–Anthony Joshua easily outpoints Joseph Parker to add the WBO title to his collection
-Ryan Burnett outclasses Yonfrez Parejo to retain his WBA bantam title
-Alex Povetkin almost goes over but scores brutal kayo over David Price
-Anthony Crolla stays on track for another title shot with win over Mexican Edson Ramirez
-Kosei Tanaka halts Filipino Ronnie Baldonado in preparation for a shot at becoming a three division champion after only twelve fights
-Nadjib Mohammedi beats Hadillah Mohoumadi in clash of top French super middles
-Wins for prospects Josh Kelly, Joe Cordina and Joshua Buatsi
-Custio Clayton and Steve Butler get inside the distance wins in Quebec
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Welter: Malik Hawkins (13-0) W PTS 10 Ray Serrano (24-5). Super Bantam: Tramaine Williams (15-0,1ND) W PTS 6 Antonio Rodriguez (12-21-1). Super Middle: Ronald Ellis (15-0-2,1ND) W PTS 6 Taneal Goyco (9-11-1).
Hawkins vs. Serrano
Big win for Hawkins as he takes unanimous verdict over more experienced Serrano. Hawkins used a strong jab and some effective movement to counter the aggression of Serrano. Hawkins best punch was his right uppercut with which he constantly caught the advancing Philadelphian. Serrano worked well with his left hooks and both were finding the target in close competitive action. Hawkins rocked Serrano in the fifth with an uppercut and some left hooks but Serrano fired back with a right to the head in the sixth which shook Hawkins. The seventh was Hawkins round and he edged the eighth before again shaking Serrano in the ninth. They fought hard over the last three minutes with Serrano putting in a big effort feeling he was behind but he came up short. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for the 22-year-old Hawkins. The Baltimore fighter claims a 93-8 amateur record and won a number of State, Regional and Junior titles. This was his first ten round fight and Serrano was a tough test so he looks a good prospect. Serrano’s past losses have been in important fight. He had won his three fights last year after training under Freddie Roach.
Williams vs. Rodriguez
Southpaw Williams gets win over late substitute Rodriguez. Williams was just too quick and too slick for the Mexican. Williams was scoring with quick combinations and mixing in some left hand leads. Rodriguez had some success inside just enough to remain competitive. Williams had built a commanding lead but Rodriguez came back strongly to take the fifth and survived a ringside physician’s inspect of a cut on his right eyebrow in the sixth to go the distance. Scores 60-53, 59-55 and 58-56 for “The Mighty Midget”. The 25-year-old from New Haven already has useful wins over Chris Martin, William Gonzalez and Derrick Murray. He is a former National Golden Gloves champion and competed at the US Trials for the 2012 Olympics. Hopefully has put behind him for good the behaviour that saw him sentenced in 2015 to two and a half years for possessing a weapon and narcotics. Now 5 losses in his last 6 fights for Rodriguez but he earned his money here.
Ellis vs. Goyco
Ellis returns to action after his draw with Junior Younan and is just too much for Goyco. Ellis came out firing trying to blow Goyco away over the first two rounds. Goyco took the punishment and did not crumble and came back to match Ellis in a close third. Ellis put Goyco down with a right in the fourth but Goyco was up quickly and back in the fight. Ellis continued to outscore Goyco in the fifth and sixth but Goyco stayed with him and was dangerous with occasional shots, Scores 60-53 twice and 59-54 for Ellis. The 28-year-old “Akeem” was National Golden Gloves champion in 2010 beating Terrell Gausha in the final. His career has been hampered by hand injuries. Goyco, 36, is now 3-5 in his last 8 fights. In there is a win over Jerry Odom who held Ellis to a draw.
Levallois-Perret, France: Super Middle: Nadjib Mohammedi (40-5) W PTS 12 Hadillah Mohoumadi (23-5-1). Cruiser: Herve Lofidi (8-2) W TKO 2 Julio Cesar Dos Santos (28-8). Super Light: Massi Tachour (10-4,1ND) W PTS 10 Renald Garrido (20-19-2). Super Middle: Kevin Lele Sadjo (6-0) W TKO 3 Matiouze Royer (17-32-7). Super Light: Yazid Amghar (20-0) W TKO 7 Jarkko Putkonen (15-4-2).
Mohammedi vs. Mohoumadi
Aggression triumphs over skill here as Mohammedi wins the vacant WBA Continental title with one-sided victory over Mohoumadi. Over the first couple of rounds Mohoumadi tried to stick to the ring centre ring and use a strong jab and good movement to blunt the attacks of Mohammedi. He had only limited success and was too often trapped on the ropes where Mohammedi was able to score with body punches. Mohammedi had a big sixth as he pounded Mohoumadi with hooks and uppercuts. He kept pressing and cutting down Mohoumadi’s space. Mohoumadi managed to slot home some good rights but too few and Mohammedi was finding plenty of gaps in Mohoumadi’ s defence and constantly shifting angles and landing with precise, accurate punches. Mohammedi hammered Mohoumadi on the ropes for much of the eighth round and was stronger over the closing rounds. An exhausted Mohoumadi did not have enough left in the tank to stage a strong finish and instead it was Mohammedi who was trying for the knockout in the last. Scores 119-109 twice and 118-110 for Mohammedi in what was expected to be a close fight. The 33-year-old “Iron Djib” Mohammedi put together a 13 bout winning streak which earned him a shot at Sergey Kovalev in 2015 for the IBF,WBA and WBO titles but he was knocked out in the third round. In his next fight in 2016 he was knocked out in two rounds by Olek Gvozdyk which saw him banished from the ratings. He has rebuilt strongly since then with wins in European action over Roman Shkarupa and Hakim Zoulikha. In his first reign as European champion Mohoumadi, 37, lost the title on a first round kayo against Callum Smith. He regained the title and made one defence before relinquishing it. Although rated No 7 by the WBC he is unlikely to be able to rebound from such a wide loss.
