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It’s Still Joshua’s World with Wilder and Fury Residing There

Frank Lotierzo

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kick sand

They’re certainly having fun and doing a good job of trying to kick sand on the champ with the lifeguard build cooling it on the beach ….the one basking in the sun, loving life without a foreseeable problem in the world. And when you’re at the top of the food chain in sports, politics, business, and especially boxing, you’re going to be the one on the dart board with the bullseye on your back. That comes with being the top dog in your field and it’s a lifetime better than being one of those who needs to kick sand to create interest in what you’re doing.

Since it was recently rumored and then confirmed that former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury 27-0 (19) and WBC titlist Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) will meet later this year, they’ve owned the headlines. The pairing of Wilder and Fury is the fallout of Wilder and WBA/IBF/WBO titlist Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20) not being able to agree on the purse split if they were to meet. So the fight died and Fury, fully aware that, like Wilder, he held no leverage over Joshua, set his sight on Wilder. Now after beating two unranked fighters and because of his undefeated record and bravado, Fury will fight Wilder for the only belt he didn’t hold when he retired as the lineal champ.

The Wilder-Fury antics have been entertaining to watch and whoever wins between them — handing the other their first defeat — will clearly add to their cachet when it comes to vying for a satisfactory purse split with Joshua. However, lost in the shuffle is that, regardless of what Wilder and Fury say or do, Joshua is still the money fight for both and the fighter to beat in the division. It’s easy to see why Deontay and Tyson look to denigrate him at every turn.

When trying to think of the star fighter who Joshua’s persona most resembles, perhaps a less accomplished Sugar Ray Leonard could be the one. Leonard was subjected to the same accusations by Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler that Joshua fends off today, namely that he feared facing them and is hiding behind his advisor. In AJ’s case, it’s Eddie Hearn whereas Leonard had a land shark handling his business affairs named Mike Trainer. As history went on to prove, Leonard didn’t fear either of them, fighting Hearns during the time that Hearns was thought to be unbeatable and tangling with Hagler as a 4-1 underdog when most thought he was risking more than his health.

Joshua has the entire UK in his corner; his fans show up in droves for every fight. And like Leonard and even Muhammad Ali to a point, the opponent doesn’t matter… they just want to be there to emphatically root for him. In Leonard’s case, he was easy to root for because in his demeanor he reminded fans of the guy next door, whereas Joshua has the look of a guy from central casting who would be chosen to play the part of the heavyweight champion in a movie. AJ has the height, smile, broad shoulders, defined arms, and chest held upright by a narrow waist. Joshua goes out of his way to smile and project that he’s approachable, although unless he’s on camera that’s not quite as it seems. The point is he has the “it” factor and that’s benefited him greatly in becoming the money fighter in boxing’s flagship division.

In the ring Joshua does most everything technically correct. He fights from a conventional stance, he has terrific form and gets good leverage on his shots and is clearly the best boxer-puncher in the heavyweight division since the end of the Lewis/Klitschko era. He also looks to win by knockout. The only time he didn’t deliver on that he was given a pass because his opponent, Joseph Parker, decided after sampling AJ’s strength and power that he’d fight to survive more than to win. And Joshua, in somewhat of a surprise to many, was content to win with his powerful jab instead of putting himself at a little risk to keep his consecutive knockout streak intact.

Joshua is an easy target for Wilder and Fury to take shots at. They say he hasn’t fought anybody and is robotic and question his chin and toughness. And some of that has to do with him not carrying himself as if he were the baddest man on the planet the way that Mike Tyson carried himself. Yet Mike Tyson never got off the canvas to come back to win a fight, whereas Joshua got off the deck and rallied to stop the biggest two-handed puncher in the division in the biggest fight of his career. Too often fighters with a soft demeanor like Joshua aren’t taken as seriously as they should be, something both Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler found out when they mixed with Sugar Ray Leonard, and don’t be surprised if the winner of Wilder-Fury finds out the same thing about AJ when they finally face him.

Fury likes to say he handled Klitschko easier than Joshua did as a way of tweaking AJ while elevating himself. Well in a sense that’s true, but every heavyweight contender in the world would rather have defeated Klitschko in the manner in which Joshua did as opposed to the manner that Fury did. And if you asked Klitschko which setback bothers him more, it wouldn’t take him long to expound on how the Fury loss is more difficult to accept. And that’s because he sold Fury short before the fight and when it was over he didn’t feel as though he were defeated as in out-manned, but handcuffed by an awkward style.

Not so with Joshua. Wladimir was driven to win going into the Joshua fight and they fought and didn’t play hit, hold and move the way Fury fought him. In addition, he hit AJ with his money punch, his right cross to the chin, and dropped him. Only Joshua got up and eventually overwhelmed Wladimir with his boxing skill and power. Klitschko probably dreams in his sleep about tagging Fury with the same bomb he did AJ. The reality is Fury didn’t beat Klitschko up; he basically prevented Wlad from beating him up. And he also was dropped by the biggest shot he ever took and that was from a cruiserweight, Steve Cunningham, so he can’t boast his durability is stouter than AJ’s.

