-Errol Spence stops Kell Brook to win IBF title
–George Groves wins a world title at the fourth attempt
-Andrew Selby climbs off the floor to beat Cristofer Rosales
-Julio Ceja scores kayo over Anselmo Moreno
-Jose Agumedo retains IBF minimumweight title
-Kanat Islam marches on and Mike Alvarado returns for one more try
Cardiff, Wales: Fly Andrew Selby (9-0) W PTS 12 Cristofer Rosales (23-3). Cruiser: Matty Askin (22-3-1) W KO 6 Craig Kennedy (16-1). Welter: Fred Evans (1-0) W PTS 6 Najim Fennane (1-2).Light Heavy: Malik Zinad (9-0) W KO 1 Jermaine Asare (7-2).
Selby vs. Rosales
Selby climbs off the floor in the first round to take wide unanimous decision over Rosales. Selby made his usual fast start with plenty of movement and quick punches. However with less than a minute gone Rosales sent him into the ropes with a right to the head. He threw a left which landed just below Selby’s chin and anther right skimmed the top of the Welshman’s head and he went down on his hands and knees. Selby took his time rising at eight and despite the best efforts of Rosales Selby was quickly moving, changing angles, changing guards and firing home combinations to the bell. The second saw Selby putting on a master class of stylish boxing. He was getting inside getting his punches home and getting out before Rosales could react and then changing guards and doing it all over again. The danger wasn’t totally past as Rosales landed a couple of good rights but even at that early stage he was frustrated enough to signal Selby to stand and fight. As the fight progressed Rosales had more and more trouble pinning Selby down and blocking his punches. He never knew whether the next punch would be a hook, an uppercut, a jab or all three. As early as the fourth round Selby was doing some showboating but the Nicaraguan continued to press hard often catching the Welshman with a solid right. He attacked hard for all three minutes of the seventh and might have taken the round but other than that he was still being outboxed and out punched. On the downside Selby was not loading up on his punches so could not really hurt Rosales enough to get him backing off so it was quantity and quality not power that was winning the fight for Selby. The only real question was whether Selby would tire from the frantic pace he was setting but of course Rosales was also having to fight at a much higher rate than usual just to stay in the fight. It was a bad sign for Rosales when in the tenth Selby just stood right in front of the Nicaraguan signalling for Rosales to bring it on and then firing rapid combinations with Rosales again too late to launch anything. Rosales put 100% into the last two rounds but never really managed to land anything of substance as Selby ducked, bobbed, weaved and slotted home counter after counter to run out a clear winner. Scores 117-110 twice and 118-109. If you take the first round as a 10-8 round for Rosales it gives an indication of how Selby dominated the rest of the fight. The 28-year-old “Superstar” again showcased his remarkable skills. It was said this was a WBC eliminator and hopefully it will lead to a title shot for Selby. However Rosales was rated No 6 by the WBC and Selby No 7 so I am not sure it was a final eliminator. However Selby was No 4 with the IBF. The first two places are vacant and since the No 3 Juan Carlos Reveco had not beaten a currently rated fight he cannot go to positions 1 or 2. As Rosales was No 10 with the IBF Selby would now qualify for the No 1 spot making him the mandatory challenger to Donnie Nietes. Rosales, 22, was decisioned by Khalid Yafai in 2015 but had won his last 13 fights and is by far the highest rated fighter Selby has fought.
Askin vs. Kennedy
Askin proves too powerful for Kennedy. After some preliminary sparring Askin landed a heavy right that sent Kennedy stumbling back and another right put the Welsh fighter down. Kennedy was up at seven and when the fight resumed Askin caught him with another right but was then wild in his attempts to finish it and Kennedy made it to the bell. Kennedy looked to have recovered in the second as he pushed out jabs but he was in trouble again from a series of rights. Askin was a bit right hand happy and although he landed a couple of hard body punches Kennedy was back to his boxing by the end of the round. They traded insults after the bell with the referee separating them. The third, fourth and fifth saw Kennedy working his way back into the fight but Askin always looked dangerous when he threw his right. It was that punch that ended the fight. With one minute remaining in the sixth round Askin crashed a right on to Kennedy’s chin and he went down in a heap. He was up at seven but the referee waived the fight over and there was no protest from Kennedy. Askin, 28 lived up to his “Assassin” nickname and makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO. His losses have been to Jon Lewis Dickinson, Krzys Glowacki and Ovill McKenzie and Kennedy is his third victim in a row who came in with an unbeaten record. Kennedy, 32, did well to recover from that disastrous starts and boxed well but Askin just had too much power in his right.
Evans vs. Fennane
It seems you can’t turn you back for a moment without another former top British amateur turning pro. Fred Evans eased his way into the paid ranks winning every round against Belgian novice Fennane. The 26-year-old Welsh southpaw won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics where he beat Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Custio Clayton and Taras Shelestyuk. He won a gold medal at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Championships and Callum Smith was another of his victims as an amateur. He actually signed pro forms 18 months ago but out of the ring circumstances prevented him having his first fight until now. Belgian novice Fennane no real threat.
Zinad vs. Asare
Zinad looks impressive as he knocks Asare out cold in the first round. Zinad is supposed to be a southpaw but he boxed orthodox throughout this one and showed real power in his right. He was leaving his left glove down on his thigh and using mainly his right. He shook Asare early with Asare using his strength to push Zinad back. Zinad shook Arase badly with a right and although Asare looked to have recovered a thunderbolt of a right sent flying back to the canvas out cold. It was over three minutes before the medicals staff got him back on his feet. The 23-year-old Libyan-born Malta-based fighter has 8 wins by KO/TKO and showed real power. Both of Asare’s losses have come in the first round.
