UK Pound For Pound Rankings 2019
By: Ste Rowen
10. Charlie Edwards 15-1 (6KOs)
Edwards ended 2018 by winning his first ever world title at flyweight, and then proceeded to defend his WBA belt against Angel Moreno with a 12 round unanimous victory. Unfortunately, his 2019 was slightly marred by a No Contest against Julio Cesar Martinez. The fight, in which Charlie looked completely out of his depth in, was originally scored a stoppage win for Martinez but was eventually switched to a ‘NC’ due to the Mexican firing Edwards with a body shot whilst his opponent had already taken a knee. Edwards goes into 2020 with a world title and a 15-1 (6KOs) record.
9. Dereck Chisora 32-9 (23KOs)
Dereck Chisora seems to be having a late-career resurgence that Bernard Hopkins would be proud of. The one-time world title challenger has won four of his last five fights, losing only to Dillian Whyte when he was knocked out in the final round. In that five-fight run, Chisora has racked up impressive stoppage victories over Carlos Takam, Artur Szpilka, and most recently David Price. With Anthony Joshua looking for a new opponent in 2020 after victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, don’t be surprised if Del-Boy is the man who steps up to the challenge.
8. Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14KOs)
Despite becoming a two-weight world champion, it was a massively underwhelming year for BJS. The former middleweight champion jumped up to super-middle to claim the WBO strap after beating Shefat Isufi. Then, after switching promoters to Matchroom and waiting six months, Saunders appeared on the undercard of Youtubers, KSI vs. Logan Paul, where he stopped Marcelo Coceras in the 11thround. Billy Joe fans have spent the last four years hoping for something big, so don’t hold your breath for anything special in 2020.
7. Dillian Whyte 27-1 (18KOs)
This was a tricky one due to the positive drugs test that’s overshadowed Whyte’s year. Dillian’s year consisted of two decision wins over fringe contenders; the previously unbeaten Oscar Rivas, and Marius Wach, but the heavyweight’s 2019 will be remembered for his adverse test results following his bout with Rivas where Whyte was temporarily suspended. But after being reinstated as the WBC’s number one contender, Dillian will have to wait for the winner of Wilder vs. Fury 2, before he gets a shot at the green belt he’s longed for a chance to fight for.
6. Eubank Jr 29-2 (22KOs)
Eubank Jr bounced back relatively strongly from his second professional defeat, and loss to George Groves in the 2018 World Boxing Super Series semi-final. At the beginning of 2019, Eubank outfought and out-thought former super-middleweight champion and domestic rival, James DeGale to claim the IBO 168lb title before taking a lengthy break of almost ten months when he returned to the ring, back down at middleweight in a fight with Matvey Korobov. Unfortunately, Korobov sustained a shoulder injury in the early rounds, and despite it going down as a Eubank Jr victory, the man with the famous name will be hoping for a much more legacy defining twelve months.
5. Callum Smith 27-0 (19KOs)
Where did all the momentum and hype go for Callum Smith? 2018 saw Smith win the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the WBSS and become the WBA super-middleweight champion. Huge things were expected, and anticipation was high and then, well, not much. Fans had to wait nearly nine months before they saw Callum in the ring again, and even then it was pretty underwhelming. Smith fought and stopped career-middleweight Hassan N’Dam on the undercard of AJ/Ruiz Jr 1 and then five months later he took on fellow Englishman, John Ryder. It was a fight many thought he would walk through, but by the end of the twelve rounds it was a fight many thought he’d lost. A rematch with Ryder in 2020 wouldn’t be sniffed at by fans, but let’s not wait another nine months to see him in the ring.
4. Tyson Fury 29-0-1 (20KOs)
It’s been a funny old year for the lineal heavyweight champion. After scoring unanimous draw with WBC titlist, Deontay Wilder, a fight the majority of onlookers thought Fury won, the Gypsy King wasn’t back fighting for another six months where he stopped the previously unbeaten, Tom Schwarz inside two rounds. The Wilder rematch seemed on the horizon but never materialised and instead Tyson did two things. The first fighting and beating another unbeaten man, Otto Wallin in an awkward twelve round bout. Then secondly Fury attempted to become a crossover star when he appeared on the WWE show in Saudi Arabia. Luckily for boxing fans though Fury is committed to boxing for at least one more bout as he’s confirmed that the Deontay Wilder rematch will take place on the 22nd February in Vegas.
3. Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21KOs)
Talking of strange years, Anthony Joshua was toppled and returned to the throne in two fights against the same wobbly looking man. Arguably the biggest upset in sport for 2019 saw AJ stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr and lose his WBA, IBF & WBO titles inside seven rounds. Ruiz had taken Joshua’s belts, his ‘0’ and for many his credibility. But Joshua wasn’t to be stopped and signed up for an immediate rematch to take place in Saudi Arabia in December. In an unusually wet Saudi, Joshua boxed his way almost perfectly, through twelve rounds to claim a unanimous decision and regain his belts. With mandatories being called in, it seems Joshua’s next opponent will either be Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk.
