A lot went down this weekend in boxing, and you probably missed at least some of it. So here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of the fights we saw the past few days.
If your time is super limited when it comes to watching boxing, here are a few recommendations.
- Jarrett Hurd vs Julian Williams (Early contender for Upset of the Year and Fight of the Year)
- Miguel Berchelt vs Francisco Vargas II (The old warrior went hard but was overwhelmed again)
- Jordan Gill vs Enrique Tinoco (A stunner from Nottingham)
FOX, Fairfax, VA (Saturday)
- In the big upset story of the weekend, Julian “J Rock” Williams went down to Virginia and took the WBA and IBF junior middleweight titles from Jarrett Hurd via clear 12-round decision, so obvious that any damnfool could have scored the fight for Williams. In the process, he made us all look dumb as hell, and I’ll take that. Give me wrong and thrilled with a great fight over right and bored any old day. Williams (27-1-1, 16 KO) fought the fight of his life, dropping Hurd (23-1, 16 KO) and handing him his first pro loss.
- 140-pound prospect Mario Barrios flattened Juan Jose Velasco in two, then called for a world title chance. Hey if he thinks he’s ready, let him at it. Big step up for him, though, from the guys he’s been fighting to someone like the winner of the WBSS (Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, or Ivan Baranchyk) or Jose Ramirez or Maurice Hooker. And PBC really have no one in this division, either, so he’d probably have to be loaned out to another network for the type of big fight he wants. But it could happen.
- Russian middleweight veteran Matt Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KO) got his second tough break in a row on a PBC card. In December, he lost a tight decision to Jermall Charlo, a fight that I had even while the judges had it 116-112, 116-112, and a hilarious 119-108. This time, he wound up with a draw against Immanuwel Aleem — 95-95, 95-95, and 97-93 in a fight I had 98-92 for Korobov. Korobov did gas late, Aleem (18-1-2, 11 KO) did make a good late push, but it really was not enough. The closest I could have seen this was 96-94 for Korobov. And to add insult to injury here, Korobov was originally announced as the winner before a tallying mistake led to that being overturned.
- Also on this card, Philly super bantamweight Stephen Fulton went to 16-0 (7 KO) with a shutout decision win over veteran Paulus Ambunda (27-3, 11 KO). Scores were 120-107 across the board. Ambunda is 38 and past his best days, but it’s still a good win for Fulton.
ESPN / ESPN+, Tucson, AZ (Saturday)
- Miguel Berchelt had his way with Francisco Vargas, retaining the WBC super featherweight title in their main event rematch. As game as Vargas (25-2-2, 18 KO) was, as he always is, he was totally overmatched by Berchelt (36-1, 32 KO) in this one. It was never truly competitive, but both guys fought their asses off, too.
- Emanuel Navarrete upset Isaac Dogboe back in December, and Dogboe wanted the immediate rematch. He got it, and this time he got beaten up even worse, stopped in the 12th round when his corner finally called it off. Navarrete (27-1, 23 KO) retains the WBO super bantamweight title, while Dogboe (20-2, 14 KO) remains a contender, but really back at the drawing board now.
- 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov lost for the first time as a pro, dropping a decision to 6’3” junior welterweight Mykal Fox. Fox (20-1, 5 KO) came real close to beating Shohjahon Ergashev earlier this year — I scored that fight for Fox, in fact — and this time he got the duke against a celebrated prospect. In the end, it was a pair of point deductions that lost the fight for the Uzbek amateur star, as he would have gotten out with a majority draw otherwise. Then again, if he’d even had just the one point taken, he still would have lost, so it is what it is and all that. Fox is a possible nightmare style matchup for almost anyone at 140 with his dimensions. Let’s hope he doesn’t get avoided.
- Other prelim results: Carlos Castro UD-10 Mario Diaz ... Miguel Marriaga RTD-3 Ruben Cervera ... Manny Guajardo MD-4 Jonathan Espino ... Miguel Parra RTD-1 David Morales.
DAZN, Nottingham, England (Friday)
- Full recap and longer thoughts on the fights here.
- Featherweight prospect Jordan Gill was supposed to cruise, but instead got battered to the body by Enrique Tinoco, who pulled the upset when Gill’s trainer Dave Coldwell stopped the fight after the eighth round. Gill (23-1, 7 KO) said after the fight that he’d “been on the toilet all afternoon,” citing food poisoning, and admitted he should have pulled out of the fight. Having watched the fight, I’m genuinely inclined to believe him. He just wasn’t right in there, and every time Tinoco (18-5-4, 13 KO) landed decently to the body, Gill had to go down. Gill says he’ll come back stronger, and he wants a rematch.
- Commonwealth featherweight titleholder and Gill’s best friend and roommate Leigh Wood was terrific in his hometown fight, knocking out Ryan Doyle (17-4-1, 9 KO) in the 10th round to retain his belt. Wood (22-1, 12 KO) isn’t headed for world glory or anything, but he’s a good domestic fighter who has improved over time.