Lofidi vs. Dos Santos
A win but also a disappointment for the tall Lofidi. He had an easy night against ancient Brazilian Dos Santos who came in as a late substitute. The French champion was to have fought Nick Kisner for the vacant WBA Inter-0Continental title but Kisner pulled out with an injury. The 29-year-old, 6’5”, 29-year-old Lofidi has won 8 of his last 9 fights. The loss was a first round kayo which he revenged with a first round kayo of his own. Dos Santos, 40, has lost 5 of his last 6 fights
Tachour vs. Garrido
Mild upset as Tachour outpoints the more experienced Garrido to relieve him of the national title. Garrido started the fight well. He was moving smartly and taking the fight to Tachour. The challenger was loading up on his punches leaving himself open to counters. The fight was fast and furious with neither fighter showing a steady defence. Garrido continued to come forward but Tachour was outworking him and had tightened his defence. Tachour was the stronger over the closing stages with Garrido not really showing any variety in his work and presenting Tachour with an easy target. Tachour took the split decision but it should have been unanimous. Scores 98-92 and 97-93 for Tachour and 96-94 for Garrido. The 27-year-old Tachour, the French No 7, had a rocky start to his career going 3-3,1ND but is now 7-1 in his last 8 fights. “Le Lion” Garrido was making the first defence of his national title. He can be a tough customer on his night but was well below par here.
Sadjo vs. Royer
Former amateur champion Sadjo retains the French title with stoppage of Royer. “The Phenomenon” went to work immediately on Royer first with hooks to the head and then sinking in shots to the solar plexus putting Royer into survival mode before the first round was out. Royer was down in the second and twice more in the third before a right put him down for the third time in the round and although the referee started the count he quickly waived the fight over. Sadjo may be one to watch as he won the national title in only his fifth fight and has won all of his contests by KO/TKO taking less than 16 rounds to do so. He turned pro in June last year immediately after winning the French amateur title. Second shot at the title for Royer and his sixth loss by KO/TKO.
Amghar vs. Putkonen
Amghar marches on. The former undefeated French champion just punched too hard for Finn Putkonen. He floored the visitor in the sixth and after another knockdown in the seventh the fight was stopped. The 28-year-old Parisian gets his eighth win by KO/TKO. He is No 17 with the EBU as his opposition has not been strong but he is ready to step up to EU level. Putkonen has lost tough asks against Jack Catterall and Robbie Davies on the road.
Ghent, Belgium: Cruiser: Bilal Laggoune (23-1-2) W PTS 12 Simon Barclay (10-3). Welter: Maxim Churbanov (8-3-1) W PTS 8 Meriton Karaxha (18-5-1). Super Welter: Sasha Yengoyan (41-3-1) W PTS 8 Ayoub Nefzi (26-9-2,1ND).
Laggoune vs. Barclay
Laggoune given a good test by Brit Barclay. Laggoune boxed well but Barclay made him fight hard for the win. Barclay had a strong fifth round taking it with accurate counters but Laggoune did well in the sixth and seventh and had Barclay rocked in the eighth. The rounds were close late in the fight as both fighters tired and slowed and the local fighter took a deserved unanimous decision. Scores 116-112 for Laggoune from all three judges. The 25-year-old Belgian is getting back on track after drawing with Dymtro Kucher for the vacant European title and losing a split verdict to Doudou Ngumbu for the WBC Francophone title. This is his third win in a row and the first defence of his IBF Inter-Continental title. He has the backing of money man Joe Fournier and although he is down at No 10 in the EBU ratings another shot at the title is a real possibility. Barclay’s other losses were tough asks against Matty Askin and Stephen Simmons and he performed creditably here.
Churbanov vs. Karaxha
Churbanov failed to read the script as he was not imported to win. The Russian was a tougher opponent than his record indicated and had been on a good run. He did enough here to take the split verdict the Belgian champion. Scores 77-74 and 76-75 for Churbanov and 76-75 for Karaxha. After a 3-2-1 start to his career Russian champion Churbanov has now won 5 of his last 6 fights. Belgian-based Albanian Karaxha had won his last 7 fights.
Yengoyan vs. Nefzi
Yengoyan returns to action after a disappointing split decision loss to Frenchman Howard Cospolite in September. He took the unanimous decision here with a score of 78-73 from each judge. The 33-year-old Armenian had won nine in a row before the Cospolite loss which saw him drop to No 12 in the European ratings so he has some rebuilding to do. Tunisian “Prince” Nefzi, 37, a former Belgian champion, looked promising when he went 16-0-1 in his first 17 fights but with this loss he is 3-6-1 in his last 10
Aflao, Ghana: Bantam: Joseph Agbeko (34-5) W PTS 12 Frank Kiwalabye (15-1). Agbeko’s homecoming fight results in a victory but a controversial one as the former WBA bantam champion benefits from some local refereeing to win the vacant WBO African title. Agbeko forced the fight most of the way but Ugandan Kiwalabye proved to be a tough opponent and was willing to stand and trade . The controversy arose over two knockdowns scored by Kiwalabye which were ruled not to be knockdowns by the referee. One was borderline but the other was a clear knockdown. Two rights sent Agbeko into the ropes and he was only held up by the bottom rope. The referee waived his arms to show he was not going to count. Agbeko made it to his feet but staggered back to the ropes still badly shaken. The referee walked across the ring and gave Kiwalabye a warning about pushing Agbeko down which was rubbish as it was two rights to the head and there was no push as was shown by how wobbly Agbeko was. When the referee indicated for the action to resume the bell went immediately and Agbeko survived-with a little help and went on to take the decision. The 38-year-old Agbeko had only one fight in 2015, one in 2016 and two last year and he looked very vulnerable here and tired over the late rounds. Kiwalabye had won twelve of his fights by KO/TKO and might have made it 13 but for some refereeing errors.
