Check out Eric Armit’s comprehensive report in The Week In Boxing – February 20, 2018!
-George Groves beats Chris Eubank Jr to retain WBA title and earn his place in the WSBB final but shoulder injury puts that in doubt
-Ray Beltran wins the WBO lightweight title at the fourth attempt
-Danny Garcia halts Brandon Rios to stay in the welterweight mix
-David Benavidez retains WBC super middleweight title as he outclasses Ronald Gavril
-Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz finish all even in clash of former champions
-Ryan Walsh retains British title in draw with Isaac Lowe
-Tommy Langford remains British middleweight champion by outpointing Jack Arnfield
-Caleb Plant puts himself in line for a shot at the IBF super middleweight title with victory over Rogelio Medina
-Vincent Feigenbutz gets controversial stoppage win over Ryno Liebenberg
-Austin Trout, Yordenis Ugas and Tony Harrison all win
Montreal, Canada: Super Welter: Mikael Zewski (30-1) W PTS 8 Jose de Jesus Macias (23-8-2). Welter: Bruno Bredicean (10-0) W KO 2 Cesar Chavez (32-13).
Zewski vs. Macias
Zewski gets win but has to fight hard to come out on top. The Canadian was bloodied from the first round as jabs from Macias marked up his right eye and broke the Canadian’s nose and it bled for the rest of the fight. Despite that Zewski built an early lead and nearly ended it in the fourth when he floored Macias with a right-left combination. The bell came to the rescue of the Mexican and he was rocked again in the sixth. The seventh and eighth were desperate rounds for Zewski as Macias found some extra strength and had Zewski under pressure all the way. The eighth was a great round as they traded punch after punch with Zewski spending a lot of time trapped on the ropes having to dig deep and fighting desperately to make it to the final bell. Scores 78-73 twice and 77-74 all for Zewski. The 29-year-old Trios-Riviers fighter, the Canadian No 4, was a top level amateur, a four-time Canadian champion with a 138-29 record and wins over Jack Culcay and top Cuban Carlos Banteur. He won his first 26 pro fights before losing to Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015. His career stalled then with just one fight in two years but this is his third win since returning in June 2017. Macias, 26, had won 5 of his last six fights but all of the opposition had been second grade at best.
Bredicean vs. Chavez
Unbeaten Bredicean takes less than four minutes to crush Mexican Chavez. Bredicean put Chavez over in the first and ended it just 49 seconds in the second. He pressed Chavez to the ropes and then landed a left to the body and a right cross which dumped Chavez in a heap. He tried to rise but fell back to the ropes and the referee signalled the fight was over. The Romanian-born 23-year-old Bredicean, one of two unbeaten brothers, has four wins by KO/TKO in matches against a decent level of opposituion. Chavez suffers his second loss in successive fights both being second round stoppages.
Reno, NV, USA: Light Ray Beltran (35-7-1,1ND) W PTS 12 Paulus Moses (40-4,1ND). Welter: Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0) W TKO 6 David Avanesyan (23-3-1).Welter: Alex Besputin (9-0) W RTD 5 Wesley Tucker (14-2). Feather: Shakur Stevenson (5-0) W PTS 8 Juan Tapia (8-2).Super Feather: Robinson Conceicao (6-0) W PTS 6 Ignacio Olguin (11-5). Heavy: Bryant Jennings (22-2) W TKO 3 Akhor Muralimov (16-4).
Beltran vs. Moses
Beltran finally gets to wear a title belt as he stages a strong finish to outscore Namibian veteran Moses for a victory that could have wider consequences for ability to continue to stay and fight in the US. The first round was a slow one but Beltran did the better work scoring with some rights to pocket the round. Both had some success in the second with Moses landing good rights and a sharp combination. But Beltran was coming forward and landing punches of his own in a close round. That set a pattern for the next two rounds. A punch from Moses opened a cut over the right eye of Beltran in the third as they traded on equal terms with Moses scoring with jabs and uppercuts but Beltran coming back strongly with left hook to the chin. The scoring indicated it was a hard fight to score with two judges having them level at 38-38 and the third putting Beltran ahead 39-37. They only round on which they all agreed was the first. The fifth swung one way and then the other. Early it was Beltran pinning Moses to the ropes and banging to the body only for Moses to almost drop Beltran with a right. Moses took the sixth with a sustained attack and had the better of the early action in the seventh but Beltran fought back to edge the round and outworked Moses in the eighth. After eight Beltran held a slight lead at 77-75 on all three cards and Moses was also cut but over his left eye. From there the body work of Beltran took effect and the fight ran his way. Moses landed some good shots in the ninth but Beltran was outworking him. By the tenth both fighters were tiring but Beltran continued to work on the body taking the tenth and eleventh and with both fighters bleeding from their respective cuts Beltran had more left in the tank and took the last. Scores 117-111 twice and 116-112 all for Beltran. The strong finish made the difference as Beltran won all four of the late round on two cards and three of them on the third. The 36-year-old Mexican wins the WBO title at the fourth attempt. He drew with Ricky Burns for the title in 2013, lost on points to Terrence Crawford in 2011 and beat Takahiro Ao in 2015 only to test positive for a banned substance. He is living in Phoenix under a visa that expires in about two years but this win might get him classified as an elite athlete which could get him a green card. The 39-year-old Moses, a former holder of the secondary WBA title, was looking to become the oldest fighter to win the lightweight title but he faded under the constant pressure from Beltran.
Kavaliauskas vs. Avanesyan
Kavaliauskas marches on. The hard punching Lithuanian beats and breaks down Avanesyan for a sixth round stoppage. The Lithuanian used a dominating jab, left hooks and hard rights to control the early action before increasing his punch output in the third and rocking Avanesyan with a left hook. Avanesyan switched to southpaw and got some relief and landed a few rights as Kavaliauskas adjusted. Kavaliauskas landed heavily in the fourth and fifth and a huge right in the sixth stunned Avanesyan and as Kavaliauskas unloaded more punishment the referee stopped the fight. The 29-year-old “Mean Machine” retains the NABF title and makes it 16 wins by KO/TKO and now he is looking to get a title shot. He is rated WBO 4/WBC 11. Russian Avanesyan, 29, a former interim WBA champion was upgraded to secondary champion but lost the title to Lamont Peterson in February last year. This is his first inside the distance loss.
Besputin vs. Tucker
With guys such as Stevenson and Conceicao in the same team Besputin is flying a little under the radar but watch out for him as the Russian southpaw is a class act. Fellow southpaw Tucker had good amateur credentials and his only loss had been on points against unbeaten Enver Halili but he was never in the fight here. Besputin dominated every round punishing Tucker to head and body. Tucker hardly managed to launch any attacks of his own and after five one-sided rounds his corner pulled him out of the fight. The 26-year-Besputin was European Youth and Seniors champion and unbeaten in WSB fights. He already has wins over Briedis Prescott and the 20-0 Juan Ruiz. Keep your eyes on him. Tucker competed at the National Golden Gloves, US Championships and the PAL Tournament but was outclassed on the night.
Stevenson vs. Tapia
Future star Stevenson gets in eight rounds for the first time as he outpoints Tapia. Southpaw Stevenson won every round and showcased his outstanding skills. He scored throughout the fight with fast flurries to head and body but did not seem to be loading up on his punches and never really had Tapia in any trouble. Tapia was neither quick or clever enough to really pose a threat and Stevenson boxed his way to victory after eight valuable rounds of work. You learn nothing from putting away sub standard opposition. There will be sterner tests for the 20-year-old former amateur starlet but he is on his way to the top. Scores 80-72 from all three judges. Texan Tapia did his job by going eight rounds.
