Saturday, 30 November 2013

Adonis Stevenson v Tony Bellew

When a fighter talks the talk they have to do something to back it up. Unfortunately Englishman Tony Bellew (20-2-1, 12) his mouth wrote cheques he simply couldn't cash as he went over to Canada, talked the talk and was then stopped by the hard hitting Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20).

The fight started slowly, this was expected with both men showing genuine respect to the others power. Unfortunately this lead to one of the least interesting rounds of the year as Bellew back-tracked like he was doing the 100m backwards running and Stevenson failed to find his range.

Thankfully, for the sake of entertainment, round 2 saw Stevenson picking up the pace and easily dominating the round as Bellew began to look like a genuinely terrified fighter. The confidence had been completely sapped from Bellew. What didn't help the challenger was the fact Stevenson was starting to connect with his left hand on a semi-regular basis.

By the end of round 3 it seemed like the end was imminent as Stevenson began to land left hands on a regular basis. Although Bellew was now throwing shots in return it seemed like he was becoming a desperate man rather than a fighter attempting to fight back.

Having clearly fallen 3-0 down Bellew finally let his hands go like a fighter in round 4 as the two men traded shots. This saw both men looking hurt with Stevenson actually ending up on the canvas, albeit from a push, and it appeared as if we were in for a war. Unfortunately however the excitement lasted just for the round as Bellew got back on his bike in round 5 and continued to use his legs more than his hands.

The negativity of Bellew saw Stevenson taunting him, dropping his hands and calling for him to fight. Unfortunately with neither man landing much of note in the fifth round, it was poor.

The poor round 5 was thankfully followed by Stevenson exploding in to action and dropping Bellew part way through the round. Bellew showed his heart by getting up, though it appeared more like he wasn't thinking straight and soon afterwards he tagged again and his legs stiffened. This gave Stevenson a chance to unload and he did as the referee was forced to step in for the safety of Bellew.

Considering the mouth of Bellew this was really disappointing. There is no harm in losing, but Bellew hardly out up a fight before being stopped. Very disappointing considering the pre-fight comments made by the Englishman.

For Stevenson this would have felt good. He was forced to listen to various comments from Bellew and he shut up Bellew's mouth, he made Bellew look like a chicken and more tellingly he further cemented his case as the best Light Heavyweight on the planet.

The logical match up at 175 right now is Stevenson v Kovalev, come on HBO put up the money for the fight we all want!

Sergey Kovalev v Ismayl Sillakh

In the first of two world title fights in Canada this evening Russian Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21) destroyed Ukrainian challenger Ismayl Sillakh (21-2, 17) and made his first title defense.

The first round was a genuinely good one for Sillakh who moved well, established his jab and actually made it look like he had a chance as he avoided Kovalev's power whilst landing at will.

What Sillakh did in the opening round was quickly forgotten as Kovalev knocked him down in the opening seconds of round 2. Sillakh got to his feet at the count of "3" though the challenger looked like he was gone, seconds late her was gone as a huge right hand sent an unconscious Sillakh hard to the canvas. This time Sillakh had no chance and everyone knew that this was "ovah".

We'd hope that Kovalev will be fighting the winner of the upcoming Stevenson/Bellew fight in early 2014, though other than than it's possibly only Bernard Hopkins that would leave us with an interesting contest. For Sillakh this is likely to be his only title fight for a while, unfortunate for him it's come against a man who is destroying fighters. A loss to Kovalev isn't embarrassing but it could well be the sort of thing that a fighter never really recovers from.

Merlito Sabillo v Carlos Buitrago

It seems incredibly rare now a days for the judges to actually get things right. They do occasionally. but the key word there is occasionally. Thankfully today saw one of those fights as the judges rightly scored a draw and saw Merlito Sabillo (23-0-1, 12) retain his WBO Minimumweight title against fellow unbeaten fighter Carlos Buitrago (27-0-1-1, 16).

The fight, at one point, looked like the title was going to change hands. After 3 rounds it was very hard to make a case for Sabillo winning. Buitrago was too quick, too skilled and too talented for Sabillo to continue to box with. The idea to box was a good one though one that failed to work in his favour.

