Photos: Usyk Has Toughest Test Yet, Beats Briedis To Unify Belts

WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk beat WBC title holder Mairis Briedis by a majority points decision to unify the belts.

The two met in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament and Usyk won 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114 in Latvia.

He will now meet the winner of IBF champion Murat Gassiev against WBA belt holder Yunier Dorticos in the final.

2012 Olympic Champion, 30-year-old Usyk expressed before the tournament his desire to unify the belts in the cruiserweight division and to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy. And he kicked off in style:

The Ukrainian went to Berlin in Germany on September 9 in the tournament opener and produced a spectacular display at the Max-Schmeling-Arena to stop former world champion Marco Huck in the 10th round.

“I do not care where I fight,” said Usyk, the tournament’s number one seed. “In Riga, there were 10,000 fans and that’s great. The fans received a beautiful and interesting battle between two world champions.”

32-year-old Briedis excited an ecstatic hometown crowd at a sold-out Arena Riga on September 30 to score a unanimous decision in his quarter-final over the tough Cuban challenger Mike Perez.

The event will conclude in May and features a $50m prize fund.

That pool will be split across two tournaments, one for super-middleweights and one for cruiserweights, with each featuring eight fighters competing from a quarter-final stage.

Whoever wins the cruiserweight section will hold all four belts.

Usyk’s hard-fought win over Briedis extended the 31-year-old’s career record to 14 fights without defeat.

http://www.boxingscene.com/photos-usyk-toughest-test-beats-briedis-unify-belts–124723?print_friendly=1

Full Report: Kimura stops Olympian Igarashi

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Newly crowned WBO flyweight champ Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9 KOs), 112, retained his belt as he kept boring in, bloodied ex-Olympian Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-3-3, 12 KOs), 112, and scored a well-received TKO at 2:34 of the ninth round on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Having upset two-time Olympic champ Shiming Zou to capture the WBO belt in Shanghai last July, Kimura successfully scored his first defense over the more experienced mandatory challenger.

Igarashi, recently a frequent bleeder from his scar tissues, had red ribbon streaming from a cut over the left eyebrow in the third and from another over the right optic in the sixth. He was forced to go on fighting in a bloody mess. Kimura, 29, recklessly kept going forward with roundhouse shots, while Igarashi, 33, only kept circling and retreating without throwing effective punches to the onrushing champ.

Kimura showed his best in the eighth, when he caught the fading challenger with wild left hooks and looping right hooks to have him retreating to the ropes. The fatal ninth saw Kimura fully open his engine and batter him to the ropes with a flurry of punches, when the referee Katsuhiko Nakamura (Japan) wisely waved it off to save the loser. Prior to the stoppage, the official tallies were lopsided: Adalaide Bird (US) 80-72, Luis Ruiz (Puerto Rico) and Takeshi Shimakawa (Japan) both 79-73, all in favor of the defending champ.

Igarashi was a sole representative in boxing from Japan for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. He turned professional in Teiken Gym, the oldest stable here which has produced many champions, in 2006. The fast-handed southpaw once nicknamed “Supersonic” wrested the WBC flyweight belt by outspeeding and outfighting Filipino Sonny Boy Jaro and defended it against Argentine Nestor Narvaes, the younger brother of Omar, in 2012. But he, in his second defense, yielded it to a veteran compatriot with a fluctuating career Akira Yaegashi by an upset verdict 2013. He apparently made a mistake as he failed to utilize his potential speed on hand and foot but too recklessly swapped punches toe-to-toe only to be outpunched by the much shorter Yaegashi. Since then, four years and eight months passed for Igarashi to enter the squared circle in order to regain the world throne this time.

Sho Kimura, less talented than Igarashi on amateur credentials, began to learn boxing at the age of fifteen and only briefly boxed some contests in high school. He resumed boxing at 22, when he tasted a bitter defeat, a first round knockout by Shosuke Oji in his pro debut in 2013. Since then, Sho kept winning including a couple of draws. Technically not so superb, nor so power-punching, Kimura was only one of those club fighters. But his manager/trainer Masayuki Ariyoshi of Aoki Gym opened a way for Sho to acquire the vacant WBO Asia Pacific flyweight belt by eking out a majority decision over compatriot Masahiro Sakamoto in November of the previous year.

