Archive for the ‘Fight Reports’ Category

 

IsaacDogboe_title

The first title-winner of 2018 is a young lion from Ghana. Before his countrymen last night at the Bukom Boxing Arena, 23-year old Isaac Dogboe scored two knockdowns off left hooks to capture the WBO interim super bantamweight title.

MAKING THE VISITOR UNCOMFORTABLE: Many of you will remember Juarez for his Fight of the Year-level battle with Nonito Donaire back in 2015. He’s highly durable, a relentless stalker and bruising body puncher. Dogboe made a statement in the opening minute by starting fast and backing Juarez up with heavy left hooks and blows to the body. The phone-booth fighting stunned Juarez and made him give ground.

Dogboe couldn’t maintain this the entire opening round, but he didn’t need to. He imprinted o Juarez’s psyche that he could hurt him and it made the Mexican slugger a more hesitant when he got inside. That allowed the faster Dogboe to control the action from the backfoot and time counter left hooks.

EXPLOITING THE DEFENSIVE HOLES: The left hook counter hit paydirt in the second. Juarez was dropping his right hand when throwing left jabs and hooks, and Dogboe detonated a left hook on the jaw for the first knockdown. Juarez was hurt but able to withstand Dogboe’s follow-up shots.

The pattern replicated for the next three rounds with Juarez continuing to come forward, but unable to trap the Ghanian long enough to work the body and slow him down.

The end came in the fifth when Dogboe launched a perfect left hook on an incoming Juarez. The Mexican fighter had a delayed reaction and staggered aimlessly before crashing to his back. Juarez beat the count, but his dazed demeanor prompted referee Tony Weeks to halt the contest.

THE LION OF GHAHA: The win gives Dogboe the interim WBO super bantamweight title and makes him the mandatory for Jessie Magdaleno, who is looking for an opponent on a March 10 card at California’s StubHub Center. Dogboe wasted no time in the post-fight interview in declaring his availability for that date.

“Jessie Magdaleno, I’m coming for you, baby!” Dogboe vowed. “I know you’re gonna run, but the Lion of Ghana is here! The Pound 4 Pound king is here!”

The fight is a no-brainer in terms of excitement; it’s pitting two undefeated guys in their athletic primes together. However, I’m not sure if the money can be put together to get this done by March. Also, I could see Magdaleno, who last fought in April scoring a second-round TKO over Adeilson Dos Santos, wanting a tune-up before facing a hard-punching dynamo like Dogboe.

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You might not care for Billy Joe Saunders’s mouth, but the respect is likely there after last night’s virtuoso performance against slugger David Lemieux. Saunders exploited Lemiuex’s limited offensive arsenal with a southpaw jab, feints and movement to score a unanimous decision win and clear the path as a potential opponent for the winner of the Canelo-Golovkin rematch.

NO CONTEST FROM ROUND ONE: I’ll admit it — Lemieux fooled me once again. Having covered his career since he was a hot prospect and been ringside for several of his fights, I thought he might have finally turned the corner. The win over Hassan N’Dam made me think he’d finally figured out how to intelligently cut off the ring and break down elusive fighters.

But I quickly discovered within the first minute that at the highest level, Lemieux is missing the versatility to compete. Saunders rendered Lemieux’s massive power impotent with his movement and made him pay with stinging counters. Lemieux wasn’t just missing his power shots by inches. At times he was several feet out of range and clumsily fell off balance. Saunders even mocked him by looking into the crowd to see where Lemieux was punching at.

NOT A RUNNER: Despite getting a few rounds from his hometown judges, you can argue this was a complete shutout. Lemieux looked embarrassed afterward and tried to characterize Saunders as a runner. The retort to that claim was written in the bruises on Lemieux’s face and the blood that was splattered all over the canvas. Lemieux was a bloody mess from Saunders’ jab and straight left halfway through the fight, and the only reason he wasn’t KO’d is due to the champion not possessing a big knockout punch.