Conceicao vs. Olguin
Olympic gold medal winner Conceicao has to go the distance for victory. The Brazilian is by nature an aggressive if at times uncontrolled fighter and he made a fast start here putting Olguin down in the first. Olguin survived but had a torrid time in the second before getting into the fight to a degree in the third and fourth. He was almost blown away again in the fifth as Conceicao landed hard to head and body and he shook Olguin in the last. Scores 60-52 twice and 60-54 all for the 29-year-old Conceicao. The Brazilian beat Vasyl Lomachenko at the 2011 World Championships-OK it was only for a short while. The scores were 20-19 for Conceicao but after a review the result was changed to 19-18 for Lomachenko. Olguin’s five wins were all by KO/TKO but his six opponents had only mustered three wins between them.
Jennings vs. Muralimov
Jennings continues his latest campaign with easy win over crude and vastly overweight Muralimov. Jennings boxed cautiously early in the first as Muralimov threw himself forward swinging it wildly. Once he settled Jennings dug a left hook to the body of Muralimov and then put him on the floor with a right to the head. Muralimov was up at seven and Jennings took him to the ropes and landed a sequence of head and body punches with Muralimov sliding the floor, Again he was up at seven and the bell went as the referee reached the count of eight. The ringside physician examined Muralimov in the interval but the fight continued. Jennings stepped up the pace in the second landing hard jabs and right to head and body with Muralimov continuing to come forward throwing wild punches. Two rights to the head put Muralimov down at the end of the round/ He beat the count with the bell going before Jennings could throw another punch. Muralimov survived another physician’s inspection. Jennings just covered up at the start of the third letting Muralimov throw some wide swings but then Jennings landed two hard rights to the head and Muralimov went over. He made it to his feet but when the fight resumed a hook to the body and two head punches sent Muralimov down and the massacre was over. Wins over Artur Szpilka and Mike Perez got Jennings a shot at Wlad Klitschko in April 2015 for the IBF, WBA and WBO title and he managed to last the distance. In April he was halted in seven rounds by Luis Ortiz for the interim WBA title and was then inactive until returning with a couple of low level wins last year. The 33-year-old from Philadelphia is rated WBO 10/WBA 12 so still very much in the heavyweight mix. Uzbek Muralimov is under 6’0” but weighed almost 260lbs. He has no real technique but at least he gave it a try and kept getting up,
Saint-Nazaire, France: Welter: Jordy Weiss (19-0) W PTS 10 Aitor Nieto (21-5-1). Super Welter: David Papot (21-0) W PTS 10 Romain Garofalo (14-2).
Weiss vs. Nieto
Weiss wins the vacant European Union title with unanimous verdict over Spaniard Nieto. Both settled behind their jab early with Nieto having the better of the exchanges in the first but Weiss just doing enough to take the next three rounds. After four the local fighter was in front 39-37 on all cards. From the fifth although the rounds were close it was again the French fighter who just had the edge with his greater accuracy but Nieto scored well with counters. Weiss bossed the infighting and was quicker to the punch having an impressive fifth round applying lots of pressure but was rocked by a right in the eighth as he was leaving too many gaps in his defence. After eight rounds Weiss was up 78-74 on two cards and 79-73 on the third. Weiss battled hard to take the ninth as his corner instructed him to tighten his defence but the fight swung the Spaniard’s way again as he had a strong tenth. Weiss was in his first twelve round fight, in fact he had never gone past eight rounds, but he paced the contests well although having to fight hard over the last two rounds as Nieto staged a strong finish. Scores 118-112, 117-111 and 116-113 all for Weiss who was a clear winner but the scores did not reflect just how competitive this fight was. The 24-year-old “Gypsy” Weiss is quick but lacks real power. He will probably look to defend his new title and then go for a shot at the EBU title against either Kerman Lejarraga or Bradley Skeete who are lined up to contest the vacant European title.
Papot vs. Garofalo
No problems here for southpaw Papot as he retains the French title with wide unanimous decision over No 4 Garofalo. He had too much skill, speed and accuracy for the challenger. Papot breezed through the first two rounds and a stoppage win was a possibility. That changed in the third when a clash of heads saw Papot cut over his right eye. For a few rounds Papot was much more cautious but then he was back in his stride and scoring well to the body. Garofalo kept rolling forward with a leaky defence and very little success as Papot was able to slot home shots from both hands. Over the last two rounds Papot’s trainer, former French champion Stephane Cazeaux, ordered him to go to war and he went toe-to-toe with Garofalo in an entertaining finish. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for Papot. The former two-time French amateur champion Papot, 26, was 86-15-1 before turning pro and has made good progress. He is looking to make another national title defence and then go for the EBU or EU title. Garofalo was way out of his depth here. He had faced only mediocre opposition and never been past six rounds.
Budapest, Hungary: Cruiser: Imre Szello (20-0) W PTS 10 Denis Grachev (16-6-1).Super Middle; Shefat Isufi (26-3-2) W PTS 10 Rafael Sosa Pintos (56-154).Super Welter: Ferenc Berki (11-0) W PTS 10 Laszlo Fazekas (39-30-1,1ND).Super Middle: Renato Egedi (12-1-2) W RTD 5 Mark Krammerstodter (3-1-1).Middle: Balazs Bacskai (5-0) W TKO 6 Meshack Mwankemwa (17-5-2).
Szello vs. Grachev
Szello gets a measure of revenge for Hungary as he takes the points on all three cards against Grachev. After a slow first round the action really started in the second with some furious exchanges. Szello just had the edge but in the fourth a clash of heads saw Szello cut over his left eye and Grachev was deducted a point for the butt. Szello had Grachev in deep trouble in the fifth and only the ropes prevented a knock down but Grachev was fighting hard and making this a very close contest. The Russian had a strong ninth and they both fought hard in the last with Szello just edging it. Scores 96-93 twice and a strange 100-89 all for Szello. The 34-year-old “Imo” is now rated WBO 5/IBF 10(9) but he is a more realistic No 17 with the EBU. He was one of Hungary’s most successful amateurs and represented his country at the 2008 Olympics and the 2007 World championships as well as winning gold at the European Union Championships. The revenge angle was that Grachev beat former undefeated WBO cruiser champion Zsolt Erdei late in the Hungarian’s career preventing Erdei from entering the elite list of world champions who retired undefeated. After beating Erdei in 2013 Grachev suffered four losses in a row in big fights. He then walked away for two years but had won three fights since returning.
Isufi vs. Sosa
Isufi had big physical advantages over Sosa who boxed at welter in many of his early fights. Isufi was able to work on the outside forcing Sosa back with a ramrod jab and dropping in overhand rights. Sosa came to life briefly in the third and fourth launching some quick attacks but he just did not have the power to hurt Isufi. In the sixth a left hook to the ribs dropped Sosa to his knees. He was in pain but arose at six and jabbed and clinched his way to the bell. In the seventh the Uruguayan veteran decided to stand and trade and there were some good exchanges but later in the round a right to the head forced Sosa to go down on one knee. Sosa this time decided to punch his way out of trouble but had to absorb some heavy rights to the head. Sosa was just looking to survive in the eighth and ninth and finished the tenth with a barrage of powder puff punches and a little jig. Scores 100-87 twice and 99-88 for Isufi as he makes a successful defence of his WBO Inter-Continental title. The 28-year-old German-based Serb is heavy handed but slow and methodical. Sosa, 37, has taken his survival skills to Germany, Australia, Mexico, Ghana, Canada, Britain and now Hungary and usually goes the distance.
