Monday, 31 December 2012

Ryo Miyazaki v Pornsawan Porpramook

In arguably the fight of the day Ryo Miyazaki (18-0-3, 10) claimed the WBA Minimumweight ttile by split decision over former champion Pornsawan Porpramook (27-5-1, 17) in an incredible war that just kept getting better and better. In fact it's fair to say that this was a true send off to a fantastic year of boxing!

The bout started quickly with both men trading from the opening round and some how neither let off the pace as the fight got faster, more action packed and more exciting for each of the 12 rounds. It was relentless by both men with Porpramook forcing the pace and action by being in Miyazaki's face round after round. With Porpramook bringing the pressure it forced Miyazaki to match him and go toe-to-toe, this allowed the audience a chance to see what was almost a repeat of Porpramook v Yaegashi (one of the best fights of 2011).

Sadly for Porpramook his high work rate gave a number of chances for Miyazaki to land flash, accurate counters and catch the eye of the judges who may have been swayed somewhat to the pro-Miyazaki crowd. Despite the loss the Thai really gave it his all and proved, once again, that he is one of the most fun to watch fighters on the planet, even if only a handful of fans in the west have had the pleasure to see him.

Sadly at 34 years old this is likely Porpramook's last title fight however he really did all he could to defeat the much younger Japanese fighter who looks like he could well be the next in a long, long line of excellent Japanese Minimumweights.

For every fight fan out there, I need to advise you to hunt this fight down, this was special.

Kazuto Ioka v Jose Alfredo Rodriguez

Young Japanese fighter Kazuto Ioka (11-0, 7) became a 2-weight world champion as he claimed the WBA Light Flyweight title by stopping the sadly out classed Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (28-2, 17) in just 6 very fun to watch rounds.

It was obvious from very early on that Ioka was simply too good for Rodriguez with his power and skills showing from the opening bell. By the end of the opening round it appeared obvious we were in for a short one with Rodriguez being dropped before we'd even finished he first stanza. Rodriguez proved his Mexican bravery as he fought back over the following few rounds in an extremely physical bout, though he was always being out classed by a supremely talented youngster who had made his name at Minimumweight.

Ioka's power, hand speed and accuracy started to wear down Rodriguez and in round 6 Ioka put his foot on the gas and dropped Rodriguez twice before the referee waved the bout off with just seconds of the round left.

Ioka's WBA Light Flyweight title is his third professional world title after having won (and unified) the WBA and WBC Minimumweight titles over the past year or so. It's hard to think of any other fighter with so few fights who has won so much. Even more impressively is the fact that Ioka's title winning fights have come against fighters with very impressive records including Oleydong Sithsamerchai (then 35-0-1), Akira Yaegashi (then 15-2) and now Rodriguez (who entered 28-1). If he continues on this impressive streak the sky really is his limit, especially considering he is just 23.

This is the second successive loss in the career of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (the first by stoppage) and whilst he is more experienced as a professional than Ioka it was obvious that he wasn't world class. He will need to go back to Mexico and hope to correct some of his flaws that Ioka picked to pieces with ridiculously brilliant combinations.

Yota Sato v Ryo Akaho

In an all Japanese bout for the WBC Super Flyweight title the defending champion Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12) managed to claim a clear unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten and highly ranked Ryo Akaho (19-1-2, 12).

Also some had tipped Akaho to upset Sato, it was clear after only a few rounds that the challenger had his work cut out as the champion showed his superior and excellent boxing ability to control the pace and range of the fight. Akaho was game through out though failed to force Sato out of his comfort zone for any prolong periods of time.

With this win, and the victory by Kohei Kono on the same card we have a very promising all-Japanese WBC/WBA Super Flyweight title unification on the cards for 2013 as the division attempts to clear up the mess that it's been in over the past few years.

Whilst many may feel that veteran Argentinian Andres Omar Narvaez (the WBO champion) is the division's #1 guy, it's not hard to argue that he's the winner of Sato v Kono would also deserve credit for being amongst the very best in the division.

For Akaho it's obvious he can come again, he's only 26 and has time to rebuild, for Sato however it's the perfecting ending to a year that has seen him also defeating Sylvester Lopez and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (who Sato defeated for the world title). In fact at just 28 years old himself Sato could well have 5 or 6 years at the top and he's only improving. Expect to hear a lot about this talented fighter over the coming years.

Tepparith Kokietgym v Kohei Kono

In the surprise result of the day Japanese Super Flyweight Kohei Kono (28-7, 11) claimed the WBA title by stopping the highly regarded Thai Tepparith Kokietgym (21-3, 13) in 4 rounds, becoming the first man in history to stop Tepparith.

Kono, who had previously lost in title challenges to both Nobuo Nashiro and Tomas Rojas, came in with nasty intent and dropped Tepparith 3 times in a dominant fourth round that forced the referee to step in. First Kono rocked Tepparith then never let up on the talented Thai who wasn't given the time and space he needed to recover.

This excellent display sees Kono joining fellow Japanese Super Flyweight Yota Sato as a world champion. Like Kono Sato claimed his title by defeating a Thai, though Sato's reign started earlier this year when he out pointed Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.

For Kono this is the crowning moment in career that started way back in 2000, however it seems like Tepparith will need to go back to the drawing board. Teppartih had struggled with Nashiro last time out and maybe the tough fights have caught up on him or he may have been struggling at the weight, though in all honesty Kono was a man possessed and man with a point to prove.

2013 could be a very exciting year for Japanese boxing fans with a prospective Kono v Sato unification bout a very real possibility.

Takashi Uchiyama v Bryan Vasquez

WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (19-0-1, 16) made the sixth defense of his world title as he stopped the game Costa Rican challenger Bryan Vasquez (29-1, 15) in an unexpectedly tough bout.

The opening round saw Vasquez moving wonderfully and keeping Uchiyama at range whilst charging in to land flurries. Whilst Uchiyama did have some success through the round the champion was certainly not getting his own way. In fact through the first 5 rounds it was hard to say that the champion was even in the lead as both men had their success. Whilst it was obvious that Uchiyama was the harder hitter he was often subdued whilst Vasquez would out work him though not have the power to force Uchiyama to step up his work rate.

The first really clear round of the fight was the 6th which saw Uchiyama step up a gear and really bang Vasquez around as he showed his class and power though the Costa Rican challenger bravely fought on showing himself to be a game challenger. In fact Vasquez's gameness was shown excellently in the following round, a round that the challenger thoroughly dominated to bring the cards back to a more even look.

Sadly for Vasquez his success in round 7 seemed only to serve as a wake up to Uchiyama who waited much of the round before going on an all out offensive that saw Vasquez's head rocked back time and time again. The bell couldn't come soon enough for Vasquez who saw the referee jumping in to stop the bout just as the bell was rung.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Denis Lebedev v Santander Silgado

WBA Cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (25-1, 19) successfully defended his world crown for the first time as he knocked out Colombian challenger Santander Silgado (23-1, 18) in the 4th round with a genuinely eye catching shot.

The bout started slowly with the opening round being very quiet as both men tried to figure the other out. Both men got through with some shots though there was little of note from either man in a true feeling out round. Sadly it took a while for the fight to warm up though Lebedev was caught off balance in round 2 and was forced to eat several hard right hands from the challenger which he generally took well (apart from the shot that he appeared off balance for). It appeared both men wee showing too much respect to each other.

In round 3 we saw the action starting to warm up as Silgado continuously threw his jabs and started to control the distance excellently. At one point in the third Lebedev looked genuinely frustrated looking towards his trainer, the legendary Kostya Tszyu. Thankfully for the Russian he did manage to get through with several solid shots himself, though Silgado did seem to take them well.

With the bout warming up it seemed to be suiting the champion who would of course prefer a war rather than a tactical battle and thankfully for viewers we ended up getting the war with Lebedev rocking Silgado part way through the round. Following the shot Lebedev went straight in for the kill and both guys swung quite wildly at each other, often catching the others arms. Despite both men missing a number of shots we know with Lebedev that it only takes one and that's what we saw again as he detonated a perfect uppercut that almost seemed to behead Silgado before leaving the challenger unconcious and face first on the canvas.

Until the KO this wasn't the most impressive that I've seen of Lebedev, however his concussive and nasty punch is still as vicious as ever. It's fair to say that Silgado was better than expected however I think we all want to see Lebedev back in the mix with the top fighters in the division such as Marco Huck, Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Ola Afolabi

Omar Andres Narvaez v David Quijano

WBO Super Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez (38-1-2, 20) made his third title defence of the year as he defeated the criminally under-qualified David Quijano (15--3-1, 9) without breaking a sweat in what was effectively a shut out on my card.

Narvaez set the tone from the off with his speed and skill evident from the opening bell. His contempt for his challenger grew round by round as he started tag Quijano with more and more clean shots, though ultimately Narvaez didn't quite have the fire power to end the proceedings early.

Despite being 37 Narvaez didn't just look like the younger man in the ring but actually looked like he was still getting better showing a genuine mean streak and an aggressive mindset that has been lacking at times. Whether this was a case of Narvaez being a bit of a freak in improving so late in his career or whether Quijano just helped him look good is up for debate, though this really was a domination.

The score cards (120-106, 120-108 and 119-109) really told the story of the bout and hopefully we'll see this newer, slightly more aggressive version of Narvaez more often.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nonito Donaire v Jorge Arce

WBO Bantamweight champiom Nonito Donaire (31-1, 19) made light work of Mexican veteran Jorge Arce (61-7-2-1, 46) as he stopped him in just 3 rounds with a beautiful left hook.

the opening round saw very little action form either man as Arce tried to box whilst Donaire's jab kept him at range. Sadly for Arce however the opening round would be his best with the Mexican being dropped in the following round. From then on things got worse for Arce who opened up in the third and paid the price being dropped early before being stopped just prior to the bell from a beautiful lead left hook.

Sadly after the fight Jorge Arce announced his retirement and he seemed to make it clear that he really was walking away from the fight game. The classy Mexican was out classed and admitted as much though fully congratulated Donaire who he called a friend.

For Donaire a fight with either Guillermo Rigondeaux or Abner Mares is hopeful. Hopefully WE get to see them next year.

The fight other story was that it was legendary broadcaster Larry Merchant's final one. A real, real shame.

Arthur Abraham v Mehdi Bouadla

WBO Super Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham (36-3, 28) successfully defended his title for the first time as he stopped Frenchman Mehdi Bouadla (26-5, 11) becoming only the second man to stop Bouadla (following in the footsteps of the recently crowned WBA Super Middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler).

