Lescurat wins soft title defense

Lescurat wins soft title defense
Clara Lescurat W10 Regina Chavez... At the Casino de Buenos Aires over the weekend, Clara Lescurat kept her WBA super flyweight title by defeating Mexican teenager Regina Chavez by unanimous decision over ten rounds. The bout did not have a feeling-out round. Both women walked to the center of the ring and immediately started the action. Lescurat used her speed advantage to attack, trying to keep her opponent out of distance. However, Chavez made a good impression after absorbing well the blows received and keeping up with the pace of the fight. Chavez lost but kept coming forward and managed to land some good punches that allowed her to make it through the last round. She had never been more than eight rounds in the past. The judges’ scorecards read 99-91 and 97-93 (twice) for Lescurat, who is now 10-0. Chavez is now 7-4-3.
 

Watch: Caparello comeback continues with KO win

Watch: Caparello comeback continues with KO win
Blake Caparello KO5 Simone Federici ... Australian cruiserweight Blake Caparello got a solid win at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York on Friday, defeating Italy's Simone Federici by knockout. Caparello, a former IBO 175-pound title holder, used a powerful left jab and caught Federici on the chin, putting an end to the main event of the evening at 2:10 of the fifth round. The event was organized by Star Boxing.  The 37 year-old Caparello was fighting for only the second time in three years but seemed in good shape. His last win came in June 2023. The win extended Caparello's record to 32 wins, 15 of them by KO, four losses and one draw. Simone Federici, meanwhile, suffered his first loss in his last seven fights. His record now stands at 20 wins, three losses and one draw.

MMA KO has boxing implications

MMA KO has boxing implications
The tallest member of the PFL mixed martial arts roster, 6'8" Renan Ferreira, lived up to his nickname, “The Problema” on Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Ferreira, the PFL heavyweight champion, defeated his Bellator counterpart, Ryan Bader, in just 21 seconds to win the PFL super championship. Bader came out on the front foot but the Brazilian Ferreira dropped him with a right hand. Ferreira then swarmed Bader with a ground-and-pound attack and the fight was over just like that. PFL announced that the winner of Ferriera-Bader would fight Frances Ngannou next, which would take Ngannou out of boxing's heavyweight mix, where he became a key player overnight back in December. Ngannou dropped WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in Ngannou's pro boxing debut and lost a very close decision, which made him a big boxing star. Ngannou will fight former champion Anthony Joshua on March 8th, but boxing fans will not be happy if Ngannou returns to MMA after that. It would be hard to imagine Ngannou slowing his boxing momentum were he to upset Joshua next month, but that it what PFL is saying.
 
Prior to Ferreira's win, PFL announced, "Ngannou will turn his attention back to MMA, where he will make his PFL debut against the winner between 2023 PFL heavyweight champion Renan 'Problema' Ferreira and Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan 'Darth' Bader. Ferreira and Bader will main event the PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions pay-per-view, taking place this Saturday, February 24th, at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Berlanga gets highlight-reel KO of McCrory

Berlanga gets highlight-reel KO of McCrory

Berlanga gets highlight-reel KO of McCrory

Edgar Berlanga KO6 Padraig McCrory... In Orlando, Florida, Edgar Berlanga stated his case for a shot at Saul "Canelo" Alvarez by knocking out Padraig McCrory in a battle of undefeated super middleweights. Berlanga landed two big right hands that put McCrory down hard. He would not have beaten the count, but the towel came flying in. Berlanga is now 21-0 and got a KO for the first time in six fights. McCrory goes back to Northern Ireland with a record of 18-1. 

As reported by DAZN: "We want Canelo next," Berlanga told DAZN's Chris Mannix after his sensational victory. 

When asked if he is ready for that caliber of fight, the 26-year-old responded with "1,000 percent" and "look at Eddie Hearns right there, he's going to make it happen." [Yes, Berlanga said the prmotoer's name incorrectly].
 
Hearn, Berlanga's promoter at Matchroom Boxing, then offered that Berlanga's dynamic TKO of McCrory was just the statement needed to force a fight with Canelo. "It's only a matter of time," Hearn said about when Berlanga and Alvarez will clash in the ring.  "Puerto Rico against Mexico — that will be a huge event — Edgar Berlanga against Canelo Alvarez. And listen, maybe there is one more (fight until a Canelo bout), but I'll tell you now ... if the call came, he wouldn't back down."
 

Andy Cruz impresses Shakur Stevenson with his performance

Andy Cruz impresses Shakur Stevenson with his performance

Andy Cruz W10 Brayan Zamarripa... Cuban lightweight Andy Cruz put on a display of boxing skills over ten rounds in Orlando on Saturday. Facing Brayan Zamarripa, the 2021 Olympic champion won every round as judges all three judges turned in scorecards of 100-90 across the board to give Cruz a unanimous decision victory. The final Punchstats were extremely lopsided, with 142 punches landed for Cruz to just 26 for Zamarripa's 26. WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson was impressed with Cruz, tweeting, "Andy Cruz is really good. His defense is elite!" Cruz's record is now listed as 3-0 but Boxingtalk considers him to be 19-0 due to professional bouts in the World Series of Boxing. The Mexican Zamarripa is now 14-2.

Jamaine Ortiz keeping things positive

Jamaine Ortiz keeping things positive
Junior welterweight contender Jamaine Ortiz (17-2-1) remains positive after a series of very close losses: "They said I threw too many punches against [Joseph] Adorno [in a 2021 draw]. I adjusted. They said I got tired in the end of the [Vasyl] Lomachenko fight [a close 2022 loss]. I adjusted to show my stamina is exceptional. Then I didn’t engage enough in the Teofimo Lopez fight [ a razor thin loss earlier this month for a world title]. Wait till the next one."
 

Giyasov wins welterweight eliminator

Giyasov wins welterweight eliminator

Giyasov wins welterweight eliminator
Shakhram Giyasov W11 Pablo Cesar Cano... Toward the end of the eleventh round of their WBA welterweight eliminator in Orlando, Uzbekistan's Shakhram Giyasov and Pablo Cesar Cano got tangled up and Cano injured his ankle. He couldn't make it off the stool for the twelfth and final round, so the fight went to the scorecards through eleven rounds. Giyasov had scored a knockdown earlier in the fight with a body punch. The judges scored it unanimously, 109-99, for Giyasov who controlled the pace of this fight and improved to 16-3 including the World Series of Boxing. Cano falls to 35-9-1.
 
 
 

Introducing 18 year-old junior welterweight Dan Kerrigan

Introducing 18 year-old junior welterweight Dan Kerrigan
Three-time British national amateur champion and 2022 Haringey Box Cup gold medallist Dan Kerrigan is set to turn professional and has signed promotional terms with Queensberry. The 18-year old from Preston was also named as Best Boxer at the famous Haringey tournament and he intends to campaign at 140 pounds as a professional. The cousin of Queensberry young star Dennis McCann is trained by Shiney Singh in Walsall, where he stays from Monday to Friday before heading back north at weekends.
 