Calera, Argentina: Super Bantam: Luis Cusolito (27-2) W KO 1 Argel Berrio (15-4). : Super Bantam: Alejandro Gaspar (12-2-2) W PTS 10 Claudio Echegaray (21-1-1).
Cusolito vs. Berrio
All over in 41 seconds as Cusolito annihilates Colombian Berrio to retain the South American title. Cusolito forced Berrio to the ropes with a couple of jabs and then landed two scorching left hooks to the body. Berrio slid along the ropes trying to escape but Cusolito nailed him with a couple of rights to the head and then sent him to his knees in agony with two left hooks to the ribs. Berrio took the count on his knees and never looked like getting up. The 29-year-old Argentinian moves to 21 wins by KO/TKO. He has won 13 of his last 14 fights with the defeat in those figures being a twelfth round stoppage loss to Moises Flores for the interim WBA title in 2015. Cusolito has come through some tough times. A few years back his father died of a heart attack whilst working his son’s corner and more recently his young daughter died in an accident at home. Third loss by KO/TKO for Berrio who at one time was 15-1.
Gaspar vs. Echegaray
Major upset as Gaspar wins unanimous verdict over fellow southpaw Echegaray with a knockdown making the difference in a close contest. Echegaray had advantages in height and reach but Gaspar built a slight lead over the first four rounds before flooring Echegaray in the fifth. Gaspar continued to dominate the action and had Echegaray badly shaken in the eighth. Surprisingly Echegaray fought back hard landing some heavy shots in the ninth to have Gaspar in trouble but Gaspar just edged an exciting last round. Scores 96 ½-93, 95 ½-94 ½, 95 ½-95 all for Gaspar. Echegaray’s interim WBC Latino title was not up for grabs but Gaspar , the Argentinian No 7, gained revenge for a sixth round stoppage loss to Echegaray in 2016. Huge set-back for Argentinian No 2 Echegaray and a third match between the two is a must.
Bangkok, Thailand: Super Bantam: Nop Kratingdaenggym (21-1) W John Mark Apolinario (19-11-3). Nop (Anurak Thisa) continues his rebuilding with stoppage of experienced Filipino Apolinario. Nop was content to box conservatively over the early rounds. Apolinario did most of the attacking but he lacked the power to worry Nop who blocked most of the Filipino’s punches. When Nop did attack he used a quick accurate jab and left hooks to the body but did not sustain his attacks. Nop shook Apolinario with a right in the fourth as he increased his punch output but Apolinario landed a good right uppercut. Nop got serious in the fifth forcing Apolinario around the ring landing heavy punches with both hand before dropping the Filipino with a left hook. Apolinario beat the count but looked finished. Nop continued to land with brutal straight rights, hooks and uppercuts but somehow Apolinario made it to the bell. In the sixth Nop landed a series of uppercuts and then sent Apolinario to the floor with a left hook. The fight should have been stopped but Apolinario got up and was allowed to take more pile-driving rights before the referee halted the massacre. The 26-year-old Nop lost on a third round kayo against Nehomar Cermeno for the secondary WBA title in 2016 and this makes it four wins in a row since that loss. “Iceman” Apolinario came close when he fought two draws for the secondary WBA bantam title but lost to Koki Kameda in a third shot at the title. He has slipped a long way since then and is now 2-9 in his last 11 fights.
Cardiff, Wales: Heavy: Anthony Joshua (21-0) W PTS 12 Joseph Parker (24-1). Heavy: Alex Povetkin (34-1) W KO 5 Davis Price (22-5). Bantam: Ryan Burnett (19-0) W PTS 12 Yonfrez Parejo (21-3-1). Welter: Josh Kelly (6-0) W PTS 10 Carlos Molina (28-9-2). Light: Joe Cordina (7-0) W TKO 3 Hakim Ben Ali (19-6). Light: Anthony Crolla (33-6-3) W PTS 10 Edson Ramirez (18-3-1). Light Heavy: Joshua Buatsi (5-0) W PTS 6 Bart Grafka (20-29-3,1ND).
Joshua vs. Parker
Joshua adds the WBO title to the IBF, WBA and IBO titles he already holds as he easily outpoints Parker in a fight that never really reached the heights with Parker reluctant to go to war even to retain his title. Joshua found the WBO champion an elusive target and with Parker not looking to engage it was dominant performance from Joshua but lacked the explosiveness we have come to expect from him. On the plus side he went twelve rounds for the first time and paced the fight well.
Both fighters were testing their jabs in the first. Neither managed to land anything of consequence. Parker started confidently and was the busier fighter but by the end of the round was on the back foot .
Score 10-9 Parker
Parker continued to box on the retreat. Joshua let his punches go a bit more. Neither fighter landed anything heavy Joshua just had the better of the exchanges with Parker coming up short with his punches.
Score 10-9 Joshua 19-19
It was a similar situation in this round. Joshua was stalking Parker and the New Zealander hardly strayed into the centre of the ring. What scoring there was came from Joshua but the fight had not really caught fire at this stage. There was a clash of heads late in the round but luckily neither fighter was cut.
Score 10-9 Joshua 29-28
Joshua’s round again. He was constantly stalking Parker landing his jab and a good left hook. With the height and reach difference Parker was unable to land his jab, his best punch normally, and he was also wary of Joshua’s power so was struggling to get into the fight.
Score 10-9 Joshua 39-37
This was a closer round. Parker landed a right, the best punch in the fight so far. He also launched a lunging attack but Joshua showed some quick footwork and Parker was unable to land anything of note. Joshua worked well with his jab and landed some body punches doing enough to win a close round.