Abraham, a former Middleweight champion was regarded as a heavy handed fighter, especially at Middleweight and he showed why once again as he came out attempting to take Boudla's head off with some nasty hooks up close. Although the challenger managed to survive the early rounds it didn't take long for Abraham's power to start to take it's toll.

Sadly for fans expecting a good bout Bouadla had neither the ability or the power to to earn Abraham's respect. This instead allowed the champion to do as he pleased and he did just that as he slowly but surely ground down the challenger, busting his eye up in the process. It would be a cut around the eye that would eventually save Bouadla from further punishment, though it genuinely did appear to only be a matter of time before he'd have been down anyway.

For Abraham this was genuinely an easy defense, we'll hope next year that he faces a tougher test. Be it Mikkel Kessler, George Groves or even Lucien Bute. For Bouadla though his level has been found, he's sub world level and hopefully he'll not get another undeserved chance like this.

Leo Santa Cruz v Alberto Guervara

Just 35 days after defeating Victor Zaleta, IBF Bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13) scored his fifth win of the year and made the third defense of his title as he beat the previously unbeaten and thoroughly game Alberto Guervara (16-1, 6) who became just the 2nd man in the last 13 fights to see the final bell against Santa Cruz.

The bout started amazingly well for Guevara who used excellent hand speed and movement to out box Santa Cruz at range, stopping the champion from getting close where he likes to work. This saw Guevara clearly winning the opening 2 rounds and arguably claiming the first 4 as he made Santa Cruz look almost slow and clumsy.

Thankfully for the champion Guevara started to slow, especially in the middle rounds as the champion made his charge and started to achieve more and more success against the light hitting challenger. As Santa Cruz started to get closer he started to rattle off hard, hurtful shots to Guevara's body further slowing the challenger's feet. This paid off in the later rounds as Guevara's work rate dropped and his excellent boxing early in the bout turned into little more than running.

Although the bout was fairly level going into the championship rounds it was obvious that Santa Cruz was still in the ascendancy and it showed as he rocked Guevara time and time again in the later rounds really checking the heart of the challenger who continued to prove he was game, but ultimately out gunned.

Whilst this is likely Santa Cruz's last fight at Bantamweight it's fair to say that Guevara could come again and he genuinely could claim a world title down the line. Many, myself included, expected this to be a bowl over job though Guevara was genuinely impressive and will certainly come again.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Nicholas Walters v Daulis Prescott

Unbeaten Jamaican Nicholas Walters (22-0, 18) successfully claimed the WBA Featherweight title as he demolished Colombian Daulis Prescott (26-2, 19) in a fun but relatively 1-sided war.

The two men didn't take long to get to know each other and by the end of the opening round the stage was set for a war of attrition between to heavy handed fighters. Sadly for Prescott, the young brother of Breidis, it turned out that Walters was tougher and more powerful.

The power of the Jamaican was evident before the fight for all those who had actually watched him, admittedly that was few real boxing fans, though for those who hadn't seen him it was blatantly obvious from round 4, a round in which Prescott was sent to the canvas. Prescott would again visit the canvas in both rounds 5 and 7. Although the Colombian recovered to his feet after the knockdown early in round 7 referee Rafael Ramos waved the contest off.

For Walters this should have been his coming out party, sadly it appears to have slipped under the radar of most boxing fans who likely still think Celestino Caballero is the WBA Featherweight champion. Sadly the news from the US of the Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez fight will likely further hide this result, though hopefully Walters will be given a chance to make a name for himself in the US sooner, rather than later.

Yuriorkis Gamboa v Michael Farenas

The long awaited return to the ring for Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16) saw the talented Cuban claiming the interim WBA Super Featherweight title as he defeated the unheralded Filipino Michael Farenas (34-4-4-1, 26). Despite the fact Farenas was all but unknown prior to this fight he proved to be a genuinely worthy adversary for Gamboa's return to the ring after 14 months out.

The opening round saw Gamboa looking like he had never been away as the fast handed Cuban landed some wonderful combinations on Farenas who struggled to catch him before he got away. The hand speed was again evident in the following round as Gamboa dropped Farenas who immediately got up as if nothing had happened.

Sadly for Farenas head clashes in the third round saw him suffering two massive cuts that bled through out the remainder of the fight. Despite the cuts however Farenas refused to go away and refused to just roll over and instead he rocked Gamboa at the start of the fourth round as he proved he had the power to hurt the Cuban. Although Gamboa seemed to take the round off it was still interesting to see that Farenas had the power to rock him.

Farenas showed again in round 5 that he wasn't there just to collect the pay day he willingly traded with Gamboa and really brought the action to the Cuban. Whilst Gamboa showed he was a class above his Filipino opponent he also seemed to be slowing and this allowed Farenas chances to land to both the head and body of Gamboa. The battling between the two saw Gamboa rocked in the 6th and 8th however he dropped Farenas in the 7th to really open up the lead on the scorecards.

Due to how much Farenas' shots were hurting Gamboa it only made sense for Gamboa to start to use his boxing skills and box cautiously and that's what he started to do for long periods of rounds. In round 9 however Gamboa went for the finish and was surprisingly dropped by a beauty of a shot by Farenas that seemed to not only drop Gamboa but also scramble his legs for the rest of the round. Sadly for Farenas he couldn't capitalise and Gamboa eventually recovered and appeared to do enough to reestablish himself over the later rounds as he took a clear decision.

Whilst I feel the cards were wide, Gamboa was a clear winner, though he's a fighter who needed a fight like this, a grueling 12 rounds against a crude but tough and hurtful fighter to really shake off every bit of rust that he'll have acquired due to his long lay off.

For Farenas this was the sort of showing that shows he belongs in the ring with the top fighters, for Gamboa it was him saying "I'm back".

Miguel Vazquez v Mercito Gesta

IBF Light Champion Miguel "Titere" Vazquez (33-3, 13) successfully retained his title and made the fifth defense of the belt as he gave a boxing masterclass to the highly hyped and previously unbeaten Filipino Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14). In fact it was hard to give Gesta more than a round as the Filipino did very little through out the fight.

The opening round saw Vazquez setting the tone of the fight by moving around Gesta and landing repeated jabs as he controlled the pace and distance of the fight. Although Gesta did go down in the round it was ruled a slip and seemed to come just as much from a collision of legs as much as the punch that came before it. Vazquez went on to clearly dominate the almost all the rounds rounds with out barely taking a shot in return with actually the most meaningful punch of the first 9 rounds being a straight right he hit Gesta with in round 3 that rocked the Filipino fighter.

Vazquez's domination of the fight was helped by the fact Gesta was so inactive, he kept walking forward, taking shots on the guard and firing nothing back. When he had what little successes he did have he failed to follow up and never looked like having Vazquez worried at all as the champion played the matador to wild and novice-like challenger.

Gesta was was told repeatedly to put his foot down and force the fight and it was until round 9 that he actually started to force things. In round 10 Gesta finally got some notable success as he caused blood to trickle from Vazquez' nose in probably the only round you could give to Gesta, though Vazquez reestablished himself and took the final two rounds to claim a very clear and very easy defense.

Sadly for Gesta he seemed to freeze on the big stage and was far too passive to even come close to cutting the ring off for the very talented and very under-rated Vazquez.

Javier Fortuna v Patrick Hyland

Unbeaten Javier Fortuna (21-0-0-1, 15) claimed the interim WBA Featherweight title as he defeated Irishman Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12) in a relatively unexciting 12 round affair that was really a fight of two halves.

Fortuna started brightly using his great handspeed, unusual angles and easily claimed the first 5 rounds against a very passive Hyland. Whilst Hyland did block a number of Fortuna's shots he simply didn't fire enough back in those early rounds to claim even a share of a round until round 6. In round 6 Hyland started to fire back a little more and he certainly gave himself a chance to claim the round.

After Fortuna was caught in round 6 the life seemed to suddenly get sucked out of the bout as Fortuna choose to use his boxing ability to box and move and move and move. Hyland fought on the front foot and came forward relentlessly for the final 6 rounds however he simply couldn't catch Fortuna with enough clean shots to claim more than the odd round or two. It just seemed like Hyland was far too passive with Fortuna slowing his own work down and stealing rounds with the odd bit of flashy work here and there.

Although there was some bad blood with both men lading low and the odd shot after the bell by Fortuna there wasn't a great deal of angry aggression by Hyland which effectively cost him the bout on the cards.

This bout probably proved that neither fighter is quite there for a genuine top fight at the division. Fortuna is talented but doesn't hit as hard as his record demonstrates and Hyland, whilst tough simply doesn't do enough to to earn a decision and he also lacks the world level power that he'd need to make an impression amongst the best in the division.

Brian Magee v Mikkel Kessler

Sang in by Danish rock band Volbeat, Mikkel Kessler (46-2, 35) successfully claimed the WBA Middleweight title as he stopped the brave but thoroughly outclassed Brian Magee (36-5-1, 25) thanks to sickening body shots that took the fight from Magee.

The opening round was relatively even with with neither man landing too much serious though Kessler did seem to just nick it with some solid shots late on. Although it was close Kessler was looking for Magee's body from the off often touching him with the jab and seemed to be working Magee out from the off.

The early jabs to the body turned into hurtful straights in the second round as Kessler settled against a somewhat nervous looking Magee, who did land a left hand early in the round. The straights to the body were effective as soon as they landed and Magee went down early in the round with a genuinely nasty shot. Magee did manage to get back up from the first knockdown though Kessler continued to attack the body and hurt Magee numerous times in the round with shots to the same area. It was another body shot at the end of the round that again saw Magee hurt with the Northern Irish man turning his back on the Dane and then going down.

Kessler wasn't wanting to waste time and inside 20 seconds of the third round he again dropped Magee with a body shot before the referee called a halt to the proceedings with Magee still on the canvas.

Although Magee did get up from the first two, it was clear that he never really recovered from the first body shot and although he showed guts (literally) to continue he was never able to give Kessler any questions at all to answer.

It's likely that this will be the end for Magee who has had a very under-rated career, though for Kessler we're hoping the future includes a rematch with Carl Froch in what could easily be one of the stand out fights of 2013 and a WBA-IBF unification bout.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Koki Kameda v Hugo Ruiz

Koki's Kristmas Kame(da) Early

 Christmas came early for WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda (29-1, 17) who got given a gift wrapped present from the judges as he claimed a split decision victory over hard punching Mexican Hugo Ruiz (31-2, 28). A fight that some feel may well go down as one of, if not the, robbery of the year.

