Lee Selby vs. Josh Warrington Preview
By: Ste Rowen
Over the next three weeks, 3 of the 4 featherweight champions of the world defend their IBF, WBC and WBA belts. First to take to the ring will be IBF champion, Lee Selby, who stakes his IBF strap against Josh Warrington in a long awaited domestic clash.
The two will meet on Warrington’s home turf, and dream venue in Leeds’ Elland Road stadium. It’s a matchup that’s been long in the making, even before the two boxers moved over to Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions from Matchroom, and in the ‘Face to Face’ programme which brought the two together to discuss prefight, Warrington said the rivalry stemmed from Selby’s disrespect towards the Leeds native,
Photo Credit: Frank Warren Twitter Account
‘In the early days, when the rivalry was building we shook hands and you seemed a bit timid about wanting to shake hands. I respected you from that day because you’d achieved everything. You did nothing from then on but downplayed my achievements…There’s been times when you’ve said, ‘Easy work. I’ll knock him out. Not on my level’ You’ve changed your opinion many times.’
Selby, 26-1 (9KOs) drew on his time when the two fighters were under the same promotional banner,
‘Your promoter at the time bought the titles off me in order to build you up in front of your crowd, otherwise you wouldn’t have had the Commonwealth title…Built you up ready for me to knock you out.’
The Welshman was last out in December on the James Degale vs Caleb Truax undercard when he dominated the previously unbeaten Eduardo Ramirez to a clear unanimous decision. That was Lee’s 4th defence of the world title he won back in 2015 after scoring an 8th round technical decision win over Evgeny Gradovich, a bout he was clearly ahead in before the head clash which ended the fight.
Since then, Selby’s fought away from home, and at Wembley stadium, so he’s not afraid of the hostile environment he’s expected to walk into on the night,
At the press conference earlier this week he said,
‘I should be ready to defend my world title anywhere in the world so it’s only 5 hours up the road from where I live. It’s not so much of a lion’s den…It’s just another defence.’
‘I treat every opponent the same. I don’t train for a certain style or opponent… The guys in Leeds want you to win, but the whole country is backing me.’
Warrington, 26-0 (6KOs) hasn’t fought since October, when he stopped 18-0-2, Dennis Ceylan in the 10th round and the man from Leeds has built a strong record, collecting some solid names, including victories over Rendall Munroe, Patrick Hyland and everyone’s favourite Spanish boxer, Kiko Martinez. Warrington, like at most events in the build for this featherweight world title clash, was once again in buoyant mood,
‘Last few months I’ve really put my body through hell…After all the talk of me and Lee fighting it’s come down to this camp and I’m gonna give it everything…I feel like this is meant to be…It’s come around how I always planned it.
‘There’s no need for anymore talking. On Saturday I get to punch you in the face… There’s no way you can or will be able to prepare for what you’re gonna expect on Saturday night.
Both fighters know that it’s not just a world title on the line on Saturday. Carl Frampton is still looking for someone to fight at Windsor Park in August, and this weekend’s winner is expected to be the opponent. But, with WBC champ, Gary Russell Jr facing off against the unbeaten Golden Boy prospect, Joel Diaz also on Saturday; the rematch of Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares in three weeks’ time, and Oscar Valdez making a steady return from injury since his defence against Scott Quigg two months ago, there’s plenty of options for the man who has his hand raised on the 19th in Leeds.
On the undercard…
Jack Catterall vs Mohammed Kani
The top of Saturday night’s undercard sees Jack Catterall 20-0 (11KOs) come up against 14-1 (0KOs) Mohammed Kani, to defend his WBO Inter-Continental super lightweight belt. Catterall had an impressive 2017 which included a 12-round decision victory over Tyrone Nurse to earn the British title, and he has already fought once this year, knocking out the journeyman’s journeyman, Kevin Macauley 15-163-12, with a body 1st round body shot.
His opponent, Mohammed Kani, also a southpaw, will be fighting outside of France or Monaco, for the first time in his pro career, a career that faltered slightly when he dropped an 8-round decision to fellow Frenchman Laid Douadi 14-0-1.
Speaking to ‘British Boxers’, Warrington didn’t seem to concerned with his opponent,
‘I’ve had a lot of southpaw sparring and orthodox so it’s not an issue. I know I’ve prepared for this fight no matter who they put in front of us so, I’m confident of putting another loss on his record on Saturday.’
Nicola Adams vs Soledad del Valle Frias
Two-time Olympic gold medallist, Nicola Adams will fight in her first schedule 10-round bout, in just her 4th fight when she takes on 13-11-4, Soledad del Valle Frias a former three-time world title challenger.
Adams, so far has only gone as far as 4 rounds and although she’s taken on a relative veteran of the female boxing scene, Nicola is just taking it as any other fight. Speaking to BBC she said,
‘This is another step up for me on my professional journey to a professional world title…My camp has gone perfectly and I can’t wait to fight in a football stadium for the first time.
Ohara Davies vs Christopher Sebire
Ohara Davies makes his first return to the ring since linking up with Frank Warren, after cutting ties with Matchroom at the end of last year.
Davies, 16-1 (13KOs) is schedule to fight the unbeaten, Josh Leather, 13-0 next month, so Saturday’s bout is expected to be a keep busy exhibition for ‘Two Tanks’. His opponent Frenchman, Christopher Sebire 26-10-1 (9KOs) is fighting in Britain for the second consecutive time, losing a 10-round decision to 20-1, Paul Kamanga back in November.
Frank Warren’s Under the Radar Prospects
By: Oliver McManus
Hall of Fame boxing promoter Frank Warren inked a new 5 year deal with broadcaster BT Sport this week, bringing the likes of Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders and Terry Flanagan to an audience in excess of 7million viewers and to celebrate the agreement, with 5 being the magic number, we take a look at five of the best under-the-radar fighters under the tutelage of Mr Frank Warren.
Josh Leather – Super Lightweight
We’ll start off with the first of two Leather brothers making their mark on the British boxing scene and Josh Leather, at 13-0, has already made sizeable waves boxing out of Imran Naeem’s gym up in Stockton.
A prodigious amateur talent, Josh made the move into the paid ranks back in 2013 with the backing of Warren from the beginning – quickly repaying the promoter’s faith with a full arsenal of attacking grit and flashy punches.
Last year proved to be the making of the Guisborough-born sharp-shooter as a sixth round TKO against Philip Sutcliffe Jnr on the undercard of Josh Warrington – Kiko Martinez, earned him the IBF Inter-Continental title and wide plaudits from those within the game.
The attention of the wider public would come in Newcastle, in November, with a ferocious battle against Glenn Foot that could easily have won Fight of the Year, whilst the scorecards were questioned by some, Leather showed heart to get back up from a rocking shot in the 2nd before rallying with relentless pressure in the final quarter to earn him the points victory.
2018 will prove to be a big year for Leather as boxing looks to make a big bang up North and Josh will certainly be part of the revival – a rematch with Foot is on the cards but, regardless, he’ll be in cracking fights all over the place.
