-Deontay Wilder retains WBC heavy title with stoppage of Luis Ortiz
–Sergey Kovalev crushes Igor Mikhalkin and remains WBO light heavy champion
-Dmitry Bivol impresses again as he retains his secondary WBA light heavy title with last round stoppage of Sullivan Barrera
-Jose Uzcategui wins the interim IBF super middle title with victory over Andre Dirrell
-Kevin Lerena retains the IBO cruiser title by decisioning Dmytro Kucher
-Kell Brook blasts out Siarhei Rabchenko to signal his return
-Dominica Boesel wins the European title with victory over Serhiy Demchenko
-Josh Taylor destroys Winston Campos in three round in WBC International title defence
-Gavin McDonnell wins over unbeaten Gamal Yafai for the WBC International title
-Lenroy Thomas retains the Commonwealth title when his fight with Dave Allen ends on a technical draw in the first round
San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina: Fly: Juan Jurado (15-0-3) W PTS 10 Junior Zarate (9-2). Fighting in his hometown Argentinian champion Jurado retains here title with unanimous decision over former top amateur Zarate. It was an even fight over the first four rounds but then the pressure from Jurado gave him the edge over the better technical skills of Zarate and he swept the middle rounds with Zarate also throwing away a point in the seventh for a blatant butt. Zarate staged the stronger finish with Jurado deducted a point in the last for one foul too many but holding onto his lead. Scores 97-90, 97-91 ½ and 98-95 for 31-year-old “Harry” Jurado. It is his second defence of the national title. Zarate represented Argentina at the World Championships and Pan American Games and fought for the Argentine Condors in the WSB. He had won his last five fights.
Sydney, Australia: Bantam: Brock Jarvis (13-0) W KO 3 Hamson Lamandau (8-2-1). Jarvis continues his run of inside the distance wins as he floors Indonesian Lamandau in the second and the fight is stopped when he puts Lamandau down again late in the third. Still only 20 Jarvis has now won twelve in a row by KO/TKO. Lamandau is now 0-2-1 in his last three fights after being 8-0.
Mexico City, Mexico: Bantam: David Carmona (21-5-5) W TKO 4 Jesus Iribe (20-10-6). With three losses in a row Carmona could not afford another defeat and he made sure that did not happen here. After a cautious start he put Iribe down in the second with a right to the head. Iribe made it to the bell but was put down again in the third. Carmona wrapped up the win in the fourth by dumping Iribe on the canvas again with the fight being stopped. Back in 2013 Carmona was beaten in seven rounds by Omar Narvaez in a challenge for the WBO super fly title. In 2015 he fought a draw with Warlito Parrenas for the interim WBO title but lost on points to Naoya Inoue for the full title in 2016. Third loss by KO/TKO for fellow-Mexican Iribe.
Fontvielle, Monaco: Bantam: Georges Ory (9-2-1) W PTS 12 Razmik Grigoryan (9-4-1). Ory wins the vacant European Union title with unanimous decision over Belgian super fly champion Grigoryan. It was the Belgian who made the better start scoring with some good rights. Ory was not moving as well as usual and it was the fifth round before he really began to dominate the action. He was quicker than Grigoryan and was cleverly mixing hooks and uppercuts but was not sustaining the attacks enough to be comfortable and Grigoryan was counter attacking well. Ory was doing enough to win rounds but his form was disappointing after his impressive victory over Jeremy Beccu in May. Scores 117-111, 117-112 and 116-112 for 26-year-old former French amateur champion. Grigoryan had won 5 of his last 6 fights.
Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain: Welter: Ceferino Rodriguez (25-2) W PTS 8 Elvin Perez (28-20-4). Ferino V returns to action with a comfortable win over Perez. After a first round of probing Rodriguez stepped up the pace and bossed the fight over the next seven rounds pounding away at Perez with stiff jabs and right crosses. Perez’s face was cut and badly marked by the fifth and he was in trouble in the seventh and eighth but last the distance although losing every round. Local fighter Rodriguez was having his first fight since losing his European title to Sam Eggington on a tenth round kayo in May last year. His aim now is to regain that title. Barcelona-based Nicaraguan Perez has lost his last eight fights.
Manchester, England: Middle: Dale Coyne (13-0) W TKO 3 Julio Cesar (1-2). Super Feather: James Dickens (23-3) W TKO 5 Barnie Arguelles (11-9).
Coyne vs. Cesar
Coyne goes to thirteen wins with stoppage of Cesar. Coyne was too strong and had too much power for Cesar. He spent a couple of rounds walking Cesar down and scoring with left hooks to the ribs and clubbing rights to the head. Cesar just circled the perimeter of the ring changing guard and pushing out light jabs. The constant pressure paid off and the referee stopped the fight in the third. The 23-year-old “Canelo”-he is red-headed- gets his third win by KO/TKO. Novice Cesar, a Belfast-based Angolan was a substitute for a substitute.
Dickens vs. Arguelles
Dickens returns to the ring and to the winning column. The 26-year-old Liverpool southpaw gets his eighth win by KO/TKO as he halts Panamanian Arguelles. First fight for Dickens for ten months. He lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA super bantam title in 2016 and in May 2017 lost a close technical decision to Thomas Patrick Ward for the British title. Fifth loss by KO/TKO for Arguelles and his eighth loss in his last nine fights.
Leicester, England: Bantam: Thomas Essomba (8-3) W TKO 6 Louis Norman (12-5-1). Popular Cameroon fighter Essomba wins the English title with stoppage of local fighter Norman. Both are better fighters than their records indicate but they also both badly needed a win. Essomba’s victory was built on a focused body attack. He hurt Norman with body punches throughout the fight before putting Norman down with one in the sixth and Norman was counted out. Essomba represented Cameroon at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He did not return home after the London Olympics but instead claimed asylum in Britain and settled here before turning pro and settling down in North East England. He is a former Commonwealth champion but just eleven fights in eight years tells how tough it can be for lighter division fighters in the UK. Norman, a former English flyweight champion, has had the same problem and was 2-4 going in including very tough matches against Charlie Edwards and Andrew Selby.