Boca Raton, FL, USA: Kanat Islam (24-0) W PTS 12 Norberto Gonzalez (23-9). Welter: Zhankhozh Turarov (21-0) W TKO 3 Gustavo Garibay (13-9-2). Heavy: Zhilei Zhang (16-0) W TKO 1 Curtis Harper
Islam vs. Gonzalez
Islam wins the vacant WBO NABO and WBA Inter-Continental titles with decision over Gonzalez in a tough scrap. Islam was much quicker in the first stabbing home his jabs and trying the occasional right cross and he increased the tempo in the second adding in some sharp left hooks to the body. Gonzalez was mainly on the back foot trying to counter. Gonzalez had a better third as he upped his own tempo and although still on the back foot scored with some good shots. A clash of heads early in the fourth seemed to throw Gonzalez and allowed Islam to dominate the round with Gonzalez complaining twice about heads banging in the round. Gonzalez made a strong start to the fifth but Islam came forward relentlessly scoring with hooks and finished the round on top. Gonzalez complained twice more about Islam’s head work and emerged from an exchange with a cut over his right eye. Islam took the sixth but Gonzalez scored well with his jab and hard rights to take the seventh. The pace slowed in the eighth with Islam outworking a tiring Gonzalez and the Mexican stepped back from the action again in the ninth complaining about yet another head clash and the doctor examined him before the start of the tenth. Islam did enough to take the tenth and the eleventh but Gonzalez out-landed Islam in the last. Scores 120-109, 116-111 and 115-112 all for Islam., The 32-year-old Chinese-born fighter of Kazak antecedents is rated No 4 by the WBA and No 6 by the WBO but his opposition has been mainly in the B minus category. As an amateur he fought under his birth name of Hanati Silamu. He was born in the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang in far northern China and is very proud of his Kazak heritage. He was Chinese champion and won bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics, the World Championships and the Asian Games representing China. He has a strange side-on style and rarely blocks a punch preferring to bob and weave and defect them with his shoulder. Gonzalez. 35, is looking shop worn and is now 1-6 in his last 7 fights but has been in tough matches against Jermall Charlo, Erickson Lubin and Terrell Gausha.
Turarov vs. Garibay
Turarov punches too hard for Garibay and stops him inside three rounds. After some routine probing with jabs by both fighters in the first Turarov began to unload with left hooks to the body and right crosses. He wobbled Garibay’s legs with a right just before the bell. Garibay was the more active fighter in the second with Turarov just looking to land one big punch. The Kazak fighter landed one at the start of the third round with Garibay stumbling back after absorbing a big right. Turarov followed him and although on shaky legs Garibay fought back until he was hammered by another right. He survived and tried to work his way out of trouble with his jab but a left to the chin put him down on one knee. He got up and fought back hard until a short right put him down again. He got up but the referee stopped the fight. The 26-year-old Turarov, who turned pro at 18, makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO including winning 13 of his last 14 fights that way. Mexican super welter champion Garibay was a decent 5-1-2 in his previous 8 fights.
Zhang vs. Harper
Zhang gets his third first round win in a row as he floors and halts Harper. Harper came out swinging but then the big Chinese southpaw used his height and reach advantages to keep Harper on the back foot. Suddenly a left turned Harper’s legs to rubber and Zhang pounced and put Harper down with a right to the chin that saw him draped over the bottom rope. He made it to his feet but staggered along the ropes to a corner and his legs were still shaking and the referee stopped the fight. The 34-year-old 6’4” (198cm) former Olympic silver medallist has 12 wins by KO/TKO including 9 in his last 10 fights. Harper was having his first fight since climbing off the floor in losing on points to Chris Arreola in March 2015 with one judge having it only 76-75 to Arreola.
Chicago, IL, USA: Welter: Egidijus Kavaliauskas (17-0) W TKO 6 Daniel Echeverria (19-5). Welter: Mike Alvarado (37-4) W TKO 2 Matt Strode (24-5). Super Bantam: Mike Conlan (2-0) W TKO 3 Alfredo Chanez (4-5,2ND). Welter: Alex Saucedo (25-0) W PTS 8 Wilberth Lopez (18-8).
Kavaliauskas vs. Echeverria
Kavaliauskas saves an otherwise unimpressive showing with a spectacular finish. The hard-punching Lithuanian dominated what scoring there was but the tall southpaw Echevarria proved an awkward opponent. It was a fight with few highlights as Kavaliauskas easily controlled the action. It looked as though it might go the full eighth rounds until Kavaliauskas provided the finish in the seventh. A stunning left hook put Echevarria down heavily and he was unable to beat the count. The 28-year-old former top amateur makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO. He represented Lithuania at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and won a bronze medal at the World Championships. Echevarria has now lost 5 of his last 6 fights but had a good win over Abner Lopez.
Alvarado vs. Strode
“Mile High” Mike has his first fight in eleven months and batters Strode to defeat in two rounds. Strode was getting his punches off first digging to the body inside. Alvarado forced him back and landed a series of punches ending with a left hook that sent Strode back and down. He was up quickly and after the count went toe-to-toe with Alvarado for the rest of the round with Alvarado banging home hooks and uppercuts. Alvarado forced Strode back in the second and had him under heavy pressure before a volley of lefts and right had Strode staggering into the ropes. The referee gave Strode a standing count but had a good look at him and stopped the fight. Not sure how much the 36-year-old from Colorado has left. He was in some wars with Brandon Rios, Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez but I guess he is giving it one more try. Strode gets his third loss in a row after defeats by Mark DeLuca and Ramon Alvarez last year.
Conlan vs. Chanez
Conlan much too classy for poor novice Chanez. Conlan had big edges in height and reach over Chanez who showed only the most basic technique. Conlan was having to punch down but he floored Chanez with a combination in the middle of the first. Conlan handed out more punishment but Chanez made it to the bell. Conlan was going to the body more in the second but landed one very low. Chanez went down on his knees then rolled in agony but the referee made it clear he was going to give Chanez time to recover and not disqualify Conlan so eventually Chanez got up and got on with the fight. Conlan tried hard to finish it but Chanez proved an awkward customer and he was still there at the bell. There was no way Conlan was going to be able to look good against such a limited, small unorthodox opponent. He was constantly landing punches to the back of the Tucson fighter’s head as Chanez was turning away whenever Conlan threw a head punch and when he finally went down under a series of punches he got up indicating he felt Conlan had hit him with a kidney punch but the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight. The 25-year-old former World, Commonwealth Games and European champion from Belfast is too good to get any value out fights against opponents such as Chanez. He is good enough to be moved far beyond this level even after just two fights. First loss inside the distance for Chanez who was having his first six round fight and fought like that.