Tamuka Mucha – Welterweight
A new signing for 2018, it will be interesting to see what route Frank Warren and Tamuka Mucha go down after a scheduled fight with John O’Donnell was beset with injuries and postponed no less than three occasions.
With 17 fights under his belt – 16 victories – since turning pro in 2012, Mucha is certainly at the point in his career where he’s capable of a step-up, the Zimbabwe-born, Berkshire-resident, has already proven himself at a domestic level by knocking out Erick Ochieng in the 6th round – not an easy feat – before outpointing Tommy Tear (11-0) 99-93 in February 2016 to cement his reputation as one to watch.
Since then Mucha has stayed active and kept on improving – particularly with a nice victory over Paddy Gallagher towards the back-end of ’16 – but 2017 proved to be a frustrating period in Mucha’s boxing career.
A narrow points loss (57-56) to Serge Ambomo who, now, comes with the “can bang” warning label set him back a step before the tumultuous nature of THAT clash against John O’Donnell left Mucha in limbo.
This year will be about shaking off those cobwebs, getting back in the ring and doing what he does best – THROW BOMBS!
Harvey Horn – Flyweight
Harvey Horn brings into the professional game a quite prestigious amateur career, despite still being just 22!
The former World Series of Boxing representative, Horn hails a strong fan-base with a 300-strong army attending his first home WSB bout, with standout honours including the U22 European Championship and a WSB victory over Nico Hernandez (2016 Rio Bronze medallist).
A technical fighter who thrives on taking his opponents past their comfort zones and into the later rounds, Horn pulled off two victories in as many months between December and February by beating Denis and Patrik Bartos (no relation).
5ft2 and a southpaw, the flyweight holds all the aces when it comes to style with the young London fighter having advanced significantly under the guidance of Mark Tibbs; what has proven to be most appealing on the eye, perhaps, is his fighting stance.
Sounds a weird thing to notice but it’s always nice to see a youngster take to the centre of the ring and execute their own game-plan to perfection – I remember watching an amateur bout of his against Serge Neumann a couple years ago on YouTube and being impressed with his constant work-rate and willingness to step back for a second before landing the punch, instead of rushing.
2 and 0 as a pro, Horn has the poisoned chalice of being an imperious European talent in one of the lighter weight classes, meaning match-making will always be a nightmare, but what a fighter!
Joe Maphosa – Flyweight
Another one of those tricky flyweights is Joe Maphosa, slightly taller than Horn at 5ft4, who has maintained an exquisitely regular profile in the boxing ring with six professional fights since his debut in May 2017.
Snapped up by Warren straightaway, Maphosa has kept busy by boxing on various undercards, and has continually built up experience with four consecutive points victories – 16 rounds of vital learning for the 24 year old – with the flyweight having not lost a single round.
Again, a GB amateur squad member and WSB fighter, Maphosa has the requisite amateur experience to warrant an expedited journey up the pro ranks and the determination to reach the top is far from lacking.
Indeed the star is capable of fighting at fly and super-fly, with a delightful patience ensuring he’d be a challenge to all who enter the ring with him – a strong front foot, followed up by combinations of hooks to the body seem to be his trademark move and it was nice to see Joe turn up the heat in the fourth round of his last bout and secure the stoppage.
I think it’s safe to say Smokin Joe is on track to catch fire any time soon…
Jordan Thompson – Cruiserweight
Transitioning from the tennis court to the boxing ring certainly doesn’t sound easy but it’s a switch Jordan ‘Troublesome’ Thompson has made with relative ease – when aged 16, Thompson was in the Top 10 of British tennis but has said he “wasn’t accepted”. Well tennis’ loss is boxing’s gain, so I’m not complaining!
Eight years later, the muscular physique of Thompson has seen him home with an unbeaten ledger of eight victories and six knockouts.
The early stages of his professional career saw him drop all of his first three opponents before further punishment would see the referee wave off the contests – a troublesome right hand was earning a reputation to be feared.
Three fights in 2017 saw Thompson scheduled for 10 rounds before stopping Michael Pareo in the first round – it was a scintillating performance from the Manchester-man that saw him drop his Belgian counterpart on three occasions and showcase his power to full effect.
Mild mannered, Thompson always comes across as relaxed and calm when out of the ring and often looks relaxed in it too – tougher challenges will surely come in 2018 for the cruiser prospect but you’d back him to deal with them in his stride, as well.
And there we are with our top five boxers to keep an eye on from Frank Warren’s stable and with that five year BT Sport deal, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to keep an eye out on these guys as they make their journey to the top!
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ergashev, Warren, Maidana, Graziano, Garcia, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 10th to April 17th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Ryan Garcia Twitter Account
Ergashev to Face Wang for WBA International Junior Welterweight Title
The previously announced 10-round clash between fast-rising, unbeaten knockout artist SHOHJAHON ERGASHEV, (11-0-0, 11 KO’s), a native of Uzbekistan, now fighting out of Brooklyn, NY and China’s ZHIMIN WANG, (10-2-0, 3 KO’s), has now been elevated to a WBA International Junior Welterweight Title bout, it was announced today by Matchroom Boxing USA, promoter of “Straight Outta Brooklyn”,the massive international boxing event set for Saturday, April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The 26-year-old Ergashev, training out of the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, has quickly impressed boxing fans in the United States with two recent show-stopping knockouts and 100% knockout ratio, building a huge following in the New York City area.
In his U.S. debut, the hard-hitting southpaw stopped Marquis Hawthorne in the second round on November 11, 2017 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Making his nationally televised debut on January 12, 2018 in roaring style, Ergashev knocked out undefeated, highly regarded contender Sonny Fredrickson in the third round in Verona, New York. He is promoted by Salita Promotions.
Wang will be looking to stay in the win column returning to action following a dominant 10-round decision over Anthony Sabalde on December 10, 2017 in Guangzhou, China. The victory capped a four-fight campaign for Wang last year which included two additional decision victories.
“I had a great training camp at the Kronk Gym in Detroit and look forward to making a statement on April 28,” said Ergashev. “I pushed myself to the limits because I know that a world title is in my destiny. Zhimin Wang is a very skilled, strong fighter and I look forward to this great match-up and an opportunity to win my first title.”
Said Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Boxing USA, “I watched this young man at our last show in Long Island and he immediately caught my attention. He is a pure puncher and is going to be a real danger to the division. He has a great following already and I’m looking forward to watching him challenge for his first title in Brooklyn on April 28.”
“Shohjahon has all the ingredients to dominate the junior welterweight division and be a star in the ring,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “His work ethic, punching power and desire for greatness is very special. Zhimin Wang is a very skilled, durable fighter and I expect a great fight on April 28.
Advance tickets for ‘Straight Outta Brooklyn’starting at $42 may be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.com, BarclaysCenter.com, or calling 800-745-3000. Tickets for the event can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. For information on group sales, call 844.255.9647.
