Posts Tagged ‘Ring magazine’

May 2022

5/3 – WBO Bantamweight Champion (Ring #2) John Riel Casimero was stripped of his title and Paul Butler (Ring #10) was elevated to full champion. Casimero had withdrawn from a defense vs Butler last December on short notice and after failing to comply with the rules surrounding weight loss and not being allowed to defend the title on April 22nd, the WBO followed through with their warning of stripping Casimero if he failed to defend for his following scheduled bout.

5/7 – Former IBF Welterweight World Champion Kell Brook (40-3, 28 KO’s) announced his retirement. Brook won the title by Majority Decision over Shawn Porter in 2014 and made three defenses before being stopped by Errol Spence in 2017. He also made an unsuccessful bid at the Middleweight World title when he was stopped by GGG in 2016. Both of those stoppages were the result of broken orbital bones. The 36 year old Brook also won the British Welterweight Championship in 2008.

5/7 – WBA Light Heavyweight Champion (Ring #2) Dmitry Bivol successfully defended his title for a ninth time after winning a 12 round unanimous decision over undisputed Super Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez with all three judges (Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti, Steve Weisfeld) agreeing on 115-113 scorecards. The fight was close early, but by the middle rounds Bivol’s superior boxing technique proved to be too much for Canelo, who couldn’t break down the Russian Champion like he has so many other foes. While Canelo was able to win a Light Heavyweight title in 2019, that was against a faded, well past his prime Sergei Kovalev. Bivol, a natural 175 pound fighter in his prime, should have been awarded a much wider margin. Most ringside media had Bivol winning 8 or 9 of the rounds to just 3-4 for Alvarez. Bivol’s jab and movement relegated Canelo to a boxer that could only throw one shot at a time, with no chance at hurting the naturally larger Bival. Canelo also appeared to fade in the late rounds, while Bivol was in superior shape and continued to force the smaller Alvarez to take steps backwards throughout. It was a masterful performance by Bival, who entered as a 5-1 underdog and the result was a candidate for ‘Upset of the Year’! The PPV numbers fell far below expections. The approximately 520K buys on DAZN was a 35% dropoff from Canelo’s prior fight on Showtime PPV vs Caleb Plant last November. Referee: Russell Mora. Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. TV: DAZN PPV. Promoter: Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn).

5/13 – Former WBA/IBF Jr Welterweight World Champion and 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Amir Khan (34-6, 21 KO) announced his retirement. Khan won the WBA title in 2009 after beating Andriy Kotelnik and added the IBF title in 2011 after stopping Zab Judah. Khan lost the titles by split decision to Lamont Peterson in 2011.

5/14 – Ring/WBA/WBC/IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KO) became the first undisputed Jr Middleweight Champion in the four belt era after knocking out WBO Jr Middleweight Champion (Ring #1) Brian Castano (17-1-2, 12 KO) at 2:33 of round 10. After a controversial split draw in a fight most observers felt Castano should have prevailed in last July, the two were originally scheduled to have the direct rematch March 19th until a bicep injury by Castano forced a postponement. The action was set a furious pace from the final minute of the first round until the dramatic ending. Round 5 would end up being a candidate for Round of the Year! Hard shots were landed throughout with Castano barely taking a step backward. The slugfest ended after Charlo landed a left hook just behind the ear of Castano, causing a slight delayed knockdown. Castano beat the count, but was on unsteady legs and in the immediate follow up Charlo scored another knockdown forcing referee in charge Jerry Cantu to stop the contest. The contest also garnered both Fight and Knockout of the year consideration! Charlo led on the scorecards 89-82 (Glenn Feldman), 88-83 (Zachary Young), 87-84 (David Sutherland) at the time of the stoppage. The last undisputed Champion in the Jr Middleweight division was Ronald “Winky” Wright in 2004 after his win over Shane Mosley in the three belt era. Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, USA. Promoter: PBC. TV: Showtime.

5/16 – Undisputed Jr Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor was stripped of the WBA title after refusing to fight relative unknown Dominican Albert Puello. Taylor’s purse would have been $110K, a far cry from the seven figure purses he has been receiving of late.

5/19 – Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN agreed to a new deal that will keep the fights on the streaming app through 2024. The two companies began as partners in late 2018 after HBO chose to no longer broadcast boxing matches.

5/21 – Former WBO Jr Lightweight Champion and 2012 US Olympic Boxing Team Captain Jamel Herring (23-4, 11 KO) announced his retirement. Herring was also a Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Herring won the title in May of 2019, outpointing Japan’s Masayuki Ito and made three defenses before losing by stoppage against Shakur Stevenson last October. He was rated Ring #2 in the Jr Lightweight division at the time of his retirement.

5/23 – Boxing trainer Gary Russell Sr passed away at age 62 due to complications from Type 2 diabetes. Russell was the trainer for all of his sons. Gary Jr (31-2, 18 KO), the former WBC Featherweight Champion and 2008 USA Olympian. Gary Antuanne (15-0, 15 KO), a 2016 USA Olympian and rated #9 by Ring in the Jr Welterweight division. Gary Antonio (19-0, 12 KO), rated #7 by Ring at Bantamweight. Gary Antonio Jones (22-2, 8 KO), who’s career spanned from 1996-2011.

Other notable fights in May:

5/14 – Ring #4 Welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis (29-0, 27 KO) KO 2 unrated Custio Clayton (19-1-1, 12 KO). IBF eliminator. Carson, California, USA. 

5/21 – Ring #1 Super Middleweight David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO) KO 3 Ring #6 David Lemieux (43-5, 36 KO). WBC interim Super Middleweight title. Glendale, Arizona, USA.

5/21 – Ring #6 Middleweight Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KO) KO 2 unrated Danny Dignum (14-1-1, 8 KO). WBO interim middleweight title. KO of the Year contender! Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

5/28 – Ring #4 Lightweight Gervonta Davis (27-0, 25 KO) TKO 6 unrated Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KO). Knockout of the Year contender. 18,970 in attendance set the Barclays Center record for boxing attendance and live gate proceeds. It was the 40th boxing event held in the Arena, which opened in 2012. This was the fourth PPV headlined by Davis with the roughly 275,000 buys being the highest. WBA regular Lightweight title. Brooklyn, New York, USA.  

5/28 – WBA regular Middleweight titlist (Ring #4 Jr Middleweight) Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) TKO 8 unrated Gary O’Sullivan (31-5, 21 KO). Brooklyn, New York, USA. 

New Ring Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – May:

Light Heavyweight – Ring #2 Dmitry Bivol replaced Artur Beterbiev at #1 following his win over Ring Super Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez. Ring #5 Maxim Vlasov removed after being stopped by unrated Dilmurod Satybaldiev. Jean Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KO) enters at #10.

Super Middleweight – Ring #6 David Lemieux removed following his stoppage loss against #1 David Benavidez. Ring #3 Billy Joe Saunders removed due to inactivity. Erik Bazinyan (27-0, 21 KO) and Vladimir Shishkin (13-0, 8 KO) enter at No. 9 and 10.

Middleweight – Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) entered at #10 after stopping unrated Spike O’Sullivan. Lara’s entrance forced (then #10) Felix Cash to be removed.

Jr Middleweight – Ring #4 Erislandy Lara removed after moving up to the Middleweight division and Ring #3 Jarrett Hurd removed due to inactivity. Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24 KO) and Carlos Ocampo (34-1, 22 KO) enter at No. 9 and 10.

Lightweight – William Zepeda (26-0, 23 KO) entered at #10 after his win over Rene Alvarado. Zepeda’s entrance forced (then #10) Gustavo Lemos to depart.

Jr Lightweight – Ring #2 Jamel Herring removed after moving up to the Lightweight division. Albert Bell (21-0, 6 KO) entered at #10.

Flyweight – Felix Alvardo entered at #10 after moving up from Jr Flyweight, where he was #2, and stopping unrated Luis Hernandez. Alvarado’s entrance forced (then #10) Cristofer Rosales to be removed.

Jr Flyweight – Ring #2 Felix Alvarado removed after moving up to the Flyweight division. Carlos Canizales (24-1-1, 18 KO) enters at #10.

June 2022

6/4 – WBC/WBO Jr Featherweight Champion (Ring #1) Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KO) won a 12 round Unanimous Decision over Ring #3 Daniel Roman (29-4-1, 10 KO) by the scores of 120-108 twice (Mike Fitzgerald, Patrick Morley) and 119-109 (Nathan Palmer). The scores justified how dominant Fulton was as he outlanded Roman 218-113, including landing more punches in all but one round. Referee: Mark Nelson. Venue: The Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota. TV: Showtime. Promoter: Premier Boxing Champions.

6/4 – IBF Jr Lightweight Champion (Ring #6) Kenichi Ogawa (26-2-1, 18 KO) was knocked out at 1:15 of round 2 by unrated Joe Cordina (15-0, 9 KO) in a knockout of the year contender. Cordina landed an overhand right to the chin that floored Ogawa, who fell over when trying to get up which prompted referee in charge Michael Alexander to correctly waive the contest off. This was Ogawa’s first defense of the title that he won last November. Judges: Dave Braslow, Phil Edwards, Robin Taylor. Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, UK. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn).

6/5 – WBC Lightweight Champion (Ring #3) Devin Haney (28-0, 15 KO’s) became the eighth male to become undisputed in the four belt era and first in the Lightweight division (Teofimo Lopez should have this distinction, however the WBC elevated Vasiliy Lomachenko to their “franchise” champion prior to their fight) after winning a 12 round Unanimous Decison over Ring/WBA/IBF/WBO Lightweight Champion George Kambosos Jr (20-1, 10 KO) by the scores of 118-110 (Pawel Kardyni) and 116-112 twice (Zoltan Enyedi, Benoit Roussel). The fight was fought in front of 41,129 fans, the second largest in Australian history (51,053 saw Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn in 2017). Unfortunately, the fight failed to deliver much in terms of excitement as Haney easily outboxed the Aussie and anytime there was engagement, a clench was soon to follow. Of the 147 punches landed by Haney, 78 of them (53%) were jabs. Haney, making his fifth defense, was fortunate to be in this position as he replaced Vasiliy Lomachenko, who was fighting for Ukraine in their war vs Russia and pulled out of the fight. There was more drama during prefight than the fight itself. Bill Haney, Devin’s father and trainer, was originally denied a visa to be in the country due to having a felony on his record, but was granted permission and arrived the night before the fight. Not only that, but Kambosos, who was fighting in his homeland for the first time since 2017, failed to make the weight limit on his first attempt. The weight was made on his return to the scales just over an hour later. Referee: Hector Afu. Venue: Marvel Stadium, Docklands, Melbourne, Australia. Promoter: Lou Dibella (Dibella Entertainment). TV: ESPN.