Knowing he was behind Sabillo changed tactics in round 4 and started to try and cut the distance off to get to Buitrago. This began to work and although the champion may have lost round 4 he began to come back in to the fight over the following rounds, cutting the distance and unloading with sheer volume. This saw Sabillo turning the fight in his favour as he started to crawl back the rounds that he had lost early on.

Although Sabillo was coming back in to the fight in a big way, Buitrago was holding his own with the champion and seemed on the verge of a knockdown before Sabillo's street fighter mentality kicked in and he refused to go down instead fighting with more tenacity than ever.

By the time we got to the final bell it was obvious the fight was close and many had already began calls for a rematch. It had been competitive from the first round to the last and although both men had their clear rounds there was enough debate to see either man as the winner. This close and competitive nature was reflected perfectly in the score cards which were 115-113, 114-114 and 113-115.

I'll admit I've joined the chorus of people calling for a rematch and hopefully we'll get one sooner rather than later, something however tells me we could have these two in several bouts together and no one would come out as a clear winner barring a freak shot either way.

Donnie Nietes v Sammy Gutierrez

Filipino Donnie Nietes (32-1-4, 18) probably wanted an "easy" defence of his WBO Light Flyweight title after he was dragged to hell and back by Moises Fuentes last time out. What Nietes wouldn't have expected however was just how easy his return to the ring would be.

Taking on former "interim" minimumweight champion Sammy Gutierrez (33-10-2, 23), Nietes started like a man with a point to prove and twice dropped the Mexican in the opening round. Although not a concussive puncher Nietes clearly had the power to hurt Gutierrez.

Knowing he had won the opening round 10-7 Nietes seemed to continue his aggression in round 2 though couldn't get through with the shots to send the Mexican down in that round. It didn't take long however for Nietes to land again and this time Nietes was unable to get before the referee called a halt to the proceedings.

There is now talk about about Nietes taking on Fuentes for a second time. If I Nietes I'd make sure I had a better game plan than last time.

Xiong Zhao Zhong v Lookrak Kiatmungmee

Some fights leave you wondering just why they were made and one such case was today's first world title fight which saw Xiong Zhao Zhong (22-4-1, 12) defend his WBC Minimumweight title.

Zhong, defending his belt for the second time, made very light work of Thailand's Lookrak Kiatmungmee (7-5, 4) a fighter who in normal circumstances wouldn't not have been a world title challenger. This was evident from round 1 and was just as obvious in round 5, the round in which Zhong stopped him with a body shot.

Fortunately however this one bout had easy explanation, Lookrak Kiatmungmee was a very late replacement for Omari Kimweri. The bout which was effectively a home coming for Zhong and with it being televised on CCTV 5 in China it was a massive televised show. With out a fight the Chinese public would have been rightfully pissed off and although they got a mismatch they at least got something.

The rumour now coming out is that Zhong may be in a unification bout in 2014 with IBF champion Katsunari Takayama, if Takayama is successful in his upcoming title defense next week. That would be a great fight and one I'm really hoping gets made.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Koki Eto v Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep

Earlier this year Koki Eto (14-3-1, 10) put on a memorable performance as he defeated Thailand's Kompayak Porpramook for the WBA interim Flyweight title. Sadly for Eto his reign came to an end earlier today as he traveled to Thailand and was stopped by Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (33-2, 20).

The Thai started like a man with a point to prove and by the end of round 3 it was obvious that the Champion was in trouble. Although Yodmongkol is far from a puncher he had rocked the Japanese fighter hard in the the third round as the challenge got off to a dream start.

Things went from good to better for the Thai who proved he was capable of shipping shots in the fourth round as Eto managed to tag him with a number of eye catching body shots. Unfortunately for Eto nothing he did had an effect on Yodmongkol who had totally established control by the end of round 5. Although Eto seemed like he was throwing a lot he wasn't having much of an effort and Yodmongkol was landing the better, crisper and cleaner shots time and time again.