New York, NY, USA: Heavy: Deontay Wilder (40-0) W TKO 10 Luis Ortiz (28-1). Super Middle: Jose Uzcategui (27-2) W RTD 8 Andre Dirrell (26-3). Super Welter: Patrick Day (15-2-1) W PTS 10 Kyrone Davis (13-2). Middle: Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0) W RTD 6 Dashon Johnson (22-23-3).Middle: Willie Monroe Jr (22-3) W PTS 8 Carlos Galvan (16-7-1).
Wilder vs. Ortiz
Wilder retains the WBC title with stoppage of Ortiz but has to survive a scare along the way
A very cautious opener. Ortiz was coming forward behind his southpaw jab and threw some lefts but Wilder really just poked out his jab without making contact and did not really land a punch
Score 10-9 Ortiz
Even fewer punches thrown in this one. Ortiz continued to plod forward and Wilder continued to go back. Ortiz slipped to the floor when he missed a punch. Ortiz threw some punches and Wilder only tried his right once but they both launched punches at the end of the round.
Score 10-9 Ortiz 18-20
This was turning into a non-event. Wilder was only sticking out his jab as a range finder for his right but when he did throw the right he missed badly. Ortiz was slow to cut the ring off but was at least throwing punches.
Score 10-9 Ortiz 27-30
Three more minutes of cat and mouse stuff as Wilder after trying a couple of rights wearily went back to just prodding his jab. Ortiz did a bit better at cutting off the ring and did what scoring there was.
Score 10-9 Ortiz 36-40
This round saw Ortiz dancing on his toes and Wilder throwing one or two more punches. Ortiz again was doing all of the pressing and the scoring. Just before the bell Wilder finally pulled the trigger and landed a fast right cross to the temple of Ortiz. The Cuban was stunned and stumbled. Wilder followed up with another punch as Ortiz tipped backwards into the ropes and down. He got up complaining about the count trying to indicate it had been a push but it was a genuine knockdown and the bell went as the eight count was competed.
Score 10-8 Wilder 46-48
Now it was Wilder on the front foot. He was throwing the right more and there were a couple of exchanges with both fighters landing but with Wilder just doing enough to win the round.
Score 10-9 Wilder 56-57
Best round of the fight so far and it went to Ortiz. Once again there lots of probing with jabs until late in the round when Wilder scored with a good right. He then decided to fight inside but Ortiz turned him and landed a left that had Wilder in trouble. He was trapped on the ropes with Ortiz unloading heavy punches and Wilder was floundering and holding on at the bell in what easily could have been scored a 10-8 round or even resulted in a win for Ortiz if he had hurt Wilder earlier in the round.
Score 10-9 Ortiz 65-67
Before the start of the round the referee was concerned enough to have the ringside physician examine Wilder. Ortiz dominated the round. He had Wilder in retreat catching him against the ropes and firing big lefts with Wilder really just prodding out his jab and throwing occasional rights and never really getting off the ropes.
Score 10-9 Ortiz 74-77
This one only really came alive late. Wilder seemed to hurt Ortiz with a right and drove Ortiz back. Ortiz fired punches of his own and they both threw and landed heavy punches at the bell.
Score 10-9 Wilder 84-86
Early in the round Wilder shook Ortiz with a right. Ortiz tried to hold but Wilder threw him to the canvas. The referee indicated it was not a knockdown but Ortiz was slow to rise. Wilder went straight after Ortiz landing heavy rights to the head and Ortiz slumped to his knees. He only just made it to his feet at nine but was badly shaken. Wilder pounced on him and landed a series of lefts and right and after a right uppercut Ortiz again dropped to his knees and the referee stopped the fight.
Official scores: 85-84, 85-84, 85-84 all for Wilder
Wilder again showed his power in the third and in the tenth but was in deep trouble in the seventh floundering and trapped on the ropes with Ortiz stating after the fight that he felt he was one punch away from victory. Naturally there will be some questions over this performance and Anthony Joshua fans will take heart from how vulnerable Wilder looked against a much smaller, older and slower opponent but we saw a different Wilder tonight than the whirlwind we saw against Bermane Stiverne in November and will see a different Wilder when-or if- he fights Joshua (or Parker). Some saw this as a potential fight of the year but apart from the fifth, seventh and tenth rounds it was a very slow fight with little sustained action. Wider has now scored 39 wins by KO/TKO and defended the WBC title seven times. Ortiz proved to be the danger he had threatened to be. He blew his chance for a multi-million payday when he failed to finish Wilder in the seventh and although he is 38 there are still some good fights out there for him in a vibrant division.
Uzcategui vs. Dirrell
Uzcategui wins the interim IBF title as he chips away at champion Dirrell until Dirrell decided he wanted no more and retired in his corner giving Uzcategui revenge for a controversial loss in May. There was a scare before the fight due to a query over Uzcategui’s urine test. It was not related to a banned substance but it proved to be due to a vitamin B injection he had previously. From the start the taller Uzcategui was marching forward walking Dirrell down and landing rights to the head and left hooks to the body. Dirrell was on the retreat and unable to solve the bobbing and weaving and hand waving style of Uzcategui. Dirrell was spending much of the ring time retreating around the perimeter of the ring with Uzcategui staying on top of him and landing short hooks and long rights. Just before the bell at the end of the third with Dirrell trapped in his own corner Uzcategui landed a left to the head, a right that landed high on Dirrell’s shoulder and then a wicked right hook. Dirrell dipped at the knees and almost went down. Uzcategui continued to pressure Dirrell for three minutes in every round. Dirrell just could not find his range and was being caught time and again with short chopping hooks inside and long rights. Dirrell tried to launch some attacks but inevitably he was taking more than he was giving and was forced again on to the retreat as Uzcategui worked him over in close and at a distance. By the end of the eighth Dirrell had effectively capitulated. He was shipping punishment from left hooks to the head and just swinging wildly trying to get lucky. After the bell he walked back to his corner and told his seconds he was finished. They tried to talk him out of it but it was Dirrell’s “no mas” moment and he would not continue. Uzcategui a 27-year-old 6’2” (188cm) Mexican-based Venezuelan had lost to Dirrell for this title in May. He was ahead on two cards he was disqualified for a punch after the bell. His only other loss was a decision against Matt Korobov in 2014. With his height, reach and quirky style he will be a handful for any but the best and he would have a good chance against IBF champion Caleb Truax. Dirrell just could not do anything on the night. From the first bell until he walked back to his corner at the end of the eighth round he was never in the fight and at 34 it is hard to see him getting another title shot.