Berki vs. Fazekas
Youth triumphs as Berki wins the Hungarian title with majority decision victory over champion Fazekas. This was a close, tough contest with plenty of furious exchanges. Berki went in front early as he worked the body well and was more accurate but Fazekas was competitive all the way. After eight rounds it was level and Berki produced the stronger finish to get the majority decision and the title. Scores 98-92 (which looked way out) and 96-94 for Berki and 95-95. The 22-year-old winner is a former Hungarian Youth champion. “Bulldog” Fazekas, 28, gets plenty of short notice overseas fights. He is 1-10 in fights in the United Kingdom but this is only his second loss at home.
Egedi vs. Krammerstodter
Southpaw Egedi wins this contest between relative novices and the vacant Hungarian crown. This one was also very close over the first four rounds. Egedi broke through in the fifth flooring Krammerstodter with a series of punches. Krammerstodter made it to his feet and survived the round but his corner pulled him out of the fight before the start of the sixth. The 23-year-oldm Egedi is now 9-0-2 in his last 11 fights. This was too big a step up for prelim fighter Krammerstodter
Bacskai vs. Mwankemwa
Bacskai is probably the only Hungarian in recent years to match or even better the achievements of Szello. Bacskai was given some good rounds of work by Tanzanian Mwankemwa but gradually got on top from the fourth round. He handed out steady punishment over the fifth with Mwankemwa often pinned to the ropes and after a knockdown in the sixth the fight was stopped. It is a pity that the 30-year-old “Benji” did not turn pro sooner. He was Hungarian champion eight times in a row and won gold medals at the World Youth, European Youth, European Union and European Senior Championships competed at three World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. “Smart Boy” Mwankemwa does OK at home but here suffers his fourth loss on the road.
Rome, Italy: Light Heavy: Orial Kolaj (19-5) W PTS 12 Mustafa Chadlioui (11-3-2). Kolaj wins the vacant EU title with unanimous decision over Chadlioui but the fight was a close one. Chadlioui is a tough aggressive fighter and that was how he started here. He was storming forward throwing punches. Kolaj took a couple of rounds to settle with Chadlioui continuing to roll forward punching and there plenty of fierce exchanges in the third. Kolaj was able to score well in the fourth and fifth but Chadlioui staggered Kolaj in the sixth. Chadlioui surged again in the seventh and the eighth and ninth were close rounds which could have been scored either way but Chadlioui probably just had the edge. The tenth saw both fighters rapidly tiring with Kolaj’s more measured and accurate punching just giving him the advantage as Chadlioui’s work rate dropped. The last round started with a clash of heads and then Chadlioui shook Kolaj before the two exhausted fighters got tangled and both went down. Many rounds were close in an entertaining contest and that was reflected in the scoring with Kolaj coming out ahead 116-112 on two cards and 115-114 on the third. The 34-year-old Italian-based Albanian “Eagle” extends his winning run to 14. Moroccan-born Spanish champion Chadlioui was 7-1-1 in his last 9 fights and he and his fans felt he had won this one but the judges did not agree.
Managua, Nicaragua: Super Feather: Ramiro Blanco (17-2-3) W KO 3 Moises Olivas (12-10). Blanco was a heavy favourite in this clash of local fighters and won without trouble. Olivas was under pressure from the start but fought well enough to get through the first two rounds before he was put down and out on the third. The 22-year-old Blanco went unbeaten in his first 17 fights but has stuttered recently and was 2-2 in his last four fights. The Managua security guard has 10 wins by KO/TKO. Fifth loss by KO/TKO for Olivas.
London, England: Heavy: Joe Joyce (2-0) W KO 1 Rudolf Jozic (4-2).
Joyce wins but in a poor excuse for a fight. The Olympic silver medallist used a strong jab to put poor Jozic on the retreat. The Croatian novice never really took a forward step and only stopped his retreat to throw an occasional punch. Joyce had been missing with overhand rights but just before the bell he connected with a right that landed behind the left ear of Jozic who went down and was counted. After his win over Ian Lewison in his first fight this was a retrograde step for Joyce. It is amazing that the TV Company accepted this mismatch as a main event and it brought back memories of how the abysmal early opposition of Olympic gold medal winner Audrey Harrison ended the BBC’s interest in boxing. Joyce is too good to waste his time in fights like this.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Welter: Diego Ramirez (14-1) W PTS 10 Martin Bulacio (7-2). Not a great fight but Ramirez gets the unanimous decision and extends his unbeaten run. The rounds were close but the fight never really caught fire. Bulacio was given a standing count in the fifth. A punch from Ramirez knocked out his mouthguard and Bulacio’s glove briefly touched the canvas. He lost his mouthguard too often and was deducted a point in the eighth as he continued to spit it out. Ramirez breezed through the last dropping his hands and showboating and once again Bulacio’s mouthguard flew out but not from a punch. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-93 so the standing count and the point deduction were the difference. The 23-year-old “Vulture”, the Argentinian No 4 welter, has won 12 on the bounce. After losing his first pro fight Bulacio had won seven in a row but against inferior opposition and had not been past four rounds before.
Manchester, England: Super Middle: George Groves (28-3) W PTS 12 Chris Eubank Jr (26-2). Feather: Ryan Walsh (22-2-2) DREW 12 Isaac Lowe (14-1-2). Middle: Tommy Langford (20-1) W PTS 12 Jack Arnfield (25-3). Super Middle: Zach Parker (15-0) W TKO 2 Adasat Rodriguez (16-7-2).
Groves vs. Eubank
Groves gets deserved unanimous decision over Eubank in tough contest to retain his WBA title. He should now go forward to the WBSS super middle final but a dislocated shoulder suffered in the last round may rule him out.
Groves goes straight to work with his jab. Eubank is mainly looking to counter but Groves is getting through with the jab and a couple of overhand rights to take the round.
Score 10-9 Groves
Once again it Groves doing the scoring with his jab and he lands a sharp left hook. Eubank piles into Groves late in the round and traps him on the ropes but Groves escapes and has done enough early to take the round.
Score 10-9 Groves 20-18
Much closer round. Eubank comes to life as he traps Groves on the ropes and throws punches. Some are wild but some land. Groves sticks to the jab and despite another fierce attack from Eubank at the end of the round Groves just shades it. Eubank is cut over his right eye in a clash of heads and it looks a bad cut.
Score 10-9 Groves 30-27
Eubanks round. Groves has stopped using his jab and is instead waiting for Eubank to lead and then counter and it is not working. Eubank launches a couple of leaping attacks and although he is again wild he is the one doing the scoring.
Score 10-9 Eubank 39-37
Official scores: 39-37 twice for Groves and 38-38
A closer round. Groves uses his jab more but Eubank is jumping in taking Groves to the ropes and working inside. There is now a stream of blood down the right side of Eubank’s face but it is not getting into his eye and he lands a good left hook and just does enough to take this one.
Score 10-9 Eubank 48-47
A better round for Groves. He is using the jab well countering the charging Eubank and smothering Eubank’s work on the ropes, The referee warns both men over rough stuff. Groves round.
Score 10-9 Groves 58-56
Groves boxes cleverly here. Eubank has some success when he can trap Groves in a corner but Groves manages to stay centre ring most of the time scoring with the jab and right counters, A frustrated Eubank misses with one of his lunges and almost goes out through the ropes and then motions for Groves to stand and fight.