Rated by the WBO, Kimura was fortunately given an opportunity to face Chinese hero Shiming Zou with his WBO 112-pound belt on the line this July. Before his departure for Shanghai no one in Japan expected him to bring back the world belt by dethroning such a formidable champ as Zou, two-time Olympic gold medalist. But so did he. Trailing on points (94-96, 93-97 for Zou and 96-94 for Kimura), Sho made a do-or-die attack to the fading champ, desperately battered the Chinese and finally wore him down en route to an eleventh-round TKO loss. He’s truly a Cinderella man.

Even after his unexpected coronation Sho lives alone in a small apartment, works to deliver liquor from 7 AM to 3 PM and then regularly train at the Aoki Gym afterward.

The man who gave him only a defeat, Shosuke Oji (who retired after one pro fight with Kimura), was a southpaw. Kimura wasn’t good at fighting a southpaw opponent. After he decided to fight the southpaw mandatory challenger Igarashi, Kimura went abroad to train at Hong Kong and Thailand, where he had some 300 sparring sessions exclusively with southpaw partners. His efforts paid off well.

The badly bleeding and crestfallen loser Igarashi declared a farewell to boxing after this bitter defeat, saying, “I’m happy to be able to fight for the world championship in the end of my career. I already decided before the fight that I’ll hang up gloves if beaten.”

Boxing is sometimes a miniature of life. A year ago Sho Kimura was never expected to be a world champion, but once he took an opportunity in Shanghai, he opened the door for fame and fortune by himself. Having defeated a couple of excellent Olympians Zou and Igarashi, he thus became a different person with good confidence in himself.

 

             

Full Report: Kimura stops Olympian Igarashi

Dogboe TKOs Juarez for WBO Interim122lb belt

In the first world title fight of 2018, WBO #2 jr featherweight Isaac Dogboe (18-0, 12 KOs) stopped WBO #1 Cesar “Corazon” Juarez (25-6, 15 KOs) in round five to claim the vacant WBO interim title on Saturday night at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana. Dogboe dropped Juarez in round two, and battered him for the remaining two minutes. Juarez recovered well and round three was toe-to-toe. Juarez was floored again in round five. He beat the count, but was in bad shape and the bout was stopped by referee Tony Weeks. Time was 2:12.

 

Dogboe is now in line to face the WBO’s full champion Jessie Magdaleno, who had to pull out of a fight against Juarez due to a wrist injury. “Jessie Magdaleno, I’m coming for you!” said a jubilant Dogboe after the fight.

Dogboe TKOs Juarez for WBO 122lb belt

VASYL LOMACHENKO NAMED 2017 RING MAGAZINE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

In the 89-year history of THE RING’s Fighter of the Year award, no boxer has ever earned the honor with as few fights under his belt as Vasyl Lomachenko has. Then again, few have achieved as much as the Ukrainian amateur star did after only 11 pro bouts.

Lomachenko (10-1, 8 knockouts) was selected as THE RING’s Prospect of the Year in 2013 after only one fight – his Oct. 12 pro debut against Jose Ramirez. Eight months after that impressive fourth-round KO, the wizardly southpaw won his first world title, the vacant WBO featherweight belt, by taking Gary Russell Jr. to school over 12 rounds. (Lomachenko’s boxing clinic against the highly touted unbeaten U.S. Olympian was performed in his third pro bout, just three months after he received his own education in gritty pro tactics via 12-round split-decision loss to grizzled veteran Orlando Salido.)

Two years and three title defenses later, he won his second world title in a second weight class, the WBO 130-pound belt, with a fifth-round KO of Roman Martinez. His first defense – an embarrassingly one-sided mastery of Nicholas Walters that forced the unbeaten former featherweight titleholder to pull a “No Mas” after seven rounds – was so impressive that he instantly jumped into the top half of most pound-for-pound lists by the end of 2016.

So, what made Lomachenko’s 2017 so special? Why was he selected as THE RING’s Fighter of the Year over worthy candidates such as Terence Crawford, Anthony Joshua, Mikey Garcia and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai?

For starters, he fought more than the other standouts in 2017 – three times – continuing to outclass and bewilder opposition to between-rounds retirements, but he also made large strides toward transitioning from a boxing-world phenom to the kind of general sports standout recognized by casual fans and mainstream media.

Lomachenko (left) tags Jason Sosa. Photo courtesy of HBO

Lomachenko’s humiliating brand of dominance was expected against his first two opponents of 2017, Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga, both solid contenders that will give any other world-class featherweight or junior lightweight a grueling night. Lomachenko forced the battle-tested scrappers to remain on their stools after nine and seven rounds, respectively, and he didn’t mind showboating as he gradually picked them apart from every conceivable angle.

