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Showtime’s Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious


Showtimes’ Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
By: Sean Crose

Liam Walsh, 21-0, took a crack at the IBF junior lightweight title when he took on American champ Gervanta Davis, 17-0, in a sold out Copper Box arena in London.

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Smith showed some nice range in the first, then refused to sit down in his corner. Davis, however, remained patient throughout the second, exuding terrific confidence in the process. It may have been a somewhat even round in the eyes of viewers and judges, but Davis acted as if he was completely in control. Perhaps he knew what would happen, for in the third he put his man down after several seconds of firing heavy shots. The Englishman got up, but that was polished off a few sharp punches later, when referee Michael Alexander wisely stopped the bout.

Showtime, which broadcast the bout, then went across the Atlantic to showcase a card live from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. First up was Rances Barthelemy, the 25-0 junior welterweight from Vegas by way of Cuba. Barthelemy’s opponent was 21-1 Belarus native Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy was well regarded walking into the fight, but Relikh had his man in trouble after dropping Barthelemy in round five. To add to the suspense, Barthelemy dropped Relikh three rounds later. It was an interesting, competitive bout and there was much unhappiness when Barthlemy ended up winning by UD via some very wide scores.

The controversy was followed up by super middleweight Andre Dirrell, 25-2 facing Jose Uzcategui, 26-1, for the chance to face multi-titlist James DeGale (for Dirrell, that fight would be a rematch). The first round wasn’t overly eventful, but Dirrell was jostled by Uzcategui in the second. Indeed, it looked like the man might go down. Dirrell, however, was able to survive the round. What’s more, he was able to work effectively at points, but Uzcategui remained aggressive.

Dirrell came back in the third by employing a very impressive jab and slick defense. By the fourth, Dirrell was in fine form, jabbing and keeping away from his foe proficiently. And Dirrell continued to keep Uzcategui from taking complete control throughout the middle of the fight. Then, at the end of the 8th, Dirrell was hammered after the bell. Referee Bill Clancy subsequently disqualified Uzcategui. Afterward, a rumble erupted and at least one member of Dirrell’s team took shots at Uzcategui.

Word came out that Maryland police were looking for Dirrell’s uncle while essentially keeping Uzcategui in protective custody. It was also reported that Dirrell’s brother may have become violent with a commission member. An ugly scene all around.

It was time for the main event. Featherweight Gary Russell, 27-1, looked to hop back into the public consciousness by looking impressive against 25-2 Oscar Escandon. It was Russell’s second defense of his WBC world title and he had the comfort of fighting within his home state of Maryland. Columbia’s Escandon, however, was planning to make the most of this opportunity. Russell, one of the sports’ more impressive slicksters, may have told the tale in the first round, but Escandon was able to get in his shots.

Both men traded shots effectively in the second, making it a fast paced, close quarters round. Russell, however, was able to drop his man in the third. Escandon got to his feet, but Russell was finding his mark and landing with noticeable power. By the end of the round, Russell was landing hard and often enough to make one wonder if the man would run out of gas should Escandon refuse to be stopped. Russell never had to worry about it. For he stopped Escandon in round seven after what was an exciting, high octane bout. Escandon was a true warrior, but referee Harvey Dock had seen enough of Russell’s power shots landing clean.

To his credit, Russell apologized for the wild antics of the evening – even though they had nothing to him. Boxing could use more of that kind of class.

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Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon


Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon
By: Seamus McNally

On Saturday night, WBC featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (27–1, 16 KOs) of Capitol Heights, Md. makes his long-awaited home debut when he takes Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25–2, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.

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Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

The bout caps the night of a split-site four fight broadcast on Showtime Championship Boxing. First up, IBF junior lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (17–0, 16 KOs) of Baltimore, Md. travels across the pond into hostile territory to risk his undefeated record against fellow unbeaten Liam Walsh (21–0, 14 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London. Once that bout is complete, the televised bouts from the MGM National Harbor will commence.

The first televised fight in Maryland will be a 12-round junior welterweight title eliminator between Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy (25–0, 13 KOs), who will be moving up from lightweight, and Kiryl Relikh (21–1, 19 KOs) of Belarus. The co-feature bout is a 12-rounder for the interim IBF super middleweight title between Andre Dirrell (25–2, 16 KOs) of Flint, Mich. and Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui (26–1, 22 KOs).

Russell, 28, entered the professional ranks in 2009 with high expectations, having won numerous amateur national titles, earning a bronze medal in the 2007 world amateur championships, and making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.