Ruiz came out knowing he needed to make an early impression and that's exactly what he did using his reach and power to keep Kameda at a safe distance whilst seeming to bag the opening 5 rounds with little real effort. Kameda, giving away noticeable size and reach simply couldn't get at Ruiz in the early part of the fight as Mexican showed his world class ability.

It wasn't until round 6 that you could make a case for Kameda to have even won a round as he started to get close to the Mexican. Sadly despite winning the round Kameda did himself no favours as he landed a clear blow well after the bell as he proved to class one would expect from such a distinguished fighter.

Kameda was made to pay for his cheap shot as Ruiz came out fired up for round 7, a round that he clearly won, much like he had won the opening 5. It was hard to score it any other way than 69-64 through the first 7 rounds in favour of Ruiz, the rounds were easy to score at this point and it should have left Kameda needing at least a knockdown at some point to claim a victory, something he failed to get.

Although Kameda failed to drop Ruiz, he did start to get more and more success as Ruiz's work rate began to drop however the championship rounds saw both men really fighting on even terms, the only rounds in the bout which were really up for debate.

Th first scorecard, 117-113 for Ruiz seemed about spot on, though the other two scorecards, 116-113 and 115-113 in favour of Kameda were simply disgraceful. At very best Kameda deserved a draw (and that's giving him everything you possibly could), though in all honesty he really should have suffered his second defeat and by very clear scores.

I'd advise all fighters to avoid facing Kameda on this showing. It's not the first time he's had a controversial decision go his way with his 2008 victory over Juan Jose Landaeta loudly criticised and likewise his victory last year over David De La Mora. For Ruiz however it was proof that he deserved to be mentioned amongst the top fighters at 118lbs.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Austin Trout v Miguel Cotto

The WBA Light Middleweight champion Austin Trout (26-0, 14) scored by far the biggest win of his career so far as he impressively out-pointed future hall of famer Miguel Cotto (37-4, 30). The fight, between two very classy fighters was not an out and out war, though was a thoroughly entertaining bout from start to end.

The opening round was fought as a high paced chess match that really set the stage for the bout with Trout's jab being fired time and time again towards Cotto's face with straight lefts to the body following as Trout used his speed and reach well. It was using those two shots that Trout clearly won the opening two rounds however Cotto tried to change the pattern of the fight over the following rounds and started to bring the pressure in the following rounds. Despite getting more success when he was coming Cotto was starting to walk on to hurtful shots that really started to mark up Cotto's face.

Although the crowd cheered loudly when Cotto had some success in the middle rounds they simply couldn't do enough to lift Cotto who was too small and didn't have the power to force Trout out of his comfort zone. In fact it was Trout's power that seemed to be telling with his right hooks landing time and time around the guard of Cotto and he also seemed to buzz Cotto a few times in latter rounds as he started to roar ahead on the cards. And although several rounds had been competitive it just seemed that Trout was bagging more rounds than Cotto.

Sadly for Cotto the youth of Trout seemed to be too much and the champion started to easily out work the challenger down the stretch who could only fight in bursts as the combination of age and being hit in the body took their toll on Cotto. The "freshness" was most evident in round 11 as Cotto was tagged time and time again in arguably Trout's strongest round of the fight as he attempted to silence the raucous Cotto fans.

At the end of the 12th round it was obvious who thought they had won as Trout and his team celebrated whilst Cotto looked somewhat dejected. The gamblers on betfair seemed to also know which way the cards were going as Trout's odds shrunk suddenly after the final bell. However there was some doubt, Cotto is a huge draw and some thought may have swayed the judges, if anything however it did the opposite with Trout claiming a clear unanimous decision by scores of 117-111 (twice) and 119-109. Although I had Trout as a clear winner in a competitive fight (116-112) it does appear that at least 1 judge was harsh on the legendary Miguel Cotto.

After the fight Trout called out Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, though in all honesty, Trout is unlikely to get that fight as he is far too tricky and too naturally big for the limited Alvarez. Instead expect Golden Boy to make Trout jump through hoops for the bout. For Cotto however this could be the end. The Puerto Rican hero was asked by Jim Gray if he would fight again and he replied with "Probably" though in all honesty, it'll be more of a case of "Probably...if the money is right".

Friday, 30 November 2012

Khabib Allakhverdiev v Joan Guzman

Unbeaten Russian Khabib Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8) impressively claimed the WBA Light Welterweight title as he inflicted the first loss on to Domican Joan Guzman (33-1-1-1, 20) thanks to an 8th round technical decision in a bout marred by a number of blown calls by referee Luis Pabon.

The fight started well with a very fun opening round that saw Guzman sent to the canvas in what was ruled a slip though clearly came from a punch as Pabon made his first botched call of the night. Other than the "knockdown" the round was thoroughly fun to watch as both men went at each other. Thankfully the following round continued in a similar manner with both men tagging each other with solid shots.

Allakhverdiev proved to have the power to hurt Guzman again in the third round as he sent the Dominican down, this time with the shot being counted by the referee as the Russian claimed a 10-8 round. Guzman fought back well the following round and used his feet to stay out of danger for most of the round before both men tried tearing lumps off each other in the final 30 seconds. Sadly for Guzman his momentum was ended quickly with the Domican again knocked down, as Pabon botched yet another call in favour of the Dominican. Although Pabon missed the clear knockdown, he couldn't help Guzman's face, which ended up getting tagged with a shot that appeared to really mess up Guzman's nose.

After 5 rounds it was looking like a bout that was going to go Allakhverdiev's way, though Guzman then decided to use his brain and instead of going toe-to-toe with the Russian he instead decided to box and move. When Guzman was moving he was making Allakhverdiev look slow and plodding and this allowed Guzman to claim both the 6th and 7th round very easily. It was now that I was asking myself why had Guzman not started the fight like this, though though the answer was obvious, he's 36 and he can't do that for 12 rounds.

Controversy again reared it's ugly head in round 8 as Guzman, still boxing on his toes fell over, twisting his knee in the process. After a time out, the referee allowed Guzman to go on and Allakhverdiev went straight after his man who was now a stationary target. It didn't take long for Allakhverdiev to have Guzman in real trouble and then Guzman went down again, this time a clear push as Allakhverdiev went in for the kill. This time Guzman was unable to continue forcing the referee to end the bout with some viewers (especially those watching on TV) assuming that Guzman was wanting out of the fight considering the energy he had been using by boxing on his toes.

Surprisingly despite arguably scoring 3 knockdowns, and only losing 3 of the 8 rounds Allakhverdiev only managed to scrape a close split decision over Guzman with all 3 cards reading 76-75 (2 in favour of the Russian). A series of cards that were as mystifying as the performance of Pabon, who not only missed the knockdowns but also warned Allakhverdiev about anything and everything, splitting the fighters when it favoured Guzman and really started to get in Allakhverdiev's head. Sorry Luis but it's time to walk away after this dreadful performance.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Robert Guerrero v Andre Berto

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (?-?) successfully defended his WBC Interim Welterweight title against Andre Berto (?-?) in a thoroughly sloppy, though equally entertaining bout that had controversy, action and an awful lot of wrestling.

The fight started well for Guerrero who knocked down Berto in both of the opening 2 rounds and really messed up Berto's right eye as "The Ghost" started fast and took advantage of Berto's wild shots and slow foot work. Whilst Guerrero took a clear lead, there was controversy over the first knockdown which seemed to come from a clear case of hitting and holding and the second seemed to also have a case of a thumb to the eye of Berto. It was clear after the first 3 rounds that Guerrero was 5 points up he had dominated the early action and with the knockdowns was in an almost unassailable lead.

Just as the fight appeared a lost cause Berto then managed to fight his way back into the bout and seemed to take a number of the middle rounds as the fight combined a lot of holding and wrestling  as well as numerous thunderous shots from both men. Whilst it looked like Guerrero was forcing Berto on to the ropes it was clear that Berto was having his success from them with thunderous uppercuts that seemed to snap Guerrero's head back time and time again.

As the rounds went on the fight seemed to be getting closer and closer with Berto's powerful uppercuts and hooks bouncing off Guerrero's head, bagging him several rounds. Sadly however the style of much of the bout wasn't fun to watch with a lot of holding and wrestling and little clear action as both men seemed to prefer a messy inside game rather than a true war. This left several rounds almost actionless as Lou Moretti was forced to repeatedly split the men with out anything notable landing.

In the later rounds both men appeared tired and the action slowed with fewer and fewer back and forths, though the bout heated up in an engaging 12th round that saw both men leaving it all on the line. Sadly it was the 12th round that left a sour taste in many peoples mouth with Guerrero landing 3 or 4 shots well after the bell, though by that point the round, and the fight was over.

When it came to the score cards, it was fair to say that you really could have had almost any scoreline with the best result for Berto likely being a 113-113 draw, however, rather surprisingly all three judges had it 116-110 to Guerrero, a rather odd scoreline considering just how many close rounds the bout had.

Guerrero, like he did after defeating Selcuk Aydin, called out Floyd Mayweather Jr, though in all honesty, Guerrero would get destroyed by Mayweather, however both men did seem to hint that a rematch may be possible and that may well be the best option for both.

Martin Murray v Jorge Navarro

Unbeaten Brit Martin Murry (25-0-1, 11) claimed the WBA Interim Middleweight title by stopping the previously unbeaten Venezuelan Jorga Navarro (12-1, 10) in what often appeared to be a public sparring session.

The difference in class was obvious from the opening round as Murray boxed off the back foot and controlled Navarro before dropping him late in the round. Although Murray went for the early finish he failed to stop Navarro with a late flurry in the round however it was obvious he was thoroughly in charge.

Murray's domination continue through the following 4 rounds as Murray slowly dictated the fight, showing off numerous defensive tricks as he made Navarro look slow, clumsy and wild. Sadly however Murray seemed unwilling to commit to taking Navvaro out too early as he instead got rounds under his belt and refused to force the issue.

In round 6 Murray eventually turned up the heat and dropped Navarro for a second time before turning up the heat and rocking the Venezuelan's head all over the place forcing Navarro's corner to throw in the towel whilst the referee seemed unwilling to stop the fight.