The power of Yodmongkol was evident again in round 6 when he dropped Eto. Eto, who hadn't really been rocked in 12 rounds against Porpramook, was caught off balance by the knockdown was legitimate and further proved just how excellent the challenger had been. The pressure was now firmly on the champion.

Eto surprisingly responded very well to the knockdown as he won clearly round 7 and made a solid case for himself in round 8. Sadly however they were his last hurrahs and from round 9 onwards Yodmongkol re-assumed control and slowly but surely beat the fight out of Eto who looked ready to stopped in rounds 10 and 11

With Eto taking a lot of punishment it seemed like the fight could well have been stopped, instead however Eto went in to round 12 in a massive hole. Unfortunately he didn't see out the final round as Yodmongkol drilled him in the twelfth and forced a slightly premature ending to the bout with a truly eye catching knockout

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Yoan Pablo Hernandez v Alexander Alekseev

Top former amateurs are expected to make it in the professional ranks. We see it so often than we almost take it for granted that World Amateur Champions and Olympic champions will, one day, win professional world titles.

Of course things don't always go the way we expect. Audley Harrison is a great example of a former amateur who failed to reach the expected heights as a professional, Yan Barthelemi is another and this weekend we saw Alexander Alekseev (24-3-1, 20) joining that list of high profile "flops".

Alekseev, a Russian who was a repeated medal winner in the unpaid ranks, took on Cuba's enigmatic Yoan Pablo Hernandez (28-1, 14) for the IBF Cruiserweight title that Hernandez was defending for the third time. Funnily despite Hernandez not looking like a champion at times he was in total control of Alekseev who looked out of his depth and fragile through out.

The fight started with Alekseev using his jab well, unfortunately that was all he seemed to have, a sharp jab. Hernandez walked through them whilst landing his own much more eye catching shots to both head and body. Despite Alekseev throwing a lot, it took just one punch, late in the round, to decide the rounds winner as Alekseev was sent to the canvas for the first time in the bout.

Although Alekseev was able to get up from the knockdown it was obvious that he wasn't able to take the full blooded shots that Hernandez was able to land. Hernandez, whilst not having the record of a puncher, does hit hard and Alekseev found that out the hard way.

Through rounds 2,3 and 4 the power of Hernandez wasn't landing cleanly enough to send Alekseev over again though in round 5 the champion managed to connect again with a bomb which really seemed to not just Alekseev but really shake him. Hernandez did go for the finish but his lack of finishing skills were shown up as Alekseev saw out the bell.

Having gotten himself well in to the lead Hernandez then began to fall asleep at times. The Cuban, whose talent is obvious, seemed happy to know that he could land a bomb at any time and relied on this mentally as he took rounds off, fought in very short bursts and relaxed.

By round 10 to appeared that Hernandez had began to be clawed back. He was still in the lead but Alekseev was beginning to make things interesting just due to the fact Hernandez was being that lazy. Suddenly however things were over, a single right hand sent Alekseev down for the third time in the bout and this time the referee stopped the fight, a right decision looking at Alekseev who was in no fit state to continue even if he had gotten back to his feet.

Hernandez, who is regarded by some as the top Cruiserweight in the world, won here comfortably in all honesty but again left me feeling like he's not that good. Physically he has it all, speed, timing, power, size but mentally there is something not there and his finishing seems awful. He has the power to put people away with single shots but if he's forced to take it to a standing opponent out he seems to lack the ability to connect cleanly. A big issue if he faces someone like Lebedev, Huck, Jones, Afolabi or even Drozd.

For Alekseev this is probably the end of his world title dreams. He's been shown, once again, to lack a world class chin and he's also shown that he lacks the skills needed to avoid being tagged on the chin. A shame given his amateur credentials but at the end of the day it is a flaw that he's failed to find a way to defend.

Evgeny Gradovich v Billy Dib II

Russian fighter Evgeny Gradovich (18-0, 9) successfully defended his IBF Featherweight title for the second time as he defeated Australian Billy Dib (36-3-0-1, 21) for the second time inside a year.

The two men, who fought to a scrappy decision earlier this year, knew that this fight meant a lot. For Dib it was his chance to become a 2-time world champion and a chance to avenge a loss that he probably didn't feel he deserved. For Gradovich however it was a chance to prove he really did deserve to be "a world champion".

