatekeeper, Dave Ryan at Meadowbank Sports Arena, in 2016 and since then, five out of Taylor’s six fights have taken place either in Glasgow or his home city of Edinburgh. The fan-base has grown and with it, the anticipation of what the Scottish fans will bring.
Saturday nights venue, SSE Hydro was the base for the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, where Taylor won gold, so it stands to reason that he’ll be forever linked with the venue,
‘‘The Hydro is now my home. Every time I fight there I’m getting stronger and stronger and the fans are getting bigger and noisier.’’
The ‘Tartan Tornado’s’ last two fight have taken place at the SSE. Five months ago, the Scottish southpaw went head to head with former world champion, Viktor Postol in his most important professional fight to date.
His performance matched the event, as Taylor, now 13-0 (11KOs) battled through 12 exhausting rounds, dropping the Ukrainian in the 11th, to add another notch to his record and emerge as arguably, the biggest threat outside of the current 140lb world champions,
‘‘My style is based on hand speed and timing. I can punch hard as well…I know if I’m hitting you, I’m putting you down or hurting you. I don’t think there’s anybody that boxes the way I box.’’
‘‘I’ve seen every type of style, every type of fighting you can imagine… My ambition is to move forward, win this tournament and become world champion.’’
Before entering the WBSS, Taylor was making his way through the WBC rankings to eventually face one of the organisation’s belt holders, Jose Ramirez or already confirmed semi-finalist, Regis Prograis. If he wins on Saturday though, he’ll instead face the recently crowned IBF champion, Ivan Baranchyk for that title and a place in the final to fight either Kiryl Relikh or Prograis.
Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin has fluctuated between lightweight and super-lightweight throughout his pro career. Currently 22-0 (12KOs) and training out of Big Bear under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez, Martin has won minor lightweight titles as an amateur and as a professional.
Towards the end of last year, he picked up the 135lb WBA Inter-Continental strap with a split decision victory over Francisco Rojo; as well as already being the owner of the WBC ‘Americas’ lightweight belt. However, his two fights this year came at the weight class above including a shut-out points victory over Briedis Prescott in May.
Though 22 bouts in, his professional record has been steady in its progress; Martin’s not the type of man who takes any opponent lightly,
‘‘I know Josh Taylor’s a very good boxer, I’m the most athletic, I have the most speed and that’s gonna make the most difference throughout the tournament.’’
‘‘I’ve heard the crowd in Scotland is gonna be a very different atmosphere than I’ve ever been in but I’m gonna soak it all in.’’
Although ‘Blue Chip’ won’t have fought in an atmosphere as raucous as Saturday’s is expected to be, he’s no stranger to performing on the big stage having already performed at venues such as, the StubHub Center in LA, Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena and, probably the most famous boxing venue of all, Madison Square Garden,
‘‘I’m a boxer-puncher. I love to entertain, I love to excite people…Nobody wants to see a boring fighter.’’
‘‘As fighter’s every time we step in the ring we’re risking something so why not risk it on the big stage.
As mentioned earlier, the man to emerge victorious this weekend will go on to face Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-finals, who last week scored a 7th round stoppage victory over Anthony Yigit.
Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire
The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final sees WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett step into the ring with ‘The Filipino Flash’, Nonito Donaire. The winner will progress to the semis to fight WBO champion, Zolani Tete.
No one can say the 26-year-old Ryan Burnett hasn’t earned his place at the top table of 118lb boxers. The Belfast man has, on numerous occasions, been given reasons to quit boxing, his story, which he outlines in another brilliantly put together Super Series documentary here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu4AaO7UGlc isn’t your regular hard knocks tale.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
He’s overcome neurological issues that he was told were career-ending and been homeless; all before even catching his break in the sport.
‘‘I’ve got a hunger that I know no one in there has.’’
‘‘For a year and a half, we learnt how the brain worked and we started pursuing it to prove that my health wasn’t in any danger…I just always had that mad belief that I am meant to be a world champion.’’
Since around 2014, Burnett has been trained by Adam Booth and since then, established a record of 19-0 (9KOs) which, most significantly, includes becoming a world champion in 2017, for the first time via a completely dominant decision victory over Lee Haskins, and then immediately unifying the WBA and IBF championships with a tough but unanimous points win over Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
Before the WBSS second season fighters was announced, Burnett decided to drop the IBF strap, therefore avoiding a fight with WBSS semi-finalist, and now IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez. Instead, Ryan’s one bout so far in 2018 was a fairly routine victory over Venezuelan, Yonfrez Parejo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker.
Like all of the top seeds across the Super Series, Burnett recognises the pressure on his shoulders, especially when he’s going up against the power that his Filipino foe is known for,
‘‘I don’t need to be nasty to people, I’m able to switch it like a light switch and I turn into a different person…I picked Nonito because, the better the fighter, the better I become.’’
‘‘We all dream of these moments of fighting the best and becoming the best in the world and the World Boxing Super Series are making that come true.’’
Currently 38-5 (24KOs), Nonito Donaire’s, last fight was also his latest defeat as ‘The Filipino Flash’ was beaten by Burnett’s fellow Northern Irishman, Carl Frampton.
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, the four-weight world champion was asked about any similarities between the two men,
‘‘They (Frampton & Burnett) are similar because they’ve both got big balls. They’re there to fight and that’s something that I like… I’m just grateful to be in the ring with a great man.’’
Nonito hasn’t fought at bantamweight since 2011 when he scored a unanimous decision over, a then 35-0-2, Omar Narvaez. That night in New York he became a two-weight world champion, picking up the WBC & WBO straps as well as improving his own record to 27-1.
He then shifted his sights to super-bantam and eventually the featherweight division where he accomplished world honours in both, but by his own admission, he didn’t feel all together comfortable fighting at the 126lb limit, and the tournament has given him the opportunity to add one more achievement to his already impressive accolades.
‘‘I’ve always come to fight the best out there…I’ve achieved pretty much everything in boxing…The only thing I haven’t done in boxing is become the undisputed champion, and that’s the one thing that’s given me this fire.’’
It’s beneficial for both sides as well though as Donaire’s legendary status adds an extra bit of flavour to an already appetising class of fighters that has been whittled down to Naoya Inoue, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete.
‘‘This is a moment for me to rise. When one is driven to a point, there’s only one way to go and that’s going up and that’s rising beyond what I’m capable of.’’
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DAZN Undercard Results: Taylor Dominates Serrano
By: Sean Crose
DAZNs main undercardcard from Boston’s TD Garden arena on Saturday began with England’s 24-0 Kid Galahad making his US debut against fellow featherweight, Toka Kahn Clary; 25-1, of Rhode Island, in a scheduled 12 round affair.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
The first portion of the bout was surprising in that Clary, trained by Freddie Roach, was landing more effectively than his European adversary. Perhaps even stranger, Galahad never seemed to be able to get into a rhythm with the counter punching southpaw. Galad gained steam at the end, though perhaps not enough to warrant the UD win he was rewarded with.
Next up, the 26-4-1 Tevin Farmer defended his junior lightweight title against the 22-2 James Tennyson in a scheduled 12 round affair. Farmer looked like he was having a hard time with Tennyson’s pressure but then dropped his man with a body blow in the fourth. Tennyson beat the count but it was a surprising turn from Farmer, a man not known for power punching.
Yet Farmer continued to surprise by stopping his man with yet another body shot the following round.
Afterwards, Katie Taylor entered the ring to the loud jubilation of the many Irish fans in the crowd. Taylor, 10-0 was then set to face off against the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano in a 10 round bout for her lightweight titles.
Taylor easily dominated the first two rounds with sound footwork and effective aggression. Things essentially stayed the same through to the midpoint of the fight. Serrano did so little that by the 7th Taylor literally motioned her forward. Later in the round, Serrano actually threw punches at air, inches away from a relatively stationary target. it was a truly dreadful affair. Taylor couldn’t finish Serrano…and Serrano simply refused to fight.
Taylor walked out with a UD win after the bell mercifully sounded to end the final round.
Katie Taylor: “I Am Loving The Pro Game”
By: Sean Crose
“I’m so excited about this fight. The fact it’s in Boston means it’s going to be like a home from home for me in there with all the Irish support.” These words, which come from the mouth of Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the women’s WBA and IBF lightweight titlist, make one thing clear – she’s looking forward to facing the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano at Boston’s TD Center Saturday night on the undercard of the Demtrius Andrade – Walter Kautondokwa middleweight title bout. This weekend will mark the 10-0 Taylor’s third fight stateside and will be aired live via DAZN streaming service.
Photo Credit: Katie Taylor Twitter Account
Taylor is quick to credit promoter Eddie Hearn with a good portion of her success. “Eddie was as excited as me about the future,” she says, “and now I have the chance to be a part of the new venture with DAZN too which is great for me.” The former Olympic Gold medalist isn’t one to rest upon her laurels. “I am developing a fan base in the US as well as back home in Ireland and the UK,” she claims. “It’s such an exciting time for me and I am loving the pro game.”
Things have clearly gone well for Taylor since she turned pro back in 2016. “I love fighting in the US and this is a really big fight with a big name on a huge platform in Boston and on DAZN,” she says. “These are the kinds of fights that I am in the sport for.” Fighting in Boston, with its huge Irish American population, will unquestionably give the 32-year-old a boost.
As Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing states: “Katie Taylor believes another show-stealing performance in her WBA and IBF World Lightweight title defense against Cindy Serrano at the TD
Garden on Saturday night, live on DAZN can make her become a household name in Boston.”
