– In a battle of top 10 cruiserweights, Ring Mag #7 Mairis Briedis won a 12 rd UD over #6 Marco Huck by the scores of 118-109, 117-110 & 116-111 for the vacant WBC Title on April 1st at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Nordrheim-Westfalen Germany. The bout was fairly nondescript, with Briedis using movement to counter Huck’s aggressive style. Briedis had his 7 fight KO streak end as he’s now stopped 10 of his last 12 foes. The title became vacant after Tony Bellew was elevated the Champion Emeritus status after moving up to heavyweight and it’s not known at the moment what weight class he will be fighting at as of this writing.

– Ring Mag #2 Jr Welterweight Antonio Orozco stopped unrated, but undefeated Keandre Gibson at 1:31 of the 4th round on April 1st at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. A right hand to the jaw dropped Gibson and referee Russell Mora ruled Gibson unable to continue after rising. This was Orozco’s 1st fight since a 10 rd UD over Abner Lopez last July. He was scheduled to take on Fidel Maldonado last Dec, but the fight was cancelled when he fainted while attempting to make wight. This was the 1st time Orozco made the 140 pound limit since 2010!

Photo courtesy: HBO

– In a battle of top 10 contenders Ring Mag #6 lb 4 lb, #1 Jr Lightweight & WBO champ Vasyl Lomachenko successfully defended his title for the 6th time after stopping #10 Jason Sosa when Sosa’s corner wouldn’t allow him to come out for the 10th round on April 8th at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD. There were no knockdowns, but Lomachenko dominated from the outset, swelling Sosa’s left eye in the 3rd round. Sosa showed a tremendous amount of heart in the loss and he never stopped bringing the fight to Lomachenko, who won his 7th straight. Sosa had his 20 fight unbeaten streak snapped. Lomachenko was expected to originally unify against WBA champ & #3 rated Jazreel Corrales, but Corrales team couldn’t come to terms, assumedly because they would be a huge ‘dog.

– On the undercard of Lomachenko/Sosa, Ring Mag #1 & WBO Cruiserweight Champ Oleksandr Usyk successfully defended his title for the 2nd time with a 12 rd UD over undefeated, but unrated Michael Hunter with all 3 judges turning in identical scorecards of 117-110. The bout was close early on, with Usyk taking control in the 2H of the fight. The ropes held Hunter up in the final round and ref Bill Clancy correctly ruled it a knockdown. Usyk went the distance for just the 2nd time in his 12 fights as a pro.

– Also on the undercard of Lomachenko/Sosa, Ring Mag #8 Light Heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk stopped unrated Yunieski Gonzalez at 2:55 of the 3rd round. Gvozdyk was dominant from the start, scored a knockdown in the final round and then the follow up prompted Gonzalez’s corner to stop the bout. Gvozdyk has now stopped 10 of his last 11 foes incl 7 straight.

Photo courtesy: Boxeodecolombia.com

– In a battle of top 10 lightweights, Ring Mag #2 & WBO champ Terry Flanagan successfully defended his title for the 5th time over #10 Petr Petrov by 12 rd UD with the scorecards reading 120-108, 118-110, & 116-112 on April 8th at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. There were no knockdowns as Flanagan won a tactical match. Flanagan has now gone the distance 3 of his last 4 bouts. Petrov’s loss snapped a 6 fight win streak.

 

– On the undercard of Flanagan/Petrov, Ring Mag #8 Jr Middleweight Liam Smith stopped undefeated, but unrated Liam Williams when Williams failed to come out for the 10th round following a severe cut from a headbutt in the 9th round. The referee didn’t stop the fight, so it was deemed a TKO win. Smith was cut from a punch in the 3rd round and Williams had a 1 point lead on all 3 judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage. The bout was intended to be for the interim WBO Jr Middleweight title, but Smith came in overweight and the title was on the line only for Williams.

– Ring Mag #9 Middleweight Maciej Sulecki stopped unrated Michi Munoz at 1:01 of the 3rd round on April 8th in Zakopane Poland in his 1st fight in the Jr Middleweight division. Sulecki scored 2 knockdowns in the 2nd round before ending matters in the 3rd. Sulecki has now scored 6 straight stoppages. The week after his fight he was dropped from the Middleweight rankings as he will now campaign in the Jr Middleweight division.

– 4/14 Ring Mag #5, four time Strawweight World Champion and current WBO champ Katsunari Takayama announced his retirement. Interim WBO Champ Tatsuya Fukuhara has been promoted to full Champion.

– In a unification battle of top 10 Jr welterweights, Ring Mag #7 & IBF Champ Julius Indongo dominated #5 & WBA champ Ricky Burns en route to a 12 rd UD by the scores of 120-108, 118-110 & 116-112 on April 15th at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. There were no knockdowns, but Burns was effected by the power shots landed by Indongo. It was his 1st defense and the decision win snapped a 3 fight KO streak. Burns had his 4 fight win streak snapped.

 

– Ring Mag #9 Light Heavyweight Sullivan Barrera stopped unrated Paul Parker at 2:08 of the 5th round on April 15th at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Ct. Barrera scored 2 knockdowns in the 5th and then a follow up barrage nearly floored Parker again before the referee stopped the bout. Barrera now has B2B stoppages since his lone loss, a 12 rd UD to current Ring Mag #1 Andre Ward. His last 8 wins have all come by KO. He was originally set to face fellow Top 10 contender Artur Beterbiev, but unexpectedly pulled out of that fight.

– 4/21 Nick Durandt, who trained and managed the most World Champions in South African history, died in a motorcycle accident. He was 53 yrs old.

– Ring Mag #5 Flyweight Juan Carlos Reveco won a 12 rd UD over unrated Jesus Vargas by the scores of 120-108 twice & 120-110 on April 21st in Argentina. Reveco has now won 3 of 4 including B2B since his last loss, an 11th rd KO by Kazuto Ioka for the WBA Flyweight title in ’15.