6/7 – Ring/WBA/IBF Bantamweight Champion Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KO) added the WBC title after destroying Ring #1 Bantamweight Nonito Donaire, knocking him out at 1:24 of round 2. Affectionately known more by his nickname ‘The Monster’, Inoue landed a right hand to the temple that dropped Donaire in the final 10 seconds of round 1. As round 2 began it became clear that it would be just a matter of time before Inoue would end matters. A series of combination punches highlighted by a left hook staggered Donaire, before a right jab followed by a left hook to the chin dropped Donaire again, prompting referee in charge Michael Griffin to immediately stop the contest. The fight was a rematch from their 2019 fight of the year. Inoue was also given the Pound for Pound Title as best fighter in the World by The Ring in the week following the fight. Judges: Jean-Robert Laine, Patrick Morley, David Sutherland. Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan. Promoter: Hideyuki Ohashi/Top Rank. TV: ESPN+.

6/10 – Ring/WBA Jr Flyweight Champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-0, 11 KO) knocked out Ring #8 Esteban Bermudez (14-4-2, 10 KO) at :24 of round 8. Kyoguchi’s punches caused a cut over Bermundez’s left eye in round 2, but he was also docked a point in round 6 (head butt) and round 7 (punch behind the head). After a series of unanswered punches landed on Bermudez while on the ropes, referee in charge Roberto Ramirez Jr halted the contest. At the time of the stoppage Kyoguchi led 66-65 on two cards (Jeremy Hayes, Ignacio Robles), while Bermudez led 66-65 on Mike Fitzgerald’s card. It was the fourth defense of the titles for Kyoguchi. Venue: Domo Alcalde, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Promoter: Matchroom (Eddie Hearn). TV: DAZN.

6/12 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame had its first induction ceremony since 2019 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The 2020, 2021, and 2022 inductees were all honored. The 2020 class featured Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez, Sugar Shane Mosley, Christy Martin, and Lucia Rijker. 2021 featured Wladimir Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Laila Ali, and Ann Wolfe. 2022 included Miguel Cotto, Roy Jones Jr, James Toney, Holly Holm, and Regina Halmich. 

6/13 – International Boxing Hall of Fame member as well as former Lightweight and Jr Welterweight Champion of the world Carlos Ortiz passed away at the age of 85. Ortiz won the vacant Jr Welterweight Championship in 1959 and made two successful defenses before losing the title on a majority decision. He then dropped down to the Lightweight division and won the WBA title in 1962, while adding the freshly created WBC title in 1963. Ortiz defended the Lightweight crown four times before losing a majority decision, but won the titles back in the rematch. He would then go on to make five more successful defenses, until losing his titles by a split decision in 1968. Ortiz finished his career with a record of 61-7-1, 30 KO’s. He is widely acknowledged as one of the top 100 fighters of all time.

6/18 – WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight Champion (Ring #2) Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KO) added another title to his collection after demolishing WBO Champion (Ring #3) Joe Smith Jr (28-4, 22 KO). Beterbiev scored three knockdowns and stopped Smith at 2:19 of round 2. The first knockdown happened just before the bell to end the first round when a counter right hand to the head dropped Smith. Although Smith was able to rise, he began round two trying to trade fire with fire. That experiment didn’t go well as another sweeping right hand upstairs floored Smith in the first minute of the round. Smith quickly rose, but a barrage of punches by Beterbiev sent Smith reeling into the ropes, causing referee in charge Harvey Dock to call a knockdown. Dock gave Smith an eight count and when the action re-started two perfect uppercuts from Beterbiev wobbled Smith’s legs badly and Dock was forced to call off the mismatch.  Beterbiev remained the only current undefeated World Champion with a perfect knockout percentage. It marked the sixth defense of the IBF title and third defense of the WBC title for Beterbiev, while Smith was defending the WBO title for the second time. Judges: Frank Lombardi, Joseph Pasquale, Steve Weisfeld. Venue: Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden, New York, New York. Promoter: Top Rank. TV: ESPN.

6/22 – WBC Flyweight Champion (Ring #2) Julio Cesar Martinez pulled out of mandatory rematch vs Ring #7 McWilliams Arroyo due to an undisclosed illness three days prior to the scheduled fight. Martinez has a history of pulling out of fights on short notice, including before the first scheduled encounter against Arroyo.     

6/24 – WBO Jr Flyweight Champion (Ring #3) Jonathan Gonzalez (26-3-1, 14 KO) made the first successful defense of his title after winning a 12 round UD over unrated Mark Anthony Barriga (11-2, 2 KO) by the scores of 117-111 twice (Efrain Lebron, Alex Levin) and 115-113 (Rose M Lacend). Gonzalez started slowly, but came on late, specifically in the championship rounds to take the decision. Referee: Samuel Burgos. Venue: Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Promoter: Felix Tutu Zabala Jr.

6/25 – WBC Jr Bantamweight Champion (Ring #6) Jesse Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KO) successfully defended his title for the first time after stopping Ring #1 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KO) aka Wisaksil Wangek at 1:50 of round 8. The fight was expected to be highly competitive, but turned out to be a one-sided affair as Rodriguez dominated from the start. Rodriguez used his speed and boxing ability to his advantage as the aging former champion was trying to land one power punch at a time. A sweeping left to the temple in round 7 forced an unbalanced Sor Rungvisai to touch both gloves to the canvas, causing a knockdown. Rodriguez forced Sor Rungvisai to the ropes a round later with a follow up barrage of unanswered punches causing referee in charge Mark Calo oy to wave off the contest. Rodriguez landed more punches in every round and finished with a commanding 233-84 edge. The 22 year old Rodriguez is boxing’s youngest current World Champion. The 35 year old Sor Rungvisai entered after a 15 month layoff. Judges: Alan Krebs, Steve Morrow, David Sutherland. Venue: Tech Port Arena, San Antonio, Texas. Promoter: Matchroom (Eddie Hearn). TV: DAZN. 

6/25 – IBF/WBA Jr Featherweight Champion (Ring #2) Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KO) defended his titles for a third time after stopping Ring #8 Ronny Rios at 2:06 of the 12th and final round. Despite lasting nearly the full 12 rounds, Rios offered little in return as the fight proved one sided. Akhmadaliev even fought with a hurt left hand suffered in round 2. Seemingly content on using the left hand, the southpaw Akhmadaliev let it go in the final stanza and after four straight clubbing shots, dropped Rios. Although able to rise, Rios couldn’t overcome the follow up assault, forcing referee in charge Rafael Ramos to wave off the mismatch. Judges: Javier Alvarez, Tim Cheatham, Ursolo Perez. Venue: Tech Port Arena, San Antonio, Texas. Promoter: Matchroom (Eddie Hearn). TV: DAZN.

6/28 – Former four division World Champion Mikey Garcia indicated he has retired at the age of 34 after a career consisting of a professional record of 40-2, 30 KO’s. Garcia’s titles include the WBO Featherweight, WBO Jr Lightweight, WBC/IBF Lightweight, and IBF Jr Welterweight.

Other notable fights in June:

6/4 – Ring #10 Super Middlweight David Morrell (7-0, 6 KO) TKO 4 unrated Kalvin Henderson (15-2-1, 11 KO). WBA regular Super Middleweight title. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

6/11 – Unrated Daniel Dubois (18-1, 17 KO) KO 4 unrated Trevor Bryan (22-1, 15 KO). WBA regular Heavyweight title. Miami, Florida, USA.

6/25 – Ring #5 Jr Flyweight Hekkie Budler (34-4, 19 KO) UD 12 Ring #4 Jr Flyweight Elwin Soto (19-3, 13 KO). WBC Jr Flyweight eliminator. Mexicali, Mexico.

New Ring Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – June:

Lightweight – Ring Magazine World Championship changed hands after #3 Devin Haney outpointed (former Champ) George Kambosos Jr, who is now at the #1 position.

Jr Lightweight – Joe Cordina (15-0, 9 KO) entered at #5 after knocking out (then #5) Kenichi Ogawa, who slid to #8. Cordina’s entrance forced (then #10) Albert Bell to depart.

Featherweight – Robeisy Ramirez (10-1, 6 KO) entered at #9 after knocking out unrated Abraham Nova. Ramirez’s entrance forced (then #10) Michael Conlan to depart.

Bantamweight – Ring #1 Nonito Donaire dropped to #3 after getting stopped by Ring Champion Naoya Inoue. John Riel Casimero moved up to #1. Ring #5 Takuma Inoue removed after moving up to the Jr Featherweight division. Alejandro Santiago (25-3-5, 13 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Bantamweight – Ring #1 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai dropped to #6 following his stoppage loss to #6 Jesse Rodriguez, who moved up to #3. The new #1 is Roman Gonzalez.

Jr Flyweight – Ring #3 Jesse Rodriguez removed due to moving up to the Jr Bantamweight division. Hector Flores Calixto (20-0-4, 10 KO) entered at #10.

July 2022

7/1 – Former undisputed Jr Welterweight World Champion Josh Taylor vacated the WBC version of his titles after opting to go forward with a rematch against Ring #4 Jack Catteral instead of facing their mandatory challenger, Ring #3 Jose Zepeda. Taylor already was forced to vacate the WBA version in May and remains the Ring/IBF/WBO Jr Welterweight World Champion. 

7/1 – IBF Strawweight Champion (Ring #6) Rene Mark Cuarto (20-3-2, 11 KO) lost his title via 12 round controversial split decision against unrated Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15 KO) by the scores of 116-111 (Jonathan Davis), 115-112 (Daniel Sandoval) and 113-114 (Joel Elizondo). Valladares suffered two cuts from headbutts, while referee in charge Wes Melton missed a knockdown by the Champion in round 8. Cuarto was also deducted a point in round 10 after the tape on his glove continued to come loose. Cuarto promoter Sean Gibbons would seek an immediate rematch due to the actions of the referee, but would be denied. Venue: Gimnasio Revolucion, San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Promoter: Alejandro Brito.