“I am delighted and there is no better team to go with,” he reacted to signing up with Frank Warren's Queensberry. “It is the place to be and I have seen young fighters really develop into champions. My cousin is Dennis McCann and I am friends with Royston (Barney-Smith), so I have watched them all coming through and it is good to see. I don’t really know how to describe my style because. One minute I’ll be on the back foot and the next I will be in your face. It is kind of an awkward style, but an exciting one.”
 
Kerrigan has a special motivation for wanting to succeed in the sport. He wishes to honour the memory of his best friend, young boxer Frank Varey, who lost his life swimming in the River Dee during the heatwave in the summer of 2021. “The reason I got into boxing is me and my mate did it when we were younger and he passed away when he was 16. Ever since I have just kept it up, trying to do it for him sort of thing. He was my best mate, we trained together in Blackpool at Sharpstyle and then we moved to Shiney together. I have got to try and do a few things for him now. I will take my time with it but I want to win a title before I am 20.”
 
Warren added: “Dan is another exceptional young talent that we are delighted to add to our team now that he has turned 18. We have known all about him for some time now and we are all confident that he can become a major success.”
 

Pro boxing coming to Libya

Pro boxing coming to Libya

On March 1st, a boxing event will take place in Libya. Super featherweight Khalil El Hadri, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin, will face Tanzania's Oscar Duge in a ten-round bout. El Hadri is 17-2, while Duge is 13-6-2. Both men got wins in December.  On the same show, France's Bilel Jkitou (18-2) takes on another Tanzanian, Saimon Mpenda (9-2), over ten middleweight rounds. The event will feature the presence of boxing legend Mike Tyson, who announced that he will travel to Libya to support the event.

Shields wins MMA bout in Saudi

Shields wins MMA bout in Saudi

Shields wins MMA bout in Saudi
World middleweight champion Claressa Shields is now 2-1 in the sport of mixed martial arts. Fighting on the big PFL vs. Bellator undercard in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Shields won a three-round split decision over Kelsey De Santis (1-3). It was the first women's MMA fight ever held in Saudi Arabia. In round one, Shields landed a big punch early but spent most of the time on the floor underneath De Santis. Roud two saw Shields avoid getting taken down and easily winning the round with her stand-up game. While the first two rounds were easy to score, round three was tough. Shields landed big punches for the first half of the round, but spent the second half on her back. De Santis, however, was not as active as she could have been while on top of Shields. The fight could have gone either way, but went to Shields, who is now 2-1 in MMA, by split decision. The three-division boxing champion was emotional after the bout, briefly shedding tears.
 

Day of dominance for Japanese boxing sees Tanaka become four-division champ

Day of dominance for Japanese boxing sees Tanaka become four-division champ

Kosei Tanaka W12 Christian Bacasegua Rangel ... Today was a dominant day for Japanese boxers, as the local heroes won three world title bouts on the same show to increase the Land of the Rising Sun's domination over the sport's lower weight classes. World 122-pound champion Naoya Inoue is perhaps the most dominant boxer in the world but hiis younger brother Takuma began to emerge from Naoya's shadow by stoping Jerwin Ancajas to retain the WBA 118-pound title in Tokyo. Junto Nakatani moved up from 115 to 118 and became a three-division champion by knocking out Alexandro Santiago. The Japanese dominance also saw Kosei Tanaka become a four-division champion by defeating Mexico's Christian Bacasegua Rangel for the vacant WBO 115-pound title. (The title became vacant when Nakatani moved up three pounds). Tanaka won a wide unanimous decision by scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 119-108. Tanaka accepted world championship number four with quiet pride. Tanaka's career mar is now 20-1 with the only loss coming against another reigning Japanese champion, Kazuto Ioka, holder of WBA 115-pound laurels. Now 22-5-2, Rangel wasn't the most qualified of challengers, but he hadn't lost since 2019 and three of his pre-existing defeats were very close decisions.

 

Watch: Nakatani becomes a three-division champion

Watch: Nakatani becomes a three-division champion
Junto Nakatani TKO6 Alexandro Santiago...  Japan's Junto Nakatani is now a three-division champion and makes a very strong case for top ten pound-for-pound status. In Kokugikan, Japan, Nakatani stopped Alexandro Santiago and took the Mexican's WBC bantamweight championship. Nakatani got the stoppage when he floored Santiago twice in round six. Santiago beat the count both times, but was glassy eyed and cut. Now 27-0, Nakatani held the WBO 115-pound title last year and the WBO 112-pound title from 2020-2022. Santiago is now 28-4-5. In his prior fight, he defeated future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire for the vacant WBC title.
 

Boxingtalk's fight predictions

Boxingtalk's fight predictions

Boxingtalk's fight predictions
Here are Boxingtalk's predictions for tonight's DAZN show:
 
Edgar Berlanga (21-0) vs. Padraig McCrory (18-0) (super middleweights) … prediction: Berlanga by decision;
 
Shakhram Giyasov (14-0) vs. Pablo Cesar Cano (35-8-1) (welterweights) … prediction: Giyasov by early- to mid-round knockout;
 
Antonio Vargas (17-1) vs. Jonathan Rodriguez (17-1-1) (WBA bantamweight eliminator) … prediction: Rodriguez by decision; and
 
Andy Cruz (2-0) vs. Brayan Zamarripa (14-2) (lightweights) … prediction: Cruz by unanimous decision.
 

Watch: Takuma Inoue retains title with KO

Watch: Takuma Inoue retains title with KO
Takuma Inoue KO9 Jerwin Ancajas ...In the Kokugikan section of Tokyo, Takuma Inoue retained his WBA bantamweight world title by knocking out former super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philppines. The end came in round nine with a debilitating body attack that incapacitated Ancajas. Inoue, the younger brother of pound-for-pound superstar and world 122-pound champion Naoya Inoue, now has a record of 19 wins, 1 loss and 4 knockouts. Ancajas falls to 34 wins, 4 losses, 2 draws and 23 knockouts.
 
 
 

Goulamirian to defend title vs. Ramirez in California

Goulamirian to defend title vs. Ramirez in California

Golden Boy Promotions officially announced that WBA 200-pound champion Arsen Goulamirian will defend vs. former 168-pound champion face Gilberto Ramirez on March 30th at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.  Both teams had reported that they reached an agreement days ago, but it was not until this week that the place and date of the fight were determined.  Goulamirian is an Armenian-born fighter with French nationality. He's 36 years of age with long periods of inactivity. He will face the Mexican Ramirez, who defeated Joe Smith Jr. via knockout on October 7th in his cruiserweight debut. Ramirez lost a world light heavyweight title opportunity against Dmitry Bivol in 2022. Goulamirian is undefeated in 27 fights, 19 won by knockout. Ramirez has 45 wins, 1 loss and 30 knockouts.