Day vs. Davis
Day gets unanimous verdict over Davis in fast-paced close bout between two fighters with excellent credentials from their amateur days. Davis was first to show and made a confident start taking a couple of the early rounds before Day got into his stride. From the half way mark Day brought his better skills into play and with the use a stiff and accurate jab built a lead and held on to it to the bell. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Day. The 25-year-old from Freeport NY is a former US National amateur champion who has taken a while to settle into pro boxing but has now won his last four fights. He retains his WBC Continental Americas title. Davis, 23, was a gold medal winner at the National Police Athletic Tournament and silver at the 2013 National Golden Gloves and had won his last three fights.
Derevyanchenko vs. Johnson
Derevyanchenko keeps busy with win over journeyman Johnson whilst waiting for the middleweight division to sort itself out. Johnson can be a dangerous opponent if allowed to settle into a fight and indeed Derevyanchenko chose to box on the back foot allowing Johnson to come forward and press. Gradually Derevyanchenko began to up the pace and soon it was Johnson on the retreat and shipping some heavy rights and slowly being broken down. His corner saw the way things were going and pulled their man out at the end of the sixth round. The 32-year-old Russian Derevyanchenko is the IBF No 1 and therefore the mandatory challenger to Gennady Golovkin. He has been No 1 since September after beating Tureano Johnson but of course champion Gennady Golovkin has been busy with fighting Saul Alvarez. Whoever wins between Golovkin and Alvarez will be under pressure to defend against Derevyanchenko or be stripped. Derevyanchenko did not turn pro until he was 29 but had a very impressive 22-1 score in four years of campaigning in the WSB. Only the fourth loss by KO/TKO for Johnson.
Monroe vs. Galvan
Monroe returns with a win as he floors and decisions Galvan. Scores 80-71 for Monroe from all three judges as he has his first fight since losing to Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO middles title in September. Galvan goes home to Colombia when he needs to pad his record and has never won a fight outside of his home country.
New York, NY, USA: Light Heavy: Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) W TKO 7 Igor Mikhalkin (21-2). Light Heavy: Dmitry Bivol (13-0) W TKO 12 Sullivan Barrera (21-2), Super Middle; Vaughan Alexander (12-0) W PTS 10 Devaun Lee (10-3-1). Super Welter: Bakhram Murtazaliev (12-0) W TKO 5 Ken McNeil (11-4).
Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Kovalev retains the WBO title. The champion is much too good and much too powerful for fellow-Russian Mikhalkin and wins every round before the fight is stopped due to a cut
Confident start by Kovalev. He had his jab working and was able to pierce Mikhalkin’s guard with stabbing straight rights with Mikhalkin waiting too long to let his punches go.
Score 10-9 Kovalev
Mikhalkin threw more punches in the second and landed a hard southpaw left. Kovalev continued to find gaps for his jab and was constantly banging home straight rights with Mikhalkin walking on to punches as he tried to get inside.
Score 10-9 Kovalev 20-18
This round was closer as Mikhalkin pressed hard and scored with some accurate lefts. Kovalev was out jabbing him and those right crosses were getting though and he finished the round strongly.
Score 10-9 Kovalev 30-27
Kovalev continued to control the action. Mikhalkin was working hard with his right jab and letting go with lefts. But it was Kovalev who was the more accurate and landing the harder punches.
Score 10-9 Kovalev 40-36
Kovalev upped the pressure in this one. His jab had Mikhalkin on the back foot and he slotted home long rights with Mikhalkin not able to block them. A stiff jab saw Mikhalkin staggered and he stumbled into the ropes. Kovalev leaped after him but it was more a stumble that a stagger and Mikhalkin was not in any real trouble-but neither was he finding a way into the fight.
Score 10-9 Kovalev 50-45
Mikhalkin started this one on the front foot taking the fight to Kovalev. Landed some lefts but they did not have the power to budge Kovalev who had scored with a series of rights early in the round and finished the round strongly but it was a close one. Mikhalkin was now cut over his right eye
Score 10-9 Kovalev 60-54
Before the start of the round the ringside physician examined the cut but let the fight continue. Mikhalkin put in a big effort again taking the fight to Kovalev but the cut was bleeding and there was blood coming from Mikhalkin’s nose. Kovalev was landing regularly to the face of Mikhalkin and when the referee asked the ringside official examine the injury the Physician advises the fight be stopped . Kovalev makes it 28 wins by KO/TKO. Mikhalkin was the No 5 rated contender so it may be that Kovalev will have to face his No 1 Olex Gvozdyk. He would like Adonis Stevenson but the WBC champion is due to defend against Badou Jack in May and Eleider Alvarez, the WBC No 1 should be in line after that so we may never see Kovalev vs. Stevenson
Bivol vs. Barrera
Bivol outclasses and halts Barrera in defence of the secondary WBA title. From the start the champion was quicker and more accurate than Barrera. Both tried to establish their jabs early but Bivol soon took control. He was slotting jabs through Barrera’s defence and catching him with right crosses. A clash of head in the second had Barrera walking away but there was no damage from that but plenty from the jab and rights from Bivol but Bivol in fact had suffered a cut over his right eye in the clash. Barrera tried to go to the body but Bivol was too quick on his feet and Barrera kept coming up short and paying for it in counters from Bivol. The champion shook Barrera with a couple of rights to the head in the fourth and landed a cluster of accurate shots before the bell to end the fifth. Barrera pressed harder in the sixth and landed a good right to the head but again he was outscored and Bivol ended the round with a flourish and it was difficult to see any of the first six rounds that you could give to Barrera-and it did not get any better for the Cuban. It was almost textbook stuff from Bivol in the seventh. Barrera managed to land a good right cross early but Bivol paid him back with rights of his own and a barrage of punches had Barrera floundering at the bell. Again Barrera padded forward in the eighth trying to go to the body but he was just too slow. Bivol was drawing the lead stepping back quickly to leave Barrera coming up short and off balance and then letting fly with rapid bursts of punches. There had been a clash of heads in the round and a big bump was showing on the temple of Bivo. The ringside physician examined the injury but the fight continue. This was a slower round letting Barrera have some success. Bivol finished it with a strong attack but it had been a more even round. In the tenth Barrera had slowed and Bivol was buzzing around him spearing him with jabs and landing two/three/ four punch combinations. The lump on Bivol’s forehead passed another examination at the start of this round. Barrera knew he needed a knockout to win this but Bivol never allowed him the sniff of one. The young Russian was moving jabbing and stepping in with quick combinations rarely wasting a punch. Barrera was trying to find a big effort in the last but had nothing. Bivol had been landing hard punches but now he was really loading up on his shots. He landed two hard rights that had Barrera backing off and the he stepped in with a thunderous right to the head that put Barrera down on his back. Barrera pulled himself up at nine but the referee had a look at him and waived the fight over and Barrera made no complaint. The 27-year-old Kyrgyzstan-born Russian was making the second defence of his title and now has 11 wins by KO/TKO. He is very technically correct boxer upright relying heavily on the left jab/right cross approach. He has excellent defensive skills and real power as he displayed with his finishing punch here and the laser-like right that flattened Trent Broadhurst in November. He is probably a fight or two away from being ready for Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson and Artur Beterbiev but he feels ready now and is a real danger to all three of them. Cuban Barrera, 36, suffered his only other loss when he was floored and outpointed by Andre Ward in a non-title fight in 2016 but a kayo of unbeaten Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and wins over Joe Smith and Felix Varela had seen him rise to No 1 in the WBA ratings.