Saucedo vs. Lopez
Saucedo chalks up another win as he outpoints Lopez. Saucedo was pressing the fight from the first bell. Lopez had height and reach over Saucedo and turned out to be a southpaw although that did not show on BoxRec. Late in the first round both fighters landed a punch simultaneously. Lopez landed a left to the head but Saucedo landed a much harder right which put Lopez down. He was up immediately and despite another good right from Saucedo was not in real trouble. Saucedo stepped up the pace as the rounds progressed and again and again got through with rights but Lopez showed good skills and countered well. Saucedo was having trouble with the long southpaw right jab of Lopez but he was getting past it enough to dominate the scoring. Lopez had good rounds in the fifth and sixth and the seventh looked about even but the rest went to Saucedo. Scores 78-73 twice and 77-74 all for Saucedo. The 22-year-old Oklahoma City-based Mexican has good wins over Ray Serrano and Johnny Garcia. Lopez, 22, is 13-3 in his last 16 fights with three losses to unbeaten fighters.
Managua, Nicaragua: Light Fly: Felix Alvarado (29-2) W KO 1 Jose Antonio Jimenez (18-7-1). Minimum: Byron Rojas (19-3-3,1ND) W TKO 6 Juan Luis Lopez (15-6). Super Feather: Rene Alvarado (25-8) W TKO 2 Moises Olivas (8-8). Super Fly: Keyvin Lara (21-2-1) W PTS 8 Luis Singo (20-13-2).
Alvarado vs. Jimenez
Alvarado got this one over quickly. A body punch put Jimenez down and he was unable to beat the count so all done and dusted in 2:00 of the first. Alvarado failed to make the weight for this defence of his WBC Latino title blaming a throat infection for hindering his preparation. The 28-year-old Alvarado’s two losses were in fights against Kazuto Ioka at light fly and Juan Carlos Reveco at fly in challenges for the secondary versions of the WBA titles. He has 24 wins by KO/TKO. He has won ten on the bounce including six in the first round and his last four fights have ended that way. He is rated WBC 5/IBF 5(3)/WBO 6/WBA 8. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for Jimenez who was halted in three rounds by Jose Agumedo for the IBF minimum title in November.
Rojas vs. Lopez
Former WBA and IBO champion Rojas continues to rebuild with a stoppage of Mexican Lopez. Rojas put Lopez down with a left hook to the body in the first but Lopez beat the count and stayed in the fight until another knockdown in the sixth when the fight was stopped. Rojas pulled off a major surprise when he beat Hekkie Budler for those WBA and WBO titles in March last year. Unfortunately he did not defend the IBO title and only held the WBA title for three months before losing a very close decision (115-113 from all three judges) to Thai Knockout CP Freshmart (Thammanoon Niyomtrong) in June. Former Mexican light fly champion Lopez falls to three losses by KO/TKO.
Alvarado vs. Olivas
Felix’s twin brother Rene took a little longer for his win. He took it easy in the first round then blew away Olivas within 50 seconds of the start of the second. After being 17-1 at the start of his career Rene has fallen away and is now 8-7 in his last 15. Third loss by KO/TKO for Nicaraguan Olivas.
Lara vs. Singo
Lara struggles here as he only gets by Ecuadorian Singo on a majority verdict. A disappointing performance by the 22-year-old Nicaraguan. After losing his first pro fight he is now 21-1-2 in his last 23 fight with the loss being to Kazuto Ioka for the secondary WBA fly title in July last year. Singo is well travelled. He has fought in ten different countries in his last 14 fights.
Kruishoutem, Belgium: Super Welter: Sasha Yengoyan (340-2-1) W PTS 6 Lasha Gurguliani (12-4). Super Light: Jean Pierre Bauwens (42-3-2) W TKO 2 Vlad Janezashvili (11-5-1).
Yengoyan vs. Gurguliani
Yengoyan has to go the distance to get the unanimous decision over Georgian in a fight with plenty of incidents. The tall Georgian lost a point in the first round for hitting on the break and was under constant pressure under the swarming attacks of Yengoyan. Gurguliani was down in the fifth but it was caused by Yengoyan stepping on his feet so no count and a point deduction for Yengoyan. It was almost all over in a wild sixth as heavy rights put Gurguliani down twice but he survived and Yengoyan’ s left eye was shut tight at the end. Scores 57-52 twice and 57-53 all for Yengoyan. The 32-year-old Armenian has lost only one of his last 20 fights and that was a decision against Jan Zavcek for the WBFederation title in 2015 since when he has won 9 in a row and is No 7 with the EBU. It is 4 fights outside Georgia and 4 losses for Gurguliani.
Bauwens vs. Janezashvili
After three disappointing performances against moderate opposition Bauwens gets a win inside the distance. Bauwens forced a standing count in the first. The Georgian went down without a punch in the second claiming a shoulder injury and the fight was stopped. The 29-year-old from Ghent, a former European Union champion has slipped down to No 16 in the EBU ratings. Janezashvili just another member of the Georgian “imported to lose squad”.
New Plymouth, New Zealand: Light Heavy: Sam Rapira (16-4 W PTS 10 Tipene Maniapoto (5-1). Rapira ends his career with a victory as he decisions less experienced Maniapoto to win the vacant PABA title and then announces his retirement. The younger Maniapoto set a fast pace with Rapira content initially to box on the back foot. That changed in the fifth when Rapira put Maniapoto down with a right to the head. From there Rapira was in control and he floored Maniapoto again just before the final bell to take the unanimous decision. The former New Zealand champion was coming off back-to-back losses but was determined to go out a winner. Maniapoto did well as this was the first time he had gone past four rounds.