Unfortunately for Dib he looked like a fighter who had regressed massively from their first meeting. It was obvious from the first round that he didn't believe in himself and this allowed Gradovich, typically a slow starter, to take the opening round as he began to that infamous engine of his rolling.

Although it took a few rounds for Gradovich to reach full output it was obvious he was claiming rounds with his work rate, aggression and pressure. Dib was struggling to have more than a flash of success here and there and Gradovich on the other hand was beginning to grind down his Australian opponent.

With Gradovich in charge after 4 rounds it was then Dib's turn to have success as he showed some genuine skill and fought back well from off the ropes. Unfortunately for Dib his success was easy to forget as Gradovich managed to flurry excellently just before the bell with what may have stolen him the round.

However round 5 was scored didn't really matter a Gradovich moved up a gear and scored a flash knockdown in the sixth. This was the start of the end for Dib who was ground down in rounds 7 and 8 as the Russian landed at will to the head and body of the Australian who was beginning to mentally fold.

Dib did manage to make it to round 9 though he was a spent force and it was little wonder that the bout was stopped after just 70 seconds of the round. Dib's speed and movement had been sapped and his defense had become porous to say the least.

With the stoppage loss on his record here I actually hope this is the last time I see Dib in action.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Carl Froch v George Groves

The most controversial bout of the weekend occurred in the United Kingdom this past weekend as Carl Froch (32-2, 23) retained both the IBF and WBA "super" Super Middleweight title with a 9th round stoppage of fellow Brit George Groves (19-1, 15). Although a stoppage it was one of those "British Stoppages" that has fans around the world screaming and shouting at their TV's.

The first round was a huge shock as Groves didn't just start well but dropped Froch, scoring just the second knock down against Froch in his 34 fight career. Unfortunately for Groves the clock ran out out of time before he could pounce on a still hurt champion.

Although Groves had failed to jump on Froch when he was hurt he did manage to continue his success through the first four rounds as he used his speed and movement to make Froch look like a somewhat clueless fighter. The right hand hands and jabs of Groves were the dominant factor through these early rounds as Froch was tagged almost at will by Groves.

As we got to round 5 however Froch began to come in to the fight, in fact it was in round 5 that Froch began to have his first real success landing his own right shots whilst Groves began to slow. Although Sky commentator Jim Watt was refusing to give credit to Groves the fight was beginning to turn around and Froch was beginning to have more success on a round by round basis.

Although Froch has a good round 5 Groves came back well in round 6, unfortunately however he was warned for leading with the head and was really not looking like the fighter who had won the first 4 rounds. This was shown in round 7 as Froch has ended the round with a big flurry.

The finish of round 7 by Froch seemed to continue in to round 8 as Froch arguably won his second round of the fight as he rocked Groves. Groves was still certainly in the round but was beginning to make mistakes and show his inexperience as Froch began, finally, to find his own rhythm.

In round 9 Froch had his best round as he hurt Groves then went for the kill. Groves fougfht back as the two men brawled and then, almost as if he was told when to step in, Howard Foster stopped the contest awarding the bout via 9th round TKO, to Froch. This stoppage came as both men traded.

Scott Quigg v Diego Oscar Silva

Following his disappointing draw with Yoandris Salinas WBA Super Bantamweight champion Scott Quigg (27-0-2, 20) destroyed the limited Argentinian challenger Diego Oscar Silva (29-3-4, 15) in just 2 rounds.

The fight, widely regarded as a mismatch before it began, provided to be a pointless and simple out for Quigg.

The first round saw the champion applying pressure. Although Quigg failed to have any great success in the round he had proven that he felt he was the boss and Silva seemed to mentally realise he was on to a hiding to nothing.

We got shown just what a mismatch this was in the second round as Quigg again applied pressure and then dropped Silva with a body shot against the ropes. From then on the ending was in sight and although Silva got to his feet it was only a matter of time before Quigg would finish the fight, which he dead from ahead shot soon afterwards.

