London, Phoenix and Ontario, California, all shared the major action this weekend, as the week before Christmas offered up as many crackers as it did puddings.
Harrison shows his balls, as Charlo snips them late
Revenge was sweet in Ontario for Jermell Charlo, as the 29-year-old regained his WBC junior middleweight strap with an 11th round stoppage.
It wasn’t the fight many of us were expecting. Harrison won the title last December by being fluid on the back foot, using the ring to his advantage and attacking in and out of range against the ragged Charlo. This time, Harrison came to fight, standing his ground and looking to push the challenger onto the backfoot.
A second round knockdown didn’t deter the champion from his newly found gameplan. “Super Bad” was effective on the inside, beating Charlo to the punch on many occasions; his left hook to the body looked the most likely weapon to cause Charlo issues down the stretch.
The end came in the 11th as Charlo answered the question that Harrison had been posing. Did Charlo have the power to stop the champion? Hell yes.
”I started getting a little lax and got caught,” Harrison said in reflection. “He earned it. I hate it, but he earned it.”
When all is said and done, this turned into a nice 12-month rivalry that wasn’t really expected.
Dubois comes in like a wrecking ball, extends to 14-0
”I landed a sweet shot and that was goodnight,” Daniel Dubois told the BT Sport cameras following a second round decimation of Kyotaro Fujimoto inside London’s Copper Box Arena. Having added the WBC silver title to his list of heavyweight straps, “DDD” is continuing his impressive rise as one of the biggest and best heavyweight prospects.
Calling him a prospect is probably a little misleading, but until Dubois is thrown in a little deeper, there’s a real reluctance to call him a real heavyweight contender at this stage. At just 22 years old, the Greenwich-based fighter is making a real impact on the British heavyweight domestic scene, with an in-house fight with Olympian Joe Joyce a real possibility for 2020.
Whether Frank Warren will want to pair these two up is the real question. Dubois’ best win to date came against Nathan Gorman — another heavyweight fighting under Warren’s Queensbury Promotions — earlier this year, with Warren understandably reluctant to throw two of his best guys in there together once again.
Time is on the side of Dubois. Only Kevin Johnson has taken the youngster past the fifth round, with his technical improvements evident fight-after-fight.
Martinez dominates and Chavez Jr quits as chaos ensues in Phoenix
Daniel Jacobs got off the mark as a 168-pounder in controversial circumstances in Phoenix, as an overweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr quit following five rounds of competitive action inside the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
This decision by the Mexican didn’t play out well inside the arena. Pockets of the near-10,000 crowd decided to vent their frustrations with the 33-year-old former world champion as he attempted to leave the ring unscathed under a shower of bottles and debris.
”I apologize to the fans,” Chavez stated, trying to reclaim some dignity after a troubled weekend. “I’d love to have a rematch. I got headbutted. He fought a dirty fight and [the referee] didn’t even take a point away. He would have been able to continue doing the dirty work.”
On the undercard, Julio Cesar Martinez claimed the WBC flyweight title after a dominant display over a game Cristofer Rosales. After missing his chance to claim the title earlier this summer — Martinez’s win over Charlie Edwards was deemed a no-contest following an illegal shot with the Briton on the floor — victory on Friday tasted sweet for the 24-year-old who has shot to fame after an impressive 2019.
Switch-hitting, landing uppercut after uppercut and drowning Rosales in constant attacks, Martinez underlined his positioning as one of the most exciting fighters in the lower weight classes.
He’s got real power in the flyweight division but will be pressured to move into 115-pound waters in 2020 to secure some of the bigger money fights that are on offer to the little guys.
A messy Riakporhe edges out Massey for the British cruiserweight strap
”I had to dig,” a jubilant Richard Riakporhe told iFL TV cameras having just scooped the British cruiserweight title on Thursday evening. “I probably held a few too many times but listen, when it’s a fight, it’s a fight. I’ll learn, I’m a novice, I’ve only had a few fights.”
Riakporhe was honest in the assessment of his performance inside London’s historic York Hall. In a fight that struggled to get going, the 29-year-old moved to 11-0 at the expense of a frustrated Jack Massey, winning a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Massey looked to have landed the cleaner, more controlled work throughout the fight, but having been forced to take a knee in the 10th after a flash knockdown, the Derbyshire fighter feared the worst as the score totals were announced.
115-113, 115-113 and 117-111 were declared, with the third total by Robert Williams raising serious eyebrows on the sweat-drenched foreheads of the crowd packed into the sizzling East London venue.
Riakporhe looked the most dangerous when he decided to trade in spells, with rather clumsy attacks forcing Massey onto the back foot. These spells were far too infrequent, with calls for a points deduction for Riakporhe’s recurrent holding falling on deaf ears by referee Phil Edwards.
”I’m not gonna talk like I’m some Usyk, but listen, my willingness to learn is what differentiates me from the rest,” Riakporhe continued, with the Lonsdale belt tight around his waist. “I’m going to continue building. ‘British cruiserweight champion,’ my name is in history now.”
Fighter of the Decade
Who reigned supreme between 2010-2019?! It seems that everyone is throwing their two cents into this conversation. Is it dependant on belts? A range of weight classes? Big wins against the best opposition? Amount of Instagram followers accumulated? Does anyone actually care?
I think I care. I mean, I clearly don’t care enough to focus an entire 2000-word piece on the ins and outs of the debate, comparing the runners and riders in tedious detail, but I think my winner is deserving of the accolade. The accolade from myself, penning a small paragraph on the matter at the foot of a weekly round-up piece...
But hey, a win’s a win.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Throughout 25 fights starting with a victory over Ivan Meneses Flores in 2010, the Nicaraguan has taken 23 victories over four weight classes, scooping world titles at minimumweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight; the only man to claim world titles in the four recognised lowest weight classes.
Two losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai are the only fly in the ointment to a remarkable decade from the 32-year-old, who registered 19 stoppages in the 23 victories he has chalked up prior to Monday’s arrival at Arena, Yokohama for his first fight since September 2018.
Nicaragua, Mexico, Japan and the United States have all had the pleasure of hosting Chocolatito during this reign, as he became the first Nicaraguan four-weight world champion against Carlos Cuadras in 2016, taking the “0” of the Mexican.
A stunning victory over Akira Yaegashi, a thrilling war with Juan Francisco Estrada two years prior and the decimation of Edgar Sosa were three of the standout wins during a decade that saw him topple the retired Floyd Mayweather as the pound-for-pound star of the sport.
Having amassed a 46-0 record with a win over Carlos Cuadras, Roman would just fall short of eclipsing Mayweather’s unbeaten resume.
Mayweather, Pacquiao, Ward, Canelo — they’ll all be in the mix for most Fighter of the Decade honors, but this one goes out to the little guys.