Whilst this was an impressive victory for Murray and a notable win, it was also a very, very easy win and if Murray thinks the world stage is going to be this easy he will have a rude awakening, however he did his job. The question as to how Navarro got such a high profile fight is something I really cannot answer.

Scott Quigg v Rendall Munroe

Young Englishman Scott Quigg (25-0-1, 18) successfully claimed the WBA "interim" Super Bantamweight title as he beat countryman Rendall Munroe (24-3-1, 10) via 6th round TKO in an excellent performance.

The opening round was the best for Munroe as the former binman from Leicester arguably just stole the round, though it didn't take long for Quigg to find his distance and box from the back foot allowing Munroe to come to him. With Quigg boxing on the back foot, he was finding things very easy as he landed time and time again to Munroe's body with sickening accurate shots.

Although Munroe kept coming forward he was finding it hard to land anything clean whilst he, himself, was being slowly broken down as Quigg was using his natural size and speed to take advantage of the older, slower man. In fact in rounds 2 and 3 Quigg barely got touched as he landed counter-after-counter on Munroe.

Munroe had slightly more success in rounds 4 and 5 than he had had in the previous 2 rounds though they were both rounds where Quigg continued to bash in the hurtful body shots. It was just a round later that Munroe would be dropped with a body shot, before being stopped soon afterwards with another body shot that put him down.

This likely spells the end of Munroe's career who was stopped for the first time here, though for Quigg the world is his oyster. He could either look for a major domestic clash with Carl Frampton or alternative the winner of the upcoming bout between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.

Xiong Zhao Zhong v Javier Martinez Resendiz

Today saw a new age in professional boxing as Chinese fighter Xiong Zhao Zhong (20-4-1, 11) became the first Chinese man, in the history of the sport to become a world champion as he out pointed game Mexican Javier Martinez Resendiz (13-4-2, 6) in a bout for the WBC Minimumweight title.

The early stages were give and take as Martinez brought the pressure looking to land hurtful hooks against Zhong who was boxing well and using range and his straighter shots. Although Martinez was the man making the fight, it was Zhong who was looking like the classier fighter.

Zhong's clean work started to pay off in second half of the fight as he marked up and seemed to stun Resendiz in round 8 before taking control of the bout in the later rounds as the Mexican started to look progressively tired. The Mexican, who had looked powerful, if wild early on, was starting to show little more than arm punches in the later rounds as Zhong's right hand bounced off his head and it showed as Zhong really ran away with the last few rounds.

Although Zhong looked impressive in taking a clear decision here, it's fair to admit that this was a set up of sorts as the WBC look to attack the untapped Chinese market. If Zhong can't be "protected" I can't see his reign lasting long. Interesting Denver Cuello is a name thrown around as Zhong's likely next opponent and that will likely see Zhong getting beaten in a painful way.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Brian Viloria v Hernan Marquez

In one of the stand out fights of the year, Hawaiian Brian Viloria (32-3-0-2, 19) unified the WBO and WBA "super" titles at Flyweight as he stopped exciting and fun to watch Mexican Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (34-3, 25).

The bout started quickly with Viloria making an excellent start and imposing his will from the opening bell. Late in the round, with his only notable shot of the opener Marquez seemed to wobble Viloria who fired back hard and dropped the Mexican. Viloria's domination continued through to round 4 as he took a clear lead on the card using his excellent boxing and speed to dominate Marquez.

In round 5, arguably the round of the fight, Marquez came on strong and really hurt Viloria before unleashing a relentless, yet wild flurry aimed in Viloria's general direction. Sadly for Marquez few of his real power shots landed as he blew his load and was eventually dropped for the second time as he showed the signs of being a very tired fighter. Amazingly he got straight back up and fired back at Viloria, as if he knew he had just let Viloria off the hook.

After the fifth round we then had 2 pretty quiet rounds as both men took their chance to catch their breath. Despite these being slower rounds, they were still clear Viloria rounds as the "Hawaiian Punch" showed off his boxing ability.

Rounds 8 and 9 saw arguably Marquez's only rounds as Viloria was quiet whilst Marquez forced the action and forced the fight. Although Marquez was having some success, the steam on his attacks seemed to be some what stunted by the fact he had taken some serious body shots earlier in the fight.

With Marquez coming back in to the fight and needing a knock out it was littler wonder that he started round 10 fast unloading on Viloria with a huge series of shots, most of which were hitting the arms and shoulders of Viloria. Viloria then unleashed a bomb of a counter on Marquez who dropped like he'd been shot. It looked like that was that, then amazingly Marquez got back up. Despite recovering to his feet, it was obvious he wasn't fit to continue and his corner threw in the towel soon afterwards rather than risking the youngster to more damage.

Following this victory it's fair to say Brian Viloria is the #1 guy at 112lbs, despite the linear title being held in Japan by Toshiyuki Igarashi. It's likely that Viloria will be facing Roman Gonzalez next time out in a mouth watering class, though Juan Carlos Reveco is also a plausible opponent. For Marquez however he's young enough to come again, this loss isn't the end of the line, and it'd be hard for anyone to write him off following a display like this against a fighter like Viloria.

Roman Gonzalez v Juan Francisco Estrada

Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez (34-0, 28) got a much tougher than expected bout whe he took on fearless Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (22-2, 18) in a defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title that deserves to be mentioned as one of the genuine fights of the year.

The opening round saw Gonzalez starting very slowly as he put pressure on Estrada though didn't throw a lot as he allowed Estrada to tag his guard time and time again. In the last 45 seconds or so of the round however Gonzalez stepped on the pedal and literally stole the round with a dominant display of aggressiveness. Over the following two or three round Gonzalez really turned up the heat and it seemed as if we were almost certainly going to have an early finish.

Amazingly the fight just started to warm up and every time Gonzalez would land a series of shots, Estrada would come back with his own flurry as the two men started to beat the stuffing out of each other in a good old tear up. Sadly for Estrada he was spending periods of time on the ropes where Gonzalez was really taking advantage especially with his bone crushing body shots. Despite taking massive numbers of shots to the body Estrada was fighting back and showing not only bravery but the true spirit of a world level fighter.

Whilst most bouts slow down, this just got better and better as both men gave it there all and took a huge amount out of each other. Sadly for both men their defenses were shown to be seriously lacking, however their heart and chin (and bodies) proved to be made of stern stuff and they both managed to see out the distance in genuinely one of the must watch fights of the year.

Although all the rounds from 3-12 were hugely competitive it just seemed that  Gonzalez was doing just enough to claim the majority and that was reflected on the judges score cards which all favoured the Nicaraguan by notable margins.

Antonio DeMarco v Adrien Broner

Highly touted American Adrien Broner (25-0, 21) scored his most impressive victory to date as he claimed the WBC Lightweight title by stopping the tough Antonio DeMarco (28-3-1, 21) in 8 one sided rounds. The bout, Broner's first world title bout at Lightweight, showed more than just a little resemblance to Floyd Mayweather's dominating victory over Aturo Gatti back in 2005.

The first round was slow with just 13 combined punches landed (according to compubox) though the following rounds saw Broner going through the gears and really dominate DeMarco from in the pocket as he landed power-shot after power-shot. Although DeMarco was game, especially in rounds 3 and 4 he was simply being caught too clean too often and by round 5 his spirit had been broken.

Although DeMarco was catching Broner though the American's somewhat loose shoulder roll, the American was rarely being tagged too clean whilst landing his own, fierce uppercuts up close. Those uppercuts started to take their toll on DeMarco who was marked up badly in the fifth with bruising and a small cut on his face. The fifth was arguable a 10-8 round as Broner landed something like 8 times as many punches (54 v 7) at an amazing 62% connect rate.

Although DeMarco did fight back in the 6th and 7th it was obvious that he was unable to hurt Broner who started to really hurt him, dropping him in round 8 before the bout was stopped.

Whilst DeMarco was tough he was completely out classed, and it showed that toughness cannot win a fight at this level. For Broner however this was a statement that HBO have been backing a real winner with genuine superstar potential. Whilst it's obvious that this was a style-up dream for Broner who was too quick, too smooth, too accurate for the generally crude DeMarco, he did the job much better than anyone expected and really, really did a number on DeMarco.

Carl Froch v Yusuf Mack

Englishman Carl Froch (30-2, 22) sensationally retained his IBF Super Middleweight title by stopping American Yusuf Mack (31-5-2, 17) in a dominant 3-round display that hardly saw Mack landing a punch.

The opening round saw Froch starting fast and rocking Mack very early. The American tried to keep Froch at range but Froch found ways of landing with both hands, and a left hook early in the round seemed to mentally kill off the fight in Mack who would be dropped later in the round. Froch went for the kill late in the round but Mack, much to his credit, rode out the storm until the bell saved him.

The second round was much slower with very little happening until Froch let his hands go very late in the round stunning Mack and knocking his gum shield out. Sadly Froch had done little before then and Mack managed to again hear the bell. The following round however Froch started quickly again, and almost contemptuously took the fight to Mack, rocking him with a head shot before sending him down with a vicious body shot that left Mack down for the count.

For Mack it's time to go back home and forget the chances of ever claiming a world title. For Froch however he'll be looking to rematch any of Lucien Bute, Mikkel Kessler or even Andre Ward as he attempts to fight his way to the #1 rating at Super Middleweight. On this performance he'd destroy Bute again, he'd likely defeat Kessler and against Ward it'd certainly be interesting (though I'd still favour Ward).

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Stanyslav Kashtanov v Server Yemurlayev

Stanyslav Kashtanov (30-1, 16) came out on top in the all Ukrainian bout for the WBA "interim" Super Middleweight title as he out pointed previous unbeaten countryman Server Yemurlayev (22-1, 8) via a split decision.

Kashtanov started the bout well, avoiding the hard jabs of Yemurlayev who was either missing completely or having his jabs blocked. With Yemurlayev missing many of his shots, it allowed Kashtanov to take an early lead, however Yemurlayev did have some success and may have just nicked the fourth round.

Despite Yemurlayev's success in round 4, it didn't take long for Kashtanov to re-stake his control in the bout taking the middle rounds to really open up a gap in the scoring on most cards. By round 9 it looked like a clear decision for Kashtanov was on the cards, but then Yemurlayev started to fight back and arguably showed his best as he clearly won 2 of the last 3 rounds bringing the scores to look more competitive, even if he did still clearly lose.