Sheffield, England: Welter: Errol Spence (22-0) W TKO 11Kell Brook (36-1). Super Middle: George Groves (26-3) W TKO 6 Fedor Chudinov (14-2). Heavy: Lenroy Thomas (21-4) W PTS 12 David Allen (11-2-1). Super Middle: Jamie Cox (22-0) W TEC DEC 9 Lewis Taylor (19-4-1). Super Feather: Andy Townend (19-4) W TKO 2 Jon Kays (22-6-1). Super Fly: Kyle Yusaf (11-0) W PTS 6 Louis Norman (11-4-1). Middle: Nadeem Siddique (25-2) W TKO 3 Pal Olah (7-8-1). Middle: Anthony Fowler (1-0) W TKO 1 Artus Geikins (3-8-1). Super Feather: Joe Cordina (3-0) W RTD 1 Josh Thorne (1-10-2). Cruiser: Lawrence Okolie (3-0) W TKO 1 Rudolf Helesic (2-1).
Spence vs. Brook
Spence wins the IBF title as a battered Brook wisely decides to take a knee and stay there for the full count rather than fight on as he suffers an orbital fracture for the second fight in a row. It was the right decision and a sensible decision.
It was a messy first round with Brook mostly on the front foot but neither fighter landed much and I could not split them.
Score 10-10 Even
Brook started the round well. He scored with a couple of good lefts and a hard right and was getting his punches off first. Spencer was coming forward late in the round but Brook had already done enough to take the round.
Score 10-9 Brook 20-19
This was the direct opposite of the second with Spence making a fast start scoring with his southpaw jabs and a sharp right hook with Brook coming on strong at the end of the round but I just saw Spence taking it.
Scores 10-9 Spence 29-29
Brook scored with good rights in the fourth and although Spence pressed hard Brook also had a good spell mid round when he landed heavily with both hands and opened a cut on Spence’s lip
Score 10-9 Brook 39-38
Official scores after four rounds: 39-37 twice for Brook and 38-38
Brook again scored with good rights early and was placing his punches better than Spence and clearly took the round.
Score 10-9 Brook 49-47
Looking good for Brook as he again scores well with his jab and straight rights. Spence does not want to box on the outside so is constantly trying to come forward and lands a couple of good lefts but Brook edged the round.
Score 10-9 Brook 59-56
Spence changes tactics in this round. He is on the back foot using his jab and scoring with straight lefts. With Spence not coming to him Brook is having to reach in to find the target and is being outboxed.
Score 10-9 Spence 68-66
A good eighth saw Spence make the running early then Brook started to score with short hooks before Spence finishes strongly to edge the round and ominously there is a swelling under the left eye of Brook
Score 10-9 Spence 77-76
Official scores after eight rounds: 77-75 Brook, 77-75 Spence and 76-76
Spence has a big round. He outboxes Brook early and the swelling under Brook’s left eye is growing. Spence gets on top and Brook is shipping some hard hooks and is stumbling and looks in deep trouble at the bell. He defiantly raises a fist but it is a decisive round and it is Spence’s
Score 10-9 Spence 86-86
With his eye almost closed Brook is having problems in seeing the right jab of Spence which is coming at him from his left. Spence is driving Brook back. He lands a series of rights and lefts and Brook drops to the canvas on one knee under the pressure. After the eight count Spence drives Brook around the ring landing some heavy shots. The referee is looking poised to step in but Brook drives himself off the rope and then forces Spence on to the back foot and he survives the crisis and is fighting back at the bell.
Score 10-8 Spence 94-96
Spence stormed forward letting go hard, accurate punches from both hands. Brook tried to stem the tide but was being driven back as Spence fired home punch after punch. Brook was pawing aft his left eye obviously having problems with his vision and knowing that it was more than just a contusion. After an exchange of punches he retreated across the ring and went down on one knee and the fight was waived off.
Olympian Spence won well in the end as he seemed to get stronger as Brook faded. The 27-year-old Texan “The Truth” is still not the finished article but a mark of his quality is that he continues to beat highly rated opposition inside the distance. It is no great achievement to knock over 10 or 20 low level opponents but Spence has won his last nine fights by KO/TKO and the last seven inside the distance wins have been over fighters with combined records of 187-9-4. Where next? Well he was the mandatory challenger for the IBF title. The No 2 position was vacant because none of the others in the IBF rankings had beaten a rated fighter which effectively means none of them can move into the No 1 spot. Obviously Manny Pacquiao would be his first choice. A unification fight against Keith Thurman which would give Spence the chance to hold three of the four welterweight titles and must be right up there in his targets but there are also good fights out there against Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Tim Bradley. Yes Brook quit. That is if you define “quitting” as realising that you are in a situation where there is a high possibility of suffering permanent damage to an eye and you are not stupid enough to decide to take that risk. That was a sensible and right decision. I had them level after nine rounds and one judge had Brook in front 86-85 with the others going for Spence 87-84 and 86-85 so Brook had been very much in the fight up until the knockdown in the tenth. Whether it is wise for the 31-year-old “Special One” to fight on after those injuries is his decision and a fight with Amir Khan would still be a big draw. To accuse him of quitting is a Neanderthal-like view.
Groves vs. Chudinov
Groves wins a world title at the fourth attempt with stoppage of former champion Chudinov to lift the WBA title
Chudinov had a good first round. He was coming forward behind a strong jab forcing Groves back. When he got inside he was getting through with clubbing hooks to the body and sharp right uppercuts. Groves was on the defensive slotting home counters but under constant pressure.
Score 10-9 Chudinov
Groves had a better round. He was throwing plenty of jabs and rights as Chudinov came forward and then showing good defensive work to dodge Chudinov’s shots or tie him up to prevent him working inside. A close round but one for Groves.
