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Argentina's Matthysse KOs Olusegun; Las Vegas Fighters All Win Too

David A. Avila

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006AjoseandMatthysseIMG 1857LAS VEGAS-Lucas Matthysse finally cracked the iron head of Ajose Olusegun to win by knockout in the 10th round and capture the WBC interim junior welterweight title on Saturday.

After a constant sledgehammer attack by Argentina's Matthysse (32-2, 30 KOs), the fast-moving Olusegun (30-1, 14 KOs) was obliterated in front of a couple thousand raucous fans at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. When the end came it was brutal.

Matthysse started slowly as the hard-chinned Olusegun used his speed and agility to win the first round convincingly. Fans of Matthysse knew that their fighter is a slow starter.

Round two saw Matthysse open up the big guns and scored some pinpoint right hands to Olusegun's chin. The Nigerian never blinked.

“I thought I had him a few times,” said Matthysse, whose prior win was a knockout over Mexico's Humberto Soto. “It was a tough fight.”

In the third Matthysse began attacking the body and that opened up the firing lanes for the Argentine. Olusegun kept moving around firing combinations but the effect of his punches didn't seem as potent as before.

It was all Matthysse from there on.

The bombs flowed freely for the next six rounds but despite some eye-wincing blows Olusegun kept fighting. Finally, in round 10, a right hand snapped the Nigerian's head violently and that was followed with a pair of big right hands and down went Olusegun with a thud. Referee Russell Mora stopped the fight at 2:59 for a technical knockout win for Matthysse.

“He was a hard puncher, the hardest puncher I ever fought, but I'm disappointed with myself,” said Olusegun. “A good champion comes back and fights again.”

Matthysse won the WBC interim title and was very pleased by the accomplishment.

“I finally got my belt,” said Matthysse. “Now I have my dream and it's going to be tough to take it away from me.”

Love

J'Leon Love (13-0, 7 KOs) faced the unorthodox style of Ramon Valenzuela (7-2) and let the Chicago middleweight self-destruct in the eighth round. After Valenzuela attempted to lift Love's leg in the seventh and again in the eighth, referee Jay Nady stopped the fight and disqualified Valenzuela.

“Man, he was awkward. I just took my time and had fun,” said Love who lives and trains in Las Vegas. “I just took what he gave me.”

Love connected often against Valenzuela but the square jawed ruffian was able to absorb the blows and continue fighting. Combinations flowed freely from Love who never lost his stride throughout the fight. In round seven, a three-punch combination punctuated by a left hook staggered Valenzuela. Love unleashed a blur of punches and Valenzuela held on. Then he tried to lift Love and the referee stopped the action and deducted a point from the Chicago fighter for the attempt.

With pound for pound champion Floyd Mayweather watching in the front row, protege Love returned to a calculated attack that forced Valenzuela to look for cover. When he couldn't find refuge he attempted another left. Nady immediately disqualified Valenzuela at 37 seconds of round eight.

“There was no pressure at all. I love it,” said Love about fighting with his mentor Mayweather watching. “It's what I do every day in the gym.”

Melinda

Melinda Cooper (22-2, 11 KOs) of Las Vegas used accurate combination punching to scrape out a majority decision against San Antonio's Celina Salazar (4-1-2) after six rounds of a junior featherweight bout.

Cooper used distance and pinpoint combinations in the first round, but Salazar never stopped moving forward and that was the theme of the fight.

Salazar closed the distance in the second round after sustaining some jabs from Cooper, but soon closed the distance with some busy work inside. A few times Salazar was able to catch the Las Vegas boxer with right hands as Cooper pulled away from exchanges. A counter left hook landed for Cooper near the end of the round.

Cooper started a little quicker in round three and fired off some good three-punch combinations. Salazar scored a solid right hand in the round and some inside fighting exchanges looked close.

Salazar had her best round in the fourth and seemed to land the right hand frequently. Cooper landed a clean left hook but Salazar landed several more right hands in the round to clearly give her the round. Cooper's braid dangled loose and it seemed to bother her.

A counter left hook from Cooper who kept the fight at a distance against Salazar opened the fifth. Several counter left hooks and a clean right uppercut scored for the Las Vegas fighter. A three-punch combination landed for Cooper who returned to form in the fifth by using distance.

Cooper entered the sixth round by continuing the form used in the prior round and kept Salazar at a distance. The Texas fighter kept pressing but was unable to close within striking range for long. At the end of six rounds one judge scored it 57-57, and the others 60-54 and 59-55 for Cooper. It was her first win after back-to-back losses in world title fights. Salazar suffered her first pro loss but looked good in moving to the contender class.

