2018 Upset of the Year: Ramirez Over Zlaticanin
By Jake Donovan
Roberto Ramirez wasn’t supposed to be anything more than the next step in Dejan Zlaticanin’s continued comeback following a devastating knockout loss to Mikey Garcia.
Instead, their June ’18 clash ended with Ramirez scoring a 2nd round stoppage in a result that nobody outside of Ramirez’s camp could’ve ever seen coming.
The Jan. ’17 defeat to Garcia cost the squat southpaw from Montenegro his lightweight title along with his unbeaten record. Still, he entered his intended showcase versus Ramirez 17 months removed from that debacle, still regarded as a Top 10 lightweight and as a huge betting favorite.
A quick hit of Hevinson Herrera on a Dec. ’17 New York City club show provided little more than a confidence boost and means to return to the win column, but at least suggested that he wasn’t damaged goods heading into the new year.
The six months that passed between his win over Herrera and his scheduled June 21st clash with Ramirez on a club show in the Astoria section of Queens, New York was spent further refining his game under trainer Buddy McGirt.
The two hooked up in the months following his loss to Garcia, with the intention of tightening up his defense on the occasions his all-action offensive style didn’t get the job done.
Not even extensive gym sessions with the likes of Adrian Granados or former 140-pound titlist Sergey Lipinets (who along with Zlaticanin is managed by Alex Vaysfeld) could alert the team just how much the Garcia knockout loss took out of the 34-year old southpaw.
Had everyone followed the script, a Zlaticanin win in Queens would’ve likely led to a title eliminator by year’s end and—with any luck—a crack at becoming a two-time lightweight titlist at some point in 2019.
All that he needed to happen here was to show what he can do against a taller, leaner lightweight in Ramirez, who was a mere 17-2-1 at the time and who fell short in his lone other bout outside of his native Mexico. In fact, there was little to suggest in defeats to then-unbeaten Carlos Ocampo and Abel Ramos that there was any cause for concern for an upset.
It’s why Zlaticanin entered the ring as a 45-1 betting favorite for an off-TV bout in Queens that was barely on the boxing radar.
Less than seven minutes after the opening bell, it quickly made the rounds.
Whatever confidence Zlaticanin had left prior to fight night was quickly shattered—along with his jaw, as well as a busted nose for good measure as Ramirez leveraged every bit of his considerable height and reach advantage in the first three minutes of action.
Regardless of whether he’d truly fully recovered from the loss to Garcia, it was plain as day as there was no turning back from the damage sustained in the opening round. Zlaticanin was dropped hard early in round two, a right uppercut leaving him defenseless for an ensuing right hand shot.
A last-ditch effort from the former titlist came in the form of consecutive left hands that briefly stunned Ramirez.
It was the last bit of momentum he’d enjoy in a boxing ring.
Time was called to determine the severity of Zlaticanin’s earlier injuries. By then, Ramirez was fully recovered from the preceding rally and recognized that he had in front of him a mentally spent fighter.
Nine unanswered shots—including non-consecutive right uppercuts and a fight-ending straight right—put Zlaticanin down on the canvas for the second time in the fight. The ease in which the defenseless southpaw hit the deck was more than enough reason for referee Al LoBianco Jr. to wave off the contest without issuing a count.
Far gone by that time was the once-unbeaten lightweight who’d piled up wins over the likes of Petr Petrov, then-former two-division titlist Ricky Burns (who went on to pick up a belt in a third weight class) and then-unbeaten Ivan Redkach all before claiming a lightweight belt.
So, too, was any talk of his returning to the title stage—or even the ring at all.
In comparison to other major upsets in 2018, this was so much more than the boxing public being dealt an unexpected outcome.
It wasn’t a once-highly regarded contender sneaking up on a previously unbeaten middleweight titlist like Rob Brant managed to do in overwhelming Ryota Murata in October.
It wasn’t Cristofer Rosales picking off the remaining carcass of a weight-drained—and still heavy—Daigo Higa to shake up the flyweight picture earlier in the year. Nor was it Rosales being punched back into reality by England’s Charlie Edwards by year’s end.
Tony Harrison’s upset title win over previously unbeaten Jermell Charlo in December surprised many in the industry—perhaps even Harrison himself if immediate in-ring reaction is any indicator. The true shock, however, wasn’t in Charlo being dealt his first loss, but coming in a fight where so few disagreed with the final scores.
On that particular June night in Queens, nobody outside of Ramirez’s corner gave the visiting Mexican journeyman any chance of winning. Certainly not the oddsmakers, who statistically believed Ramirez was less likely to win than Buster Douglas was the night he stunned Mike Tyson in what remains perhaps the biggest upset in modern boxing history.
The lack of profile is all that keeps Ramirez KO2 Zlaticanin out of historical conversation. The final outcome itself, however, is enough to register as the BoxingInsider.com 2018 Upset of the Year.
Broadway Boxing Returns Thursday in NYC
By: Eric Lunger
For boxing fans in the NY metro area, it’s time for “Season’s Beatings” as DiBella entertainment brings Broadway Boxing back to the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill this Thursday night. The seven-bout card features three matchups of undefeated prospects, as well as the return of former lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin.