Raushee Warren and Fabian Maidana to Compete on April 21st
Former bantamweight world champion Raushee Warren and top prospect Fabian Maidana will step into the ring at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, on Saturday, April 21 in separate attractions as part of an exciting night of undercard fights.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by four-division champion Adrien Broner battling former welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas. The SHOWTIME telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features undefeated former world champion Jermall Charlo clashing with once-beaten Hugo Centeno, Jr. for the interim 160-pound world title and former champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Jesus Cuellar as they square off for the vacant WBA 130-pound Super World Championship.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, start at $50 and 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. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Warren (15-2, 4 KOs) will return to action in an eight round bantamweight fight against Juan Medina (10-2, 9 KOs), whileMaidana (14-0, 10 KOs) steps in for a 10-round super lightweight showdown against Hevinson Herrera (22-14-1, 16 KOs). The undercard attractions also include popular local female contender Heather “The Heat” Hardy (20-0, 4 KOs)as she competes in a featherweight contest against Mexico’s Paolo Torres (10-2-1, 3 KOs).
The action inside the arena will also feature a pair of 2016 Olympians in separate six-round super lightweight attractions as U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell (4-0, 4 KOs) enters the ring against Andrew Rodgers (4-2-1, 2 KOs) and Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins (4-0, 2 KOs) battles Alexander Charneco (4-4, 4 KOs).
Brooklyn’s unbeaten Chordale Booker will step into the ring for a six-round super welterweight fight against Daniel Calzada while the Bronx’s undefeated heavyweight George Arias competes in an eight-round attraction against Tyrell Wright.
The action rounds out with unbeaten super featherweight Desmond Jarmon battling Kendrick Latchman in a four-round showdown, unbeaten prospect Shyngyskhan Tazhibay in a four-round welterweight contest against Justin Savi (31-15-2, 21 KOs) and undefeated prospect Dylan Price, who meets Edson Noria for a six-round super flyweight bout.
The 31-year-old Warren became a world champion in 2016 when he defeated Juan Carlos Payano to capture the WBA Bantamweight World Championship. The Cincinnati-native represented the U.S. three times at the Olympic games during a prolific amateur career and most recently defeated former champion McJoe Arroyo last July at Barclays Center. He returns to Brooklyn to face the 25-year-old Medina, who fights out of the Dominican Republic.
The brother of former welterweight champion Marcos Maidana, Fabian will look to remain unbeaten when he makes his 2018 debut on April 21. The 25-year-old from Santa Fe, Argentina most recently defeated former interim champion Johan Perez by unanimous decision last November in his first fight to go 10 rounds.
The First Biography of Rocky Graziano in 60 Years
Jeffrey Sussman, boxing author, has written another hard-hitting exciting biography. It is of Rocky Graziano, juvenile delinquent, middleweight boxing champion, and comedic actor, who was the last great fighter from the golden age of boxing, the era of Joe Louis, Jake LaMotta, and Sugar Ray Robinson.
In Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame, and Fortune (published March 10 by Rowman & Littlefied), Jeffrey Sussman tells the rags-to-riches story of Tommy Rocco Barbella, who came to be known as Rocky Graziano. Raised by an abusive father, Graziano took to the streets and soon found himself in reformatories and prison cells. Drafted into the U.S. Army, Graziano went AWOL but was eventually caught, tried, and sent to prison for a year. After his release, Rocky went on to have one successful boxing match after another and quickly ascended up the pyramid of professional boxing. In one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the middleweight division, Rocky beat Tony Zale and became the middleweight champion of the world. Rocky retired from boxing after he lost his crown to Sugar Ray Robinson and went on to have a successful acting career in two acclaimed television series. Rich and famous, he was no longer the angry young man he once was. In his post-boxing life, Rocky became known for his good humor, witty remarks, and kindness and generosity to those in need.
Rocky Graziano’s life is not only inspiring, it is also a story of redemption, of how boxing became the vehicle for saving a young man from a life of anger and crime and leading him into a life of happiness and honesty. The first biography of Graziano in over 60 years, this book will bring his story to a new generation of boxing fans and sports historians.
Bill Calogero, boxing historian and host of the Talkin’ Boxing with Billy C, TV & Radio Program, wrote: “Rocky Graziano was one of my all-time favorite fighters. Being in the boxing business for over thirty-five years, I thought I knew it all about Rocky. That was until I read Jeffrey Sussman’s new book, Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame and Fortune. Sussman tells Graziano’s story like no other ever written. I learned things about Rocky I never knew before. Sussman’s writing style not only educated me more about Rocky Graziano, he put me there with him. Page after page, I felt I was with Graziano, feeling his pain as a child and his triumphs as World Champion. I could not put it down! This book is a must read for all, not just boxing fans.”
In Booklist, Wes Lukowsky wrote: “Sussman does a fine job with the biographical details from start to finish, but he really nails the fight descriptions, creating a sensory experience in which the reader can almost feel the punches and hear the crowds. A vivid slice of boxing history.”
Jeffrey Sussman is also the author of the 2017 best seller: Max Baer and Barney Ross: Jewish Heroes of Boxing, published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Ryan Garcia to Face Jayson Velez
Ryan “The Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year and pride of Victorville, Calif., headlines a very special edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Garcia, who is the brightest rising star in the sport of boxing today, will kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities as he faces seasoned Puerto Rican contender Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in this spectacular arena that has become the home for great battles.
ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
At only 19 years of age, Garcia is the future superstar of boxing. After winning multiple national championships as an amateur and several professional fights in Mexico, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions in Nov. 2016. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title. In his most recent performance, Garcia defeated Fernando Vargas on the March 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN via a stunning first-round knockout victory.
“I’m back already and with high expectations,” said Ryan Garcia.”I’m glad to be headlining two times in a row and excited to be fighting in an iconic venue where there have been many wars. I’ve said all along that I was destined for greatness. I’m speaking it to existence, and I will show that on May 4.”
Velez is an experience contender of the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, home of former world champions such as Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, among others. The 30-year-old pugilist has faced the toughest fighters of the competitive 126-pound division, including Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Ronny Rios. Velez is coming off three impressive victories, including a unanimous decision win against the previously undefeated Alberto Mercado and back-to-back stoppage victories over former contender Giovanni “El Ruso” Caroand former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.
“I will not let my country down as it is a powerful force in boxing,” said Jayson Velez. “If anyone believes that I am only going for the paycheck, they are wrong. As I have proved before, I always give my best and this will not be the exception against Garcia. In the face of all predictions, I will defeat him.”
“Ryan Garcia is going to prove that he’s the next superstar in the sport of boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “After an amazing performance in March, Garcia will now make his debut in an arena that is slowly becoming a legendary battleground for boxing, the StubHub Center.”
In the co-main event, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), the incomparable and explosive Irish contender, will make his Southern California debut in a 10-round middleweight fight presented in association with Murphy’s Boxing. O’Sullivan has faced the likes of current WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank, Jr., and he’ll returning after his most significant and impressive victory against Antoine “Action” Douglass via seventh-round technical knockout. O’Sullivan will be next in line for a middleweight title shot if successful on May 4.
Welterweight knockout artist Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), who without a doubt will be the first world champion to come out of Santa Ana, Calif., will participate in an eight-round 147-pound fight. Rocha has many tools in his southpaw arsenal as he can both fight at the distance and knock people out from the inside.
Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of action in the super welterweight division. Kerobyan is the latest prospect to be signed to the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable and the first fighter under the management of former UFC fighter and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey.
Richard “Kansas Kid” Acevedo (1-0, 1 KO), a prospect originally out of Garden City, Kansas, will participate in a four-round super welterweight fight. This exciting puncher out of the Westside Boxing Club promises fireworks as he initiates this exciting card.
Yarde and DuBois Win In England
Frank Warren’s 2018 kicked off with an emphatic bang last night as his brightest prospects made decisive statements at York Hall, Bethnal Green, to lay the foundations down for an enthralling 2018.
Photo Credit Box Nation Twitter Account
The Untouchables featured three mouth-watering fighters in title bouts as Anthony Yarde defended his WBO Inter-Continental and European titles against Tony Averlant, Daniel Dubois looked to retain his Southern Area strap against DL Jones and Zelfa Barrett took on Ronnie Clarke for the vacant IBF European Super Featherweight belt.
Light-heavyweight Yarde was the headlining act for his 15th professional fight and was up against a durable Averlant, who’s a fair bit better than his 26-9-2 record suggests, in a scheduled 10 rounder. An obvious step-down from, Yarde’s previous opponent, Nikola Sjekloca this was all about putting in a performance in order to set-up exciting clashes against fellow Top 25 opposition for the duration of 2018.
Averlant was looking to prove he had what it takes to compete at the European level with the 33-year-old having fallen short at every other opportunity, most notably from a crunching body shot courtesy of Juergen Braehmer back in 2013.
The fight didn’t start off quite as you’d expect with Yarde opting to patiently sit back and wait for Averlant to approach him before unleashing a handful of heavy right-hand punches against the body of the Frenchman. Movement from Yarde was the prime skill displayed over the opening three minutes as he evaded the shots of Averlant and did well to cut off the ring for his opponent.
That momentum and unfamiliarity of style continued into the second round with Averlant goading Yarde into an opening attack before landing his own series of shots on the WBO #2 – Yarde seemed relatively unfazed and hit back but, nonetheless, Averlant seemed to be a trickier test than many anticipated with Yarde reluctant to be drawn into a firefight.
Order was restored with the bell to mark the beginning of the third round with Anthony Yarde giving reason to his Beast nickname, unloading on his opponent with thunderous shots to both head and body. Often with his hands down by his side, Frank Warren’s prospect slammed his right hand into the head of Averlant, following through with his whole body, reddening the face but no real combination shots to add to the pain.
A quiet fourth and fifth round followed with Yarde undoubtedly dominating but just wearing down Averlant as opposed to seeking to expel him from the ring – the sixth round saw him step the fight up a notch with a plethora of body shots, similar to Juergen Braehmer’s tactics, fatiguing the ribs and solar plexus before a slaughtering shot at the ropes dropped Averlant on the 90 second mark. Mere seconds later and the Frenchman was down again, he hung on until the end of the round but Yarde was ready for the kill.
Averlant had proven to be as durable as can of baked beans but with blood in the water, Yarde wasn’t going to mellow on the Frenchman and battered the body so bad you could order it at your local chippy! Survival mode kicked in for Averlant but his spirit never died regardless of the sheer bombardment coming his way.
With the referee reluctant to stop the fight and Yarde look set to bounce Averlant out of the ring, the French corner pulled their man out at the end of the 7th round to give Anthony Yarde the win AND an enhanced ranking with the WBO. He retains the European and Inter-Continental version of their titles so the only question left is ‘who’s next?’.
Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois was looking to explode into 2018 with a convincing win over his unbeaten Southern Area rival DL Jones who was going into the contest with 8 wins and a single draw – coincidentally that draw came against Dorian Darch, Dubois’ last opponent.
Weighing at his second heaviest career weight Dubois was still the lighter man as his 36 year old opponent weighed in at 110.2kg (243lbs) and behind that stocky frame was a fighter looking to cash in on his career high payday (reported to be near £15,000).
The first round proved to be the hardest of Dubois’s professional career with DL Jones looking to hold for the most part whilst trying to swing in from a crouched position – at times it was reminiscent of a wrestling bout but Jones was successful in subduing outlandish levels of power beheld by Dubois.
Dubois adjusted well into the second round as he begun to tee off against Jones by the ropes, aiming for the body of the Sheerness-born opponent. Visibly frustrated was Triple D but he kept the jab popping into the face of the former army veteran.
Biding his time before eventually unleashing an uppercut followed by a flurry of body punches, Dubois was picking off his challenger with ease whilst never really clicking into gear before relaxing in the third round and letting his natural power come through.
Pinning Jones against the ropes around the halfway mark of the third, Dubois shellacking his man with punishing jabs to the head along with big right hand overhead hooks – three, four in a row – enforcing the pain on Dave Jones. The smile on his face failed to mask the buckle in his legs and a concussive right uppercut-straight combination saw him collapse to the canvas.
A third round knockout for Daniel Dubois to make it seven wins, seven early baths, saw the 20 year old retain his Southern Area title and we’ll see him back out at the O2 on April 14th as he looks to make 2018 his year.
On paper the toughest fight for the three main protagonists came as Zelfa ‘Brown Flash’ Barrett faced Ronnie ‘The Shark’ Clark for the vacant IBF European Super Featherweight championship; Clark, the former British title challenger, represented the biggest step up for Barrett, 19-0.
Determined to steal the limelight from the start, the green-haired Shark gained the best of a tentative opening first round with neither boxer willing to impose their fight plans and both struggling to connect with anything clean and that rhythm followed into the second portion of three minutes with Clark doing well to pressure Barrett against the ropes but failing to ask serious questions of the 24 year old.
Voices from some corners described Barrett as “drawn” during the weigh-ins and public work outs and that started to show as the fight progressed with the, relatively big, super-feather finding it tough to adapt to the southpaw stance of his more experienced opponent.
The fourth round seemed to spark something into the Shark who was now finding the body of Barrett with increasingly alarming consistency to the extent that after switching to the head and landing with a sharp uppercut, the Dundee-man simply smiled.
Relaxed but effective best described the fighting style of Ronnie Clark but by no-means was he in the clear as his Mancunian opponent kept his head moving and shots firing – if not necessarily connecting – to make the first four or five rounds still 50-50.
Barrett was pressing his case across the opening minute of the sixth, upping the tempo and attacking Clark with real grit and gusto but, in a sudden switch, was hit by a stunning, straight, left-hand jab countered by a right hand uppercut that sent his body to the canvas, his teeth to the crowd and his head to the clouds.
From that moment Clark pursued Barrett in relentless fashion, throwing bombs for the remaining 90 seconds in a round of pure hell for the pre-right favourite; whilst Barrett regained his composure during the break between rounds, the only punch of note in the seventh was a left hand from the youngster that was deflected well by Clark.
Into the middle-to-late rounds we went and they seemed to mirror the opening three, after some scintillating rounds of boxing both men needed a breather. When the fight ignited again, around the ninth round, Zelfa managed to find a good flurry of shots to the body of Clark as he began to edge his way back into the fight from a shot which, to be fair , would have stopped many a lesser fighter.