Other bouts

Ishe Smith (24-5, 11 KOs) hacked out a 10 round junior middleweight decision over Irving Garcia (17-8-3) with an assortment of combinations. A combination to the body and head dropped Irving in the first round but the Puerto Rican stiffened up his defense and lasted the distance. Two judges scored it 100-89 for Smith and another 99-90 for the Las Vegas-based Smith.

Daquan Arnett (7-0, 5 KOs) had some resistance from Mexico City's Jesus Tavera (3-3) but after three rounds of power shots the dam broke at 1:37 of round four. A blistering combination snapped back Tavera's head and referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight. Though the Mexican never was floored, he absorbed a lot of shots in all three rounds of the junior middleweight fight scheduled for six rounds.

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Jonathan Esquivel Remains Unbeaten and Raquel Miller Wins NABF Title

David A. Avila

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HAWAIIAN GARDENS, Calif.-Undefeated Jonathan Esquivel attracted a large and lively crowd and they weren’t disappointed in his knockout win over Tavoris Teague on Saturday.

Esquivel (10-0, 9 KOs) showed the large contingent of fans that sold out the Hawaiian Gardens Casino that the tricky Teague (6-27-4) could not compete for four full rounds in their super middleweight clash.

The fight ended at 2:11 of the fourth when Teague was overwhelmed by Esquivel but remained standing up as referee Zachary Young ended the fight.

Esquivel, who lives in nearby Santa Ana, California, brought more than 200 fans and they saw him struggle a bit with Teague, but after two flat rounds, the southpaw began finding the range and unleashed a barrage of punches that Teague could not avoid. The end came suddenly but the Orange County fighter remains with an unblemished record.

NABF Female Title

Female middleweight contenders headed the main event and former Olympic alternate Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller (9-0, 4 KOs) showed her professional game is intact with a knockout win over veteran Erin Toughill (7-5-1) to win the vacant NABF middleweight title.

Miller didn’t waste time and knocked Toughill down in the first exchange with a short right cross that dropped the veteran fighter who had nearly toppled middleweight contender Maricela Cornejo in her last ring appearance.

Speed was her greatest asset and Miller used it to full advantage as she jabbed her way through Toughill’s guard and landed quick three-punch combinations. For the first three rounds Miller was in full control.

Around the fourth round Miller seemed in cruise mode when Toughill rammed several rights against her foe and followed up with more right crosses. All seemed to land flush and Miller was moved backwards with the blows. Though Toughill did not land more punches than Miller, the solid blows were enough to win her first round.

In the fifth round Toughill seemed confident that she had discovered the remedy for Miller’s speedy punches and kept ramming rights through the guard. Again Toughill seemed to be able to land the more effective blows, but though they landed they didn’t seem to hurt Miller, but rather perplexed her.

Miller seemed more intent to reverse the momentum and launched a quick solid three-punch combination on Toughill who seemed surprised by the blows. After absorbing a Miller right Toughill retaliated with a left hook and another left hook. The change of pace seemed to keep Miller off balance but toward the end of the sixth round a screaming left jab connected followed by a solid one-two combination. Miller had quickly regained the momentum.

The seventh round saw both fighters race toward each other with Miller connecting with a lead right that snapped Toughill’s head back. Miller followed up quickly with a snapping jab, jab and left hook that caught Toughill perfectly and dropped her immediately to the floor. She beat the count but when referee Zachary Young asked her to put her hands up:

“She gave me a strange look and I had to end it,” said Young of Toughill’s response.

When asked what punch caused the knockout Miller was unsure.

“I don’t remember what punch I used, I’m just excited to win the title,” said Miller who won by knockout at 1:01 of the seventh round.

Miller wins the NABF middleweight title and becomes an automatic contender for the WBC version of the middleweight world title. Claressa Shields is the undisputed middleweight world champion and holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO world titles.

“I’m all about smooth boxing but I can bang if I have to,” said Miller.

Yes she can.

Other Bout

Super middleweights Kenny Quach (0-1-1) and Johnny Cisneros (0-0-1) ended in a draw after four closely fought rounds. Cisneros fights out of Riverside and was making his pro debut. Quach fights out of Santa Ana, Calif.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Brooklyn: Wilder Knocks Out Breazeale

Arne K. Lang

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Wilder Knocks Out Breazeale

Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale figures to be entertaining for as long as it lasts said one pundit and he could not have been more prescient. Entertaining it was although if you were distracted you likely missed it. It was all over in 137 seconds

Wilder, making the ninth defense of his WBC world heavyweight title, stunned Breazeale with a big right hand early in the contest but then walked into a wild right hand by Breazeale and was himself momentarily stunned. He had enough presence of mind, however, to keep his cannon of a right hand unholstered and a few moments later he unleashed it again, leaving poor Breazeale flat on his back. Breazeale made it to his feet, seemingly as referee Harvey Dock reached the count of “10,” but he was in dire straits and the bout was waived it off.

