Check out Eric Armit’s comprehensive fight reports in The Week in Boxing – April 24, 2019.
Terrence Crawford retains the WBO welterweight title as he gets unsatisfactory win as Amir Khan declines to continue after low punch from Crawford
-Danny Garcia sends out danger signal to the other welter with stoppage of Adrian Granados
-Filipino John Riel Casimero wins the vacant interim WBA bantam title with late stoppage of Ricardo Espinoza
-Brandon Figueroa lifts the vacant WBA interim super bantam title with victory over Yonfrez Perea
– Exciting prospect Teo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson impress in wins in New York and Andy Ruiz, Jeison Rosario and Carlos Balderas win in Carson
-Dereck Chisora wins wide unanimous decision over a reluctant Senad Gashi
-Joe Cordina stays unbeaten as he retains the Commonwealth title and wins the vacant British title with stoppage of Andy Townend
-Josh Kelly add another victory with points win over unbeaten Pole Przemyslaw
WORLD TITLE / MAJORSHOWS
New York, NY, USA: Welter: Terrence Crawford (35-0) W TKO 6 Amir Khan (33-5). Feather: Shakur Stevenson (11-0) W PTS 10 Chris Diaz (24-2). Light: Teo Lopez (13-0) W KO 5 Edis Tatli (31-3). Light: Felix Verdejo (25-1) W PTS 10 Bryan Vasquez (37-4).Super Welter: Carlos Adames (17-0) W TKO 4 Frank Galarza (20-3-2).
Crawford vs. Khan
Crawford retains the WBO title with a controversial stoppage win over Khan who decides not to continue after a low punch from Crawford
Both started cautiously probing with Khan just a little more adventurous. It looked to be a round of light skirmishes until late in the round when Crawford flashed a right over a tentative jab from Khan. It landed high on the side of Khan’s head and shook and unbalanced him and he went down. He was up quickly and moved and held as Crawford attacked hard.
Score: 10-8 Crawford
The knockdown had fired Crawford’s confidence and doused Khan’s. Crawford was shadowing Khan and constantly looking to land that right again. Khan had settled by the end of the round, was jabbing well and knocked Crawford off balance with a right to the chest.
Score: 10-9 Khan Crawford 19-18
Crawford had spent the first two rounds boxing as a right-handed boxer but after a couple of quick attacks from Khan at the start of the round he then changed to his more familiar southpaw stance. Khan did not seem to adjust to the change and Crawford was able to score with some straight lefts.
Score: 10-9 Crawford Crawford 29-27
Crawford’s round. Khan was launching rushing attacks pumping out quick, light punches but with no accuracy. Crawford was countering him with hard, well-placed hooks and then firing bursts of punches most of which landed.
Score: 10-9 Crawford. Crawford 39-36
Official Scores: Judge Eric Marlinski 40-35, Judge Steve Weisfeld 39-36 and Judge Guido Cavalleri 39-36 all for Crawford
Another round for Crawford. Whether leading or countering he was connecting with hooks from both hands and was quicker and more accurate. Khan was again reduced to some lunging attacks throwing wild punches like some kid in a playground fight and his face was already swelling from the attentions of Crawford’s fists.
Score: 10-9 Crawford Crawford 49-46
As Khan moved in with an attack early in this round Crawford landed a very low punch. Khan immediately turned away bent over in agony. The referee stopped the action and Khan moved to his own corner. The referee was giving Khan time to recover but Khan was not willing to continue so the fight was stopped with Crawford declared the winner. The punch was very low but whether it was deliberate is not so clear nor is the question over whether Khan could have continued. A very unsatisfactory end but Crawford was dominating the action and it felt as though he was on his way to a stoppage in the next few rounds. He is now 13-0 in world title fights with 10 wins by KO/TKO. The fight he wants is Errol Spence but that would require Bob Arum and Al Haymon to work together and whilst Arum is willing Haymon’s stance is less clear and the WBO may press for Crawford to fight their No 1 unbeaten Egidijus Kavaliauskas . Khan says he will fight on not wishing to go out with this loss as the enduring memory of his career. He could have continued, other boxers have continued with broken jaws and fractured hands, and it did not help Khan’s case that although he would be allowed five minutes to recover he surrender after about two minutes. Only he knows how much pain he was suffering but he did massive damage to his marketability here so may find it hard to land a rehabilitating fight.
Stevenson vs. Diaz
From the opening round Stevenson’s superior hand speed and movement were just too much for Diaz and Stevenson was slotting southpaw lefts through Diaz’s guard with Diaz too slow to counter. Diaz upped his pace in the second coming forward throwing hooks to the body but Stevenson did a good job of blocking them and fired back with some body punches of his own. In the third Stevenson was putting together flashing combinations and going to head and body with Diaz taken out of his stride and not able to fire back quickly enough. Diaz pressed hard in the fourth connecting with a right and digging to the body but Stevenson was penetrating Diaz’s guard with quick and accurate combinations and moving too fast for Diaz to cut off the ring. The fifth saw Diaz trying to work his way inside behind a high guard but as he was trundling forward Stevenson was unleashing spectacular combinations and then moving away and starting again. Diaz wrestled his way inside in the sixth landed some good left hooks but was rocked by a left and hurt with body punches. Stevenson continued to boss the action in the seventh, eighth and ninth with a sameness about the rounds as Stevenson connected with fast flurries from both hands and Diaz was just too slow to counter effectively with Stevenson a very slippery target. Diaz stormed forward in the tenth but chased in vain as Stevenson was content to just stay out of trouble with the fight already won. Scores 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 for Stevenson. The 21-year-old is a towering talent and getting better with every fight. In his last three contests he has faced fighters with combined records of 67-4-1 stopping two inside the distance. He is rated WBO 6/WBC 7/IBF 8(7) and he was calling out Josh Warrington after this win. Diaz, 24, had his world title shot in July last year when he lost a unanimous decision to Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO super feather title. He was No 3 featherweight with the WBO going into this fight but was outclassed.
Lopez vs. Tatli
Lopez continues his march to a world title with a crushing victory over Tatli. Tatli was boxing well in the first stabbing out quick jabs. Lopez was dangerous with his fast rights and Tatli spent most of the round on the back foot with Lopez prowling after him. Tatli was on the retreat again in the second but Lopez was quick on his feet and with a couple of quick paces forward was getting close and landing left hooks. Tatli boxed cleverly but without power and Lopez had him under fire at the bell. The third was a more combative round. Lopez was still walking Tatli down and firing strong lefts and rights but late in the round Tatli marched forward and landed a couple of quick combinations. Tatli started the fourth moving and jabbing but over the second half of the round he was a man in trouble. Lopez was forcing Tatli to the ropers and connecting with some fierce shots. Tatli looked to be shaken by a right to the head and had to absorb some painful body shots. The pace seemed to slow a little in the fifth until Lopez landed a rib-crunching right to the body. Tatli went down on his hands and knees obviously badly hurt and he was counted out. Now eleven wins by KO/TKO for the 21-year-old from Brooklyn. His power tends to overshadow his excellent skills and he should get a world title shot later this year. He is rated IBF 4(2)/WBC 4/WBA 4/WBO 5. Kosovo-born Finn Tatli, a former undefeated European champion showed good skills but lacked the power to handle Lopez and suffers his first inside the distance loss. He challenged for the WBA title back in 2014 losing a majority decision to Richar Abril and had reversed his only other loss.