The feature bout of the evening will match Brooklyn’s own Wesley Ferrer (12-0, 7 KOs) against Will Madera (11-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight clash. Ferrer, 25, has knocked out his last two opponents, but he is a poised and disciplined fighter with a precise, technical offense. Thursday will be his second time at the eight-round distance, so expect a contained but offensive-minded performance from the Brooklyn native.
For Madera, 26, Thursday night marks his second appearance at eight rounds as well. Having fought frequently in Canada, the Albany native is making his first appearance in New York City. Fighting out of the orthodox stance, Madera likes to come forward behind a hammer left jab. While defensively sound, Madera is a heavy puncher with a wicked overhand right. With Ferrer more of a pure boxer, and Madera a boxer-puncher, this shapes up as a competitive and intriguing bout.
In the co-feature, two undefeated junior middleweight prospects clash in a six-round affair. Brooklyn-based Hurshidbek Normatov (4-0, 2 KOs) will face off against Nicklaus Flaz (5-0, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico. Normatov, originally from Uzbekistan, is coming off a brutal first-round knockout of Bruce Lutchmedial at Foxwoods Casino in October. Flaz’s last outing was on the same Foxwood card, as he defeated Elie Augustama by unanimous decision.
Rounding out the evening of undefeated prospects is a six-rounder between Larry Fryers (5-0, 2 KOs), a Bronx resident by way of Ireland, and Charles Natal (9-0-2, 3 KOs) of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, at the 147-pound limit. Making his fifth appearance of 2017, Fryers has been active and successful, looking to put an exclamation mark on what has been a break-out year for the 27-year-old professional. Natal currently fights out of Cleveland, Ohio, and brings a five-bout victory streak to his New York City debut.
As a special attraction, Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) of Montenegro will look to bounce back from his recent defeat at the hands of Mikey Garcia in January. His opponent will be Colombian veteran Heivinson Herrera (22-13-1, 6 KOs). Rounding out the card, undefeated heavyweight George Arias (9-0, 5 KOs) of the Bronx, New York, will take on Juan Goode (8-7, 6 KOs) in a six-rounder, and fan-favorite Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon (8-1, 5 KOs) will face Sydney Leblanc (4-5-1, 0 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight clash.
Tickets for the BROADWAY BOXING event are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. All bouts will be available for viewing by visiting the DiBella Entertainment Facebook page, and the entire event will be available in the United Kingdom on BoxNation TV. The doors open at 6:30 pm and the first bout is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros, Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros, Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night a rematch of the consensus fight of the year between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will take place in Las Vegas for Frampton’s WBA Featherweight Title. This bout will take place at the MGM Grand and will be televised live on Showtime.
Last year’s match was a thrilling and close encounter between the two high volume punchers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and it could have been scored for either fighter. This is a rematch that most fans of boxing want to see.
Two other world title fights will be televised in support of the main event. Lee Selby will defend his IBF Featherweight Title against Jonathan Victor Barros on the opening bout of the Showtime Card. Mikey Garcia will compete against Dejan Zlaticanin for Zlaticanin’s WBC Lightweight Title in the co-main event of the night.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Lee Selby (23-1) vs. Jonathan Victor Barros (41-4-1); IBF Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be for the IBF Featherweight Title, and it seems likely that the winner of this bout will go on to face the winner of the main event between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
Lee Selby, the current IBF Champion, isn’t known for his power and has only stopped 8 of his opponents. Barros has stopped twenty two of his opponents, but also has one TKO loss.
Selby will be giving up an half inch in height and about an inch in reach on Saturday. However, he will be three years younger than Barros and has roughly half the professional fights of Barros.
Neither boxer has been very active in the past two years. They both only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Barros has shown a pattern of losing when he takes a step up in competition. Boxers such as Mikey Garcia, Juan Carlos Salgado, Celestino Caballero, and Yuriorkis Gamboa have defeated him. Barros has defeated the likes of Satoshi Hosono, Celestino Caballero, Miguel Roman, and Irving Berry.
Selby’s lone loss was early on in his career, by points, to Sami Mouneimne. He has defeated the likes of Fernando Montiel, Evgeny Gradovich, Joel Bunker, and Ryan Walsh.
Selby is the favorite going into the match and for good reason. Barros is a good boxer, but nothing more than a gatekeeper for rising stars such as Selby. Expect Selby to win by decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0) vs. Mikey Garcia (35-0); WBC Lightweight Title
Mikey Garcia was once considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world. But his stock has diminished somewhat since he made the decision to leave Top Rank Promotions and sign with Al Haymon. He lost several years of activity due to his decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin is the current WBC Lightweight Champion and is the first person from Montenegro to win a world title in boxing.
Zlaticanin will be three years older than Mikey Garcia and he will also be giving up three inches in height and reach to Garcia. Garcia also has more power in his punches, as he has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Zlaticanin has only stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Zlaticanin, a southpaw, won the world title by defeating Franklin Mamani in June of 2016 in Verona, New York at the Turning Stone Casino. He has also beaten the likes of Ivan Redkach, Ricky Burns, and Petr Petrov.