Score 10-9 Joshua 49-46
The fight came to life in this one mainly due to Parker changing his tactics and coming forward throwing punches. They both landed heavy rights with Parker driving Joshua back along the ropes until the referee parted them. Joshua landed a couple of heavy rights but Parker just did enough to take the round.
Score 10-9 Parker 58-56
Joshua was back in control in this one. He was getting through with his jabs and landing occasional rights to the head. Parker was boxing on the back foot again and his attempts to use his own jab were frustrated by Joshua taking two quick steps back leaving Parker swotting air.
Score 10-9 Joshua 68-65
A dominant round for Joshua. He controlled the action with his jab and scored with short hooks inside whenever Parker got past the jab. Joshua just kept banging that jab home and it was already clear that Parker had no plan B other than to stay there and hope Joshua tired over the closing rounds.
Score 10-9 Joshua 78-64
A closer and less dominant round for Joshua. Parker landed a good right and a left hook but again he had no answer to Joshua’s powerful jab and was caught with punches inside. Heads clashed again with Parker given a warning to keep his head up.
Score 10-9 Joshua 88-83
Joshua’s round by a long way. He opened a small cut by the left eye of Parker as his elbow landed there in an exchange and dominated the action again scoring with hooks and uppercuts inside. Parker tried to launch some attacks but came up short and paid for it as Joshua banged home counters. For the third time in the fight the tape on Joshua’s left glove unwound.
Score 10-9 Joshua 98-92
Apart from a sharp uppercut he scored inside Joshua just jabbed his way to winning this round. Parker tried a couple of lunges but other than that he was on the retreat with Joshua’s jab forcing him back.
Score 10-9 Joshua 108-101
No last round heroics from Parker. A Joshua right hook was enough to put the New Zealander on the back foot and Joshua’s jab did the rest as Parker looked just to be happy to see out the round.
Score 10-9 Joshua 118-110
Official scores: 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110 for Joshua+
It takes two to make a fight and Parker’s tactics were to try to win the fight without taking any risks but all he managed to do was lose it without taking any risks. Joshua controlled this fight with his jab and some good movement and it shows his status in the division in the ease with which he beat the previously undefeated New Zealander. Now Joshua is looking to fight Deontay Wilder to unify all four major titles. Financial negotiations will prove difficult as Wilder will demand at least parity of purse but a bigger threat to unification could come from titles that Joshua holds. Alex Povetkin looked very vulnerable in his fight with David Price but he is the mandatory challenger for both the WBA and WBO titles and although there is no mandatory challenger for the IBF title there is talk of a Jarrell Miller vs. Kubrat Pulev final eliminator. Let’s not forget how quickly the sanctioning bodies moved in to strip Tyson Fury when he held these three major tiles.
Povetkin vs. Price
Povetkin the WBA and WBO No 1 keeps his hopes of a fight with Anthony Joshua alive as he beats Price in five rounds. With the huge difference in height and reach, Price 6’8” and Povetkin 6’2”, Povetkin had to leap inside to score and he was getting through with hooks to head and body. Price just probed with his jab early but finished the opening round with a couple of good combinations. Price was more positive with his jab in the second but Povetkin got home with a couple of rights to the head. Price was still not throwing many punches and although he was blocking many of Povetkin’s punches the Russian was doing enough to win the round. Povetkin scored with a right to the head early in the third but Price banged back with a stiff jab and powerful combination. Suddenly a ferocious left hook from Povetkin put Price down on his back. Price banged his gloves on the canvas in anger at letting himself get caught with the hook and got up. He was also cut over his left eye but seemed not too shaken. Povetkin tried desperately to land another big shot but it was Price who did that. Just before the bell a left hook sent Povetkin staggering backwards across the ring and only the ropes stopped him from going down. He was given a count whilst standing and the bell went when the eight count was completed. Povetkin took the fourth with his hooks and uppercuts with Price only really probing with his jab and not throwing the right. Early in the fifth a right to the head stopped Price in his tracks. For a split second he stood stationary with his hands down and Povetkin nailed him with a left hook which put Price flat out on the canvas and the referee immediately waived the fight over. The 38-year-old Russian retains the WBA Inter-Continental and WBO International titles which will strengthen his hand with those bodies over a fight with Joshua. He showed he still has the explosive power that has brought him 24 wins by KO/TKO but he would start a rank outsider against Joshua. Price boxed well but made very little use of his edge in reach rarely using his jab for anything more than a probe. The left hook that he landed in the third gave momentary hope but the end was predictable.
Burnett vs. Parejo
Burnett outclasses Parejo in first defence of his WBA title with a scintillating display of skill and wins every round
Burnett too fast and too clever for Parejo. The champion was slotting home jabs and landing hooks to the body. Burnett carried his left hand a thigh level but his movement was too quick for Parejo to take advantage of that.
Score 10-9 Burnett
Parejo had some early success as Burnett was dropping both hands and using quick footwork and upper body movement to dodge the challengers punches. Burnett came on over the second half of the round scoring with rights to take the points.
Score 10-9 Burnett 20-18
Burnett took this one clearly. His hand speed was allowing him to get through with jabs and he was also landing fast combinations inside and already doing some showboating. Parejo was warned for holding.
Score 10-9 Burnett 30-27
More of the same as Burnett flashed home jabs and fired short bursts of hooks and straight rights. Parejo just could not find the target as the footwork of Burnett left the Venezuelan punching air
Score 10-9 Burnett 40-36
This was a bit closer as Burnett spent some of the time just displaying his amazing reflexes. At one point he deliberately retreated to a corner and invited Parejo to come and try to hit him. Parejo tried but had little success and Burnett scored with some hooks before the bell to take the round.