Although Lomachenko was favored to beat his third opponent of 2017, fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, he wasn’t expected to have his way with the counter-punching master.

Rigondeaux, who carried a 17-0 pro record into their anticipated showdown at The Theater inside Madison Square Garden, was the older of the two savvy left-handers (37 to 29) and moving up from the 122-pound division, but the Cuban also brought with him a style that many believed was impossible to dominate or look good against.

Lomachenko did both en route to Rigondeaux’s inglorious retirement after six rounds.

Lomachenko downplayed the victory during his post-fight interviews, basically stating that he did what he was supposed to do, but there can be no downplaying of his boxing ability or his rising stature in the sports world.

Lomachenko appears to be on his way to becoming a bona-fide attraction. It was literally standing room only inside the 5,000-seat Theater (with no space for comps or auxiliary media and tickets rumored to be going for three times face value on the secondary market prior to the ESPN-televised card). Promoter Bob Arum says the two-division titleholder will fight at least three times next year, perhaps once in the “big room” of Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko is clearly done with small venues and fighting in front of limited TV audiences.

Lomachenko (right) took Guillermo Rigondeaux apart. Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lomachenko-Rigondeaux was watched by 1.73 million on ESPN (twice the number of viewers that tuned into a UFC offering on FS1 that was broadcast during the same time slot). It was ESPN’s highest-rated show on December 9, exceeding viewers for the Heisman Trophy presentation and the MLS Cup.

Lomachenko’s future fights will be televised on Top Rank’s new network partner, ESPN, which contributed to his crossover appeal in 2017 and will undoubtedly enhance his popularity in the U.S. in coming years.

For now, he’s the toast of the boxing world, where hardcore fans use his name as an adjective or verb when expounding on their favorite sport via social media. A talented prospect like Josh Kelly might be described as having “Lomachenko-esque” moves. A fighter who is bewildered into submission might be said to have been “Lomachenko’d.”

Lomachenko’s reputation has been established enough in 2017 that boxing geeks now argue how he would fare in a mythical matchup with a prime Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 130 pounds.

However, Lomachenko isn’t interested in the future hall of famer, but rather one of the standouts of Mayweather Promotions, former IBF 130-pound beltholder Gervonta Davis. His “call out” to Davis, which was directed at Mayweather’s official Twitter account, attracted a lot of attention and eventually pulled Mikey Garcia into the social media conversation.

Lomachenko eventually Tweeted a poll of four potential opponents – Miguel Berchelt, Garcia, Davis and Jorge Linares – which has garnered more than 40,000 votes. Garcia and Davis received the most votes, but if he can get any two of the four in the ring in 2018 he’ll likely be a strong candidate for back-to-back Fighter of the Year honors.

RUNNERS UP:
Anthony Joshua
Terence Crawford
Mikey Garcia
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

Following “Fighter of the Year” tradition, Vasyl Lomachenko will feature as cover star in the next issue of RING Magazine.

 

Vasyl Lomachenko named 2017 RING Magazine Fighter of the Year

 

 

Sadam Ali Wants to Stay at 154 Pounds, Defend WBO Title Next

By Keith Idec

Sadam Ali still can make the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
The newly crowned WBO super welterweight champion recognizes, however, that he has much more business leverage at 154 pounds. That’s why Brooklyn’s Ali figures to defend that title in his next fight, rather than going back down to welterweight, the division within which he has competed for most of his career.
“Personally, I felt strong at 54,” Ali told BoxingScene.com. “I felt really good in there. I have the world title, so I don’t see why I should go back down.”

The 29-year-old Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) won that title by upsetting heavily favored Miguel Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) by unanimous decision in the Puerto Rican icon’s farewell fight December 2 at Madison Square Garden. Since then, various 154-pounders, including former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) and WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs), have called out Ali.
“Of course they’re gonna wanna call me out now,” Ali said. “They see that I’m just coming up to the weight class. They see that I have the world title. They might think that they have the chance to easily beat me, which they would be wrong. But I don’t blame anybody that’s interested in fighting me, just like I was interested in fighting Cotto. It was for a world title, against a legend. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Some people are looking at [fighting me] like it’s for a world title. Why wouldn’t they try to call me out or make the fight happen? They would like that.”
Ali would welcome the chance to box Brook if Brook wins his March 3 fight against Belarus’ Siarhei Rabchanka (29-2, 22 KOs) in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown.
“That would be a great fight,” Ali said. “But that’s also something I would leave with Golden Boy [Promotions]. I don’t know, honestly, who I’ll be fighting. I’m really aiming big. A lot of people might think, ‘Oh, Sadam won’t be ready. He won’t be able to handle it.’ But I’m talking bigger fights, guys like Pacquiao, Canelo. I like big challenges and like I said, I fear nothing but God. It would be amazing to have a huge fight like that, and I feel like I would do fine.”

