Featherweight prospect Ruben Villa had another strong showing tonight on ShoBox from Shreveport, Louisiana, winning by unanimous decision over Alexei Collado and taking another step toward a world title chance.
The 22-year-old Villa (18-0, 5 KO) won on scores of 98-92, 98-92, and 99-91. Bad Left Hook had it a shutout for the rising possible contender, 100-90.
Villa didn’t get an easy night with Collado (26-3, 23 KO), who was plenty game, threw a lot of punches, and when out of ideas after being outboxed, did his best to make it a rough fight and maybe frustrate his opponent into making some mistakes.
But Villa kept his cool, didn’t lose the plot, and was just the better fighter here, working the head and body effectively, moving around the ring without “running,” and consistently landing the cleaner, crisper shots.
Villa has talked about potentially fighting for a world title by the end of 2020, and you can see why. He’s now 4-0 on ShoBox, and it’s pretty clear he’s gotten as much out of this level as is there.
The division’s titleholders are Josh Warrington (IBF), Gary Russell Jr (WBC), Shakur Stevenson (WBO), and Xu Can (WBA). Villa and Stevenson were amateur rivals, with Villa beating Shakur twice in 2015, before Stevenson beat Villa in the Olympic trials ahead of Rio 2016. There is certainly a gap between ShoBox and the world title scene, but Villa is clearly an ambitious young fighter with serious goals, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take his shot if available soon enough.
Taras Shelestyuk UD-10 Luis Alberto Veron
I scored this 100-90 because I got bored and don’t care, but the judges had it 97-93, 98-92, and 98-92 for Shelestyuk, now 18-0 (10 KO), which maybe was fair. It doesn’t really matter. Veron falls to 18-2-2 (9 KO).
They kept talking about how maybe Shelestyuk, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist for Ukraine, could use just one more fight at this level before facing someone better at 147. I see no reason for this. He’s 34 years old. He’s firmly what he’s ever going to be. One more ho-hum win over a nobody is not going to have him any better prepared for Keith Thurman (a name he supposedly wants) than he is right now. There is no reason for Shelestyuk to keep fighting C-minus opponents on shows like this. Take the swing or don’t, but there is nothing more to gain at this level.
Zhora Hamazaryan D-8 Sulaiman Segawa
This was Zhora Hamazaryan’s third appearance on ShoBox, and once again his fight ends in controversy. The first two times came in a pair of 2018 fights with Thomas Mattice, a loss and a draw, both fights that Hamazaryan should’ve won. This one was a draw that easily could’ve gone the other way.
You could maybe argue the 76-76 card, but the one that went to Hamazaryan (9-1-2, 6 KO) on a 77-75 tally is pretty tough to figure. The 78-74 card for Segawa was fine. Bad Left Hook had it 77-75 for Segawa, and that was with a fourth round going to Armenia’s Hamazaryan that could’ve gone the other way. By our eyes, it should’ve been 77-75 or 78-74 for Uganda’s Segawa (13-2-1, 4 KO), who took this fight on four days’ notice.
SHO Stats saw Segawa land 130 of 429 (30%) total punches, and 88 of 281 (31%) power shots, compared to 100 of 460 (22%) total punches and 86 of 277 (31%) power shots for Hamazaryan. It certainly wasn’t a one-sided fight, but round-by-round Segawa just seemed the slightly better fighter. I don’t think anyone was robbed of a world title shot here or anything, but still.