Verdejo vs. Vasquez
Verdejo take unanimous verdict over Vasquez but is still some way short of the future star he looked when he first turned pro. He really had to make this fight as Vasquez seemed to be determined to counter and only when he saw the chance to land one big punch. Despite that Vasquez had enough success to keep the rounds close in the early action. Verdejo showed glimpses of his past form as he moved well and jabbed solidly. He had to fight from the fourth with a cut under his left eye from a clash of heads but it never became a factor in the fight and in fact the fourth was one of Verdejo’s best rounds. There were few highlights but Verdejo was doing enough to pick up the close rounds over the second half of the fight and a furious last round did not really banish the memory of a low key contest. Scores 97-93 twice and 98-92 for Verdejo. Still only 25 injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident and a shock loss to Antonio Lozada derailed the Verdejo train when he had risen to No 1 with the WBO. This is his second win since that loss to Lozada but he still has a long way to go. Costa Rican Vasquez, a former interim WBA super feather champion, lost big fights against Javier Fortuna and Ray Beltran. He scored two very modest wins last year and really did not shine here.
Adames vs. Galarza
With the focus being on Terrence Crawford and Teo Lopez Adames was making a statement of his own with a stoppage of Galarza. Adames power put him in control early but this fight probably constituted one last fling at the road to a title shot for Galarza so he was focused and competitive. In the end it was the heavy punching of Adames that prevailed. A left hook in the four put Galarza down on his rump. It was a heavy knockdown and although he beat the count he was still shaky when the referee restarted the action. Adames jumped on Galarza rocking him with a right and then adding a sequence of blistering punches that had Galarza reeling and the referee halted the fight. The 24-year-old Dominican makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO adding Galarza to a list of victims that already includes Carlos Molina, Alejandro Barrera and Juan Ruiz. He wins the vacant WBO NABO title and retains the NABF belt. Going in he was rated WBC 6/WBA7//IBF 9(8)/WBO 9 so could be ready to fight for a world title in 2020. Galarza, 33, had only lost to future world champion Jarrett Hurd and former world champion Ishe Smith.
Carson, CA, USA: Welter: Danny Garcia (35-2) W TKO 7 Adrian Granados (20-7-2,1ND). Bantam: John Riel Casimero (27-4) W TKO 12 Ricardo Espinoza (23-3). Super bantam: Brandon Figueroa (19-0) W RTD 8 Yonfrez Parejo (22-4-1). Heavy: Andy Ruiz (32-1) W RTD 5 Alex Dimitrenko (41-5). Middle: Jeison Rosario (19-1-1) W PTS 10 Jose Cota (28-3). Super Middle: Alfredo Angulo (25-7) W TKO 2 Evert Bravo (24-10-1). Feather: Ricky Lopez (20-4-1) DREW 8Joe Perez (14-3-2). Light: Carlos Balderas (8-0) W TKO 4 Luis May (21-14-1).
Garcia vs. Granados
Real statement of intent from Garcia as he floors Granados three times on the road to a seventh round stoppage victory. In an open competitive first round Granados made the better start with accurate jabs and quick rights. Garcia came into it more over the second half of the round but Granados just edge the round. Granados was sharp in the second landing a crisp right hook. He was taking the fight to Garcia but was nailed by a short left hook which put him down heavily. Granados was up at six but looked shaky. Garcia landed some more lefts and rights to the head and Granados was on stiff legs and was sent stumbling back and down by a right. He was up at four and after the eight count the bell went before Garcia could do more damage. Garcia was in control in the third and fourth raking Granados with hooks and uppercuts with Granados shaken a couple of times with neck-snapping rights. Garcia pinned Granados to the ropes early in the fifth and floored him with a straight right. Granados was up at four and after the eight count despite having to absorb more punishment made it to the bell. Garcia was looking to end this in the sixth but Granados moved inside to deny Garcia leverage and had his best round since that disastrous second. Granados had Garcia on the back foot in the seventh but walked onto a series of heavy rights to the head. He staggered to the ropes with Garcia pounding away with punches and the referee leapt in and stopped the fight. The former two-division champion wins the vacant WBC Silver title. After a 33-bout winning run going 1-2 in his last three with losses to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter almost counts as a crisis for “Swift” but he was back to his best here and ready for any top welterweight. He is No 1 with the WBC so a return against champion Porter is his for the taking. The 29-yerar-old Granados gets his first loss by KO/TKO. He lost big fights in 2017 to Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter but was coming off two wins against very modest opposition in 2018 and was No 12 with the WBC.
Casimero vs. Espinoza
Although not even in the ratings Casimero shows he is still a class fighter as he halts Espinoza to win the interim WBA title. With a thirteen bout winning streak behind him Espinoza made a confident start using a strong jab to put Casimero on the back foot and following the jab with straight rights. Casimero showed his experience in some smart defensive work and crisp counters. Espinoza was getting inside in the second and third and hooking to the body with both hands. Casimero was still countering well temporarily stopping Espinoza in his tracks with a right in the third but not able to get any real respite from Espinoza’s pressure. Casimero did better in the fourth and fifth. He was tying Espinoza up inside and although only throwing one punch at a time they were mostly heavy right counters. Espinoza was piling on the pressure in the sixth until late in the round when a right to the head staggered him and two more rights dropped him face down on the canvas. He was up at eight and the bell went. Espinoza recovered quickly and was storming forward through the seventh and eighth dominating the action. Casimero had a good ninth countering Esparza and then tying him up inside. Espinoza had been forcing a fast pace and the activity dropped in a close tenth but Espinoza outworked Casimero in the eleventh. At that point the fight was poised. One judge had Espinoza up 105-103, one had Casimero up 105-103 and the third card them even at 104-104. Casimero settled it in the twelfth. Early in the round the Filipino sent Espinoza stumbling with a right to the head and connected with three more punches that had Espinoza sliding sideways to the canvas. Espinoza was up at eight but his legs were shaking and Casimero bombarded him with punches until the referee jumped in to stop the fight. If you count interim titles then Casimero becomes a three division champion already having held the IBF light flyweight and flyweight titles. It looked as though Casimero might be on the down slope when he dropped a decision to fellow Filipino 13-3 Jonas Sultan in 2017. He was then inactive for ten moths and had scored two wins over very modest opposition. First loss by KO/TKO for 21-year-old Mexican Espinoza who had won his last ten fights by KO/TKO. He will come again for sure.