Score 10-9 Groves 68-65
Groves is not looking to trade. He is staying centre ring and scoring with jabs and quick rights and outboxing Eubank. Late in the round Eubank scores with a big left but Groves fires back with a right of his own and a left hook in the first really fierce exchange of what is a tactical contest.
Score 10-9 Groves 78-74
Official scores: 78-74 twice and 77-75 for Groves
A better round for Eubank as he is sustaining his attacks instead of just fighting in short bursts. He is making it difficult for Groves to find the space to work his jab. Eubank lands a strong uppercut and Grove a hard right but Eubank takes the round. The cut over his right eye is bleeding heavily and is now affecting his vision.
Score 10-9 Eubank 87-84
Eubank starts the round by scoring with a left hook but then it is all Groves. He is accurate with his punches finding the target often with his jab and counters with Eubank becoming wilder with his attacks it is Grove who is getting the better of the exchanges in one of his best rounds in the fight. It is surprising that there has been no inspection of Eubank’s cut as it is a bad one and continues to bleed.
Score 10-9 Groves 97-93
Groves takes this one. Eubank is launching desperate attacks but looks tired and is just swinging and hoping. Groves is much more disciplined and accurate and makes Eubank pay when he misses with his punches.
Score 10-9 Groves 107-102
A dramatic last round sees Eubank come out firing. Groves is on the retreat countering when he can. Just a minute into the round Groves suddenly shakes his left arm and it subsequently is revealed the he had dislocated his shoulder. Eubank attacks and attacks with Groves constantly against the ropes bobbing and weaving and scoring with rights when he can but it is all Eubank pumping arms looking for the stoppage but Groves guts it out to the bell and victory.
Score 10-9 Eubank 116-112
Official scores: 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 all for Grove
It will be a real pity if the injury does rule out Groves fighting in the final. He fought a clever tactical battle here in what was an intriguing clash of styles but there was not enough sustained action for it to be a thrill-a minute affair. If the injury does prevent him going to the final there will still be plenty of good fights for him. Eubank coped well with a bad cut and deserves credit for that. He made too slow a start and just did not force the fight as hard as he needed to offset the superior skills of Groves. If Groves is ruled out Eubank will contest the final and is ca[able of winging there.
Walsh vs. Lowe
Walsh retains the British title as he claws back Lowe’s early lead to get a deserved draw. No time for studying here as these two got down to business immediately. Lowe impressed early with his hand speed and movement landing his jab and getting out and countering Walsh with rights when Walsh came forward. Walsh was waiting too long to let his punches go and occasionally switched to southpaw. Over the first three rounds Lowe was simply too fast for the champion. Walsh had a better fourth when Lowe stopped using his jab and stood and traded more but Lowe was back to moving and jabbing in he fifth and probably just had the edge. If there was a concern for Lowe it was that he was not hurting Walsh and was using up a pile of energy with a long way to go in the fight. It was jab and move for Lowe in the sixth and seventh but his work was not as sharp and Walsh was continuing to hunt him down and land one or two heavy punches. The relentless pressure from Walsh started to tell in the eighth and ninth. Lowe was spending much of the round with his back to the ropes with Walsh getting home some strong punches. He shook Lowe with a couple of rights in the ninth as he made inroads into the lead Lowe had built. Lowe worked hard in the tenth and the eleventh. He was not as quick as early in the fight but he was standing with Walsh and landing lots of short light punches. With Walsh picking his punches and more accurate it was a case of whether you went for the larger quantity but lighter punches of Lowe or the rarer but harder shots from Walsh. The strength of Walsh saw him take the last as he hammered away with body punches to save his title. Scores 116-114 Walsh, 115-114 Lowe and 115-115. Walsh was making the fourth defence of the British title. He is rated WBC 9/WBO 12 with his only losses being against Lee Selby and a split decision against Denis Ceylan. Former undefeated Commonwealth champion Lowe, 24, fought a technical draw with Ceylan in March last year and came close to the British title here. This was a great little contest between two contrasting styles and a classic British title fight which would make a great return.
Langford vs. Arnfield
Langford gets unanimous decision and retains his title in another highly competitive British Championship contest .Langford just came out on top in a battle of jabs early and he took the second landing a hard straight right and a crisp left hook to the body but both rounds were close. Langford was going to the body in the third but the punches that gave Arnfield the round were a couple of full on right crosses. In a close fourth it was a crunching right from Langford that stood out as they exchanged some quality punches. Arnfield had a good fifth coming inside for a change and scoring with hooks to the body from both hands but Langford bounced back to pocket the sixth as he continued to dig to the body and match Arnfield jab for jab. He built on that with a higher work rate in the seventh and some impressive combinations in the eighth banging to the body then switching to the head with jarring hooks. The ninth and tenth could have been scored either way. Both boxers began to tire but the pace never slackened. Langford continued to go to the body with short punches with Arnfield relying on his strong jab, straight rights and left hooks with both being rocked on occasion. Langford took the eleventh. He was getting his punches off first either drawing Arnfield’s jab and stepping inside or jumping in quickly and letting fly with hooks and getting out again. Arnfield probably did enough to win the last but it was not enough. Scores 116-113 twice and 117-113 for Langford. He is getting back on track after a crushing loss to Avtandil Khurtsidze for the interim WBO title in April last year. He is down at 12 with the WBO but with Arnfield being rated IBF 7(8)/WBA 9/WBC 15 he should now figure in all four ratings but with the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders vs. Martin Murray fights still to come no one is going anywhere until very late in the year. Arnfield had scored good wins over John Ryder and Brian Rose and he will soon be back in contention.
Parker vs. Rodriguez
Parker sweeps aside Rodriguez inside two rounds. Parker made good use of his longer reach and quicker hands to get his jab working and score with some hooks to the body. Rodriguez finished the round well getting home with a couple of jabs and a nice right. Rodriguez was trying to crowd Parker in the second but Parker showed fast footwork and slotted home jabs. Rodriguez continued to shadow Parker trying to pin him against the ropes but suddenly a short left hook sent Rodriguez staggering back and down. He was up at five and when the action restarted Parker landed a series of head punches that had Rodriguez reeling and going down with the referee waiving over the prone Spaniard to stop the fight. The 23-year-old Parker moves to 11 wins by KO/TKO. He is now part of the Sauerland stable so in good hands. He showed again here he has impressive power. Former Spanish light heavy champion Rodriguez had won 4 of his last 5 fights.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Welter: Danny Garcia (34-1) W TKO 9 Brandon Rios (34-4-1). Super Middle: David Benavidez (20-0) W PTS 12 Ronald Gavril (18-3). Welter: Yordenis Ugas (21-3) W TKO 7 Ray Robinson (24-3) . Light Heavy: Edwin Rodriguez (30-2) W PTS 10 Lionell Thompson (19-5). Light: Ladarius Miller (15-1) W TKO 2 Carlos Padilla (16-7-1).