 

Manny Pacquiao makes rank of full Colonel in the Philippines Army

Former WBO welterweight Super Champion Manny Pacquiao has made the rank of full Colonel in the Philippines Army.

Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) lost his WBO title in defeat to the Australian Jeff Horn in July 2017, and while the Philippines fighter is hoping for a rematch, he took to social media to announce he made the step up from Lieutenant Colonel.

11 years after joining the armed forces, he posed with members of the army on Wednesday to celebrate the occasion.

Ali dethrones Cotto, seizes WBO 154lb title

Ali dethrones Cotto, seizes WBO 154lb title

By Arvin Nundloll at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada

Puerto Rican boxing legend Miguel Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) came up short in his final Saturday night in front of 12,391 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Former Olympian Sadam Ali (27-1, 14 KOs) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Cotto to take Cotta’s WBO junior middleweight world title by scores of 115-113, 116-112, 115-113.

Both fighters started cautiously, testing each other with the jab in effort to see what lay ahead the next possible 12 rounds. Ali wobbled Cotto in the 2nd with a stunning straight right but seconds later went down via a slip to kill any momentum he may have had. The 3rd brought back and forth action from both fighters leading to intelligent exchanges and a more dominant Cotto round. Ali then turned the tables on Cotto in the 4th, landing overhand right hooks that stopped Cotto in his tracks and building his confidence. Round 6 saw Cotto deliver a right hook that sent Ali flying to the ropes, reminding the younger fighter whose goodbye party it was.

The later rounds become closer affairs as both fighters began slowing down and were able to better time their punches, some landing flush yet still nothing significant between the two to separate them on points. The 10th round brought out another of Ali’s finest rounds as he shocked Cotto with a lunging left hook that backed him up and continued to apply an assault with no response from Cotto. The 12th round saw a reemergence for Cotto which may have saved the day given how close some of the rounds had been.

 

 

WBO Light Heavyweight Mandatory Request by Top Rank

WBO received this request by email:

Dear President Valcarcel,

On behalf of Top Rank and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, we respectfully request that the WBO designate Mr. Gvozdyk, its current No. 1 ranked light heavyweight, as the mandatory challenger for the light heavyweight world title.

We are copying Mr. Gvozdyk’s manager Egis Klimas on the message to confirm.

Very truly yours,

Bob Arum

Sadam Ali: Cotto is coming to MY territory

 

Sadam Ali: Cotto is coming to MY territory

 

Jr Middleweight title challenger Sadam “World Kid” Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) hosted a media workout at his gym in Brooklyn ahead of his fight against WBO world junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) set for this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. “I’m really excited to be fighting at MSG against a legend. I know what’s in front of me, and I know what I’m stepping up to. I’m different. I’m a bit of a boxer. I can brawl if I need to. And I have my little tricks.

“My motivation is being on HBO, it being a world title, and my career honestly. People say I didn’t deserve this fight, but they haven’t been paying attention to my career. This is my hometown. I grew up here. Cotto is coming to my territory…he’s got power. I need to focus on not getting stuck. I worked a little bit with Danny Jacobs and Curtis Stevens for this fight…I want to thank all the fans who are coming to watch my fight! It’ll be a great one!”

WBO champ Kimura to defend against Igarashi

WBO champ Kimura to defend against Igarashi

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Sumio Yamada

The third man means a referee in boxing terminology, but WBO flyweight champ Sho Kimura was the third champ whose participation in the New Year’s Eve tripleheader was announced last—separately on Tuesday. Kimura (15-1-2, 8 KOs) scored an upset to wrest the WBO belt from two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou in Shanghai this July, and will make his initial defense against top contender Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12 KOs), former WBC 112-pound titlist and also ex-Olympian, along with the title defenses of Ryoichi Taguchi and Hiroto Kyoguchi.