Things haven’t always been easy on Taylor. A documentary, “Katie” details the fighter’s struggles both in the ring and with her family. With that in mind, the fighter has been able to forge herself a perfect record in the nearly two years since turning pro and has no intention of letting up as she watches her star begin to rise. Serrano, however, clearly has other plans. The Brooklyn based fighter hasn’t lost since 2012. She’s also the sister of noted champion Amanda Serrano, owner of the WBO women’s super-lightweight title.
Josh Taylor Confident Ahead of World Boxing Super Series Debut
By: Michael Kane
The World Boxing Super Series rolled into Glasgow today for a press conference ahead of their November 3rd show at the SSE Hydro Arena.
Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KO’S) defends his WBA ‘Unified’ championship against former multiple division world champion and legend of the sport Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KO’s)
However all eyes today were on a boxer, in which Scottish hopes of another world champion rest on, Prestonpans Josh Taylor.
Taylor (13-0, 11 KO’s) takes on American Ryan Martin (22-0, 12 KO’s) in a quarter final tie, with Taylor defending his WBC Silver Super Lightweight Title.
Taylor will be returning to a familiar venue having fought his last two fights at the Hydro, beating Winston Campos by 3rd round TKO in March and then an unanimous decision over former world champion Viktor Postol in June. Taylor also won gold at the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014 as an amateur.
When asked about appearing at the Hydro Taylor said, “Its brilliant, I feel the Hydro is now my home, I’ve had such great success there since 2014.
“My biggest victories as a professional have been in the Hydro as well, so it definitely feels like my home. Looking forward to get travelling, going around the world as part of this tournament and seeing different places.”
What does Taylor expect to face from Martin?
“I’ve only seen bits and bobs of him, I’ve studied enough of him to know what I need to watch for.
“I know he’s a very well rounded fighter, got fast hands, good defensively. Good variation of punches and knows his way around the ring. He’s obviously got power as well although his record doesn’t say, only got 12 stoppages in his 22 wins.
“I know he’s going to throw punches and be strong and I’ll have my hands full. I’m fully confident I’m going to come out on top.”
Taylor continued to say how he feels great in training and more settled.
“The way I’ve been performing in the gym, I’m more settled now, got myself my own place down in London. So I’m settled, happy and I’m firing in the gym.
“I feel this is the best shape and condition I’ve been in since I turned professional, so feeling really confident.”
Taylor went on to say how he feels invincible fighting in front of his own fans.
“I think it’s brilliant, I don’t think there is anybody that will beat me in front of those fans at the Hydro.
“The atmosphere they make, the noise they make and the support they give me, they throw every single punch with me. So there is no way anybody will beat me in the Hydro, definitely no!”
There are a host of quality Super Lightweight fighters in the tournament, Regis Prograis, former world champion Terry Flanagan and WBA champion Kiryl Relikh. Does Taylor fear any of them?
“I’m not really fussed about any of the opposition. I feel I can beat every single one of them that’s in this competition.
“With that being said, they’re all good fighters, with good amateur careers and very tough fighters. They’re all undefeated, I think. Yeah it’s stiff opposition but I’m fully confident I’m going to come away with the trophy.”
With the World Boxing Super Series being a tournament, Taylor already knows who he could face in the semi finals should he over come Martin. He will face the winner of Ivan Baranchyk v Anthony Yigit who are fighting for the vacant IBF world championship.
Does Taylor have a preference?
“I don’t care. I think Baranchyk will probably get through that and if so I’m confident I can win that.
“And if Yigit wins it I know I will win that fight as well. I’ve had experience of him in the ring as a professional and experience of him in the amateurs as well. So I’m fairly confident of winning that fight so I’m not bothered who I face.”
With all indications pointing to a packed Hydro Arena backing Taylor, few would bet against him beating Martin and making it to the semi final for a chance at his first world title shot.
The hopes of Scotland rest on his shoulders to add another world champion to a list that includes Benny Lynch, Ricky Burns, Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan.
Scotland’s Sensational Seven
By: Oliver McManus
Scotland has a proud history of fighters and I’m not just talking your modern day Ricky Burns, the last superfluous talent hailing from north of the border to hold a world title, but look back through the time-honoured history of boxing and you’ll see, again and again, the burning blood of a Scotsman – Benny Lynch, Ken Buchanan, Jim Watt, Alex Arthur, Jackie Patterson to name just a few – so who could be next to stoke the fires of such a fiercely patriotic nation?
Well the immediate choice that springs to mind, perhaps patently obvious to many, is Josh Taylor who, for a long time now, has had, not just Scotland, but much of the world set on notice as to his sublimely ridiculous boxing ability.
The Super Lightweight has a world title of his own firmly on the horizon with his participation in the 2018/19 World Boxing Super Series potentially resulting in three of the sport’s most prestigious rewards belonging to The Tartan Tornado come the end of 2019.
One of the purest talents in boxing at the moment, Taylor’s rise to the top of the 140lb division has been as quick as it was predictable and his ability to dictate the pace of bout from the centre of the ring, utilising the full area of the canvas, ensures that he always looks in full control – even against Viktor Postol when the Ukrainian rallied forward, Taylor was able to remain calm and collected.
And, talking of Viktor Postol, that fight seemed to be a potentially defining moment in the development of the 27 year old with the bout being a perfect display of timely match-making which, whilst far from the most complete performance, produced plenty of aggressive intent – Taylor kept his left foot on the outside of Postol’s lead leg, allowing him the freedom of movement not often allowed to southpaws and, indeed, a failure to do this from Terry Flanagan saw him embroiled in a firefight with Maurice Hooker earlier in the year.
Simple things but they don’t half make life easier when done well.
Looking towards Josh’s immediate future, specifically the WBSS, then you would say it is hard to see who, from the chosen eight competitors, has the capability of beating him. Regis Prograis is the one who would come closest but you’d still put good money on the 2014 Commonwealth gold medallist to do the job and, equally, to do it in style.
From the established contender to the emerging talent and I’m actually going to double up on this category with both Willy Hutchinson and Lee McGregor already looking like a couple of classy prospects with big futures ahead.
McGregor has had a torrid time out of the ring with three family deaths last year but, in spite of all that, the bantamweight is refusing to let his motivation waver with a renewed desire to fulfil his potential and make his family proud.
With Shane McGuigan in the corner it’s not hard to see where the 21 year old gets his grit and determination from with McGregor taking his, relatively, limited amateur experience and continually learning on the job but learn he does with each fight marking a clear progression in his ring maturity.
Against Goodluck Mrema in June we saw a calculated display against a vastly more experienced competitor as Lee immediately controlled the bout with a peppering left jab from his crouched stance before piecing together some well-thought-out three, four punch combinations to stop Mrema in the fourth round – a fourth stoppage from four fights – to claim the IBF Youth title.
Evidently still in the early phase of his career, you’d like to see him cut off the ring a bit more and press the tempo a bit more but that’s something that will come when he gets in the ring with a higher of calibre of opponent so it’s more of a nitpick than any major concern but, certainly, it’s all looking good for Lightning as he looks to make a flashing impact on the bantamweight scene.
If we then move up to the light-heavyweight division you’ll find Hutchinson campaigning under, Frank Warren’s, Queensbury Promotions banner with the Carstairs-resident possessing a five and 0 record just 10 months into his career.
Having started life in the paid ranks as part of the, ambitious, Hayemaker-Ringstar platform, the move to Warren coincides with a readiness to start challenging for titles of some sort or other and, like with many, his biggest learning fight came against the experienced Adam Jones.
Jones, 7-32-6 at the time, is one of the durable, awkward journeyman in and around the division and has caused issues for more than a handful of prospects – Dan Azeez, Andre Sterling, Charlie Schofield, Fred Evans, Paul Upton, the list goes on and on – but the, relative, threat of Jonesy was nullified pretty easily by Hutchinson who swept his way to a 40-37 decision win.
Freakishly lanky for a 175lb campaigner, Scotland’s most successful amateur boxer, has the requisite skill-set to enable him to box successfully at range as well up close and in the pocket but tends to start in a blistering fashion with an immediate flurry of punches being thrown in the direction of his opponent.
Strong punch variety, mixing up the shot selection and working the angles with a ramrod left jab followed by protruding shots to the head and body, Hutchinson has the firepower to finish off many an opponent and with many years ahead of him, he’s only going to get better.
Rising up the rankings across multiple weight divisions in the women’s game is, aptly named, Hannah Rankin who has already been making huge waves just seven fights into her professional career.
A former white collar boxer, Rankin made the transition into the professional game in May of last year and has had more than her fair share of issues when it comes to finding opponents – a shot at the Commonwealth title in April had to be cancelled due to visa issues but in the back half of 2018, Rankin’s stock has risen immeasurably.
Up against Saana Turunen, for the WBC Silver title, Rankin went 10 rounds for the first time in her career and did so with ease, picking off her Finish opponent comfortably and stamping her authority on the bout.
A world title shot followed a mere seven weeks later, again going up in weight, as she challenged Alicia Napoleon for the WBA Super Middleweight belt and – outrage about it not being shown on the Fox broadcast aside – despite losing the contest by a margin of six, eight and six rounds on the scorecards, Rankin put in one hell of a fight to emerge with a bolstered reputation.