Score 10-9 Burnett 50-45
Parejo scored with a couple of useful hooks to the body in this one but was outworked by Burnett. The champion was pinging Parejo with lightning fast jabs and landed a left uppercut which was the best punch in the fight so far.
Score 10-9 Burnett 60-54
Another frustrating round for Parejo. Burnett was changing direction, changing angles and occasionally changing guard with Parejo frozen due the there being no real target for him. Burnett was zipping in landing quick combinations and getting out before Parejo could counter.
Score 10-9 Burnett 70-63
Burnett was again just moving too fast for Parejo. He was fighting in spurts leaping in landing with a bust of hooks and then moving out before piercing Parejo’s guard with flashing jabs. Parejo was again warned for holding but it was only when he was holding Burnett that he knew where the Belfast man was.
Score 10-9 Burnett 80-72
Burnett continued to showcase his brilliant skills but the fight was too one-sided to be entertaining. Burnett was throwing punches from all angles but again only in short bursts and going for speed rather than sitting down on his punches and going for power. Parejo was waiting too long to let his punches go and was being outclassed.
Score 10-9 Burnett 90-81
Burnett stood and traded more in this round. That allowed Parejo some success but he was outpunched with Burnet firing fast shots from both hands and landing some choice left hooks. A clash of heads saw Burnett suffer a cut up in his hairline over his left eye. Referee asked the ringside physician to have a look at the injury but it was not serious and the fight continued.
Score 10-9 Burnett 100-90
Burnett’s work rate dropped at the start of the round but once he picked up the pace he was jerking Parejo’s head back with his jab and scoring with hooks and uppercuts inside.
Score 10-9 110-99
Burnett took the last again being too fast-handed for Parejo who was unable to stage any late charge and was rocked by a right early as Burnett eased his way to victory.
Score 10-9 Burnett 120-108
Official scores: 120-108, 120-108 and 116-112 all for Burnett
The 25-year-old from Belfast made this one look easy against a fighter rated No 2 by the WBA. It will take someone a lot quicker and a lot more powerful than Parejo to threaten Burnett’s reign. That fighter just may be the Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue who fights Jaime McDonnell for the secondary WBA title next month but if McDonnell were to upset the odds then Burnett vs. McDonnell would be yet another in the ongoing series of high quality all-British fights. Parejo lost a close decision to Zhanat Zhakiyanov for the WBA interim title in November 2015 and had scored four low level wins since then. Big question is where did a judge find four rounds to give to Parejo!
Kelly vs. Molina
In only his sixth pro fight Olympian Kelly outclasses former IBF super welter champion Molina. The tall, slick Sunderland fighter was just too quick and too skilful for Molina who never managed to get a foothold in the fight. With a hands-down guard Kelly was taking the fight to Molina from the start and hurt Molina with a flashing combination in the second. Plenty of clever movement frustrated Molina’s attempts to land anything of significance and his blazing hand speed allowed Kelly to pierce the Mexican’s guard with ease. Molina managed to land some good punches in the fifth and he never stopped trying but was rocked by a combination in the sixth and Kelly boxed his way to victory. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-92. The 24-year-old Kelly wins the vacant WBA International title. This is the first time Kelly has gone past six rounds and with Molina rated No 13(11) by the IBF it is a huge win for the outstandingly talented young fighter. As an amateur he was English and British Youth champion and won bronze medals at the World Youth Championships and the European Games. At the 2016 Olympics he lost to eventual gold medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov in the second series. Molina, now 34, had just suffered back-to-back points losses to Carlos Adames and Ahmed El Mousaoui so is not the force he was.
Cordina vs. Ben Ali
Welsh prospect Cordina produces an impressive performance in front of his home fans as he floors Ben Ali three times on the way to victory. Cordina dominated the opener with his jab and landed some choice punches from both hands. In the second he hurt Ben Ali with a body punch but the referee ruled it landed low and gave Ben Ali some recovery time. In the third a left hook knocked Ben Ali into the ropes and a series of punches saw him go down on one knee. He beat the count but after tasting some body punches from Cordina Ben Ali went down again. He made it to his feet but went down again under a shower of punches and the fight was stopped. The glittering Welsh 25-year-old prospect wins the vacant WBA International title and has six wins by KO/TKO. This was scheduled for ten but Cordina has yet to go past the fourth for victory. He has outstanding amateur credentials winning a gold medal at the European Championships, a bronze at the Commonwealth Championships and a Silver medal at the World Combat Games as well as representing Wales at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships and at the 2016 Olympics. Belgian super feather champion Ben Ali has only failed to go the distance in one other fight and that was when he suffered a dislocated shoulder and he went twelve rounds against unbeaten Faroukh Kourbanov for the European Union title in October.
Crolla vs. Ramirez
Crolla gets important win to keep alive his hopes of another world title fight. The former holder of the secondary WBA title had too much skill for the strong but limited Mexican but it was not all plain sailing as Crolla suffered a bad cut. The fight started at a slow pace with Crolla working well with his jab and outboxing Ramirez. Crolla scored with some impressive combinations and a big right uppercut in the second. In the third a clash of head saw Crolla suffer a bad cut on his right eyelid. Ramirez made the cut a primary target as the blood trickled down the side of Crolla’s face. Crolla continued to box coolly but Ramirez was proving a tough opponent. The Mexican had a good sixth despite being warned for a low punch. He managed to take Crolla to the ropes and land with hard shots to head and body. Crolla had to survive a ringside physician’s inspection at the start of the seventh but his corner team had done some good work keeping the cut under control. Over the last three rounds Crolla continued to outwork and outscore Ramirez although never being able to shake the less experienced Mexican and having to settle for a points victory. Scores 100-90, 100-91 and 98-92 for Crolla. WBA champion Jorge Linares is putting his title on the line against Vasyl Lomachenko on 12 May but there is some suggestion that if Linares wins he could vacate the title with No 2 Crolla facing No 3 Luke Campbell for the title but that is based on the assumption that Linares wins and overlooks the fact that Evens Pierre is WBA No 1so it is a very fluid situation. Ramirez was having his first fight outside of Mexico and his opposition has been modest at best, H e fought well here but lacked the experience to threaten Crolla.