– Ring Mag #8 Middleweight Avtandil Khurtsidze handed unrated Tommy Langford his 1st loss after stopping him at :27 of the 5th round for the interim WBO title on April 22nd at the Leicester Arena in Leicestershire, UK. Khurtsidze scored a knockdown after a left hand upstairs. Langford got to his feet, but was in no shape to continue. Khurtsidze has now scored 6 straight knockouts in his 10 fight winning streak and is in line to take on Ring Mag #4 & WBO Champ Billy Joe Saunders.

– On the undercard of Khurtsidze/Langford, Ring Mag #8 Bantamweight Zolani Tete won the vacant WBO title with a 12 rd UD over unrated Arthur Villanueva, by the scores of 120-107 and 119-108 twice. Tete scored a knockdown in the 11th round and was never in trouble during the contest. He’s now won 9 straight and 10 of 11. This was just his 2nd fight to go the distance in his last 6. The bout was originally scheduled to be an eliminator but was elevated after WBO Champ Marlon Tapales was stripped of his title for failing to make weight and then won his fight, thus making the title vacant.

– Ring Mag #8 Super Middleweight Arthur Abraham won a 12 rd UD over unrated Robin Krasniqi on April 22nd at the Messe Erfurt Convention Center in Erfurt, Germany by the scores of 118-110, 117-111 & 115-114. There were no knockdowns as Abraham landed the harder shots. He’s now won 10 of 11 and becomes the mandatory challenger for Ring Mag #3 & WBO champ Gilberto Ramirez.

– Ring Mag #3 rated Welterweight “Showtime” Shawn Porter stopped unrated Andre Berto at 1:31 of the 9th round on April 22nd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fight was filled with numerous headbutts that left Berto cut over 1 eye and Porter badly cut over both eyes. Berto was dropped in the 2nd round as Porter was the aggressive fighter throughout and wouldn’t allow Berto to clinch. The ropes held Berto up following a right hand in the 9th round that the referee correctly called a knockdown and Porters follow up resulted in Berto staggering into the corner, prompting the referee to call a halt to the contest. With the win Porter becomes the mandatory challenger for Ring Mag #1, WBA & WBC champ Keith Thurman. Porter has now scored stoppages in 3 of his last 4 wins.

– On the undercard of Porter/Berto, Ring Mag #3 Jr Middleweight & WBC Champion Jermell Charlo dominated unrated Charles Hatley en route to knocking him out at :32 of the 6th rd. Charlo scored a knockdown in the 3rd round after a right hand upstairs and finished things off in the 6th after a right hand to the chin dropped Hatley face first for the count. It was Charlo’s 1st title defense and fight in 11 months. He’s now scored 3 str stoppages.

– Ring Mag #7 Featherweight and WBO Champ Oscar Valdez successfully made the 2nd defense of his title with a hard fought 12 rd UD over unrated Miguel Marriaga on April 22nd at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California by the scores of 119-108, 118-109 & 116-111. While Valdez was the clear winner, Marriaga was game and remained a viable threat despite the scores. Valdez scored a knockdown in the 10th roud from a counter left hook, but Marriaga rose and survived a follow-up attack to hurt Valdez near the end of the round, which will surely be a contender for ROY! Valdez had his 5 fight KO streak end, but has still stopped 8 of 10.

– On the undercard of Valdez/Marriaga, Ring Mag #3 Super Middleweight & WBO Champ Gilberto Ramirez won a lackluster 12 rd UD over unrated Max Bursak with all 3 judges agreeing on a score of 120-106. The fight was as non-competitive as the score reflected and lacked action. Ramirez was coming off a year layoff due to a hand injury and made the 1st defense of his title. This was his 5th straight decision win.

– Also on the undercard of Valdez/Marriaga, Ring Mag #2 Jr Featherweight & WBO Champ Jessie Magdaleno stopped unrated Adeilson Dos Santos at 2:51 of the 2nd rd. A right hook dropped Dos Santos in the 2nd round. He made it up and tried to hold on, but another knockdown prompted the referee to stop the bout. It was the 1st defense for Magdaleno, who has now stopped 3 of his last 4 opponents.

– Ring Mag #5 Bantamweight Marlon Tapales stopped unrated Shohei Omori at :16 of the 11th round on April 23rd at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan. Tapales was set to defend the WBO title for the 1st time, but failed to make weight and was stripped at the scale, so the title was only on the line for Omori. The fight was very close as Omori had a 1 pt lead on all 3 judges scorecards after 9 rounds. Tapales scored a knockdown in the closing moments of the 10th round and ended things at the beginning of the 11th. Both suffered cuts above their eyes. This was a rematch from ’15, when Tapales won by 2nd rd TKO. Tapales has now won 22 of 23 including 9 straight.

– On the undercard of Tapales/Omori, Ring Mag #1 Flyweight & WBA champ Kazuto Ioka made his 5th successful defense with a 12 rd UD over unrated Noknoi Sitthiprasert by the scores of 117-110 twice and 116-111. Ioka was dedected a point for a low blow in the 3rd round, but clearly outboxed the overmatched Sitthrprasert. Ioka had his 3 fight KO streak end, but won for the 8th straight time since his lone defeat.

– Ring Mag #10 Strawweight Hiroto Kyoguchi won a 12 rd UD by the scores of 119-109, 118-111 & 117-111 over unrated Jonathan Refugio at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan on April 25th. Kyoguchi had stopped all 6 of his previous opponents.

– Ring Mag #3 heavyweight Kubrat Pulev scored a 12 rd ud over unrated Kevin Johnson by the scores of 120-108 twice & 119-109 on April 28th at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Johnson did better than the scores indicated in the 1st half of the fight, but was punished from rd 10 on. Pulev has now won 5 straight since his lone loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.