Alexander vs. Lee
Alexander gets another win to make it seven on the bounce since returning to the ring. In a tough, hard fought contest he outscored Lee. Alexander was picking up pionts with his jab and matched Lee on the inside. Although not really rocking Lee until late in the fight he was a clear winner. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. Alexander, 32, the brother of Devon, turned pro in 2004 and won his first five fights but then spent eleven years in prison for armed robbery before being released in 2015 and resuming his career in 2016. Lee from nearby Queens was 6-0-1 in his previous 7 fights including wins over experienced Giovanni Lorenzo and 17-1 Carlos Cruz and in fairness to him he took this fight at only two days notice and was in it with a chance until he tired.
Murtazaliev vs. McNeil
Murtazaliev now has an impressive looking 83% wins by KO/TKO after this victory. McNeil has done a good job in past fights of going the distance against superior opposition but it did not work for him this time. Murtazaliev was hunting him down over the first four rounds with McNeil focusing on survival. His efforts proved in vain as a right from Murtazaliev put him down in the fifth. McNeil beat the count but a series of head punches from Murtazaliev convinced the referee to step in and save McNeil. The 25-year-old Russian has made a quick climb to ten round level under the Main Events banner and now has 10 wins by KO/TKO. McNeil loses inside the distance for the first time having taken both Ievgen Khytrov and Alantez Fox the distance.
Sheffield, England: Super Welter: Kell Brook (37-2) W KO 2 Siarhei Rabchenko (29-3). Super Bantam: Gavin McDonnell (19-1-2) W PTS 12 Gamal Yafai (14-1). Heavy: Lenroy Thomas (22-4-1) TEC DRAW 1 David Allen (12-3-2): Feather: Kid Galahad (24-0) W KO 3 Irving Berry (23-8-2). Light: Atif Shafiq (19-2) W TKO 5 Lee Appleyard (12-4). Light Heavy: Rocky Fielding (26-1) W PTS 8 Karel Horejsek (11-8-3). Super Feather: Leigh Wood (20-1) W TKO 1 Rafael Castillo (14-41-3).
Brook vs. Rabchenko
Confident and impressive display from Brook on his return. He looked sharp and ended the fight with some brutal punches. Rabchenko came out throwing fast jabs putting Brook on then back foot. Brook stayed cool and banged home some sharp right counters. Rabchenko continued to work the jab and scored with a hard right. Brook got onto the front foot and scored with a straight right and a right uppercut before the bell. Rabchenko continued to come forward in the second but a peach of a right uppercut followed by a left from Brook sent him stumbling back. Brook moved in and they both threw a punch with Brooks right getting there first unhinging Rabchenko’s legs and he fell to the canvas. He tried to get up but struggled and although he just about made it the fight was over. Back-to-back losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence had left questions to be answered about Brook’s future but the move to super welter seemed to suit him and he finished in style with some eye-catching punching. Now he is looking to become a two division champion. Perhaps it is time for the 32-year-old Rabchenko to retire. He looked world class when he won the European title and went 25-0 but a disputed decision loss to Anthony Mundine seemed to take something out of him and he tumbled out of the ratings after being halted in nine rounds by Tony Harrison in 2016.
McDonnell vs. Yafai
It was anticipated that this would be a fast-paced close, entertaining contest between two very quick and very clever boxer and that is what was delivered most of the way. Yafai made a promising start. McDonnell just seemed to have the edge where jabs were concerned but Yafai was able to score with quick bursts of hooks when he moved inside. It was top quality boxing with good offence being matched by good defence in the case of both boxers. McDonnell just had the edge in accuracy and was the busier of the two but there was never much between from round to round or through the first five rounds but McDonnell looked to be getting on top after a good sixth in which he shook Yafai with a right. The rounds continued to be close but McDonnell was sharper and picking up the points with his jab and was more accurate with his hooks and uppercuts. He was building a winning lead and again rocked Yafai with a right just before the bell to end the ninth. By the tenth Yafai looked to be tiring and when he fell over he was slow to get up again and McDonnell stepped up the pressure. Yafai fell again in the eleventh as McDonnell pressed hard scoring with hard rights to the head and Yafai’s speed and work rate had dropped and his work was ragged. McDonnell deeper experience in six twelve round fights to Yafai’s one saw him pace the fight better. Yafai put everything into the last round but he was too often just putting his head down and swinging with McDonnell still controlled picking his punches and taking advantage of the gaps Yafai was leaving and McDonnell ran out a well deserved winner. Scores 116-112 twice and 117-111 all for McDonnell who wins the WBC International title. The classy 31-year-old Doncaster boxer, a former undefeated European and WBC Silver champion, lost a majority decision to Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC title and this win is his first major step back towards another title shot. At 26 Yafai, a former Commonwealth champion may have lost his WBC International title but has time to come again and he will.