Buatsi vs. Grafka
Buatsi continues to settle as a pro and gets six valuable rounds against tough Pole. Grafka tried to bustle Buatsi over the early part of the first round but Buatsi stayed calm and scored with some hurtful hooks to the body and uppercuts. Grafka just could not get past Buatsi’s jab in the second and Buatsi staggered the Pole with a chopping right. Grafka kept trying to get on the front foot but the speed and accuracy of Buatsi’s work made that impossible and he was shaken again by a right to the head in the third. Those rights from Buatsi landed with power in the fourth and a Buatsi left hook staggered Grafka in the fifth but Grafka was making Buatsi work hard and giving him some useful ring time. Buatsi scored with some scorching uppercuts in the last but a more than gutsy Grafka kept ploughing forward and never looked like going down. Referee’s score 60-54. Good learning fight for the 25-year-old 2016 Olympics bronze medallist , Grafka is now 0-8 in fights in the UK but earned his money in this one.
Chivilcoy. Argentina: Super Welter: Henrri Polanco (13-3-1) W TKO 9 Hector Saldivia (46-6). Polanco wins the vacant IBF Latino title with stoppage of Saldivar in an exciting incident filled fight. The Argentinian-based Dominican bossed the first round and then floored Saldivia with a right in the second. Saldivia beat the count and in attempting to capitalise on his success Polanco left himself wide open and was badly shaken by a couple of rights and was given a standing count. Saldivia had the better of the fourth but was staggered by a left from Polanco in the fifth. Saldivia was docked a point in the sixth after two low punches but had a big eighth. He floored Polanco with a right and the Dominican was also deducted a point for spitting out his mouthguard. With Saldivia landing more heavy punches the referee gave Polanco a standing count and it looked as though Saldivia was on his way to victory. Both were tired but Polanco found the strength in the ninth to launch a furious attack. He trapped Saldivia in a corner and pounded away. The referee gave Saldivia a standing count but he was unable to continue and the fight was stopped. The 25-year-old Dominican gets his sixth win by KO/TKO and is now 6-1 in his last 7 fights. Saldivia, 34, now has five losses by KO/TKO. The former Argentinian champion lost in three rounds to Kell Brook in an IBF final eliminator in 2012 and his leaky defence has let him down in the big fights.
Montreal, Canada: Welter: Custio Clayton (14-0) W KO 1 Gabor Kovacs (28-10-1). Super Welter: Steven Butler (23-1-1) W TKO 10 Jaime Herrera (15-6-1). Super Light: Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0,2ND) W TKO 1 Noe Nunez (18-6-1). Light Heavy: Erik Bazinyan (18-0) W TKO 3 Ferenc Albert (26-13). Heavy: Adam Braidwood (12-1) W KO 1 Jesus Manuel Paez (9-5).
Clayton vs. Kovacs
Too easy for Clayton as he comes out firing and puts Hungarian Kovacs down and out in just 38 seconds. Tenth win by KO/TKO for the 30-year-old former top amateur. The fighter from Nova Scotia, a three-time Canadian champion, reached the quarter finals at both the 2012 Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and deserves better opposition than this. Kovacs, 21, was 8-0-1 in his last 9 fights but they were all home matches against opposition that would be flattered to be described as ordinary.
Butler vs. Herrera
Butler tidies up a draw on his record by stopping a gutsy Herrera in the last round to win the vacant IBO International title. Butler dominated from the start. After taking the first round he staggered Herrera in the second with a left hook. Herrera managed to stay on his feet but was badly shaken and later in the round a short right put him down. Butler continued to hand out punishment with a gutsy Herrera soaking up the punches. By the seventh the Mexican was showing damage around both eyes and as he drove forward a short right hook to the head floored him. Herrera had nothing left but guts and as Butler unloaded on him in the tenth the referee stopped the fight. The 22-year-old “BANG BANG moves to 20 wins by KO/TKO getting his fifth inside the distance win on the bounce since a crushing stoppage loss to Brandon Cook in January last year. Third loss in a row for Herrera but in tough matches with Taras Shelestyuk and Frank Galarza outpointing the Mexican.
Jukembayev vs. Nunez
There were some poor matches on this card and this was one of them. It took Jukembayev just two knockdowns and 36 seconds to finish off Nunez with a body punch. The 26-year-old Kazak southpaw gets his tenth win by KO/TKO including six first round finishes. He claims 203 wins in 243 amateur fights and has wins as a pro over experienced fighters in Cosme Rivera and Jose Emilio Perea. Third loss by KO/TKO for Mexican Nunez with the other two inside the distance beatings coming against Jack Catterall and Tony Luis.
Bazinyan vs. Albert
Former Canadian amateur champion Bazinyan had been inactive for six months due to contractual problems but made up for lost time here. The young Armenian scored five knockdowns as he massacred the overmatched Romanian. Bazinyan scored knockdowns in the first and second rounds and after three more knockdowns in the third the fight was over. The 22-year-old Bazinyan moved to Canada in 2011 with his family who wanted him to avoid the automatic army service for all men in Armenia. He won both the Quebec and Canadian Golden Gloves and is trained by former WBO middles champion Otis Grant. He has now won 6 of his last 7 fights by KO/TKO. Eight losses by KO/TKO for Albert.