Photo courtesy: Sky Sports

– In a battle of top 10 Heavyweights, Ring Mag #5 & IBF champ Anthony Joshua successfully made his 3rd defense while adding the vacant WBA title with an 11th rd TKO over #1 rated Wladimir Klitschko on April 29th at Webley Stadium in Wembley, London. Joshua scored a knockdown early in the 5th round, but tired himself up on the follow up and was nearly dropped by the close of the round. Klitschko did indeed score a knockdown in the 1st half of the 6th round and Joshua looked close to being out on his feet, but survived the round. Klitschko started to take over the fight from there until the 10th rd, when Joshua regained the momentum. The end came in the 11th when a massive uppercut shook Klitschko, who somehow stayed up but was dropped from a follow up just after. Upon rising he was dropped again, but showed true heart and grit and made it to his feet again. Joshua then pounced on him and trapped him in the corner where referee David Fields intervened and stopped the contest at 2:25 of the round. The scorecards at the time of the stoppage were 96-93 & 95-93 for Joshua, and 95-93 for Klitschko. An england record of 90,000 fans were in attendance. Joshua has now stopped all 19 of his foes and called out Ring Mag Champ Tyson Fury afterwards, however Klitschko does have a rematch clause.

– Ring Mag #3 Flyweight Donnie Nietes became a 3 division champion after beating unrated Komgrich Nantapech in a 12 rd UD by the scores of 117-117 twice & 115-113 on April 29th at Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines for the vacant IBF title. The match was a hard fought affair as Nantapech was game until the end. Nietes is a former Strawweight and Jr Flyweight champion that has now won 27 of 28 including 9 straight since a 12 rd draw in ’13. Nantapech had his 15 fight win streak snapped.

– Ring Mag #10 Jr. Lightweight Tevin Farmer won a hard fought 10 rd UD over unrated Arturo Santos Reyes by the scores of 98-94, 97-93 & 96-94 on April 29th at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. Farmer appeared to injure his right arm early on and his trainer said he thought the bicep muscle was torn after the fight. With the decision win, 7 of Farmers last 8 fights have gone the distance, including 5 straight.

– Ring Mag #2 & WBA Straweight Champion Knockout CP Freshmart aka Thammanoon Niyomtrong stopped unrated Go Odaira at 1:07 of the 5th rd on March 1st in Chonburi, Thailand. Freshmart scored a knockdown in the 4th rd and ended matters with a left uppercut-right hand combination. This was Freshmart’s 2nd defense of his title and his first stoppage in four fights. Odaira has now lost 3 of 5, all by knockout and all in World Title bouts.

– Ring Mag & WBC Bantamweight world Champion and Ring Mag #9 pound for pound, Shinsuke Yamanaka stopped unrated Carlos Carlson at :57 of the 7th round on March 2nd at Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. Yamanaka scored 5 knockdowns, 2 in the 5th round, 1 in the 6th round & 2 in the 7th. It was his 12th defense of his WBC title & 1st of his Ring Mag belt. Carlson had his 22 fight win streak snapped.

– Ring Mag #7 rated heavyweight David Haye was stopped at 2:16 of the 11th round by Ring Mag #3 & WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew on March 4th at the 02 Arena in Greenwich, London. Haye ruptured his Achilles in the 6th round, while Bellew broke his right hand early on. Haye was dropped in the 6th round and then again in the 11th, going through the ropes and after rising his corner threw in the towel. Bellew was a 7:1 ‘dog. He has now stopped 5 of his last 6 foes including 3 straight.

Photo by: Ed Diller/Dibella Entertainment

– In a unification battle of top 10 welterweights, Ring Mag #2 & WBA champ Keith Thurman won a 12 rd split decision against Ring Mag #7 & WBC Champ Danny Garcia by the scores of 116-112, 115-113 & 113-115 on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Thurman rocked Garcia in the 1st round and won the early rounds, with Garcia being the aggressor and winning the later rounds. It was a close but clear win for Thurman, who was making the 3rd defense of his title. Four of his last 5 contests have gone the distance. This was the 1st welterweight unification fight between undefeated fighters since 1999 when Felix Trinidad defeated Oscar De La Hoya. The event was the largest grossing non-NBA sporting event in Barclays Center history, while also setting the venue record for boxing attendance at 16,533.

– On the undercard of Thurman/Garcia, Ring Mag #9 Jr Welterweight Sergey Lipinets stopped unrated Clarence Booth at 1:33 of the 7th round in a tune up bout as he is next in line to meet the winner of Ricky Burns/Julius Indongo for the IBF & WBA Titles. 

– Unrated Flyweight Juan Hernandez stopped Ring Mag #7 Nawaphon Por Chokchai aka Nawaphon Kaikanha at 2:29 of the 3rd round on March 4th at National Stadium Gymnasium in Bangkok, Thailand for the vacant WBC Title. Por Chokchai rose from a 3rd round knockdown, but Hernandez’s follow up was too much to withstand and referee Tom Taylor stopped the contest. Hernandez has now stopped 8 of his last 9 foes including 6 straight. He hasn’t lost since 2011 against current Ring Mag #1 Flyweight Kazuto Ioka for the WBC Straweight title. Por Chokchai saw his undefeated record come to an end after 36 wins to begin his career.

– Ring Mag #4 Featherweight & IBF Champion Lee Selby stopped unrated Andoni Gago in the 9th round on March 4th at the 02 Arena in Greenwich, London, UK. The fight was a non-title affair and Gago was down in the 1st round before the stoppage. This was Selby’s 1st stoppage s/2014, a span of 3 fights and the last time he wasn’t in a World Title bout.  

– 3/6 Paulie Malignaggi, the former IBF Jr Welterweight & WBA Welterweight World Champion announced his retirement.

– 3/8 Hall of Fame trainer & manager Lou Duva passed away at age 94. He guided the careers of 19 World Champions.