Garcia vs. Rios
Garcia halts Rios in the ninth round to keep on track for a return with Keith Thurman. It was not difficult to anticipate the tactics here. Rios was going to press and crowd Garcia and Garcia was going move, box on the outside and counter Rios. Garcia was cautious over the first two rounds with Rios coming forward but not finding Garcia presenting much of a target. Rios continue his forward march in the third but now Garcia was letting his punches flow and landing heavily to head and body. Rios just kept coming and did some good work when he had Garcia with his back to the ropes but the cleaner and harder shots were coming from Garcia. They both landed heavy punches in the fifth Garcia a left hook and Rios a clubbing right and things warmed up as they faced up to each other at the bell. Rios had his best round in the sixth as he managed to work on the inside and connected with some good rights. Garcia was moving and scoring again in the seventh and eighth with Rios defence leaking badly and leaving Garcia plenty of opportunity to counter with left hooks. In the ninth whilst on the ropes Garcia landed a left and right to the head. They moved back to mid ring and as Rios moved forward a thunderbolt of a straight right crashed into his jaw and he went down on his back. He sat up watching the count and got to his feet at eight. The referee asked him to take some steps forward but he was unsteady on his feet and the fight was stopped. This was the first fight for Garcia since his split decision loss to Keith Thurman in March last year in a unification fight which cost Garcia his WBC welter title. He is No 2 with the WBC and Shawn Porter, the WBC No 1 was on hand to issue a challenge to Garcia. However Garcia was No 2 with the WBA and as the No 1 Teerachai lost to Lucas Matthysse for the secondary WBA title that puts Garcia in the No 1 spot so the mandatory challenger for Thurman. For 31-year-old Rios there was every indication he will fight on. He was upset about being stopped when he was on his feet and there are fights there for him but probably as an “opponent” rather than as being matched to win.
Benavidez vs. Gavril
Benavidez retains the WBC title as he outboxes and outpunches a game but one-paced Gavril in a return contest.
With his big physical advantages Benavidez is comfortable on the back foot early in the round spearing Gavril with jabs and left hooks to the body. Gavril is trying to walk Benavidez down behind a high guard but is not pressing hard enough or throwing much. Benavidez opens up at the end of the round with a burst of punches.
Score 10-9 Benavidez
Benavidez is being given the time and space to pick his punches and he slots home jabs and mixes in left hooks to the body and clubbing rights to the head. Gavril has some success jabbing to the body but he is not cutting the ring off allowing Benavidez to tee-off on him with jabs and left hooks.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 20-18
Gavril throws more punches in this round but Benavidez can’t miss him with his jabs and left hooks behind Gavril’s tucked in elbows. Gavril is just not aggressive enough and Benavidez drives him back with the perennial jabs and right crosses.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 30-27
Big round for Benavidez. After again landing his jab he lands a right uppercut and a left hook with the combination sending Gavril tottering backward across the ring. Benavidez follows up with a series of hooks and uppercuts. Gavril is badly shaken but fights his way out of trouble only to be showered with more hooks and uppercuts before the bell.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 40-36
Gavril has some success in this round. He continues to march forward but is throwing more punches. Benavidez is in ring centre with plenty of space to move and punch and he rattles jabs off Gavril’s head still finding lots of gaps in the Romanian’s guard. Gavril continues to chug forward and although outscored it is his best round so far.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 50-45
Gavril shows no variation in his tactics and as a result is walking into punishment. Benavidez is landing a variety of shots and even finds time for a bit of showboating. He finish the round with an impressive combination of two jabs, a left hook and a right cross.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 60-54
Gavril continues to advance in straight lines and at time is standing static in front of Benavidez. It seems like a walk in the park for Benavidez who lands a series of left hooks then covers up before firing off another burst of punches. Gavril is just not pressing hard enough or throwing enough to make the fight competitive.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 70-63
Benavidez took a breather for much of this round allowing Gavril to take him to the ropes and work inside. There is no real power in Gavril’s punches. Benavidez comes to life over the last 40 seconds of the round driving Gavril back and getting home with some eye-catching rights to take the round.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 80-72
In contrast to the previous round Benavidez comes out firing looking to end the fight. For two minutes he bombards Gavril with hurtful shots from both hands snapping Gavril’s head back with jabs and uppercuts. When Gavril did not fold Benavidez dials back his attacks but ends the round handing out another bundle of punishment.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 90-81
When these two met for the vacant title in September Benavidez had faded badly late in the fight being floored in the last. As a result he looked to be trying to save something for the last two rounds and did not put in much of an effort in this round. He was on the back foot only throwing one punch at a time. That allowed Gavril some success as he was able to get close and land some hooks. Benavidez was still finding plenty of gaps and he scored with enough counters to win a close round.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 100-90
After the punishment he had taken the ringside physician examined Gavril before the start of the round but allowed the fight to continue. This was another close one as Benavidez’s work rate again dropped allowing Gavril some degree of success when he could take Benavidez to the ropes. Benavidez was throwing one punch at a time but loading up on those including some thudding rights to the head. Close but the cleaner shots came from Benavidez.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 110-99
Benavidez used only his jab in this round. He moved plenty to frustrate Gavril’s attempts to stage a big last round. Gavril was ignoring defence trying to repeat his success in the first fight of flooring Benavidez but he never looked like achieving that and it was Benavidez round.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 120-108
Official score: 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109
When these two clashed for the vacant title in September Benavidez had to settle for a split decision. This time the 21-year-old “Red Flag” made it look too easy and it was. You have to wonder how far Benavidez can go. He had only 15 amateur fights and is the youngest fighter to win the super middleweight title. Unlike the cruiser division when the smoke clears from the WSBB tournament there will still be four super middleweight champions and there are much tougher tests than Gavril around so it will be interesting to see where he goes next. Gavril was never really in the fight. He made it easy for Benavidez by coming forward in a straight line and never really managed to get Benavidez to the ropes which is where he needed him. He was never really in the fight from first to last.
Ugas vs. Robinson
Cuban Ugas has the power here and in the end that is enough for him to get an important win that could get him a title shot down the line. After some cautious sparring in the first Ugas launched a long right cross that landed on Robinson’s temple and dumped Robinson on his rump, He was up at four and after the count both fighters just stood and traded punches with Robinson getting the better of the exchanges. Both fighters stuck mainly to the jab in the second with Ugas on the front foot looking to draw Robinson’s right jab and step inside and they both scored with a hook just before the bell. Ugas landed a series of rights to the head in the third and got through with a combination late in the round. Robinson started the fourth with a nice combination and landed some more through the round but Ugas rocked him late and Robinson landed a punch after the bell that cost him a point. The fifth was the best round so far as both fighters attempted to dominate. There were plenty of fiery exchanges but it was the rights from Ugas that carried the power. The sixth again saw both fighters looking to take charge. Robinson was tending to lean in with his punches losing some leverage and Ugas was again dangerous with his rights. One of those rights put Robinson down on his back early in the seventh. He got up at four and after the count Ugas drove him stumbling around the ring. With Robinson trapped in a corner Ugas just pumped out punches and then the referee jumped in and stopped the fight just as Robinson started throwing punches back but it was a good stoppage as Ugas had landed six or seven head punches immediately before the stoppage. The 31-year-old former Cuban amateur star, he won gold at the World Championships and the Pan American Games and bronze at the 2008 Olympics, had only moderate success early as a pro and after losing back-to- back fights against Emmanuel Rodriguez and Amir Imam he was inactive for over two years. Since returning in 2016 he has scored good wins over Jamal James, Bryant Perrella and Thomas Dulorme. Going into this fight his best rating was No 14(12) by the IBF. Robinson was rated WBC 7/WBO 10/IBF 11(9) so Ugas can expect more recognition. Robinson, 32, also had back-to-back losses. His were against Brad Solomon and Shawn Porter. He had rebuilt with 13 wins but has to start all over again.