7/2 – Ring/IBF Cruiserweight Champion Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KO) lost his titles against unrated Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KO) via 12 round Unanimous Decision by the scores of 116-112 twice (John Basile, Steve Weisfeld) and 115-113 (Katsuhiko Nakamura). Opetaia fought thru a broken jaw early and built a comfortable lead before the former Champion, who suffered a broken nose himself, rallied late. Briedis also suffered a minor cut above his right eye in the first round and fought most of the bout with blood continuing to run from his nose. There were many back and forth exchanges, but referee in charge Chris Flores was a bit too assertive in constantly coming between the combatants on the inside instead of letting them engage. The contest would be considered for Fight of the Year and did indeed win “Upset of the Year”! The fight was postponed twice. Originally scheduled for April 6, but Briedis contacted Covid. Then the May 11 date was postponed after Opetaia suffered a rib injury while training. Venue: Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia. Promoter: Dean Lonergan. TV: ESPN+.  

7/7 – The WBA announced it was in the process of moving its headquarters from Panama to Houston, Texas, USA. The organization was founded in the United States in 1921 before moving to Venezuela and then Panama.

7/9 – WBC Featherweight Champion (Ring #2) Mark Magsayo (24-1, 16 KO) lost the title in his first defense against unrated Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KO) via 12 round split decision by the scores of 115-112 twice (Tim Cheatham, David Sutherland) and 113-114 (Jesse Reyes). Vargas was cut near his left eye in round 7 (accidental head butt) and survived a knockdown from a right hand to the jaw with about 30 seconds left in round 9. Still on shaky legs to begin round 10, Vargas went down again on what was ruled by referee in charge Jon Schorle as a slip and Magsayo failed to aggressively pursue. Normally using his height and reach advantage to outbox foes without having to engage much in a firefight, Vargas shifted his strategy and fought on the inside with the aggressive style of Magsayo often. Vargas’ volume punching proved to be the difference as he threw 236 more punches while landing 64 more shots. Vargas is now a two-division champion after making five successful defenses of the WBC Jr Featherweight title from 2017 until vacating in 2020. He was out of the ring for nearly 2.5 years due to Covid, injuries, and a promotional change before returning last November as a Featherweight. Venue: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Promoter: Tom Brown (Premier Boxing Champions). TV: Showtime.

7/13 – WBO Jr Bantamweight Champion (Ring #3) Kazuto Ioka (29-2, 15 KO) made the sixth defense of his title after easily outpointing former champion (Ring #9) Donnie Nietes (43-2-6, 23 KO) via 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 120-108, 118-110, and 117-111. Nietes suffered a bad cut over his left eye in round 10 and at age 40, was clearly showing the effects. This was a rematch from 2018 when Nietes was awarded a split decision before retiring for 2.5 years. Referee: Bence Kovacs. Judges: Bill Lerch, Jerry Martinez, Waleska Roldan Venue: Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan. Promoter: Takuya Kiya.

7/20 – WBA Strawweight Champion (Ring #1) Knockout CP Freshmart, aka Thammanoon Niyomtrong, (24-0, 9 KO) made the 11th defense of his title after winning a 12 round unanimous decision over Ring #3 Wanheng Menayothin, aka Chayaphon Moonsri (55-3, 19 KO) by the scores of 119-109 (Carlos Costa), 117-111 (Armando Garcia), and 116-112 (Prommase Chakshuraksha). Freshmart controlled the first half of the fight, but the 36 year old Menayothin came on in the second half and showed that while past his prime, still had some gas left in his tank. Freshmart is the longest reigning (male) World Champion in the sport, having held his title since 2016. Menayothin began his career 54-0, but has now dropped three of his last four fights. All of his losses have been in World Championship fights. Referee: Pinit Prayadsab. Venue: Chonburi Provincial Ground, Chonburi, Thailand. Promoter: Piyarat Vachirattanawong. TV: No USA TV.   

7/24 – WBC Belt awarded to Muhammad Ali after his upset knockout victory over George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” sells at auction for $6.18 Million.

7/28 – Former WBO Jr Lightweight Champion Masayuki Ito (27-4-1, 15 KO) announced his retirement from the ring following a career that lasted from 2009-2022. Ito won the vacant title after outpointing Christopher Diaz in 2018 and made one successful defense before losing a decision against Jamel Herring in 2019.

Other notable fights in July:

7/9 – Ring #3 Jr Featherweight Brandon Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KO) TKO 6 unrated Carlos Castro (27-2, 12 KO). WBC Featherweight eliminator. Texas, USA.

7/9 – Ring #8 Jr Middleweight Israil Madrimov (8-0-1, 6 KO) TD 3 (cut from accidental head butt) Ring #9 Michel Soro (35-3-2, 24 KO). WBA Jr Middleweight eliminator. London, UK.

7/16 – Ring #5 Lightweight Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KO) KO 6 Ring #9 Lightweight Javier Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KO). Fight contracted at 140 pounds. California, USA.

7/16 – Unrated Lamont Roach Jr (23-1-1, 9 KO) UD 12 unrated Angel Rodriguez (20-2, 10 KO). WBA Jr Lightweight eliminator. California, USA.

7/16 – Unrated David Jimenez (12-0, 9 KO) MD 12 Ring #5 Flyweight Ricardo Sandoval (20-2, 15 KO). WBA Flyweight eliminator. California, USA.

7/16 – Unrated Oscar Collazo (5-0, 3 KO) UD 12 Ring #10 Strawweight Vic Saludar (21-6, 11 KO). WBA Strawweight eliminator. California, USA.

7/30 – Unrated Danny Garcia (37-3, 21 KO) MD 12 unrated Jose Benavidez (27-2-1, 18 KO). Jr Middleweight debut for Garcia, who entered off a career long 19 month layoff. New York, USA.

New Ring Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – July:

Cruiserweight – Ring Championship exchanged hands after Mairis Briedis lost the title via 12 round UD against unrated Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KO). Briedis dropped to #2, which forced (then #10) Noel Gevor to be removed.

Lightweight – Ring #9 Javier Fortuna removed after moving up to Jr Welterweight. Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KO) entered at #10.

Featherweight – Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KO) entered at #2 after beating (then #2) Mark Magsayo, who fell to #3. Vargas’s entrance forced (then #10) Joet Gonzalez to be removed.

Jr Featherweight – Ring #3 Brandon Figueroa removed after moving up to the Featherweight division. Zolani Tete (30-4, 23 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Bantamweight – Ring #9 Donnie Nietes removed after losing to #2 Kazuto Ioka. Kosei Tanaka (17-1, 10 KO) entered at #9.

Flyweight – David Jimenez (12-0, 9 KO) entered at #7 after beating #5 Ricardo Sandoval, who dropped to #8. Ring #6 Moruti Mthalane removed due to inactivity.

Jr Flyweight – Shokichi Iwata (9-0, 6 KO) entered at #10 after beating unrated Kenichi Horikawa. Iwata’s entrance forced (then #10) Hector Flores Calixto to be removed.

Strawweight – Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15 KO) entered at #6 after beating #6 Rene Mark Cuarto, who fell to #7. Valladares’s entrance forced (then #10) Vic Saludar to be removed. Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3 KO) entered at #10 following his stoppage of unrated Cris Ganoza. Shigeoka’s entranced forced (then #10) Erick Rosa to be removed.

August 2022

 8/1 – WBA regular Heavyweight Champion (unrated Ring) Daniel Dubois sued Don King Promotions citing Breach of contract after failure of payment following Dubois knockout win over Trevor Bryan on June 11.

8/4 – Former Ring/WBC Featherweight World Champion Johnny Famechon passed away at the age of 77. He won the title in 1969 and made two successful defenses before losing a 15 round UD against future Hall of Famer Vicente Saldivar 16 months later in what would be his final bout. Famechon retired with a career record of 56-5-6, 20 KO’s.

8/11 – Ring/WBA Jr Bantamweight Champion Juan Francisco Estrada was stripped of his WBA title after failing to defend against WBA regular titlist (Ring #5) Joshua Franco.

8/12 – Ring/WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury announced his retirement on his 34th birthday and vacated his Ring Magazine World Title. Fury exits with a record of 32-0-1 (23 KO), however, this isn’t the first time he’s announced his retirement and he didn’t relinquish his WBC belt.

8/12 – WBA regular Cruiserweight titlist (Ring #9) Ryad Merhy vacated his (bogus) title due to moving up to the Heavyweight division.

8/13 – Former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux announced his retirement following a career that spanned from 2007-2022. Lemieux won the vacant title in a 12 round unanimous decision over Hassan N’Dam in 2015, but lost it in his first defense and finishes his career with a record of 43-5, 36 KO.

8/15 – Former WBC Bantamweight World Champion Rodolfo Martinez passed away at the age of 73. He won the title in 1974 and made three successful defense before being knocked out by undefeated future Hall of Famer Carlos Zarate in 1976. Martinez retired in 1979 with a record of 44-7-1, 35 KO’s.

8/18 – Former Ring/WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight Champion “Bad” Chad Dawson announced his retirement on the anniversary of his professional debut, which was in 2001. Dawson was a two-time Champion having won the WBC title in 2007. After three successful defenses he vacated in order to face IBF Champion Antonio Tarver, whom he defeated to add that organization’s title. After defeating Tarver in a rematch Dawson vacated the IBF title for a more lucrative fight against Glen Johnson, winning the interim WBC title. He would then go on to win the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Championship after defeating Bernard Hopkins. Dawson lost the Ring Championship in his first defense against Adonis Stevenson in what was his last World Title fight. Dawson’s last fight came in 2019 and he officially ends his career with a record of 36-5, 19 KO’s.

8/20 – IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Champion (Ring #1) Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KO) added the recently vacated Ring Title (first in history to win Ring titles at Cruiserweight and Heavyweight) to his collection after winning a 12 round split decision over Ring #2 Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KO) by the scores of 116-112 (Victor Fesechko), 115-113 (Steve Gray), and 113-115 (Glenn Feldman). The fight was a direct rematch from their prior encounter, last September. This time around was a bit more competitive. The first eight rounds were extremely close. Round 9 appeared at the time to be the turning point of the fight as Joshua had Usyk hurt and in trouble. What happened in rounds 10-12 is why boxing is often referred to as the “Theatre of the unexpected.” Usyk recovered greatly and had a huge round 10, which ultimately turned out to be the turning point of the fight. Joshua showed fatigue and was sagging on the ropes while the rejuvenated Champion continued to dole out punishment. Usyk then went on to outland Joshua 32-9 in round 11. Overall in the final three rounds, Usyk outlanded his challenger 79-29. Overall Usyk outlanded Joshua 170-124, the most ever punches landed on the former champion. Referee: Luis Pabon. Venue: Jeddah Superdome, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Promoter: Eddie Hearn (Matchroom Boxing).  TV: DAZN.