Scores 10-9 Groves. 19-19
Chudinov looked strong and continued to rumble forward in the third but Groves was making him pay. He was spearing the advancing Russian with jabs and at one point landed four straight rights in a row. Chudinov was pumping his punches abut Groves was blocking most of them.
Score 10-9 Groves 29-28
After Chudinov made a good start to the round by pinning Groves to the ropes and firing hooks and uppercuts Groves then took over. He was actually out-muscling Chudinov finding plenty of gaps in the Russian’s defence and landing jarring punches to head and body with Chudinov having no plan B to deal with this,
Score 10-9 39-37
Chudinov was still coming forward in the fifth but with much less confidence. That was giving Groves more room and he was landing head-snapping punches from both hands with Chudinov trying to shrug them off but he was taking a lot of clean hard punches.
Score 10-9 Groves 49-36
In the sixth Groves was staying in the pocket, not backing up but piercing the loose guard of the Russian with a succession of jolting punches to the head. Chudinov tried to walk through the punishment but it was fierce with his head being jolted time and again. Finally Chudinov was just standing still whilst Groves teed off on him and with Chudinov not punching back the referee stopped the fight. Great jubilation for the fans of the 29-year-old Saint George as he wins a world title at the fourth attempt. He had suffered two losses at the hands of Carl Froch in IBF/WBA title fights and dropped a split decision to Badou Jack for the WBC title. He has always had the potential to win a title as he showed in 2011 with back-to-back wins over James De Gale and Paul Smith so it is good to see him achieve his goal. Chudinov, 29, had his bit of bad luck too. He won the WBA title by beating Felix Sturm but lost the title back to Sturm on a hotly disputed decision and even after Sturm’s A and B samples both tested positive for a banned substance the decision was allowed to stand. That led to Chudinov being inactive from the second Sturm fight in February 2016 until this one with Groves. He is immensely strong but the skills of Grove showed him to be one-paced and with a poor defence.
Thomas vs. Allen
Jamaican Thomas wins the vacant Commonwealth title with split decision over Allen. Southpaw Thomas won this one with his superior skill set and some accurate countering. The Jamaican built an early lead boxing on the back foot. Allen continued to press throughout the fight and scored with some heavy rights but also had to absorb some sharp counters. Thomas lost a point in the eighth after one low punch too many and had to survive some rough patches as Allen kept rumbling forward. The fight was very close and could have gone to either man but despite a strong finish from Allen it went to Thomas. Scores 115-114 twice for Thomas and 115-113 for Allen. The 32-year-old Thomas wins his first title. He was having only his second fight in two years and has now won 4 of his last 5 fights with the loss being against tough Russian Andrey Fedosov. Allen, 25 knows all about tough fights as he lost to Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz last year but had scored two quick wins this year. He took the loss well and deserves a return.
Cox vs. Taylor
Cox wins the vacant WBA Continental title with technical decision over Taylor. A cut suffered by Taylor in a clash of heads early in the fight finally forced the end of the contest. The cut had worsened in the ninth round and with and with three rounds still to go the doctor advised the fight be stopped. The cards gave the victory to Cox by scores of 88-83 twice and 87-84. The 30-year-old former Commonwealth gold medallist and former undefeated Commonwealth Council champion was having only his 5th fight in 4 years but hopefully will be more active now. Taylor has lost 3 of his last 4 fights but the other two losses were in tough contests with Tommy Langford and Luke Keeler.
Townend vs. Kays
Townend wins but the Commonwealth title remains vacant as he fails to make the weight for this fight for the vacant title. Townend hit too hard for Kays and scored two knockdowns before the fight was halted. The 28-year-ol “KO Kid” makes it 13 wins by KO/TKO. He has lost only one of his last 13 fights and that was to Martin Ward for the vacant British title in September. He will now move up to light. Kays, 34, a former English champion was having his second shot at the
Yusaf vs. Norman
The Sheffield “Golden Kid” Yusaf given some much needed work. Norman stayed competitive up to the last round when he was floored heavily but got up and stayed the full distance. Referee’s score 59-55. Yusaf continues to improve and after taking a total of less than five rounds to win his last three fights this was a good learning contest. Former English champion Norman has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but took both Charlie Edwards and Andrew Selby the full distance in title fights.
Siddique vs. Olah
Siddique returns to boxing with a stoppage of Hungarian Olah in his first fight for a year. The 39-year-old Siddique turned pro in 2002 after twice winning the English amateur title. He won his first 22 fights but that run was ended when he suffered two consecutive losses. He was then inactive for five years due to a back injury suffered in a car accident before winning a fight in 2014. He missed out 2015 had a win in 2016 and now has one in 2017. Fourth loss by KO/TKO for Olah
Fowler vs. Geikins
Here comes yet another British fighter with great amateur pedigree. Fowler floors and halts British-based Latvian Geikins with the referee stopping the fight with just one second left in the round. The 26-year-old from Liverpool was a six-time ABA champion, five-time British champion, won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games beating Vijender Singh in the final, and a bronze at the World Championships. The potential is great. Six losses in a row for Geikins.
Cordina vs. Thorne
Welsh prospect Cordina gets his second first round win in a row as Thorne retires at the end of the opening round. The 25-year-old from Cardiff can go far so keep an eye on him. Thorne is 0-10-2 in his last 12 fights.
Okolie vs. Helesic
Former Olympian Okolie makes it three first round finishes as a pro. No feeling out here. Both were throwing bombs from the bell and each seemed to have been hurt as they traded punches. Okolie pushed Helesic backwards and he fell into the ropes. As he tried to straighten himself up Okolie landed a left uppercut and Helesic dropped to one knee with Okolie landing two light head punches when Helesic had one knee on the floor. Helesic was up quickly but when the action resumed as he tried to rush Okolie he was caught with a right to the top of his head which put him face down on the canvas. He made it to his feet but after taking a close look at him the referee stopped the fight. The 24-year-old 6’5” (196cm) Okolie was twice the English Universities Champion and beat US hope Cam Awesome in the WSB before qualifying for the 2016 Olympics with less than 25 amateur fights behind him. He lost in Rio to the vastly experienced Cuban Erislandy Savon. Czech Helesic had also won his two contests on first round stoppages.