Rodriguez vs. Thompson
Rodriguez gets narrow unanimous decision against slippery Thompson and he has some way to go before he can get back into the title picture. Rodriguez pressed the fight but Thompson was not looking to trade punches with “La Bomba”. Thompson moved plenty and slotted home quick punches. That made for a frustrating time for Rodriguez as he was unable to find the target with anything heavy and Thompson was landing enough to make the fight close. It was only in the late rounds as Thompson slowed that Rodriguez was able to land anything of consequence and he did enough to earn the decision but it was not an impressive performance. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Rodriguez. The Dominican-born Rodriguez won his first 24 fights before losing a decision to Andre Ward in a challenge for the WBA super middle title in 2013. His rebuilding was rudely interrupted by second round knockout by Thomas Williams in 2016 which led to 15 months on the sidelines. This is his second win since returning. Thompson has good wins over Ryan Coyne, Donovan George and Steve Lovett and three of his losses have been split decisions
Miller vs. Padilla
Miller gets win as he stops late substitute Padilla. Miller bossed the first round and then put Padilla over with a southpaw straight left in the second. Padilla struggled but managed to rise but the referee saw he was shaky and waived the fight over. The 24-year-old from Memphis gets his sixth win in a row and his fifth win by KO/TKO. Last time out he beat Olympian Jamel Herring so is coming along nicely. Colombian Padilla has lost 6 of his last 7.
El Paso, TX, USA: Welter: Devon Alexander (27-4-1) DREW 12 Victor Ortiz (32-6-2). Super Middle: Caleb Plant (17-0) W PTS 12 Rogelio Medina (38-9) Light Heavy: Humberto Velasco (19-1-1) W KO 4 Thomas Williams (20-4). Super Welter: Tony Harrison (26-2) W TKO 5 George Sosa (15-12-1). Super Welter: Austin Trout (31-4) W PTS 8 Juan de Angel (20-8-1). Light: Carlos Balderas (4-0) W PTS 4 Jorge Rojas (4-3-1).
Alexander vs. Ortiz
This contest between two former champions ends up all even although Alexander seem to have done enough to win it. As expected the tactics for Ortiz were to march forward closing down space and making Alexander stand and engage. Alexander was using his superior hand and foot speed to work on the outside and counter Ortiz as he marched forward. Alexander was getting home with those fast counters over the first two rounds and by the third Alexander’s right jab had landed enough to cause a swelling that had Ortiz’s left eye almost closed. Alexander continued his classy boxing in the fourth but in the fifth Ortiz had upped his work rate and Alexander whilst still landing plenty was have to stand and swop punches more. Despite that after six rounds Alexander had built a good lead. Ortiz just kept pressing and started to get into the fight more from the midpoint. The seventh saw Alexander starting to go toe-to-toe with Ortiz and although he was still scoring with sharp hooks Ortiz was getting home with some hefty body punches and dragging Alexander into a brawl. The closer quarters stuff continued in the eighth. Ortiz left eye was virtually closed but working inside it was not so much of a handicap to him. Alexander went back to stick and move at the start of the ninth and then outfought Ortiz on the inside. The pace dropped in the tenth but they were up top speed again in the eleventh. Alexander rocked Ortiz with a left hook but then the fatigue kicked in again and they mauled and brawled with too much clinching and neither landing cleanly and Ortiz just did enough to take the last in a tough, gruelling contest. Scores 114-114 twice and 115-113 for Ortiz so a majority draw. Alexander looked unlucky as his work over the early rounds seemed to leave Ortiz with a hill to climb but the judges saw it differently. Former WBC and IBF super light and IBF welter champion Alexander, 31, had walked away in 2015 after losses to Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez but returned in November last year and is determined to give it another shot. Former WBC welter champion Ortiz also took time off after a 2-4 run but like Alexander returned last year with a win. The welterweight division is pretty crowded right now with Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Terrence Crawford, Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn all jostling for position and Alexander and Ortiz will find it tough to make any impact.
Plant vs. Medina
Plant outboxes Medina to put himself in with a chance of a challenge to IBF champion Caleb Truax. Plant had a game plan and he stuck to it. He was not looking to lock horns with the tough Mexican but to use his faster feet and hands to stay on the outside and pick up the rounds. The plan worked all the way as Plant was able to slot home his jab come across with straight rights and land left hooks to the body. Medina had no choice but to chug forward trying to cut off the ring and work on the quicker man on the ropes and in the corners, By the third blood was already flowing from Medina’s nose and at times it was really an exercise in target practice for Plant. Plant never really tried to cash in on his dominance allowing Medina to stay in the fight and the Mexican threw everything into the last three rounds having some success but never enough to threaten Plant’s victory stroll. Scores 120-108, 119-110 and 117-111 showing Plants clear superiority. The 25-year-old “Sweethands” Plant, a former National Golden Gloves champion, was No 6 with the IBF going in (the No 1 and 2 spots are vacant) and with his win over Medina, who was No 11, he qualifies to go to the No 2 spot. He is calling for a shot at champion Truax although interim champion Andre Dirrell should be first in line. “Porky” Medina broke through with a kayo of J’Leon Love in 2014 and that led to a title challenge loss against IBF champion James DeGale in 2016 and in May last year he was halted in eight rounds by David Benavidez.
Velasco vs. Williams
Huge upset as Velasco climbs off the floor to kayo Williams. Williams was a big favourite here and that looked a sound call as he floored the unknown Velasco late in the first round. From there it was downhill all the way for Williams. A heavy right floored him in the second and although he beat the count and fought his way out of trouble he still looked shaky. In the third he looked to be steadying the ship until late in the round when he was put down again. He made it to the bell but was down again in the fourth and counted out. Mexican Velasco, 30, was having his first fight outside Mexico. His loss was on a disqualification in a fight for the Mexican middleweight title. He had scored only two minor wins in 2017 so did not look too dangerous but now he has 13wins by KO/TKO and probably a world rating. Disaster for Williams as he suffers his third loss in a row inside the distance. He had recorded good wins over Umberto Savigne and Edwin Rodriguez but those wins were followed by kayo defeat against Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title and in his last fight in February last year a sixth round knockout against Marcus Brown. The Stevenson and Browne losses were understandable but this puts a big question mark over his future.
Harrison vs. Sosa
Detroit hope Harrison continues to reconstruct his career after losing to Jarrett Hurd for the vacant IBF super welter title last year. He had too much class for Sosa and was in control most of the way. Sosa was erratic with his tactics but Harrison stuck to the job and apart from a shaky moment in the third round when he was buzzed by a right from Sosa he was slowly dismantling the Newark fighter. The task was completed in the fifth as he put Sosa down twice with body punches. Although he beat the count there was too much time left in the round for Sosa to escape and after a pair of rights put him down for the third time the fight was stopped. The 27-year-old Harrison will be hoping to get another title shot in a chance to go further than granddad Henry Hank who despite beating some big names in a 96 fight career never landed a tile shot and dad Ali Salaam who managed only an 11-7 record. Currently he in No 11 with the IBF so some way to go yet. Sosa is 0-4-1 in his last 5 outings but against a good level of opposituion.