Pulev gets hometown fight vs. Charr for regular title

Pulev gets hometown fight vs. Charr for regular title

Pulev gets hometown fight vs. Charr for regular title

Mahmoud Charr and Kubrat Pulev (pictured) held a press conference to formally announce their heavyweight fight, scheduled for March  30th at the Arwna Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria, Pulev's home country. At stake will be Charr's paper title, the WBA regular championship (the WBA recognizes Oleksandr Usyk as super champion. Usyk also holds the IBF and WBO titles). Charr, a Syrian-born German who reportedly has two artificial hips, will be defending his belt after an unbelievably long period of inactivity involving a long lawsuit against the WBA. Charr has fought only three times since 2017 and not at all since 2022. Charr is 39 years old and the WBA claims he has been working in recent months to get himself in shape for the opportunity. Pulev, meanwhile, is 42 years old fighter who has the best chance of his career to capture some kind of title after two failed bids at legitimate championships. Pulev has faced great fighters like Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua and Derek Chisora.  Pulev had a solid win over Andrzej Warzyk in December.

Luis A. Lopez training camp report

Luis A. Lopez training camp report
Mexico's Luis Alberto "Venado" Lopez is determined to turn his third world title defense into a war of attrition. Lopez will defend his IBF featherweight title against Japan's Reiya Abe on Saturday, March 2nd at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.  Lopez-Abe will serve as the co-feature to the vacant WBA featherweight championship showdown between Uzbekistan's Otabek Kholmatov and American standout Raymond Ford. Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale and can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, charge by phone by calling 800.771.7711, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe will headline a show that will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
 
Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) captured the IBF title by defeating Josh Warrington in his hometown of Leeds, England, in December 2022. The fighting pride of Mexicali, Mexico, defended his crown by traveling to Belfast to beat hometown hero Michael Conlan via fifth-round TKO. Lopez then beat division mainstay Joet Gonzalez with a hard-earned unanimous decision last September. The 30-year-old looks to vanquish his mandatory challenger as he preps to face the other champs in his division. Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs) is coming off a points win over former two-division champion Kiko Martinez to earn his shot at the belt.
 
Following a recent training session in Santa Fe Springs, California, this is what Lopez had to say: “I decided to do my camp here in Los Angeles so I can be a little closer to my family. I also like it because of the altitude I get to experience when I go to the mountains. There are a lot of good spots to run out here. I feel great out here. “We’ve gotten tall southpaws who move a lot because we’ll need to neutralize Reiya Abe's legs. We’re going to need to cut the ring off a lot, so we’re preparing for his style of fighting."
 
Lopez continued, “He's a very slippery fighter. He doesn't really like to brawl. So, it’s going to be difficult to catch him in the early rounds. But we’ve got great sparring partners. You can tell by the black eye one of them left me. I think we’re doing a great job, and I expect to win this fight by knockout. My long-term goal is to fight the other champions and become a unified champion. I welcome a fight with whomever is next in line. Honestly, I want to unify the titles quickly and establish myself as a great champion and then move up to 130 pounds. The fans know that I give everything in the ring. I always look for the fight. I always look to win by knockout. They know that I come here to fight. So, it’s going to be a real war. It's going to be a bit complicated in the early rounds, but everyone knows that when I step in the ring, it’s always going to be a war.”
 
 

Weigh-in report from Massachusetts

Weigh-in report from Massachusetts
The official weigh-in for Saturday's “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP), was held today at the venue as the show, Bridgewater Veterans Club, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. GCP has partnered with the Bridgewater-based charitable organization, Fire For Effect Foundation, which honors and empower veterans, first responders and their families by providing essential resources, support and community-building initiatives that foster resilience, restore hope, and strengthen the fabric of our community. Go to www.ffefinc.org for more information. Tickets are available for purchase at www.Granite-Chin-Promotions.ticketleap.com.
 
Fighters’ weights below:
 
Kevin “BIg Gulp” Nagle (6-0, 6 KOs), Scituate, MA   287.5 pounds -vs.-  Alfred “ConcHo” Trevino (9-10-1, 1 KO), Mexico 229 (six rounds);
 
Anthony “The Gentle Savage” Andreozzi (4-3, 1 KO), Swansea, MA 177.5 -vs.- Igor Pessoa (0-7), Woburn, MA by way of Brazil 170.5 (four rounds);
 
Greg “Iron” Bono (2-1, 2 KOs), Medford, MA 164 -vs.- Bruno Dias (1-13, 0 KOs), Woburn, MA by way of Brazil 166 (four rounds);
 
Ryan Clark (3-5, 2 KOs), Berwick, NH 158 -vs.- Jay Gregory (0-9-1), Auburn, NY 159 (four rounds);
 
Ricky Ford (4-1-2, 2 KOs), Claremont, NH 158 -vs.- Erick Alves (0-1), Malden, MA 159 (four rounds); and
 
Joe Bush (1-0, 1 KO), Marshfield, MA 147.5 -vs.- Rakim Johnson (7-22-1, 5 KOs), Indianapolis, IN 151.5 (four rounds).
 

Weigh-in report from Maryland

Weigh-in report from Maryland

Weigh-in report from Maryland
Here are the boxers' weights for Saturday night's Jeter Promotions card at The Hall at Maryland Live:
 
Immanuwel Aleem 167.6 pounds -vs.- Malcolm Jones 166.4;
Jaqeem Hutcherson 122 -vs.- Brandon Chambers 121; 
Joseph Veazey 144.2 -vs.- Jose Bellosso 142.6; 
Ahmad Muhammad Jones 146 -vs.- Corey Campion 145.4;
Vincent Mosca 179.2 -vs.- Zak Kelly 175;
Ezri Turner 157.4 -vs.- Jeremiah Truhlar 160.6; 
Walter Sanders 163,8 -vs.- Ishmael Dixon 154.6;
Tabish Faqiri 135.4 -vs.- Kenneth Agnew 138.2;
Victor Williams 147.6 -vs.- Courtney Brown 152; and 
Boris Nde 140.6 -vs.- Carlos Marrero 139.2.
 

PFL: Ngannou will return to MMA after Joshua fight

PFL: Ngannou will return to MMA after Joshua fight
Mixed martial arts organization The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced combat sports superstar Francis “The Predator” Ngannou will make his PFL debut against the winner of the PFL heavyweight contest between Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader. Ngannou signed with PFL in May of last year, becoming an equity owner and chairman of the coming PFL Africa regional league. Ngannou recently stepped into the boxing ring for the first time ever, losing a razor-thin split decision to Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion. Ngannou is currently in Riyadh, training to fight top heavyweight boxing contender Anthony Joshua. 
 