NEW OPPONENT OPPORTUNITIES: This was the masterclass performance Saunders needed for fans to take him seriously again. His inactivity and lackluster performances since defeating Chris Eubank had many looking at him like a title placeholder rather than a legit champ. Now, you can see him posing problems for other HBO fighters like Danny Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade, and yes, even the cash cows Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. With the latter two likely to rematch this May, I could see Saunders targeting Jacobs despite the Eddie Hearn/Frank Warren promotional riff. It could do well in the UK, and it’s a much more fan-friendly fight stylistically than Andrade.

But if Saunders had his way, he’d be facing Golovkin. He claimed Golovkin only wanted him last year because he saw him as an easy mark. Now that Saunders is training under Brenden Ingle, he feels he’s at the peak of his powers. We might not see a GGG showdown, but I love the confidence and last night’s bout shows that a focused Saunders won’t be an easy night for anyone.

***

UNDERCARD RESULTS

GARY “SPIKE” O’SULLIVAN TKO7 ANTOINE DOUGLAS: This one was tough to watch once you realized what was happening. At his best, Douglas was a solid technical boxer with a good punch. O’Sullivan realized that and made it an attrition fight, constantly invading Douglas’ range with a counter right hand and hammering him on the ropes. Douglas’ defense was extremely disconcerting as O’Sullivan clocked him with right hand after right hand. As early as the first round, commentator Roy Jones spoke on how Douglas was the making a fatal mistake of leaving his jab out there and not protecting against the right hand.

The punishment culminated to a frightful end in the seventh when O’Sullivan brutalized a defenseless Douglas. He took about 3-4 unnecessary flush shots before falling to the canvas. Although he’s only 25, Douglas would be wise to consider hanging up the gloves. He was left in there too long against Avtandil Khurtsidze last year, and that fight appears to have done permanent damage, not to mention last night’s beating doing no favors.

***

ULYSSE JR. UD10 CLETUS SELDIN: The HBO investment in Cletus Seldin has hit a pothole right out the gate. After an entertaining beatdown on Robert Ortiz last month, Seldin sought to have a quick turnaround last night against relative unknown Yves Ulysse Jr. It was supposed to be a showcase for the Hebrew Hammer, who instead got an Erislandy Lara type schooling to the tune of three suffered knockdowns and a lopsided decision loss (88-99 across the board).

It wasn’t always pretty as Ulysse moved a lot and shunned engagement in the middle rounds. But when he did stand his ground, he either put Seldin on his backside with counter shots or forced him to retreat. Ulysse showed smart strategy in walking the bullish Seldin into uppercuts or clocking him with overhand rights.

Matched correctly, Seldin can still be an opening card attraction. And I’m sure HBO is grateful to have this early exposure before investing significant money.

 

 

 

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If Jean Pascal is calling it a career, the former light-heavyweight champion is going out with a decisive win. What was supposed to be a launch-pad for Ahmed Elbiali turned into a slugfest with the stronger Pascal stopping an exhausted Elbiali in the sixth round.

The deciding factor was Pascal’s sustained body attack. Elbiali’s was content to hold while Pascal fired off haymaker hooks downstairs. From range, Pascal relied on his usual haymaker potshotting. He finally hit paydirt in the sixth with an overhand right that hurt Elibiali, who was too worn out from the body shots to hold or retreat. Pascal continued to tee off with the right until Elbiali’s corner threw in the towel at the 2:06 mark.

If Pascal’s retirement sticks, he finishes his career with a 32-5-1 (19 KOs) record.

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Luis Ortiz has cleared the way for another Deontay Wilder title match attempt with a second-round KO over Daniel Martz.

Although Ortiz came into the ring equaling a career-high weight of 242, he had no issues dominating the inside action against the towering 6’7, 260-pound Martz. The journeyman first went down from a left uppercut to the body, and for good in the same round off a counter straight left.

Ortiz immediately had words for Wilder, who was on ringside commentary. The WBC title-holder entered the ring and vowed to give Ortiz another title opportunity Their first attempt in November was canceled after Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance. He was fined $25,000 and banned for one year by the WBA.