Trout vs. De Angel
After suffering back-to-back losses in big fights all Trout really wanted here was a win. In fact he showed well. He took a round to get into his stride and then beat De Angel with a mixture of fast, accurate Jabs, quick combinations, body punches and a higher work rate. He rocked De Angel in the third and dominated the fight all the way looking sharp as he took every round on the cards at 80-72 thrice. It must seem like it was in another space at another time when he beat Miguel Cotto by 6, 6 and ten points when defending his WBA super welter title in 2012. It was downhill from there as in 2013 he lost WBA title to WBC champion Saul Alvarez in a unification match and was outpointed by Erislandy Lara for the interim WBA title. He rebuilt with four wins but losses to Jermall Charlo and Jarrett Hurd, both fights for the IBF title, have left him with a lot to do to get back into contention and at 32 he can’t afford any more setbacks. De Angel falls to 2-5 in his last 7 fights.
Balderas vs. Rojas
Balderas could almost claim for overtime payment as he goes past the opening round for the first time. The former Olympian looked as though he was going to make it four first round finishes when he rocked Rojas early in the opening round but Rojas got through the round and was never again in serious trouble. Balderas settled down to outbox the Mexican novice and get in some ring time. Scores 40-36 on all three score cards. Then 31-year-old from Santa Maria won two National PAL tournament silver medals and gold and went as far as the quarter-final in Rio before losing to the Pan American and World champion Cuban Lazaro Alvarez. Rojas no test really but earned his money by making Balderas go four rounds.
Ludwigsburg, Germany; Super Middle: Vincent Feigenbutz (28-2) W TKO 6 Ryno Liebenberg (18-6). Super Middle: Denis Radovan (8-0) W TKO 4 Mattia Scaccia (6-4). Light Heavy: Leon Bunn (8-0) W PTS 8 Maurice Possiti (17-14).
Feigenbutz vs. Liebenberg
Feigenbutz gets stoppage win but the result does not tell the story of how lucky the German fighter was to get anything out of a fight he was losing. Liebenberg made a confident start using a stiff jab to put Feigenbutz on the back foot. He forced Feigenbutz to the ropes and landed a couple of good body punches. Feigenbutz attacked strongly at the end of the round. It was close but Liebenberg probably shaded it. The second followed a similar pattern. Liebenberg’s jab was the dominant punch and Feigenbutz was having trouble getting past it. Liebenberg staggered Feigenbutz with a punch late in the round and Feigenbutz put in the tradition late burst to try to sway the judges his way. It was close but Liebenberg looked to be in front still. Both had some success early in the third but then Liebenberg started to get on top taking Feigenbutz to the ropes and landing clubbing rights. Feigenbutz fired back but late in the round Liebenberg took over completely shaking Feigenbutz badly with an uppercut and driving the German back with rights to the head. No doubt about it a big round for Liebenberg. The action continued at a fast pace in the fourth. Again Liebenberg was forcing Feigenbutz back with his jab and working Feigenbutz over on the ropes. When he could find space Feigenbutz was firing back with quick combinations but was being outworked. Feigenbutz tried to get on the front foot in the fifth but was again forced to the ropes and Liebenberg landed some hurtful body punches and kept Feigenbutz on the retreat and worked him over on the ropes. Near the end of the round Liebenberg suffered a cut on his forehead from a clash of heads but it was not signalled as such. Liebenberg was in control again in the sixth rocking Feigenbutz’s head back with an uppercut and continuing to back the German up. The referee stopped the action to look at the cut, a vertical one on Liebenberg’s forehead over his nose. The fight continued with the two fighters just going toe-to-toe trading punches. Liebenberg was getting on top. He shook Feigenbutz with an uppercut and drove him back with a right to the head. With only seconds to go in the round the referee halted the action and examined Liebenberg’s cut and stopped the fight. It was a wrong decision the least he should have done was called the ringside physician to examine the cut or at least waited those few seconds to give Liebenberg’s corner the chance to work on the injury. Liebenberg looked to be well in front and although it is impossible to say how the fight would have developed over the remaining six rounds he looked the stronger and the body punching he had been doing might have proved decisive. Feigenbutz retains his IBF Inter-Continental title and his IBF 4(2) but was lucky here. After suffering five losses in big fights there had to be a question over whether Liebenberg was on the slide but he showed here is a long way from finished and after recovering from the injury can come back strongly.
Radovan vs. Scaccia
Radovan much too good for Italian Scaccia. The German prospect took the first two rounds and then floored novice Scaccia in the third. The Italian survived the round but was put down twice more in the fourth and the fight was halted. The 25-year-old from Cologne was German amateur champion in 2011 and 2012 and runner-up in 2010, 2013 and 2014. He also won a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships and a silver medal at the European Under 22 Championships. With some recent defections from the Sauerland banner Radovan is one of their best prospects. Scaccia had won 4 of his last 5 fights but was too crude and too open to pose a threat to Radovan.
Bunn vs. Possiti
Bunn wins his second fight in 14 days with victory over Possiti. Although not rated in the French top 20 Possiti came to fight and Bunn had to work hard for his victory. The young German was the better technical boxer and was a clear winner but Possiti was competitive all the way. Scores 78-74 from all three judges for Bunn. The 25-year-old from Frankfurt is being guided well with about the right type and level of opposition as he develops as a pro. Now 5 losses in his last 6 fights for Possiti who rarely fails to go the distance.
Waterford, Ireland: Cruiser: Mike Perez (23-3-1) W KO 1 Pablo Magrini (19-4-1). Feather: Eric Donovan (7-0) W TKO 2 Ignac Kassai (22-56-2).
Perez vs. Magrini
Perez gets this mismatch over early. He hunted down the elderly Argentinian before putting him down and out at the end of the first round. The 32-year-old Cuban southpaw is still capable of being a force at cruiser having given Mairis Breidis a good fight in losing to the Latvian for the WBC title in September. He is No 10 with the WBC. The 39-year-old Magrini was knocked out in four rounds by Australian Mark Flanagan in November.
Donovan vs. Kassai
Former top amateur Donovan was given an easy one here against Hungarian loser Kassai. “Lilywhite Lightning” dropped Kassai with a southpaw left in the first and ended the massacre with an uppercut in the second. The 32-year-old Irishman was Irish amateur champion , competed at the World Championships and the European Union and European Championships winning a bronze medal at both of those last tournaments. Only the sixth loss by KO/TKO for 37-year-old Hungarian southpaw.
Bacolod City, Philippines: Light Fly: Edward Heno (12-0-5) W PTS 12 Merlito Sabillo (27-5-1). Light Fly: Rey Loreto (24-14) W KO 6 Arnold Garde (8-6-3).
Heno vs. Sabillo
Heno comes through with upset victory on a split decision that should have been unanimous, over former WBO minimumweight champion Sabillo in an all-southpaw clash. Despite his meagre pro experience Heno had a good game plan and stuck to it. Sabillo was the one forcing the fight but Heno kept cool and boxed his way to victory in front of Sabillo’s home fans. He made excellent use of his right jab and body punches working on the outside. Sabillo had some success when he was able to cut down Heno’s space and work him over on the ropes but those successes were rare and Heno was a clear winner, Scores 119-109 and 118-110 for Heno and a disgracefully biased 116-112 for Sabillo. Heno, 25, retained the OPBF title in his first defence. He is rated IBF 12 (11)/WBA 13/WBC 14/WBO 15. All five of his draws were majority verdicts which is a very unique record. Sabillo, 34, the WBO No 12, was lined up for a world title shot against Angel Acosta but blew that here.