Ngannou will turn his attention back to MMA, where he will make his PFL debut against the winner between 2023 PFL heavyweight champion Renan “Problema” Ferreira and Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan “Darth” Bader. Ferreira and Bader will main event the PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions pay-per-view, taking place this Saturday, February 24th, at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 
 
“The PFL is excited to announce Francis Ngannou’s return to MMA in the PFL PPV Division will be against the winner of the PFL champion vs. Bellator champion heavyweight superfight between Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader,” said Peter Murray, PFL CEO.” Francis is a true combat sports icon with a global fan base and appeal. We, along with the rest of the MMA world, will be watching to see who his first opponent will be, Ferreira or Bader.” 
 
Ngannou will also be in attendance at the historic event in Riyadh.  Currently, Ngannou is preparing for his second professional boxing bout, wherein he will take on former two-time unified world heavyweight champion and world number two-ranked heavyweight Anthony Joshua on March 8th live on DAZN. 
 

Shields to have third MMA fight on Saturday

Shields to have third MMA fight on Saturday
Claressa Shields is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for her third pro mixed martial arts bout which will take place on Saturday. Shields is 1-1 in her first two bouts, both of which took place in 2021. She weighed in at 164.4 pounds Her opponent will be Kelsey De Santis, who has a listed record of 1-2.
 

Benavidez to move up to light heavyweight?

Benavidez to move up to light heavyweight?

Benavidez to move up to light heavyweight?

With world super middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the process of selecting his next opponent, the WBC has offered another option to WBC interim champion David Benavidez in case Alvarez selects someone else. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman suggested Benavidez (pictured) move up to light heavyweight and fight a former WBC champion for an interim title at 175 pounds. Sulaiman tweeted: "Very proud to announce a sensational fight which the WBC has approved to sanction for the interim light heavyweight championship: Benavidez vs. Gvozdyk.Wish the best of luck for both champions." Sulaiman was referring to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who is 29-1 including the World Series of Boxing. The Russian Gvozdyk held the WBC championship from 2018-2019 before losing his title and taking a lot of physical trauma vs. Artur Beterbiev. Gvozdyk took over three years off but returned with a three-win campaign last year.

 

Introducing British light heavyweight Ben Collins

Introducing British light heavyweight Ben Collins
British teenager Ben Collins has signed a promotional agreement with Frank Warren and Queensberry. The light heavyweight, age 19, will team up with the Hall of Fame promoter after winning his pro debut over four rounds back in December with a 40-36 victory over Genadij Krajevskij. He also enters the professional ranks off the back of gold medal success at the 2023 Haringey Box Cup  “Early on I didn’t do much as a schoolboy junior and lost more than I won before, as a senior, I won the Haringey Box Cup in the Elite Senior level,” reported the Stourbridge teen. “I fought the three top boys in the country to win it in one of the toughest categories. It was a standout moment for me at the Ally Pally last year and it was basically what made me decide to turn over. I knew I was at that level, but I needed to achieve something to prove it. It was the defining point of wanting to win something as a senior in one of the major tournaments and then push on to turn pro."
 
The 6'4” 175-pounder thinks Queensberry is the place to be for a young fighter seeking to build a productive career in the pros. “I had my meeting with Queensberry in December before having my pro debut later in the month on the 20th on one of Errol Johnson’s local shows. I wanted to stay active because I hadn’t fought since the July and I wanted to get one under my belt. It went well and I won all the rounds. I’ve had a few comments saying I looked like an experienced pro and not someone on debut. The pro game sort of suits my style more, with being more rangy looking for the shots kind of thing, rather than the amateur in and out. I’m buzzing, it is the best promotion firm to be with and I am looking to progress my journey on and be up there with the greats."
 
He continued, “Light heavyweight is a stacked division and being with a top promotional company can push me in the right direction and lead me down the path to big fights in the next couple of years when things are where we want to be.’
 
Collins, who is trained and managed by Errol Johnson, is learning his trade at the BCB gym alongside two significantly more experienced Queensberry teammates. “Obviously I am in the gym with Zach Parker and sparring with him most weeks because we box under the same coach in Errol. Obviously I am getting the experience off him to progress. I am also mixing with Liam Davies and over the last year Liam has kind of taken me under his wing a little bit and we are training with the same S&C coach and stuff. So basically I am doing everything with Liam and he is showing me how he is doing it and I am just following.
 
“We were in Tenerife two weeks ago and I got more experience over there, mixing up the training.”
 
In an unusual sideline for a professional new boy, Collins spends his spare time running his own amateur boxing club alongside his father Carl.
 
He goes on to explain just why the gym carries the name of ‘Team Pumpkin Boxing’.
 
“I run an amateur gym myself with my dad. We’ve only set it up in the last year.
 
“When I was eight and I was in the gym for the first time, I was really shy to go into the gym. So the coach came out to have a little chat to get me in and he asked me what my name is. I said Ben and he replied that all boxers have to have a nickname.
 
“My mum was stood next to me and I thought it would be a good idea to tell him that my mum calls me Pumpkin! So it kind of stuck. When I was younger I used to get pelters for it, but now people just call me Pumpkin and it is what I am known as in my area. If I am walking around town people call me Pumpkin rather than Ben.
 
“So Team Pumpkin Boxing became the gym name and we’ve got 128 kids in the gym across three sessions each night, broken down from 5-16 year olds. So I am always doing a bit with them, coaching and giving a bit back.
 
“We are doing loads and getting involved with the community. We’ve just had a knife bin because the gym is in Brierley Hill – the neighbouring town where I went to school – where there has been a lot of knife crime and incidents.
 
“So, as a gym, between us we have got loads of kids in for programmes and we are going into schools. We are also working with the police on knife crime and anti-social behaviour, trying to stop kids going down the route of gangs and carrying knives.”
 
Promoter Frank Warren says he is delighted to add another young light heavyweight talent to his team of fighters.
 
“I am thrilled to bring Ben on board and continue the terrific relationship we have established with Black Country Boxing. At just 19, Ben is clearly a top young talent and he is operating in a division that is booming in the UK and I fully expect him to be part of big fights and nights once he has fully learned the ropes and picked up the necessary experience.”

Venue revealed for Haney's next title defense

Venue revealed for Haney's next title defense

Earlier this month, Golden Boy Promotions tweeted that Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia is "signed, sealed, delivered for the WBC junior welterweight world title on April 20th." Yesterday, Golden Boy's principal, promoter Oscar De La Hoya, identified the venue, tweeting, "Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia will be live on DAZN Boxing from Barclays Center promoted by Golden Boy Boxing 4/20/24." Barclays Center is located in Brooklyn, New York and for years was the stronghold of Al Haymon's PBC, who presented many big shows there. Haney (pictured) is 31-0 as pro. He was the world lightweight champion but then moved up to junior welterweight in his last fight, defeating two-time champion Regis Prograis for the WBC title. Garcia is 24-1 as a pro. The lone loss came via  stoppage against Gervonta "Tank" Davis early in 2023 but Garcia rebounded with a decent win over Oscar Duarte later in the year.