Shocking the score cards were read out to give Kashtanov only a split decision victory with scores of 116-112, 118-110 (in favour of Kashtanov) and the frankly ludicrous 115-113 in favour of Server Yemurlayev.

Juan Carlos Reveco v Julian Rivera

Argentinian Juan Carlos Reveco (29-1, 16) successfully retained his "interim" WBA Flyweight title as he scored a very clear and very easy decision victory over Mexican challenger Julian Rivera (13-7, 2).

Reveco, a talented fighter was in control from the start to the end against a very limited Mexican who, although being game, was thoroughly out classed and out-boxed from bell to bell. Whilst Reveco was in cruise control through out, he couldn't put Rivera away as he claimed only a 12 round decision with scores of 120-107 across the board.

With this victory Reveco has tried to put himself #1 in the queue to face the winner of the up coming WBA "super" and WBC Flyweight title unification bout between Hernan "Tyson" Marquez and Brian Viloria (which takes place on November 17th). However it seems the WBA has upgraded Reveco to the "regular" champion and he's certainly got a target on his back as Roman Gonzalez is expected to view him as an "easier title" at Flyweight, as long as Gonzalez gets past his own up coming bout (also November 17th).

For Rivera this was a case of knowing your place and not upsetting the applecart, and that's what he did. He was there to make up the numbers and not much else.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Abner Mares v Anselmo Moreno

Mexican Abner Mares (25-0-1, 13) successfully retained his WBC Super Bantamweight title via a very controversial decision over Panamanian Anselmo Moreno (33-2-1, 12) with more than a little bit of help from referee Raul Caiz Jr who simply failed to be impartial. In fact it's fair to say that Caiz's job was almost as bad as that of Russell Mora who famously allowed Mares to get away with similar tactics against Joseph Agbeko.

The bout started very slowly with neither man taking control of the action in the opening few rounds. In fact the early rounds were highlighted by the fact that the fight failed to get going as the styles seemed to clash as opposed to gel. Sadly the issues with styles made the first few rounds very difficult to score as neither man really had any notable success.

In round 4 we sadly saw the start of the bouts controversy as Mares landed a very shot and instead of really telling Mares off, the referee decided that Moreno was to blame for the shot. Sadly Mares would land numerous low blows, at least double figures. Sadly it wasn't just the low blows that marred the bout but an awful knockdown call in favour of Mares in round 5, securing Mares a 10-8.

Following the knockdown Mares really started to step up the pressure and unleashing combinations to the body. Although Moreno slipped many of the shots going his way a fair few were landing, in fact Mares was getting more and more success as the bout went on. In round 7 however Caiz verbally warned Mares in fact stating "next time I'm taking a point" after another clear low blow. Sadly all subsequent low blows were ignored by Caiz despite Mares continuing to land them to the final bell on a semi-regular basis. Surprisingly however Caiz was more than happy to deduct a point from Moreno, with out a clear warning for holding the head down in round 10, further throwing coals on to the fire of Caiz being biased.

Mares continued to press the action late in the bout and although all the rounds were close it seemed that Mares had done enough to claim the bout, helped in part to the "knockdown" and deduction against Moreno. It had been close but those points had made things all but certain for Mares.

The scores were read out and unsurprisingly Mares was a winner by unanimous decision with 2 of the cards having the bout close but fair (116-110, 8 rounds to 4) however the final card was simply a joke that matched Caiz's refereeing giving Mares the bout 120-106.

Whilst it's easy to like Mares' style which is all action, it's impossible to like the number of breaks he gets. The fights with Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko (first fight) and now this one all raise eye brows as to the way they were officiated and scored and Mares may well be getting himself a reputation as one of Golden Boy's "protected" fighters in terms of officiating (though clearly not match making). If Mares gets to face Nonito Donaire, the fighter he called out after the bout, you can bet your bottom dollar that Bob Arum will want to be the promoter.

For Moreno it's likely he'll drop back to Bantamweight where he currently holds the WBA "super" title.

Nathan Cleverly v Shawn Hawk

Welshman Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12) successfully retained his WBO Light Heavyweight title by stopping the thoroughly out-matched, but impressively game Shawn Hawk (23-3-1, 17) in the 8th round of a 1 sided bout.

The early rounds saw Cleverly setting an incredible pace as he really took the fight to the challenger. Whilst Cleverly was merely throwing arm punches, his speed and work-rate were incredible as he forced Hawk on to the back foot, and often against the ropes. Although Hawk did occasionally land a shot, often a hook to the body, he was simply not landing enough to force Cleverly off him. In fact if anything Cleverly seemed to merely get angrier when tagged and returned fire with impressive combinations.

In round 5 Cleverly changed tactics and rather than throwing flurry's of weak looking shots he started to box and move. The pace of the bout slowed dramatically but Cleverly's domination continued as he landed at will with spiteful looking shots to both head and body. When the bout changed to Cleverly boxing he looked a whole different class to Hawk who sadly looked lost.

With Cleverly now in a groove it looked like the Welshman was starting to throw everything with nasty intentions and in round 7 he twice dropped Hawk with nasty body shots. The first seemed to keep Hawk down for a 10 count though the referee allowed it to go on before Hawk was dropped again. Although the challenger got up from both knockdowns the round was really the start of the end with Hawk down again the following round before being stopped later in round 8.

Whilst Shawn Hawk showed he was brave he really wasn't in Cleverly's class, in fact he should never, ever have been allowed to fight for a world title. For Cleverly it was a case of doing what was needed. He scored and eye catching win, showed off what eh could do, and seems to have secured a date for his next bout, which will again be in the US.

Leo Santa Cruz v Victor Zaleta

IBF Bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13) successfully retained his title as he defeated the over-matched and under-sized Victor Zaleta (20-3-1, 10) in a thoroughly exciting all action war.

The opening round set the tale of what was to come as both men went at each other from the bell. It was tit for tat action as Santa Cruz pressed forward relentlessly with Zaleta trying to fight him off with his own shots. It was a great start to the fight and it quickly got better as the two men continued to pound on each other in rounds 2 an 3 which were both competitive even if it was a shut out for Santa Cruz.

In round 4 the power of Santa Cruz started to show and he swiftly started to force Zaleta to unravel with the challenger looking very messy early in the round. Santa Cruz continued to unleash and whilst Zaleta was bravely fighting back it was the power of Santa Cruz's body shots that took their toll as he dropped Zaleta with a nasty body blow. Zaleta bravely got up however it seemed as if the shot really took it's toll on him.

Despite surviving rounds 5 and 6 well it seemed only a matter of time before Zaleta would be stopped. He was courageous in fighting back though he was simple lacking the power to get Santa Cruz's attention as the  champion proceeded to walk him down and crack him with hurtful shots to both the head and body.

After being competitive in rounds 5 and 6 Santa Cruz scored another knockdown with a vicious body shot that felled Zaleta in round 7. It seemed as if Zaleta was ready to be stopped though he again proved he was a warrior as he came out for round 8, though sadly for Zaleta round 8 was probably the most one sided round as Santa Cruz really wailed away on Zaleta who proved to have a great chin.

The onslaught from round 8 continued into the following round though sadly for Zaleta, Santa Cruz simply wouldn't stop and a straight right finally put Zaleta down with the referee waving the bout off with Zaleta unable to get up.

We now expect Santa Cruz to move up to Super Bantamweight where he will genuinely be a nightmare for anyone. For Victor Zaleta however it's likely to the hospital for him as he really took a bit of a beating, hopefully however Zaleta will get another chance against a less fighter somewhere down the line.

Wladimir Klitschko v Mariusz Wach

Ukrainian Heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 51) successfully defended his WBA "super", WBO, IBF, IBO and Ring Magazine Heavyweight titles as he thoroughly dominated the brave Polish challenger Mariusz Wach (27-1, 15) over 12 rounds.

The bout was one way traffic almost from the off as Klitschko used his exceptional jab and straight to bang against Wach's head not only keeping Wach at range but also keeping Wach behind his his guard. From the opening round Klitschko was immediately finding his range and timing and he really looked like a confident fighter dropping his hands and trying to goad Wach into opening up.

Although much of the bout was 1-sided, we did have some excitement in round 5 as Wach landed a really notable right hand that seemed to wobble the champion. The Pole tried to capitalise on wobbling Klitschko and unleashed a series of shots as he tried to finish off the champion, sadly however the bell stopped the challengers momentum.

After landing his hard right hand in round 5, Wach seemed to look for the punch through out the rest of the fight, though Klitschko's ability to control the range and pace of the fight really neutralised the perceived threat of Wach's power. In fact as the fight went on Klitschko became more and more confident and started to unleash 6 and 7 punch combinations, especially in round 8, the bouts most 1-sided round (and likely a 10-8 round).

Although Wach took a real pasting, especially in rounds 7, 8 and 11 he managed to show real toughness and refused to go down, shocking myself with his ability to absorb numerous thudding right hands from the champion. Sadly however toughness alone doesn't win you rounds and Wach struggle to make a case for any of the rounds as he was out landed, out classed, out boxed and out fought by a fighter who was simply too good for him.

On this showing Wladimir is certainly a fighter who isn't showing signs of aging. Whilst he may not have been able to stop or even drop Wach, that was more a testament to Wach's chin than anything else as he took a real beating. Another defense early next year is almost a given and I'd be surprised if Klitschko could ever have an easier looking 12-round defense.

For Wach, who was nicely given a round by Canadian judge Pasquale Procopio, this shows his level and he's certainly not world level. He's tough and will be a handful for most, though his limitations were obvious through out and despite being the bigger, longer man, he couldn't make his size count. He'll certainly be able to mix it in the fringes of world level though he'll never be a genuine world level fighter.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Chris John v Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo

Indonesian Chris John (48-0-2, 22) successfully retained his "Super" WBA Featherweight title as he out pointed the previous unbeaten Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (44-1, 27) in an enthralling 12 round battle that saw both men hurt and both men really giving it their all.

John went out to a quick lead by easily winning the first 2 rounds against Piriyapinyo who was a very slow starter and did little early on. John's speed, accuracy and skill were allowing him to easily dominate against the Thai challenger at both range and up close. Sadly for Piriyapinyo his defense seemed none existent and it allowed John to willingly tee-off on him with combinations and flurries.