Zou claimed a direct rematch with Kimura to the WBO, but his request was turned down and Kimura decided to face the compatriot Igarashi, four years his senior at 33. It will be a competitive encounter of the aggressive champ and the skillful southpaw speedster. Since both are durable and determined, the combat will probably go the distance, which may be good for the TBS television that may prefer a longer drawing of TV audience’s attention.

 

Golovkin: If Canelo Doesn’t Want To Fight, I Want The WBO Belt

http://www.boxingscene.com/golovkin-if-canelo-want-fight-i-want-wbo-belt–122645

 

By Miguel Rivera

IBF, IBO, WBC, WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) is hoping to fight at least three to four times per year.

Because of drawn out negotiations, Golovkin has only fought twice twice per year in 2016 and 2017. Prior to that, he was fighting three to four times a year.

In 2017, he won a very close twelve round unanimous over Daniel Jacobs in March at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and then came back in September to fight to a twelve round split draw with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

There are ongoing discussions for Golovkin to face Canelo in a rematch on May 5th, likely at T-Mobile. Both sides are on board with the fight, but right now it’s all about the financial terms coming together.

Last month, Canelo was officially  made the mandatory challenger to Golovkin’s WBC title. The next fighter in line for a crack at that belt is undefeated contender Jermall Charlo.

If that rematch falls through, then Golovkin would like to unify all of the middleweight belts – and there is only one remaining, the WBO title.

Next month, WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders will travel to Canada to defend his title against former IBF champion David Lemieux. Golovkin stopped Lemieux two years ago to pick up the IBF strap.

Saunders has already made it clear that if he beats Lemieux, then the next fight he wants would be Golovkin – unless GGG was defeated by Canelo.

“I would love to fight three or four times a year but I know it’s difficult. If Canelo does not want the fight, then obviously I would love to unify. I can not put pressure on the WBO champion but if he wants I will be willing because my dream is to have all the titles,” Golovkin said to ESPN Deportes.

09/09/2017 Naoya Inoue vs. Antonio Reyes

Date:  Saturday, September 9, 2017

WBO JR. BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BOUT

Location: StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA

Promoter:  Teiken Promotions – Akihiko Honda / Promociones Zanfer – Fernando Beltran

Supervisor:   Richard De Cuir

Referee: Lou Moret

Judges:  Larry Hazzard Jr., Fernando Villareal, Zac Young

Results:   The WBO Jr. Bantamweight Champion Naoya Inoue,retained his 115-pound belt for the sixth time against Antonio Nieves by a sixth-round knockout victory.

TV:  USA HBO, Panama RPC Channel 4, Latin America: Canal Space

09/09/2017 Oleksandr Usyk vs. Marco Huck

Date:  Saturday, September 9, 2017

WBO JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BOUT

Location: Max-Schmeling-Halle, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany 

Promoter:  Sauerland Event / Wilfried Sauerland

Supervisor:   Istvan Kovacs

Referee: Robert Byrd

Judges:  Zoltan Enyedi, Matteo Montella, Robin Taylor

Results:   WBO Jr. Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) successfully defended his title in stopping former champion Marco Huck (40-5-1, 27 KOs) in the 10th round.

TV:  Canada Super Channel, Germany SAT.1

Photos: Usyk Dominates, Stops Marco Huck in Tenth Round

By Alexey Sukachev

Berlin, Germany – In the first bout of the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight tournament, Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) scored a tenth round stoppage of former champion Marco Huck (40-5-1, 27 KOs) to retain the WBO Jr. Heavyweight title.

Usyk will now have to face the winner of the September 30th clash between WBC champion Mairis Briedis and Mike Perez, which takes place in Latvia.

The tournament has been given to us by Comosa AG – a specifically created franchise, which has familiar names of Richard Schaefer and Sauerland Event behind it – is a play-off style tournament between the certain division’s best fighters. The tournament formula has previously proved to be successful in both long-time and short-period formats.

In round one, Usyk, 30 years old, stayed at the distance, using his excellent footwork to avoid long, lean power shots of the former WBO Jr. Heavyweight champion. Huck was reserved and fought behind his trademark high guard. Huck exploded during the last minute of the round, landing several hard shots on the gloves of Usyk, wisely attached to he back of his head, as the German tried to apply his well-known dirty tactics to distract the Ukrainian. Usyk retaliated with body shots.