Ancajas in Japan for Saturday's title challenge

Ancajas in Japan for Saturday's title challenge

Ancajas in Japan for Saturday's title challenge
Former IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (pictured) did a public workout on Tuesday as part of the promotion ahead of Saturday's bout against WBA bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue in Kokugikan, Tokyo.  The Filipino will challenge the Japanese in a 118-pound bout and is already on Japanese soil. His first official activity was this workout, where he was with his team doing some moves, posing for the cameras and answering questions to the press. Ancajas said he felt in great physical condition and very motivated about the possibility of becoming a champion again. He emphasized that he has a clear strategy for the fight and that his goal is to leave the ring with the WBA's black and gold belt in his hands. Last week, Inoue did his public workout and he also stepped into the ring and showed a little of what he has for the fight. Now they have the official press conference and the weigh-in on Friday, which will qualify them to fight. Inoue has a record of 18 wins, 1 loss and 4 knockouts, while Ancajas has 34 wins, 3 setbacks, 2 draws and 23 knockouts.
 
 
 

Federici vs. Caparello cruiserweight fight set for Friday in NY

Federici vs. Caparello cruiserweight fight set for Friday in NY
Italian cruiserweight Simone Federici is in New York for a bout against Australia's Blake Caparello this Friday at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington (Long Island). The 200-pound bout will feature two experienced fighters. Federici (20-2-1) hasn’t been defeated since a 2019 loss to respected Joel Tambwe Djeko. Since that setback, he has strung together six wins. Caparello (31-4-1) is 37 years old and spent most of his career as a light heavyweight. He lost a key domestic contest to Faris Chevalier in March 2021, then took some time off. He returned to the ring in June 2023 to defeat Uthit Punsen in Thailand.

On the same Star Boxing show, Haitian-born Wendy Toussaint and Egyptian-born Mponda Kalunga will wage a junior middleweight battle. Toussaint, a U.S. citizen, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jerome Jones, whom he knocked out in the third round on October 28th. The 32 year-old Toussaint is 15-2 with 7 KOs. Kalunga now has Canadian citizenship. He is on a nine-fight winning streak since 2018, so he has great confidence despite not being the favorite in the fight. Overall, Kalunga has a record of 11 wins, 2 losses and 3 knockouts.

Tito Sanchez to headline at Fantasy Springs on April 4th

Tito Sanchez to headline at Fantasy Springs on April 4th

Golden Boy tweeted that on April 4th at Fanstasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, featherweight Jose "Tito" Sanchez returns to headline against Erik Ruiz of Oxnard, CA. Sanchez, from Cathedral City, California, is 12-0 and coming off a December win over Walter Santibanes. Ruiz is 17-10 and has lost three straight decisions dating back to December 2018.

Andy Cruz in tough test this weekend

Andy Cruz in tough test this weekend

Highly touted Cuban lightweight Andy Cruz listed as 2-0 (but  more realistically 18-0 includng professional bouts in the World Series of Boxing) will see action against Mexico's Bryan Zamarripa this Saturday at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The 28 year-old Cruz last fought on December 9th when he defeated Jovanni Straffon by knockout in three rounds in San Francisco. After a short break, he is ready for his return. Zamarripa is a tough Mexican, 14-2 overall including winning 11 of his last 12. The 26-year knocked out Giovanni De Jesus in his last fight held on December 16th in Baja California.

IBA heads to Sochi, Russia on March 3rd

IBA heads to Sochi, Russia on March 3rd

A welterweight showdown between Russia's Khariton Agrba and Mexican southpaw Jose Miguel Borrego is ready to headline IBA Champions’ Night on March 3rd in Sochi, Russia.  The ten-round bout will be an IBA pro world title match. Agrba comes into the bout undefeated in 13 matches, including a win over fomrer 140-pound champion Julius Indongo.  Borrego has a 20-4 record, winning 17 times by knockout. The Russian will be hoping to make it three victories at IBA Champions’ Night events, previously beating South African Xolisani Ndongeni and Dulat Bekbauov of Kazakhstan. The Mexican’s danger will be his ability to land a match-ending blow on his opponent.

Two eight-round, three-minute bouts will precede the main event. The first of these is at light heavyweight between Russia’s undefeated Beshto Shavlaev and Azerbaijan’s European Games bronze medallist Murad Allahverdiyev. A match-up between two young boxers, Shavlaev has won all three of his professional bouts, also winning at the IBA Champions’ Night in Moscow in December.

Three-time European silver medallist Gabil Memedov of Russia will face Dzmitry Asanau in a rematch of the 2019 European Games at junior welterweight, where the Belarus boxer claimed gold. Asanau has won all three prior amateur encounters between the two.

At bantamweight, world championships bronze medallist Dmitry Dvali from Russia faces three-time world medallist Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan in a six-round bout. Latipov was also the Asian champion in 2017.

Also fighting over six rounds will be Russian Tarkhan Idigov from Russia, set to make his IBA professional debut, and World Championships bronze medallist Misheelt Barrumur of Mongolia at welterweight.

Youth is still at the forefront of IBA operations, as 2023 European Junior Championship winner Cheerav Ashalaev from Russia meets Uganda’s Shadiri Musa Bwogi at super middleweight. Ashalaev, who is set to debut professionally, has won his previous eight bouts in amateur competition, giving him momentum against Bwogi.

The opener will be between Uzbekistan’s Odiljon Aslonov and Pele Sadoyan of Georgia. Aslonov will be looking to remain undefeated professionally, with seven wins and a draw to his name so far. Aslonov previously defeated the aforementioned Bwogi at  super middleweight at the August 2023 IBA Champions’ Night in Serpukhov.

 

WBO orders Billam-Smith vs. Riakporhe II

WBO orders Billam-Smith vs. Riakporhe II

The WBO has ordered its cruiserweight champion, Chris-Billam Smith, to make a mandatory defense vs. the big, powerful and undefeated Richard Riakporhe. This fight will be a rematch as Riakporhe (17-0) handed Billam-Smith his only professional loss by split decision in 2019. Both men are from the United Kingdom. The WBO gave the two camps just ten days to negotiate and reach an agreement. Failure to do so will result in the WBO ordering purse bid proceedings. Billam-Smith (19-1) took the title from Lawrence Okolie and defended it against Mateusz Masternak, both fights coming in 2023.