Thomas vs. Allen
Unfortunately this one was over almost before it started as a clash of heads in the first round saw Allen suffer a deep cut over his right eye and the fight was stopped and declared a technical draw. Thomas had won the vacant Commonwealth title with a split verdict over Allen in May so the Jamaican southpaw retains the title with a third bout a possibility
Galahad vs. Berry
Galahad gets inside the distance win as he takes the first two rounds and then flattens Berry in the third. The unbeaten former British and Commonwealth champion took the first whilst really only finding out what Berry brought to the fight. From the second he was scoring well to the body and with straight rights. He ended it in spectacular style in the third rocking Berry with a left to the head and followed that immediately with a blistering left that sent Berry down on his back with his head resting on the bottom rope and the fight halted immediately. That makes it six wins by KO/TKO in a row since Galahad returned from a ban. He is No 5 with the IBF ( but the fourth rated boxer as the No 2 spot is vacant) so is looking to get a shot at the winner of Lee Selby’s defence against Josh Warrington in May. Last time out, in November, Berry, a former challenger for both the secondary and full WBA titles, had gone the full twelve rounds with Jhonny Gonzalez so an impressive victory for Galahad.
Shafiq vs. Appleyard
Shafiq uses body punches for victory in contest between two Rotherham boxers for the neighbourhood title. Appleyard started the slight favourite and tried to use his height and longer reach as a platform for victory. Shafiq worked the body and eventually that was the winning strategy. A left hook to the ribs in the fourth put Appleyard down for the first time and after two more falls from body punches in the fifth Appleyard’s corner threw in the towel to save their man any further punishment. Shafiq’s losses have both come in low level fights that he was expected to win but hopefully he can build on this victory. English champion and former Commonwealth title challenger Appleyard had won 4 of his last 5 but must start all over again.
Fielding vs. Horejsek
With the talk of a title fight against WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez Fielding could not afford any slip ups here. He got the win and some ring time but had trouble subduing tough Czech Horejsek who fought hard all the way. Referee’s score 79-74 for Fielding. Since his loss to Callum Smith in 2015 Fielding has scored split decisions over Chris Rebrasse and John Ryder but halted Dave Brophy inside a round to win the Commonwealth title. He is No 3 with the WBO. Although his record is unimpressive Horejsek has drawn with unbeaten fighters Adam Deines and Lennox Clarke so can be useful on his night.
Wood vs. Castillo
Wood blows away poor Nicaraguan Castillo inside a round. The Nottingham fight put Castillo down twice with the referee waiving the fight off on the second knockdown. Leigh’s only loss was a stoppage against world title challenger Gavin McDonnell in 2014 and this is his ninth win since then. Castillo now has 15 losses by KO/TKO.
Kempton Park, South Africa; Cruiser: Kevin Lerena (20-1) W PTS 12 Dymtro Kucher (24-3-1). Welter; Thulani Mbenge (13-0) W PTS 12 Diego Cruz (18-6-2). Minimumweight: DeeJay Kriel (14-1-1) W PTS 12 Xolisa Magusha (10-3-1)
Lerena vs. Kucher
Kucher come out on top in hard-fought IBO title defence against Kucher.Kucher had edges in height and reach in this one but made too cautious a start posing and allowing Lerena to score with jabs and long rights to the body. Southpaw Lerena had a good second round. He was making openings whilst Kucher was still looking for them and he stung the Ukrainian with a right to the head and drove Kucher back with a cluster of punches. Lerena scored with a good left to the chin at the start of the third and fourth but Kucher had good rounds using his longer reach to land jabs and right crosses. The fifth was a close round. Kucher worked well with the jab and straight right but Lerena was getting past the jab and landing hooks and long lefts and edged it. Kucher was scoring well early in the sixth and seventh and eighth. Nothing spectacular just jab, straight right but he was winning the rounds in each case until Lerena staged a storming finish to turn each of them his way. But they could just as easily have been scored for Kucher. Lerena used his jab more in the ninth and he was the one landing the more eye-catching shots with Kucher pinging Lerena with jabs and straight rights but being rocked by some of Lerena’s punches, despite having the shorter reach Lerena used his jab to take this one. He was beating Kucher to the punch and adding some thumping lefts and rights with both fighters looking tired. Lerena was stronger in the eleventh. Kucher kept pumping out the punches but Lerena was using his jab well and landing less but heavier. Lerena took the last. He had more left and although on the back foot was getting home with sharp right uppercuts and left hooks on the advancing Kucher as the fought their way to the bell after twelve hard gruelling rounds. Scores 119-109 twice and 117-111 for Lerena. I could not agree with the first two scores as I thought Kucher did much better than that and the 117-111 looked a better reflection. The South African was making the first defence of the IBO title he won with a points victory over Youri Kayembre Kalenga in September and he was made to fight hard all the way making this win that much more meaningful. The cruiser division has been in limbo for a while as the WBSS tournament has tied up the four titles. Lerena is No 4with the IBF (3) and 6 and 8 respectively with the WBC and WBA so very much in the picture once the smoke clears. Kucher, 33, is a former WBC Silver title holder and knocked Enzo Maccarinelli inside a round to win the European title in June 2016. He lost on points to Marco Huck for this same IBO title in November 2016 which was his last fight before this one.
Mbenge vs. Cruz
Mbenge wins the vacant WBC International title but Cruz comes in at 152.5lbs so 5.5lbs over the limit. Most of that extra weight was around the Mexican’s waist and understandably Mbenge focused his attacks on the body in early action. The overweight and slow Cruz stood up well to the attacks and did enough to steal a round here and there as Mbenge tended to fight in bursts. It made things easier for Cruz when Mbenge abandoned his body work and went upstairs as he showed a solid chin. Mbenge was a clear winner but it was not one of his best performances. Cruz had scored good wins over Ivan Cano and Jose Lopez and fought a draw with the 35-1-1 Roberto Ortiz in July but he showed disgraceful lack of dedication here with his weight.
Kriel vs. Magusha
Kriel holds on to his WBC International title with unanimous decision over southpaw Magusha. It was Magusha, the South African champion who made the stronger start. He was able to use his edge in reach to work on the outside with Kriel boxing on the back foot. Magusha was in front after three rounds but Kriel wound up his game and began to use his speed and skill to work openings and upped his work rate. Magusha remained competitive but Kriel was edging the rounds and in the end ran out a clear winner although the scores were a little harsh on Magusha. Scores 118-110, 118-112 and 116-113 for Kriel. The 22-year-old Kriel lost his first pro fight but is now 14-0-1 in his last 15 including an eight rounds points victory over Magusha in April last year. He is rated WBA 11 and WBC 12. That April loss to Kriel was Magusha’s only defeat in his last nine fights.