The biggest knock against Zlaticanin is that he only fought once in 2015 and in 2016.
Garcia has been even more inactive than Zlaticanin. He fought once in 2014 and once in 2016 and had no fights in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Elio Rojas, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Bernabe Concepcion.
Garcia also has the edge in amateur experience, as he was a medalist in several national amateur competitions in the United States.
Zlaticanin will likely suffer the first defeat of his career on Saturday. Garcia looked sensational in his last bout and shook off the ring rust quite quickly.
Carl Frampton (23-0) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Frampton won the WBA Super World Featherweight Title by defeating Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision at the Barclays Center in July of 2016. Frampton was an underdog in their last match, but the odds now favor Frampton.
Carl Frampton is one year older then Leo Santa Cruz and is two and a half inches smaller and wil be giving up seven inches in reach.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Frampton fought twice in 2015 and in 2016 while Santa Cruz fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Santa Cruz is known for being a volume puncher and has more stoppage victories than Frampton. Santa Cruz has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Frampton has only stopped fourteen of his opponents.
They both have good amateur backgrounds. Frampton was an Irish National Champion and a Silver Medalist in the EU Championships. Santa Cruz won the Silver Medal in the US National Amateur Championships.
Frampton has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., Chris Avalos, Kiko Martinez, and Jeremy Parodi.
Santa Cruz’s lone loss was to Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Jesus Ruiz, Manuel Roman, Cristian Mijares, Cesar Seda, Victor Terrazas, and Eric Morel.
The one difference between this fight and their last fight that may work in Santa Cruz’s favor is the fact that this fight is taking place in Las Vegas, which has a much larger Mexican population than Brooklyn, New York. This may give Santa Cruz the “home field” advantage on Saturday night.
However, this bout is expected to be exciting and a close one, like their last bout. Just don’t be surprised if the Mexican fans in attendance make a big enough difference for Santa Cruz to pull out the victory on Saturday and possible force a third fight.
What’s next for Vasyl Lomachenko?
What’s next for Vasyl Lomachenko?
By: Jordan Seward
Vasyl Lomachenko created history last Saturday in Madison Square Garden by becoming a two-weight world champion in just his seventh professional fight.
The Ukrainian, who had an illustrious amateur career before he turned pro, delivered a brutal fifth-round knockout of Rocky Martinez to strip away and claim his WBO super-featherweight belt.
Lomachenko (6-1) has now won world titles at featherweight and super-featherweight. The Ukrainian gold medallist won his first world title when he handed Gary Russell Jr (27-1) his first and only career defeat, with a majority decision victory to claim the vacant WBO world featherweight title. Although this was his second bite at the cherry.
Orlando Salido (43-13-4) was due to make his first defence of the WBO world featherweight belt against Lomachenko in the Ukrainian’s second professional fight but Salido came in over weight and was subsequently stripped of the belt. The much bigger Salido slugged his way to a split decision victory and is the only blemish on Lomachenko’s professional record to date.
The transition from amateur boxing to professional boxing can be a difficult one, but the Ukrainian was undoubtedly ready to make the leap way before he actually did. Before turning pro, the double Olympic champion achieved just about everything that can be as an amateur and boasts an incredible record of (396-1), the only loss coming to Albert Selimov. This sort of amateur pedigree stands a fighter in very good stead to progress on to the professional ranks and Lomachenko is testament to that.
Lomachenko nurtured in the amateur ranks and bought over his speed, skill and power to the professional game seamlessly, it was there for all to see, but questions hung over his head after the defeat to Salido. Many suggested he wasn’t ready to fight at world level and needed more time as a professional before fighting for a world title. How wrong they were. If it wasn’t for Salido coming in over the 126lb limit the story could’ve been different. Not that it mattered as he claimed the very same belt a fight later and hit back at his critics by beating a 24-fight veteran in Gary Russell Jr and winning a world title in just his third professional fight.
And now, at just 28-years-old and seven fights in, it seems Lomachenko is destined to replicate the success he had in the amateurs in the professional game. The Ukrainian is already unquestionably one of the biggest rising stars of modern boxing and has proved he is the real deal in the professional ranks. The only thing left to ponder, is who’s up next for Lomachenko?
It all depends on what weight division he wants to operate in, there’s huge fights out there for him at featherweight and super-featherweight. A unification fight with the IBF world super-featherweight champion Jose Pedraza (22-0) makes sense and would certainly appeal to an American audience. Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0) is a name being bandied about as he returns to the ring after eight months out against James Dickens (22-1) on the 16th July.
The Cuban shares two Olympic gold medals with Lomachenko and has stated in the past he would fight the Ukrainian at 126lbs. It would be interesting to see who would come out on top of this super fight with the speed and power of Lomachenko and the defensive control and swagger of Rigondeaux.
Even a fight at lightweight is a possibility. Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0) has fought in America in his last two fights and has just won the WBC world lightweight title and could be a potential next opponent for the skilful Lomachenko. If he hasn’t already cemented his position among the world’s top pound for pound fighters, becoming a three-weight world champion in just eight fights surely would.