This was the same Dominic Breazeale who lasted into the seventh round with Anthony Joshua not quite two years ago. As for Wilder, he remains undefeated with his 40th knockout in 42 pro starts and a match between him and Joshua or a rematch with Tyson Fury looms bigger than ever.

Co-Feature

WBC world featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. successfully defended his title and completed the hat trick for the Russell Brothers with a fifth round stoppage of Spain’s Kiko Martinez. Russell (30-1, 18 KOs) was just too fast for the Spaniard and was on his way to a comfortable win on points when the fight was waived off at the suggestion of the ring physician because of a bad cut over Martinez’s left eye. A former IBF 122-pound champion, Martinez (37-9-2) is now 1-4 in world title fights.

Undercard

In the first of the TV fights, North Las Vegas junior welterweight Juan Heraldez remained unbeaten but barely as he was held to a draw by former IBF 130-pound world title-holder Argenis Mendez. One judge had it 97-73 for Mendez but the others had it even. Heraldez (16-0-1) was one of four Mayweather Promotions fighters on the card. Mendez, from Yonkers, New York, via the Dominican Republic, was held to a draw in a second straight fight, bringing his record to 25-5-3.

A previous draw ensued in an 8-round contest between 30-something heavyweights, Robert Alfonso (18-0-1) and Iago Kiladze (26-4-1). Alfonso, a Cuban defector and ex-Olympian who trains with Wilder in Tuscaloosa, weighed in at 254, giving him a 35-pound weight advantage. He had Kiladze fighting off his back foot for much of the contest, but the LA-based fighter from the Republic of Georgia snuck in enough punches to stem a 3-fight losing streak.

Bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell moved to 14-0 with a six-round technical decision over Tijuana’s Saul Hernandez (13-13-1). A clash of heads in the sixth round left the Mexican disoriented and the bout went to the cards where Antonio won by scores of 59-55 and 60-54 twice. Hernandez didn’t figure to go the distance. In his last three fights, he fattened up his record against opponents who were a combined 0-30.

In a fight slated for eight rounds, junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell improved to 9-0 (9) with a fourth round stoppage of Nicaragua’s Marcos Mojica (16-4-2) who had the misfortune of being thrust against a former Olympian in a second straight bout. Mojica was on the canvas twice before the referee intervened. He lasted longer than any of Russell’s previous opponents, none of whom lasted beyond three frames.

Brooklyn-born Richardson Hitchins, who represented Haiti in the 2016 Olympics, improved to 9-0 (5) when Columbia’s Alejandro Munero (4-2-3) was unable to answer the bell for round four. The 21-year-old Hitchins was making his eighth appearance at Barclays.

Dylan Price, a 20-year-old bantamweight from Sicklerville, NJ, improved to 8-0 when the corner of Mexico’s Manuel Manzo (4-7-2) stopped the one-sided beatdown midway through the sixth round.

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The Tartan Tornado and the Monster Advance in the World Boxing Super Series

Arne K. Lang

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World Boxing Super Series

Semifinal matchups in the 118- and 140-pound tournaments of the World Boxing Super Series played out today, May 18, at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. All four participants entered the day undefeated.

In the main go, junior welterweight Josh Taylor, the Tartan Tornado, delighted the home folks by winning a unanimous decision over Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk. Fighting in the same arena where he won Commonwealth Gold in 2014, Taylor outpointed Baranchyk on scores of 117-109 and 115-111 twice.

Taylor had an anxious moment in the fifth round when Baranchyk landed three unanswered punches that momentarily left Taylor on shaky legs. But in the very next frame, Taylor came up big, knocking Baranchyk to the canvas twice, first with a right hook and then a left to the head followed by a left to the body.

Baranchyk, who pepped for this fight at Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood, recuperated nicely. Taylor could have played it safe by going on his bicycle in the final round, but he elected to trade with Baranchyk who finished strong, although clearly behind on the cards.

With the victory, Josh Taylor improved to 15-0 and moves on to a contest with Regis Prograis, a bout that will likely land in Glasgow and, if so, will be the biggest fight ever in Scotland. Baranchyk, who was born in Russia but has been residing in Oklahoma, declined to 19-1

The Monster

In the co-feature, Yokohama’s baby-faced Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) showed that he belongs on everyone’s pound-for-pound list with a second round blast-out of Puerto Rico’s previously undefeated Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1). After a fairly even first round, Inoue lowered the boom in the second, decking Rodriguez three times to force an intervention. At stake were the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles. With the win, Inoue earned a date with Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire who was in the building.

Inoue scored his first knockdown with a left hook and that spelled the beginning of the end for Rodriguez. In his previous two bouts, Inoue demolished title-holders Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano in the opening round. If he gets past Donaire – and he will be heavily favored – he will be the odds-on choice to be named the 2019 Fighter of the Year.

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