Figueroa vs. Parejo
Brandon follows in the footsteps of elder brother Omar as he wins the interim WBA title by forcing Parejo to retire after eight rounds. No sizing up here as Figueroa immortally forced Parejo to the ropes and began to pound away with left hooks. Parejo fired back with some sharp accurate counters and probably just did enough to win the round. Figueroa had started as a southpaw in the first but went to his standard orthodox style in the second. At distance Parejo was able to connect with some good right counters on the advancing Figueroa and although Figueroa had the better of the close work again Parejo looked to have edged the round. It was pressure all the way from Figueroa in the third and Parejo just could not match the younger man’s work rate. Parejo managed to stay off the ropes in the fourth and that led to some fierce back and forth action with both connecting with impressive counters. Parejo tried to stay ring centre in the fifth but was constantly being sent back on his heels by vicious left hooks from Figueroa and looked to be tiring under the pressure. Figueroa was relentless in the sixth. His punch output was amazing and now Parejo was doing more holding on the inside than fighting. Parejo did better in the seventh moving more and countering Figueroa who was wide open coming in but Figueroa was doing most of the scoring with hooks and uppercuts. Parejo connected with some crisp counters at the start of the eighth but then began to fade. He was given a warning for holding as Figueroa stormed forward pumping out punches with Parejo floundering and after the bell Parejo retired in his corner. The 22-year-old Texas “Heartbreaker” was throwing 100 punches per round and that was too much for Parejo but he was also wide open to counters and one day that might catch up with him but it is going to be an entertaining ride. Parejo, 32, is a former WBA interim bantamweight champion whose losses have been to class opposition in Hugo Ruiz, and in WBA title fights to Zhanat Zhakiyanov and Ryan Burnett.
Ruiz vs. Dimitrenko
Ruiz batters down big Russian Dimitrenko who wants no more after being pounded on for five rounds. Although Dimitrenko had huge advantages in height and reach he just pawed with his lead hand and that allowed Ruiz to walk past the jab and land clubbing punches to head and body. Ruiz’s pressure kept Dimitrenko on the retreat for the whole fight and after the referee’s instructions the centre of the ring was unknown territory for the Russian giant. Ruiz pounded away at Dimitrenko in round after round working on the body. Dimitrenko was throwing little and landing less. Ruiz shook Dimitrenko with some heavy rights at the start of the fifth and continued to land to the body. Dimitrenko staged a rally late in the round but it was a last fling and he retired at the end of the round. It is good to see Ruiz back and winning. After losing a very questionable decision to Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO title in December 2016 he was inactive for 15 months but has now registered three wins since returning. He has called out unbeaten Adam Kownacki in a battle of the clones (Ruiz 6’2” and approx.260lbs, Kownacki 6-3” and approx. 260lbs) which would be a no quarter brawl and not one for the purists. The 6’7” Dimitrenko has lost all of the big fights and at 36 will only be used as an “opponent” for climbing young heavyweights.
Rosario vs. Cota
Rosario extends his unbeaten run to nine fights but only just as he edges out Mexican Cota on a narrow split verdict. Over the early rounds the Dominican fighter built a lead as he outboxed and outlanded Cota using quick hands and a high work rate. Cota started slow but gradually got into the fight and began to roll over the late rounds. Rosario had trouble keeping the aggressive Cota out as Cota cut into Rosario’s lead but he started his charge too late and a strong last round from Rosario was enough for him to hold on to his advantage on two cards. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Rosario and 97-93 for Cota. Since losing his unbeaten tag by way of a sixth round stoppage against Nat Gallimore in 2017 the 24-year-old Miami-based Rosario has now gone 7-0-1 with wins over Justin DeLoach and Jamontay Clark and scored an inside the distance win over Mark Hernandez who put the draw on his record. He is No 11 with the IBF and ready to move on up. Cota, 31, had put together a nine-bout winning streak until he was stopped in four rounds by Erick Lubin in March 2017. He has done some rebuilding since then with three wins but just came up short here.
Angulo vs. Bravo
Angulo just too strong for a very faded Bravo. Angulo bullied Bravo around the ring in the first before pinning him to the ropes in the second and putting him down and out with a right to the head. The 36-year-old former interim WBO super welter title holder was having his first fight for a year and gets his 21st win by KO/TKO. Colombian Bravo had lost his last two fights inside a round with Junior Younan putting him away in 39 seconds in September.
Lopez vs. Perez
Disappointing result for Lopez as the lightly held Perez overcomes cuts to battle to a split draw. Scores 97-93 for Lopez, 97-93 for Perez and 95-95. Lopez had won his last seven fights and as this is his first ten rounder he was looking for an impressive win. Despite his less impressive record there was a sign Perez could give Lopez trouble as he had won his previous five fights including a victory over Lance Williams who was the last guy to beat Lopez.
Balderas vs. May
Too easy for Olympian Balderas as he stops a reluctant May in four rounds. Balderas beat on Mexican May over the first and second before flooring him with a left to the body in the third. May arose and then went down again after what looked to be more of a push than a punch but the referee applied a count. A low punch cost May a point in the fourth and when he went down again from a right his corner tossed in the towel bringing about the stoppage. The Santa Monica 22-year-old has seven wins by KO/TKO. “Karlas” boxed for the US Knockouts in the World Series of Boxing and his results there qualified him for the Rio Olympics without having to go through the US Olympic Trials but he lost in the quarter-finals in Rio to Cuban Lazaro Alvarez. Former NABF bantamweight champion May has now lost four in a row. At 5’3” he is too small to fight at super feather.
London, England: Heavy: Dereck Chisora (30-9) W PTS 10 Senad Gashi (17-3). Light: Joe Cordina (9-0) W TKO 6 Andy Townend (22-5). Heavy: Dave Allen (17-4-2) W KO 3 Lucas Browne (28-2). Welter: Josh Kelly (9-0) W PTS 10 Przemyslaw Runowski (17-1). Welter: Connor Benn (14-0) W PTS 8 Josef Zahradnik (10-3).