The healthy flow of punches continued into the 10th round of super-featherweight action with both men exchanging leather, Clark trying to drive Barrett back towards the ropes but the Mancunian firing in with repetitive shots of his own.
Championship rounds are the ones that win fights and Barrett was aware of that, making a strong start to the 11th as he kept Clark in sight and having, by far, the better of the exchanges in terms of work rate and consistency but the more eye-catching skills were coming from the man from Scotland.
With both fighters wanting to seal the win the 12th round was always going to be an absolute belter and so it proved with both men giving it their all, sapping their energy with combinations from both men in a phone-box competition marred only by the Barrett’s gum shield dropping out. Clark kept the right hand leads flowing into the body of Barrett whilst receiving the full artillery from his opponent. Clark was static but sensational, Barrett lucid but lacklustre.
To the scorecards it went with no-one in the venue able to confidently predict the outcome; 116-111, 116-111, 114-114, a majority decision to the NEW IBF European Super Featherweight champion Ronnie Clark, but by five?
Also on the card we saw Nathan Gorman stamp his authority over Morgan Dessaux to move to 12-0 in the heavyweight division; Archie Sharp stopped Ivan Ruiz Morote in the 7th round to improve his record to 12 wins, no defeats, in the super-feather weight class; Ryan Garner returned to the ring after 6 months out with a points decision over Lesther Cantillano, The Piranha goes seven without defeat; in the super middle division, Umar Sadiq beat Yailton Neves comfortably to go to 2-0; Hamza Sheeraz obtained the same record at super-welter; Boy Jones Jr went 8 rounds in the lightweight division but enhanced his record to 15-1-1 whilst Harvey Horn moved to 2 and 0 in the flyweight division.
The Untouchables Preview: Yarde vs. Averlant and Dubois vs. Jones
By: Oliver McManus
Billed as The Untouchables, Frank Warren presents his first night of boxing in 2018, coming from the iconic York Hall, Bethnal Green, and broadcast live across BT Sport and BoxNation; initially slated for a February 10th date at the Copper Box Arena, the card suffered a setback when headliner Zolani Tete had to withdraw from his WBO Bantamweight defence against Omar Narvaez following an injury to his leg and, then, Bradley Skeete’s opponent withdrew, resulting in us here on the 24th!
That’s the pre-preview complexities done with and now onto the so-called Untouchables of which Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois and Zelfa Barrett are touted as – realistically only Yarde and Dubois can lay some claim to such a title but, nonetheless, let’s take a look at the stacked card of action coming our way;
Anthony Yarde has the honour of headlining for the first time in his career and will be facing off against, Frenchman, Tony Averlant in a defence of his WBO European and Inter-Continental titles that he’s held since last year.
Having moved up to Number 3 in the WBO rankings and Number 7 within the IBF, Yarde has captured the attention of the world and will be looking to make a statement in his 15th professional bout, will Averlant be the 13th consecutive Yarde opponent to be stopped within the distance?
Averlant brings with him, across the Thames, a 26-9-2 record with losses scattered all the way across his record – the most recent being in September 201D6 against Dominic Boesel for the WBA Continental and WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight titles, but he’s fought at full European level twice before.
Two inches taller than Yarde, Averlant undoubtedly marks a drop in quality from Nikola Sjekloca – who was Yarde’s last victim, via fourth round TKO – but the Top 75 fighter brings his own unique set of challenges to the explosive power of Frank Warren’s hot prospect;
A left hand that can best be described as enthusiastic will be his main asset, Averlant will look to keep that in Yarde’s face as often as possible in order to disrupt his game-plan, countering it with repetitive right hand jabs. Should Averlant be able to put Yarde off his rhythm then the key will be to keep popping shots into his face as that’s the only way he’ll be able to scupper the expected outcome.
As for Yarde there is no secret that he’s one of the Warren fighters hotly tipped to go all the way and capture a world title within the next 18-24 months and it’s clear to see why given the attributes he possesses;
The muscular stature of the Hackney-born fighter is imposing with the tattooed physique of Yarde looking more reminiscent to that of a cruiserweight as opposed to light-heavy and his hand powers stands further testament to that statement – power personified, Yarde became the first man to stop Sjekloca and has shown no mercy throughout his career as exemplified in his fight with, the vastly underrated, Chris Hobbs back in May last year.
Power isn’t his only asset, however, with the footwork off The Beast being arguably his best skill and one which is far more useful than one-punch knockout power – it’s one thing to knockout an opponent but it’s another to out-skill and embarrass the man.
Should The Beast come through this fight unscathed then 2018 will be set up as a big year and surely the quality of opponent will take a significant step-up after this card – Frank Buglioni for the British title and Karo Murat for the European strap, are just two of the names in the mix.
Daniel Dubois is the next of Warren’s “Untouchables” in a Southern Area heavyweight defence against DL Jones – who’s last fight was a draw against, Dubois’ previous opponent, Dorian Darch – in a contest that provides a plateaued quality of opponent ahead of a calendar year that has promised opponents of constantly-increasing calibre.
Dubois has long drawn the scorn of critics hell-bent on dismissing the 20 year old as nothing but a hype job owing to the destructive nature in which he’s dispatched the six previous men to have entered the ring with him in the paid ranks.
Scuppered twice by last-minute withdrawals – David Howe withdrew from Dubois’ debut fight and an unbeaten Mexican did the same for Triple D’s first title fight for the WBC Youth Heavyweight title – but has still shown raw power despite the opposition.
When fighting Darch, Dubois matched Anthony Joshua’s performance TO THE SECOND by dispatching the Welshman after 51 seconds of the second round against a game, front-footed fighter.
In Jones he faces an unbeaten man looking to protect that 0 – a factor which always brings out extra grit in a fight – who should have won against Darch, but for a points deduction and a flash knockdown in the 2nd;
The Kent-based boxer looks impressive with a 6’5”, 245lbs (112kg) frame but, in spite of his size, lacks any significant power to trouble, even, journeyman such as Tomas Mrazek and Jiri Svacina – Dubois’, on the other hand, already has elite-level power.
46 rounds across his eight fights – all going the distance – has been evidence of Jones’ high work-rate which should be the key test for Dubois in attempting to break-down someone who’s gone eight rounds before and has strong stamina.
Frank Warren has already gone on record as being keen to get his protégé out again as soon as possible with an eye to getting him either on the 14th April World Title double-header at the O2 or the Selby-Warrington undercard on the 19th May.
For Dubois to attempt, at least, to silence his critics he will need to show more of his impeccable dynamism (he’s not called Dynamite for nothing) but, more specifically, his footwork that has impressed the likes of, former World Champion and GB Amateur coach, Richie Woodhall.
Having already imposed his right-hand jab to perfection and drawing comparisons with Lennox Lewis as a direct result, he’ll be looking to pop out the left-hook to effect more frequently at York Hall after punishing Darch with it last time out – all eyes are on Dubois with no-one really expecting Jones to cause an upset so the question is, just how good will Daniel look?