– Ring Mag #8 bantaweight Tomoki Kameda won a 10 rd UD over unrated Pipat Chaiporn by the scores of 100-88, 100-90 & 99-90 on March 10th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Kameda scored a knockdown in the 6th round and controlled the action. Kameda weighed in at 123.25 pounds for the fight and its odd that he’s still in the Ring Mag Ratings at bantamweight as he hasn’t made the division weight limit since 2015. Update: Kameda was dropped from the ratings the week following this fight.

– Ring mag #4 middleweight David Lemieux stopped unrated Curtis Stevens at 1:59 of the 3rd round on March 11th at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on HBO’s Boxing After Dark. A left hook knocked Stevens out cold and he left the ring on a stretcher. Lemieux has now won 12 of 13 including 3 straight since his 8th rd TKO loss to GGG in Oct ’15. Of his last 12 wins, 9 have now been finished inside the distance. With the vacant WBO Inter-continental title being awarded, Lemieux could be in line for a shot at Ring Mag #3 & WBO Champ Billy Joe Saunders in the near future.

– Ring Mag #5 Jr Middleweight Demetrious Andrade won a 12 rd SD over unrated Jack Culcay by the scores of 116-112 twice & 113-115 on March 11th at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Ludwigshafen, Germany. There were no knockdowns and Andrade was in control throughout. The fight was for the ‘regular” WBA title as the true WBA World Champion is Ring Mag #2 Erislandy Lara. Andrade had his 3 fight KO streak stopped.

– Ring Mag #7 Lightweight Richard Commey won a 12 rd UD over unrated Hedi Slimani by the scores of 116-113, 116-111 & 117-111 on March 11th at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana. Commey was cut above his left eye in the 6th rd and Simani was cut below his left eye in the 7th rd. With the win Commey snapped his string of B2B split decision losses, each to current Top 10 ranked Lightweights, thus maintaining his status in the division. Slimani had his 18 fight win streak snapped.   

– Ring Mag #5 Jr Bantamweight Juan Fracisco Estrada stopped unrated Anuar Salas at 2:01 of the 5th round on March 11th at Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. Estrada used a body attack to wear down Salas, dropping him twice. This was Estrada’s 2nd fight since moving up in weight and vacating his WBA & WBO Flyweight titles.

– On the undercard of Estrada/Salas, Ring mag #10 rated Bantamweight Luis Nery stopped unrated Jesus Martinez when Martinez failed to come out for the 5th round. Nery has now stopped 8 of his last 9 foes, including 4 straight. With the win he is now the mandatory contender for WBC & Ring Mag Champ Shinsuke Yamanaka.  

– 3/15 Former Ring, Mag, WBC & WBA Middleweight champion Rodrigo “Rocky” Valdes passed away at age 70 after a massive heart attack.  His career record was 63-8-2, with 43 knockouts. He beat hall of famer Bennie Briscoe in all 3 of their matches including stopping him in their 2nd fight.

– Ring Mag #8 Cruiserweight Firat Arslan stopped unrated Gezim Tahiri after 2 rounds on March 17th in Istanbul, Turkey. Tahiri couldn’t continue due to a shoulder injury. Arslan has now won 6 of 7 including 5 straight.

– In a battle of Top 5 Middleweights, Ring Mag #4 Pound for Pound, #2 Middleweight, IBF, WBC & WBA Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin won a hard fought, closer than expected 12 round UD over #2 Danny Jacobs by the scores of 115-112 twice & 114-113 on March 17th at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York. GGG scored a knockdown in the 4th round, but couldn’t finish Jacobs off and went the distance for the 1st time since 2008, ending a 23 fight knockout streak. Jacobs showed a ton of heart and landed plenty of hard shots as well. GGG was making the 7th defense of the WBA title, 3rd IBF defense & 2nd WBC defense. 19,939 (including me!) in attendance.

Photo by: Tom Hogan K2 Promotions

– On the undercard of GGG/Jacobs in a battle of Top 10 Jr Bantamweights, Ring Mag #1 lb for lb, #2 Jr Bantamweight & WBC champ Roman Gonzalez, making the 1st defense of his title, shockingly lost a controversial 12 rd majority decision against Ring Mag #4 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai aka Wisaksil Wangek by the scores of 114-112 twice & 113-113. Gonzalez was dropped in the 1st round from a body shot and suffered two nasty cuts, one over his right eye & another on the right side of his head due to headbutts. Rungvisai was deducted a point in the 6th round for the headbutts after several warnings in the preceding rounds. Gonzalez appeared to control the middle rounds, but there was steady two way action throughout in the action packed contest. Gonzalez had a huge 12th round as Rungvisai backpedaled nearly the entire stanza. The crowd heavily booed the decision & the ringside media had the bout in favor of Gonzalez, whose face was a crimson mask at the conclusion. Rungvisai was a 14:1 underdog as his last 7 opponents had either DD losses or less than 4 wins. Gonzalez was the former Strawweight, Jr Flyweight & Flyweight champion. His last 3 fights have gone the distance after having his prior 10 end inside the distance. A rematch is definitely in order. FOY candidate!

– Also on the undercard of GGG/Jacobs, Ring Mag #3 Jr Bantamweight Carlos Cuadras won a 10 rd UD over unrated David Carmona by the scores of 97-93 twice & 96-94. Both were cut during the bout (Cuadras over left eye). Cuadras built an early lead, while Carmona appeared to come on late. Cuadras was coming off his 1st career loss when he lost his WBC Title to pound for pound #1 Roman Gonzalez last Sept by 12 rd UD.

– Also on the undercard of GGG/Jacobs, Ring Mag #5 Middleweight Andy Lee won an 8 rd UD over unrated KeAndrae Leatherwood by the scores of 80-72, 79-73, & 78-74. Lee was coming off a 15 month lay off and was rusty as expected. It was his 1st win since 2014.  