Braidwood vs. Paez
Another poor match sees Braidwood put away Mexican Paez in the first round. Braidwood had Paez in trouble early with a right uppercut and then landed a series of punches that put Paez out of commission after 2:15 of the first round. The 33-year-old from British Colombia lost his second pro fight on a first round stoppage but has now won eleven on the bounce including a current run of nine wins by KO/TKO. Paez really just a 4 and 6 round prelim fighter and he suffers his fourth loss by KO/TKO.
Balaruc-les-Bains, France; Feather: Sofiane Takoucht (33-3-1) W PTS 12 Sergio Prada (13-8-2).
Southpaw Takoucht keeps his career on track as he decisions Spaniard Prado to retain his IBF International title. The IBF scheme of using one judge from the country of each boxer and one judge from a third country has its flaws and it showed here as although winning clearly Frenchman Takoucht had to settle for a misleading majority verdict. Both the French and the neutral judge had Takoucht winning 117-111 but the Spanish judge saw it a draw at 114-114. A win is a win and the former European champion and current EBU No 9 gets his sixth victory in a row. Prada, 35, a former EU champion drops to 2-4-1 in his last 7 fights.
Monte-de Marsan, France: Welter: Yannick Dehez (17-0-1) W PTS 10 Tamaz Avdiev (9-13). In front of his hometown fans Dehez has no problem retaining the national title with unanimous verdict over poor Avdiev who was giving away height and reach. The tall 24-year-old Dehez was making the first defence of the title. Although still unbeaten his lack of power will be a drawback when he tackles tougher opposition, Strangely although French champion Dehez is still competing in the WSB with the French Fighting Roosters. Avdiev, the French No 8 super light is now 1-10 in his last 11 fights!
Nagoya, Japan: Fly: Kosei Tanaka (11-0) W TKO 9 Ronnie Baldonado (10-1-1).
Tanaka floors and stops an overmatched Baldonado in nine rounds. Already a two division world champion Tanaka was moving up to flyweight with the aim of winning a third world title after just twelve fights. He boxed conservatively over the first two rounds avoiding the wild but dangerous swings from reputed puncher Baldonado. Tanaka stepped-up the pace in the third and put Baldonado down with a left hook in the fourth. Baldonado was in considerable pain but got up and fought on. Tanaka served up a steady diet of punishment to the game young Filipino but Baldonado tried hard to fight back. Tanaka ended it in the ninth hurting Baldonado with body punches until the referee stopped the fight. The 22-year-old Tanaka was a National High Schools champion and twice won the National Sports Festival title but lost to Filipino Jade Bornea in the final of the Asian Youth championships. He was 46-5 before turning pro. He won the OPBF title in his fourth fight, the WBO minimum title in his fifth fight and the WBO light fly title in his eighth and will probable challenge fellow Japanese fighter Sho Kimura for the WBO fly title in his next fight. Baldonado, 22, had won seven by KO/TKO including four first round finishes but this was way too big a step up in opposition.
Preston, England: Super Feather: Declan Geraghty (17-2) W PTS 10 John Quigley (14-1). Light Heavy: Liam Conroy (16-3-1) W TKO 2 Miles Shinkwin (14-4). Middle: Alfredo Meli (15-0-1) W TKO 1 Romeo Paun (5-19-2). Super Welter: Jack Catterall (20-0) W TKO 1 Kevin McCauley (15-164-12).
Geraghty vs. Quigley
Geraghty gets points win over Quigley in a tough competitive contest between southpaws. The first round was a mixed one for Geraghty as he landed some heavy stuff but was cut in a clash of heads. Quigley looked to have done enough to edge the second. Geraghty then pocketed the next three rounds as he set a lively pace scoring regularly with jabs and straight rights. The sixth was another mixed round for Geraghty. He had Quigley down only for it to be ruled a slip and then some careless head work cost him a point deduction. It was toe-to-toe stuff in the seventh and eighth with the rounds close and Geraghty had a good ninth to give him a winning lead. It was just as well as Quigley shook Geraghty badly with a left in the last and had him in deep trouble only for Geraghty to tough it out to the bell. Referee’s score 96-93 for Geraghty. The 27-year-old Dublin “Pretty Boy” has now won 11 of his last 12 fights. As an amateur he was Irish champion at Cadet, Junior and Senior level, won silver at the European Union Championships and competed at the World and European Championships. Liverpool’s Quigley, a former Commonwealth and British Youth champion, suffers his second consecutive loss having dropped a split decision to unbeaten Jono Carroll in June.
Conroy vs. Shinkwin
Conroy retains the English title with stoppage of Shinkwin. In a fast opening round Shinkwin scored early with a right and then outworked Conroy before landing a couple of good left hooks. Conroy responded with a sharp left hook to the body before Shinkwin got through with a right just before the bell. Conroy was on fire in the second. He drove Shinkwin to the ropes and scored with some short rights to the head. The referee parted them but Conroy again took Shinkwin to the ropes and unloaded with clubbing rights with Shinkwin bending over trying to dodge the punches and not throwing anything back and the referee stopped the fight but it looked a little premature. The 25-year-old from Barrow was making the second defence of the English title. He has won his last nine fights and gets win No 8 by KO/TKO. Shinkwin is now 2-4 in his last six fights including losses for the British title and now twice for the English title
Meli vs. Paun
A bit of rubbish really as Meli floors Romanian Paun twice for a stoppage late in the first round. The tall 27-year-old southpaw from Belfast hardly raised a sweat as he gets his fourth win by KO/TKO. Paun was a late incomer and was having only his second fight in 18 months. He is now 1-6 in his last 7 fights.
Catterall vs. McCauley
This was farcical. Catterall was able to land punches as and when he liked. McCauley tried some wild lunges but was too crude to be dangerous. Catterall was digging in southpaw right hooks to the body and after some more of those McCauley dropped to one knee and stayed there for the full count. Catterall, the WBO No 4, got nothing of value out of this fight except a payday and he is much too good for this level of opposition. In fairness to McCauley he was a very late choice and this is only his twelfth loss by KO/TKO in his 191 fights.