Our final in-depth preview takes a look at the third and final title fight on the bill as Zelfa Barrett battles it out with Ronnie Clarke for the IBF European Super Featherweight title with the winner of this 50-50 domestic dust-up securing a Top 15 world ranking as well as eeking their way closer to a challenge of Kenichi Ogawa’s short tenure as World Champion (unlikely but, hey, stranger things have happened).
Initially slated to face Ivan Ruiz Morote from Spain who is ranked around 350th in the world by BoxRec, the change in opponent means Zelfa Barrett now faces the most credible opponent of his 19 fight professional career.
Clarke, a former British title challenger, represents a whole new array of problems for Barrett who’s yet to be fully pushed to the limit and The Shark has already thought this year – making an outing against Dean Evans on the 3rd February – so is fully fight-fit and ready to launch an assault against Brown Flash’s perfect record.
Despite being 33 the best of Clarke is far from on the other side of the hill with, arguably, his best career performances coming in 2016 when he successfully beat Jordan McCorry for the Scottish Area super-featherweight title and narrowly lost to Martin Joseph Ward for the British version. Two years on and this is his first return to title level but his performances have been convincingly consistent to warrant such a match-up.
Typically a defensive fighter, the Scotsman is a rugged boxer who’s hard to break down so could test Barrett by taking him into the championship rounds – let’s not forget that Barrett has only gone 10 rounds once so is still a relative novice over that distance.
Having said that, Clarke is the first and, so far, only opponent to have dropped Ward in thanks to a scintillating over-head left-hand which goes to prove he’s by no means a one trick pony and if Zelfa decides to take his foot of the gas then, boy, he could be in for 10 rounds of hell.
For Barrett, then, the key is to stick to his basics – work the jab and not let his opposite man settle into any sort of rhythm. Against Chris Conwell last year, for the English title, Barrett was at his most impressive when he was oozing with confidence and able to be light on his feet, working that ramrod left hand into the body and head of the 31 year old whilst remaining fluid enough with his movement to avoid getting tagged.
Boxing at range is what he’s best at so it would be dangerous to get involved into a phone-box fight where he could, unnecessarily, be dragged into danger. Range can often be mistaken for a sign of timidity but for Barrett it allows him to dictate the pace of the fight whilst unloading his stinging left hand hook into the ribcage of his opponent.
Although initially I said this was a 50-50 fight, if you’re going to lean towards someone then it should be Barrett because, on his day, he is easily the best super-featherweight in Britain and to have such a unique combination of lucidity, defensive awareness yet powerful precision and explosive movement ensures a very successful career for the young man – on the proviso, of course, that he comes through this testing bout.
Also on the card; heavyweight Nathan Gorman looks to move to 12-0 following his win over Mo Soltby for the WBC International Silver title back in November whilst Boy Jones Jr (14-1-1) looks to make it four wins on the trot following his loss to Craig Poxton for the Southern Area Super Featherweight title back in February; Archie Sharp continues his ascent of the same weight division by attempting to move 12 and 0 with Ryan “The Piranha” Garner looking to go 7 without defeat in the paid ranks, also in the Super-Featherweight catergory. Umar Sadiq, Harvey Horn and Hamzah Sheeraz are all taking part in their second professional fights at York Hall and will seek to round of a successful night for Frank Warren’s brightest stars.
BoxNation World Championship Boxing Preview: The Return of Carl Frampton
By: Oliver McManus
Boxing returns to Belfast in a couple of weeks’ time with Carl Frampton returning to the ring for his first fight in Northern Ireland since February 2015.
With two World Title fights on the bill, it’s hard to decipher who the real headline act is but a cracking night of action is guaranteed on Saturday 18th. Promoted by Frank Warren and live on BT Sport & BoxNation, the card features Zolani Tete, Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Darryll Williams and, of course, The Jackal himself.
Jerwin Ancajas defends his IBF World Super Flyweight against, Belfast’s own, Jamie Conlan; Ancajas has been steadily building up his profile in the Asian hemisphere, having captured the title back in September last year against McJoe Arroyo – since then he’s made two defences against Jose Alfredo Rodriguez and Teiru Kinoshita, to move his record 27-1-1.
Jamie Conlan will be in his first fight for 8 months, his last runout saw him take the vacant WBC International Silver title to move him up to 4th in the IBF Rankings and 3rd with the WBO. 19 and 0 with 11 knockouts, Conlan has already won the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title as well as an array of Continental belts but gets his first World Title shot at the age of 31.
Conlan will be facing his first southpaw since, journeyman, Elemir Rafael way back in January 2012 so he could find it tricky to deal with Ancajas’ cagey nature in the opening rounds but will look to get on the front foot quickly, establishing his open stature and giving room for his sharp, snappy, right hand.
Ancajas, known as Pretty Boy, has built a growing reputation based on a patient fighting blueprint with deceptive knockout power. With a strong, powerful, right hand jab, he’s capable of keeping his opponent at length before turning on the fast, flashy, footwork to throw a trademark left hand hook.
His movement is unquestionably better than Conlan who has often been criticised for being “flat-footed”, and Ancajas’ lucid body movement could prompt flush air-shots from The Mexican.
Nonetheless Conlan always comes ready for a scrap, a brawl, and is never afraid to just let shots fly if he feels the heat start to crank up – home advantage is nothing to be sniffed and with 11,000 Irish fans roaring him on, you could do worse than put your money on the 11/4 priced amateur legend.
Carl Frampton is next up, he’ll be facing Horacio Garcia – a fringe fighter from Mexico, with a 33-3-1 record. Scheduled for 10 rounds, this will be the 30 year old’s first bout since his majority decision loss against Leo Santa Cruz in their second encounter.
With Frampton’s previous fight cancelled after his opponent, Andreas Gutierrez, suffered facial cuts and broken teeth the night before their clash, this will be his first bout under MTK management and with promoter Frank Warren.
Although The Jackal, with a record of 23-1, narrowly missed the weight for that postponed battle, he’s decided to stay at the Featherweight division and a convincing win against the 27 year old Mexican could set him up for an instant return to World level and, indeed, a tantalising trilogy with Santa Cruz.
Horacio Garcia seems an uninspired choice of opponent given that he’s never competed at anything higher than regional level – he’s challenged twice for NABF titles but never taken home the belt. Consider that less than 4 months ago he was outboxed over 8 rounds by Diuhl Olguin (at the time 11-6-3) and it’s clear that Garcia is already on the downward slide.
Carl Frampton will be looking to go through the motions once more and shake off any ring rust that he may be suffering; having reduced his sparring workload by ½ in order to prevent lasting brain injuries, any competitive rounds under his belt will always be useful but the 2-time World Champion will want to utilise his fast, flying hands, to make a statement to the rest of the division.
Having already conquered the Featherweight and Super Bantamweight divisions, should Frampton come through this with ease and go on to avenge his sole loss, we could see him attempt to become Northern Ireland’s first ever three-weight World Champion and capture the crown of the Super Featherweight division.
Also on the card is the WBO World Bantamweight Title fight between, the champion, Zolani Tete and, challenger, Siboniso Gonya; Tete was installed as champion following Shohei Omori’s transition to Super Bantamweight, having already captured the interim title against Arthur Villanueva in April this year.