Other notable fights in August:

8/5 – Unrated Luis Castillo (20-0-1, 13 KO) TKO 6 unrated Abraham Rodriguez (28-4, 14 KO). WBC Strawweight eliminator. Baja California Sur, Mexico.

8/6 – Ring #5 Welterweight Virgil Ortiz Jr (19-0, 19 KO) TKO 9 unrated Michael Mckinson (22-1, 2 KO). WBA Welterweight title eliminator. Texas, USA.

8/13 – Ring #2 Lightweight Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 KO) TKO 7 unrated Pedro Campa (34-2-1, 22 KO). Former undisputed Lightweight World Champion makes Jr Welterweight debut. Nevada, USA.

8/20 – Ring #9 Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KO) UD 12 unrated Zhang Zhilei (24-1-, 19 KO). IBF eliminator. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

8/20 – Ring #4 Light Heavyweight Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KO) KO 4 Ring #9 Light Heavyweight Mathieu Bauderlique (21-2, 12 KO). Knockout of the Year contender! WBC eliminator. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

New Ring Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – August:

Heavyweight – Ring Champion Tyson Fury retired, vacating the title. Ring #1 Oleksandr Usyk crowned Ring Champion after winning a 12 round UD over Ring #2 Anthony Joshua. Usyk’s ascension allowed Zhilei Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KO) to enter at #10, despite his UD loss to Ring #8 Flip Hrgovic, as there can be an argument made that Zhang deserved the decision.  

Light Heavyweight  – Ring #9 Mathieu Bauderlique removed after being knocked out in four rounds by Ring #4 Callum Smith. Craig Richards (17-3-1, 10 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Welterweight – Alberto Puello (21-0, 10 KO) entered at #9 after beating (then #9) Batyr Akhmedov by 12 round SD. Akhmedov slid to #10, forcing (then #10) Sandor Martin to be removed.

Lightweight – Ring #2 Teofimo Lopez removed after moving up to Jr Welterweight. Michel Rivera (23-0, 14 KO) entered at #10. Ring #8 Richard Commey removed after moving up to Jr Welterweight. Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KO) entered at #10, moving the aforementioned Rivera up to #9.

Jr Featherweight – Ring #4 Angelo Leo removed due to inactivity. Mike Plania (26-2, 13 KO) entered at #10. Ring #3 Daniel Roman removed after retiring. Takuma Inoue (16-1, 3 KO) entered at #10, pushing the aforementioned Plania up to #9.

Bantamweight – Ring #5 Rau’Shee Warren removed after losing UD to unrated Francisco Pedroza. Keita Kurihara (16-7-1, 14 KO) entered at #10.

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January 2022

1/1 – British Boxing Board of Control suspends all boxing matches under its control for the month of January due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

1/12 – WBO Welterweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Terence Crawford sues his former promoter, Bob Arum for $5.4 Million (Breach of contract, Negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation) while also claiming racial bias while promoting him.

1/15 – WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Joe Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KO’s) made his first title defense, knocking out late replacement Steve Geffrard (18-3, 12 KO’s) at :37 of round 9. The unheralded Geffrard accepted the fight on short notice (Jan 7), with the bout just a week away. Smith controlled the fight throughout and jumped all over Geffrard at the start of the 9th round, dropping him for the count after a barrage of unanswered head shots. At the time of the stoppage Smith led 80-72 (Glenn Feldman), 79-73 (Tom Schreck), and 79-72 (Don Trella) on the judges scorecards. Smith was originally scheduled to make his first defense last October against Umar Salamov. The fight was postponed until this date after Smith Jr contracted Covid-19. Salamov, however, couldn’t get to America (visa issues) and Callum Johnson was scheduled to take his place. On January 6th Johnson tested positive for Covid-19, thus opening the door for Geffrard. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Television: ESPN. Referee: Mark Nelson.

1/19 – The WBC removed five boxers from their rankings for failing to enroll in their mandatory WBC Clean Boxing Program, which is administered by VADA. Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith (WBC #7, unrated by Ring Magazine), Welterweight Connor Benn (WBC #5, Ring #9), Jr Welterweight Mario Barrios (WBC #10, Ring #6), Featherweight Mauricio Lara (WBC #4, Ring #2), and Bantamweight Lee McGregor (WBC #9, Ring #10). Each boxer will be given an opportunity to re-enroll.   

1/22 – WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell’s (unrated by The Ring due to inactivity) nearly seven year reign came to an end after losing a 12 round majority decision to Ring #4 Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KO) by the scores of 115-113 twice (Henry Eugene Grant, Mark Consentino) and 114-114 (Lynne Carter). Russell (31-2, 18 KO) injured his shoulder in round 4, threw just one jab in round 5, and not a single one after. It was a close fight with the consensus agreeing that Magsayo deserved the decision. The fight was a candidate for ‘Upset of the Year’. Russell won the title in March 2015 and he had been the longest tenured boxing World Champion. However, he also had been inactive for nearly two full years, with his last fight in early February, 2020. Russell’s father/trainer missed most of this training camp for health reasons and had his foot amputated in December from diabetes. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jr. Promoter: PBC. Venue: Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Television: Showtime.

1/28 – Queensberry Promotions (Frank Warren) bid a boxing record $41,025,000 to secure the rights to promote Ring Magazine & WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury’s 2nd title defense vs Dillian Whyte. The only other bidder was Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn) at $32,222,222. Both bids broke the previous record of $32,100,000 set in 1990 by the Mirage Hotel and Casino for the Heavyweight Championship fight between James “Buster” Douglas and Evander Holyfield.

1/29 – WBC Cruiserweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KO) made the 2nd defense of his title with a disputed 12 round split decision over Ring #4 Thabiso Mchunu (23-6, 13 KO) by the scores of 116-112 (Jamie Garayua), 115-113 (Steve Weisfeld), and 113-115 (Nathan Palmer). It was a close fight with most observers feeling that Mchunu deserved the decision, if not a draw. This was a rematch from 2015, when Makabu scored a stoppage victory in the 11th round of a WBC eliminator. Referee: Harvey Dock. Promoter: Don King Productions. Venue: Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio USA. Television: PPV.

Other notable fights in January:

1/1 – Ring #7 Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28 KO) TKO 6 unrated Charles Martin (28-3-1, 25 KO). IBF Heavyweight semi-final title eliminator. Florida, USA.

1/14 – Jade Bornea (17-0, 11 KO) KO 3 Mohammed Obbadi (22-2, 13 KO), Monterrey, Mexico. IBF Jr Bantamweight eliminator. Neither fighter rated by The Ring.

1/29 – WBA “Regular” Heavyweight Champion Trevor Bryan (22-0, 15 KO) SD 12 Jonathan Guidry (17-1-2). Neither fighter rated by The Ring. Ohio, USA.

1/29 – Ring #10 Jr Lightweight Robson Conceicao (17-1, 8 KO) UD 10 Ring #9 Jr Lightweight Xavier Martinez (17-1, 11 KO). Oklahoma, USA.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – January:

Light Heavyweight – Eleider Alvarez (Ring #4) was removed due to inactivity. Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Welterweight – Viktor Postol (Ring #4) was removed due to inactivity. Sandor Martin (39-2, 13 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Lightweight – Ring #9 Xavier Martinez removed after losing to Ring #10 Robson Conceicao. Samir Ziani (33-3-1, 8 KO) entered at #10.

Featherweight – Gary Russell Jr (31-2, 18 KO) returned at #6 following a 23 month layoff. Russell’s return forced (former Ring #10) Tugstsogt Nyambayar to be removed.

February 2022

2/2 – Former Heavyweight Champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in the Ukraine reserve Army as Russia has sent tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine border in recent weeks, setting up a possible invasion.

2/5 – Ring Magazine #5 rated Jr Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO) went up TWO divisions and won the vacant WBC Jr Bantamweight title over Ring #6 Jr Bantamweight Carlos Cuadras (39-5-1, 27 KO) via 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 117-110 twice (Steve Morrow, Dennis O’Connell) and 115-112 (Barry Lindenman). Rodriguez, a southpaw, scored a knockdown within the first minute of round 3 with a right uppercut to the chin. Cuadras was up before referee in charge Chris Flores began the count after instructing Rodriguez which corner to go to. Rodriguez was originally scheduled to appear on the undercard in a 10 round Flyweight bout, but agreed to move up in weight on less than a weeks notice (January 30) to step in for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who fell ill and was forced to withdraw on January 26. The 22 year old Rodriguez became the first boxer born in the 2000’s to win a World Title. The 33 year old Cuadras entered with more championship rounds fought than Rodriguez had total rounds fought! Promoter: Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn). Venue: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Broadcast: DAZN.

2/6 – In an immediate rematch from their close encounter last February, IBF Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #6) Rene Mark Cuarto (20-2-2, 11 KO) again won a tight decision over Ring #7 Pedro Taduran (14-4-1, 11 KO) via majority technical decision by the scores of 66-64 (Nic Banal), 65-64 (Silvestre Abainza), and 65-65 (Brembot Dulalas). The fight was stopped early in round 7 due to a cut on the forehead of Taduran caused by an accidental clash of heads. Cuarto dropped an off balance Taduran in the round 2 from a left hook to the chin and again in round 6, also from a left hook to the chin (could have been ruled a slip), but was also deducted two points after an intentional head butt in round 3. It was the first defense for Cuarto. Promoter: MP Promotions. Referee: Danrex Tapdasan. Venue: Digos City Gymnasium, Digos City, Davao del Sur, Philippines.

2/6 – Former IBF Lightweight Champion Robert Easter was shot three times and underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments after being robbed (2 gold chains, 3 diamond rings, 1 cell phone) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Serious injuries were avoided. Now competing in the Jr Welterweight division, Easter is expected to fully recover.

2/10 – WBA Jr Lightweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez (Ring Magazine #6) was forced to withdraw from his upcoming title defense vs Ring #5 Chris Colbert, scheduled for February 26th, due to contracting Covid.