Panama City, Panama: Super Bantam: Julio Ceja (31-2) W KO 3 Anselmo Moreno (36-6-1). Minimum: Leroy Estrada (16-2) W PTS 12 Saul Juarez (23-6-1). Light: Luis Ernesto Rueda (16-0) W TEC DEC 8 Barnie Arguellos (11-7). Welter: Alberto Mosquera (24-3-2,2ND) W KO 2 Rafael May (8-13).
Ceja vs. Moreno
Ceja gets important win that might spell the end for “Chemito”. Moreno made a confident start slotting home southpaw jabs and straight lefts and avoiding the rushes of Ceja. The Mexican was down at the end of the first but he was that due to Moreno using his shoulder to unbalance him. In the second Moreno scored easily with right jabs and a nice left hook with Ceja upping his pace to get closer to the Panamanian. Ceja landed some beefy body shots but Moreno was showing excellent defensive skills and at the end of the round was again scoring with long lefts. Moreno was boxing well in the third with Ceja pressing hard. The end was sudden and unexpected. A punch from Ceja clipped Moreno on the top of the head. Moreno backed up to the ropes and Ceja landed a hard left hook and Moreno dropped to one knee. The left hook was a good punch but did not look a fight finisher. However Moreno knelt listening to the referee’s count making no attempt to get up. When the count was completed he stood and walked straight back to his corner making it obvious he had chosen not to get up. He later stated that the clip to the top of his head had led to him losing his vision briefly and he was concerned that he had suffered an injury and decided not to risk any addition damage. Ceja, 24, the former WBC super bantam champion, wins the vacant WBC Silver title and has 28 wins by KO/TKO. This is the first fight for him since he lost his WBC title when being stopped in just 51 seconds by Hugo Ruiz in February last year. He will now be looking to land a shot at the current WBC champion Rey Vargas but as Hugo Ruiz is No 1 he may have to wait. Although Moreno showed his skills he looked fragile and ring worn and has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights so this may be the last hurrah for the 31-year-old former WBA and IBO bantam champion.
Estrada vs. Juarez
Estrada climbs off the canvas to outpoint Suarez and win a final eliminator that assures him of a shot at the WBC title. The flashy little southpaw used superior hand speed and movement to win this one. Juarez was marching forward jabbing with his left and throwing long right but Estrada was generally too quick for the Mexican. Estrada was ducking under Juarez’s punches firing home hooks inside and getting out before Juarez could counter. Juarez managed to edge the second round but Estrada outboxed him the third and fourth only for Juarez to score with some good body punches at the end of the fifth. Blazing combinations gave Estrada the sixth and he outboxed Juarez in the seventh. Relentless pressure from Juarez saw Estrada forced to stand and trade more and although the Panamanian took the eighth it was a close round. In the ninth Estrada had slowed and spent more time pinned to the ropes. Late in the round a long right from Juarez dumped Estrada on his rump. He made it to his feet and survived to the bell Estrada managed to keep on the move and took the tenth and eleventh firing home quick counters as Juarez was loading up on his punches and not throwing enough. Juarez went for broke in the last but that desperation left plenty of gaps in the Mexican’s defence and Estrada scored with quick counters and combinations to take the round. Scores 117-110 twice and 115-112 all for “El Sensacional” I had it 116-112 for the 22-year-old Estrada. With Juarez No 1 and Estrada No 2 in the WBC ratings he will now get the chance to challenge Wanheng for the title. Juarez, 26, was a tough opponent. He had scored wins over former WBC champions Adrian Hernandez and Oswaldo Novoa and lost a very close decision to Wanheng for the title in August.
Rueda vs. Arguelles
Rueda remains unbeaten with technical verdict over Arguelles. Rueda initially had problems with the crude attacks of the local fighter and after four rounds the fight was even. From the fifth “Spiderman” Rueda imposed his better boxing and was on his way to a distance points win when a clash of heads in the eighth round saw Arguelles suffer a bad cut on his left eye lid. Somewhat ironic as Arguelles had been dangerous with his head throughout the fight. In Panama only completed rounds are scored and at that point Rueda was in front 70-63, 69-64 and 68-65 on all three cards. The 30-year-old Rueda has good domestic wins over Mauricio Munoz and Sergio Escobar. Arguelles is 1-6 in his last 7 fights.
Mosquera vs. May
Mosquera continues to ease his way back with another win over very undemanding opposition as he knocks May out in round two. The former WBA interim title challenger was unbeaten in his first 25 fights but then suffered consecutive inside the distance losses against Charlie Navarro and Sammy Vasquez in 2014. Things got worse for him in April 2016 when he was stopped by relative novice Brian Zarza. He took a year out and this is his second win in 2017. Venezuelan May suffers his sixth loss by KO/TKO.
Ciudad Obregon, Mexico: Light: Orlando Salido (44-13-4,1ND) W RTD 7 Aristides Perez (30-10-2). Gilberto Parra (25-3,1ND) W PTS 8 Jose Rivas (14-11-4).Elvis Torres (17-0-2) W KO 1 Antonio Bustamante (3-12).
Salido vs. Perez
Salido breaks down Perez to force a retirement after seven rounds. Salido came out full of aggression and Perez spent much of the first round pinned to the ropes with Salido digging in with hooks and uppercuts. Salido continued to come forward in the second again going mostly to the body with Perez forced back but countering with some good body punches. In the third a blistering right uppercut from Perez saw Salido drop to one knee. He looked in trouble and when the count was finished Perez was driving Salido around the right scoring with rights to the head. With about 30 seconds left in the round Salido suddenly blasted back with a series of hooks and uppercuts that had Perez hurt. Salido was back in control in the fourth driving Perez to the ropes and scoring with five consecutive right uppercuts. Salido doled out serious punishment in the fifth and sixth and by the seventh an exhausted Perez was hardly able to punch back and sensibly retired from the fight .First fight for the 36-year-old five-time world champion since back-to-back draws against Roman Martinez for the WBO super feather title in 2015 and Francisco Vargas for the WBC title in June last year. He says he wants a return fight with Vasyl Lomachenko and Lomachenko might be interested in getting revenge on the only fighter to beat him as a pro. Perez, also 36, was 10-1-1 going into this one but Salido was just too strong for him.