Chisora vs. Gashi
Chisora gets a win but in a poor fight. It was not Chisora’s fault. He came to fight but southpaw Gashi did not. For the first two rounds Chisora just tracked Gashi around the ring. Gashi circled the perimeter sticking out the occasional jab and scuttling away whenever Chisora pressed too hard. Chisora picked up the pace in the third and managed to land some heavy rights but when he managed to trap Gashi the Kosovon jumped in and held until pulled off by the referee. The only tactical change Gashi made in the fourth was circling in the other direction occasionally and although Chisora was not landing many punches he did connect with a straight right that sent Gashi stumbling back into a corner. Gashi threw a few more punches in the fifth and sixth but you could count them on one hand and Chisora was still landing more. Chisora scored well with his jab in the seventh then Gashi landed a good left hook and Chisora connected with a right at the bell. Chisora continued his frustrating pursuit in the eighth without much success. Gashi did a happy little jig at the end of the round but then he hadn’t paid to see this fight. Chisora did a better job in the ninth and tenth scoring with strong jabs and a couple of clubbing rights but Gashi just kept on walking around and around-and occasionally breaking into a trot- content to make it to the final bell. Scores 100-90, 100-91and 99-91 tell the tale. It was impossible for “Del Boy” to look good against such negative opposition but on the other hand he did a poor job of cutting the ring off against an opponent who spent 90% of the fight circling in the same direction and it could not have helped that he was 13lbs heavier than when he fought Dillian Whyte in December. Chisora has reinvented himself numerous times and a title shot is not out of the question but against Anthony Joshua it would be a hard sell. Strangely for a fighter who had scored his 17 wins by KO/TKO Gashi showed no confidence in his punch and from bell to bell just looked to survive
Cordina vs. Townend
Sparkling display from Cortina as he outclasses a game Townend to retain the Commonwealth title and win the vacant British belt. From the outset Cordina was the man in charge. He was quicker, more accurate and had the power. Townend box cleverly behind his jab but with Cordina constantly changing angles and switching effortlessly from head to body and back Townend was hanging on by his finger tips. He did well to get through the first five rounds but a brutal series of knockdowns in the sixth ended the one-sided contest. A right hook sent Townend into the ropes and Cordina unloaded with both hands until Townend dropped to his knees. He made it to his feet and insisted he was able to continue. Cordina jumped on him and was pounding him with cracking body and head punches. A gutsy Townend fired back but another series of punches forced him to go down on one knee. He was up again and tried to punch with Cordina but when he was again forced to go down on one knee the referee waived the fight over. The brilliant Welsh 27-year-old, a former gold medal winner at the European Amateur Championships, will probably now look to challenge for the European title against Belgian Francesco Patera. Second loss by KO/TKO for Townend. He was to have fought for the Commonwealth title in 2017. He won the fight but had failed to make the weight.
Allen vs. Browne
Allen harasses and hounds and finally finished Browne with a fearful boy punch. Over the first two rounds Allen was just walking in behind his jab and swinging rights with Browne slotting his jab home and countering the advancing Allen with lefts to the body and the occasional right to the head. Browne was outlanding Allen but not being able to keep him out. There were some lively exchanges at the start of the third until Allen landed a cracking right to the body that had Browne backing off then dropping to the canvas on his hands and knees with his head touching the floor and he was counted out. Allen “The White Rhino” lost in over- ambitious fights against Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz in 2016 and has sensibly stepped back a pace. He has won his last four fights including a spectacular knockout of unbeaten Nick Webb. Nothing has really gone right for 40-year-old Australian Brown since he beat Ruslan Chagaev for the secondary WBA title in 2016 only to test positive for a banned substance. He was knocked out in six rounds by Dillian Whyte in March last year but then as with Allen took a step back and won three low level fights before this defeat.
Kelly vs. Runowski
Exhibitionist stuff from Kelley from the start. He was standing in front of Runowski hands down just using upper body movement to avoid the Poles punches leaving him free to counter with both hands and he landed some strong shots. Runowski tried to stick with his jab in the second but a storm of hooks and uppercuts drove him back to the ropes and he went down on one knee. The Pole was not too badly hurt and when the action restarted he withstood punishment from Kelly and was throwing hooks and uppercuts of his own. There was sometimes more swank than substance to Kelly’s work in the third and fourth as he virtually toyed with Runowski but he was only punching in short bursts allowing Runowski some success. There was a more orthodox approach from Kelly in the fifth and sixth as he used a conventional jab in the fifth and went inside and drove Runowski back with hooks and uppercuts in the sixth. The seventh was a mixture of showmanship and focus as he seemed to be trying to get Runowski out of there but the Pole soaked up the punches. It was back to the showmanship in the eighth and although hurting Runowski with body punches Kelly was not sustaining his attacks allowing Runowski to land some punches inside. Back to the real business in the ninth as Kelly set up a sustained attack with two lefts a hook and an uppercut forcing Runowski to touch the canvas with his gloves to avoid going down which resulted in a count. Kelly pursued Runowski around the ring raining him with punches until a shot that strayed low gave Runowski a breather and he was firing back at the bell. Kelly put Runowski down with a left hook in the tenth but Runowski beat the count and was punching back at the bell. Scores 100-88 twice and 100-89. The 25-year-old from Sunderland, the Commonwealth champion, was defending the WBA International title. He is No 7 with the WBA and his skill set is much too extensive for honest workmen such as Runowski but the arrogant showmanship would be dangerous in a division that is one of the most talented of the seventeen. Runowski, 24, has some wins over useful second string Europeans but although he stuck to his task here he was outclassed by Kelly.
Benn vs. Zahradnik
Benn gets his career underway again with points victory over Czech Zahradnik. Benn needed some ring time and this was a useful outing. He controlled the early action having Zahradnik in trouble in the fourth but Zahradnik did not fold and fought back. Benn put Zahradnik down in the seventh but could not keep him there and Zahradnik made it to the final bell. Referee’s score 80-71 for Benn. The 21-year-old son of former champion Nigel has had trouble with hand injuries and this was his first fight for nine months. Zahradnik has lost three of his last four fights all three losses to unbeaten opponents.
Grozny, Russia: Light Heavy: Umar Salamov (24-1) W TKO 9 Norbert Dabrowski (22-8-2). Super Middle: Aslambek Idigov (16-0) W PTS 12 Ronny Landaeta (16-2). Super Welter: Islam Edisultanov (8-0) W TKO 10 Alexey Evchenko (18-12-1).Heavy: Apti Davtaev (17-0-1) W TKO 5 Pedro Otas (32-5-1). Fly: Makhdi Abdurashedov (6-0) W TKO 2 W Frank Kiwalabye (17-2).Super Middle: Omar Garcia (14-1) W KO 5 Movsur Yusupov (14-1). Super Welter: Bakhram Murtazaliev (16-0) W TKO 1 Bruno Romay (21-7) Light: Viskhan Murzabekov (19-4) W TKO 2 Mudde Robinson Ntambi (23-8-1). Welter: Aslanbek Kozaev (33-2-1) W PTS 8 Abdul Aziz Quartey (118-5). Super Light: Adlan Abdurashidov (2-0) W TKO 1 Max Moshi (9-2). Super Middle: Apti Ustarkhanov (16-3-3) W PTS 8 Dzmitry (Atrokhau (16-5).
Salamov vs. Dabrowski
On a show full of Grozny fighters Salamov retains the WBO International title with stoppage of Polish southpaw Dabrowski. After three slow rounds which the tall 6’3 ½” Salamov edged by using his longer reach to score from distance the local fighter picked up the pace in the fourth and just before the bell he connected with a right to the body and a left to the head that put Dabrowski down. Dabrowski made it to the vertical but the bell went before Salamov could wreck any more damage. Dabrowski was not finished and although losing the rounds he was competitive over the fifth, sixth and seventh. Salamov upped the pace again in the eighth connecting with some strong body punches and heavy rights to the head. Dabrowski tried to take the fight to Salamov in the ninth but Salamov took a short step back and then nailed Dabrowski with a crunching right counter. Dabrowski went down heavily. He managed to beat the count but was put on the floor again by another right and although he struggled to his feet the fight was stopped. Now 18 wins by KO/TKO for the 24-year-old US-based Russian. His sole loss was a very close decision against Damien Hooper in Australia and he has now won five in a row against reasonable level opposition. He is rated IBF 6(4)/WBO 4 and WBA 7 and with four champions looking for challengers he could get a title shot later this year or early in 2020. Dabrowski, 30, was having only his second fight in 16 months but had taken both Dominic Boesel and Eleider Alvarez the distance and this is his first loss by KO/TKO.