Mentored by the great, Sweet D, Derek Williams and managed by Sam Kynoch, the professional bassoonist has invigorated a whole new demographic into the women’s boxing scene and with a comparatively small pool of fighters, the 28 year old has the class and pedigree to compete at the top for a long, long time.
Always producing fireworks, Rankin may very well be the spark that ignites a whole new generation of boxers to take risks, refuse to believe supposed limitations and just take the dive into the deep end.
It is curveball time because this next man isn’t Scottish but, well, rather a Congolese heavyweight based in Airdrie and coached by “Scotland’s most successful professional boxing gym” with Billy Nelson – so whilst Martin Bakole doesn’t strictly count, I wanted to include as much for how much Nelson rates him as anything else.
Those that have seen him spar Anthony Joshua repeatedly declare that Bakole is “a handful for any heavyweight” and Dave Alllen is one of those guys that think the IBO Inter-Continental champion has the attributes to go all the way to the top.
A fixture on Channel 5’s broadcasts, Bakole has hit his stride as of late with two successive first round knockouts – over Ali Baghouz and DL Jones, namely – and whilst a fair few are quick to denounce those wins as bums, nobodies, journeyman (Twitter is a wacky place), the manner in which Bakole has dispatched of the two was nothing short of destructive.
Indeed what’s more impressive is that he managed to beat Baghouz and Jones in a quicker fashion than two of the more hyped world heavyweight prospects in Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka. Despite that, Bakole has a distinct lack of attention being shone his way which, in part, is down to his quiet and humble demeanour.
Heavy-handed from the opening bell, Bakole comes out firing punches with bad intentions, immediately settling into a rhythm and looking to detonate the, almost, rhythmic right hook of his with consummate ease.
Martin Bakole is next out on October 13th, in London, with his proposed opponent being a former world title challenger – a chance, presumably, for Bakole to test himself against somebody of note.
Back from that minor detour to a full-blooded Scot and, quite possibly, the most Scottish boxer there is in Gary Rae and the bantamweight has found his a delightful consistency with his trainer, Mark Breslin, who has overseen his progression from an amateur all the way back in 2010.
A relationship that Gary describes as “like father and son”, the 30 year old thinks their bond is something that separates him from his rivals –
“For me it’s so important, the continuity, I need that and Mark has looked after me ever since I started… I’ve got a really good bond with Mark, there’s a mutual trust and a genuine care for each other. Not many others have that relationship with their coach, other than when they train with their dad, but I trust him completely and, hopefully, it’ll stand me in good stead”.
At 5ft9, Rae has had to adapt to punching downwards in the 122lb division but likes to stick to the basics, keeping his distance, landing some nice body shots before jumping into the inside and landing a quick 1, 2, 3. It’s this pattern of his that he uses to keep the fight flowing and in his control before the time comes to crank up the pressure.
As good as he is in the ring, for Gary the key strengths lie outside of it, in his mentality and the people around him and it’s his slightly obsessive personality that gives him the edge –
“I always want to do the best job and I will always give 100%, blood, sweat and tears. If I don’t win I want to be able to say it was by the better man not because I didn’t give everything and I will never cut corners, I need to know I’ve given myself the best opportunity.”
Fighting on October 6th, in Paisley, against Scott Allan for the vacant Celtic Bantamweight title, the full-time painter is looking to get the title under his belt in order to fulfil his aspirations of turning fully professional by the end of next year; with a desire to move through the weights and a determination stronger than iron, Gary “Bueno” Rae is the one guy you’d put your money on to deliver the goods.
And as if to bring this whole article full circle, dare we even rule out Ricky Burns? 50 fights as a professional and still going strong, in a division where one or two good wins can earmark you for a world title shot, Burns is well placed to chase those legacy-defining marquee fights as he enters the final stage of his career.
Looking at the landscape of Scottish boxing, you’d be hard-pressed to say the future doesn’t bode well with experienced wise guys and blazing young challengers carving their own paths through the divisions – some are seeking one last shot at glory, some are building to an ever-lasting legacy whilst others, well others, are just doing it for the love of the sport but every fighter starting out, winding up, has the proud blood of Scotland running through their veins with the knowledge that, win or lose, they’re giving it their all and doing a nation proud.
Sanjarbek Rakhmanov Prepares For “War” Against Marquis Taylor
By: Sean Crose
“When I was young,” welterweight Sanjarbek “War” Rakhmanov tells me, “twelve, thirteen years old, Las Vegas was my goal.” Not just Las Vegas, perhaps, but also the kinds of big fights that Las Vegas offers. If reaching great heights was the endgame, the undefeated Rakhmanov, can perhaps consider himself on his way. Not only does the native of Uzebekistan live and fight in Vegas now, he is also a part of Floyd Mayweather’s prestigious Money Team. “I have a good team,” he tells me. “I’m really proud of that.” So far, at least, the man is more than keeping up his end of the bargain. With an undefeated record and a fight coming up this Friday against Marquis Taylor at Vegas’ Sam’s Town, it’s clear the fighter is on a roll.
“He’s a tall guy,” Rakhmanov says of Taylor. “He’s boxing good…it will be a good fight. We have different styles.” The thought of fighting once again in his adopted hometown, where all but two of his previous fights have occurred, appeals to the twenty-eight-year-old. “I love that place,” he says of the boxing Mecca. Coming to America and being part of the Money Team was a sensible transition for the man after a standout armature career. “In my country,” he says, “I was number one in my division.” His pedigree was not something that went unnoticed for those eager to sign new talent.
And, sure enough, Rakhmanov has his sights set on the future. A man who knows how to pressure effectively, feint, and pick his shots for maximum effect. Rakhmanov claims that he and his team “have big goals.” He’s not about to rush things, however, as too many fighters tend to on the way up. “I think a couple of fights,” he says when I ask when he thinks he’ll be ready for a title shot. “Maybe two or three.” First, though, he’ll have to get past Taylor, a man with a solid 9-1 record of his own. Rakhmanov feels ready. “Training’s going very good,” he says.
The Money Team clearly has faith in its rising fighter. As it states on its website: “The welterweight prospect is patient and takes something away from each fight, enabling him to continue developing his technique and climb the ranks.” Rakhmanov doesn’t intend on letting anyone down. “I love my team,” he says. “I want to just say thank you to everyone whose supporting me,” he states later in the interview. If the fighter, who’s known as “War,” continues winning, he may start having a lot more people to thank.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, Porter, Beltran, Pedraza, Taylor, Roach, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 17th to July 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Miguel Rocha/Melissa Cervera/Luzairem Torres
Garcia and Porter Set to Battle for Vacant Welterweight Title
Welterweight stars and former 147-pound titleholders Danny “Swift” Garcia and “Showtime” Shawn Porter will square off for the vacant WBC Welterweight World Championship live on SHOWTIME Saturday, September 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will pit two of the division’s biggest names against each other, as the former unified 140-pound champion and former WBC welterweight titleholder Garcia meets the hard-charging fan favorite and former welterweight champion Porter. The consensus top-5 ranked welterweights face off for the WBC belt vacated by Keith Thurman as he rehabs from an elbow surgery.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, in association with DSG Promotions, start at $50 and go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Friday, July 27 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
“I’m excited and motivated to go in there and recapture what’s mine,” said Garcia. “The WBC title belongs to me. Come September 8, I’m going to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world. My loss is behind me and it’s given me a chip on my shoulder to run that extra mile and train even harder. I know that Shawn Porter is not on my level. I’m coming to fight him in the middle of the ring and I’m going to beat him at his game.”
“I’m going to force Danny Garcia to fight me, to be uncomfortable and to do things he’s not used to doing in a fight,” said Porter. “If Danny comes in being defensive and trying to hold, it may last a while. But if he comes and tries to trade with me and prove something to himself, then it will end fast. I think my style will give him problems and not allow him to pace himself. This is going to be an instant classic and I’m going to win and become champion once again.”
Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) has fought and defeated many of the most formidable opponents at 140 and 147-pounds spanning two generations-Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi and Lamont Peterson among them. Five of his six opponents in the welterweight division were world champions and 11 of his last 15 opponents were world champions or former world champions.
Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Garcia has made Brooklyn another home base, drawing big crowds in six fights since the arena opened in 2012 including his triumphs over Morales, Judah, Peterson and Malignaggi and a narrow decision loss to Keith Thurman in a blockbuster world title unification that aired on CBS. The 30-year-old put himself into position to earn back his WBC belt with a highlight-reel knockout of Brandon Rios in a title eliminator February on SHOWTIME.
Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) owns victories over four-division champion Adrien Broner and two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi over a career that has seen him develop a reputation as one of the sport’s most reliable all-action attractions. He lost a narrow decision to unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in a 2016 Fight of the Year candidate in Brooklyn but rebounded with two victories last year at Barclays Center. He scored a TKO victory against former welterweight champion Andre Berto in a welterweight title eliminator and followed it up with a 12-round decision over Adrian Granados.
The 30-year-old Porter, who was born in Akron, Ohio and now lives in Las Vegas, will fight at Barclays Center for the fifth time on September 8, including his title-winning performance against Devon Alexander that earned him the IBF title in 2013.
“Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter will be an action-packed, can’t-miss brawl,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This hugely important matchup is between two of the best welterweights in the world and pressure fighters with pleasing styles. Both Garcia and Porter have shined in memorable battles at Barclays Center and September 8 will be a tremendous night for boxing.”