Wilder also likes to insinuate Joshua is a little chinny, yet he was dropped in his 13th bout against Harold Sconiers who retired 18-27-2 (the video has been conveniently scrubbed from the internet). In Wilder’s last bout against Luis Ortiz, he was out-boxed for six of nine rounds and was much closer to being on his way out at the end of the seventh round than Joshua has ever been during his career. And often after Wilder fights, the next day social media is flooded with videos and memes mocking his style and his poor technique. I’ve yet to see one mocking Anthony Joshua’s boxing ability or technique.

Joshua isn’t the perfect fighter, nor is he a finished product the way Wilder and Fury are. They’ve hit their ceiling but Joshua hasn’t, and even at that he’s made more money than the two of them combined and doesn’t need either to continue raking it in. Also, Joshua hasn’t ducked anybody (nor has Wilder or Fury). AJ has already stopped Dillian Whyte, considered a top five contender at this time and next month is facing Alexander Povetkin, who ranks above every heavyweight in the world excluding Joshua and Wilder, and whose only setback was to Wladimir Klitschko, that coming in the midst of Wlad’s 10-year unbeaten streak. So the thought AJ hasn’t faced stern opposition is a myth.

All due props to Wilder and Fury for agreeing to meet later this year. They’re both taking a huge risk, but that’s because they want Joshua but need an injection of credibility and marketability to aide them at the negotiation table when Team Joshua is sitting across from them…which is somewhat amazing being that both Wilder and Fury turned pro in 2008 and AJ didn’t make his debut until 2013.

Yes, the Wider and Fury theatrics have been a nice diversion from the food fight Canelo and GGG are having via the media what seems like every day. Wilder may lack form and his delivery leaves something to be desired, but he is fearless and always in great condition and maybe the best thing to say for him is he has no trepidation letting his hands go, especially with the fight teetering in the balance. And with Wladimir Klitschko retired, Wilder houses the biggest one punch equalizer in the division.

In regards to Fury, he’s done a great job getting back in shape and shedding 95 percent of the weight he put on during his 31-month exile. Tyson has a good boxing mind and is on the verge of regaining his form and speed of 2014 and he’s also calculating and difficult to contend with strategically.

As to whether or not either or both could beat Joshua, there’s only one way to find out. The only given until Joshua loses or is defeated by either Wilder or Fury is that he’s the star fighter and the one to beat if you’re a heavyweight. And if he beats the Wilder/Fury winner, he’ll clearly represent the future of the division and perhaps all of boxing. Theatrics along with the WBC or lineal title won’t close the gap. And if the winner between Wilder and Fury struggles or isn’t impressive, they’ll have gained virtually nothing by facing each other, especially if Joshua dispenses with Povetkin in an impressive way next month.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Bohachuk KOs Unlucky Number 13 in Hollywood

David A. Avila

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Bohachuk

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Super welterweight prospect Serhii “El Flaco” Bohachuk (13-0, 13 KOs) disposed of local urban legend Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis with nary a sweat in less than four rounds on Sunday evening at the Avalon Theater before a sold out crowd.

Bohachuk remained undefeated and continued his knockout streak with Pendarvis (21-5-2, 9 KOs) the victim. Aside from the main event, the 360 Promotions card was stacked with competitive action.

Bohachuk, 23, trained expecting an easy fight especially knowing that Pendarvis lacked firepower. But sometimes firepower is not all that important.

“He only had nine knockouts,” said Bohachuk, who trains with Abel Sanchez and Max Golovkin (Gennady’s twin) in Big Bear, Calif. “It was easy fight.”

The young Ukrainian felt it was easy but Pendarvis still unleashed several Cracker Jack combinations that caught Bohachuk flush. If only Pendarvis had power there might have been a different result.

Bohachuk floored Pendarvis in the first round with a left hook dug into the liver of Pendarvis and down he went. He resumed the fight but was visibly worried.

In the second round Mookie unleashed some of his magic with a sizzling left uppercut left cross combination that stung Bohachuk for a split second. Then he followed that with a sneaky overhand left and a right hook combination that seemed to come out of the dark. But without power behind those blows, Bohachuk remained in control.

Bohachuk regained total control in the third round and floored Pendarvis with a left hook bomb that immediately dropped him to the ground. The round ended seconds later and seemingly allowed Pendarvis to escape, but at seven seconds into the fourth round Pendarvis told the referee he could not continue and the fight was stopped.

“I wanted the fight to go longer,” Bohachuk said.

A super middleweight match saw Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10 KOs) defeat Sacramento’s Mike Guy (9-4-1) by decision after eight rounds. All three judges scored it for Akhmedov who struggled with Guy’s stop and go style.

Kazakhstan’s Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8 KOs) out-worked Luis Hernandez after eight rounds in a middleweight clash to win by unanimous decision.