Liverpool, England: Super Light: Robbie Davies Jr (16-1) W TKO 12 Michal Syrowatka (19-2). Sweet revenge for Davies as he stops in the twelfth round the fighter who took away his unbeaten tag on a twelfth round stoppage when they fought last year. Davies had been in front on all three cards when he was stopped in their previous fight and he led all the way in this one. The local fighter was quicker and busier and took the first two rounds before flooring Syrowatka late in the third round with a right to the head. Syrowatka survived and fought back hard but took a knee in the fourth after absorbing a number of hard rights. Davies used his superior speed and technique to pile up the points with Syrowatka falling further and further behind on the cards. Syrowatka went all out for a kayo in the last round but left himself open and was driven to the canvas for the third time in the fight. He beat the count but was in no condition to continue and the fight was stopped. The 28-year-old Davies regains the WBA Continental title he dropped against Syrowatka in July. He will be hoping to replace Syrowatka who is No 7 in the WBA ratings. Syrowatka was an elite level amateur before turning pro and had risen to No 5 with the EBU but will drop way down now.
Quincy. MA, USA: Super Welter: Mark DeLuca (21-0) W TKO 7 Ramses Agaton (20-8-3). Middle: Jason Quigley (14-0) W TKO 6 Daniel Rosario (11-4). Light: Damon Allen (15-0-1) W PTS 8 Alexis del Bosque (13-5). Middle: Yamaguchi Falcao (15-0,1ND) W PTS 8 Richard Gutierrez (30-18-2,2ND). Light: Ray Moylette (8-0) W Matt Doherty (8-3-1).
DeLuca vs. Agaton
Former US Marine DeLuca stops late substitute Agaton in seventh of an all-southpaw contest. Plenty of incidents and controversy in this one. Agaton started aggressively with southpaw DeLuca countering with accurate punches. Agaton was down in the second and was counted but it looked more like a slip. DeLuca built a good lead and that lead was widened controversially in the fourth when Agaton was deducted two points for low punches that looked legitimate. DeLuca lost a point in the sixth for hitting on the break but as Agaton tired DeLuca put on more pressure and floored the Mexican with a shower of punches in the seventh. Agaton made it to his feet but the fight was stopped. The 30-year-old neighbourhood favourite “Bazooka” DeLuca makes it 13 wins by KO/KO but he has yet to be really tested. Agaton is 2-6 in his last 8 fights all against good standard opposition.
Quigley vs. Rosario
Quigley makes welcome return to action after a hand injury that has kept him out of the ring for just over a year. Rosario was fired up in the first round storming forward throwing punches. Once he shook of some rust Quigley took control and had Rosario under strong pressure with a focused body attack. He looked to have scored a knockdown in the second but it was ruled a slip. The body shots slowed Rosario and in the seventh he was put down twice by wicked left hooks to the body. He was in such pain he did well to get up from the first one but the fight was halted after the second knockdown. The 26-year-old Irish “El Animal” had scored wins over James De la Rosa and Glen Tapia before a tendon injury side-lined him. Quigley was European champion at Youth,Under-23 and Senior level and won silver at the World Championships. He could go all the way to a world title. Rosario loses inside the distance for the first time. His other three losses had been on split and majority verdicts
Allen vs. del Bosque
Allen remains unbeaten with a split decision over Del Bosque. Scores 78-74 and 77-75 for Allen and 77-75 for Del Bosque. Philadelphian Allen, 25, has wins over Gamaliel Diaz and Martin Honorio and was expected to have an easy night here but it did not turn out that way. Allen won silver at the National Golden Gloves and a bronze at the US nationals but failed to get through the finals of the US Trials for the 2012 Olympics. Dallas-based Mexican del Bosque was 5-2 in his previous 7 fights.
Falcao vs. Gutierrez
Brazilian Olympic bronze medallist Falcao decisions seasoned veteran Gutierrez. The Brazilian southpaw had to overcome a poor start as he found himself on the floor in the first round. He took over the fight from the second and dominated the action. He repaid Gutierrez flooring the Colombian with a right/left combination in the fifth and emerged a clear winner. Scores 78-71,78-72 and 79-73. Falcao is rated No 15 with the WBC. Gutierrez, 39, a former IBO title challenger, is a long way down the line from when he started his career with 21 wins in a row but is a useful test for those climbing up.
Moylette vs. Doherty
Moylette makes it nine wins as he takes unanimous decision over local fighter Doherty. There had been some insults traded in the lead up to the fight and an aroused Doherty made a strong start. Moylette settled and outscored Doherty from the third onward coming close to stopping Doherty in the last to run out the winner. Scores 59-55 twice and 58-54 for Moylette. The 27-year-old from County Mayo was the first Irish boxer to win a gold medal at the World Youth Championships and later added both the Irish title and gold at the World Championships as well as competing at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and the 2013 European Championships. Yet another Irish fighter with good amateur credentials and unbeaten so far as a pro, Doherty had won his last four fights.
Fight of the week: Henrri Polanco vs. Hector Saldivia as these two traded knockdowns and standing counts
Fighter of the week: Anthony Joshua for collecting his third heavyweight title belt and honourable mention to Josh Kelly for his win over former IBF champion Carlos Molina in only his sixth fight
Punch of the week: Either the peach of a left hook from Alex Povetkin that put David Price down in the third or either of the two rib cracking body punches from Jason Quigley that finished Daniel Rosario
Upset of the week: Alejandro Gaspar beating the 21-0-1 Claudio Echegaray
One to watch: Malik Hawkins 13-0 with an impressive win over Ray Serrano and honourable mention to French prospect Kevin Lele Sadjo 6-0 with all 6 wins by KO/TKO