“Danny Garcia against Shawn Porter in a welterweight title fight is a throwback to the era when you had Thomas Hearns battling Roberto Duran,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Their styles are tailor-made to create action in the ring. Porter comes forward and throws punches in bunches and Garcia doesn’t back up for anyone. This one will be decided in the center of the ring like all the great welterweight championship matches.”
“In 2018 SHOWTIME has delivered the biggest and most meaningful matchups in boxing, and Garcia vs. Porter is no exception,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “This will be our sixth fight this year featuring consensus top-10 welterweights, an unrivaled offering of elite fighters in boxing’s glamour division. Danny and Shawn have fought a combined 20 times on SHOWTIME and, along the way, have earned reputations as fighters who never back down from a challenge. I know they are both eager to earn another world title and send a statement to the other champions in the welterweight division.”
“I am pleased to welcome both Danny and Shawn back to Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global. “Both fighters have established a great following in Brooklyn, and September will be their biggest moment yet at Barclays Center. We are the number one venue for boxing, and are proud to host another world-class fight.”
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake Headline ESPN World Championship Doubleheader
Ray Beltran and Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe will head to the desert on Aug. 25 for their first title defenses.
In the main event at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Beltran, who resides in nearby Phoenix, will defend the WBO lightweight title against Jose “Sniper” Pedraza, a former junior lightweight world champion looking to bring another world title home to Puerto Rico. And, in the all-action co-feature, Dogboe will defend the WBO junior featherweight title against Hidenori Otake.
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m PST. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at www.gilariverarena.com.
“I’m living the dream. It feels great to be a world champion. I am very motivated to defend my title, and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home,” Beltran said. “Pedraza is a very skillful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us, but I’m not just fighting for the belt, I’m also fighting to keep it in Phoenix and my birthplace of Los Mochis, Mexico. This belt represents my family’s future, and it’s going nowhere.”
“This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. Beltran is a veteran and is finally a world champion after trying for so long,” Pedraza said. “I think for that reason it’s going to be a great fight because he will not want to lose the title. I’m 100 percent prepared for war.”
“I’m making my first defense against Otake, a Japanese warrior. It’s going to be fireworks,” Dogboe said. “I’m not stepping back. We’re on a quest to make this division exciting and great again. We’re shaking up the division. Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe, you all know I bring lightning and thunder!”
“I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who made this fight possible.
I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” Otake said. “In capturing the world title for my first time on Aug. 25, I’d like to show everyone that age does not matter. Since comments can reveal strategy, I can’t say anymore.”
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) is a story of perseverance who finally broke through as a world champion five month shy of his 36th birthday. In his last bout, an ESPN-televised contest against Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, Beltran dug deep to win the vacant WBO lightweight title by unanimous decision. The scores — 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112 — did not reflect the back-and-forth nature of the bout. Once Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner, Beltran had three previous cracks at a world title, most notably a 2013 draw against Ricky Burns that most ringside observers felt should have been a clear Beltran victory. The following year, he lost a wide unanimous decision to pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford, who had beaten Burns to win the WBO lightweight crown. Beltran, a Phoenix resident who is originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be fighting in his adopted home state for the first time since 2005.
Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto, is on a mission to become a two-weight world champion. A former IBF junior lightweight world champion who made two successful defenses of his title, he lost his belt via seventh-round TKO to Gervonta Davis in January 2017. Following a 14-month layoff, he moved up to the lightweight division and signed a promotional contract with Top Rank. Pedraza is 2-0 as a lightweight in 2018, winning an eight-round unanimous decision against Jose Luis Rodriguez on March 17 and a 10-round unanimous decision against Antonio Moran on June 9 as the co-feature to the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn welterweight title bout in Las Vegas.
Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) established himself as one of boxing’s best young champions in 2018 with a pair of signature victories. He knocked out Cesar Juarez in the fifth round on Jan. 6 in his hometown of Accra, Ghana, to win the interim WBO junior featherweight title. On April 28 in Philadelphia, Dogboe won the title in dramatic fashion, surviving a first-round knockdown to stop Jessie Magdaleno in the 11th round in a Fight of the Year contender. A 2012 Olympian, Dogboe had a rapid rise through the pro ranks, winning the WBO Oriental and WBO Africa featherweight titles en route to junior featherweight title contention. Boxing is in the Dogboe lineage as his father/trainer, Paul Dogboe, once served as a boxing coach and a physical instructor in the British Army.
Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs), from Tokyo, has been a professional for more than 12 years and is riding a nine-bout winning streak dating back to Nov. 22, 2014. On that day, he challenged Scott Quigg for the WBA super bantamweight title, dropping a unanimous decision. He won the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) title on March 17, 2017 with a unanimous decision against Jelbirt Gomera. Otake defended the OBPF title three times, most recently scoring a 10th-round TKO over Brian Lobetania in Tokyo on March 13.
Peter Taylor, Homeless and Jobless
The man who helped steer Ireland to its only Olympic gold medal in all sports this century is homeless and jobless, according to an interview in the Irish Independent.
Pete Taylor, father of 2012 Olympic champion and current IBF/WBA titlist Katie Taylor who defends her belts against Texas-born Kimberly Connor in London on Saturday, almost died in an attack at the Bray boxing club in Wicklow, Ireland last month.
A motive has yet to be established for the June 5 shooting in which Bobby Messett died after being shot in the head and Ian Britton sustained leg wounds.
Taylor was shot in the arm and the bullet exited through his chest.
He admitted that he thought he was dying. The gym has since been closed and the Gardai (Irish cops) are investigating the attack.
Taylor guided his daughter to 18 – 1 Olympic, 5 World, 5 European, 6 European Union and 1 European Games – gold medals in the Elite amateur ranks.
The Bray orthodox was ranked No. 1 in the World by AIBA for an unprecedented ten straight years between 2006 and 2016.
The father/daughter (boxing) relationship ended 2015 after Taylor’s marriage broke down. Taylor junior turned professional after a disappointing Rio 2016 for her and Irish boxing.
The so-called greatest Irish boxing team to compete at an Olympiad didn’t win any medals four years after claiming gold, silver and two bronze, courtesy of Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, at London 2012.
Taylor senior understands why people are apprehensive in his company.
“People are afraid,” he told Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent. “You’re like a bad disease to everybody. But they’re afraid because of what they’re reading and the slant being put on it. And what nobody’s saying is I only got shot because I ran at the gunman. The guard will tell you.
“I was plugging in my phone for the music to start the training session. And that’s when I heard bang, bang, bang… I had my back to everything and my first thought was it’s one of my air compressors backfiring. That was the kind of noise it was making.
“I actually turned around half in irritation to tell one of the lads to turn off the air compressor. And that’s when I saw the gunman at the door, just shooting randomly. In that first split-second, I thought it was a joke then, suddenly, I saw the fear on everybody’s faces.
You can read the full interview on below link.
Lamont Roach Wins by 6th Round TKO Over Deivi Julio Bassa
Lamont Roach, Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C. delivered a spectacular sixth-round technical knockout victory over Deivis Julio.
Bassa (20-5, 12 KOs) of Monteria, Colombia to capture the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Championship in the scheduled 10-round main event of the July 20 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Roach Jr. showed a more aggressive side of himself, dropping Bassa with a right hand at the end of the third round and punishing him until Bassa’s corner called a halt to the fight at the end of the sixth round.
“My mentality was to make a statement and to show that I belong at the top super featherweight division,” said Lamont Roach Jr. “Anybody that’s in my way is in trouble. There were no difficulties in him being a southpaw because we were coming off fighting a lefty in Orlando Cruz and we were preparing for the rematch. We also got great sparring against left-handed fighters, including Mike Reed. The WBO Super Featherweight Title will be on the line next week, so I’ll be taking a close look at that fight to see who wins.”
In the co-main event, Juan Sanchez (24-6-1, 11 KOs) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico scored an eight-round unanimous decision win against Florentino Perez (11-4-1, 7 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico in a featherweight battle. Sanchez won with scores of 76-75, 77-74, and 78-73.
Alexis Bastar (11-1-1, 5 KOs) of Cancun, Mexico defeated Rigoberto Nava (3-3-4) of Mexico City, Mexico in first televised bout. Bastar won with three scores of 57-56.
Roach, Jr. vs. Bassa was a 10-round fight for the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Cancun Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights took place on Friday, July 20, 2018 at Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Christopher Diaz Hopes to Become Puerto Rico’s Next World Champion
Undefeated Puerto Rican contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz exudes confidence just days away from his first world title opportunity. He is a student of Puerto Rico’s rich boxing lineage, and he will do whatever it takes to fulfill his dream of adding his name to the long list of world champions from the ‘Island of Enchantment.’
Diaz will fight Japanese veteran Masayuki Ito for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title on July 28 at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
“It’s time to show the world what I’m made of. Being able to fight for a world title is the dream of every boxer,” Diaz said. “I am prepared for my first chance to win a world title because I’ve been through many years of sacrifices, and I have waited all my life for this moment. Now the moment is here. I’m hungry and focused. On July 28, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion.”
Diaz (23-0, 15 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is entering his first world title match riding a four-bout knockout streak. The WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender, Diaz won the vacant NABO junior lightweight title last December with a third-round knockout of Bryant Cruz, knocking Cruz down five times en route to the stoppage. In his last bout, March 17 on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Diaz defeated Braulio Rodriguez via fourth-round TKO to earn the shot at the world title. For Diaz, this world title opportunity is a beacon of hope, as his home and most of his possessions were destroyed when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year.