Glasgow, Scotland; Super Light: Josh Taylor (12-0) W TKO 3 Winston Campos (30-4-5). Super Light: Glenn Foot (22-3) W TKO 11 Jason Easton (11-1).
Taylor vs. Campos
Taylor overwhelms substitute Campos to retain WBC International title. Campos, like Taylor a southpaw, looked confident initially as he circled the ring prodding out jabs. The confidence did not last too long, just as long as it took southpaw Taylor to start firing hooks to the body. Campos did not relish the punishment. In the second Taylor again scored with body punches before switching to the head. He had Campos tumbling down with a clubbing left to the side of the head but landed a punch on the back the Nicaraguan’s head as he was his way down. Campos beat the count but was floored again with a series of punches before the bell and he went back to his corner shaking his head and looking like a fighter who did not want to be there. He came out for the third and tried to punch with Taylor. Taylor drove him back with right hooks and put him down again and although he managed to get up the referee stopped the fight. The 27-year-old “Tartan Terror” now has eleven wins by KO/TKO and was making the second defence of his WBC International title. He is No 6 with the WBC and obviously has a chance of landing a fight with the winner of the fight between Amir Imam and Juan Carlos Ramirez for the vacant title. Campos came in as a late substitute and suffered his third loss by KO/TKO. He was 13-0-1 in his last 14 fights so a good level replacement.
Foot vs. Easton
Foot halts Easton late in a fight for the vacant Commonwealth title in a real war. This was a contests of contrasting styles with Foot the aggressor with a big punch and Easton an upright boxer with excellent skills and some power. Foot came out fast and was getting past Easton’s jab and unsettling the Scot. Easton tried to get on the front foot in the second and was boxing well until a right drove him back to the ropes and another one put him down. He was up quickly and managed to stay to the bell. Easton began to steady himself and box and counter. Foot was a bit right hand happy but remained dangerous. Neither fighter wanted the other to have the last punch in any exchanges so as one would land the other would punch straight back. As long as Easton could make space he was able to score with long jabs and right crosses but Foot was in his face the whole time. The eighth was a candidate for round of the year. First Foot shook Easton with yet another overhand right and Easton came back with a vicious left hook and a right to the head. Suddenly Foot was in deep trouble fighting to stay on his feet as Easton battered away trying to find the punch to finish things. Foot survived and found a big right to have Easton in trouble only for Easton to land a huge right of his own at the end of a round that had the crowd on its feet for the full three minutes. Easton boxed well in the ninth and most of the tenth as they again traded heavy stuff but late in the round Easton looked exhausted and was now cut over his left eye. Easton put in a big effort at the start of the eleventh but really had nothing left. Foot drove him to the ropes with two heavy rights to the head and Easton slid down to the canvas and the referee waived the fight over. Easton went to hospital after the fight as a precaution but was not in danger. A great fight and Foot wins the vacant Commonwealth title at his second attempt. Easton fought a brave fight but the constant pressure and big rights from Foot proved too much for him.
Weissenfels, Germany: Light Heavy: Dominic Boesel (27-1) W PTS 12 Serhiy Demchenko (18-12-1). Light Heavy: Adam Deines (14-0-1) W PTS 12 Stefan Haertel (15-1). Light Heavy: Enrico Koelling (25-2) W TKO 1 Giorgi Beroshvili (30-22-3).
Boesel vs. Demchenko
Boesel wins the vacant European title at the second attempt as he outscores a strong but limited Demchenko. Boesel boxed well on the back foot over the early rounds letting Demchenko come forward and countering. He used a strong, quick jab to set Demchenko up for straight rights with Demchenko pressing and going to the body but not having much success as the hand speed and movement of Boesel was piling up the points. The scores after four rounds were 40-36 twice and 39-37 for Boesel. He continued to control the fight. Demchenko was just not pressing hard enough and not throwing enough punches. Boesel was able to score easily with counters and when he stepped in with a burst of punches Demchenko was too slow to be able to land anything of his own. To make matters worse he was cut over his left eye in a clash of heads in the sixth. That seemed to spur Demchenko who had a bit more success in the seventh but Boesel took the eighth moving and jabbing and was in front on scores 80-73, 78-74 and 77-75. The pace slowed in the ninth allowing Demchenko some measure of success when he could trap Boesel on the ropes but in the tenth Boesel was moving and finding plenty of gaps for quick jabs and combinations. In the eleventh Boesel took no chances really just trying to avoid any trouble which allowed Demchenko to take the round and Demchenko took the last also as Boesel spent most of the three minutes on the ropes covering up with Demchenko trying to land the big punch he needed but he never really managed to shake Boesel. Scores 116-112 twice and 118-111 all for Boesel. The 28-year-old German was halted in eleven rounds by Karo Murat for the vacant title in July last year. He has good wins over Balazs Kelemen and Tony Averlant and is a quick, clever boxer but not really a power punches. Italian-based Ukrainian Demchenko, 38, had a 1-4 spell against good level European fighters. He won the European Union title with a technical decision over Hakim Zoulikha in May but was too one-paced here.
Deines vs. Haertel
Deines wins this battle of unbeaten German hopes. It was Haertel with the smoother boxing skills and Deines the stronger and more aggressive. Southpaw Deines made a quick start coming forward throwing bunches off hooks with Haertel unsettled by the quirky style of Deines. Haertel settled from the second. He used his longer reach and faster hands to get through with jabs and landed some good left hooks to the body. Deines was more effective in close and he tried to distract Haertel with some showboating but Haertel stuck to his task. A strange fourth saw then just stand with their heads touching and not really working to the body and they kept returning to that position throughout the round. Deines scored well to the body and Haertel did not help himself by choosing to stand and trade when he was faster and more accurate on the outside. The rounds were close with neither fighter really dominating the action. It looked as though the cleaner work came from Haertel but the decision went to Deines. Scores 96-94 and 96-95 to Deines and 96-94 to Haertel. Deines wins the vacant German title and Haertel loses his unbeaten tag.