Born in South Africa but fighting in the United Kingdom, Last Born has quickly been adopted by the city of Liverpool as one of their own – in no part hindered by his explosive power and all-round cheeky nature.
Fighting from a southpaw stance, Tete has been with Frank Warren since March 2015 and has been described as a “modern day road warrior”. With a come-forward style, the two-time World Champion has a fast fighting nature and utilises two quick straight jabs before unleashing a sharp under-hand hook.
Not one to be involved in boring, slow fights, Tete has on occasion literally jumped around the ring and is as evasive as he is powerful with opponents finding it near on impossible to connect with any real power shots – from his 25-3 record, the Eastern Cape fighter has suffered just one knockout defeat, to Moruti Mthalane in the 5th round way back 7 years ago.
Since then his jaw has more than improved to the point where he is, in my opinion, the number one bantamweight in the world.
Siboniso Gonya, on the other hand, is a relative novice to the fighting world with a mere 12 professional fights consisting of 11 wins a singular loss – incurred against Thabo Siswane, a point’s decision against the overwhelming favourite.
Since that defeat 4 years ago, Gonya has fought for, and defended, the WBA Pan African Bantamweight Title on 3 occasions with the two defences coming by way of knockout. His last fight came in April against, former World Title challenger, Immanuel Naidjala and having overcame the roaring away crowd in Namibia, Gonya took a unanimous decision over The Prince to prove his pedigree.
And that’s the thing because despite the fact literally no-one will have heard of Siboniso Gonya before, he is a very good fighter who’s definitely worth of a shot at Tete’s title; the fact it’s going to domestic dustup only adds to the intrigue and Gonya is going to throw some shots in the early stages before, I suspect, eventually falling fowl to Zolani Tete’s superior power and movement.
Also on the card and getting an honourable mention is Darryll Williams (16-0) who defends his English Super-Middleweight title against Birmingham’s Lennox Clarke (15-0-1), having come through to sensational fights with Jahmaine Smyle in April & July of this year. Clarke is 18 months younger at 26 but has no real names on his record thus far – although both men share a 1st round knockout over Richard Horton – despite that though, this fight feels like a 50-50 because both men will be giving it there all. A real burner in Belfast, bring it on!
Paddy Barnes features in his 5th professional fight, he’ll be attempting to gain his first ever knockout against an as-yet unnamed opponent slated for his first defence of the WBO European Flyweight title that he won against Silvio Olteanu back in June. By his own admission, his last outing against Juan Hinostroza was not a vintage performance from the Olympic bronze medallist and The Leprechaun will be looking to shake off some rustiness before building to a potential World Title shot towards the back end of 2018.
A thrilling card that promises not to disappoint, the SSE Arena is going to be absolutely bouncing come Saturday 18th with 11,000 Irishman cheering on their hero Carl Frampton as well as revelling in two, top-class world title clashes.
Robert Easter Dominates, Tops Off Entertaining PBC On Bounce Card
Robert Easter Dominates, Tops Off Entertaining PBC On Bounce Card
By: Sean Crose
Terrell Gausha stepped into the ring in Toledo, Ohio on Friday night with a perfect record of 19-0. His opponent, Luis Hernandez, was 15-3, a slightly less impressive resume. Still, Hernandez took it to his opponent right off the bat in the ten-round middleweight affair. Gausha may have had the better talent and pedigree, but Puerto Rico’s Hernandez had come to win. Indeed, Hernandez was reminiscent of Marcos Maidana as he bulled forward, every part the warrior. Gausha, however, wasn’t simply going to lose in front of his home town. After being dropped in the third, he went on to land thudding shots of his own.
Hernandez truly entered the “Maidana Zone” in the seventh when he started to fight dirty enough to lose himself a point due to low blows. He kept coming, though…and the sharper punching Gausha kept firing back. It was a grinding affair, to be sure. Indeed, the fight was a war. When all was said and done, it was Gausha who walked off with a unanimous decision win.
Next up at the bustling and lively Huntington Center, Rau’shee Warren did battle with Shanat Zhakiyaof for the WBA super world bantamweight title in a scheduled 12 round affair. Warren started with blinding speed and subsequently went through his opponent like a lawnmower through foot long blades of grass. Before the end of the first round, Zhakiyaof was down twice. The Kazakh composed himself better in the second round, but Warren was proving to be an incredibly fast nemesis.
Speed does not equal invincibility, though. By the third round, Warren found himself on the mat. The referee claimed it was a slip, but there was little doubt the man was getting tagged. Blood flowed from Warren’s nose after the round, and it was worth wondering whether or not the nose was broken. Zhakiyaof continued to whack away through the fourth. It was clear the tide had changed, at least for the time being.
Warren seemed to get a second wind by mid fight, using his superior footwork to his advantage. He was never fully able to reassert control however, as the fight raced along its violent path into the later rounds. It was truly hard to tell who was in the lead entering the last portion of the bout, or even if either man would be able to last until the final bell. Indeed, both men made it to the end. It was exceedingly hard to tell who had won the fight, but the judges gave it to Shakiyaof by split decision. For the record, Warren was a gentleman in defeat – always something worth noting.
It was then time for the main event. Rising 18-0 star Robert Easter Junior was defending his IBF world lightweight title against 22-4 Luis Cruz. With the crowd in a terrifically intense state, the two men began to do battle. The fight started in competitive fashion, with Easter still having a clear edge after the first few rounds. After four rounds, however, it became clear that Cruz was not going to lay down and collect a paycheck. The man was there to fight. Indeed, Cruz looked impressive in the fifth.
Yet all the willpower in the world can’t be relied upon to bring about victory. Easter started coming on strong in the sixth and the shots were clearly beginning to take their toll on his overmatched opponent. Easter thundered away in the seventh. Cruz was able to stay on his feet, but the bout was a one-sided affair by that point. And so, the match went on, with Easter maintaining the lead while Cruz gamely struggled. Perhaps Easter realized that Cruz had too strong a beard to try to finish off. Or perhaps he felt it wasn’t yet time. Either way, Cruz no longer seemed in danger of being stopped as the match moved onto its later stages.
Then, as if on cue, Easter took his man down early in the tenth. Cruz got up and, once again, Easter banged away. Cruz was incredibly durable, but it was now clear that he could be folded. By that point, all Cruz was doing was surviving. Barring something short of a miracle, the fight was essentially over. Cruz, simply put, was taking a terrible beating.
To his credit, however, Cruz was still throwing punches in the eleventh. A howitzer from Easter put the man down on the mat yet again. Once again, though, Cruz got up…and was allowed to keep fighting. Cruz decided to run in the twelfth. Easter caught him, however, and laid on more of a beating. A murderous shot sent Cruz down once more. Cruz got up again, though – and, of course, was allowed to continue. Needless to say, a thoroughly thrashed Cruz made it to the final bell, only to predictably lose by a wide decision.
Was it worth it?