Loreto vs. Garde
Former undefeated IBO champion Loreto just hits too hard for overmatched Garde. He bounced Garde on the canvas six times on his way to a sixth round kayo. The 27-year-old southpaw makes it to 16 wins by KO/TKO. He broke through in a big way as he ripped the IBO light flyweight crown off the head of South African Nkosinathi Joyi with a third round stoppage and showed it was no fluke by stopping Joyi in one round in the only defence of the title. He moved down to minimumweight to challenge Knockout CP Freshmart for the WBA title in July last year but was floored and outpointed. Garde is now 1-3-1 in his last 5 fights but his three losses have been against world rated opposition
Fajardo, Puerto Rico: Light: Alfredo Santiago (9-0) W PTS 10 Juan Jose Montes (25-7-2). Super Light: Subriel Matias (8-0) Daulis Prescott (31-6).
Santiago vs. Montes
Dominican Santiago has too much skill and speed and has no trouble with a fading and chubby Montes. A natural super feather/ light Santiago had height and reach over the smaller Mexican, The Dominican handed out plenty of punishment with Montes soaking it up but constantly trying to take the fight to Santiago only to take stick on the way in. Santiago dominated every round but just did not have the power to stop the experienced Mexican. Scores 100-90 for Santiago from all three of the judges. Santiago, a former Dominican Youth champion, was a good level amateur and has wins over useful pro opposition in Jayson Velez and former Olympian Arturo Santos. Montes had his best days at super fly where he scored some good wins before losing to Tomas Rojas in a challenge for the WBC title. He has slipped to 2-5-1 in his last 8 fights.
Matias vs. Prescott
Matias reinforced his credentials as a top prospect by brushing aside former world title challenger Prescott. The local hope dominated the first round and almost ended it with two knockdowns in the second. Prescott survived that but Matias came out to finish it in the third. He drove Prescott to the ropes and landed a hard right to the body that saw Prescott slump to the canvas and the referee immediately stopped the fight. The 25-year-old “Browny” has won all of his fights by KO/TKO in less than 21 rounds with the last six being good level and experienced. Prescott, 31, the brother of Breidis, was 26-1,1ND before being stopped in seven rounds by Nicholas Walters for the vacant WBA feather title in 2012 but he has gone downhill from there with five inside the distance losses in his last six fights.
La Coruna, Spain: Fly: Juan Hinostroza (7-8-1) W KO 8 Moncho Miras (9-1-1).
Hinostroza comes in at three days notice and wins the vacant Spanish title. Miras, the national bantam champion had prepared for fighting Aramis Torres who he had fought a draw with for this title in October. Instead he found himself facing an aggressive southpaw. He never really got to grips with the style of Hinostroza and was behind on points when he was initially floored in the seventh and then knocked out on the eighth. The 32-year-old Peruvian-born Hinostroza has four wins by KO/TKO. He had lost to both Charlie Edwards and Paddy Barnes getting off the floor in both fights and going the distance. Miras just could not cope with the pressure tactics of Hinostroza.
Orlando, FL, USA: Middle: Vitali Kopylenko (27-1) W RSF 3 Jonathan Batista (16-12). Super Middle: Craig Duncan (10-1-1) W RTD 2 Daniel Najera (7-2-1).
Kopylenko vs. Batista
Kopylenko returns to action and halts poor Batista. The tall Ukrainian was having his first fight for 13 months and hopefully will now get serious about his career as at 34 time is not on his side. His only loss was against Willie Monroe Jr in the semi-final of the Boxcino tournament in 2014. He then had just one more fight in 2014, one in 2015, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Boxing in Europe he won the WB Federation world title and the European External title. Bautista was 13-1 at one stage but is now 2-11 with seven of those eleven losses by KO/TKO
Duncan vs. Najera
It was win/win for the promoter here as Duncan pulled in a good sized crowd for his own promotion and also won in the joint main event. After being pounded and pummelled for two rounds Najera was finished and did not come out for the third round. Duncan has seven wins by KO/TKO and has now won his last four fights but the opposition has been low grade. Najera really just a prelim fighter who was in over his head.
San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile: Super Fly: Miguel Gonzalez (26-1) W KO 3 Sammy Reyes (20-16-1). Super Bantam: Jose Velasquez (18-6-2) W RTD 4 Salvador Hernandez (16-7-1).
Gonzalez vs. Reyes
Local hero Gonzalez gets kayo victory over late substitute Reyes. “The Needle” used a focused body attack to win this one. After hurting Reyes with body punches in the first he put the Mexican on the floor with a body punch in the second round and twice more in the third with Reyes being counted out, The 28-year-old Gonzalez was making the third defence of his WBA Fedelatin title and now has ten wins in a row since losing to Paul Butler in 3013. Gonzalez was to have fought Roberto Rodriguez but the Mexican was involved in a car accident on his way to the airport and suffered a broken collar bone so Reyes was hurriedly stuck on a plane to replace him and gets loss No 13 by KO/TKO for his trouble.
Velasquez vs. Hernandez
Velasquez makes it a Chilean double over Mexican opposition as he beats Hernandez. Velasquez was in charge of this one from the opening bell and landed heavily to head and body over the first three rounds with only the bell saving Hernandez from defeat in the third. That was enough for the Mexican’s corner and they did not let their man come out for the fourth. Velasquez was defending his WBO Latino title and he now has ten wins in a row nine of them by KO/TKO. Second inside the distance defeat for Hernandez.
Drancy, France: Super Light: Renald Garrido (20-18-2) W PTS 10 Jean Moraiti (17-12-4). Light Heavy: Hakim Zoulikha (25-10) W TKO 3 Giorgi Beroshvili (29-22-3).
Garrido is again French champion after getting a wide unanimous decision over Moriti for the vacant title. Garrido went all out in the first looking for a quick win but Moraiti resisted strongly. Garrido then took the second round off to recover and won every round from there. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-91 for Garrido on all cards. Despite his uninspiring record the 29-year-old from Marseilles, who held this title briefly back in 2016, is a tough customer who can give any fighter trouble on his night. Moraiti had won 5 of his last 6 fights and in his previous fight in December won the Universal Boxing Organisation title so came into this one as a “world champion”.
Zoulikha vs. Beroshvili
Just a pay day and a needed win for Zoulikha. He floored the Georgian in the first round with a combination and then floored him twice more in the second. Beroshvili beat the count on the second knockdown but the referee stopped the fight. The former French and European Union champion Zoulikha was 0-2 in 2017 losing tough asks against Serhiy Demchenko and Nadjib Mohammedi. Beroshvili is 1-8-1 in his last 10 fights
Cormeilles-en-Parisi, France: Cruiser: Taylor Mabika (18-2-1) W KO 2 Jevgenijs Stamburskis (7-32-2). Mabika returns to action and eases his way back with a win over Stamburskis. Mabika, 39, put the Latvian down and out in the second round for his tenth win by KO/TKO. The 39-year-old French-based Gabonese boxer has held a variety of title such as Luxembourg, ABU, IBU world, WBFederation world and WBC Mediterranean. He lost to Arsen Goulamirian and Krzys Glowacki in 2013 but is 9-0-1 since then. Too old to go much further but he is a hero in Gabon. Stamburskis, 41, is now 0-8-2 in his last 10 fights.
Fight of the week: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank with honourable mentions to Ray Beltran vs. Paulus Moses and Ryan Walsh vs. Isaac Lowe
Fighter of the week: Ray Beltran as he wins the WBO title at the fourth time of asking
Punch of the week: The right from Danny Garcia that put Brandon Rios over
Upset of the week: Humberto Torres victory over Thomas Williams and special mention to Edward Heno for beating former world champion Merlito Sabillo
One to watch: Puerto Rican Subriel Macias 9-0 with 9 wins by KO/TKO