Parra vs. Rivas
Neighbourhood fighter Parra makes it six wins in a row but in a fast-paced competitive fight struggled to edge past an improving Rivas. The first round saw Rivas banging home some hellacious body punches but in the second Parra outworked him. Rivas staged a fierce finish to take the third but was in deep troubled and saved by the bell in the fourth. Rivas pressed hard in the fifth but Parra scored with a series of lefts to the head late in the round and the pace dropped in the sixth. Parra looked to be on top in the seventh but Rivas was on top in the eighth. Scores 78-74 twice for Parra and 78-75 for Rivas who look to have deserved a share of the decision. Parra, 24, is 10-1,1ND in his last 12 fights with the loss being a ninth round retirement when challenging Donnie Nietes for the WBO light fly title in 2015. Rivas had won his last six fights.
Torres vs. Bustamante
Tijuana prospect Torres landed a hard combination early in the first round to end this one. The southpaw hope has 11 wins by KO/TKO but his opposition so far ranks somewhere below moderate. Six losses in a row for Bustamante who came in as a very late replacement.
Monterrey, Mexico: Minimum: Jose Argumedo (20-3-1) W TKO 8 Gabriel Mendoza (28-5-2). Argumedo retains the IBF title with stoppage of Mendoza. The champion was stronger and despite Mendoza’s impressive 23 wins by KO/TKO Argumedo also proved to be the harder puncher. Both fighters were looking to take control of the fight and it was an exciting battle full of fierce exchanges but Argumedo was gradually breaking the Colombian down. As the champion’s body punches took effect Mendoza slowed but in the end it was a bad cut over the left eye of Mendoza caused by a punch that brought the stoppage. The doctor examined the injury early in the eighth and decided the cut was too severe for the fight to continue. The 28-year-old Mexican was making the third defence of his IBF title. It required some “adjustment” to the IBF ratings to get him the title shot at Katsunari Takayama in December 2015 but he took the chance winning on a technical decision and is now 12-1 in his last 13 fights. Mendoza, 38, his birthday was on the same day as the fight, had won 9 of his last 10 outings but to show how much of a farce the IBF ratings are over the last 2 ½ years he had beaten six opponents who had amassed just 11 wins between them!
Fredericton, Canada: Super Welter: Brandon Brewer (21-0-1) W PTS 10 King Davidson (18-3). Cruiser: Gary Kopas (8-11-2) W TKO 10 David Whittom (12-24-1). Heavy: Chris Norrad (15-0) W TKO 4 Alberto Martinez (21-12-1)
Brewer vs. Davidson
Brewer gets his best win so far as he comprehensively outscores Davidson on a show that is overshadowed by the hospitalisation of David Whittom. The Canadian was up against his first southpaw but that presented no problems and he constantly changed to southpaw himself. He was busier and quicker than Davidson throughout the fight. He shook Davidson with a right in the fourth and again in the seventh with an overhand right. Davidson had his best round of the fight in the ninth but Brewer took the tenth. Scores 99-91 twice and 100-90 all for “L-Jack” Brewer. The 32-year-old local also promoted this fight. He is Canadian No 1 but not yet world rated. Australian-based Nigerian Davidson is a former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist losing to Darren Barker in the semi-finals in 2002. He failed to make the weight for this fight only his third fight in 3 ½ years.
Kopas vs. Whittom
Kopas wins the vacant Canadian title with last round stoppage of Whittom. Kopas was giving away height and reach in this one but manage to land good shots to the body and also rattled Whitton with a hard right in the fourth. Whittom’s best punch was his right uppercut and although shipping some heavy rights he was still in the fight until a cut took some of the steam out of him. In the tenth Kopas connected with three rights to the head of Whittom which left Whittom hanging over the top rope. The referee stepped in and initially it looked as though he was stopping the fight but waived for the action. After a right cross and a left again sent Whittom into the ropes the fight was stopped. The 37-year-old Kopas had a 0-6-2 run but has now won his last 4 fights. Whittom, 38, was No 5 in the Canadian ratings. He had previously challenged unsuccessfully for the Canadian super middle and light heavy titles but was 1-10 in his last 11 fights and was having his first fight for 14 months.
Although Whittom seemed OK after the fight and went home he was taken unwell and rushed to hospital where he was put in a medically induced coma and a section of skull removed to release pressure on a swelling on the brain. At this time his condition remains critical.
Norrad vs. Martinez
Norrad returns to action with a win over Martinez. After a long period of inactivity it took Norrad a couple of rounds to get rolling and he punished Martinez with rights to the head and sharp left hooks. He floored Martinez twice in the third and when a right cross put Martinez down for the third time the fight was stopped. The Canadian No 2 has 7 wins by KO/TKO but has been largely inactive. He did not fight in 2014 and had only one fight in 2015 and one in 2016 in October. Martinez was even worse. He now has 12 losses by KO/TKO and this is his first fight in 19 months. To give you a clear indication of his fitness when he fought for the WBC USNBC title in 2012 he weighed 159 ½ lbs (72kg) for the Norrad fight he was 240 ¼ lbs (109kgs).
Merida, Mexico: Super Middle: Alexis Angulo (22-0) W TKO 2 Rolando Mansilla (13-4-1). Light Heavy: Manuel Ceballos (13-1) W PTS 10 Cesar Reynoso (14-9-4). Feather: Ignacio
Perrin (1-0) W KO 4 Roberto Leal (1-2).