Idigov vs. Landaeta
In an entertaining scrap “The Hulk” Idigov, another locally-born fighter based in Las Vegas, picks up the vacant IBF European and WBO European titles with majority verdict over Venezuelan-born Spaniard Landaeta. The smaller Russian forced the fight but Landaeta boxed well countering the Idigov attacks with hooks and uppercuts. Idigov connected with straight rights and left hooks in the third and fourth with a left hook knocking Landaeta’s mouthguard flying in the sixth. Despite this Landaeta continued to counter effectively and he shook Idigov with a right in the in the eighth. The ninth and tenth were both close providing some cause for concern in the home fans but Idigov took the last two rounds to come out just ahead. Scores a very questionable 118-112 and more realistic 115-113 for Idigov and 114-114. The impressively muscled Idigov is 5’8” which is small for a super middle but he is strong. Former EU champion Landaeta, 36, was coming off his first professional defeat when he was outpointed by Robin Krasniqi in a challenge for the European title in November.
Edisultanov vs. Evchenko
Tall southpaw “The Sniper” Edisultanov wins the vacant Russian title with stoppage of Evchenko. Sixth win by KO/TKO for the 33-year-old Edisultanov. Although a high performer as an amateur winning silver medals at the World Martial Arts Games and the Russian Championships he has struggled as a pro. He had close to 400 fights as an amateur but did not turn pro until he was 30 so is unlikely to make it to the top. Evchenko, 35, a former Russian welterweight champion had won 9 of his lat 10 fights.
Davtaev vs. Otas
Davtaev crushes ancient Brazilian Otas in a poor one-sided contest. Davtaev Rocked Otas with a right in the first and handed out steady punishment in each of the following rounds. Older, smaller and lighter Otas was never in with a chance and only the round in which the fight would end was in question. With a growing swelling under the left eye of Otas Davtaev finished the fight in the fifth. He stepped inside a right from Otas and landed a short right hook which sent Otas to the canvas. The Brazilian struggled to his feet then staggered to the ropes hanging over the top rope and looking out into the crowd as the referee waived the fight off. The 29-year-old 6’5” Davtaev now has 15 wins by KO/TKO. He is big and strong but slow and will struggle when he meets better opposition. Otas, 41, was giving away 5” in height and about 30lbs in weight and suffers his third loss by KO/TKO
Abdurashedov vs. Kiwalabye
This looked a competitive fight on paper but it was a massacre. From the first bell Abdurashedov was hunting down a fleeing Kiwalabye with the Ugandan circling the perimeter of the ring at a speed Usain Bolt would envy. In the second round. Abdurashedov finally caught up with Kiwalabye and landed a series of right hooks to the body but Kiwalabye escaped and sped off again. When Abdurashedov managed to get close again he rocked Kiwalabye with a right to the head then chased Kiwalabye along the ropes landing hooks until Kiwalabye dropped to the canvas. The Ugandan beat the count but after the eight he did not raise his hands but just stood swaying in a corner with his hands at his sides and the referee stopped the fight. The promising 20-year-old Abdurashedov wins the vacant WBC International title with his third victory by KO/TKO. Kiwalabye was a huge disappointment. His opposition had been very low level but his only loss had been on points against Joseph Agbeko in March last year so more was expected from him.
Garcia vs. Yusupov
Garcia scores brutal kayo over unbeaten Yusupov. In the fifth Garcia landed a strong left hook to the body and then a right that was way below the belt. The referee halted the fight. Yusupov looked to be expecting Garcia to be disqualified but instead the referee gave Yusupov a little recovery time. It was not enough as Garcia immediately drove Yusupov to the ropes and threw three punches. Yusupov blocked the first two but the third a southpaw left hook crashed into his temple and Yusupov slumped to the floor ending flat on his back half out under the ropes with the referee immediately waiving for medical help for Yusupov. Mexican-based Venezuelan Garcia was having his second fight in Russia having lost his unbeaten record when beaten by Magomed Madiev in June last year. “The Monster” Yusupov was a heavy favourite as Garcia was a late choice as his opponent.
Murtazaliev vs. Romay
Main Events fighter Murtazaliev remains unbeaten in his first fight in Russia since 2016. He blitzed Argentinian Romay with two knockdowns and it was all over in 117 seconds. Now 13 wins by KO/TKO for the Oxnard-based Russian. Argentinian “El Tzar” Romay had won 13 in a row but has now lost three on the bounce in Eastern Europe. Perhaps it’s the “El Tzar” nickname?
Murzabekov vs. Ntambi
“Little Tyson” Murzabekov too strong for Ugandan Ntambi. He was tracking the much smaller Ntambi around the ring then pounced connecting with a right and a left hook. Ntambi dropped to one knee. He was up immediately but after the count Murzabekov rushed across the ring and landed a left that saw Ntambi go sprawling on the canvas. Again he was up quickly but refused to step forward when asked to and the referee halted the fight. Murzabekov lost in a fight for the vacant Russian title February. The 38-year-old balding Ntambi was once 18-1-1 and a super flyweight but both of those things are in the past.
Kozaev vs. Quartey
Kozaev continues on the road to who knows where with decision over Ghanaian Quartey. Kozaev had Quartey down in the first but the visitor showed some good skills before tiring badly and losing a point in the last for holding. Scores 80-70 twice and 80-71 for Kozaev. At one time the 31-year-old Russian was 25-0-1 but losses to Ray Robinson and Taras Shelestyuk derailed him so he is slowly rebuilding. Quartey, 21, has a heavily padded record but was competitive but just not strong enough.
Abdurashidov vs. Moshi
Former top amateur crushes overmatched Moshi in just 57 seconds. The spider-like Tanzanian never stood a chance. A series of punches put him face down on the canvas. He got up but staggered back to the ropes. After the eight count the referee asked Moshi to step forward but he stayed where he was. Despite that the referee indicated for the action to resume but Moshi wisely refused to move so the fight was stopped. The 28-year-old Abdurashidov, twice Russian champion, was a leading member of the Russian Boxing Team in the WSB and competed at the European and World Championships and the Rio Olympics-you will be hearing lot more about him as his career develops. Only the second fight in eighteen months for Moshi who could have got hurt in a match like this.