Welcome to Berlanga vs. McCrory fight week

Welcome to Berlanga vs. McCrory fight week
Edgar Berlanga (pictured) believes he’s ready to get back to his best as he closes in on his important showdown with Padraig McCrory at Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, live worldwide on DAZN. Berlanga (21-0 16 KOs) has promised to kick on after a twelve-round win in his last fight against Irishman in Jason Quigley, where he floored the former Olympian twice to put an exclamation mark on a wide points win in New York in June. That fight ended a year’s absence from the ring and was a first fight back with trainer Marc Farrait after four years apart. The 26 year old revealed that his time out and injuries in camp affected him for the Quigley fight, but those knocks are now behind him and with the introduction of highly regarded strength and conditioning coach Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia and a fresh focus in his tight-knit Tampa base, ‘The Chosen One’ feels that he’s in the shape of his life to take on the unbeaten Belfast man McCrory (18-0 9 KOs)
 
“The twelftth round of my last fight, I feel like that’s really woken me up,” said Berlanga. “I haven’t missed anything, I know I have got the power to hurt anybody, and I feel different as a fighter, mentally, physically and spiritually. I know that there’s going to be fireworks coming from me on February 24, that’s a fact. I’m coming for the KO. He can say whatever he wants, but at the end of the day we have to go in there and tussle.
 
“Me at my best, nobody is f**king with me. When I am 100 per cent, which you’ll see on February 24, I am unstoppable.
 
“I’ve sacrificed a lot, changing my environment, coming to the suburbs and being fully locked in on myself and my craft. I’ve refocused on the small details of my style to bring the best out of me. So, from all that right there, it’s going to be something amazing.
 
“There is jealousy. I’m here in Tampa now and there’s a lot of people out there that were acting like they were my friends, and they weren’t. People that were close to me that were envying me, so I got rid of all those people and I’m just focused on myself and my team, and I feel that with God with me, the sky is the limit and there’s nothing stopping me.
 
“I’ll be one of the best 168lb fighters in the world. I think that after this fight my name is going to be buzzing again, and people will be talking about me and Canelo in September or Jaime Munguia. I feel those fights are there to be made and it’s time to go capture a belt.
 
“I’m not the guy that fought Jason, and he’s going to see that. I’m getting better and better. I was four years away from Marc before that fight and I went through a lot of injuries in that camp.
 
“I’m on a different level now physically. I’m sparring 15, 16 rounds with three or four different guys, and I didn’t get a chance to do that in my last camp with the injuries and coming back to camp overweight with the lay-off and not having a promoter, going through some depression in New York. We brought in ‘Memo’ who every knows has worked with the best, and we know we can go 12 strong rounds and go at it hard, and I know that if I do that, no one can stand a chance with me.”
 
Berlanga and McCrory clash on a big night of action in Orlando, where the co-feature pits Cuban lightweight Andy Cruz (2-0 1 KO) against Mexican Brayan Zamarippa (14-2 5 KOs)... 
 
Shakhram Giyasov (14-0 9 KOs) and Pablo Cesar Cano (35-8-1 25 KOs) battle it out in an eliminator for the WBA welterweight title...
 
The main card on DAZN sees another title eliminator as Antonio Vargas (17-1 9 KOs) and Jonathan Rodriguez (17-1-1 7 KOs) aim to take a step closer to the WBA bantamweight crown...
 
Yankiel Rivera (4-0 2 KOs) closes the Before The Bell section of the card with his first title fight as he takes on Andy Dominguez (10-0 5 KOs) at flyweight titles...
 
Cuban heavyweight Herich Ruiz (4-0 3 KOs) meets Mitch Williams (16-10-3 11 KOs) over eight rounds and...
 
Aaron Aponte (8-1-1 2 KOs) takes on Joseph Fernandez (17-5-3 6 KOs) over eight rounds in the 140-pound category.
 

Welterweight bout matches Yeritsyan against Randall

Welterweight bout matches Yeritsyan against Randall
Welterweight Gor Yeritsyan (17-0, 14 KOs), based in Los Angeles, will face Houston's Quinton Randall (13-1-1, 3 KO’s) at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California on Friday. The show will be presented by Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions. Yeritsyan is trained by the legendary Freddie Roach of Wild Card Boxing in Hollywood, California. He has  power, as indicated by his 14 knockouts in 17 fights. However against Randall, he will need his boxing skills along with punching power, as Randall has only lost once in 14 fights. Randall's only defeat was against unbeaten Brian Norman. “I’m very excited because it’s my first main event on UFC Fight Pass,” Yeritsyan said. “It means a lot to me because I have come a long way to achieve this. I am now working very hard with my coach, Freddie Roach, and the team. I have to be 100 percent ready for this fight."

BKFC results from last weekend

BKFC results from last weekend
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debuted in Manassas, Virginia with its BKFC Prospect Series event at the sold-out Salisbury Center on Friday, Feb. 16th. In the main event, Brandon "The Shredder" Shavers defeated Stanislav Grosu in the fourth round of a middleweight matchup. The Lousiana-bred Shavers picked himself up off the canvas in the second round before dropping Sterling, VA’s Grosu twice in the fourth frame. Time of the stoppage was 1:32. With the win, Shavers improved to 2-1 in the squared circle, while Grosu saw his record drop to 3-3. "We've been in the gym putting in work every single day, and we want to stay active. I'm only getting better when I'm getting in here more,” Shavers told the jam-packed Salisbury Center.
 
In the co-feature, Indianapolis’ Cameron "Jumpman" VanCamp brought home his first BKFC victory with a knockout over Micah "See Me" Terrill of Millersville, MD in their middleweight showdown. The fight was stopped 25 seconds into the second round. "I've just got to keep working,” the UFC vet VanCamp told the sold-out Salisbury Center. “Everything is starting to click now. I came here, I beat him in his hometown up a weight class ... I'd say that's worth a bonus."
 
Gloucester, MA’s Zach "Shark Attack" Calmus earned his second straight BKFC victory with a TKO over Washington, DC’s Josh "The Predator" Freeman. The fight was stopped at the conclusion of the third round after Freeman injured his hand and couldn’t continue. Calmus is now 3-2 in the BKFC heavyweight division, while Freeman’s record falls to 0-1.
 
Russian Murat Kilimetov dropped Tre "The Truth" Cook of Winchester, VA four times before their cruiserweight battle was stoppage nine seconds into the second round.
 
James “Get Down” Brown is now 3-0 in BKFC after the North Carolina featherweight stopped Ukraine’s Bovar "The Gladiator" Khanakov via TKO. The entertaining bout was called to a halt by the ringside physician at the conclusion of the third round. Brown entered fight night as the No. 4 contender in the BKFC featherweight division. Khanakov is now 1-2 in the Squared Circle.
 
Joe "Ruthless" Ray of Martinsville, VA sent Bellefontaine, OH’s Paul "The Zombie Cowboy" Shough to the canvas three times en route to the second-round KO in their back-and-forth heavyweight bout. Time of the stoppage was 1:50. Ray is now 1-0 under the BKFC banner, while Shough’s record drops to 1-2.
 
Maryland middleweight Shawn “The Midnight Express” Brooks turned heads with a third-round KO against Las Vegas’ JorDan "The Haymaker" Christensen. Brooks, a former Marine, is 1-0 after dropping Christensen twice in the third round. Christensen’s record fell to 2-4 with the loss.
 