Despite Gabriel Mendoza losing to Jose Argumedo in Monterrey The night was not a total loss for Colombian as Angulo blew away Argentinian Rolando Mansilla inside two rounds. Mansilla only just survived the first round as the Colombian worked him over with a series of hooks and had him on the floor. Angulo ended it just 24 seconds into the second round as he trapped Mansilla on the ropes and delivered a right hand that put the Argentinian down. Mansilla made it to his feet but the referee stopped the fight despite protests from Mansilla. The 33-year-old Angulo has 19 wins by KO/TKO but the opposition has been modest at best. He wins the WBO Latina title and has fought in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Germany, United States and Turkey but I can’t see IBF champion James De Gale losing any sleep over him. Argentinian Mansilla, a former South American and Argentinian title challenger gets loss No 3 by KO/TKO.
Ceballos vs. Reynoso
Local fighter Ceballos wins the vacant WBO Latino title with wide unanimous decision over seasoned Argentinian Reynoso. Ceballos made life difficult for himself when he lost two points for a foul early in the fight. He clawed those two points back with a knockdown in the fifth. The 6’2” (190cm) tall Ceballos was comfortable when he could box at a distance but Reynoso did some good work inside to win or share a couple of rounds and also gave the Mexican’s chin a test but he was never able to really threaten Ceballos who ran out the clear winner. Scores 98-89, 97-90 and 96-91 all for Ceballos. Now 9 wins on the bounce for the 24-year-old Yucatecan who was moving up to ten rounds for the first time. “The Savage” Reynoso was stopped in six rounds by Callum Smith in May last year but was coming off a reasonably good draw with Martin Rios in domestic action in Argentina.
Perrin vs. Leal
Yet another Olympian turns pro as Argentinian Perrin halts Mexican Leal in four rounds. At 32 Perrin has left it late to turn pro. He was Argentinian champion and captain of the national team. He competed at the World Championships and the Olympic Games in 2016. He lost in Brazil to former IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng but during his time in the WSB scored a win over Albert Selimov, the only man to beat Vasyl Lomachenko as an amateur.
Bacolod City, Philippines: Light Fly: Merlito Sabillo (26-4-1) W KO 3 Jack Amisa (21-42-2). Sabillo gets a much needed win as he had Indonesian Amisa on the back foot and absorbing punishment over the first two rounds. Sabillo ended it in the third when he drove Amisa into a corner and landed some vicious body punches that had Amisa dropping to his knees and spitting out his gumshield and taking the full count. The 33-year-old “Filipino Tiger” a former WBO minimumweight champion suffered consecutive losses last year against modest opposition in OPBF title fights so another loss might have brought about retirement. Amisa was an easy opponent for a fighter needing a win. Sabillo had outpointed the Indonesian in 2015 and here Amisa lost by KO/TKO for the 16th time. He is 1-27 in his last 28 fights.
Singapore, Singapore: Light Heavy: Ryan Ford (12-0) W TEC DEC 7 Robert Berridge (29-7-1). Super Feather: Muhamad Ridhwan (8-0) W TKO 4 Fadhili Majiha (20-9-4). Super Welter: Sirimongkol (92-3) W PTS 10 Larry Siwu (24-9).
Ford vs. Berridge
Ford retains the UBO title with technical verdict over southpaw Berridge. The two were well matched but the fight lacked any real highlights. A clash of heads in the sixth round saw Berridge cut over his left eye. The fight continued but at the end of the seventh it was ruled that the cut was too serious for the fight to go any further and it was decided on the scorecards. Scores 69-64, 68-65 and 67-66 all for Ford. The 35-year-old “Real Deal” was making the first defence of his title. New Zealander Berridge, 32, is 5-6 in his last 11 bouts including a fourth round stoppage loss against Dmitry Bivol for the interim WBA title in February.
Ridhwan vs. Majiha
Ridhwan wins the vacant UBO title with stoppage of Tanzanian Majiha. Despite struggling with Majiha’s speed early Ridhwan kept banging away at the body over the first three rounds. In the fourth he switched to the head and floored Majiha three times with the final big right putting Majiha down and out cold. The 29-year-old becomes Singapore’s first world champion. As an amateur “The Chosen Wan” (now that’s clever) won bronze medals at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 South East Asian Games. Majiha, 23, is the WBA Pan African champion and was 5-3 in his last 8 fights.
Sirimongkol vs. Siwu
Thai veteran Sirimongkol wins the vacant UBO Inter-Continental title with controversial split decision over Indonesian. Sirimongkol was on the floor briefly in the opening round but had no trouble surviving. After that it was a close fight that could have gone either way. Scores 96-92 and 95-94 for Sirimongkol and 95-94 for Siwu. The 39-year-old former WBC bantam and super feather champion must be the only active fighter in the world who is closing in on 100 victories but he is just a shadow the fighter who won those titles. Siwu has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
La Carlota, Argentina: Emiliano Dominguez (20-0) W PTS 10 Sergio Gil (19-9-2).
”Little Cobra” Dominguez continues unbeaten with unanimous verdict over Gil. Dominguez took possession of the ring centre from the start and never really relinquished the dominance that gave him. He was able to outbox the less skilled Gil scoring well with punches from both hands and he was particularly effective with uppercuts. Gil had some success in the second and eighth rounds when he got through with hard rights but he was unable to capitalise on those brief moments. Dominguez lost a point in the eighth for dangerous use of the head and a low blow but he was the winner by a large margin on all three cards. Scores 99-91, 99-91 ½ and 98-94. Dominguez lacks power with 8 of his last 9 fights ending in points victories and he is yet to face a real test. Former South American champion Gil falls to 3-6 in his last 9 fights.
Fight of the week: Errol Spence’s dramatic victory over Kell Brook
Fighter of the week: Errol Spence for his victory over Kell Brook with a very honourable mention to George Groves a world champion at last
Punch of the week: The Matty Askin right that finished his fight with Craig Kennedy
Upset of the week: None
One to watch: Michael Conlan the Irish star of the future