Ustarkhanov vs. Atrokhau
Ustarkhanov gets unanimous decision over Atrokhau in a clash of contrasting styles. Ustarkhanov was ploughing forward looking to work at close range whilst Atrokhau wanted to use his southpaw jab to keep the fight outside. In the end the superior power and aggression of Ustarkhanov won out over the better skills of Atrokhau and the Russian took the decision. Scores 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75 all for Ustarkhanov. He is now 5-1-1 in his last 7 fight drawing with Patrick Mendy and losing in Australia to Rohan Murdoch. After winning his first 15 fights Belarusian Atrokhau has now lost 5 of 6
Tokyo, Japan: Bantam: Yuta Saito (12-9-3) W TKO 5 Hayato Kimura 28-11). In a contest between two fighters from Kawasaki Saito keeps his national title with stoppage of Kimura. After a fairly even first round Saito began to find the range for his hooks and uppercuts and by the end of the second Kimura already had a swelling under his left eye. Saito continued to dish out punishment in the third and fourth with Kimura also handicapped by a swelling under his right eye. Kimura was swinging wildly trying to get lucky but he was soaking up punishment in the fifth and his corner threw in the towel. First defence of the Japanese title for Saito and his ninth win by KO/TKO. Whilst it has taken fighters such as Naoya Inoue only a few fights to get to world class Saito had 20 fights before he was elevated to the ten round level. Kimura had failed in two shots at the Japanese super fly title but then won the interim bantam title which lost here.
Liverpool, England: Feather: James Dickens (36-3) W TKO 5 Nasibu Ramadhan (27-14-2).Heavy: Alex Dickinson (10-0) W RTD 2 Dorian Darch (12-9-1). Super Welter: James Metcalf (19-0) W KO 8 Santos Medrano (10-64-5).
Dickens vs. Ramadhan
Dickens ends a fast-paced competitive fight with one crushing left cross. A quick first round saw both southpaws firing jabs and trying to find the range with lefts with Dickens more controlled and more accurate. Ramadhan worked to the body with hooks in the second and caught Dickens with a crisp left hook as Dickens ventured forward. Dickens did better when he used his jab but in this round was wayward with his punches. Dickens found the target in the third with two cracking left hooks as Ramadhan continued to take the fight to Dickens. Ramadhan staged a furious attack in the fourth but it was Dickens jab that was the dominant punch. In the fifth after connecting with a couple of jabs Dickens landed a thunderous straight left to the head that put Ramadhan face down on the canvas and the referee immediately waived the fight over. Impressive finish from the 28-year-old former British super bantam champion. Consecutive losses in big fights against Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA title and Thomas Patrick Ward for the British title led to ten months out of the ring for Dickens but this is his fourth win by KO/TKO on the spin. He is now in line to challenge Leigh Wood for the Commonwealth title. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for Ramadhan who was a lively opponent until that crushing left. He is a busy fighter having lost a twelve round fight in Namibia just 20 days before this fight.
Dickinson vs. Darch
Dickinson gets his sixth win by KO/TKO as Darch retires at the end of the second round due to an injury. Dickinson was taller and quicker and found the target early with his jab and left hooks to the body. Darch tended to lunge with his attacks but had some success in the first. In the second Dickens was again driving left hooks to the body but also huge right crosses. Darch looked to be in trouble and he stumbled badly as he walked to his corner at the bell. He was in some pain from what was reported to be a shoulder injury and was unable to continue. Merseysider Dickinson, 32, was in his first fight scheduled for eight rounds but may struggle in a division with an excess of British talent. Welshman Darch is now 0-5-1 in his last six fights including stoppage defeats against Daniel Dubois and Nick Webb.
Metcalf vs. Medrano
Metcalf gets a win but at a price. The Liverpool “Kid Shamrock” was up against a very limited but very awkward opponent. Nicaraguan Medrano fought out of a semi-crouch leaning back and looking to survive from the first bell. Luckily for Medrano Metcalf injured his right hand in the opening round and fought one-handed after that. He dominated every round and had Medrano in trouble in the sixth and seventh. In the eight Metcalf connected with a succession of hooks and uppercuts and Medrano dropped to his knees and was counted out. Injuries have plagued Metcalf. He scored a career best win in June last year stopping former Spanish champion Aitor Nieto for the vacant WBC International title and this was his first fight since then. He was to fight on the Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad IBF title fight card on 15 June but that could be in doubt now. Spanish-based Medrano has won only one of his last fifty-seven fights
Istanbul, Turkey: Heavy: Umut Camkiran (12-0) W PTS 12 Arnold Gjergjaj (32-3). Super Middle: Anatoli Muratov (21-2) W PTS 8 Edwin Palacios (12-7-1). Heavy: Mensur Dedic (10-0) W PTS 8 Muhammed Ali Durmaz (23-28).
Camkiran vs. Gjergjaj
Turkish heavyweight hope Camkiran wins the vacant EBU External title (for European countries which are not part of the European Union) with unanimous decision over Kosovo-born Swiss Gjergjaj. At 6’5” Gjergjaj towered over Camkiran and at 251lbs Camkiran was almost as wide as Gjergjaj was tall. The Swiss fighter made a good start moving plenty and dabbing out his jab with Camkiran tracking him and trying to trap the taller man on the ropes. There was no real power in Gjergjaj’s jab and eventually Camkiran began to walk through the jab bully Gjergjaj on the ropes and land heavy clubbing shots. Camkiran built a lead that way and it might have been expected that Gjergjaj would be the one to weaken late in the fight. Instead Gjergjaj did most of the scoring over the tenth and eleventh. Enough to have the local fans worried and the last round was close but Camkiran probably just did enough to edge it. Scores 115-113 twice and a strange, but with home advantage not unexpected, 118-110 all for Camkiran. The 30-year-old German-based “Anatolian Lion” was facing a huge leap in quality of opponent. He had won his other eleven fights by KO/TKO, ten of them in the first round so he was going into a twelve round fight with less than thirteen rounds behind him. He is immensely strong but very crude and very limited. Some “cautious” matching saw Gjergjaj win his first 29 fights but inside the distance losses to David Haye and Sean Turner applied a dose of reality. He scored two wins in 2018 against modest opposition and might have taken the decision if this fight had been in Switzerland. He is booked to fight again on 25 May in Switzerland so can start again then.
Muratov vs. Palacios
German-based Kazak Muratov has his first fight in a year and takes the unanimous decision over Nicaraguan Palacios. Now 13 wins in a row for Muratov. Former Nicaraguan welter champion Palacios is 1-5 in his last six including a second round stoppage by Ray Robinson.
Dedic vs. Durmaz
Some surprise here as Dedic, who had won his nine fights by KO/TKO, has to go the whole eight rounds to beat German Durmaz, who has lost 23 times by KO/TKO. All of Dedic’s previous opponents had lasted less than 18 rounds between them but they had also only scored only 18 wins between them. Durmaz a very strange record with long runs of losses and long runs of win. Coming into this one he had first lost eleven in a row but had won his last 13, 12 by KO/TKO.
Ontario, CA, USA: Feather: Erick Ituarte (21-1-1) W PTS 10 Jose Estrella (20-16-1). Ituarte returns to action after eleven months on the side lines and takes unanimous decision over Estrella in a testing fight. After a feeling out first the pace picked up from there. A lot of the action was at close quarters with Ituarte connecting with body punches over the second and third and Estrella fighting back hard to take the fourth. Ituarte’s body punches saw him on top in the fifth but Estrella came right back forcing the fight hard in the sixth. A low punch saw Estrella down on one knee in the seventh but after some recovery time he continued. Ituarte swept the last three rounds to take the verdict. Scores 100-89 twice and 98-92 all for Ituarte who was a clear winner but the fight looked closer than that. The 24-year-old Santa Anna-based Mexican Ituarte’s lay off was forced by a back injury but with a 14 bout winning streak he will be looking to fight his way into the ratings. Tijuana’s Estrella is 2-5 in his last seven but his opposition has been a very good level.