“I have a tough fight against Masayuki Ito, but I am very focused. I know I have all of Puerto Rico in my corner,” Diaz said. “Without the support of my people, none of this would be possible. Thank you for always supporting me and sending me positive vibes. On July 28, my mission will be to bring the world title to the island.”
Ito (23-1-1, 12 KOs), from Tokyo, is the WBO’s No. 2 junior lightweight contender. He has won seven consecutive bouts since the lone defeat of his career, a 10-round majority decision to then-undefeated Rikki Naito in February 2015. Ito, who has fought all of his professional bouts in Japan, has won four of his past five bouts via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Lorenzo Villanueva in April of last year. In his last bout, on March 3 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ito stopped Vergil Puton in the ninth round.
Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Josh Taylor Beats Postol in Glasgow
By: Oliver McManus
JOSH TAYLOR’s rampant rise up the rankings in the super-lightweight division showed no sign of slowing on Saturday night as he fought Viktor Postol, in Glasgow, in a WBC final eliminator.
Promoted by Cyclone Promotions and live on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom, Taylor was in the toughest fight of his 13 bout professional career and against a granite-chinned Ukrainian, The Tartan Tornado would need to be on the top of his game in order to out-box the shrewd Iceman.
Postol was performing in only his second clash over the course of the last 24 months but there’s little doubting the quality of the 34 year old – now living in California – with the former WBC World champion claiming his crown via 10th round knockout against Lucas Matthysse; against Terence Crawford he extended the pound-for-pound great to the full 12 rounds but did little to threaten the reputation of Bud. Taylor, then, represents an immediate path back to world honours as The Iceman Cometh… to Glasgow, he cometh to Glasgow.
The fight started off with the Scottish southpaw and the orthodox-stance Ukrainian circling in the middle of the ring, Taylor punching high with his right jab – against an opponent taller than him – whilst Postol searched in an aggressive fashion, looking to land lunging punches.
Postol found moderate success with some round-the-guard right hands but nothing too concerning for the fans packed into the SSE Arena, left hands from Taylor were finding the body and into the second round, Postol lost his balance from a heavy-shot resulting in him momentarily on one leg.
These early stages of the fight witnessed a plethora of aggressive intent, promising intent, but an unpolished end-product.
Footwork was good from Taylor, keeping his lead left on the outside of Postol’s foot, allowing him the freedom of movement not often allowed to southpaws and the target was clear from Taylor. He was intent on working the body.
Towards the end of round two a cut opened up on the eye of Viktor Postol but it had very little impact going into the rest of the opening third with the continuous trade of punches occurring in the centre of the ring – Postol’s jab popped out less frequently but the pair landed a flurry of good punches each.
A HUGE left jab in the third round sent the crowd into ecstasy but the impact seemed relatively minimal on his experienced counterpart.
Both fighters looked to target the inside of one another, trying to fatigue the bodies but neither boxer was extended to discomfort with both men having periods of success, big shots landed by both with styles meshing to produce an aesthetically attractive fight.
A high tempo with heavy pressure bore great success transitioning into the second stanza of the fight, scampering towards Postol, switching stances and finding considerable success with his jab.
The Ukrainian, former champion, was working well himself, though, fighting from distance and keeping the threat of the, theoretical, challenger at bay. Taylor landed a fierce uppercut, followed by a sweeping left-hook, to render Postol visibly hurt and the first real sign of power-punching came from the home-favourite.
Confidence started to flow from Josh Taylor’s corner but the fight was still being taken at a pulse-shattering pace, and Postol began to emerge back into the contest with a continual jabbing presence as well as acute angle work ensuring that you couldn’t discount the Ukrainian.
Taylor began to look a bit nervous, Postol pushing the Scot back onto the ropes and landing big right hands of his own, snapping the head back of Josh. Both fighters were showing grit, each finding pockets of success.
The final quarter beckoned and the pace didn’t slow but the better work came from Viktor, working a nice short, chipped uppercut to keep Taylor in check. Postol looked tense but had a good work-rate.
Taylor, on the other hand, seemed more relaxed his posture and stance, more patient, and when he managed to open up the body of the Ukrainian he capitalised with punch after punch.
Into the ninth round Josh Taylor resumed his role as the aggressor with a serious of shots landing to the body of Postol – thrown with the full conviction of the Scotsman who twisted his whole body into each and every punch.
An unbelievable right hand connected from Josh but Viktor took it as though it was nothing, Taylor dropped down to the body, landing two, three right hands to the liver of Postol, landing with ease in front of a home crowd and leading the Ukrainian to resort to holding.
Overhand lefts with Postol in the neutral corner got the crowd on the feet and it seemed to hurt Viktor and Josh’s movement proved far superior, toying with his opponent, forcing his man onto a huge counter-hook.
Taylor took to the centre of the ring in the championship rounds, rallying off his previous success, and controlling the pace of the bout; both fighters returned to the jab looking to gain the final rounds on the judges’ scorecards.
A gigantic left hand in the 10th round sent Postol down to the canvas for the fourth time in his last two fights and he looked shocked, his legs began to betray him as Taylor showed superior stamina – despite never having been to 10 rounds before – a straight left hand to the temple of his opponent secured a 10-8 round.
This was the Josh Taylor that British fans have got used to and with that knockdown under his belt there was an air of belief from Josh but Postol returned with solid left hooks in the 11th round before returning to the middle of the ring, pawing left hands being thrown repeatedly before exploding to life with scintillating combination shots.
Taylor started the 12th round like his life depended on it, coming out all guns blazing and looking the fresher of the two men, landing body shot after body shot towards the sides of Postol and Taylor continued to hunt his prey, despite Postol’s best efforts to get away.
The jab of Josh looked like it would be the winning component for him as we entered the final minute and with both fighters continuing to trade the bell sounded to signal the end of the fight – 12 rounds in a final eliminator sanctioned by the WBC – with the crowd fully aware that they had seen one hell of a fight.
To the scorecards we went… 117-110, 118-110, 119-108 all in favour of the new MANDATORY challenger, Josh Taylor who retained his unbeaten ledger, stretching that to 13 fights, 11 knockouts and both eyes firmly on the world title.
Scotland best keep hold of their hats because a tornado’s incoming…
The Top Super Lightweights in the United Kingdom
By: Oliver McManus
THE 2018/19 WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES will pit together some of the best super-lightweights from around the globe – including Maurice Hooker, Kiryl Relikh, Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit – in a bid to determine just who is the ultimate number one.
But look at the scene in Britain and you could almost create a domestic version of the Super Series with eight of the best super-lightweights from this country, alone! Let’s take a look at six of the best super lightweights from the United Kingdom (not including Ohara Davies or Josh Leather because I’ve already spoke about them LOADS);
Photo Credit: Josh Taylor Twitter Account
‘The Tartan Tornado’ as he’s known, Josh Taylor is the leading Brit in the 140lbs division and is in contention to fill one of the remaining slots in the WBSS but the toughest test of his career comes on June 23rd when he faces Viktor Postol in a career-defining fight.
Taylor has already swept his way to the top of the scene by winning the Commonwealth title in only his seventh bout before a thunderous victory over Ohara Davies – to claim the WBC Silver title – sent ripples around the globe.
Four successive knockout victories have established him as the powerhouse of the lighter division with a gritty flurry of punches capable of sending even the toughest of opponents into their shells. Light on his feet and explosive in the hands, the 27 year old is undoubtedly on the route to stardom and is already heralded as a living legend up in Scotland.
That fight against Viktor Postol will serve as a final eliminator for the WBC World title and Postol will provide him with the sternest test and the granite chin of the Ukrainian – toppled a mere once by, the pound-for-pound star, Terrence Crawford – will be an acid test as to whether the Scot is set for the big time.
One thing’s for sure – Josh Taylor is THE real deal.
This time last week Terry Flanagan was SUPPOSED to be a two-weight world champion, he was supposed to be too much for Maurice Hooker to handle. Boy did we get that wrong.
Make no mistake, though, Terry Flanagan still has a legitimate claim to being an elite super-lightweight despite his only fight in the division resulting in a loss. Flanagan was poor on June 9th but showed an incredible heart to recover from a gaping cut to the forehead early on before rallying back and pressuring Hooker.
The rematch looks unlikely with Hooker set to enter the 2018/19 WBSS and whilst Flanagan may have to wait another 12-18 months there are plenty of sensational fights – not least with fellow Brits – in which he can prove his credentials.
We all knew that Terry Flanagan is superb in terms of his technical ability and whilst he came unstuck against Hooker – the American had a nine inch reach advantage – he still managed to enforce a tactically-astute game-plan with terrific timing and the knowledge of when to step up the pressure and pin his opponent to the ropes.
A proven boxer in the lightweight division, super-light is the heaviest Flanagan will be able to go and retain at the top of his game – it may be good that the Mancunian seems to run under-the-radar as the next few fights will all be about developing his style to the slightly heavier division but when he’s on his game and got everything clicking, Flanagan will be unstoppable.
Catterall was being lined-up for a thrilling all British title clash with Flanagan but, evidently, that all went awry following Terry’s failure to capture the WBO crown. It would be ill-informed to suggest the career path of Catterall was dependent of the result of his more senior stablemate.
Outright Caterall is a top-15 Super Lightweight and there’s no doubt that he’ll be banging on the door of world title holders in the not-too-distant future and El Gato has worked his way up the hard way – opponent withdrawals and injuries have hampered his development.