PBC on NBC Results: Lubin remains undefeated; Warren becomes World Champ & Smith Jr. KO’s Fonfara in One
PBC on NBC Results: Lubin remains undefeated; Warren becomes World Champ & Smith Jr. KO’s Fonfara in One
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the University of Illinois in Chicago, Premier Boxing Champions put on a father’s day card on primetime NBC, featuring title fights, former Olympians and young prospects. The broadcast began with a rematch of last years, very closely contested Bantamweight championship between Rau’Shee Warren and Juan Carlos Payano. A bonus fight between fast tracked, 20 year old prospect, Erickson Lubin and Mexican Journeyman Daniel Sandoval. And a Main Event with championship implications in the Light Heavyweight division between the Long Island construction worker, Joe Smith Jr. and the hard hitting Polish Prince, Andrzej Fonfara.
Juan Carlos Payano (17-0 8KO) v. Rau’shee Warren (13-1 4KO): Rematch WBA Bantamweight Championship
The first fight between these two was plagued with point deductions on both sides and ended in a split decision that many were unhappy with. Warren, a three time Olympian, took his first professional defeat and lost his chance at becoming a world champion.
This time Warren came out working fast, showing his superior boxing skill and hand speed. Payano was left to stalk his opponent and try and make the fight rough when inside.
Warren used a fast jab, to the head and body, countering in the first half of the fight.
The usually more aggressive Payano was forced to fight at Warren’s pace. Payano had trouble getting into any kind of rhythm, never really landing more than one punch at a time. Whenever Payano tried to step up his aggression, he was either smothered or met with a barrage of punches from Warren.
Payano was throwing much more punches in the later rounds, taking the action to Warren. The championship rounds becoming very valuable to the outcome, as Payano predicted they would be.
In the end, it was a close fight, but a fight that Rau’shee Warren ultimately controlled from wire to wire. He was not able to win any Olympic medals in his three trips, but tonight he was able to become a World Champion.
114-114, 115-113 (2x) Warren MD12
Erickson Lubin (14-0 10KO) v. Daniel Sandoval (38-3 35KO):Jr. Middleweight
Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin was supposed to be getting ready to represent the United States next month at the Olympics in Rio. Instead, on his 18th birthday he turned pro, and today he added another win to his undefeated professional record. Lubin started the fight using a strong straight right handed jab that stalled any type of game plan by Sandoval and finished with a flurry, showing that he possesses power in both his hands, appropriately named “Jack” and “Sledge”.
Lubin TKO3 2:36
Andrzej Fonfara (28-3 16KO) v. Joe Smith Jr. (21-1 17KO): Light Heavyweight
In a fight that was in Fonfara’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois, which had Fonfara as an enormous favorite came crashing down within one round. The first round was both men trading a lot of blows, but the hard hitting Smith was able to land a huge overhand right, with one minute left in the round, that knocked Fonfara down. Smith attacked, once Fonfara was able to get up and the fight was stopped. The unknown, union laborer from New York will now become the mandatory to fight Adonis Stevenson for the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Smith Jr. TKO1 2:32
PBC on NBC Preview: Fonfara vs. Smith, Payano vs. Warren, Lubin vs. Sandoval
PBC on NBC Preview: Fonfara vs. Smith, Payano vs. Warren, Lubin vs. Sandoval
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois will be the host site for the next installment of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC.
Three fights are scheduled to be televised, with the main event featuring a bout between Andrzej Fonfara facing off against contender Joe Smith Jr. Rau’shee Warren is also scheduled to rematch Juan Carlos Payano for the WBA Bantamweight championship. Rising star Erickson Lubin is also scheduled to fight on the televised portion of the card when he takes on Daniel Sandoval in the junior middleweight division.
The following is a preview of all three televised fights.
Erickson Lubin (14-0) vs. Daniel Sandoval (38-3); Junior Middleweights
Erickson Lubin is only twenty years old and he already has fourteen bouts on his professional resume.
He had a successful amateur career and was considered by many to win a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics but he decided to turn pro instead. Daniel Sandoval is five years older than Lubin, bt will be about one inch taller and an inch and a half longer.
Lubin has been very active since turning pro. He fought five times in 2015 and once in 2016. Sandoval, by contrast, has not been very active and fought once in 2016, once in 2015, and two times in 2014. Additionally, Sandoval has fought mainly in Mexico but he has made an occasional trip to the United States for a fight.
Lubin has not faced anyone of note, but has defeated the likes of Alexis Comacho, Orlando Lora, and Ayi Bruce. Sandoval has one four of his past five fights by stoppage and has defeated the likes of Grady Brewer, Richard Guiterrez, and Gabriel Martinez.
Lubin is a young, hard hitting prospect. Sandoval has not been in the ring with quality opponents, but his thirty five stoppage victories should be of some concern to Lubin. Lubin has ten stoppage victories on his resume.
Lubin is considered by many to be one of the top young prospects in the sport of boxing. Sandoval has the power to score an upset victory, but Lubin has the talent to become a future world champion.
Juan Carlos Payano (17-0) vs. Rau’shee Warren (13-1); WBA Bantamweight Title
This is a rematch of their title bout in 2015 which featured Payano escaping with a split decision victory over Rau-Shee Warren. It was a highly entertaining bout, but many felt Warren should have been declared the winner. Warren also lost two points for fouls in their original bout.
Payano is thirty two years old and three years older than Warren. They have the same reach and Payano is slightly taller than Warren. They both are not known for their knockouts. Payano only has eight stoppage victories while Warren only has four.
Warren has been very active, as he fought four times in 2014 and two times in 2015. Payano has not been as active, but he does have a better resume of defeated opponents. Payano has defeated the likes of Anselmo Moreno, Jundy Maraon, and Jose Araiza. Warren has mainly faced average competition and has defeated the likes of Javier Gallo and Jose lUis Araiza.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Payano competed for the Dominican Republic in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Warren is a three time Olympian for the United States and won the 2007 World Amateur Championships as a flyweight.
Many felt Warren defeated Payano the first time they fought but he gave away the fight with his needless fouls. He should be able to avoid the mistakes he made last time and win convincingly in the rematch.
Andrzej Fonfara (28-3) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (21-1); Light Heavyweights
Joe Smith Jr. has a good record, but he has not faced anyone of note.
Fonfara is twenty eight years old and two years older than Smith. He will also have a two and a half inch height advantage.
Neither boxer had any notable success on the international circuit as an amateur, but Fonfara did have success on the national circuit in Poland as an amateur.
Fonfara has been active as he fought twice in 2014 and in 2015. Smith, however, has fought four times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once in 2016.
They both have average stoppage power. Fonfara has stopped sixteen of his opponents while Smith has stopped seventeen.
Fonfara clearly has the edge in quality of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency, and Glen Johnson. His losses were to Adonis Stevenson in a close bout, Derrick Findley, and Eberto Medina. Smith has defeated the likes of Will Rosinsky and Cory Cummings. His lone loss was to Eddie Caminero in 2010 by TKO.
Fonfara will be fighting in front of a friendly crowd in Chicago and is angling for a rematch with Adonis Stevenson. He should easily defeat Joe Smith and face Stevenson next.