The second saw the champion utilizing his potent southpaw jab to keep Huck at bay. The Kapt’n was powerful enough to make his way throw those connections but not enough power to trouble Usyk on the inside. The Ukrainian bombed Huck during the last minute of the round and hurt him at the ropes with several straight left hands. Usyk’s jab was at is prettiest in the third, as he peppered the veteran one-two-three more times. WBO #9 and TBRB #10 Huck tried straight right hands against the Ukrainian southpaw but landed few, as the champion perfectly controlled the distance, forcing the German to miss badly. Usyk exploded with short left power punches at the end of the round. Huck was pinned to the ropes and lucky not to go down after several clear landings.

Clinches appeared as a new weapon for Huck in the fourth. But to apply clinch you should be near your opponent, and Huck had increasingly harder time getting in throw major right jab of Usyk. The German landed a huge right hand to warn Usyk at the end of the second minute of the round, but the Ukrainian retaliated with hard damaging blows, once again pummeling the veteran fighter around the ring. Usyk was the boss of the fifth, as he kept stalking Huck and pinning him with big left hands. The challenger’s outbursts were scarce, producing little effect on his onrushing opponent. The end of the round saw Huck reeling, with the smiling Ukrainian landing one punch after another.

The sixth wasn’t a busy round for both. Usyk looked for a short pause, and Huck was battered enough where he was unable to produce meaningful offensive against the Ukrainian. However, in the seventh, the battering continued for the 32-year old German Bosnian, whose birth name is Muamer Hukic. Usyk was all over Huck during the last two minutes of the round, dealing damage to the German, playing with him, beating him to the punch.

The Battery continued into the eighth, as Usyk was once again all over Huck. Marco showed solid chin and will to withstand the champion’s attacks and to retaliate, though the counter fire was sparse. Usyk tried to went in for kill after landing a huge left bomb at the end of the round but he slipped, and the German immediately hit him with a right hand while Usyk was down. Referee Robert Byrd interrupted the action and deducted a point from Huck.

The Ukrainian continued to humiliate Huck in the ninth, and the German’s mild successes were becoming increasingly rare. Huck was landing punches below the beltline yet he was hurt several times in the ninth. Usyk mixed body shots and head punches to double the effect

The logic end of a one-sided beatdown was reached in the tenth round. Usyk applied a non-stop aggression towards Huck, missing almost zero punches and landing them at will. Huck, his face reddened, had been wobbling around the ring in pain for two minutes, before the referee finally waved it off at 2:50 of the tenth.

www.boxingscene.com/photos-usyk-dominates-stops-marco-huck-tenth-round–120335?print_friendly=1

08/26/2017 Miguel Cotto vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai

Date:  Saturday, August 26, 2017

WBO JR. MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BOUT

Location:  StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA

Promoter:   Golden Boy Promotions/Oscar De La Hoya; Miguel Cotto Promotions/Miguel Cotto; Teiken Promotions/Akihiko Honda

Supervisor:   Francisco Valcarcel, Esq.

Referee: Lou Moret

Judges:  Robin Taylor (120-108); Pat Russell (119-109); Zac Young (118-110)

Results:   The vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Title was obtained by Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) with a unanimous decision victory against the Japanese Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs).

TV:  USA HBO, Latin America: Canal Space

Cotto beats Kamegai, wins WBO 154lb title

By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada

While most of the world’s attention was focused on the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle in Las Vegas, The action was in Southern California as Puerto Rico’s only four-division world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) returned to the ring Saturday night at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California against Japan’s Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs).

It was an action packed fight from start to finish with Cotto adding another world title to his legacy in taking a hard fought decision over the Japanese warrior Kamegai who kept bringing throughout the night.

Kamegai came right at Cotto sneaking in the right hands and backing him to the ropes but in the closing seconds Cotto connected with a huge left hook. Continuing to go at Cotto, Kamegai pressed in round two as they went toe to toe. The Japanese kept the aggression in round three as Cotto boxed away landing power shots. Circling the ring in round four Cotto landed big but despite that, Kamegai continued to go at him taking his best shots.

Cotto landed a huge right hand to start the fifth snapping Kamegai’s head back tagging him throughout the round but that didn’t bother to shy away the Japanese warrior who kept coming banging his gloves together. Nothing seemed to bother Kamegai as he kept running into Cotto’s bombs in the sixth and pressing, the Puerto Rican boxed effectively. Past the halfway point in the seventh Cotto continued his dominance but Kamegai’s heart made it a fight as he kept coming.

Late in the fight in round nine the Puerto Rican landed power combinations snapping Kamegai’s head again. In round ten Cotto circled the ring boxing away but there was no stopping Kamegai. The championship rounds was all Cotto as he kept it conservative and sealing it in route to a decision win as the judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110.