As a fan of Asian boxing I now look forward to seeing Quigg against a genuine title challenger such as Hozumi Hasegawa, Shingo Wake or even Yasutaka Ishimoto.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Koki Kameda v Jung-Oh Son

Not many fighters win a lot of split decisions though there is a Japanese fighter who appears to win more than his share, and certainly more than his share of questionable ones. Koki Kameda (32-1, 17), defending his WBA Bantamweight title, got his 4th split decision win earlier today in a bout that is being talked about as one of the worst decisions of the year.

Kameda, who traveled outside of Japan for the first time in over 5 years was expected to deal easily with Korea's very own Jung-Oh Son (20-5-2, 6). Instead however Kameda was given a lesson in over-looking an opponent and was very, very lucky to escape with his title in arguably the most controversial contest of his career.

The Kameda controversy dates back to when Kameda first won a world title way back in 2006 when he took a split decision over Venezuela's Juan Jose Landaeta. That decision at the time was declared a fix by many in Japan. Since then Koki has been seen telling younger brother Daiki Kameda to foul against Daisuke Naito, and had claimed controversial decisions over Hugo Ruiz, David De La Mora (although a unanimous decision it was controversial) and Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym. He has now added the decision over Son.

Early in the bout Kameda looked like he was on course for a routine defense. He took a number of the early rounds and looked relaxed in front the Korean challenger. By the end of the fourth round however things had started to change with Son beginning to establish himself in the bout. Unfortunately for Koki the more Son was able to establish himself the tougher things got, and in round 10 Son scored a knockdown as Koki took a knee.

By the end of round 11 many felt Koki would need a knockdown of his own just to retain his title with a draw. Whilst he certainly won the final round, there was no knockdown.

Some how, despite being dropped, stunned and generally on the receiving end of the better shots Koki retained hit title with scores of 114.5-114 and 115-112 in his favour whilst just a sole judge agreed with the view of many scoring it 115.5-113 for Son who really should have been the new champion. The Korean was inspired and very, very harshly robbed in his own country.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai v Hirofumi Mukai

Srisaket Sor Rungvisia (23-3-1, 21), who made such a statement earlier this year when he destroyed Yota Sato, successfully made the first defense of his WBC Super Flyweight title as he defeated another Japanese fighter, this time Hirofumi Mukai (9-3-1, 1).

Unfortunately for Mukai he proved, like many Japanese fighters, that he was simply too tough for his own good.

The first round saw Mukai starting well for the first 20 seconds or so before Srisaket imposed himself on the fight and forced the Japanese fighter to think twice about opening up. For Mukai it was unfortunate that he wasn't just up against one of the most fierce fighters in the sport but also the crowd who cheered every punch Srisaket landed.

If the first round was bad for Mukai the second was worse with the Japanese fighter being dropped in the opening seconds. Although he got up and continued it wasn't a round he managed to even get a foot hold in as Srisaket pounded him with both hands. The end looked imminent as Srisaket entered "beat mode" and went on the war path.

Surprisingly Mukai managed to navigate his way through rounds 3 and 4 with out too much trouble. It wasn't that he was about to win the rounds or even make them competitive but he wasn't being savaged like one would have expected following the way Srisaket had ended round 2. In fact if anything it seemed like Mukai was managing to slowly build his confidence with some lovely work, though wasn't doing nearly enough to take the round and was being backed up too easily.

After 4 rounds the judges all agreed with the only possible score one could have had the bout, 40-35 in favour of Srisaket.

Having survived rounds 3 and 4 Mukai managed to get everything going in round 5, a round that fought almost entirely in the pocket with both men having success. It was by far the best round for Mukai and one that you wouldn't begrudge giving him, although it did at times appear that Srisaket was tiring somewhat. The success for Mukai in the fifth continued in to the sixth as Mukai began to have the last word in the exchanges, albeit lesser words than those of Srisaket.

Unfortunately for Mukai 2 minutes of good work in round 6 was undone by a huge assault in the final minute by Srisaket who just stole the round on my card as he attempted to put an end to the proceedings. Mukai, who was genuinely hammered late in the round, refused to go down a second time.