Koelling vs. Beroshvili
Koelling gets this one over quickly against late choice Beroshvili. Koelling was shadowing Beroshvili around the ring scoring with a couple of left hooks and a right to the head. Beroshvili sent out a couple of prodding jabs as he retreated. Half way through the round a right to the body dropped Beroshvili to his knees. He was up at eight but went down again before Koelling could land another punch of any significance and although he again made it to his feet the referee stopped the fight. First fight for Koelling since leaving Sauerland and joining SES and his second win since losing on a twelfth round kayo against Artur Beterbiev for the vacant IBO title in November. Beroshvili’s twelfth loss by KO/TKO.
Cologne, Germany: Super Middle: Avni Yildirim (18-1) W PTS 12 Derek Edwards (27-8-1).Light: Robert Tlatlik (22-1) W TKO 7 Marek Jedrzejewski (13-1). Super Middle: Yusuf Kanguel (15-2-1) W TKO 5 Sladan Janjanin (23-2). Super Feather: Yavuz Erturk (26-1) W KO 2 Giorgi Abuladze (11-5-1).
Yildirim vs. Edwards
Yildirim gets unanimous verdict over experienced Edwards in an entertaining and competitive contest. Yildirim adopted a more cautious approach than in the past. He has
been focusing on improving his defence and was working his opening rather than trying to batter the door down. There were plenty of spirited exchanges with both scoring well with right hooks. A right from Yildirim shook Edwards in the second but the American took it well and despite having to absorb another right and a hurtful left hook Edwards was firing back with hooks and uppercuts inside. Yildirim continued to ramp up the pressure scoring with left hooks to the body and heavy rights to the head. Edwards was taking the punches well and finding gaps for his jab and landing quick two-handed flurries in an entertaining fight. Yildirim had an impressive fifth as he mixed up his punches landing stiff jabs crunching rights to the head and then going to the body. Edwards had the better of some furious exchanges in the sixth and they both had successes in the seventh and eighth but with Yildirim landing the heavier punches in the seventh and Edwards getting through with jabs an uppercuts in the eighth. The ninth and tenth saw Edwards scoring with bursts of quick light punches and Yildirim landing less but landing heavier. Yildirim had built a solid lead but both tired over the last two rounds and Edwards was finding gaps for his jab and short hooks as Yildirim abandoned his boxing for a while but Yildirim had a strong last round to emerge a good winner. Scores 116-112 twice and 118-110 all for Yildirim. The 26-year-old Turkish “Mr Robot” retains his WBC International title in his second win since his disastrous three round loss to Chris Eubank Jr in October. He is obviously working on the faults that loss exposed and is still in the top ten of both the WBA and WBC so still very much a force. At 38 Edwards is still a classy boxer and as he showed in knocking out Badou jack in 61 seconds is dangerous but that is now five losses in a row. They have all been to world rated opponents but at 38 no one is going to invest any money in rebuilding his career.
Tlatlik vs. Jedrzejewski
Tlatlik wins the vacant WBC International Silver title with stoppage of fellow Pole Jedrzejewski. Tlatlik won this one more easily than expected. Jedrzejewski seemed flat and never really made any impression and a big left from Tlatlik in the seventh had him in deep water and the referee stopped the fight. German-based Pole Tlatlik gets win No 16 by KO/TKO as he rebuilds after losing his unbeaten record against Lukasz Wierzbicki in June. Jedrzejewski had won 12 of his previous 13 fights by KO/TKO.
Kanguel vs. Janjanin
Kanguel wins the vacant WBC Mediterranean title with stoppage of Bosnian Janjanin. Now 8 wins in a row for the 34-year-old Kanguel the last seven by KO/TKO. Janjanin had won his last nine fights with his other loss being to Canadian Steven Butler.
Erturk vs. Abuladze
Erturk alias “Jonathan English” makes it 20 wins by KO/TKO with second round victory over Georgian Abuladze. The 30-year-old former undefeated World Boxing Union and World Boxing Federation champion had only one fight in 2016 and one in 2017 but hopefully be more active now. Third loss by KO/TKO for Abuladze.
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Super Feather: Jayson Velez (26-4-1) W TKO 12 Juan Manuel Lopez (35-6). Super Feather: Alberto Mercado (14-1-1) W PTS 8 Jose Nieves (22-4-3).
Velez vs. Lopez
Velez continues his rebuilding process with a late stoppage of Lopez. After some cautious sparring in the first Velez rocked Lopez with a right and Lopez banged back with a southpaw left but Velez showed the faster hand speed. Lopez tried take the fight to Velez over the next few rounds but again Velez was quicker and jolted Lopez with jabs and landed sharp rights and his punches had a bump growing under the left eye of Lopez. Velez continued to outscore Lopez who was dreadfully slow on his feet and the only time he was able to land any significant punches was when he could pin Velez to the ropes or when Velez chose to stand and trade. It was on those occasions that the strength of Lopez allowed him to bull Velez on the inside with Velez ducking too low and doing too much holding making the fight untidy at times. As long as Velez stayed on the outside and boxed he was doing fine but gradually he was letting himself be drawn into a brawl and Lopez was finding the target with clubbing lefts. Lopez had to survive a couple of examinations by the ringside physician due to a vertical cut on his forehead above his nose. The end came in the last round. Once again Lopez had to pass an inspection of the vertical gash and when the action resumed Velez landed a blistering right uppercut and then a straight right that put Lopez down on one knee. After the eight count Lopez wobbled but tried to punch his way out of trouble until a series of head punches had him staggering badly and about to go down and the referee stopped the fight. “La Maravilla” Velez had looked to be on the road to nowhere after four straight losses in 2015/2016 but he scored two wins last year and this battle for local bragging rights is a big win for him. Now 32 Juanma” is looking a bit worn around the edges. The former WBO super bantam and feather champion has been on a switchback ride recently with losses to Mikey Garcia, Francisco Vargas and Jesus Cuellar and a wins over Daniel Ponce De Leon and in his last fight in October 2016 over Wilfredo Vazquez.
Mercado vs. Nieves
In his first fight for a year Mercado makes a slow start. Nieves edged the first two rounds in this all-southpaw contest but then Mercado began to roll and took over the fight. Nieves remained competitive but at 37 and in his first fight for almost five years he is not the force he was and Mercado was a clear winner. Scores 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 all for Mercado. First fight for Mercado since losing his unbeaten tag against Velez in March last year. First fight for Nieves since his first round kayo loss to Shinsuke Yamanaka for the WBC bantam title in 2013.