2/11 – WBC Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Jermall Charlo was arrested in Fort Bend County, Texas and charged with felonious assault of a family member. The alleged incident took place last September. Charlo was also arrested last August (theft), but that case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

2/15 – The Ring Magazine celebrated 100 years! The first issue was dated February 15, 1922.

The first issue of The Ring Magazine

2/16 – WBO Jr Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Brian Castano suffered a slight right bicep tear and was forced to postpone his upcoming rematch for the undisputed Jr Middleweight Championship against Ring/WBC/IBF/WBA Champion Jermell Charlo, which was scheduled for March 19th. Castano reportedly suffered the injury two weeks ago during a sparring session and is expected to be sidelined for a month. They originally fought to a highly disputed draw last July. The General consensus was that Castano deserved the victory.

2/17 – Ring/IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Mairis Briedis was forced to postpone his defense vs Jai Opetaia after contracting Covid-19. The bout had been scheduled to take place on April 6 in Opetaia’s native Australia.

2/26 – Undisputed Jr Welterweight World Champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) won a highly controversial split decision over unrated Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KO) by the scores of 114-111 (Ian John-Lewis), 113-112 (Victor Loughlin), and 112-113 (Howard Foster). Taylor was defending for first time as undisputed Champion and 4th time overall. The contest was originally scheduled for December 18th, but postponed due to a Taylor knee injury during training. Catterall scored a knockdown in round 8, but was also docked a point for excessive holding in round 10. Taylor dealt with two cuts by his left eye and had a point deducted after round 11 due to landing a punch after the bell. It was an extremely tough fight to score and watch as there was more holding and clenching throughout than toe-to-toe combat, forcing referee in charge Marcus McDonnell to get involved more often than not. It was a homecoming fight for Taylor in front of a sold out crowd of 12,101. Majority of media had Catterall winning an extremely close contest that easily could have gone either way. The British Boxing Board of Control would investigate the scoring, but found no foul play. TV: ESPN+. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

2/26 – IBF Jr Bantamweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #4) Jerwin Ancajas (33-2-2, 22 KO) was vying for his 10 successful title defense, but lost a 12 round unanimous decision against unrated Fernando Martinez (14-0, 8 KO) by the scores of 118-110 (David Sutherland, Steve Weisfeld) twice and 117-111 (Max DeLuca). Ancajas was taking so many shots his corner nearly stopped the fight after round 9. Martinez landed 421 power shots, which set a CompuBox record in the Jr Bantamweight division. Martinez landed 427 total punches and became the 47th boxer in CompuBox history to land more than 400 punches in a fight. Ancajas was one of the sport’s longest reigning champions, winning the title in 2016. Martinez was fighting in the USA for the first time. The fight was a candidate for ‘Upset of the Year’. Referee: Jack Reiss. TV: Showtime. Promoter: PBC. Venue: Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

2/27 – WBO Cruiserweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KO) won a 12 round unanimous decision over Ring #8 Michal Cieslak (21-2, 15 KO) by the scores of 117-110 (Bob Williams), 116-111 (Leszek Jankowiak), and 115-112 (Bence Kovacs), making the 2nd defense of his title. Okolie scored a knockdown in round 5 in what was otherwise a fight filled with holding and hitting behind the head. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Matchroom. Referee: Michael Alexander. Venue: 02 Arena, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom.

2/28 – All four sanctioning organizations come together and announced that there will be no sanctioned boxing matches in Russia due to their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Other notable fights in February:

2/5 – Ring #7 Middleweight Chris Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KO) UD 12 Ring #10 Middleweight Liam Williams (23-4-1, 18 KO).  Cardiff, Wales.

2/5 – Former WBA/WBC Welterweight Champion (unrated Ring due to inactivity) Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO) UD 12 Ring #6 Jr Welterweight Mario Barrios (26-2, 17 KO). Thurman returns after a 31 month layoff (hand surgery/pandemic). WBC semi-final Welterweight eliminator. Nevada, USA.

2/5 – WBA Featherweight Champion (unrated Ring due to inactivity) Leo Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KO) UD 10 unrated Keenan Carbajal (23-3-1, 15 KO). Santa Cruz returning from a 16 month layoff. Fight was held at Jr Lightweight. Santa Cruz hadn’t fought or defended his featherweight title since February 2019! Nevada, USA.

2/12 – Ring #5 Super Middleweight John Ryder (31-5, 17 KO) SD 12 unrated (inactivity) Daniel Jacobs (37-4, 30 KO). WBA eliminator. Decision could have gone either way. London, England.

2/19 – Kell Brook (40-3, 28 KO) TKO 6 Amir Khan (34-6, 21 KO). Longtime British rivals finally fought at a catch weight of 149 pounds. Fight in the making for more than a decade. Khan had been idle for over 30 months. Brook had been idle for over 14 months.  Manchester, England.

2/19 – Ring #4 Middleweight Jaime Munguia (39-0, 31 KO) TKO 3 unrated D’Mitrius Ballard (21-1-1, 13 KO), Tijuana, Mexico.

2/19 – Unrated Zaur Abdullaev (15-1, 9 KO) TKO 12 Ring #8 Lightweight Jorge Linares (47-7, 29 KO). WBC semi-final Lightweight eliminator. Ekaterinburg, Russia.

2/19 – Unrated Angel Rodriguez (20-1, 10 KO) SD 12 unrated Mark Urvanov (20-3-1, 10 KO). WBA Jr Lightweight eliminator. Ekaterinburg, Russia.

2/26 – Unrated Hector Luis Garcia (15-0, 10 KO) UD 12 Ring #5 Jr Lightweight Chris Colbert (16-1, 6 KO). WBA Jr Lightweight eliminator. Garcia took the fight on a few weeks notice. Upset of the Year contender! Nevada, USA.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – February:

Cruiserweight – Ring #8 Michal Cieslak removed after losing to Ring #3 Lawrence Okolie. Richard Riakporhe (13-0, 9 KO) entered at #10.

Middleweight – Ring #10 Liam Williams removed after losing to Ring #7 Chris Eubank Jr. Felix Cash  (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #10.

Welterweight – Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO) returned at #6 following a 31 month layoff. Thurman’s return forced (former Ring #10) Cody Crowley to be removed.

Jr Welterweight – Ring #6 Mario Barrios removed after moving up to Welterweight. Montana Love (17-0-1, 9 KO) entered at #10. Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KO) entered at #4 following his disputed loss to Ring Jr Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor. Gary Antuanne Russell (15-0, 15 KO) entered at #9 following his stoppage of unrated Viktor Postol. Catterall’s entrance forced Love to be removed. Russell’s entrance forced (former Ring #9) Sandor Martin to be removed.

Lightweight – Ring #8 Jorge Linares removed after being stopped by unrated Zaur Abdullaev. William Zepeda (25-0, 23 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Lightweight – Hector Luis Garcia (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #8 following his win over #5 Chris Colbert, who was removed.

Jr Featherweight – Luis Nery (32-1, 24 KO) entered at #10 following his win over previously undefeated Carlos Castro. Nery’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Ryosuke Iwasa to be removed.

Bantamweight – Ring #7 Guillermo Rigondeaux removed after losing to unrated Vincent Astrolabio, which resulted in Astrolabio (17-3, 12 KO) to enter at #10.

Jr Bantamweight – Ring #5 Jr Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #6 following his win over Ring #6 Jr Bantamweight Carlos Cuadras. Fernando Martinez (14-0, 8 KO) entered at #4 following his win over #4 Jerwin Ancajas. Rodriguez’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Pedro Guevara to be removed, while Martinez’s entrance forced the removal of Cuadras (who had been dropped to #10).

March 2022

3/1 – Three of the four major sanctioning organizations (IBF/WBO/WBC) issued a joint statement in agreeing they will not certify any championship fights involving boxers from Russia or Belarus while the invasion of Ukraine continues.

3/2 – Former Bantamweight World Champion Robert Cohen passed away at the age of 91. He won the vacant title in 1954 and fought to a draw in his first defense and was KO’d in his second defense in 1956. Cohen retired with a career record of 36-4-3, 14 KO’s.

3/2 – IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Oleksandr Usyk and Ring Magazine #2 Lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko have joined the Klitschko brothers in recent days in taking up arms and joining the Ukranian army as Russia continues their invasion.

3/3 – The European Boxing Union announced it will no longer sanction title matches that include boxers from Russia or Belarus until further notice while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to take place.

3/4 – Former Ring/WBA/WBO Jr Featherweight World Champion and two-time Olympic Bantamweight Gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux suffered a cooking accident in his home when a pressure cooker exploded near his face resulting in his corneas being burned. The former Champion and all-time great Olympian is currently 80 percent blind, but there’s hope he will be able to recover.

3/7 – Former WBA Flyweight Champion Berkrerk Chartvanchai passed away at the age of 77. He won the title in 1970 and lost it in his first defense six months later. Chartvanchai retired with a record of 29-8-3, 6 KO.  

3/8 – Ron Stander, who challenged Joe Frazier for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1972 passed away due to complications from diabetes. He was 77 years old and retired with a record of 37-21-3, 28 KO’s.

3/10 – The British Boxing Board of Control downgraded judge Ian John-Lewis from an A Star Class to A Class official after reviewing and hearing the explanation of his absurd 114-111 scorecard he turned in favoring Josh Taylor over Jack Catterall on February 26th for the undisputed Jr Welterweight Championship of the World.

3/15 – Ring Magazine #5 Welterweight Virgil Ortiz Jr was hospitalized (rhabdomyolysis) and forced to withdraw from his fight against Michael McKinson, scheduled for March 19th.

3/18 – IBF Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Gennadiy Golovkin filed a lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions for no less than $3 Million claiming interest owed from late payment regarding his rematch against Canelo Alvarez in 2018.

3/19 – WBC Jr Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12 KO) lost his title in an immediate rematch against Ring #3 Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11 KO) after getting knocked out at 1:11 of round 3. Yabuki was dropped hard by a right hand and while he did beat the count, referee in charge Michiaki Someya ruled him unable to continue. Scores at the time of the stoppage were 20-18 (Kazunobu Asao) and 19-19 twice (Hisatoshi Miyazaki, Masahiro Noda). Teraji originally won the WBC title in 2017 and defended it eight times before being stopped by Yabuki in September of 2021 in a fight that was a contender for upet of the year. Teraji’s loss in that initial encounter has also been attributed at least in part to the effects suffered from contracting Covid in the months leading up to the fight. TV: None. Promoter: Masato Yamashita. Venue: City Gym, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan.