2. Josh Warrington 30-0 (7KOs)
After an unbelievable twelve months in 2018, beating Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, only unification bouts would eclipse such a run that Josh Warrington was one. Unfortunately, the other titleholders at featherweight were either unavailable or unwilling to take on the IBF world champion from Leeds. Instead, Warrington fought and decisioned his mandatory challenger, Kid Galahad in a twelve-round hug-fest; and then in October, stopped Sofiane Takoucht after two rounds. There’s been talk of bouts with newly crowned WBO featherweight champion, Shakur Stevenson or WBA titlist, Leo Santa Cruz, but Josh may have to deal with Galahad for a second time in a possible rematch to start 2020.
1. Josh Taylor 16-0 (12KOs)
What a year it’s been for the man from Edinburgh. At the start of 2019, Taylor’s future looked in doubt due to the complications with the World Boxing Super Series. But once those difficulties were ironed out the Tartan Tornado put his foot firmly on the accelerator. Firstly, with a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk, who also held the IBF super-lightweight title. And then Taylor unified the division with another decision victory, this time over WBA champion, Regis Prograis to finish the year as the IFB, WBA and Muhammad Ali Trophy champion.
Kal Yafai remained unbeaten and therefore held on to his WBA super-flyweight title, but he fought just once, a whitewash twelve round decision over 29-8-4, Norbelto Jimenez despite continuous talks of a unification bout with the likes of Estrada and Ancajas.
Luke Campbell remains an outstanding title in the British ranks but despite a worthy showing in his decision loss to world pound-for-pound enigma, Vasyl Lomachenko, Cool Hand Luke’s 2019 wasn’t strong enough to enter this top 10.
Kell Brook, what can you say? The guy always talks big but hasn’t delivered anything of note since 2014.
Carl Frampton remains a possible bogeyman for the other feather/super-featherweight champions, but after only fighting once in 2019, a 10-round decision over Tyrone McCreary, Frampton drops out of this years rankings.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ray Beltran Becomes Champ in War with Moses
By: Bryant Romero
Another Top Rank card on ESPN is in the books and the fans who attended at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada were treated to a great fight in the main event.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
On the undercard, the A-sides to each bout delivered in expected victories as Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (22-2, 13 KOs) demolished an overmatched Akhror Muralimov (16-4) in just three rounds. Also, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs) scored a wide unanimous decision win over Juan Tapia (8-2, 3 KOs) in what was his first scheduled eight-rounder of the 20-year-old’s 10 month pro career.
In the co-featured bout, the “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0, 6 KOs) defeated his most notable opponent to date by stopping former world champion David Avanesyan (23-2-1) in the sixth round. The bout started out slowly as Kavaliauskas slowly but surely broke down Avanesyan with big counter power shots, rocking the former champion with hooks and overhand rights. The mean machine was simply too strong for the Russian fighter as referee Tony Weeks was forced to put a halt to the bout after consecutive unanswered blows were delivered to the head and body of Avanesyan.
Finally in the main event, Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) was a heavy favorite to pick up the vacant WBO lightweight strap against 39-year-old Paulus Moses (40-4, 25 KOs). However, it was a much more difficult than expected for Beltran as Moses withstood the early onslaught and began to gain confidence as the bout progressed. The Nambian fighter started to gain momentum in the middle rounds opening cuts on both of the eyes of the Mexican fighter with an accurate jab and big straight right hands.
Despite fighting with cuts over both eyes for nine-plus rounds, Beltran dug deep and got a second wind in the last quarter of the fight as Moses began to tire.
Beltran closed the fight strong establishing more distance between himself and his opponent, getting tagged less, and scoring several power shots of his own. The late rally seemed to seal the deal for Beltran as he was awarded with a comfortable unanimous decision win. The Mexican immigrant won the WBO lightweight title in his fourth attempt as his ongoing pursuit for a green card may finally come to an end.
Diaz wins by decision; Clary Upset
Diaz wins by decision; Clary Upset
By: James Cullinane
Featherweight prospect Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz of Puerto Rico improved his record to 18 – 0 (11KO) winning a unanimous decision over Raul Hirales (22-6-11, 11KO) of Mexico in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing sponsored “Solo Boxeo” at the Osceola Heritage Park Exhibition Hall in Kissimmee, Florida on Friday night.
Diaz, promoted by Top Rank and a stable mate of WBO Latin American Lightweight Champion, Felix Verdejo, was headlining his first card and did not disappoint the predominantly, Puerto Rican crowd.
Diaz landed sharp, clean body shots and combinations throughout the fight and was never in trouble against Hirales, one of the toughest opponents he has faced to date.
As the fight progressed Hirales was able to land some clean shots to the head of Diaz, but each time he did, Diaz countered effectively with crisper, harder combinations that stifled any momentum Hirales hoped to build. Diaz worked harder and more effectively each round, never leaving the outcome of the fight in doubt.
Both fighters came out slugging in the eighth and final round with Diaz finishing strong to seal the victory.
Earlier in the night, in a stunning upset, previously undefeated, Top Rank featherweight, Toka Kahn Clary (19-1-1, 13 KO), was knocked out in the first round by Jhon “The Disaster” Gemino (15-7-1, 7KO).
Clary, the more aggressive fighter from the start, showed glimpses of his speed as he flicked his jab at the shorter Gemino. But Gemino was a quick study and midway through the opening round countered one of Clary’s jab with a perfectly timed, overhand right that cracked Clary across the chin and dropped him to the canvas.
Clary was unable to get off the mat and was still clearly dazed long after the referee counted him out. Gemino leapt for joy in his corner as he was declared the winner at 1:30 into the first round. A huge underdog coming into the fight, this was by far Gemino’s biggest victory as a professional.
In the most entertaining fight of the night, Super Lightweight, Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (14 – 0, 10KO) outslugged Brazilian Claudionei Lacerda (17-16-1, 12 KO) in an eight-round thriller, eventually winning by unanimous decision.
Rodriquez, also a Top Rank fighter, almost suffered the same fate as Clary as Lacerda came out swinging and dropped Rodriguez to a knee with a crunching left to the body early in the opening round. Fully intending to end the fight, Lacerda followed up after the mandatory eight with a wild flurry that Rodriguez was able to fend off with good defense.
As Lacerda slowed his attack, Rodriguez, a former Golden Gloves Champion (141 lbs) from New Jersey, was able to climb back into the fight with several hard lefts that rocked Lacerda. The action went back and forth for the remainder of the round and set the tone for the rest of the fight.
Fully recovered from the knockdown, Rodriguez came on strong and clearly won the second and third rounds by connecting with several, hard combinations that hurt Lacerda.
Though outmatched, Lacerda showed great heart and stayed in the fight with his aggressive counterpunching in the fourth. In the fifth round, Rodriguez stunned Lacerda with a hard right to the head, but Lacerda still would not quit, coming back and having perhaps his best round in the sixth.
In the seventh, Lacerdo hit Rodriguez with a clean, uppercut that shook Rodriguez, but only momentarily. “Hammer Hands” then turned it on to finish the round strong, punishing Lacerda with a series of strong lefts to the body and head. The eighth and final round was more of the same as Rodriguez and Lacerda gamely mixed it up.
Rodriguez landed a hard, right to Lacerda’s chin midway through the final round that hurt Lacerda and excited the crowd, but he was unable to finish the tough Brazilian and the outcome was left to the judges.
A physical fight with lots of clinching between exchanges, both fighter’s faces were red and swollen at the end of the bout. The final scores were 77-73, 78-72, 78-72 all in favor of Rodriguez.
The final Top Rank fighter on the card, Jean Carlos “Chapito” Rivera (8 – 0, 5 KO), was dominant in his victory over Raul Chirino (7 – 3, 3 KO) of Miami.
In his one round of action, local, Orlando boxer and fan-favorite, Rivera beat Chirino high and low, bloodying Chirino’s nose and pounding his ribs. A crisp uppercut after a body shot midway through the round forced Chirino to take a knee for a mandatory eight count.
More punishing body blows by Rivera, one of Top Rank’s most highly regarded prospects, and Chirino had the fight taken out of him. He barely survived to the bell ending the first round and was unable to answer the bell for the second. The win kept Rivera’s professional record a perfect eight wins against no losses.
2014 Golden Glove (152 lbs) winner Sammy Valentin (8 – 0, 6 KO) of Tampa, FL defeated Gledwin Ortiz (4 – 2, 3 KO) of the Bronx, NY with a 3rd round knockout in a competitive, back and forth fight. Valentin caught Ortiz with a hard right on top of the head that dazed Ortiz midway through the third, then followed with a flurry of lefts and rights, culminating with an upper cut that dropped Ortiz to the mat. Ortiz beat the count, but was still wobbly, forcing referee Frank Santore to call off the fight.
Jonathan Irizarry (2 – 0, 2 KO) of San Juan, Puerto Rico overwhelmed Nolasco Tomas (0 – 2, 0 KO) scoring a knockout 1:32 into the first round to score his second consecutive knockout victory to begin his professional career.