 

www.fightnews.com/cotto-beats-kamegai-wins-wbo-154lb-title/3695

08/19/2017 Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo

Date:  Saturday – August 19, 2017

WBO/WBA/IBF/WBC  JR. WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BOUT

Location:  Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Promoter:  Top Rank / Bob Arum

Supervisor:  John Duggan, Esq.

Referee:  Jack Reiss

Judges:  Glenn Feldman, Max De Luca, Steve Weisfeld

Results: The WBO Champion Terence Crawford Crawford gains the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles, adding to the WBC and WBO belts, when he  dropped Julius Indongo in the second round, before finishing him off in the third on a hard body shot. Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KO) was down for the full ten count,

TV:   ESPN3

Hooker Back in the Ring Saturday

By Robert Hughes
Photos: Stacey Verbeek

While Terrance Crawford is 650 miles north in Lincoln, Nebraska fighting for all the other super lightweight belts, Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker will be battling Courtney ‘CJ’ Jackson for the NABO Super-Lightweight [Jr. Welterweight] title on Saturday at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

Crawford will be watched by millions on ESPN taking on Julius Indongo and raising lots of money for himself. Hooker [22-0-3, 16 KO] will make somewhat less and headline a non-televised black-tie fundraiser for a DFW-area chapter of The Links, Incorporated. 

Crawford is the top of the rail but ‘Mighty Mo’ is not 650 miles behind the world’s top 140-pounder. Until they meet, if ever, in the ring Mighty Mo is taking on an undefeated, untested fighter who was carefully picked for Hooker’s handlers, Arnie Verbeek and trainer Vincent Parra.

“There was a short list,” Verbeek said. “Roc Nation thought this was the best fight, they presented it to us and we could’ve vetoed whatever we’d like.”

A quick troll through Jackson’s perfect 17-0-0, 10 KO professional record exposes a textbook list of human tin cans. A [not-so random] tally of seven Jackson opponents shows a combined record of 1-98-0 and only three of the 10 others owning winning records. 

“It’s not going 10 rounds – it won’t make it past five,” Hooker predicts.

Nice! Sounds easy. So when will ‘Mighty Mo’ match up with Crawford at 140 pounds?

“We’re ranked No. 2 WBO so at some point they are going to have to put us in there,” Verbeek said, while emphasizing he is not focused on rankings nor titles, right now.

This will be Hooker’s fifth fight under the Roc Nation banner, an organization that undoubtedly would like to see him win some world titles.

Promoters have served Jackson well by arranging this title bout but he can’t have any delusions about walking out of the ring with that perfect record, or an NABO belt. The 29-year-old Homestead, Fla. resident is catching a tough, talented champion on the upswing of his career, a fighter with faster hands, supreme boxing skills and one has been pushed to the brink of defeat without submission.

Hooker is no tin can.

“He’s about to peak,” Parra said about Hooker’s career curve. “He just turned 28 so the next couple years are crucial – we’re preparing Mo to be the best Mo he can be.”

Style-wise this is not a good matchup of Jackson’s short hands against Hooker’s long arms. Jackson doesn’t look slow, he just doesn’t get his arms away from his body like he will need to against a taller, faster fighter. It’s hard to imagine Jackson hitting Hooker with anything that matters. If Mo keeps him away from the body it should be a quick main event.

“He’s tough, he’s inspired, he’s got a little bit of history behind him and built himself a nice little record,” Parra said about Jackson. “He’s about to find out there’s levels to this; Maurice is gonna handle business.”

Putting aside respect for the other camp, this is a classic tune-up for one of North America’s best true junior welterweights. A can’t-lose matchup in front of a hometown audience, dressed wonderfully for the occasion while raising money and awareness for a 36-year-old organization that helps lower-income families in the Mid-Cities region of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hooker trained in Dallas for this weekend’s fight but usually spends much of his camp-time in San Diego and in the San Bernardino Mountains, training where other boxers go to suck in the thin air above Southern California’s air pollution at 6,750 feet elevation.

“I love Big Bear training camp, there’s nothing to do but train,” Hooker said.

Hooker has no problem weighing in under the super lightweight limit of 140 pounds. His slim build hides a powerful right hand. Hooker feels his best assets in the ring are his jab and his power. He sparred this camp with welterweight Greg Jackson, of Philadelphia, Johnny Garcia from Michigan and DFW lightweight Manuel Rey Rojas, among others. 