Keta, Ghana: Joseph Agbeko (36-5) W PTS 12 Hashimu Zuberi (15-4). Middle: John Koudeha (17-1) W TKO 2 Manyi Issa (12-3-2). Super Light: Richard Amenfu (11-5) W TKO 11 Anama Dotse (17-3).
Agbeko vs. Zuberi
Former IBF and IBO bantam champion Agbeko keeps his hopes of one last world title shot alive with wide unanimous decision over Tanzanian Zuberi. Agbeko was in a different class than the young Tanzanian and dominated the fight with some powerful jabbing and heavy rights. Zuberi kept trying to march forward and showed some skill but by the late rounds he was showing a cut over his left eye and some bumps and swelling on his face. Agbeko tried hard for the knockout but is not as young as he used to be and had to settle for a points win. Scores 120-107 twice and 120-108. He is No 2 with the WBO due to his holding the WBO Arica title which he retained in this fight but at 39 is way past his best in a very tough division. Zuberi, 23, had lost three fights on the road and all against unbeaten fighters including Andrew Moloney.
Koudeha vs. Issa
Ghana-based Togolese boxer Koudeha wins the vacant IBF Continental title with second round stoppage of Tanzania’s Issa. Twelve wins by KO/TKO for Koudeha. His management tried to get his split decision loss last year to 2-8 Emmanuel Quaye expunged but there it stays and should do so. Third loss by KO/TKO for Issa.
Amenfu vs. Dotse
Minor upset as Amenfu beats favoured Dotse on an eleventh round stoppage. On paper “Desert Warrior” Amenfu was 1-3 in his last 4 fights and was having his first contest since October 2017 but putting it diplomatically some results from Ghana don’t get onto the records due reservations over a lack of veracity of some of the reports. Dotse had lost only one of his last 16 fights but that is largely due to facing substandard opposition.
Agde, France: Middle: Diego Natchoo (19-1-4) W PTS 10 Patrick Momene Mokamba (7-26-4).Super Feather: Florian Montels (15-2-2,1ND) W TKO 3 Kamel Amari (1-2-2).
Natchoo vs. Mokamba
Fighting in front of his home fans Natchoo gets repeat win over Mokamba in voluntary French title defence. When these two clashed in February in a title fight Natchoo was an easy winner by 7, 7, and 6 points on the three cards. It was closer this time with Mokamba raising his game but still coming up short. Scores 97-94, 97-95 and 96-94 for “L’Indien” his seventh win in a row. Mokamba, 38, the French No 11 at super welter, has now won only two of his last nine fights.
Montels vs. Amari
Montels gets only his second win by KO/TKO with stoppage of Amari. Third defence of French title by Montels who is 7-1,1ND in his last 9 fights with the loss being to world rated Yvon Mendy. Strange to see a fighter with a record as poor as Amari fighting for a title additionally so as he had had only one fight in the last 16 months. He is rated No 4 super bantam in France but was contesting the super feather title. Could be he was a late substitute
Fort Washington, MD, USA: Middle: Dusty Hernandez Harrison (32-0-1) W TKO 4 Fred Jenkins (10-6). Harrison continues his comeback with stoppage of Jenkins. Harrison dominated the bout with his jab before flooring Jenkins with a series of punches in the fourth with the bout being stopped. Harrison, 24, was high in the ratings when he decisioned 21-1 Thomas LaManna in September 2016. From that high point everything fell apart for the Washington DC fighter. He broke with his father who had trained him from a kid, proposed fights kept falling through, a close friend was shot and killed and with no money coming in he had to sell his home and move to another part of Washington. He finally returned to the ring after 30 months with a win in March this year. He was 170lbs for that fight but was down to 163lbs for this one and hoping to get back into the ratings. Second loss by KO/TKO for Jenkins.
Kiev, Ukraine: Light: Denys Berinchyk (11-0) W PTS 12 Nihito Arakawa (23-7-2). When he started out as a pro Berinchyk had one gear and that was forward and one speed and that was fierce and ferocious and fast (or is that three?). He showed here he has matured as a pro as he boxed more and varied his attacks more. He was quicker than experienced Arikawa, switched guards continually and had already opened a cut over the left eye of the Japanese visitor by the second round. He also showed he could box on the back foot as Arakawa had a good jab. The main difference was the hand speed, rapid combinations and slick movement from Berinchyk. Arakawa kept on the front foot and had some success with his jab but with Berinchyk constantly switching guards, changing angles and finding gaps for his straight punches and hooks Arakawa was confused. He lost a point in the ninth for holding and had blood dripping from a cut over his right eye. Arakawa made a big effort over the last three rounds but kept walking onto counters and just could not pin down the ever moving Berinchyk. Scores 120-107 twice and 118-109 for Berinchyk who retains the WBO International title. The 30-year-old Ukrainian has not really been active enough nor taken any high level fights and his only rating is No 11 with the WBO. As an amateur he took a silver medal at the World Championships in 2011 beating Roniel Iglesias and Thomas Stalker before losing to Everton Lopes in the final. At the 2012 Olympics he defeated Anthony Yigit and Jeff Horn but lost to Iglesias for another silver medal. It is not just in the ring where Berinchyk provides entertainment. His entrances have included riding a horse to the ring side, riding a motorcycle, wearing handcuffs and surrounded by guards and even dressing as a bear! Arakawa is a former Japanese and OPBF champion and he lost to Omar Figueroa for the interim WBC title in 2013.
Toronto, Canada: Welter: Kane Heron (15-0-1) W PTS 8 Anderson Clayton (41-14-2). Local fighter Heron gets in some useful work against seasoned Brazilian Clayton. Heron, the holder of the NABA version of the Canadian title, was too quick and outworked Clayton. The Brazilian has the experience but no longer the strength or stamina to match prospects such as Heron. Clayton rallied late but never really threatened Heron’s dominance. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Heron who is making good progress. Clayton, 40, a former WBFederation champion, first fought in Canada way back in 2006 when losing to Joachim Alcine. He is 1-6-1 in his last 8 fights but all of losses have been to good quality or unbeaten fighters.
Osaka, Japan: Super Feather: Joe Noynay (17-2-1) W TKO 2 Kosuke Saka (18-5). Noyna wins the vacant WBO Asia Pacific belt with stoppage of an overmatched Saka. Southpaw Noynay was scoring with straight lefts early spurring Saka into some furious attacks. Noyna waited for the storm to abate then dropped Saka with a short left hook. Saka made it to his feet but was shaky and went down from another left. He again arose and despite Noynay connecting with further lefts Saka lasted to the bell. Early in the second a counter left floored Saka again and although he climbed to his feet the referee stopped the fight. The 23-year-old Filipino “Jaw Breaker” has six victories by KO/TKO and has won his last five fights. He is at No 10 in the WBO ratings. Former Japanese champion Saka rarely does a distance fight with 15 of his wins and three of his losses coming by KO/TKO.