Arroyo Seco, Argentina: light: Miguel Acosta (11-6-1) W PTS 10 Luis Rueda (17-1). Big surprise here as modest non-puncher Acosta floors unbeaten Rueda three times in their all-southpaw contest and wins by a large margin on all cards. Acosta made a great start putting Rueda down with a left to the head in the very first round. Rueda fought back strongly but a right to the chin floored him again in the third. Rueda got back into the fight over the fourth, where Acosta flirted with disqualification by holding too much, and fifth but was dropped again by a right in the sixth. They both landed some heavy punches and after more clinching Acosta was docked a point in the eighth but he took the ninth and tenth to wrap up victory. Scores 95-91 twice and 97-89 for Acosta who takes Rueda’s IBF Latino title. Acosta, 26, had lost on points to Rueda in 2016 being floored and having to take a standing count so this was sweet revenge and gives him his fifth win in a row. Rueda, 31, was ranked No 1 challenger for the Argentinian title so a big setback.
Carentan, France; Super Feather: Matthieu Lehot (11-8-1) W PTS 10 Dame Seck (11-19-2). Lehot wins the vacant French title with decision over Seck. Neither of these fighters will get past domestic level but they put on a spirited contest. Fighting in his hometown Lehot was in control most of the way but Seck fought hard and many of the rounds were close. Scores 100-90 twice and 98-92 for Lehot. Lehot moves to 5-1-1 and Seck has now lost 7 of his last 8 fights. There are better French super feathers than these two but the others are looking towards European titles.
Dublin, Ireland: Super Welter; Craig O’Brien (8-0) W PTS 10 Jay Byrne (6-4).
O’Brien wins the vacant Irish title as he outboxes Byrne. O’Brien just got the better of the first two rounds but Byrne had a good third catching O’Brien with a big left. From there the superior skills of O’Brien saw him sweep the middle rounds which featured a number of fierce exchanges. Byrne took the ninth as O’Brien’s work rate dropped and he attacked strongly in the tenth but O’Brien was a clear winner. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-92 for O’Brien who is still seeking his first inside the distance win. All of Byrne’s losses have come against unbeaten fighters
Tokyo, Japan: Light: Masayuki Ito (23-1-1) W TKO 9 Vergil Puton (17-10).
Former OPBF champion Ito keeps busy with stoppage of Filipino Puton. Ito was looking to make this an early night and had Puton badly hurt with a right in the first and only the bell saved Puton. The Filipino’s nickname is “Strong Man” and he lived up to that as Ito continually landed heavy rights and Ito had him badly shaken again in the third. Again Puton survived and fought back hard and landed some good punches in the seventh. However a stream of straight rights and uppercuts from Ito slowly broke the game Filipino down and the referee stepped in to save him in the ninth. Now 12 wins by KO/TKO for the 27-year-old from Tokyo who has won seven in a row and is rated IBF 9(7)/WBC 8/ WBA 9. Puton the Philippines No 10 drops to 3-7 in his last 10 fights.
Kawasaki, Japan: Fly: Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3) W PTS 10 Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1). This one was close all the way as Kuroda makes a successful third defence of the national title. Kuroda’s edge in reach saw him take the first round but Nagamine came back with some hard rights and left hooks and the third, fourth and fifth were very close as reflected in the scores at the half way mark of 48-47 twice for Kuroda and 48-48. Nagamine edged the sixth only for Kuroda to take the seventh with strong rights. Nagamine looked to be tiring but rebounded to take the eighth with Kuroda pocketing the ninth. Nagamine scored with a heavy right in the last as they fought to the bell. Scores 96-93, 96-94 and 95-94 for Kuroda. A former Japanese light fly champion Kuroda lost to Juan Reveco in a challenge for the secondary WBA fly title in 2013. He is rated WBA 5/IBF 8(7)/WBC 9/WBO 10. Nagamine was 4-0-1 in his last 5 fights but this was his first move up to ten rounds so he did better than expected
Brentwood, England; Super Welter: Billy Bird (17-1) W PTS 10 Matt McCarthy (18-2). Yet another excellent BBB of C Southern Area title fight saw the title change hands as Bird outpoints champion McCarthy in an all-Essex scrap. It was a back and forwards battle over the first four rounds with Bird probably just having a small edge. The fifth was the round that decided the fight, McCarthy shook Bird with a left but as he moved in to capitalise on that a left hook from Bird knocked him off balance and he touch the floor with his glove which led to a count. McCarthy went straight back to war and a left sent Bird’s mouthguard flying only for Bird to again slam back with a left that put McCarthy down for the second time in the round. Bird also did enough to take the sixth but McCarthy fought back hard and skilfully in the closing rounds trying to close the gap in the points but just failed to do so. Referee’s score 96-95 for Bird showing how the fifth round was so critical. Bird, 24, moves to seven wins in a row. McCarthy had won his last nine and was making the first defence of the Southern Area title and deserves a return.
Clearwater, FA, USA: Light: William Silva (24-1) W Rogelio Casarez (13-6).
Silva becomes a “world” champion as he easily outpoints Casarez in a ridiculous match up. The 6’1” (185cm) Silva had no problems handling the 5’4” (163cm) Casarez. He was able to stay on the outside slotting home jabs and straight rights. With Casarez having to try to get inside he was an easy target for uppercuts and hooks. Casarez never stopped trying but he absorbed quite a beating and lost every round. Scores 100-90 from all three judges. Brazilian Silva wins both the National Boxing Association world title and the IBO Continental title. He lost a wide decision to Felix Verdejo in February 2016 and was then out of action for 21 months and gets his second win on his return. Casarez, a former NABF Junior champion will always struggle physically at lightweight.
Fight of the week: Glenn Foot vs. Jason Easton a war all the way
Fighter of the week: Deontay Wilder not his best fight but he showed he could come back from the precipice and win. Honourable mentions to Kell Brook, Dmitry Bivol and Jose Uzcategui for impressive wins
Punch of the week: The right from Dmitry Bivol that put Sullivan Barrera down for the first time with honourable mentions to Wilder’s right that unhinged Ortiz’s legs and effectively ended the fight and the punch from Kell Brook that ended the fight with Sergey Rabchenko
Upset of the week: Miguel Acosta (10-6-1) beating (17-0) Luis Rueda
One to watch: No one really stood out this week.