***

As speculated, the public barbs between Wilder and Joshua are for show. Neither fighter is in a hurry to make the fight when they can face lesser opponents and build to a bigger showdown in late 2018-early 2019. And while Joshua’s path until that fight is easier on paper (Parker, Fury), Wilder taking a loss against Ortiz is a legit possibility.

Despite this, Wilder is doing the right thing. He desperately needs high-level opposition to prepare him for Joshua. A fight against Ortiz does that way more than beating up on someone like Dominic Breazeale (who Joshua has already KO’d). And with Ortiz being 38 years old and having less than two rounds of action in the last year, the time for Wilder to strike is now.

 

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CARDIFF, WALES — Last-minute substitution Carlos Takam proved no match for unified WBA/IBF champion Anthony Joshua, who used his massive size to dominate the inside fighting and score a 10th round stoppage at the Principality Arena.

Takam had a sound strategy of working off the backfoot and seeking to take the fight into the late rounds. Early on, Joshua struggled with cutting off the ring and allowed Takam to wing overhand right counters. Takam also made the champion uncomfortable in the second by leading head first and breaking Joshua’s nose with an unintentional butt.

But at 6’6 and 254 pounds, Joshua’s size began to take its toll. The challenger was lacerated above his right eye by a short left hook. Getting inside was supposed to be Takam’s best chance, but it became a no man’s land where Joshua got off first with right uppercuts and hooks that sent the challenger reeling backwards. Takam went down off such a barrage in the fourth and was later cut above his left eye.

The Frenchman remained competitive and started having limited success as Joshua sought to pace himself. Takam arguably won the seventh and ninth rounds on activity as his overhand right counters forced Joshua to briefly give ground and hold.

In the tenth, Joshua went on the offensive with a right uppercut. A stunned Takam retreated to the ropes while taking several unanswered punches, prompting the referee to quickly jump in amid protests from the challenger.

The win improves Joshua’s record to 20-0 (20 KOs). According to promoter Eddie Hearn, the three targeted bouts for 2018 are WBC titlist Deontay Wilder, WBO title-holder Joseph Parker, and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

****

Considering Takam was a last-minute replacement on less than two weeks notice, I won’t be too critical of Joshua’s performance from a technical standpoint. However, his weight and stamina are a growing concern. 254 pounds is a career-high for him and it showed which his decreased punch output over the second half of the fight. The fight was even being fought at a torrid pace. I don’t even expect Joshua to be a high-volume guy due to his muscle mass, but getting in the 245 range would do wonders for his fluidity and deter some of the arm-weariness we see at times.

As for the future, the post-fight presser showed that Wilder likely isn’t next on the cards. Between Hearn and trainer Rob McCracken, there doesn’t seem to be a rush to make the fight, and high importance is placed on keeping all the belts and fulfilling mandatories. Also, it isn’t like Wilder has any leverage — the American slugger won’t even sell-out his November 4 fight in Brooklyn against Bermane Stiverne, while Joshua-Takam just set an closed arena attendance record with 78,000. Joshua has zero reason to travel and can pretty much put Wilder on ice much like Canelo did GGG for a full year.

Expect Parker and Fury (should he return) to get looked at first before Wilder.

Machado_Corrales

Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/ Golden Boy Promotions

VERONA, NY — Puerto Rico has a new world champion and a lineal one at that. Alberto Machado looked overmatched and outgunned before landing an eraser left hook to put down favorite Jezreel Corrales at the Turning Stone Casino.

Machado, who had never gone ten rounds nor faced a fighter of Corrales’ pedigree, struggled with his opponent’s explosiveness and wild attacks. But a glimmer of hope could be seen early on — Machado occasionally time a counter hook that would stop Corrales in his tracks.

It would be Machado who  first tasted the canvas in the fifth off a haymaker southpaw left. Machado weathered the storm and hurt Corrales badly with a short hook in the sixth. Corrales would hold on for the rest of the round, but the larger Machado extracted a price for this tactic by placing a forearm in Corrales’ throat every time.