If round 6 had ended badly for Mukai then round 7 was nothing more than a continuation of that. Srisaket set off to break Mukai using hard body shots and by the end of the round it appeared the were having a serious effect on the challenger. Mukai had managed to see out the round, but there was little left in the tank.

In the eighth round Mukai must have wished he was in the UK as he was given a genuine beating. His boxing was falling apart, Srisaket was starting to abuse him and I was wondering how he was managing to stay on his feet. By now it was clear Mukai needed a miracle and in boxing they don't tend to happen.

Down by scores of 80-71, 79-72, twice, on the scorecards it really should have been time for Mukai's corner to have saved their brave charge. Instead they sent him out for round 9. It was unnecessary. Within seconds of the round starting Mukai was hurt and Srisaket let loose as he tried to force the referees hand. Unfortunately for Mukai all the referee did was warn Srisaket for hitting and holding. Whilst that bought him some respite in theory it really just prolonged the beating another 30 seconds before Mukai's corner finally threw in the towel.

Oddly this was a bout where both men genuinely impressed me. Mukai could fair very well if he was put in with a lighter puncher, that is if there much of Mukai left mentally after this contest. Srisaket seems to always impress and I've no doubt that he could beat any fighter currently active at 115lbs. He's a genuine monster.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Shinsuke Yamanaka v Alberto Guevara

Right now the Bantamweight division is all but dominated by Japanese fighters. Three of them hold world titles and several of them are highly ranked challengers. Of them all however it's hard to argue with Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2, 15), the WBC champion, being the best. Not Just the best of the Japanese Bantamweights but of Bantamweights worldwide.

Earlier today Yamanaka showed why he is so highly regarded as he became the first man to stop Alberto Guevara (18-2, 6) in what turned out to be a highly impressive result.

Despite taking the victory in the end Yamanaka didn't look like the divisional kingpin early in the fight. In fact for the first 4 rounds it was Guevara who looked like the special fighter using his movement and speed to almost confuse Yamanaka at times. Unfortunately for Guevara his work wasn't really rewarded by the judges who had him behind after the first 4 rounds, rather harshly.

Following the slow start by the Japanese fighter things started to turn around with Yamanaka claiming his first round in the fifth. From then on the bout swung from being competitive to being one sided as Yamanaka started to land his potent left hand.

In round 8 Guevara was forced to feel the power of Yamanaka in a bad way as he was dropped twice. By then Guevara's elusiveness had left him and he was becoming little more than a sitting duck for the power of the champion. Fortunately for the challenger he wasn't forced to take too much more as a knockdown in round 9 saw Guevara taking the 10 count.

Hekkie Budler v Hugo Hernan Verchelli

With all the US action this past weekend it's easy to forget that the first world title fight of the weekend was actually in South Africa as Hekkie Budler (24-1, 7) took on Argentina's little known Hugo Hernan Verchelli (11-2, 6) in a bout for the WBA interim Minimumweight title.

The fight, which took place in Budler's home area of Gauteng was viewed by some as a solid match up. Instead however it turned out, as I assumed, to be a mismatch as Verchelli's inexperience around this sort of level was exposed very early on.

Budler set off with an all action style and by the end of the first round it appeared that this was the Budler of old, the Budler who had created a buzz due to being so fun and exciting. Although Verchelli saw out the early storm he was always struggling to work his way back in to things and he lacked the power or the skills needed to prevent Budler from fighting like a buzzsaw.

It wasn't long until Budler's power and work rate took it's toll on Verchelli who was dropped 3 times in round 4 before the referee was forced to wave the contest off.

With the victory Budler adds the WBA "interim" title to his IBO title and opens the door to a major international contest with another top guy at 105lbs.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Roman Martinez v Mikey Garcia

The third, and final, world title fight from the US this weekend saw the unbeaten Mexican-American Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28) claim his second divisional world title as he became the first man to stop Puerto Rican Roman Martinez  (27-2-2, 16) and the new WBO Super Featherweight champion.

The fight started in a very patient manner with Garcia waiting to see what Martinez had, which was mostly jabs. In the second round however Martinez showed he also had a right hand as he connected with a short and set Garcia to the seat of his pants.