Under the tutelage of, new trainer, Jamie Moore, however, Jack is looking invigorated and twice the fighter from beforehand; 21 fights into his career and still at the tender age of 24, it’s inevitable that Catterall still has his best fighting years ahead of him and with Moore in his corner then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to unlock all of his explosive potential.
I say explosive because the one thing all of Catterall’s opponents should be cautious of is his sickening body punches, which the Chorley resident has been utilising to maximum impact as of late.
Despite being so young Catterall is already a former British Champion having upset the odds to defeat Tyrone Nurse comfortably over 12 rounds despite many suggesting he was too inexperienced prior to the fight.
His next outing will be on June 30th as he steps in to fight Tyrone McKenna in Belfast in a battle of two undefeated fighters – with the WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight title on the line – who both have exciting futures. The winner will be able to push on and earn the right to call out the best of the world but what a fight we will witness that night – a barnstormer in Belfast.
You could be forgiven for thinking of Glenn Foot as the “forgotten man” but the Commonwealth Champion has been in the form of his life over the past since the turn of 2017 and has been bringing his A Game to all the big fights.
Heads turned in November of last year when he lost a narrow unanimous decision to Josh Leather in a contest that was for the IBF European title – expectations outside of the Foot camp were minimal with Leather expecting to convincingly conquer the former Prizefighter champion.
Foot took little notice of expectations, dropping Leather in the 2nd round and proving that he can NEVER be considered an under-dog; earlier this year Foot fought Jason Easton in one of the best domestic fights of all time – bold statement but I’m sticking with it – 11 actions of all-out war resulted in both fighters getting battered around the ring before a concussive crack of a right hand sent Foot’s corner into ecstasy as he claimed the Commonwealth title.
The fighter now appears to be in a partnership with Eddie Hearn and has been mandated to fight Robbie Davies Jnr for the British Super-Lightweight title and Foot, aged 30, will be looking to capitalize on the opportunity to get another big-name fighter on his record and continue his own push for the bigger titles.
Glenn Foot and “boring fight” simply do not go together.
Robbie Davies Jnr
And here we move onto the guy that Foot has been mandated to face for the vacant British belt – Robbie Davies Jnr, 28 years of age with 16 victories and the single loss. That loss, against Michal Syrowatka, came via a 12th round knockout after Davies had controlled the fight for much of the previous 11 rounds and was avenged a mere six months later via a 12th round knockout of his own, dropping his opponent in the 3rd, 4th and 12th to stamp his authority all over the fight.
A professional of five years, the next year should be the time for Robbie to push on and grab bigger titles of his own and with a world ranking it shouldn’t be too long until we see him in the colossal fights.
I’ve always been impressed by the engine on the Liverpudlian which enables him to keep the pressure up all day, every day without ever allowing his opponent the opportunity to get a rhythm; against Zoltan Szabo, in January of last year, we saw a mature performance from Davies up against a tricky, gritty Hungarian before getting the job done with a crunching body shot in the ninth round.
I think that’s what we’ve seen develop most from Davies in the last few fights – a maturity that many would lack when in the ring whilst trying to rush the stoppage whereas Davies is happy to just keep the work-rate ticking over before landing calculated shots to drop his opponent.
The only question we need to ask is “how on earth hasn’t this guy been on TV more often?”. Arguably the best fighter currently fighting out of Liverpool.
Akeem Ennis Brown
A nonchalance, an evolution of body movement and a fluid science to his punching, Akeem Ennis Brown is an art to watch providing drama, entertainment and explosivity all in one. When he claimed the English title he was the youngest champion and the first from Gloucester but that won’t be the defining by-notes of his career.
Riidy is on the road to big things and his victory over Chris Jenkins in May saw him claim the WBC Youth World title and climb one rung higher up the ladder – there’s plenty of names on Riidy’s resume to warrant the hype around him and his performance against Freddy Kiwitt in 2016 was just a sign of things to come.
Not particularly blessed with the biggest punching power, Akeem doesn’t lack when it comes to creating angles in which to unleash flirtatious combinations – against Glenn Foot last summer we witnessed a coming of age for the 21 year old as he battled to win a majority decision over the experienced fighter.
That’s the other strength Riidy has – he’s 21! Still only 21 and raking in experience like there’s no tomorrow and when you look across his fights there has been no shortage of learning – so when it comes to the EVEN bigger fights he’s all prepared for the bouts.
There we have six of the best super-lightweights from British boxing but, let’s be honest, this is probably the most exciting division in all of world boxing; six was just the tip of the iceberg, of course we’ve got Ohara Davies who I’ve discussed at length and then there’s Joe Hughes, Tyrone McKenna, Jeff Saunders, a whole gamut more so let’s just sit back and enjoy these phenomenal talents.
Taylor Duerr’s Rise from Rock Bottom
By: Bryant Romero
Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Taylor Duerr from Detroit will be headlining an event in the Motor City on June 23 as part of the co-promotion between Tommy Hearns and Jackie Kallen. Duerr (6-0-1, 6 KOs) will look to keep his undefeated record intact as he works towards his goal of becoming the light heavyweight champion of the world within in the next two years. The 28-year-old from Detroit just made his professional debut in November 2016 as Duerr first gave up on the sport of boxing when he was a young teenager. It took a decade for him to rediscover his love for the sport as he struggled with his battle to overcome a drug addiction that at one point left him in rock bottom. Duerr has come a long way from his troubled past that left him homeless, to now an upcoming light heavyweight getting ready to headline his first card in the city he grew up in.
“I started boxing for a guy name Al Irish in the Detroit area,” Duerr said. “I started competing on the scene of Detroit and usually only one of the only white kids out there.
“I had a strong amateur boxing background up until when I was 15. I was (32-1) and when I was in high school I started experimenting with drugs and getting into a lot of trouble.
“Because of me doing so well in boxing, they wanted me to start traveling and competing more in tournaments,” he said.
However, Duerr was not ready to pursue a career in boxing and was unable to hold off on the temptations of what high school kids went through during after school activities. The path he chose would eventually make him quit boxing at just the age of 15 and would ultimately lead him to a bad heroin addiction at just the age of 17.
“I wasn’t willing to give up my after school life, which consisted of doing whatever we did in high school. Hang out with girls, smoking weed, popping pills and stuff like that,” Duerr said.
“I ended up quitting boxing, took some time off and I ended up getting in a lot of trouble as a teenager. I was in and out of juvi, and I was a bad heroin addict by the time I was 17.
“I got sober for awhile, I had a baby and I had a relapse after 3 years,” he told me.
Finally after a decade since hanging up his gloves as young amateur, Duerr while in recovery would meet an MMA fighter who would give him the spark he needed to start competing competitively again. After just a few training sessions in helping his friend out in MMA, Duerr would let fate decide on whether to compete as an MMA fighter, which would ultimately lead to his long awaited return to boxing.
“I met a buddy from recovery who was a MMA fighter and he asked me if I could help with his boxing,” Duerr said. “I started helping him out and he took me to the ground and I guess that fire and drive to learn kind of came back.
“I started learning a little bit of MMA and they gave me a fight on really short notice and the kid was really experienced in wrestling and jujitsu,” he explained.
“I took the fight on a coin toss and I only had done 3 jujitsu classes, but they felt like my boxing was good enough to carry me.
“I flipped the coin and I said ‘if it’s heads I’ll fight, so it landed on heads and I went in and beat the sh** out of this kid for 2 minutes standing up and he just kept trying to get me on the ground.
“This kid had a chin on him and he finally got me on the ground and I didn’t know what to do. I was gassed out and out of shape and they had to stop to fight.
“That was when the fire got relit and that was on March 21, 2015. I competed one more time in MMA and I won the fight by submission and I started focusing everything back in to boxing,” Duerr said.
Duerr is now riding on 9 and half years on sobriety and is now completely focused on his boxing craft. Training six days a week and running 4 miles a night and keeping close eyes on his diet. He has backers that have invested in his career with Jackie Kallen as his advisor, Phil Awada as his Manager, and Bobby Hitz promoting him. Duerr is looking forward to see where this journey leaves him but wants the boxing world to know that he not only fights for his family but also for recovering people that have been through what he’s endured.
“When I fight its different man, it’s not just I’m fighting for my family. I’ve been homeless from California and in all over the country as a result of where my disease has taken me,” Duerr explained.
“I have a huge following of recovering people, especially out of Detroit and somebody told me that I embody the fact that even though I was once a junkie and that my life was hopeless and after getting my life together, you still can pursue your dreams again. I stopped boxing when I was 15 and took it back when I was 25,” he said.
The 28-year-old is also a student of the game and is very well aware of the major threats in the division. Standing at 6 foot 5, he’s a towering light heavyweight with an 81 inch reach that could be a potential problem and he’s very comfortable on fighting on the inside despite his very long arms. Duerr sees himself right up there with top of the division in just two years time.
“This is my life. I love it, I have no fear. I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can and I know those opportunities will come.
“I see myself already competing with the top level guys, but I’m going to trust in my team. I want to show people that I’m the real deal. That I’m not on main stage because I’m a white boy with looks from Detroit. I’m up here because I can fight,” Duerr said.
Josh Taylor Wins in Scotland
By: Oliver McManus
Scotland’s Finest were on display at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow last night as Cyclone Promotions featured five title fights on their first show of 2018 with all eyes on one man – Josh Taylor.