Crystal “The Lovely” Van Wyk dug deep to earn a unanimous decision victory over "Crazy" Cristina Crist in their women’s flyweight showdown. Van Wyk, who hails from Rock Hill, SC by way of Cape Town, South Africa, is now 1-0, while the Rockwall, TX product Crist is now 0-2. In the Van Wyk-Crist matchup, Michelle Myers made history as the first female referee in BKFC history.
 
Atlanta’s Nathan Rivera smashed his way to 2-0 under the BKFC banner with a first-round KO at the expense of Murphy, NC’s Dustin "Elmo" Garrett. Time of the stoppage was 1:22 of the opening frame. Garrett’s record fell to 0-1 with the loss.
 
Laurel, MD’s Cary "Cap Vs. The World" Caprio improved to 2-1 in the squared circle with a physician's stoppage TKO over St. Louis, MO’s “Savage” Mike Livingston. The bantamweight bout was called to a halt at the conclusion of the second round.
 
BKFC Prospect Series Results
 
Brandon Shavers def. Stanislav Grosu via KO in Round 4 (1:32)
 
Cameron VanCamp def. Micah Terrill via KO in Round 2 (0:25)
 
Zach Calmus def. Joshua Freeman via TKO in Round 3 (2:00)
 
Murat Kilimetov def. Tre Cook via KO in Round 2 (0:09)
 
James Brown def. Bovar Khanakov via TKO (physician stoppage) in Round 3 (2:00)
 
Joe Ray def. Paul Shough via KO in Round 2 (1:50)
 
Shawn Brooks def. Jordan Christensen via KO in Round 3 (0:52)
 
Crystal Van Wyk def. Crystal Lawson via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46x2)
 
Nathan Rivera def. Dustin Garrett via KO in Round 1 (1:22)
 
Cary Caprio def. Mike Livingston via TKO (physician stoppage) in Round 2 (2:00)
 

Toussaint will fight Kalunga on Friday in NY

Toussaint will fight Kalunga on Friday in NY

Haitian-born Wendy Toussaint and Egyptian-born Mponda Kalunga will wage a junior middleweight battle this Friday at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington (Long Island) New York. Toussaint, a U.S. citizen, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jerome Jones, whom he knocked out in the third round on October 28th. The 32 year-old Toussaint is 15-2 with 7 KOs. Kalunga now has Canadian citizenship. He is on a nine-fight winning streak since 2018, so he has great confidence despite not being the favorite in the fight. Overall, Kalunga has a record of 11 wins, 2 losses and 3 knockouts.


 

Unbeaten flyweights to collide in Florida on Saturday

Unbeaten flyweights to collide in Florida on Saturday

Two unbeaten flyweights will face off this Saturday at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida in a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico showdown. Andy Dominguez of Mexico will battle Yankiel Rivera of Purto Rico. Dominguez is 10-0 with 6 KOs. He debuted in 2020 and all of his fights have taken place in the United States. The Mexico City native, age 25, is based in Las Vegas. Rivera (4-0 with 2 KOs) was a member of the Puerto Rican national team and participated in the 2021 Olympic Games, which ended his career in amateur boxing. He entered the pro ranks with high expectations and has been winning good fights since his pro debut in 2022. The 26 year-old from Bayamon has been adapting his style to the pro game and has shown good ring intelligence.

Inoue and Hiruta named Japanese boxers of the year for 2023

Inoue and Hiruta named Japanese boxers of the year for 2023
Over the weekend, the Annual Award Ceremony of the Japanese Boxing Commission was held to honor the best of that nation's boxing during 2023. Not surprisingly, 122-pound champion Naoya Inoue as the star of the show. He won three of the most important awards of the night.  Inoue was presented with the best boxer of the year award thanks to his excellent campaign and also won the knockout of the year. In addition, his fight against Stephen Fulton was awarded as the best fight of 2023.  Meanwhile, WBO super flyweight champion Mizuki Hiruta was awarded female boxer of the year after making two dominant defenses and remaining the reigning champion in her ascending career.  Other fighters such as Kenshiro Teraji also received recognition at the ceremony, which also gave awards to promoters, trainers and others who develop Japanese boxing. 
 

Big road win makes Eduardo Nunez a mandatory contender

Big road win makes Eduardo Nunez a mandatory contender
Eduardo Nunez TKO11 Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov... A 130-pound IBF title eliminator match took place between Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov from Tajikistan and Eduardo Nunez of Mexico over the weekend. Nunez improved to 26-1 with an eleventh-round stoppage win. The bout was part of an IBA show in Rakhimov's home country. Competing for a title shot at IBF super featherweight champion Joe Cordina, Nunez shook Rakhimov in the second round with a strong right hand that sent the home boxer into the ropes. A former 130-pound champion, Rakhimov replied with a hard left uppercut. Rakhimov was the boxer with momentum on his side early, pinning his opponent into the ropes, but Nunez dominated the fifth round, stringing together combination punches, topped off by a left hook to the chin. Rakhimov had to endure the offense for the rest of the minute, just making it to the bell having spent much of that time with his gloves up.
 
The eighth round resembled a scene in a boxing movie, as both men had moments where he would strike the other with unprotected combinations, all without retreat. The roar of the crowd came when Rakhimov had Nunez unable to reply, followed by a deafening silence when the Mexican had the momentum. But Nunez would ruined Rakhimov’s homecoming, starting the eleventh round on the front foot. A clear blow was followed by several shots to the head without response, forcing the referee to end the match by technical knockout. Nunez is expected to face Cordina in May.
 

Andres "Savage" Cortes calls for a title shot

Andres "Savage" Cortes calls for a title shot
Top Rank's super featherweight Andres "Savage" Cortes (21-0, 12 KOs), delivered a strong performance at The Theater at Madison Square Garden this past Friday, ending the twelve-fight winning streak of Bryan Chevalier (20-2-11, 6 KOs) in early fashion. Cortes secured a fourth-round TKO victory after a dominant display in the ring, prompting Chevalier's corner to throw in the towel. From the opening bell, Cortes showcased his skills and aggression, dictating the pace of the fight and landing hardfcombinations. By the end of the third round, it was clear that Chevalier was struggling to keep up with Cortes' onslaught. In the fourth round, Cortes continued to press forward, overwhelming Chevalier with a barrage of punches. Sensing his fighter's distress, Chevalier's corner made the decision to throw in the towel, conceding defeat and handing Cortes the victory.
 
"This victory means everything to me," said Cortes. "I trained tirelessly for this moment, and to come out on top against a tough opponent like Chevalier was very rewarding. I want to thank my brother and trainer Luis, my entire team, along with my promoter Top Rank for all they did behind the scenes. I’m hoping that this win will catapult me to top five in the WBO and top ten in the WBC.”
 