Thankfully for the viewers, both on TV and in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore, Piriyapinyo started to fight back back in round 3. Whilst John still won the round, pretty clearly as well, it was the first time that Piriyapinyo actually tried to force John off him by fighting back. Over the following rounds Piriyapinyo really started to grow in to the bout and a strong case could be made for him winning the following 3 or 4 rounds as the bout became a back and forth battle between two men who were each having their moments. Whilst John's class and speed were looking wonderful, Piriyapinyo seemed to stun John with hurtful right hands, especially in round 7 where John's legs appeared to buckle.

Sadly for the Thai he appeared to shoot his load and in round 9 John took over once again, really giving Piriyapinyo a beating in the bouts most 1-sided round. In fact had it not been for the fact John twice slipped to the canvas, he may well have managed to stop Piriyapinyo who was being forced to weather a real storm. This was really the start of the end for the competitive fight we had seen for a few rounds and John really made sure he was in the lead by clearly winning rounds 10 and 11.

With the challenger needing a stoppage in round 12 we saw Piriyapinyo really letting his hands go, especially late in the round and he seemed to rock John in the dying seconds of the fight, though sadly for the challenger he failed to drop the Indonesian who had done enough to claim the bout by pretty wide scores.

Jimmy Lennon Jr announced the scorecards with John a unanimous winner via scores of 119-109 (twice) and 117-111. I myself had the bout 119-109, though you could have made a real case for Piriyapinyo to have taken as many as 4 rounds. Sadly the Thai, whilst tough and game, simply lacked the defensive ability needed at this level to counter shots however it needs to be said that John doesn't look like the fighter he once was. Yes he clearly won here but Piriyapinyo did look like a heavy bag for much of the bout.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Roberto Vasquez v John Mark Apolinario

Panama's Roberto Vasquez (32-5-1, 22) failed in his attempt to claim the WBA "interim" Bantamweight title this past weekend as he could only score a draw with relatively unknown Filipino John Mark Apolinario (17-2-2, 4).

Vasquez, a former champion down at Light Flyweight and Flyweight, was expected to have the experience and know-how to defeat Apolinario who hadn't fought in close to a year, however the 22 year old co-challenger relished the opportunity of being in a title fight and refused to be intimidated by his experienced opponent.

Although neither man was fighting at home, as they went to Argentina, it was thought that the destination of the bout would favour Vasquez, who has fought through out the world (including his native Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, France and Japan) as opposed to Apolinario who was fighting for the first time outside of his homeland. Surprisingly however Apolinario didn't look like a fighter fighting out of his homeland for the first time and was thoroughly impressive in a very close battle.

The close and competitive nature of the bout was seen clearly in the scoring as two judges (Gustavo Estrella and Jesus Cova) scored it level at 114-114 whilst a third judge (Uriel Aguilera) could only see 1 clear round between them, scoring the bout 115-113 for Vasquez, leaving the "interim" belt vacant.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Marco Huck v Firat Arslan

The hugely popular Marco Huck (?-?) successfully defended his WBO Cruiserweight title for the 10th time as he out-pointed veteran Firat Arslan (?-?) in a thoroughly engaging 12 round war that really could have gone either way.

Surprisingly it was the 42 year old challenger, Firat Arslan that really forced the bout through out as he rushed at Huck to start every round and really went at the champion in every round. Arslan's great work took it's toll on Huck from the off as he busted Huck's nose in the second round and appeared to win almost all of the early rounds with his relentless pressure.

Thankfully for Huck he started to eventually get going as he began to generate some distance with which he could work from. At a distance Huck looked a different fighter and he really started to target Arslan's body, trying to drain the tank of the challenger who was relentless in his forward march. Although Huck's attacks were much less frequent than Arslan's they certainly seemed to contain the harder shots and in the middle section of the bout he seemed to take a slight advantage as he brought the score cards closer together.

In the latter rounds we were treat to some real tit-for-tat moments as each man took it in turns to attack. One minute Arslan would force Huck on to the ropes and land long combinations of shots, targeting the head of Huck with uppercuts, the next minute Huck was dominating with his body assault forcing Arslan on to the back foot. This left us with a number of rounds which were razor thin and really, really hard to split the fighters on.

When it came to the cards it obvious that it was close and the first two cards showed as much with scores of 115-113, however the third card, 117-111 really didn't reflect the nature of the bout. Thankfully for Huck all 3 were in his favour, however a really strong case could be made for Arslan winning the bout.

For Arslan this proves there is a lot more left in the old dog than any of us suspected. He really could go in with almost any Cruiserweight and hold his own and it sort of suggests that his performance against Alexander Alexeev wasn't all to do with Alexseev fighting the wrong fight.

For Huck however it could have been a case that he looked past Arslan with a lot of talk about a bout with Wladimir Klitschko...however it could also be a case that the hard fights are catching up with Huck. Huck didn't look his-self, of course Arslan played a part in that but hard fights with both Alexander Povetkin and Ola Afolabi already this year won't have helped. We don't often see championship level fighters fighting 36 hard, competitive rounds in a year and that's what Huck has done in 2012.

Huck's team needs to give 6-9 months off, let him recharge his batteries, let him recover from these wars, then look at moving to Heavyweight. Don't let Huck spar for the next few months, don't let him do anything more than pad work in the ring just to keep him sharp, otherwise the exciting Capt'n may well be done before he turns 30.

Toshiyuki Igarashi v Nestor Daniel Narvaes

In a much closer than expected bout Japanese WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-1-1, 10) struggled past Argentinian challenger Nestor Daniel Narvaes (19-1-2, 9) in a bout that perhaps shows up the problem with the "Linear" championship. I'm sorry but there is no way on earth that we can really claim that Igarashi is better than either Brian Viloria or Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (who meet each other to decide the division's true #1 in my eyes, later this year).

Narvaes, the younger brother of current WBO Super Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez, started the bout quickly and forced Igarashi to fight back from the opening bell as he really brought the fight to the champion with a very high work rate.

If things were hard for the champion from the off, they just got harder as Igarashi suffered nasty cuts over both eye brows and had to fight back with claret covering his eyes and his face noticeably marked up. It appeared that Narvaes, a real unknown in the boxing world, was on his way to an upset before Igarashi bit down hard and did just enough to claim the victory despite being deducted a point for a head clash.

The hellacious action and back and forth nature of the bout was always going to lead to close scores and it showed with Igarashi taking a majority decision with cards of 114-112 (twice) and 113-113.

For Igarashi my advice is stay from the other other top fighters in the division. He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time after Sonny Boy Jaro defeated a fading Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (who lost again earlier this week) and really shouldn't be regarded as the divisions best fighter. In all honesty, at best, Igarashi is the fourth best fighter in the division (also behind South African Moruti Mthalane). He could well do with a number of easier defenses in Japan to help him mature into a real champion thankfully the WBC rankings do have a few weaker options such as Oscar Blanquet (who has already fought in Japan) and Anuar Salas (who's ranking I simply cannot explain).

It's strange to have a "Linear" and "Ring" champion who isn't ready for a genuine top tier fighter, such as the other 3 "real" champions or the top contenders such as Rocky Fuentes or Milan Melindo, however as I said Igarashi was simply a lucky man to be in the right place at the right time.

For Narvaes this fight should really be a sign that he can copy his brother and become a world champion, however he's unfortunate to have lost here against the weakest champion in the division. It's fair to say that the other 3 champions would almost certainly have had an easier night with Narvaes than Igarashi did. If the little Argentinian cannot force a rematch I'd advise him to look towards an all Argentinian battle with current WBA "regular" champion Juan Carlos Reveco, as long as Reveco gets past Julian Rivera next weekend.

Shinsuke Yamanaka v Tomas Rojas

WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (17-0-2, 12) made the second successful defense of his title earlier today surprisingly stopping the generally durable Mexican veteran Tomas Rojas (39-14-1-1, 26).

The champion had established control of the bout early on using his power and skill to neutralise Rojas' reach advantage, however Rojas was certainly still game going in to the second half of the fight. Sadly for Rojas however Yamanaka hits hard and hits quite often as Rojas found out prior to being dropped, face first for the count in round 7 in one of the genuine knockout of the year contenders.

For the 32 year old Rojas this could well be the end of the line after a long 16 year career which has seen him facing genuinely a who's who of top tier boxers ranging from Rosendo Alvarez to Vic Darchinyan. Amazingly this is just the third time Rojas has been stopped with Yamanaka joining Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce and this was arguably the most vicious of the three.

With Rojas' career now in tatters it's fair to suggest that Yamanaka will rightfully be claiming the plaudits. This is a bought I genuinely expected to go the distance but Yamanaka's power wouldn't allow that to happen. I'd now like to see the 30 year old Japanese fighter in with one more top Bantamweight, be it domestic rival Koki Kameda (who faces Hugo Ruiz later this year) or exciting Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu (the current WBO champion) before perhaps looking to move up. Yamanaka is in a division that was red hot just a year or two ago however it's now somewhat weaker and aside from Anselmo Moreno (who may well end up staying at Super Bantamweight if he defeats Abner Mares) there is no one I'd expect to really give the Japanese fighter a real fight.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Miguel Vazquez v Marvin Quintero

In a less that entertaining bout Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13) successfully retained his IBF Lightweight title against the hard hitting Marvin Quintero (25-4, 21) in a bout that really failed to ever come alive.

The champion claimed a number of the early rounds via his movement and jab whilst Quintero, who applied constant pressure, threw little and seemed to be chasing Vazquez as opposed to punching him. Despite Vazquez's successes early on Quintero gradually cut the distance and in the middle rounds the challenger was starting to win rounds and tag the champion time and time again.

By round 8 the bout had really closed up and there was really only a round in it either way as Quintero started to enforce his will on the bout. Despite the huge gulf in technical skill Vazquez wasn't boxing any longer, instead of punching and moving he was almost running away and forcing Quintero to chase him and make the fight, something he did and he did well. The bought didn't widen in either rounds 9 or 10 as both men made legitimate claims for both of the rounds, which meant it was all to fight for in the championship rounds.

With the bout so close it was amazing to see Vazquez really impose himself in round 11, a round that he won so clearly that it was probably the most dominant single round of the fight (despite the fact Quintero didn't land a punch in the opening round according to Compubox). The penultimate round really showed the class of "Titere" who landed at will and completely neutralised Quintero. This lead to Quintero really chasing the fight in the final round and whilst Quintero just won the round on my card, he failed to score the knock down that could have won him the fight.

When it came to the scorecards there was enough close rounds to understand a wide selections of scores and perhaps understandably the judges were split. The first card read out was a 115-113 in favour of Quintero, the second card was 116-112 Vazquez (the same score as I had it) though the third card was simply ludicrous seeing Vazquez as the winner 118-110.