Windhoek, Namibia: Super Feather: Jeremiah Nakathila (18-1) W TKO 8 Zoltan Kovacs (23-6-1), Welter: Mikka Shonena (14-0) W TKO 4 Shadrack Ignas (16-7-1). Super Light: Harry Simon Jr (9-0) W TKO 1Andreas Nghinananye (1-7).
Nakathila vs. Kovacs
Nakathila retains the WBO African title with stoppage of Hungarian Kovacs. Nakathila showed his power early flooring the visitor in the opening round. Kovacs is a tough character and he survived and went back into the action. Nakathila continued to dominate and floored Kovacs again in the seventh. A barrage of punches in the eighth had Kovacs on the point of going down again when the referee stopped the fight. “Low Key” Nakathila makes it 13 wins by KO/TKO. His only loss is on a majority decision to Russian Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016 and Chuprakov went on to lose to Masayuki Ito for the WBO title in December last year. Nakathila has won his last seven fights by KO/TKO and is No 3 with the WBO. After a 3-4 start to his pro career Kovacs was 20-1-1 in his last 22 including 12 wins in a row.
Shonena vs. Ignas
Shonena continues to make progress. Not a puncher the local fighter registered only his second inside the distance victory with a fourth round stoppage of Tanzanian Ignas in defence of his WBO African title. “The “Silent Assassin” is No 7 with the WBO but has yet to be matched with a quality opponent. Ignas was 6-1 going in.
Simon vs. Nghinananye
Simon gets his first pro title as he stops poor Nghinananye in a fight for the vacant Namibian belt. Simon, the son of the former WBO champion, has seven wins by KO/TKO but the best that could be said for Nghinananye is that this is his first loss by KO/TKO.
Zhukovka, Russia: Light: Pavel Malikov (15-1-1) W PTS 10 Gaybatulla Gadzhialiev (6-2-1). Light: Elnur Samedov (9-1) W RTD 8 Aik Shakhnazaryan (23-2).
Malikov vs. Gadzhialiev
Malikov gets off the floor to take split decision over Gadzhialiev in a fierce battle. This one was almost over in the first round. Gadzhialiev connected with a right cross and a left hook that stunned Malikov. Gadzhialiev then proceeded to batter Malikov around the ring landing vicious uppercut and rights to the side of the head. Malikov was floundering and a stoppage was just a couple of punches away but Malikov made it to the bell before walking to his corner on unsteady legs. It could easily have been a 10-8 round. Malikov steadied things over the second and third rounds but Gadzhialiev fighting out of a crouch and with constant movement was getting through with uppercuts. In the fourth Gadzhialiev landed a hard right which sent Malikov down. He was up quickly and after the count fought back hard landing some rights of his own but was again shaken by rights from Gadzhialiev. Malikov worked his way back into the fight over the next four rounds jabbing well and landing left hooks. He was outworking Gadzhialiev who was still dangerous with quick attacks. Gadzhialiev picked up the pace in the eighth and ninth and they both landed heavily in a wild last. Scores 96-93 and 96-94 for Malikov and 95-93 for Gadzhialiev but for me Gadzhialiev should have been the winner. Malikov, 33, had been knocked out by Daud Yordan last April and fought a split draw with Vage Sarukhanyan in February so a very welcome win. Gadzhialiev had over 360 amateur fights and was coming off a draw with Denis Shafikov in February.
Samedov vs. Shakhnazaryan
An upset here as southpaw Samedov just proves too busy and too aggressive for world rated Shakhnazaryan. From the opening round Samedov was storming into the taller Shakhnazaryan dodging past Shakhnazaryan’s jab and pumping away with bursts of punches inside. He was outworking Shakhnazaryan and in his face for the whole fight. Shakhnazaryan just could not keep Samedov out . Shakhnazaryan managed to box on the outside in the fourth but was being hustled and bullied by Samedov in the fifth and sixth as Samedov worked inside with hooks. Samedov was relentless in the seventh and eighth rolling forward and scoring with hooks and uppercuts from both hands. Shakhnazaryan was floundering under another Samedov attack at the end of the eighth and retired in his corner. Huge win for Azeri-born Russian champion Samedov and big setback for Shakhnazaryan. He was rated at the low end of the top 15 by the IBF, WBA and WBC and had won his last 8 fights including victories over 17-2 Al Rivera, DeMarcus Corley and 21-2 Fedor Papazov . Samedov also lifts Shakhnazaryan’s WBA Continental title.
Luis Guillon, Argentina: Heavy: Gonzalo Basile (74-12,1ND) W TKO 3 Julio Cuellar (13-7). Cruiser: Dario Balmaceda (19-17-2) W KO 6 Pablo Farias (30-4). Basile vs. Cuellar
Poor fight and easy win for the walking tattoo Basile. He spent two rounds pounding on obese Bolivian Cuellar and then floored him with a left and right in the third. Cuellar climbed to his feet but the referee kindly stopped the fight. The 6’6”, 45-year-old Basile, the Argentinian No 1, lifts the vacant South American title. He has won 10 of his last 11 fights but against very low level opposition. Although smaller than Basile the 38-year-old Cuellar weighed 273lbs all of it seemed to be around his middle. Only one of his twenty fights has gone the distance. He has never won outside of Bolivia and all of his losses have been by KO/TKO and all inside two rounds.
Balmaceda vs. Farias
Balmaceda punches too hard for Farias and closes the gap in their five bout series to 2-3. Farias started out as a super middleweight and scored three wins over Balmaceda in those early days. Now he is really too small for a cruiserweight and that has resulted in two losses to Balmaceda. Farias was continually shaken by hard rights leading to a swelling by his left eye and a nose dripping blood. In the sixth a succession of rights to the head saw Farias collapse to the floor and he was counted out. Balmaceda retains the South American title and wins the Argentinian title with win No 13 by KO/TKO. A former George Groves victim, he makes it four wins in a row. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for Farias who is trained by former WBC cruiser champion Marcello Dominguez. Farias was making the first defence of the national title.
Fight of the week (Significance): Terrence Crawford’s win over Amir Khan hopefully opens the way for some more big fights at welterweight
Fight of the week (Entertainment): The Joel Casimero vs. Espinoza fight was action all the way with honourable mention to Pavel Malikov vs. Gaybatulla Gadzhialiev
Fighter of the week: Class performance from Danny Garcia.
Punch of the week: The straight left from James Dickens which ended his fight with Nasibu Ramadhan was special but best of all was Danny Garcia’s explosive left hook that floored Granados for the first knockdown
Upset of the week: Elnur Samedov (9-1) was supposed to be a non-threatening opponent for world rated Aik Shakhnazaryan (23-2).
Prospect watch: Olympian Carlos Balderas, 22 8-0 7 wins by KO/TKO