Russell was a very active fighter early in his career, and by the end of his third year as a professional, he had accumulated a record of 19–0, 11 KOs and was named 2011 Prospect of the Year by the likes of ESPN, Ring Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.

After padding his record for a few more years against modest opposition, Russell got his first crack at a world title in June 2014 against two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell was outclassed and lost a 12-round decision.

Russell won a shutout decision against Christopher Martin that December and then got his second chance at a world title in March 2015. The outcome was different this time as Russell blitz WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez en route to a fourth-round knockout win.

In his most recent fight, Russell obliterated the overmatched Patrick Hyland in the second round of their fight, which took place 13 months ago in April 2016.

Escandon, 32, was an Olympian himself, representing Colombia in the 2004 Athens Games. Unlike Russell, Escandon entered the paid ranks inconspicuously, building his record in his homeland save for two fights in Argentina and two in Panama before making his U.S. debut in 2014.

By the time Escandon reached U.S. soil, he sported a record of 23–1, 16 KOs. In his U.S. debut in December 2014 on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Escandon was awarded a very controversial decision over Canadian Tyson Cave that elicited an epic rant from color commentator Teddy Atlas once the decision was rendered.

Like Russell, Escandon fought only once in each of the last two years. In April 2015, Escandon lost a close split decision to the undefeated Moises Flores. In his most recent fight, which took place in March 2016 at the D.C. Armory, Escandon scored a seventh-round knockout of Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos.

For the first time in a long while, Russell will enjoy a height advantage in the fight. Escandon is one of the shortest fighters in all of boxing, standing at just 5’1″. Because of his short stature, Escandon tends to throw looping shots to try and reach his opponents’ heads. He puts constant pressure on his opponents, always moving forward. Escandon does not move his head much, as he usually just holds his gloves up, blocking and eating punches as he tries to walk his opponents down to get in punching range.

Russell has arguably the fastest hands in all of boxing, and knows how to use it. Some fighters rely too much on their speed and are not technically sound and get caught (Amir Khan), whereas Russell patiently sets up his shots, and is almost never out of position.

Escandon has one chance to win this fight. The only knock on Russell is that he always throws his punches at the same speed, never varies them up. The saying is timing beats speed, so Escandon may be able to time one of Russell’s punches and connect flush with a looping shot over the top and hurt Russell.

I look for Russell to establish his sharp jab early, and use good lateral movement to keep the charging Escandon at bay. Russell will take out Escandon in the middle rounds, as the blazing combinations will be too much for Escandon to withstand.

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Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. going ALL IN with Gervonta Davis?


Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. going ALL IN with Gervonta Davis?
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Ever since the beginning of boxing the future stars of the sport are always compared to their counterparts of the past. Who is the next Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, etc., etc. It is something that goes hand in hand with the history of the sport, the same as “WHO” of this era could beat “WHO” of that era. It is a fictional dialogue that will never cease to exist.

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Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/Showtime

The interesting part about one of the fights coming up this weekend is, has a fighter ever been mentored by who they are being compared to, and if so, have they ever been managed and promoted by their past comparisons?

​This Saturday undefeated, IBF Super featherweight champion, Gervonta Davis will be defending his title for the first time against Liam Walsh. Davis, who is only 22 years old with an unblemished record of 17 wins with 16 coming by way of Knockout , is one of the fastest, flashiest and well poised champions around today. For a 22 year old, he is years beyond his skill and looks to have the potential of an all-time great. Now here is the kicker, “Flashy”, “Fast”, “Young”, all these words were also used to describe Gervonta’s promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr. And the question has certainly come up, is Davis the next “Money” Mayweather?

​From watching Davis train in front of him at the Mayweather Boxing Club, to going on late night runs side by side through the Las Vegas streets, Floyd Mayweather seems much more hands on with Gervonta Davis then he has been with any other of his TMT fighters.

“It’s not just one performance. It takes more than just one performance. We truly believe that he can be a great fighter, but he came in his last fight with only 16 fights and beat the champion. We know he’s not going to lay down. This kid has dynamite in both hands. If he keeps going out there beating great fighters he cannot be denied.” Floyd said of Davis. “’ I told him, ‘if you listen to me and continue to work hard I truly believe you can be world champion within 24 months.’ And that’s just one stepping stone.”

​Floyd seems to be 100% Gervonta Davis at the moment. Taking time from speaking about his fight with Connor McGregor to fly across the pond and work with Davis.

Gervonta is not only a young champion like Floyd was, but Davis is doing something that Floyd never did in his illustrious career and that is fight on foreign soil. We will see how Davis does this weekend against Liam Walsh, and if the kid from Baltimore can continue his own historical rise.

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