The decision was booed though that may have more to do with the lack of action early on and the third scorecard which deserved a round of boos on it's own. Score cards of 116-112 EITHER way would have been understandable, but 118-110 was a joke card I'm afraid.

This should have been a chance for Vazquez to make an impression though sadly he failed to box to the best of his ability. He spent too much time running and not enough time boxing, and as a result won't have made many new fans tonight. In fact if anyone was the "real winner" here it was Quintero who will almost certainly be on HBO due to the fact he appears to be fun to watch. He's not the most skilled or the most durable but he'll be fun on the fringes of the world level and in fact the perfect opponent for Ricky Burns to make his mark on America against.

Takahiro Ao v Gamaliel Diaz

In this first of this weekends title fights we saw a noteworthy upset as Japanese fighter Takahiro Ao (23-3-1, 10) lost his WBC Super Featherweight title to Mexican Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17) via decision, despite the fact Diaz was the visiting fighter.

Despite going in to the bout as the under-dog, the upset minded Diaz (who also holds wins over Elio Rojas and Robert Guerrero) managed to rip the title away from Ao in a rather uninteresting fight. The bout started well for Diaz who managed to land long right hands from the off and whilst Ao looked for the counters he was simply getting tagged far too often early on.

Diaz's domination would see him becoming more confident and sadly his confidence was punished as he was deducted points for low blows, however even the deductions wouldn't deny him as he repeatedly threw his looping right hand and repeatedly found the target. Sadly for Ao he didn't seem to have a plan B and even  when he upped his own work rate he failed to really force the issue, in fact when he looked to force the bout he merely suffered a cut as Diaz continued to to be the accurate aggressor.

Whilst a rematch is possible, I'd imagine that Diaz will look to "cash out" and make a name in the US. Although he's not the most talented he's a fighter who is confident and on a 14 fight winning streak and a fight with someone Diego Magdaleno could be very interesting. Despite being experienced I don't see Diaz holding the title for long.

For Ao this was a major learning experience. In terms of raw skills he's a much, much better fighter than he showed, he fought the wrong game plan and was punished and hopefully this will serve as a lesson that he will need to do more if he can encourage Diaz to give him a rematch. If Ao cannot get a rematch he will perhaps be looking for a bout with countryman Takashi Uchiyama or some confidence rebuilding "easy" wins.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Omar Andres Narvaez v Johnny Garcia

Talented Argentinian Omar Andres Narvaez (37-1-2, 20) successfully defended his WBO Super Flyweight title for the fifth time as he stopped Mexican Johnny Garcia (16-4-1, 8) in the 11th round of an impressive and emotionally charged bout.

The bout, first scheduled for Wednesday, was delayed following the death of Narvaez's father and in the opening round Narvaez did look like his mind was else where as he spent much of the round outside of his own range behind his high guard, allowing Garcia to hit his arms. Midway through round 2 however Narvaez seemed to realise he was in a fight and tried to launch his own hard shorts, often leaping at the much bigger Garcia with big left hands whilst frustrating the challenger with clever movement. Through the first 3 rounds Garcia seemed to be in the lead thanks to hi aggressiveness, however he was looking wild and sent himself to the canvas at one point whilst swinging at Narvaez.

By the mid point of the fourth round you could see Garcia gradually getting more frustrated with Narvaez and not only was Garcia missing a lot, but he was wasting a lot of energy against a very tricky Narvaez who, whilst not winning the fight at this point, was starting to tire the much younger Garcia. In round 5 Narvaez started to close the range and whilst he didn't do enough to really stamp his authority on the round, he seemed to have finally started to warm to the bout, however the round was sadly rather stop start after a number of accidental fouls by the challenger.

In round 6 the snap seemed to have gone from Garcia as Narvaez started to turn the screw and stood in the pocket and looked like he was really getting in the groove in his most impressive round up to that point. If the sixth was Narvaez finding his groove then the seventh was Narvaez showing a mean streak as he continued to stand in the pocket and land numerous, hurtful shots, almost appearing to take his emotions out on Garcia's head and body in a hugely impressive round that saw Garcia dropped officially for the first time in the bout.

As Garcia went back to his corner following round 7 he appeared to be a beaten man whilst Narvaez seemed to be a man with bad thoughts on in his mind. Surprisingly however Garcia came out for round 8 looking like a rejuvenated fighter before a nasty clash of heads had both men wincing with Garcia being deducted a point. Late in round 8 Narvaez seemed to look for the stoppage but Garcia managed to survive thanks to some confusion by both men regarding the end of the round.

Although Narvaez was controlling the bout it wasn't until the final minute of round 11 that he made his control really count for something as he dropped Garcia 3 times forcing the referee to wave the bout off and give Narvaez his first stoppage victory since moving up from Flyweight. Interestingly it's the third time Narvaez has stopped an opponent in the 11th round (with his last stoppage also being in the 11th round).

At 37 years old Narvaez is on the slide. He proved he still has the speed, skills and movement to hang with younger fighters though I wouldn't be surprised if he were to announce his retirement in the next few months, maybe going out with 1 more fight to finish a memorable, if under-rated career. For Garcia however I think we'll probably see him again as a perennial but limited challenger.

Pungluang Sor Singyu v AJ Banal

In one of this past weekends "forgotten" fights, Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-1, 28) claimed the WBO Bantamweight title by traveling to the Philippines and stopping the highly touted Filipino AJ Banal (28-2-1, 20) in 9 rounds.

The bout started well for Banal who appeared to be the sharper, quicker boxer and it was he who certainly took a number of the early rounds as Singyu was made to look like a pretty average plodder.

Despite the great start for Banal, Singyu started to work his way into the bout and by round 5 was visibly getting to the Filipino who was seemed to be slowing just as Singyu was finding his own rhythm. By round 6 Banal was showing the damage of war as an accidental clash of heads opened a nasty cut above his right eye and  it was also the same round that saw Banal deducted a point for a low blow.

The tough looking Thai seemed to grow in confidence from the blood on Banal's face and started to really chip away at Banal's resolve before dropping him twice in the ninth round and bloodying his face further before referee Tony Weeks stopped the contest. Although Banal was on his feet when he was stopped, he was a broken man and a badly beaten fighter who had been gradually beaten to a stand still.

After the fight Banal apparently mentioned that he's considering retirement from the sport, a real shame as the 23 year old still has a lot to give the sport and is still a talented fighter who will almost certainly be able to come again. For Singyu however this should be a launch pad for him to be able to really make a name for himself. He's rebuilt his career well since suffering his lone defeat to the talented Belgian Stephane Jamoye (by split decision back in 2009).

With a number of top tier Bantamweight's based in the east, it's difficult to imagine Singyu not facing someone like compatriot Suriyan Sor Rungvisai or even Filipino Rolly Matsushita.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam v Peter Quillin

American Peter Quillin (28-0, 20) successfully claimed the WBO Middleweight title after winning an interesting bout with French based-Cameroon born Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam (27-1, 17) in a bout that saw someone's 0 needing to go.

The bout started well for the defending champion who appeared to clearly take the opening 3 rounds with a combination of his fast, accurate hands and his excellent movement which at times left Quillin looking clueless. In round 4 however Quillin had his first real moments of success as he tagged N'Dam for the first time before twice dropping N'Dam N'Jikam to score a 10-7 round and bring the scores level on my card at 37-37. At this point it seemed clear that Quillin was going to stop N'Dam N'Jikam.

Following the excellent 4th round for Quillin it was surprising to see him give away the initiative the following round as N'Dam N'Jikam was allowed to recover his legs and regain the lead on my card. Quillin didn't once try to force the issue and although he stalked his man he simply refused to let his hands go enough to take advantage of a still shaken N'Dam N'Jikam.

Amazingly despite giving away round 5, Quillin came out in round 6 with bad intentions and again dropped N'Dam N'Jikam twice to claim a second 10-7 round. This round also saw Quillin inflicting a nasty looking cut over his opponents eye and once again it appeared as if Quillin was heading towards a clear stoppage win. N'Dam N'Jikam was really looking hurt when he was tagged and on a number of occasions appeared done though showed amazing heart and fantastic recuperative ability.

Shockingly in round 7 Quillin again allowed N'Dam N'Jikam off the hook and instead of going in for the kill he sat on the ropes and allowed N'Dam N'Jikam to out work him and re-establish himself. It was bizarre that Quillin didn't try and finish off his man whilst he was still hurt for a second time and instead allowed N'Dam N'Jikam to claim the round with real ease.

N'Dam N'Jikam built on his success from round 7 and appeared to sweep rounds 9-11 with his superior work rate nd actually appeared to hurt Quillin at several points as some thought he may just have sneaked into the lead. Sadly for N'Dam however his fate was sealed in the last 30 seconds of the bout as Quillin dropped him twice to claim a third 10-7 round and also claim a very narrow win.

Despite only clearly winning 3 rounds Quillin's power had been the difference between the two men as those 3 10-7 rounds were the difference between winning and losing on my card. Sadly however the official judges (who all posted cards of 115-107) appeared to have failed to credit N'Dam N'Jikam for his success, and scoring the bout 7-5 in favour of Quillin was a joke. No argument with Quillin winning, the knockdowns secured him the win, but giving Quillin 7 rounds is a real, real travesty.

Randall Bailey v Devon Alexander

This past weekend young American Devon Alexander (24-1, 13) successfully claimed the IBF Welterweight as he out worked the hard hitting, former champion Randall Bailey (43-8-0-1, 37) in a relatively poor match. Sadly, despite becoming a 2-weight world champion Alexander did little to really excite the fans.

The bout started slowly with Bailey looking to land his fearsome right hand, dubbed "The Stick of Dynamite" whilst Alexander was able to use his feet to dart in and out with his own shots in a very cautious opening. Sadly the opening round set the tone of the bout which rarely came alive.

It wasn't until round 5 that Bailey found any real success, landing two monster right hands on Alexander who took them startlingly well before firing back himself. In fact it appeared that not only could Alexander take Bailey's best shots, but could actually hurt Bailey himself, a rather surprising feature of the bout. Sadly this was one of the bouts few interesting rounds as most of the other rounds saw little action.

In round 6, both men were deducted a point for holding as the bout dipped again and the crowd showed their displeasure by loudly booing both men. Alexander, whilst clearly the busier man, wasn't busy enough and spent more time using his feet than his hands whilst Bailey was literally giving rounds away by doing nothing other than looking for an opportunity. It was dire.