3/19 – IBF Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Sunny Edwards (18-0, 4 KO) defended his title a second time after a 12 round unanimous decision over unrated Muhammad Waseem (12-2, 8 KO) by the scores of 116-110 (Deon Dwarte) and 115-111 (Leszek Jankowiak, Jerome Lades) twice. Waseem had point deductions in rounds 6 and 7. Referee: Benny Decroos. TV: Dazn. Promoter: Probellum. Venue: Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

3/20 – Ring Magazine #2 Lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko withdrew from the June 5th Lightweight Championship fight against Ring/WBA/WBO/IBF Champion George Kambosos. Lomachenko chose to remain in the Ukraine to assist in the defense of his country after the  invasion by Russian troops last month. Contracts hadn’t been signed for the fight to take place.

3/22 – IBF Jr Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Felix Alvarado has vacated his title and will move up to the Flyweight division after failing to secure a unification bout with the other Jr Flyweight title holders. Alvarado won the vacant title in 2018 and made two defenses.

3/26 – IBF Featherweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #5) Kiko Martinez (43-11-2, 30 KO) lost his title in his first defense after getting stopped by Ring #3 Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KO) at 2:12 of round 7. Martinez was dropped in round 1 by an overhand right and was cut over both eyes and his forehead by head clashes as the fight progressed. Referee in charge Marcus McDonnell called a halt to the contest after Warrington forced Martinez to the ropes and unleashed a flurry of punches that Martinez did not respond to. Overall, Warrington landed 155 shots compared to just 65 for Martinez. Warrington suffered a broken jaw and broken left hand. This was a rematch from a 2017 regional title bout that Warrington also won, however by a much closer majority decision. Warrington became a two-time IBF Featherweight Champion. Judges: Phil Edwards, Alejandro Lopez, Don Trella. TV: Dazn. Promoter: Matchroom. Venue: First Direct Arena, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.

3/28 – WBA President Gilberto Mendoza announced that his organization will sanction the upcoming Light Heavyweight Championship fight between WBA Champion Dmitry Bilov and undisputed Super Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez, scheduled to take place May 7th. There had been pressure to not allow fighters from Russia to compete due to their countries unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Mendoza announced that his organization will stand by the other sanctioning organizations in not sanctioning any bouts that occur in Russia.

3/29 – WBC Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart aka Panya Pradabsri (38-1, 23 KO) won a 12 round unanimous decision over Ring #3 Wanheng Menayothin aka Chayaphon Moonsri (55-2, 19 KO) with all three judges (Carlos Costa, Pongpan Rattanasutorn, Visuth Yingaupagarn) agreeing on 117-111 scorecards. The bout was originally scheduled for January 25th, then March 1st. This was a rematch from Freshmart’s upset win in November 2020 which ended Menayothin’s reign of 14 defenses that began in 2014. Referee: Thawuth Pluemsamran. Promoter: Piyarat Vachirarattanawong. Venue: City Hall Ground, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand.

Other notable fights in March:

3/4 – Ring #2 Jr Welterweight Jose Ramirez (27-1, 17 KO) UD 12 Ring #9 Jr Welterweight Jose Pedraza (29-4, 14 KO). WBC eliminator. California, USA.

3/5 – Ring #2 Jr Bantamweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KO) UD 12 WBC Flyweight Champion (Ring #1 Flyweight) Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14 KO). Gonzalez was originally scheduled to face rival Juan Francisco Estrada a third time (also a direct rematch when Estrada was gifted a decision) for the WBA & Ring Jr Bantamweight Championship last October, but postponed due to Gonzalez contracting Covid. This time Estrada was forced to pull out on January 25 due to Covid. Martinez was scheduled on the undercard and agreed to move up in weight and step in on January 26. Gonzalez was only a slight favorite entering this contest, but put on a dominating performance, arguably only losing the first round. Gonzalez remains the only boxer in history to win titles at Strawweight, Jr Flyweight, Flyweight, and Jr Bantamweight. Despite moving up in weight, Martinez came in 1.5 pounds heavy. California, USA.

3/12 – WBA ‘regular’ Featherweight Champion (Ring #7) Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KO) TKO 12 unrated Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KO). The fight was awarded The Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year! Round 12 was also a contender for Round of the Year! Wood was down in round 1 and trailed 105-102 and 104-103 twice on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Conlan was down in round 11 and knocked out of the ring to end the contest. Nottingham, England.

3/18 – Ring #9 Jr Lightweight O’Shaquie Foster (19-2, 11 KO) UD12 unrated Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (18-1, 10 KO). WBC eliminator. Dubai, UAE.

3/26 – Ring #5 Jr Middleweight Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KO) UD 12 unrated Terrell Gausha (22-3-1, 11 KO). Tszyu made his American debut and survived a first round knockdown. Tszyu was risking his status as WBO #1 mandatory.Minnesota, USA.

3/26 – Unrated Jeremia Nakathila (23-2, 19 KO) TKO 6 Ring #2 Jr Lightweight Miguel Berchelt (38-3, 34 KO). Fight was contested in the Lightweight division. Upset of the year contender. Nevada, USA.

3/26 – Unrated Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KO) TKO 5 unrated Lee Selby (28-4, 9 KO). IBF Lightweight eliminator. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

3/26 – Unrated Carlos Canizales (24-1-1, 18 KO) KO 4 unrated Ganigan Lopez (37-12, 19 KO). WBA Flyweight eliminator. Coyoacan, Mexico.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – March:

Cruiserweight – Ring #5 Kevin Lerena removed after moving on to the Heavyweight division. Chris Billam-Smith (14-1-0, 10 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Welterweight – Ring #9 Jose Pedraza removed after losing to Ring #2 Jose Ramirez. Sandor Martin (39-2, 13 KO) entered at #10.

Lightweight – Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KO) entered at #10 after stopping unrated former IBF Featherweight Champion Lee Selby. Lemos’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) William Zepeda to be removed.

Jr Lightweight – Ring #2 Miguel Berchelt removed after moving up to the Lightweight division. Eduardo Ramirez (26-2-3, 12 KO) enters at #10.

Featherweight – Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KO) entered at #10 following his stoppage loss to Ring #7 Leigh Wood. Conlan was ahead on the cards at the time of the last round stoppage and clearly showed he should be in the Top 10 of the division. Conlan’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Xu Can to be removed.  

Jr Flyweight – Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11 KO) moved up to Ring #1 from #3 following his third-round stoppage over Ring #2 Masamichi Yabuki in their rematch. Ring #7 Agustin Gauto removed after being stopped by unrated darkhorse Miel Fajardo in two rounds. Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0, 9 KO) enters at #10.

April 2022

4/5 – Former IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby (28-4, 9 KO) announced his retirement. Selby won the title in 2015 and made four successful defenses.

4/5 – Former WBC Bantamweight Champion Nordine Oubaali (17-1, 12 KO) announced his retirement at the age of 35. Oubaali won the vacant title in 2019 before making two successful defenses. His lone defeat came in his final fight against future IBHOF inductee Nonito Donaire.  

4/9 – IBF Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Gennadiy (GGG) Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO) defended his title for the second time while adding another title after stopping WBA Middleweight World Champion (Ring #5) Ryota Murata (16-3, 13 KO) at 2:11 of round 9. GGG looked sluggish early on as he entered after nearly a 16 month layoff. (Fight was originally scheduled for December 29th, but postponed due to Covid outbreak in Japan). Murata had been inactive for 28 months! While slower on his feet and unable to avoid Murata’s body attack, the power was still there for GGG, who turned 40 the day before the fight and showed he was clearly on the back end of his career. It was a back and forth affair until about a minute into round 6 when a huge right hand knocked Murata’s mouthpiece out. While the fight continued, GGG’s power was starting to have an effect. Murata, also making his second title defense, appeared out on his feet in the first minute of round 9, but GGG fatigued and could not finish the Japanese champion at that time. Murata re-gained his composure and was starting to have some success of his own when GGG landed a flush counter right hand upstairs that turned Murata around and after a slight delay put him on the canvas. Murata’s corner had seen enough and entered the ring as referee in charge Luis Pabon called a halt to the contest. It was the first time Murata had been stopped in his career. GGG led on the cards at the time of the stoppage 79-73 (Robert Hoyle), 78-74 (Glenn Feldman), 77-75 (Alex Levin). Round 9 was a candidate for ‘Round of the Year’. The win would set up the trilogy with rival Canelo Alvarez for September. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Teiken Promotions. Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan.

4/9 – WBO Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Junto Nakatani (23-0, 18 KO) defended his title for a second time after stopping Ring #10 Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7 KO) at 2:20 of round 8. Nakatani had won every round on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage (70-63 – Nobuto Ikehara, Toshio Sugiyama, Kazutoshi Yoshida). Referee: Katsuhiko Nakamura. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Teiken Promotions. Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan.

4/11 – Boxing advisor (including to Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Jr Lightweight Champion Josh Taylor) Daniel Kinahan was sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for criminal activity that includes cocaine distribution into Ireland and the UK. Kinahan has also been linked to promotional companies MTK Global and Probellum.

4/12 – Jolene Mizzone, President of boxing operations at Main Events, moved on to become a boxing manager for the newly founded Fighters First Management.

4/16 – WBC/IBF Welterweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Errol Spence (28-0, 22 KO) added a third title with relative ease after stopping WBA Champion (Ring #3) Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KO) at 1:44 of round 10 in front of 39,946 fans at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The only time in the fight that Ugas had success was a brief moment in the middle of round 6 when an uppercut caused Spence to lose his mouthpiece. Instead of performing the old adage of “protect yourself at all times,” Spence looked down at the mouthpiece on the mat thinking referee in charge Laurence Cole would pause the action and Ugas took advantage with a huge shot that backed Spence into the ropes that could have been called a knockdown due to the ropes holding him up. After re-gaining the mouthpiece, Spence showed no ill effects and won the rest of the round. After round 7 Ugas right eye was swelling to the point that the ringside doctor checked on it in between rounds, but allowed the action to continue. By round 10 it was clear that Ugas had no vision in his right eye and the doctor was again called in to check on Ugas and recommended the fight be stopped. Ugas would be hospitalized with a broken orbital bone. Spence landed 216 total shots, while Ugas landed just 96. The 216 punches landed were the most ever by a Ugas opponent. Spence led on all three cards at the time of the stoppage by the scores of 88-82 twice (Tim Cheatham, Glenn Feldman) and 88-83 (Steve Weisfeld). Round 6 was a candidate for ‘Round of the Year’. In the post fight interview Spence finally called out Ring #1 Welterweight (WBO Champion) Terence Crawford in a fight that has been brandied about for the last few years and would crown a Ring Magazine Champion as well as mark the first undisputed Welterweight Champion during the four belt era. This was the 6th defense of the IBF title and 2nd defense of the WBC title for Spence, while Ugas was making the 1st defense of the WBA title. Spence was fighting for the first time in 16 months after having surgery on his eye for a detached retina last August. TV: PPV. Promoter: Tom Brown (PBC). Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA.