The Tartan Tornado is a man avoided fervently at the top of the lightweight division with his impressive array of attributes being enough to scare off all bar a few plucky warriors. Having to go about things the hard way, then, Taylor was looking to force his way into a world title shot as he faced Winston Campos, of Nicaragua, for the WBC Silver title following a late withdrawal to Humberto Soto.
Having produced career best performances across the board in 2017, Barry McGuigan’s protégé was tipped to make an explosive start to this year and backed himself to deal convincingly with the threat of Campos.
Should Taylor come through this battle unscathed then a WBC world title eliminator had been provisionally pencilled in for June but the whole of Scotland knew they could look no further than the busy, gritty, South American. For now, anyway.
Dubbed a “southpaw banana skin” for Taylor, Campos was hoping the Scotsman would slip up against him and, in doing so, provide a platform for the big time.
From the outset Taylor marked his intentions by rushing to the centre of the ring and aiming a stiff jab into the face of Campos – the Nicaraguan looked rocked and was caught by subsequent hard-hitting jabs. Having said that Campos played into the hands of the South American fighting stereotype by bouncing around the ring and looking comfortable from range.
All the signs were, however, that as soon as Taylor was allowed, nay decided, to close the gap and attack Campos up close that his opponent would then succumb to The Tartan Tornado.
Big, looping, booming hooks only went to reinforce Taylor’s early dominance and despite Campos hitting the canvas at the end of the first round it was ruled merely a slip, a dubious one though.
Round Two began in an upbeat fashion with Campos firing in a few shots to the body of Taylor with, admittedly, little impact but more as if to say “hey, I’m not going to be a walkover”. Cyclone’s Champion responded however with a punishing right hook after an attempted counter-punch from the late replacement opponent, to put Campos in a world full of trouble.
Shot after shot into the body of his opponent saw El Zurdo crumble to the canvas in credit to a scything body punch – the story would be repeated mere moments later when the South American ate repeated right hooks from Taylor and fell to the canvas again.
Hanging in via sheer guts alone the 25 year old foolishly turned his back in the opening moments of the third and fell victim to a ferocious onslaught of punches from the former Scottish amateur sensation with savage left hooks draining the stamina from his legs.
Whilst managing to get up before the count of four, referee Victor Loughlin had seen enough to suggest that the southpaw was only going to suffer unnecessary punishment should the bout have continued.
A third round knockout to add to Taylor’s collection now making it 11 from 12 as The Tartan Tornado looks set to be on a destruction path of the lightweight division in 2018… let’s get it on!
The other results from the night featured Glenn Foot capturing the Commonwealth Super Lightweight title following a rapturous contest with Jason Easton – arguably domestic fight of the year – Foot landed the first punch of the night and within thirty seconds the pair were tearing into each-other from within the space of a postage stamp. Wild swinging left and right hands by Easton were countered by tight, inside body punches.
Both fighters loaded up with real vigour and spite packed into their punches and whilst neither landed clean enough to spin the jaw of their counterpart, each punch added to the sheer spectacle of the contest.
Jabs were to be the order of the day for Easton in order to be successful but throughout the opening rounds they were found to be lacking in the extreme as Foot was never disrupted from laying leather into the home-crowd favourite.
The tempo followed the same as that of Foot’s last bout, with Josh Leather, – that contest for the IBF European title – and the fighter was fortunate enough to be displaying the best performance of his career whereas Easton seemed to be hindered by emotion.
A thunderous left overhand straight into the face of Easton gained audible gasps from the paying spectators and, at first glance, looked to break the nose of the Scotsman. With both men throwing their whole weight with each punch it was a miracle, almost, that neither ended up cold but the war raged on into the second half of the fight.
An incredible bout worthy of being a headlining contest, should we see the rematch, both fighters were gutsy throughout battle with sickening body shots from Easton only being matched with equal fire from the Sunderland man.
Easton looked to exploded towards the latter stages and with each shot slammed into the head of Foot, you felt his confidence grow and, with it, his fighting began to feel all the more fluid. On paper this was a good fight, in the ring it was an EXCEPTIONAL fight and proof, if any was needed, that trading punches is always going to produce a viewing spectacle to delight the masses.
Into the championship rounds we went although you’d be forgiven for thinking the bout had just started thanks to the sheer constant barrage of shots being fired, a simply sumptuous right hook into the side of Foot’s face left the 30 year old visibly dazed, borderline concussed, and Easton began to tee off on what was, temporarily, a sandbag begging to be hit.
All that was keeping Glenn Foot up was the sheer courage in his heart and the heaviness of his legs willing not to go down but boy, did it bring out even more from the fighter, who survived only to follow up with huge right hands of his own.
The 11th round was to be the home of the crescendo as an amalgamation of all that had been before, the build-up of all the fire, resulted in one big explosion. This barnstormer, cream-cracker of a fight had a climax witnessed only before in Athenian battlegrounds but was bestowed upon a packed, salivating SSE Hydro Arena crowd; toe-to-toe action, would we expect any more, saw Sunderland’s saviour shellac the dreams of Easton into disarray with a concussive crack of a right hand sending the whole of Scotland into shock and with that final punch, the fight was over as Glenn Foot won the Commonwealth title in a fight to go down in the history books.
10 rounds of boxing scheduled for the vacant Celtic Lightweight title took place as “The Railman” Ryan Collins took on “The Mailman” Charlie Flynn. Going into the fight it was hard to tell who the betting favourite was and given that their previous fight, 11 months ago, ended in a head collision there was very little to take from that.
Flynn started off by taking to the centre of the ring and his physical superiority made an immediate impact when a huge right hand sent Collins to the canvas with just 40 seconds gone of the first round; on weak legs, Collins looked rattled and Flynn was able to land shots at will.
Almost as though he was out of his depth the expression on Ryan Collins was one of bewilderment and did well to box at range, being sensible, but Flynn’s grit and determination earned him the unquestionable better of the opening round.
A cagey round followed with Flynn controlling the distance of the bout with ease – Collins often found himself coming up short with his punches – but both men kept their legs moving as they navigated the ring comprehensively with neither fighter really wanting to ignite the contest into a barn-burner.
The most pertinent observation over the cause of the opening two rounds was the repeated near-head-collisions between the two men, giving rise to fears that this fight could be equally as short-lived as their first duel.
And so it proved in the third when a visibly wincing Flynn was struck by the head of Collins during an up-close exchange of punches. Fortunately there was no major damage and the 24 year old recovered to pressure Collins into a real toe-to-toe battle – the first real round where both boxers could lay claim to having won it.
With rounds in the bank and the tempo of the fight set, Charlie Flynn was able to establish his authority in the following round as his controlling jab continued to pop into the face of Collins followed up by varied combinations to the body of his opponent. Boxing well and securing the rounds on the judges’ scorecards.
Just at this fight was looking to kick into life there was déjà vu of incomprehensible magnitude as both boxers leaned in and smashed heads. Gaping cuts emerged on the forehead of both with oozes of blood flowing out of the gashes.
Sometimes it’s best just to put things in the past and move on – for Collins and Flynn, after their second technical draw, I think that’s the best bet for both men.
On the undercard lightweight sensation Chantelle Cameron looked to defend her IBO title over former world title challenger Myriam Dellal – the champion looked to be on an unstoppable rise but the challenger boasted the experience necessary to render this a competitive fight.
To be brutally, brutally, honest this fight provided very little to write about with the performance perhaps best described as clinical. That’s in no way to suggest that Chantelle Cameron’s fight was anything short of top-drawer, just to say that the contest followed the same pattern throughout the 10 rounds.
In truth this was probably one of Chantelle Cameron’s best performances as Wham Bam Cam proved to be technically superb with her balance and footwork being nothing short of sublime. The former GB amateur proved that it’s not all about flashy knockouts and rather her ability to dictate the pace and position at which the fight was fought was the defining aspect of her fight-plan.
Dellal was not a slouch and came to win but the sheer gulf in class was undeniable as Britain’s best female boxer dominated the rounds by out-manoeuvring the Frenchwoman before firing off rapid combination shots with incredible hand speed.
A superb performance from Chantelle Cameron if, admittedly, a little less explosive and extravagant than many had been hoping for. Who knows, hopefully the next fight will warrant more in-depth commentary.
The rest of the results were as followed; Marc Kerr knocked out Iain Trotter in the third round to secure the Scottish Area middleweight title and now goes 6-0; Lee McGregor continued his perfect record by knocking out Pablo Narvaez to move 3 and 0 and Malik Zinad goes to 11-0 thanks to a 2nd round knockout.
If that was Scotland’s Finest then roll on 2018 because what a year it’s going to be!
Scotland’s Best Return to the SSE Hydro, Glasgow
By: Oliver McManus
Cyclone Promotions continue their whistle-stop rise of ‘The Tartan Tornado’, Josh Taylor, who defends his WBC Silver Super Lightweight title against Winston Campos following the withdrawal of, original opponent, Humberto Soto.
Taylor comes off the back of a sensational 2017 that saw him defend his Commonwealth title against Warren Joubert, fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, DEMOLISH the hype train of Ohara Davies and prove his mettle in the toughest of tests as he rallied his army of fans ahead of his bid to become the GREATEST Scottish boxer of all time.
The distinguished amateur already looks super technically with exemplary footwork able to see him, quite literally, jump around the canvas as he avoids the shots coming his way – good movement is often the forgotten skill of a boxer because, after all , if you can’t get hit you can’t get sparked out!
With 10 of his 11 wins coming by way of knockout including Davies’ devastating demolition, last July, knock-out power of the highest order is an obvious gift for the 27 year old but I’d like to see him really work the combination shots against Campos for, as much as anything, preparation for his inevitable step-up to World title level.