– 3/20 The 11th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens upheld the $8.5M winning lawsuit filed by All-Star Boxing against Ring Mag Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez for unjust enrichment.

– 3/21 Andre Ward moves up to #1 in the mythical Ring Magazine Pound for Pound rankings, overtaking Roman Gonzalez, who fell to #4.

– Ring Mag #10 & WBA Super Middleweight titlist Tyron Zeuge made his 1st successful title defense with a 5th round technical decision over unnrated Isaac Ekpo by the scores of 49-46, 48-47, & 49-47 at the MBS Arena in Potsdam, Brandenburg Germany on March 25th. Zeuge was cut over his right eye in the 3rd round from a clash of heads and the fight was stopped after the 5th due to the cut.   

– Ring Mag & WBA lightweight champ Jorge Linares successfully defended his titles for the 1st time by 12 rd UD in an immediate rematch with Ring Mag #4 Anthony Crolla with all 3 judges turning in identical 118-109 scorecards on March 25th at the Manchester Arena, Lancashire, UK. Linares scored a knockdown in the 7th round from a right uppercut and appeared to be close to scoring a stoppage. Crolla was game and grew more aggressive as the fight carried on, but there was not close to the amount of drama surrounding their 1st fight, which was a 2015 FOY candidate.

– Ring Mag #1 Straweight & WBC champ Wanheng Menayothin aka Chayaphon Moonsri won a 6 rd UD over Jaysever Abcede in a non-title bout on March 31st at Com Thong District in Bangkok, Thailand. Menayothing was in control throughout and cruised to an easy win against the overmatched Abcede. Menayothin has now gone the distance in 4 straight fights.

– Former 3X Super Middleweight Champion Mikkel Kessler announced he will be coming out of retirement and return to the ring later this year. Kessler hasn’t fought since a 12 rd UD loss to Carl Froch in May ’13. Kessler just turned 38 years old on March 1st.

– 2/2 James Kirkland suffered a broken nose forcing the cancellation of his fight against Ring Mag #4 Jr Middleweight Miguel Cotto. The fight was scheduled to take place on Feb 25th at the Force Center at the Star in Frisco, Tx. The entire card was cancelled, also resulting in the cancellation of Ring Mag #7 lb for lb, #1 Jr featherweight & WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux making the 8th defense of his title against #6 rated Moises Flores.

– Ring mag #8 lightweight Felix Verdejo won a tougher than expected 10 rd UD over unrated Oliver Flores on Feb 3rd at Coliseo Roberto Clemente, in San Juan PR. Verdejo started strong, but couldn’t finish off Flores, who was stopped in 3 rds by Ring Mag #7 Jr Lightweight Takashi Uchiyama last Dec in his last fight. Flores was the stronger fighter down the stretch as Verdejo appeared to fade badly. This was Verdejo’s 1st fight since his serious motorcycle accident last Aug that left him hospitalized for 5 days. He’s not been taken the distance in 4 of his last 6 fights. Next up is supposedly a clash with Ring Mag #2 & WBO Lightweight champ Terry Flanagan in June.

– Ring mag #6 Middleweight Chris Eubank Jr went up to Super Middleweight & stopped unrated Renold Quinlan at 2:07 of the 10th rd on Feb 4th at Olympia in Kensington, London. Quinlan took many hard shots as the referee waved off the bout. Eubank trained himself for the fight & since his lone loss in Nov. ’14, has now won 6 straight, all by stoppage.

– Ring Mag #10 Flyweight Daigo Higa stopped unrated Diomel Diocos at 2:29 of the 3rd rd on Feb 4th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Higa was never in trouble & dominated the action. He remained undefeated in 12 fights with all his wins coming by way of knockout.

– Ring Mag #9 Jr Flyweight Hekkie Budler won by 8th rd TKO over unrated Straweight Joey Canoy on Feb 4th at the Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa, when Canoy remained on his stool at the start of the round. Budler has now won 2 straight since his 1st loss when he lost the WBA Straweight Title by 12 rd UD vs Byron Rojas last March.

– 2/7 Opening statements for the civil trial brought on by Ring Mag #2 Heavyweight & WBC Champ Deontay Wilder against Alexander Povetkin began today. The suit stems from Povetkin failing a WADA administered drug test, cancelling their fight six days before it was to take place, which was scheduled for May 21st in Moscow. Wilder is seeking $5M in damages for the lost fight.

– Ring Mag #3 Lightweight & IBF Champ Robert Easter successfully defended his title for the 1st time with a 12 rd UD over unrated Luis Cruz on Feb 10th at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Oh. Easter scored knockdowns in the 10th, 11th & 12th rounds as he was in control throughout. He’s now gone the distance in B2B fights after 5 str KO’s. Cruz was totally undeserving of a title shot as he hadn’t beaten an opponent with less than 15 losses since 2011! Totally undeserving title shot.

Photo by Sumio Yamada

Photo by Sumio Yamada

– On the undercard of Easter/Cruz, unrated Zhanat Zhakiyanov won a 12 rd SD over Ring Mag #2 Bantamweight & WBA Champ Rau’Shee Warren by the scores of 116-110, 115-111 & 111-115. Warren was making the 1st defense of his title that he won last June and scored 2 knockdowns in the opening round. Zhakiyanov appeared to score a knockdown in the 3rd round, but ref Gary Rosato ruled a slip. Zhakiyanov controlled the fight the remainder of the way. This was his 1st fight in over a year & he’s won 22 str since his lone loss in ’08. Warren, a 4.5:1 fav, has now lost 2 of 3.

 

– Ring Mag #6 Jr Welterweight Regis “Rougarou” Prograis scored a 1st rd TKO over unrated Wilfrido Buelvas on Feb 11th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Miss. Prograis has stopped 12 of his last 13 foes, including 4 straight. Buelvas came in 7 pounds overweight for the fight.