4/18 – Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum, who is 90 years old, announced he has covid and won’t be able to attend the upcoming Heavyweight Championship fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, scheduled for April 23rd at Wembley Stadium in the UK.

4/18 – Former Jr Welterweight Champion Amir Khan was robbed of his watch at gunpoint in East London.

4/19 – Bob Yalen, MTK Global CEO, has resigned from his position due to personal reasons. Yalen is also a noted boxing historian and record keeper who is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June under the observer category.

4/19 – WBO Bantamweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) John Reil Casimero will not be allowed to defend his title, scheduled for April 22nd, against Paul Butler after the British Boxing Board of Control learned that Casimero was using a sauna to cut weight, which is disallowed under their medical guidelines. This fight was rescheduled from Last December after Casimero was forced to withdraw the day before the fight after being hospitalized (gastritis). Under the agreements set forth for the rescheduled contest, the WBO stated that if Casimero fails to weigh in under any circumstances, the title would become vacant. Casimero has 48 hours to “show cause” to the WBO as to why he shouldn’t be stripped of his title.

4/20 – Former Heavyweight Champion and living legend Mike Tyson was shown on video punching a passenger sitting behind him on a flight from California to Florida due to the allegedly drunk passenger harassing him prior. No charges were filed. 

4/20 – Boxing management and promotional company MTK Global announced they will cease operations by the end of the month following the fallout of from their prior association with Daniel Kinahan, which has led to other promoters severing ties with the company.

4/22 – WBO Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #4) Masataka Taniguchi (16-3, 11 KO) successfully made the first defense of his title after stopping unrated Kai Ishizawa (10-2, 9 KO) at 2:11 of round 11. Taniguchi was in control throughout and led 99-91 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage. Ishizawa was 5 pounds over the weight limit and therefore unable to capture the title, even if he were to win the bout. This was a rematch from 2019, when Taniguchi won an 8 round UD. Referee: Michiaki Someya. Judges: Masakazu Murase, Masahiro Muroya, Katsuhiko Nakamura. TV: None. Promoter: Hideyuki Ohashi. Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

4/23 – Ring/WBC Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KO) knocked out Ring #4 Dillian Whyte (28-3, 19 KO) at 2:59 of round 6. The fight was one sided throughout with Whyte being cut above the right eye in round 4 from an accidental clash of heads. Fury finished his overmatched foe by landing a highlight-reel right uppercut to the jaw, sending Whyte to the canvas. Able to rise at the count of 8, Whyte, on shaky legs, stumbled into the ropes causing referee in charge Mark Lyson to wave the bout off. Fury landed 76 punches, while Whyte landed just 29 shots. The scorecards at the time of the stoppage read 50-45 (Robert Tapper), 49-46 (Guido Cavalleri), and an absurd 48-47 (Juan Carlos Pelayo). 94,000 fans witnessed the contest live, which set the European boxing record for the largest crowd ever attending a bout, while also setting the Wembley Stadium gate record for any event in its storied history. It was the second defense of both titles for Fury, who has also been the “Lineal” Heavyweight Champion of the World since 2015, after beating Wladimir Klitschko. Fury indicated he was going into retirement during his post fight comments. Knockout of the Year contender! TV: ESPN PPV. Promoter: Top Rank/Queensbury. Venue: Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, United Kingdom.

4/30 – WBO Jr Lightweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KO) dominated WBC Champion (ring unrated) Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KO) via 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 118-109 twice (Dave Moretti, David Sutherland) and 117-110 (Tim Cheatham). With the win Stevenson not only became the first unified champion in the division since 2005 (Marco Antonio Barrera), but also claimed the vacant Ring Magazine title (1st since Manny Pacquiao after defeating Juan Manuel Marquez in their second fight in March of 2008). Stevenson scored a knockdown in round 6 following a pair of right hooks, the first sending Valdez stumbling into the ropes. Stevenson was never in any trouble and utilized his superior boxing ability to control the pace and distance of the fight. Despite the one-sided outcome, the bout was exciting with action throughout. Stevenson landed 189 punches, to Valdez’s 110, which were the most ever landed on Stevenson in his career. It was the first defense for Stevenson, while Valdez was making his second defense. Referee: Kenny Bayless. TV: ESPN. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.  

Other notable fights in April:

4/9 – Ring #5 Lightweight Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18 KO) UD 12 unrated Emmanuel Tagoe (32-2, 15 KO). Fight contracted at 139 pounds. San Antonio, Texas, USA.

4/9 – Ring #6 Jr Middleweight Sabastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KO) TKO 9 Ring #4 Jr Middleweight Erickson Lubin (24-2, 17 KO). WBC Interim Jr Middleweight title on the line. Round 7 was awarded the ‘Round of the Year’ by The Ring Magazine! Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

4/16 – Ring #10 Welterweight Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KO) TKO 2 Unrated Chris van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KO). WBA Continental Welterweight Title. Manchester, UK.

4/16 – Ring #7 Welterweight Eimantas Stanionis (14-0, 9 KO) SD 12 Ring #9 Radzhab Butaev (14-1, 11 KO). WBA Regular Welterweight title. Fight of the Year contender! Arlington, Texas, USA.

4/22 – Unrated Bantamweight Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KO) UD 12 Ring #10 Jonas Sultan (18-6, 11 KO). WBO interim Bantamweight Title. Liverpool, UK. Sultan late replacement for WBO Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero, who was not allowed to fight after violating British Boxing of Control medical guidelines for cutting weight.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – April:

Cruiserweight – Ring #5 Krzysztof Glowacki removed due to inactivity. Noel Gevor (26-2, 11 KO) enters at #10.  

Super Middleweight – Ring #8 Fedor Chudinov removed after losing to unrated Azizbek Abdugofurov. David Morrell (6-0, 5 KO) enters at #10.

Welterweight – Ring #2 Errol Spence overtook Terence Crawford for #1 after his stoppage win over #3 Yordenis Ugas.

Jr Lightweight – A new Ring Champion was crowned after (former #1) Shakur Stevenson defeated Oscar Valdez, who re-entered at #1 despite the loss.

Bantamweight – Ring #4 Nordine Oubaali removed after announcing his retirement. Jonas Sultan (18-5, 11 KO) enters at #10. Sultan’s stay didn’t last long after losing to Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KO) who enters at #10.

Flyweight – Ring #3 Junto Nakatani moved up to #1 after stopping (then #10) Ryota Yamauchi, who was replaced in the ratings by Angel Ayala Lardizabal (14-0-6). Lardizabel enters at #8 after beating #10 Cristofer Rosales.

– 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.

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Two of the top ten Jr Middleweights (154 lbs) in the world will square off at the Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight. Miguel “Junito” Cotto (37-3, 30 ko’s), ranked #2 by Ring Magazine, takes on undefeated Austin “No Doubt” Trout (25-0, 14 ko’s,) ranked #9 by Ring Magazine. The fight will be shown on Showtime and they will battle for a world title belt that shall remain nameless, as I don’t give credence to any of the corrupt sanctioning organizations.

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

While Trout is known in the boxing community, he is not well-known to the general public. The fact is he is an excellent boxer-puncher, a southpaw, and is a live dog tonight. Fighting in Cotto’s home away from home will not pose any kind of threat either. Trout has fought in hostile territory before, going on the road to Panama and Mexico and winning decisions. To win decisions in an opponents home country should tell you what kind of boxing lesson he had to display.

If Trout goes on to win the fight, it will be by decision yet again. Only once has “No Doubt” scored a knockout in his last eight fights, a span of over three years.

Cotto will bring the experience edge into this fight and has clearly fought much tougher opposition. Even though “Junito” has taken much more punishment over his career, he is still incredibly sharp, evidenced by his last fight when he gave Floyd Mayweather a much tougher fight than expected in a 12 round decision loss. While Cotto comes into the fight with three losses, his losses are to Pacquiao, Mayweather, and Margarito (most likey with loaded gloves). Trout is not in the same hemisphere as those guys. Not yet at least. Also Cotto has done well against southpaws. “Chop Chop” Corley, Carlos Quintana, and Zab Judah are a few of the notable names that he has not only defeated, but knocked out.

If Cotto wins tonight, it will most likely be by knockout. In his last 6 wins covering over 4 years, 5 have come inside the distance. Joshua Clottey, who has never been ko’d in 40 career fights was the only boxer to go the distance in that time frame.

The winner of this fight would be in prime condition to take on Floyd Mayweather for what would likely be the true Jr Middleweight Championship of the World. That likely won’t happen as Mayweather appears headed for a Welterweight showdown with Robert Guerrero however. Cotto meanwhile has been linked for a showdown with #3 rated Jr Middleweight contender Saul Alvarez. Another fighter that could emerge for the winner is #4 rated contender Erislandy Lara.

I feel Cotto is just too strong and experienced for Trout in this one. I do like that Trout will travel wherever he needs to get a fight, a characteristic that doesn’t go unnoticed. Trout has never faced the caliber of opponent that he’ll see in Cotto. The early rounds may be split, but Cotto’s power shots will eventually wear down Trout as I see Cotto getting another knockout. Cotto KO 9.

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1.  I’m getting tired of every so called “expert” talk about second half adjustments and play calling every time the Cleveland Browns lose a game.  I’ve got an idea, how about the other team just made more plays at more crucial moments? 

2.  If no one showed up to the Q to witness “Quitness” on Thursday, wouldn’t that be the ultimate bitch slap back?  I mean, I don’t want to be anywhere near that Arena during the game.  If everyone followed suit, LePrick would notice just how important he really is.