Campos provides a completely different challenge, stylistically, to Soto with the most prevalent difference being his southpaw stance – it’ll be interesting to see how Taylor handles this, with his in-your-face style susceptible to walking onto the punches of a southpaw.
On the back of a 14 win streak, admittedly against dull opposition (including two opponents, back-to-back, TWICE), El Zurdo captured the WBA Fedcaribe title in December with a wide points decision (oddly over nine rounds) against Galvis Guerra.
This will be his first fight outside of his home country for some five years and, with that, his first step up in quality in just as long – unfortunately for the 25 year old, it’s set to be a miserable flight home with Taylor expected to dispatch the South American with relative ease.
On the undercard Chantelle Cameron looks to defend her world title as she battles it out with Myriam Dellal for the IBO Lightweight title – Cameron possesses an unblemished record at 5-0 and looked at her scintillating best last December against Viviane Obenauf, forcing her Brazilian opponent to retire at the end of the sixth.
Obenauf had previously gone the distance with Katie Taylor so for Wham Bam Chan to blast the 15 fight veteran out of the ring in such impressive fashion demonstrates clearly the necessary skills of an elite level boxer.
In Dellal she faces an experienced veteran of the women’s game, having been a professional for 10 years and mixing it with the cream of the crop on many an occasion – Delfine Persoon and Maiva Hamadouche to name just two. Hailing from France, the 39 year old will need to be on the top of her game to stop the unmissable ascent of Chantelle Cameron.
Moving back to the Super Lightweight division then where we find a tasty clash for the Commonwealth title between, Edinburgh’s own, Jason Easton and Glenn Foot, a feisty warrior from Sunderland.
Foot was most recently in action on the undercard of Liam Smith-Liam Williams 2 when he pushed, hot prospect, Josh Leather the full 12 rounds, dropping him in the second and, for many, winning the fight. Nonetheless the leaves didn’t crunch for him and a narrow points decision saw him on the losing end.
Despite the loss, Foot showed he was far from done with the industry and is far from an easy opponent from Easton who’s yet to be in with a real livewire of an opponent. For Foot the key is to impose himself early on, get in the face of Easton and don’t let him settle.
Unbeaten Easton has a record of 11 wins with no defeats and has the likes of Steve Jamoye, Josef Zahradnik and Zoltan Szabo on his resume – the deceptively gangly (in a good way) fighter moves with confidence, commanding the centre of the ring before unleashing pure power in his right hand. A real phonebox fight in the making, BRING IT ON.
Also fighting on the bill are Charlie Flynn and Iain Trotter, both fighting in title fights, who’ll look to make it five titles in one night for the best of Cyclone’s talents ahead of what could be a stellar year for the fledgling promotion company – Martin Bakole Ilunga, Lee McGregor and Joe Ham also fight on what promises to be a simply sumptuous night of championship boxing.
Katie Taylor’s Remarkable Year
by B.A. Cass
After beating Jessica McCaskill, Katie Taylor was criticized by Mike Costello and Steve Bruce of the BBC for what they viewed as a spotty performance. They were both unimpressed by her defensive skills and felt that she lacked ring intelligence.
The worst round for Taylor in her fight against McCaskill was the sixth. In that round, McCaskill landed a jab to the face that seemed to make Taylor wobble in place. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when a boxer gets hit in the face. But for a second, it looked like McCaskill might just stagger the great Irish Olympian and perhaps end up surprising the world.
However, McCaskill was unable to capitalize on her single moment of dominance. And what Taylor’s critics missed in this exchange is how Taylor was able to recover. Deftly slipping McCaskill’s subsequent punches, Taylor quickly moved out of range.
No one with any sense would argue that Taylor’s performance against McCaskill was flawless, but we must remember that this was her sixth fight of 2017. Since her professional debut just thirteen months ago, Taylor has fought a total of eight times, for a total of 52 rounds. Taylor’s second professional fight took place just three weeks after her first. The longest span of time between fights was three months.
Having forced Jasmine Clarkson, a younger fighter by nine years, to retire after just the third round, Taylor went onto to face the more professionally accomplished Anahi Esther Sanchez. After flooring Sanchez in the second round, Taylor defeated Sanchez by UD, a win that made Taylor the WBA World Lightweight Champion.
Taylor admitted that she got a bit wild in her recent fights, abandoning her hit-and-move strategy to engage with opponents at close range. Although never letting her heart reign too much, Taylor fights with passion. She steps into the ring to fight, not just to win by points.
As an amateur, Taylor was known for her hand speed, but her power has come as a surprise to many. Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t talk or look like a fighter. Outside of the ring, Taylor has a gentle manner and resembles one of those cartoons with pin dot eyes, a look that makes her seem far too innocent to be dangerous.
But we’ve seen her overwhelm her opponents in the ring, and there is no doubt she can fight. If the worst that can be said of Taylor is that she has some room for improvement, then it’s fair to say that she’s had a remarkable year.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
Canelo vs. Chavez Undercard Results: Diaz, Matthysse, and Lemieux Win Convincingly
Canelo vs. Chavez Undercard Results: Diaz, Matthysse, and Lemieux Win Convincingly
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has quickly become the new hotspot to for big fights time pay per view fights and was the host site for tonight Golden Boy Promoter pay per view card headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Canelo Alvarez.
The first bout of the under card was between Joseph Diaz Jr. (23-0) and Manuel Avila (22-0) in the featherweight division.
Avila pressed forward in the opening moments of the first round but was a little short with his punches while Diaz was sharp with his straight left right hook combination. Diaz’s jab controlled the distance in the first and second rounds.
Diaz stayed disciplined in the second and selectively slipped through his counters. Avila slipped at the end of the second round and looked slightly off balance.
Avila had a good third round with some good shots to the body, but Diaz ended strong with a straight left followed by a short left hook Avila forced his combinations in the fourth and fifth round and may have landed more punches, but Diaz landed the harder counters but wasn’t as active as Avila.
A cut above Avila’s left eye was bothering him in the sixth round and Diaz took advantage by pressing his attacks and landing hard straight left hands. The sixth was Diaz’s most dominant round of the night at this point of the fight.
Diaz’s seventh round was just as good as the sixth. His right hook to the head and body was especially on point, and the highlight of this round was a Diaz combination on Avila by the corner.
Diaz was in clear control in the eighth round and landed some good shots to the body of Avila. Diaz staggered Avila twice in the ninth round and nearly scored a knockdown.
Avila needed a knockout in the final round to win, but he didn’t come close to achieving it.
The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91 for Joseph Diaz.
The next bout of the night was between Lucas Matthysse (37-4) and Emmanuel Taylor (20-4) in the welterweight division.
This was Matthysse’s first fight since his knockout loss to Postol, but he came out strong behind his double jab and landed good shots to the body and head. Matthysse landed a straight right at the end of the first round that hurt Taylor, but Taylor was able to survive the round.
Taylor was pensive of Matthysse’s power in the second round and was taking several hard combination. Matthysse had Taylor covering up by the ropes on more than one occasion in the second.
Taylor came out aggressively in the third round but head butted Matthysse early on and forced the referee to momentarily stop the bout. Taylor came right at Matthysse when the fight resumed, but was tagged with a straight right hand that send him down to the mat. He was able to get back up and shake off the punch, but the power of Matthysse was being felt.
Matthysse’s aggression carried him through the fifth and sixth rounds as Taylor’s power paled in comparison to Matthysse. Matthysse landed a a hard combination on Taylor by the ropes in the fifth round that busted the nose of Taylor and sent him crashing to the mat.
Taylor as able to get up before the count of ten, but he was still on wobbly legs and the referee stopped the bout.
Lucas Matthysse wins by KO at 2:21 of the fifth round.
The final bout on the undercard was between David Lemieux (37-3) and Marcos Reyes (35-4) in the super middleweight division.
Lemieux comes out showing good head movement, but Reyes was able to land his jab in the first thirty seconds in the bout. Lemieux connected good shots to the body and was chasing Reyes around the ring and invested in the body. Reyes was able to land some good jabs, but Lemieux was clearly the aggressor.
Lemieux was able to open up a cut over the eye of Reyes in the second round and forced Reyes to grab on nearly every time he landed a shot. Lemieux hard a dominating third round and was landing some heavy, heavy, power shots. Reye’s right eye was bleeding badly and his chin was tested often this round, but somehow he stayed on his feet the entire round.
Lemieux’s power display continued in the fourth round with a straight right hand that knocked out the mouthpiece of Reyes. However, Reyes was able to land some surprising right hands near the end of the round that may have stunned Lemieux.
Reyes is a little more active in the fifth round and lands some good punches on Lemieux and even outboxes Lemieux. Reyes chin tested often, but it somehow stays strong and he may have landed more punches than Lemieux in the fifth.
Lemieux appeared to be fighting more cautiously in the sixth round as his activity slowed down, Reyes however picked up his activity and threw a high volume of punches.
Lemieux was able to regain control in the seventh round with a vicious left hook that forced Reyes to hold on and slowed him down significantly. That control continued into the eighth round as Reyes badly needed a knockdown to turn the tide of the fight around.
Reyes fought valiantly and displayed great heart and a sturdy chin in the final two rounds, but he was not match a boxer with the pedigree of Lemieux.
David Lemieux wins by decision with scores of 99-90, 99-90, and 98-91.