Hooker is a family man who he thinks he has two or three more fights at 140 pounds “And go from there, he said. “I want to retire around 154 with a couple title belts.” 

NABO Super Lightweight Title – Maurice Hooker vs. Cortney Jackson
Saturday, August 19, 2017 – Omni Hotel, Dallas, Texas

www.fightnews.com/hooker-back-ring-saturday/3121

Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo: Risk All Around

By Cliff Rold

Title unification was never easy.

That was true well before the WBC broke away from the WBA in the 1960s. In the 1930s, the middleweight and flyweight titles had a slew of claimants to the world title. Everyone was making enough money that holding off on ultimate ‘unification’ took about a decade to complete.

Money is the root of it after all.

Most of the fighters who hold belts aren’t worried about losing a boxing match. They’re worried about losing a check. If you’re a Strawweight champion making five figures for a title fight, that’s a hell of a lot better place to be than the strawweights without a belt. Risking a title against another champion makes it harder to make a living. It only makes sense if it pays well more than defending often in front of a paying home court until a dangerous mandatory comes along.

It’s not very sporting but, for most of the beltholders in boxing, it’s rational.

They made the risk worth the reward for the fighter with more to lose this weekend.

To be sure, both Julius Indongo and Terence Crawford have a lot on the line. Each holds two of the four most recognized sanctioning body titles. They stand to have the largest audience of their respective careers on ESPN (10 PM EST/7 PM PST) with solid fight week coverage to get the word out.

Unlike Crawford (31-0, 22 KO), an American fighter with an established base of fans in Nebraska and lots of US TV exposure, Indongo (22-0, 11 KO) likely has less chance to rebound if he loses this weekend. Indongo is already 34 and, for most American fans, unknown even with his WBA and IBF belts.

Indongo might have been able to milk those belts for a while and spread out the paydays. Instead, he’s trying to finish a gutsy road trip trifecta.

Namibia’s Indongo went to Russia and knocked out Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky (26-1, 23 KO) last year for the IBF strap. He went to Glasgow to beat Scotland’s Ricky Burns for the WBA strap.

Now he’s in Lincoln Nebraska trying to go from invisible man to undisputed champion in three fights.

Lose memorably and there could be other days for Indongo. Lose wide and he may be forgotten as quickly as he emerged. Indongo is gambling big on himself and deserves credit for it.

Crawford merits plenty of credit too. The WBC, WBO, and lineal champ is a talented fighter on the cusp of the real high dollar promised land. Indongo is the sort of guy a man in his position might not normally want to mess with. Indongo is longer, taller, and has shown the pressure of being the away team does not stifle him.

The risk for Crawford isn’t that a loss could make him anonymous. For Crawford, the risk is that a loss could provide a long-term rationale for fighters to avoid him and cut off his avenues to the biggest fights that could be made.

He is, in some sense, where the late Vernon Forrest found himself in 2003. After two wins over “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Forrest was the lineal welterweight champion and the consensus 2002 Fighter of the Year. He could begin to realistically dream about chasing the golden goose of his era: Oscar De La Hoya. All he had to do was keep winning and hope public pressure and consistent victory opened a door down the road.

Forrest opted for a unification clash with wild swinging, big talking Ricardo Mayorga. The odds were heavily in Forrest’s favor.

Mayorga stopped him in three and then won a decision in the immediate rematch.

Forrest was far from done. HBO and Showtime still had room for him and he added two reigns at Jr. middleweight. It was a hell of a career.

It just never quite landed on the jackpot fight.

Crawford has won recognition from both Ring and TBRB as the rightful champion at lightweight and Jr. welterweight. He’s already had a hell of a career but the true riches lay just a little farther away. This might be the absolute worst time to lose he could find.  

It’s what makes this a fight to be excited about. While both men are getting a reported seven figures, that’s not the sort of sum after taxes that puts one in a safe zone for life. They’re getting good money in the hopes of great money somewhere down the line.

They’re also fighting to do something only one other fighter has done.

Since the WBO came into existence in the late 1980s, only two fighters have held all four major belts simultaneously: Bernard Hopkins who unified the middleweight crown and Jermain Taylor who took it from him. The winner Saturday will be the third.

Unification was never easy. In the four-belt era, it’s so difficult almost no one even bothers to try.

Crawford and Indongo are both bothering. Who will find their risk rewarded?  

www.boxingscene.com/terence-crawford-julius-indongo-risk-all-around–119595?print_friendly=1