In round 3 Mikey began to really find his rhythm and land his own jab almost at will. As everyone knows once Garcia has his jab going the right hand usually isn't that far behind and in round 4 that right started to ping on to the head of Martinez with a regularity. Unfortunately for Martinez his toughness was going to be his key issue and Garcia kept tagging him with rights that became more and more telling.

By round 6 the crisp right hands of Garcia were having a major effect on Martinez who was being broken up round by round. Every time Garcia connected it seemed Martinez's legs turned to jelly for a few moments and although he recovered it was obvious he feeling the power time after time.

After taking a pounding in round 7 it seemed like Martinez had just one chance of winning, Garcia breaking his hand on the tough head of the Puerto Rican. Unfortunately for Martinez it appeared that Garcia realised that and in round 8 landed his first body shot of note, sending Martinez down for the first time.

The Puerto Rican, feeling the effects of the shot, didn't even seem to attempt to get up. Not so much quitting as being in too much agony to truly know where he was with what is quit possibly a broken rib and the best body shot stoppage at the world level since Golovkin stopped Matthew Macklin with one

Vanes Martirosyan v Demetrius Andrade

The second world title fight in the US this weekend Demetrius Andrade (20-0, 13) claiming the WBO Light Middle weight title as he defeated the previously unbeaten Vanes Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21).

This fight, the first world title fight for either man, and it showed the difference between a "world title holder" and genuine bona-fide world champion. In fact it probably showed the huge difference between what it means to win a world title and to be recognised as a world champion.

For the first 2 minutes of the fight Andrade did look world class with fantastic speed, good ring control and some lovely punches. Unfortunately much of his was undone as he was caught by a crisp shot that put Andrade down. Whilst a case could have been made for a 10-9 to Vanes it's fair to say that most would have scored it 10-8 to Vanes.

Andrade came back well and made rounds 2 and 3 very close, arguably taking both of them to undo the momentum of the knockdown and it was surprising that Vanes refused to press home his advantage. By round 4 Andrade was beginning to mark up the eye of Vanes and was really starting to look crisp once again using his jab to take control of the action and by now it was easy to forget about the knockdown that Vanes genuinely refused to build on.

It wasn't until round 5 that Vanes found any major success following the opening round. It was in the fifth that Vanes started pressing the action and clearly took the final minute of the round, if not the whole round. Unfortunately his success didn't last long with Andrade coming back very well with his best round in a long time.

Andrade built on his good sixth round by taking the seventh with activity though in round 8 started to look spent as he gave the round away. Fortunately for Andrade he managed to turn things around in round 9, the last competitive round of the fight.

Going in to the championship rounds it was close though unfortunately for Vanes he was unable to keep things close in the final 3 rounds as Andrade boxed within himself but still widely out worked an exhausted looking Martirosyan who did even less than he had done in a number of earlier rounds.

Although Colonel Bob Sheridan had some how viewed the contest as a win for Martirosyan it appeared that Andrade had out worked Vanes in almost every rounds. Barring the knockdown it was difficult to gave Vanes a great deal as he simply didn't do a lot. Sure Andrade wasn't unloading either but he was doing more round after round. This was shared in one of the scorecards which saw Andrade as a 117-110 winner. The other two judges had it closer with scores of 114-113 to Andrade and 115-112 to Vanes, though thankfully we did get the right winner.

Nicholas Walters v Alberto Garza

In the first of three world title fights in the US this weekend Jamaican Nicholas Walters (23-0, 19) made his first title defense as he took on Mexican Alberto Garza (25-6-1, 20) in a WBA Featherweight title bout.

Making his US debut Walters set out to make a statement and appeared to hurt Garza midway through the opening round. Whilst Garza did look limited it was great to see the positivity of a man looking to make a first impression.

Realising he was in deep Garza tried something new by fighting as a southpaw to start the second round. It worked well for a few moments before Walters took charge once again and showed why some regard this kid as one of the sports hidden gems.