- Rising lightweight contender Terri Harper put a beating on former super featherweight titleholder Claudia Lopez, stopping her in the sixth round.
- Junior welterweight Dalton Smith and lightweight Charles Frankham both made successful pro debuts. American featherweight prospect Raymond Ford went to 2-0. Heavyweight Fabio Wardley went to 7-0 (5 KO) with a third round stoppage of big ol’ Dennis Lewandowski.
SHO, Corona, CA (Friday)
- Featherweight prospect Ruben Villa, lightweight prospect Michael Dutchover, and bantamweight prospect Saul Sanchez all picked up wins on Friday night on Showtime.
- Villa (16-0, 5 KO) outpointed Luis Alberto Lopez (17-2, 8 KO) over 10 rounds, scores were 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. I had it 99-91 and admittedly just hated watching Lopez’s style, sort of a Ricardo Mayorga thing but without the pizzazz of Mayorga. Villa is a good 126-pound prospect who will surely be back on ShoBox. I don’t think he’s quite graduated yet, but he’s 2-0 on the series this year.
- Dutchover (13-0, 10 KO) blasted out late replacement opponent Rosekie Cristobal (15-4, 11 KO) in 1:46, crushing him with a body shot. If Jordan Gill had gotten hit with a body shot like that one on Friday, he would have made a mess, let’s put it that way.
- Sanchez (12-0, 7 KO), a soft-spoken 21-year-old nicknamed “Beast,” had the most entertaining fight of the night, stopping Brandon Benitez (14-2, 6 KO) in the eighth round. I thought the hook was a little early here, and had Sanchez up 68-65 when the fight was stopped.
UFC Fight Pass, Springfield, MA (Friday)
- Murphys Boxing made their debut on UFC Fight Pass, with Abraham Nova (15-0, 11 KO), currently ranked No. 10 at 130 pounds by the WBA, stopping Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano (18-3-1, 9 KO) in the second round of the main event.
- Undercard results: William Foster III TKO-4 Ramon Esperanza ... Luis Arcon TKO-4 Jose Aubel ... DJ Whitley UD-4 Bryan Goldsby ... Carlos Gongora UD-10 Damien Ezequiel Bonelli ... Anthony Velazquez TKO-1 Bruno Diaz ... Ray Jay Bermudez TKO-1 Patrick Leal ... James Perella TKO-2 Paulo DeSouza. Arcon and Gongora are both former Olympians.
BT Sport, London, England (Friday)
- Carl Greaves promoted the Ultimate Boxxer III middleweight tournament, and those who tuned in gave it rave reviews, not because it was a bunch of world class fighters, but because it was eight hungry fighters who fought their asses off in entertaining fashion. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and watch it, and since it’s available for you to watch and you may not have heard anything, I won’t “spoil” the results for you here. You can watch the whole show right there thanks to BT Sport, it’s not geoblocked or anything.
Odds & Ends
- Tokyo, Japan: This past Wednesday, former super bantamweight titleholder Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8 KO) won a 10-round decision over Sukpraserd Ponpitak, aka Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. Asian Boxing called it a struggle, saying Oguni “looked unsure of himself” and went down in the fourth round.
- Hollywood, FL: Cuban welterweight Livan Navarro (11-0, 7 KO) beat Breidis Prescott (31-17, 22 KO) via eight-round decision. Let’s put it this way: even the press release recap refers to 36-year-old Prescott, who has lost five in a row, as “badly faded.” 140-pound prospect Logan Yoon (16-0, 12 KO) beat journeyman Robert Frankel by decision, too, and Cuban featherweight Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 14 KO) stopped Jesus Martinez after five rounds. Socarras is rated No. 7 by the WBA.
- Magdeburg, Germany: Stefan Haertel (18-1, 2 KO) won a 12-round decision over Robin Krasniqi (49-6, 17 KO) to win the European super middleweight title. Haertel was an Olympian for Germany in 2012, winning two fights before losing to Anthony Ogogo, which was arguably home cooking in London.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: Another former Olympian, Yamil Peralta, went to 3-0 (1 KO) and won a minor WBC cruiserweight title with a UD-10 victory over Marcos Antonio Aumada. Peralta is 27 and represented Argentina at the 2012 Olympics as a heavyweight, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Tervel Pulev. Peralta turned pro last August.
- Bolton, England: A couple of blokes called Jack won English titles. Jack Cullen (16-1, 7 KO) — whose nickname is “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver” — beat Jack Sellars for the middleweight belt, and Jack Flatley (15-0-1, 4 KO) beat Craig Morris for the welterweight title. Both belts were vacant coming in. These are also not to be confused with the British titles, which are the higher level. In fact, this probably isn’t all that notable, but I was tickled that they’re both named Jack and one of them is “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver.”