Looking ahead, Cortes has his sights set on bigger challenges, targeting WBC champion O'Shaquie Foster and WBO titlist Emanuel Navarrete. "I'm ready to take on the best in the division," Cortes declared. "Foster and Navarrete, I'm coming for you. I want to prove that I belong among the elite, and I won't stop until I have those belts around my waist." Cortes' victory was made even sweeter by the fact that it was broadcast live on ESPN, allowing him to showcase his skills in front of a national audience.

Undercard results from Tajikistan

Undercard results from Tajikistan
Sharabutdin Ataev W10 Loren Alfonso... Sharabutdin Ataev claimed the inaugural IBA 190-pound title on the IBA show at the Dushanbe Tennis Court and Water Sports Complex in Tajikistan. He defeated his long-time amateur nemesis Loren Alfonso in the main event. Competing for Azerbaijan, the Havana-born fAlonso came into the main event with a 2021 world amateur title, a 2023 world amateur silver, and a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Russian Ataev was the man to defeat Alfonso in that 2023 world final, meaning this could be an opportunity for retribution. The early stages of the bout had a low frequency of punches, but those that landed were often those of Alfonso. However, Ataev came alive out of the corner for round five, landing several punches to Alfonso against the ropes. A fantastic right hand in the sixth round was one of the best strikes of the bout, giving the Azerbaijan boxer more favor with the judges. As the bout wore on, Ataev looked more comfortable and was able to pick up points in bunches. While some matches tonight saw competitors refusing to give space to each other, this was all about avoiding the opponent and getting the clean strikes. After much deliberation, it was Ataev who was deemed victorious with the judges and the recipient of $300,000.
 
ADDITIONAL RESULTS
 
The opening bout of the night saw Uzbekistan featherweight Mirazizbek Mirzkhalilov defeat Mexico’s Luis Rodriguez Ocana to set up an IBA title match with Vsevolod Shumkov. The eliminator match started dramatically and the final moments of the first round was much of the same. Mirzkhalilov stunned Ocana within the first 20 seconds, forcing the Mexican to fight back with all his might to avoid an early finish. However, the southpaw would bite back against the Uzbek, finding the better of his opponent by the end of the second round – a contrast that looked unlikely just minutes before. It was a fight of the highest quality, with neither athlete looking dominant over the other. Mirzkhalilov and Ocana would share the spotlight going back and forth during rounds, until the fifth round when the 2019 world amateur champion was able to absorb the pressure piling on him from Ocana against the ropes. From this position, he defensively attacked, ending the halfway point with a stunning blow, stamping his authority.
 
Dealing with a cut, Ocana would continue to hunt down the Uzbek and would find his moments – but it was Mirzakhalilov who dictated the pace, the stance of his opponent and eventually would dictate the footwork of the Mexican. By the ninth round, it was a case of Mirzakhalilov being careful and not allowing his opponent – who has won 14 of his 15 matches by knockout or technical knockout – to drop him to the floor.
 
Mirzakhalilov would have his arm raised and in a post-match sequence, and would come face-to-face with his next opponent, Shumkov in an intense stare down that followed a heated exchange between the two at the official weigh in on the previous day.
 
 
Bakhodur Usmonov was victorious in a junior welterweight contest against Javid Chalabiyev of Azerbaijan in the other title match. Both fighters were nimble on their feet from the start, but it was the home favourite who landed the quality jabs. The opening round saw Usmonov catch his opponent out while in a back foot stance. Chalabiyev struggled to return the favour at first but had more fortune once the bout progressed. However, Usmonov’s best skill is his evasiveness. While the Azerbaijani boxer was aggressive and pushed the Tajikistan athlete into small pockets of space, he was not able to match the shots of Usmonov. The fifth round saw Usmonov land a clean strike coming out of the clinch. Behind on points, Chalabiyev resorted to distraction tactics, trying to reel Usmonov in, in a bid to land a decisive blow. After eight rounds, Usmonov was named the unanimous winner, rewarded for effectively covering the whole ring, landing incredible shots, and dodging those of his opponent.
 
In the first of the matches tonight featuring home boxers, Shamsher Saidov was welcomed to the arena by a feral crowd, prior to his welterweight match against Mirzomakhmat Mirzabekov of Uzbekistan. The energy fed him well, starting with an intensity that startled the larger Mirzabekov. The Uzbek saw many of his jabs ducked by his foe. Such speed can lead to a boxer tiring quickly, but Saidov was not letting up. Mirzabekov found his aggression, holding his position and sending the fans into a frenzy as the pair flung punches at each other. So fired up, Saidov was so eager to go into the fourth round that he had to be recalled to his corner to put his gumshield in. The fifth round caused a wall of noise as it seemed the Tajikistan boxer forced Mirzabekov to fall, but it was ruled a slip, not a knockdown. There was no doubt about the winner in the end as Saidov chased his opponent around the ring for the final stages, claiming victory after six rounds.
 
Finally, Akmal Ubaydov defeated Kazakhstan’s Assylzhan Serikbay at featherweight. A right-hand lead halfway through the second round sent Serikbay backwards on his feet and made the referee deliver a standing count. It came after the Kazakh had Ubaydov up on the ropes. Serikbay may have looked relieved to hear the bell and have a minute’s rest going into the third round, but by the time it ended, he looked as if he did not want to stop. A remarkable turnaround put the visiting boxer back in contention for the win. Ubaydov looked more passive as the match went on but was effectively evasive. Ubaydov would face a points deduction with little more than a minute to go due to the mouth guard coming out on three occasions. Now, facing a potential loss, the Tajik boxer charged at his opponent for the final minute, knowing he had nothing to lose. On home soil, Ubaydov would remain undefeated with his sixth career victory. Serikbay would be the first to last the length of the bout against the Tajik fighter, showing his resilience against a strong opponent.
 
Check out all the bouts at night.iba.sport.

WBA featherweight situation

WBA featherweight situation
Victor Morales and Luis Reynaldo Nunez will meet on March 16th in a WBA featherweight eliminator bout to be held at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. A Mexican-American who lives in the state of Washington, Morales Jr. (19-0-1 with 9 KOs) is on a strong run after defeating Diego De La Hoya and Edwin Palomares in back-to-back fights.  Nunez, a 24 year-old Dominican, has come on strong in the United States and in his most recent bout, he vanquished the previously unbeaten Christian Olivo.Nunez is 19-0 with 13 KOs as a pro. The WBA featherweight title is currently vacant with Leigh Wood moving up four pounds to 130. The vacancy wont last for long howeer, as Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford will vie for the belt on March 2nd at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. 
 
Kholmatov is a strong and intelligent fighter, age 25 from Uzbekistan. He has knockout power combined with good boxing and an excellent IQ in the ring. Ford, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old American who has defeated the likes of Jessie Magdaleno, Richard Medina and Samaria Luka. Kholmatov has 12 wins, 11 of them by knockout. Ford, meanwhile, has 14 wins, 1 draw and 7 KOs.