Sadly despite the boos neither fighter really changed what they were doing over the following rounds and it appeared that both men were more interested in sending the viewers asleep, rather than their opponent.

Despite the lack of activity Bailey was on the receiving end of a nasty cut in the later rounds above his eye, though with so much of the bout gone and the inactivity of both men it was clearly not going to force an early stoppage and sadly the fans were forced to watch the final rounds. Like much of the bout, very little actually happened as Alexander continued his intelligent but cautious boxing.

By the time the scorecards were read out by Jimmy Lennon Jr, it was clear that Alexander had won due to the fact that he had actually done something. The surprises however came not only in the fact that the boos had become louder as the bout had finished but also just how little Bailey had done, with punch numbers being shown on the screen showing Bailey to have thrown less than 200 punches (198) over the 12 rounds! That's an average of 16.5.

For Alexander it's a win and a title, however it will be the sort of performance that will put fans off him, for Bailey however it's almost certainly the end. I'd advise Alexander to dine out on that title for as long as he can as he's not going to be a wanted man when he loses it. He made the fight stink. Sure he threw over 500 punches but he had an opponent in against him who was doing nothing.

For fight fans, this is one to avoid, at no point did a fight really break out.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Danny Garcia v Erik Morales II

As a boxing fan some things are really upsetting, and watching an icon nearly have his head knocked off his shoulders is up there with the worst. Sadly for Erik Morales (?-?) I think we saw the final death knell in an hall of fame career tonight as Danny "Swift" Garcia (?-?) almost certainly ended Morales' career.

The early rounds of the bout saw a mature Garcia showing Morales little respect. The WBA "super" and WBC Light Welterweight champion seemed to no longer respect Morales as he had done when the two men first met earlier this year. Instead Garcia seemed to realise he was now a world champion.

Garcia had won the opening 2 rounds but in round 3 really made a statement as he seriously hurt Morales just before the bell. A dazed Morales headed to Garcia's corner before being guided, by his team to his own corner and from then on the writing was on the wall.

It didn't take long for Garcia to take advantage of a dazed Morales and midway through the fourth round Morales was almost sent out of the ring by a wonderful Garcia counter that saw Morales down and forced the referee to wave the bout off.

Whilst Morales isn't the fighter he once was, and in fact is a washed up fighter (despite his Ring magazine rating of #6 going into the bout) this was still a sorry and upsetting sight. Thankfully for Garcia it's job done and hopefully he'll face Lucas Matthysse next year in a fight to truly decide the #1 guy at Light Welterweight.  Whilst Garcia may well be the WBC and WBA "super" champion at 140lbs, few will accept him as the stand out guy unless he can defeat Matthysse, and that appears to be the bout that the fans are calling for.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Nonito Donaire v Toshiaki Nishioka

The highly regarded Nonito Donaire (30-1, 19) made the second successful defense of the WBO Super Bantamweight title as he stopped the well respected Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka (39-5-3, 24) in 9 rounds. Sadly despite this being a very notable win for Donaire it wasn't a fight that matched the expectation that many had, as Nishioka was simply ring rusty and too old.

The bout started very cautiously for Nishioka who seemed almost unwilling to open up in the first 5 rounds which were all clear and easy Donaire rounds. Nishioka gauged the distance well to keep Donaire out of range, and the Filipino-American threw plenty but landed little whilst the Japanese challenger just threw literally nothing.

In round 6 Nishioka opened up for the first time in the bout, sadly however he was made to pay and he was dropped for the first time in the bout. By now the challenger was a long way behind on the scorecards.

Through rounds 7 and 8 Nishioka grew into the bout and he actually had a shout for winning one of those rounds however he was still cautious and didn't appear that willing to actually have a fight with Donaire, and with good reason as Donaire hits hard and was much, much sharper.

Sadly for the challenger it appears that Donaire was luring him into a false sense of security and in round 9, with Nishioka on the offense Donaire landed a beautiful right hand counter that sent Nishioka down for the second time. Although Nishioka recovered to his feet the bout was soon stopped by his corner who realised their man wasn't at the races.

Despite this being a good name on Donaire's record it needs to be known that this isn't the Nishioka of 2 or 3 years ago. This was a 36 year old Nishioka who hadn't fought in over a year and it showed.

For Donaire a fight with Rigondeaux is almost required, for Nishioka however retirement looms.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Kompayak Porpramook v Adrian Hernandez II

Mexican Adrian Hernandez (25-2-1, 16) regained the WBC Light Flyweight title as he exacted revenge from Thai Kompayak Porpramook (46-4, 31) in a rematch of one of 2011's fight of the year contenders.

When the two men first met back in December 2011 Porpramook managed to stop Hernandez in a 10 round war in Thailand. The then challenger simply broke down the then champion to claim the title and end Hernandez's first reign after just 1 successful defense. This time around however the roles were reversed, the champion, Porpramook, was the visitor to the challengers homeland, and like in the first bout, the champion would be stopped.

The bout started very fast with neither man really feeling the need to feel out the other and from the off it looked like we were in for another very enjoyable war between two genuine warriors who gave their all in their first bout. Through out much of the round Hernandez attempted to control the distance with his hard jab though up close appeared more than willing to go punch-for-punch with the Thai.

The second round followed the same pattern of the opening round with Hernandez trying to control the distance but not too bothered if Porpramook was able to get up close in a trade off. The fights first major talking point was in round 3 as Hernandez's powerful blows started to take their effect on Porpramook with the Thai being wobbled before being dropped late in the round. Hernandez went hell for leather at the end of the round and whilst he failed to stop Porpramook he had done some notable damage before slipping himself. After the bell to end the round both men continued to trade with each other several seconds as the crowd went wild.

At the start of the fourth round an accidental headclash bizarrely so both men deducted a point (at least that's what the referee seemed to indicate). After the clash of heads Porpramook had arguably his best round as he tried to make up for the fact he was dropped in the previous round. Hernandez however fought back well and fight fans were treated to one of the rounds of the year as both guys went at each other hard with a huge variety of shots.

In the fifth round Hernandez seemed to start grinding down Porpramook landing numberous hurtful body shots as well as hurtful head shots forcing Porpramook to fight much of the round off the ropes and appearing to shake him hard at the end of the round. The following round Hernandez dropped Porpramook against the ropes very early on after a series of hard shots. Despite rising on wobbly legs Porpramook appeared clear headed after the 8 count however the referee, controversially, waved an early end to the bout declaring the Thai in no fit state to continue.

The stoppage it's self seemed really poor, especially after their first bout, however Porpramook had been hurt in the previous round and Hernandez was starting to really come on strong.  Hopefully the controversial ending will allow us to see a third bout, hopefully in a neutral venue such as Las Vegas and hopefully give both fighters a chance to not only be seen by a wider audience but also collect a pay day they deserve.

Jesus Silvestre v Takuya Mitamura

Mexican Jesus Silvestre (26-3, 19) successfully defended his WBA "interim" Minimumweight title for the first time as he stopped previously unbeaten Japanese challenger Takuya Mitamura (12-1, 2) in just 4 rounds.

Silvestre started the fight well and used both accurate hurtful counters as well as some thudding combinations in the early rounds to hurt Mitamura who, despite landing his own shots did little to really stop Silvestre from doing as he wished.

By the end of the third round it appeared that Silvestre's hurtful body punches were taking their toll out of Mitamura and early in the fourth round the Japanese fighter was stopped effectively a broken man.

Despite the victory being a decent one for Silvestre, I do have to wonder how he would fair with the top guys at 105lbs. Countrymen Mario Rodriguez (IBF) and Moises Fuentes (WBO) would both be great unification bouts with a lot of action and excitement, however Silvestre would likely lose to any of the top Japanese fighters (Kazuto Ioka, Akira Yaegashi or  Katsunari Takayama).

For Mitamura the logical next fight is a bout with rising young star Ryuji Hara (13-0, 10) who won Mitamura's old Japanese Minimumweight title in midweek.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Moises Fuentes v Ivan Calderon

Puerto Rican Ivan Calderon (35-3-1, 6) was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the WBO Minimumweight title as he was stopped in the fifth round against Mexican Moises Fuentes (16-1, 8).

The bout started amazingly well for Calderon who dominated the opening round with his speed, movement and unbelievable slipperiness as he landed shots at will whilst avoiding pretty much everything thrown his way.

If the opening round was impressive by the challenger then the second round was even more amazing as Calderon put on a boxing clinic and appeared to have rolled back the clock as he landed time and time again on Fuentes. Calderon was in and out in a flash and tied up Fuentes when ever the two fighters were close. This was looking like vintage Calderon and it was hard to believe that the challenger was 37!

Calderon continued to embarrass Fuentes in the third round again using his much superior skills and movement to completely neutralise the champion who was mostly looking clueless. In the third however Fuentes managed his first notable success as he let his hands go in the centre of the ring and managed to connect with one or two shots. Up to this point he had struggled to land anything at all.

Over the first 3 rounds it had all been Calderon, however the bout took a massive change at the end of the fourth round as Calderon was caught in the corner and Fuentes took full advantages letting his hands go none stop for around 20 seconds. Although Calderon avoided taking many shots clean he did take several hard, punishing  blows that seemed to turn the fight in the way of the champion who came out for the fifth round with the same intention he had finished the fourth.

Building on his momentum from round 4, Fuentes set off at a hectic pace in the fifth round and swiftly had Calderon back in corner before unleashing another series of hurtful blows dropping Calderon for an 8 count. Although Calderon recovered to his feet, the fight had been beaten out of him, and he'd be own for a second time soon afterwards before retiring himself in the middle of the round by taking a knee with what looked to be a badly damaged right arm.

Despite looking sensational for 3 rounds Caleron really is a fighter showing his age, and probably does need to hand them up before he takes permanent damage. He still has more skills than most fighters out there, sadly however the combination of age, injuries and tough bouts has caught up with him. Hopefully he hangs them up now, before he ends up really badly beaten.

Fuentes may have scored the win but I can't help but think a prime Calderon would seriously have embarrassed him for all 12 rounds. He got through this more the basis of his youth and energy rather than his skills, and this could be a problem against a number of the other top guys at 105lbs. Saying that however, Fuentes does hit hard, he is aggressive, he's tough and he's detimed all great ingredients for any top fighter.