3.  There isn’t a classier boxer in the world than Ring Magazine number 1 ranked Super Middleweight and former USA Olympic Gold Medal winner Andre Ward.  He wore trunks dedicated to Showtime blow-by-blow announcer Nick Charles as he battled cancer earlier this year, and after his hard fought decision over Sakio Bika on Saturday, he gave a shout out to North East Ohio Native Kelly Pavlik to let him know that he was in Ward’s prayers as the former Middleweight Champion is undergoing alcohol rehabilitation.   

4.  Certain things in life are undeniable.  Death.  Taxes.  And of course The Ohio State University Buckeyes beating Michigan while winning another Big Ten Championship and securing another BCS Bowl bid.

5.  The best basketball in the City continues to be played by the Cleveland State Vikings and it’s not even close.  They are off to the best start in School history at 8-0, and begin Horizon League play this week.  I’m shocked that the Wolstein Center crowds have been non-exhistant.  Truly embarrassing if you ask me.

6.  I’m dropping down $25 to play in the snow at Progressive Field.  There will be more sounds of joy this winter in that ballpark then what was heard all year during the baseball season.   Damn you Larry Dolan.  Damn you.

7.  Jared Sullinger has continued to impress me despite being double and triple teamed continuously down on the block.  He has three double-doubles already, which is the second most by a Freshman behind UK’s Terrence Jones.  Can I get a Buckeye versus Wildcat matchup in the tourney this year??

8.  It’s simply not worth staking out overnight to get Black Friday deals.  Wait it out and you will find deals that are just as good on Cyber Monday from the comforts of your own home. 

9.  Jake Delhomme should put the football down and pick the clipboard back up.  As much of a veteran as he is, I’m still astonished at the decision he makes with the football.  INT after INT.  He’s like a poor man’s JaMarcus Russell.

10.  Kelly Pavlik was reportedly in rehab ten days before his fight with Sergio Mora.  Ten days.  Pavlik was winning the fight before suffering his second cut over his eye and therefore, unable to see punch’s coming his way.  This is astonishing given how much Martinez’s stock has risen.  Had Pavlik been on the straight and narrow, he would have destroyed Martinez and would be on everyone’s pound for pound list.  Sad story about Pavlik.  Knowing him personally makes it even more difficult for me.  I wish him the best and hope he comes back. 

11.  The biggest pet peeve in the world is getting ready to park in a parking space at the grocery store and when you’re just about to pull in, there’s a empty shopping cart in the way.  SMDH.

12.  Manny Pacquiao isn’t fighting Juan Manuel Marquez again.  At least not next.  The reason?  Marquez will beat him.

13.  Despite not scoring a goal in Barcelona’s 5-0 thrashing of Real Madrid, my boy Lio Messi set up David Villa for two perfect goals and was the Man of the Match, drawing six fouls and controlling the middle of the pitch

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Castro’s pick for the Featured Fight of the Week

Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ

The Middleweight Championship of the World is on the line as Champion and Ring Magazine #6 pound for pound boxer in the World Sergio Martinez defends against Ring Magazine’s #5 ranked Pound for Pound boxer Paul Williams.

Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez                                                      Paul “The Punisher” Williams

45-2-2, 24 KO’s                                                  VS.                             39-1, 27 KO’s

5’10, 157 ½ pounds, 35 yrs. old                                                     6’1, 156 pounds, 29 yrs. old

Buenos Aires, Argentina                                                                     Aiken, South Carolina

 Strengths:                                                                                           Strengths:

Boxing Skills                                                                                        Height

Defense                                                                                               One punch power

Southpaw Style                                                                                  Southpaw style           

Weaknesses:                                                                                     Weaknesses:

Takes rounds off                                                                              Inactivity             

Lack of one punch KO power                                                      Can be outboxed

  •  Martinez is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik in April in which he won the Middleweight Championship of the World.   That was his only fight since his loss to Williams last December. 

  • Williams is coming off a four round technical decision over Kermit Cintron in May.  He’s won six straight and avenged his only loss, therefore beaten every man he’s been in the ring with.

This is a rematch from last December in which Paul Williams was awarded with a majority decision after twelve rounds.  It was a close fight, one that could have gone either way, and a rematch is well justified.  Both fighters came off the canvas in that fight. 

These two are about as evenly matched as you will find in the sport.  Each has a style that gives opposing fighters fits, and is why it is hard to find opponents at the top level to go up against.  Both fight from the southpaw stance as well, although Martinez is right handed. 

 There have been reports that Martinez had to drop a lot of weight in a short amount of time in order to make the catch weight limit of 158 pounds.  That will benefit Williams, if indeed, that is true. 

I see this fight going much like the first, tactical, but still exciting.  This is a fight that hardcore fans have wanted to see since they fought each other last December.  I see this fight going the distance.  No way do I see either guy getting stopped early.  Martinez is too tough, and Williams can withstand anything that Martinez has for him.  This fight will go back and forth, with many close rounds, but I think Williams is the hungrier and more determined fighter at this point and I see Williams winning by close, but clear unanimous decision.

Ring Ratings Update: Pacquiao moves to No. 1 in welterweight rankings.

Ring Magazine #1 Pound for Pound boxer Manny Pacquiao will battle as Antonio Margarito at a catch weight in the Jr. middleweight division

Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao                                                       Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito

51-3-2, 38 KO’s                                                  VS.                               38-6, 27 KO’s
5’6 ½, 144 ½ pounds, 31 yrs. old                                                    5’11, 150 pounds, 32 yrs. old
General Santos City, Philippines                                                       Tijuana, Mexico

Strengths:                                                                                                Strengths:

Southpaw Style                                                                                          Aggressive style
Speed                                                                                                             Chin
Two handed power                                                                                  Hunger/Desire

Weaknesses:                                                                                          Weaknesses:

Can be outboxed                                                                                      Defense              
Outside distractions                                                                               Inactivity

  • Pacquiao is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision over Joshua Clottey in March.  He has won 12 fights in a row, dating back to 2005.

  • Margarito is coming off a 10 round unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia in May.  Before that he was knocked out by Shane Mosley in which it was discovered before the fight that his gloves had been inserted with illegal knuckle pads. 

This fight came together after the biggest fight in boxing, Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather fell through for a second time.  Antonio Margarito, who is promoted by the same promoter as Pacquiao, Top Rank, was an easy choice as a replacement for the company. 

Margarito was known as one of the most feared men in boxing until his unforgettable night against Mosley.  He was in everyone’s pound for pound list, and was coming off a huge knockout win over previous unbeaten Miguel Cotto.  The hand wrap scandal has put a huge question on Margarito’s past.  How long has he been fighting with illegal hand wraps?  That question will probably never be known, but Margarito can silence his critics with a win against Pacquiao. 

Pacquiao is known as the “Mexican killer,” due to his tendency for knocking off Mexican fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrera.  Margarito will be the biggest Mexican that the Filipino has entered the ring against. 

Despite the size advantage for Margarito, who weighed in six pounds heavier, and could be fifteen pounds heavier on fight night, I don’t see Pacquiao having much trouble with him.  Margarito is an aggressive, come forward fighter, which plays right into the hands of Pacquiao.  Add to that the propensity to get hit and the speed at which Pacquiao’s shots will come, I see Margarito folding as he did against Mosley.  Margarito simply hasn’t been active enough, and hasn’t seen the speed of someone like Pacquiao.  This is going to give him fits.  I see Pacquiao stopping Margarito in the tenth round.  After which, he and trainer Freddie Roach will again call out Floyd Mayweather, and hopefully, for boxing’s sake, that mega fight will happen.

Ring Rating Update: Johnson earns super middleweight rating.

Two of the top ten featherweights will battle as Ring Magazine #2 rated Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez goes up against Ring Magazine #9 rated Rafael Marquez

Juan Manuel Lopez                                                                                        Rafael Marquez

29-0, 26 KO’s                                                                      VS.                              39-5, 35 KO’s

5’7, 125 ½ pounds, 27 yrs. old                                                                        5’5, 125 ½ pounds, 35 yrs. old

Caguas, Puerto Rico                                                                                               Mexico City, Mexico

Strengths:                                                                                                               Strengths:

Southpaw Style                                                                                                         Counterpunching ability

Aggressiveness                                                                                                         Punching power

One punch punching power                                                                                 Experience

Weaknesses:                                                                                                           Weaknesses:

Suspect chin                                                                                                                Age       

Stamina                                                                                                                          Been in ring wars

  • Lopez is coming off a 2nd round Knockout over Bernabe Concepcion in July.  16 of his last 17 fights have ended early.

  • Marquez is coming off a 3rd round knockout over Israel Vazquez in May.  That was the fourth and most likely last fight between those two warriors.

This fight has been talked about since it was agreed upon.  Lopez, who moved up from Jr. Featherweight two fights ago, is a bona fide star on the rise in the sport.  The main knock on Lopez is his chin, which has been questioned in his recent fights, but despite the knockdowns, he has shown the ability to get up from the canvas and finish strong, like his idol and fellow Puerto Rican great, Felix “Tito” Trinidad.  Lopez’s biggest scare came against Rogers Mtagwa last October, when he was in grave danger late in the fight.  It’s safe to say that if the days of 15 round fights were still here, Lopez would not have an unblemished record.  Marquez is an all time great warrior that proved he still had some gas left in his tank after his destruction of rival Israel Vazquez.  Before the first of his epic four fight showdown with Vazquez, he had gone over seven years without a loss and was among the pound for pound elite.  At 35 years old, Vazquez isn’t as fast, furious, and good as he once was, but he still has the experience and has been in against the best. 

Despite both guys being in the top 10, I feel they are going in opposite directions.  Lopez up, Marquez down.  Lopez is the younger, stronger, and at this point hungrier fighter.  The ring wars that Marquez was in with Vazquez and his end result will suit him fine against opponents like Jose Mendoza, but when going up against a featherweight in the prime of his career, like Lopez, I don’t think it’s a good thing.  Fights like those shorten careers, and I’m not sure how much longer Marquez will be in the elite level that he has been for so long.  I think Marquez’s counterpunch ability will fluster Lopez a little in the beginning, but after the first three rounds, I think Lopez will begin to take over convincingly.  I see Lopez stopping Marquez in six rounds, setting up a huge showdown with Ring Magazine #3 featherweight and fellow unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa.