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Hipster Fights: November 14 - 20

Keep an eye on these fights! Some interesting prospects are taking their first steps up in competition.

British Lionhearts v Mexico Guerreros - World Series of Boxing Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Last week was a mixed bag. The Monaco card had some thrillers, but it also had a robbery and a heavyweight fight that really stunk up the joint. The PBC broadcast had one undercard fight that was as good as we thought it would be but also a main event that was just as awful as we thought it would be.

So what’s the final tally?

  • Daniel Franco KO4 Derrick Murray. This was supposed to be a close match between unbeaten prospect. Instead, it was a wipeout with Franco actually putting Murray to sleep while he was on his feet. Much improved, I expect big things from Franco in the future.
  • Maiva Hamadouche UD Jennifer Salinas. Scores: 97-93, 97-93, 98-92. Hamadouche wins the IBF super featherweight title, and should now be regarded as the #1 in her division.
  • Derrick Webster C Salim Larbi. Larbi pulled out of the fight, so Webster fought Zoltan Sera instead. Webster won by TKO5. Hopefully, Webster gets a better opponent soon because he’s 34-years-old and time is running out.
  • Ryuya Yamanaka UD Merlito Sabillo. Scores: 119-109, 118-110, 117-111. With this win, Yamanaka now seizes the OPBF belt, and launches himself in the top 10 in the minimumweight division.
  • Robert Stieglitz UD Mehdi Amar. Scores: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112. Stieglitz is now the EBU light heavyweight titlist. He was already well-ranked by three sanctioning bodies, and I imagine this bolsters his case for those rankings. I imagine a world title shot is coming soon. That said, I don’t think he should crack the top 10 of the division yet.
  • Jose Argumedo TKO3 Jose Jimenez. This was a wild firefight that was every bit as good as I thought it would be, though it really wasn’t that competitive either. Argumedo retains his IBF minimumweight world title.
  • Hugo Berrio TKO11 Rafael Pujol. Though Pujol was an undefeated prospect, I said he might be biting off more than he can chew with Berrio. How right I was.
  • Mohamed Kani PTS Ricardo Silva. In this battle of unbeaten prospects, this wasn’t a result I foresaw, but I still maintain Kani’s potential is limited. He might be unbeaten in 10 fights, but he hasn’t won once by KO — and I just don’t see how this can work in the welterweight division for the long term.
  • Luis Ortiz UD Malik Scott. Scores: 120-105, 120-106, 119-106. A total stinker. I never want to see Malik Scott in the ring ever again.
  • Jason Sosa UD Stephen Smith. Scores: 117-110, 116-112, 116-111. Now this was a war! Both guys were firing back and forth, but it was Sosa’s power that made all the difference. Hopefully, we get to see Fortuna-Sosa II soon.
  • Jamie McDonnell UD Liborio Solis. Scores: 116-112, 115-113, 117-111. This was a straight up robbery, and Solis deserved to go home with the IBF bantamweight world title. I have no idea where McDonnell goes next.
  • Martin Murray C Dmitrii Chudinov. Chudinov had a virus, so was ineligible to fight. So on three days notice, Nuhu Lawal stepped in as Chudinov’s late replacement. Murray won by decision on scores of 117-110, 117-110, and 116-111. Certainly, Murray deserved the win, but he wasn’t proud of his performance — if Lawal actually had a full training camp, I assure you the results would have been different.
  • Javier Fortuna UD Omar Douglas. Scores: 96-93, 95-94, 96-93. This fought went pretty much as I suspected. Fortuna dropped Douglas in the first round. However, Douglas got way too predictable with his left hooks, and Fortuna began piling on points. The last few rounds were great, with the last round in particular being a pleasure to watch.
  • Danny Garcia TKO7 Samuel Vargas. This was every bit what we predicted. This fight was more notable for the trash talk between Garcia and Keith Thurman at the end of the broadcast.

How is this week looking?

November 14 2016

Moscow Russia

★ Maxim Vlasov vs. Carlos Nascimento

Maxim Vlasov (35(18)-2) started his career as a middleweight, and now he’s a cruiserweight. He was once a hot super middleweight prospect, but a couple losses to Isaac Chilemba and Gilberto Ramirez have kept him from making it into the divisional top 10. After the loss to Ramirez, he moved up to whole divisions to cruiserweight. In his last fight, he had a firefight with Ismayl Sillakh, was dropped in R1, but earned the stoppage win by TKO3.

Carlos Nascimento (15(11)-3) is 4-2 in his last six fights with both those losses coming against Imre Szello and Mateusz Masternak. Frankly, he never had much of a chance in either of those fights. Beyond that, all his opponents have been Brazilian journeymen, and he’s yet to win against a notable opponent.

That said, seeing how Vlasov is still quite new in the cruiserweight division, I’m curious to see how he performs here.

November 16 2016

Petionville, Haiti

★ ★ ★ ★ Evens Pierre vs. Juan Carlos Salgado

Evens Pierre (26(17)-1) is a Haitian lightweight who, though 32-years-old, has lots of potential on the world stage. His lone loss was back in 2010, after which he has won his past 14 fights. It took awhile for him to step up his competition, but he’s now stepping up to face a notable name.

Juan Carlos Salgado (26(16)-6-1) is a 2x super featherweight world titlist. He won the WBA title by KOing Jorge Linares and then immediately lost it to Takashi Uchiyama. Two years later, he won the IBF world titlist against Argenis Mendez, successfully defended it twize, then lost it in the rematch to Mendez. He’s lost his last 5 fights, although the fight with Jairo Lopez was an SD.

It’s easy to think that Pierre will win this easy but he’s untested. And say what you will about Salgado, he’s been in the ring with some of the best.

November 18 2016

London, England

★ ★ ★ ★ Conrad Cummings vs. Ronny Mittag

Last year, Northern Irish middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings (10(4)-0-1) faced his first significant opponent in Alfredo Meli (11(3)-0-1), but after a foul-filled match in which both fighters were deducted a point in R9, the fight ended up a draw. After a few fights against journeymen, Cummings is trying to step up once again.

Ronny Mittag (28(14)-2-1) usually fights out of Germany. His best wins have come against Armand Cullhaj and previously unbeaten Raman Dzekhkanau. As for his two losses, one of them came early in his career, and the last one was an SD loss to Nuhu Lawal — and Lawal gave Murray one hell of a fight last weekend. Since his last loss, he won 4 of his last 5 fights by stoppage -- although those wins have been against journeymen.

The British middleweight scene is quite hot. If Cummings can win this, there’s lots of great options for future matches.

★ ★ ★ Andrew Selby vs. Jake Bornea

Andrew Selby (6(4)-0) is the younger brother of current featherweight world titlist Lee Selby, but I believe he’s the more talented brother. He won silver at the 2011 World Amateur Championships, and bronze at the 2013 World Amateur Championships. He also competed in the 2012-13 World Series of Boxing, and was undefeated after six fights.

As a professional, he’s already got wins against previously unbeaten Jozsef Ajtai, and won the BBBofC title against Louis Norman. He’s now stepping up against his best opponent to date.

Jake Bornea (11(5)-1) has a win against formerly unbeaten Michael Enriquez. In his last fight, fellow Filipino domestic Renerio Arizala. Bornea’s lone loss is against Raymond Tabugon.

I suspect Bornea’s matchmakers expect Bornea to lose because he’s facing Go Onaga in January. That said, the Filipino domestic scene for flyweights is a lot more hot than the British scene, and Selby is wise to face someone from that part of the world.

Ekaterinburg, Russia

★ ★ Pavel Malikov vs. Carlo Magali

Pavel Malikov (8(2)-0) began his career in 2010, fought four times during that year, then went on a five year year hiatus. Returning in 2015, Malikov is now 30-years-old. Last February, he took fellow unbeaten prospect Nikolay Buzolin, and won by SD.

Now he’s stepping up against Filipino journeyman Carlo Margali (29(10)-8-3). His last fight was a stoppage loss to Emmanuel Tagoe, but previous to that he scored good wins against Mark Gil Melligen and David Browne Jr.

Indio, USA

★ ★ ★ Keandre Gibson vs. Mahonry Montes

As a super lightweight prospect, 26-year-old Keandre Gibson (15(7)-0-1) is coming along nicely. He’s won against two fellow unbeaten prospects. His lone draw was in his second fight. One thing I appreciate about Gibson is his quick hands and piston-like jab. He boxes well on the outside, but I feel he might be vulnerable on the ropes.

Mahonry Montes (32(22)-5-1) might be a journeyman, but he’s got a great win over the unbeaten Diego Cruz. He also gave a good accounting of himself against Ashley Theophane — although he lost by SD, he knocked down Theophane in R10.

Gibson has great athletic attributes, but Montes is no gimme. If anything, he’s going to have to prove his toughness if he hopes to come out on top.

Kissimmee, USA

★ ★ Christopher Diaz vs. Fernando Vargas

22-year-old Christopher Diaz (18(11)-0) is a super featherweight prospect from Puerto Rico. He made his debut in 2013, but has stepped up this year with a win over fellow unbeaten prospect Ray Ximenez.

Fernando Vargas (30(20)-10-3) is a career journeyman, but he’s been in the ring with some fantastic opponents. Last April, he lost pretty definitively to Jamie McDonnell, but previous to that, he conclusively beat a declining Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.

Diaz should easily beat Vargas. However, Vargas’ win over Vazquez is still better than any of Diaz’ victories. Fighter don’t fight resumes, they fight flesh and blood.

November 19 2016

Manchester, England

★ ★ ★ ★ Matty Askin vs. Tommy McCarthy

I respect a fighter like Matty Askin (20(13)-3-1) because, even at an early stage in his career, he was willing to fight stiff opposition. He lost against Krysztof Glowacki and Ovill McKenzie, but gave a good account of himself both times. Recently, he decimated unbeaten prospect Simon Barclay in two rounds, proving he’s one of the best domestics at cruiserweight.

Tommy McCarthy (9(5)-0) should be considered the favourite here. He recently defeated JonLewis Dickinson, knocking him down in R6. Dickinson was the first man to ever defeat Askin, though he did so four years ago.

Still, Dickinson really is the best opponent on McCarthy’s resume. Though Askin has his losses, there’s no doubt he learned from them.

Mashantucket, USA

★ ★ ★ Ryosuke Iwasa vs. Luis Rosa

This is the first time Ryosuke Iwasa (22(14)-2) has fought out of Japan. Previously, he was an OPBF titlist at bantamweight, but was stopped by Lee Haskins in an IBF world title attempt. At 122lbs, Iwasa hasn’t really proven much, though he’s won his last two fights by KO.

Luis Rosa (22(10)-0) is a rising Puerto Rican prospect who’s best win of note was against formerly hyped Luis Orlando Del Valle. Since then, he also achieved a victory over Jonathan Perez.

One should assume here that Rosa is a lock to win. At super bantamweight, the domestic scene in Japan is far superior to America.

November 19 2016

East London, South Africa

★ ★ ★ ★ Simphiwe Khonco vs. Nkosinathi Joyi

Although Simphiwe Khonco (16(5)-5) lost to Hekkie Budler last year, it was a pretty competitive -- and at the time, Budler was the kingpin of the minimumweight division. Last June, he won the IBO world title with a win against the unbeaten Siyabonga Siyo, which launched him in the top 10 of the division.

Nkosinathi Joyi (27(18)-4) was once the kingpin at minimumweight, but then lost against Mario Rodriguez -- triggering his downward slide. He’s now 3-3 in his last 6 fights. He attempted to move up to 108lbs, lost twice in a row. In his last two fights, he fought against journeymen.

This is a battle for relevance. Khonco has yet to win against a notable opponent, and Joyi wants to prove he can still succeed at the upper echelon of the sport.

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