After a tit for tat seventh with hard-fought but sloppy exchanges, Machado landed a short left hook that Corrales did not see coming. The champion slumped to the canvas and barely beat the count on unsteady legs. The referee ruled him unfit to canvas despite the protests.

After Corrales failed to make weight for this bout, I started to feel like maybe his Uchiyama victories were simply the result of being in the right place and at the right time against a declining champion. Since then he’s looked nothing like the guy some expected to be a force at super featherweight. He was floored twice by journeyman Robinson Castellanos and barely escaped with a technical decision win. Tonight, we was even more so reckless with his defense and attacks against Machado and it cost him dearly.

Corrales was vocal about wanting a rematch, but I don’t see how it’s feasible if he can’t make 130 safely. Plus, this bout wasn’t exactly eye-pleasing. The late exchanges and drama don’t make up for a first half mostly filled with awkward cliching and clumsy punching.

***

UNDERCARD RESULTS

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DEMETRIUS ANDRADE UD12 ALANTEZ FOX: Andrade’s career-reboot continued last night with a lopsided unanimous decision. Fox was severly outclassed, landing less than 60 punches over the entire fight. While not an exciting bout, it was one that showed why most observers feel Andrade has untapped potential: length, punch accuracy and an excellent jab from the southpaw stance. Outside of a questionable knockdown, Andrade dominated. This was the first time he’s fought twice in a calendar year since 2013, so to state he needs to keep active is an understatement. With HBO’s backing, I’m expecting Andrade to be in the mix for bouts against the 160 elite by this time next year.

***

RYAN BURNETT UD12 ZHANAT ZHAKIYANOV: This was a good fight to introduce U.S. fans to Ryan Burnett. The 25-year-old from Belfast, Ireland had a tough out against a bull of a fighter in Zhakiyanov, but the boxed well and battled in the trenches when necesssary. The scores rewarded his varied attack and skill (119-109, 118-110, 116-112). Now he’s a unified champion with the WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles. None of the top fighters in the division are locked up by the PBC or Showtime, so this is division, much like super flyweight, that HBO can showcase exclusively.

LR_WBSS-FIGHT NIGHT-GASSIEV VS WLODARCZYK-TRAPPFOTOS-10212017-3539

Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/ Ringstar Sports

NEWARK — Murat Gassiev ended the World Boxing Super Series quarter-finals with a crushing third round stoppage of Krzysztof Wlodarczyk at the Prudential Center.

Gassiev stalked his foe behind a tight guard from the opening bell. Wlodarczyk tried to implement a countering strategy off the backfoot, but his ponderous movement allowed Gassiev to cut the ring off and line up the right cross. With his opponent now focused on that punch, Gassiev uncorked a double left hook to the head and body that put Wlodarczyk flat on his face for the ten count.

“I had a great opponent tonight,” said Gassiev. “I prepared myself for a tough fight but it is boxing and anything can happen. We do a lot of work in the gym and I just listened to my coach round after round and he told me what I needed to do. That’s all I needed.”

Gassiev’s semi-final opponent is a fellow undefeated power-puncher and IBF titlist Yunier Dorticos, who knocked out Dmitry Kudryashov last month.

“Dorticos is a very good fighter with great experience,” said Gassiev. “He’s undefeated and I can’t wait to give all the boxing fans the big gift of a great fight against Dorticos.”

Dorticos, who believes Gassiev’s record is the product of weak opposition, vowed to add Gassiev’s WBA strap to his collection.

“I really wanted Gassiev to win, because he’s going to taste the power of a real man against me,” said Dorticos. “His opponent tonight was past his time. I’m ready to show him what a champion looks like and give him a challenge he’s never faced before. I want to take his belt. I want to get in the ring and destroy Gassiev.”

Gassiev improves his record to 25-0 (18 KOs). The semi-final unification matchup between Gassiev and Dorticos is targeted for early 2018.