Walters continued to pile up the rounds by taking the third with his jab. He did at times look reckless but had realised that Garza lacked the power to hurt him and merely walked through the shots when he had to in search for a bomb.

It took less than 2 minutes of round 4 for Walters to land a bomb. In fact several. The first, a very hard body shot, saw Garza drop to the canvas in agony. Unfortunately for Garza this was ruled an accidental low blow and Garza, as a result wasn't given a count. This meant Garza had to continue, thankfully for the Mexican he wasn't given too much more of a beating as a huge right hand layed him down and forced the referee to wave the contest off.

Although some may feel Chris John, the WBA "super" champion is the only real WBA champion it's fair to say that Walter is the truly entertaining WBA champion and a man who now has the world at his hands. He could face any of the other Top Rank guys at 126, including Evgeny Gradovich, Orlando Salido, Vasyl Lomachenko or even the winner of the Nonito Donaire/Vic Darchinyan contest (which takes place in just a few hours time).

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Gennady Golovkin v Curtis Stevens

Some fights look like real mismatches on paper and this weekends biggest fight was one such bout as Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25) entered as an 11-1 favourite against American Curtis Stevens (25-4, 18). Surprisingly however Golovkin didn't often look like such a big favourite through out the bout as he struggled to live up to the hype, despite successfully defending his WBA Middleweight title.

The fight started in a very quiet manner. Golovkin tried to get his jab going but Stevens was showing good defensive skills and making the champion struggle to land cleanly. The quiet 2 minutes 30 seconds of the first was only really changed late in the round as Stevens connected with a few hard shots that may have stole him in round.

Golovkin's struggles continued through much of the second round as Stevens covered up well and gave very few opportunities to the champion. The success of Stevens in neutralising Golovkin raised a "USA" chant from the Madison Square Garden crowd though unfortunately this immediately backfired as Golovkin connected with a glancing left hook followed by a solid left hook that dropped Stevens for an 8 count. It was obvious from this point that Golovkin's power could hurt and drop Stevens.

Unfortunately the knockdown seemed to kill off what confidence Stevens was building and the challenger fought very much like a scared fighter in the following round backing up, covering up and trying to survive. This saw Stevens having some success in little bursts on the counter but on the whole Stevens's success in round 3 was very limited.

Despite beginning to look like a beaten man in round 3 Stevens had his best round in the fourth as he landed several hard counters and backed up Golovkin late in the round. It appeared that Stevens had forgotten about the knockdown and thought his best tactic was fighting off the ropes looking to land his highly regarded left hook. Unfortunately when Stevens did land the best he did was force Golovkin backwards for a few seconds before he came right back Stevens.

Golovkin started to have more and more success from round 5 onwards. He seemed confident in his ability to take Steven's best shots and applied constant calculated pressure. The champions successes were still somewhat limited but the challenger was doing next to nothing to make a claim for the rounds. Stevens was doing so little that he was being out worked even if Golovkin was struggling to land too many clean shots.

The success of round 5 grew the following round and then again in round 7. Steven's corner were trying to buoy their man and telling him to stand toe-to-toe with Golovkin, unfortunately when he did this he was forced on to the back foot with Golovkin's crisp punches forcing him back on to the ropes. By the end of round 7 it appeared that Stevens's only hope was to land a knock out punch, something that was becoming less and less likely.

By the start of round 8 Golovkin had really started to take over. Stevens's assaults were becoming less frequent and through the eighth Golovkin himself had started to find his range, especially with his body shots which landed numerous times through the round. Stevens's defenses, whilst still solid were beginning to be cracked more and more frequently by Golovkin who finally turned things up a gear and went for the kill.

Although Stevens managed to see out round 8 his corner had seen enough and immediately called for the referee to stop the bout. It hadn't been a real beating for their man but it appeared that he was on the verge of receiving one as Golovkin began to really show his class. The stoppage may feel to some as though Stevens quit though in all honesty it appears that his corner knew things were only going to get worse and saved their man from what could have been a career and health altering beat down. A wise move considering the way the bout had began to turn.

Although Golovkin hadn't looked like the 11 to 1 favourite for much of the bout he was safe money in the end.