– 2/13 Ring Mag #2 Heavyweight & WBC Champion Deontay Wilder won an approximate $5.5 Million dollar lawsuit over Alexander Povetkin. The suit stems from Povetkin failing a WADA administered drug test, cancelling their fight six days before it was to take place, which was scheduled for May 21st 2015 in Moscow. Wilder & his promoter Lou Dibella filed the suit seeking lost damages.

– 2/16 Ring Mag #2 Jr Middleweight & IBF Champion Jermall Charlo has vacated his IBF title as he is moving up to the Middleweight division.

– Adrien Broner won a 10 rd SD over Ring Mag #4 Jr Welterweight Adrian Granados on Feb 18th in Cincinnati, Oh. The fight featured a lot of clenching and holding and neither fighter was knocked down or seriously hurt. Broner has now won six of seven including three straight. The fight was assumed to be fought at 140 pounds, but then it was reported the fight would be at 142 pounds. A week before the contest, however, it was announced that Broner needed the weight to be increased to 147 pounds, which Granados agreed to because he didn’t want to miss the opportunity for the fight. Broner was rated by the Ring Mag as the #2 Jr Welterweight when the fight was announced, but come fight time, had been dropped in the ratings.

– Ring Mag #4 Light Heavyweight Eleider Alvarez stopped unrated Lucian Bute at 2:22 of the 5th rd on Feb 24th at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Quebec Canada. Bute was in control early, but two right crosses to the head by Alvarez dropped Bute for the count. This was Alvarez’s first stoppage win in 5 fights. He’s now the mandatory challenger for Ring Mag #3 & WBC Champ Adonis Stevenson.

– Ring Mag #2 & WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder successfully defended his title for the 5th time when he stopped unrated Gerald Washington at 1:45 of the 5th rd. Washington controlled the fight early, but there was little action as Wilder offered little offense. A short right cross dropped Washington in the 5th and after rising Wilder threw several haymakers, none landing solidly, however the referee stepped between the two and called off the fight. Washington was on unsteady legs when the ref intervened. Wilder has now stopped 5 straight opponents. This was Washington’s first defeat. Originally Wilder was set to defend against unrated & 60:1 ‘dog Andrzej Wawrzyk, until he tested positive for steroids in Jan.

– On the undercard of Wilder/Washington Ring Mag #9 Jr Middleweight Jarrett Hurd won the vacant IBF Title after stopping unrated Tony Harrison at 2:24 of the 9th rd. Harrison controlled the fight early with Hurd’s aggressive style beginning to take over in the middle rounds. A right hand upstairs dropped Harrison and after rising before the count, he spit out his mouthpiece indicating he wanted no more. Hurd has now stopped 8 of his last 9 foes including 6 straight.

– Ring Mag #4 Jr Featherweight Rey Vargas won the vacant WBC title after winning a 12 rd majority decision over unrated Gavin McDonnell on Feb 25th at the Hull Ice Arena in Hull, England. The scores were 117-111, 116-112 & the lone British judge turned in an eyebrow raising 114-114 card. The undefeated Vargas is now a World Champion for the 1st time. It was the 1st loss for McDonnell.

JANUARY:

– 1/4 Longtime boxing judge Gale Van Hoy passed away.

– 1/5 WBA orders negotiations to commence between 2 unranked heavyweights, Shannon Briggs & Fres Oquendo for a fight for the WBA world title, which is currently vacant. The winner must then take on the unranked Alexander Ustinov.

– 1/16 The Anthony Joshua/Wladimir Klitschko fight has sold over 80,000 tickets, shattering the box office record at Wembley Stadium in London, surpassing Carl Froch’s super middleweight rematch vs George Groves in 2014.

Ring Mag No. 3 and WBA Jr Middleweight Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara made the 4th defense of his title when he stopped unrated Yuri Foreman at 1:47 of the 4th rd on Jan 13th at the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, Florida. Foreman was down in the 3rd rd & a Lara left uppercut sent Foreman down for the count in the 4th. Lara was off a 12 rd ud over Vanes Martirosyan last May and has now won 7 of 8 including 5 straight. Foreman had won 6 straight with ko’s in 2 of the L/3 after B2B losses in ’10-’11, but the combined record of his foes in that win streak was just 80-59-4 as he was totally undeserving of a title shot.

– Ring Mag #7 super middleweight Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell stopped Norbert Nemesapati at 3:00 of the 6th rd on Jan 13th on the Lara/Foreman undercard. The fight was a clear mismatch, dominated by Dirrell with the ref stopping the action. Dirrell has now won 3 straight including his last 2 by stoppage since his 12 rd MD loss to Badou Jack in April ’15.

– Ring Mag #3 bantamweight Juan Carlos Payano stopped Isao Gonzalo Carranza at 1:16 of the 7th rd on Jan 13th on the Lara/Foreman undercard. The fight was a mismatch, but this was the 1st fight for Payano since suffering his 1st loss, a 12 rd MD to Rau’Shee Warren last June.

Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime

Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime

– The vacant Ring Mag Super Middleweight championship remained without an owner as Ring Mag #1 & IBF champ James “Chunky” Degale, making his 3rd defense & Ring Mag #2 & WBC champ Badou Jack, also making his 3rd defense, fought to a 12 rd MD on Jan 14th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Degale scored a flash knockdown in the 1st rd and won many of the early rounds with Jack coming on late and scoring a knockdown in the 12th rd. Degale wanted a rematch to take place in England in the post fight interviews, but Jack wants to go up to 175 pounds. A great fight with a lot of back and forth action. A rematch would be well received.

– On the undercard of Jack/Degale, undefeated but unrated Gervonta “Tank” Davis stopped Ring Mag #6 & IBF Jr Lightweight champ Jose “Sniper” Pedraza at 2:36 of the 7th rd to become the 2nd youngest current world champion (WBO Jr Flyweight Kosei Tanaka). Davis landed the clearer & more powerful shots throughout, was never in any real danger & although Pedraza got to his feet, the ref wouldn’t let him continue, in what was a fair stoppage. Davis has 8 straight stoppage wins, but none of the prior 7 had come over a foe that had a combo of DD wins & less than 4 losses. Pedraza, a ’08 Puerto Rican Olympian, was making the 3rd defense of his title.

– 1/18 Ring Mag #2 & WBC Super Middleweight champ Badou Jack has informed the WBC that he is vacating the title to move up to the light heavyweight division. The #1 & #2 ranked fighters in the WBC rankings are Ring Mag #6 Callum Smith & #5 Anthony Dirrell and neither have any fights scheduled at this time.

– 1/19 Golden Boy Promotions & ESPN enter agreement for a 42 fight deal in the next 2 years. The first card will be on March 23rd.

– 1/20 David Haye’s Haymaker Promotions entered into an agreement with Ex Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to create Haymaker Ringstar Promotions to focus mostly on UK market.

– 1/24 Andrzej Wawrzyk, in line to challenge Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title on Feb 25th, has tested positive for steroids & is off the card. He was a 60:1 ‘dog.

– 1/25 Oscar De La Hoya arrested for DUI in Pasadena, Ca.

– Ring Mag #1 & WBC strawweight champ Wanheng Menayothin aka Chayaphon Moonsri successfully defended his title for the 6th time with a 12 rd UD over undefeated, but unrated Melvin Jerusalem on Jan 25th at Phitsanuloke Province in Thailand. There were no knockdowns, but Jerusalem had a crucial point deducted in the 8th for a low blow. With no point deduction, the fight would have ended as a majority draw. The undefeated Menayothin has now gone the distance 3 straight fights. Jerusalem had never even fought anyone that had at least 2 wins with less than 4 losses prior to the bout.   

– 1/26 Golden Boy Promotions $300M lawsuit against Premier Boxing Champions creator Al Haymon dismissed by US District Judge John F. Walker. The lawsuit alleged that Haymon violated antitrust laws & the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform act.

– 1/27 Ring Mag #3 & IBF featherweight champ Lee Selby was due to make his 3rd defense on the Frampton/Santa Cruz undercard against unrated Jonathan Victor Barros, but the fight was cancelled the day prior due to Barros failing to submit his Nevada application and medical records. Selby was off a 12 rd ud over Eric Hunter last April, when he was dropped for the 1st time in his career. Since his lone loss in his 5th fight in ’09, Selby has won 19 straight.

Photo by German Villasenor

Photo by German Villasenor

– 2016 “Fighter of the Year,” Ring Mag #10 pound for pound, Ring Mag #2 Featherweight & WBA featherweight champ Carl “The Jackal” Frampton lost a 12 rd majority decision in his 2nd defense against #4 Leo Santa Cruz on Jan 28th at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. There was great back and forth action throughout, but no knockdowns. The fight was an immediate rematch when Frampton won a 12 rd MD last July in a “FOTY” candidate with the 12th rd being a candidate for ‘Round of the year.’ There are already talks of a rubber match to be held in Ireland.

 

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

– On the undercard of Frampton/Santa Cruz 2, unrated & undefeated former WBO Featherweight & Jr Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia added his 3rd title in 3 different weight classes by knocking out the undefeated Ring Mag #1 & WBC lightweight champ Dejan Zlaticanin at 2:21 of the 3rd round. Zlaticanin was making his 1st title defense, but was dominated from the outset. The end came after an uppercut sent Zlaticanin forward into the ropes and then upon turning back towards Garcia, an overhand right square to the jaw sent him down and unconscious for several minutes. This is a definite “Knockout of the Year” candidate. This was Garcia’s 2nd fight following a 2.5 year layoff due to management issues. Garcia was a 2:1 fav.

Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

– Unrated Miguel Berchelt stopped Ring Mag #2 & WBC Jr lightweight champ Francisco Vargas at 2:19 of the 11th rd on Jan 28th at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio Cali. Vargas, who was making the 2nd defense of his title, was dominated from the outset, taking a beating before referee Raul Caiz Jr jumped in and stopped it. Berchelt has now won 10 in a row since his lone loss in March ’14. He is now due to defend against Takashi Miura, who won an eliminator on the undercard.

 

– On the undercard of Vargas/Berchelt, Ring mag #5 Jr Lightweight Takashi Miura knocked out unrated Miguel Roman at :53 of the 12th rd in a WBC Jr Lightweight eliminator in a fight of the year candidate. Roman was cut above the right eye due to an accidental headbutt. He was in the lead heading into the championship rounds, but was dropped from a body shot near the end of rd 10. He was dropped to his knees from a flurry, then a straight left ended his night in the 12th. This was Miura’s 2nd fight since losing the WBC Jr Lightweight title to the aforementioned Vargas in Nov ’15. He’s now in line to take on Miguel Berchelt for the title. Roman had his 18 fight win streak snapped.

 – Ring Mag #8 & IBF Jr Bantamweight champ Jerwin Ancajas made the 1st defense of his title by stopping unrated Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in the 7th rd on Jan 29th at Studio City Casino in Macao, China. Rodriguez failed to come out for the 8th, citing a shoulder inj. Andcaja was in command throughout. He’s now won 13 str, 12 by ko. Rodriguez was totally undeserving of a title shot as none of his prior 3 foes had a combined double-digit wins with less than 5 losses.

new-orleans-bowl

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the New Orleans Bowl (Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs Louisiana Ragin Cajuns).

  1. These schools were former rivals, having met 50 previous times with the 1st game played in 1923 and the last in 2008.
  2. Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens completed 63% of his passes with a 22-10 ratio and Louisiana counters with Phil Steele’s #106 ranked pass efficiency defense.
  3. Louisiana running back Elijah McGuire was the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year in 2014. He’s been banged up this year, but is as healthy as he’s been all season and the Golden Eagles allow 149 (4.7) rush yards per game. Can I also mention that McGuire walked on to the Ragin Cajuns basketball team last season?
  4. Despite being an underdog in 3 of the 4 New Orleans Bowl games they’ve been in, Louisiana has won all 4. They are a 6.5 point underdog this year.
  5. Southern Miss is 6-6 this year, but actually outgained 11 of their 12 opponents.

camellia-bowl-logo

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Camellia Bowl (Appalachian State Mountaineers vs Toledo Rockets).

  1. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside led the FBS with 43 touchdown passes! How will he fare when he looks across the field at Phil Steele’s #10 ranked pass efficiency defense that only allowed 10 td’s while intercepting 19 passes?
  2. Toledo set a school record averaging 530 yards per game. While Appalachian State allowed non conference opponents to gain 420 yards per game, they did hold Tennessee to just 4.4 yards per play.
  3. Appalachian State runs the option offense that averages 247 (5.6) rush yards per game and Toledo allows 166 (4.7) rush yards per game.
  4. Toledo tight end Michael Roberts was named 1st Team Mid American Conference and the best tight end the Mountaineers faced this year was 3rd Team Sun Belt Buck Cowan from Idaho and he finished with 10 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.
  5. This is likely going to end up as a high scoring affair so if points is your thing, you will be entertained.

cure-bowl

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Cure Bowl (Arkansas State Red Wolves vs UCF Knights).

  1. This game is being played in UCF’s former home venue
  2. UCF is the lone team to go from winless to a bowl the next year since 2002 (and this is the 2nd time they’ve done so in that span)!
  3. Arkansas State has the Sun Belt Player of the Year in defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (conferences career leader in sacks).
  4. A big special teams play is bound to happen as UCF has Phil Steele’s #23 ranked unit, while Arkansas State rates just #70.
  5. If you prefer defense, points in this game will likely be scarce.

las-vegas

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Las Vegas Bowl (Houston Cougars vs San Diego State Aztecs).

  1. The all time FBS rushing record is in jeopardy! San Diego State’s Donnel “DJ” Pumphrey is just 108 yards away from breaking the current record of 6,397 held by Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne.
  2. Houston head coach Tom Herman has moved on to Texas and this will be Major Applewhite’s 1st game as a head coach.
  3. Houston is +84 yards per game against bowl teams, while San Diego State is -16 yards per game against bowl teams.
  4. Houston quarterback Greg Ward was a Heisman Trophy candidate entering the season and while he’s been banged up, he still completed 68% of his passes with a 22-9 ratio. San Diego State counters with a pass defense that led the nation with 20 interceptions.
  5. San Diego State features the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year (Pumphrey, also won last year), Defensive Player of the Year (cornerback Damontae Kazee, also won last year), and Special Teams Player of the Year (Rashaad Penny).

906_-new_mexico_bowl-primary-2011

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the New Mexico Bowl (UTSA Roadrunners vs New Mexico Lobos).

  1. Witness history! This is UTSA’s 1st ever bowl game. New Mexico is actually playing in its home venue.
  2. New Mexico has the #1 rushing offense in the FBS averaging 361 (6.8) yards per game. UTSA counters with a rush defense that has improved as the season progressed. In their last 7 games, the Roadrunners held their opponents to an average of 48 rush yards per game and 1.1 yards per carry less than their foes season average.
  3. UTSA quarterbacks have a 24-7 touchdown to interception ratio and New Mexico counters with Phil Steele’s #117 ranked pass efficiency defense (allowed 22-7 ratio).
  4. New Mexico has covered 5 of its last 7 games against the Vegas line, while UTSA is 4-2-1 against the spread as an underdog. (New Mexico is favored by 9.5 points).
  5. If you like high scoring affairs, tune in as there figures to a lot of points scored in this one.


There certainly won’t be any drama when undefeated Ring Magazine No. 7 rated welterweight Errol “The Truth” Spence takes on 41 year old Leonard Bundu this Sunday night from the Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, NY. The bout will be shown nationally on NBC after the closing Olympic ceremonies. Spence is a huge 100-1 favorite that has knocked out 17 of his 20 opponents, including seven straight.
The significance of this fight has nothing to do with the fight itself, but with details outside the squared circle. That’s where things get interesting as there will be an important question that should be closer to being answered. Will a Top Rank promoted fighter be matched with an Al Haymon managed fighter? That hasn’t happened yet, which has kept some promising fights from happening.

When Spence, who is managed by Haymon, wins on Sunday, he will be the mandatory challenger for IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook. While Brook hasn’t vacated his title as of yet, he has moved up to middleweight to fight GGG on Sept 10th. It’s not impossible that Brook will move back to welterweight after his fight, but it’s highly unlikely given his struggle to make the 147 pound limit. At the 30 day out weigh in, Brook tipped the scales at 176 pounds, further implying his permanent move up in weight.

What this all means is that Brook is going to end up vacating his title, which would result in Spence having to face another fighter for the vacant strap. When looking over the IBF welterweight rankings, the fighter ranked just below Spence is Konstantin Ponomarev, who just so happens to be promoted by Top Rank, and who would be the most logical matchup to fill the IBF’s vacancy. There’s no excuse for those two not to be matched up as Ponomarv last fought on April 9th and doesn’t have another fight scheduled.

If those two don’t get matched together next, that will further show that Bob Arum (CEO of Top Rank) and Haymon still cannot co-exhist enough to put some great matches on for the public.

I’d put my money on that fight not happening and instead would be willing to bet that Spence takes on Haymon managed, Lamont Peterson, who is ranked No. 5 by the IBF. Peterson also is available as he hasn’t fought since last October and there wouldn’t be a conflict between manager and promoter. Let’s all hope I’m wrong and that the feud between these two boxing power brokers can finally end.