Other Bouts

A lightweight clash between Mario Ramos (8-0) and Arnulfo Becerra (7-2) started slowly for two rounds then erupted into a bloody war for the remaining four rounds. Becerra caught Ramos repeatedly with three and four-punch combinations but Ramos always retaliated back. The crowd roared at the action that saw both suffer cuts and bruises to each other’s face that did not discourage more blows. Ramos was deemed the winner by decision.

“He pushed me into a war,” said Ramos of Becerra. “That’s what fans want.”

Other winners on the fight card were Devon Lee (7-0), Adrian Corona (4-0), Christian Robles (3-0), George Navarro (5-0-1) and Timothy Ortiz by knockout in his pro debut.

In attendance were actor Mario Lopez, WBC minimum weight titlist Louisa Hawton, European champion Scott Quigg and others.

“They’ll be appearing on our future shows this year,” said Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Oxon Hill: The Peterson Brothers Fail to Deliver

Arne K. Lang

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Peterson

The story of boxing’s Peterson brothers, Lamont and Anthony, has been well documented. Growing up in Washington, DC, they were often homeless. Then Barry Hunter came into their life. A carpenter by trade, Hunter coached amateur boxing at a local rec center. He took the brothers in when Lamont, the older by 13 months, was only 10 years old and he’s been with them ever since, a rarity in a sport where some boxers seemingly change trainers more frequently than they change their underwear.

Today the brothers, who turned pro on the same card in 2004, appeared in the featured bouts of a Premier Boxing Champions show at the MGM National Harbor casino resort in Oxon Hill, Maryland, a stone’s throw across the Potomac from their old stomping grounds. And they were well-matched. Both of their fights were near “pick-‘em” affairs with the invaders the slightest of favorites.

Welterweight Lamont Peterson, a former two-division champion coming off a bad loss to Errol Spence Jr, was pitted against Sergey Lipinets, briefly a 140-pound title-holder coming off a loss on points to Mikey Garcia. Peterson was seemingly ahead on the cards through several frames, but one big punch, a straight right hand by Lipinets in round eight, turned the momentum in his favor.

The end came two rounds later when Lipinets hurt Peterson with on overhand right and followed up with an assault that sent the DC man down hard. Peterson arose on spaghetti legs but it was a moot point as his corner tossed in the white flag almost as soon as he hit the canvas. The official time was 2:59 of round 10.

After the fight, in an emotional moment in the ring, Peterson announced his retirement. If he holds tight to this decision, he will leave the sport with a 35-5-1 record. Sergey Lipinets, a kickboxing champion before he took up conventional boxing, improved to 15-1 with his 11th win by stoppage. Overall it was a good action fight with a high volume of punches thrown.

The co-feature, a 10-round junior welterweight contest between Anthony Peterson (37-1-1, 1 ND) and former IBF 130-pound champion Argenis Mendez (25-5-2) ended in a draw. The decision was unpopular with the pro-Peterson crowd but met the approval of the TV commentators and likely most everyone tuning in at home.

Both fought a technical fight. Peterson did most of the leading and seemingly had the fight in hand going into the late rounds where Mendez did his best work. There were no knockdowns or cuts, but Peterson suffered severe swelling over his left eye. The last round was the best with Mendez fighting with more urgency, perhaps out of fear that he would be victimized by a hometown decision.

Anthony Peterson was making his first start since January of last year when he coasted to an easy decision over Eduardo Florez, a decision later changed to a no-contest when Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.

In the swing bout, an entertaining 10-round contest in the 154-pound weight class, Cincinnati’s Jamontay Clark (14-1) overcame a rough patch in the third round to score a unanimous decision over Chicago’s Vernon Brown (10-1-1). The scores were 95-94 and 96-93 twice. At six-foot-two, the rangy Clark had a 7-inch height advantage.

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Pulev Wins Heavyweight Clash and Magdaleno Bests Rico Ramos in Costa Mesa

David A. Avila

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Pulev

COSTA MESA, Calif.-Eastern European heavyweights slugged it out in Orange County with Kubrat Pulev scoring a knockout win over Bogdan Dinu on Saturday evening. The win keeps him in line for a possible showdown with Top Rank’s newly signed Tyson Fury.

After a slow start the Bulgarian heavyweight Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs) scored the knockout win over Romania’s Dinu (18-2, 14 KOs) before a large supportive audience who arrived with Bulgarian flags and hats at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa.

Until the fifth round the action lacked with both heavyweights not eager to fire. But an angry exchange of blows by Dinu saw Pulev emerge with a cut over his left eye. It also opened up the action between the European heavyweights.

Pulev increased the pressure and caught Dinu in the neutral corner where he unloaded right after right on the ducking Romanian fighter who dropped to a knee and was hit behind the head with a blow. The knockdown was ruled down by an illegal punch and a point was deducted from Pulev.

It didn’t matter. The Bulgarian heavyweight proceeded to unleash some more heavy rights and down went Dinu again. The Romanian fighter beat the count and was met with more right hand bombs and down he went for good this time at 2:40 of the eighth round. Referee Raul Caiz ruled it a knockout win for Pulev.

“Sometimes its good and sometimes it’s bad,” said Pulev about his actions in a heavyweight fight. “Sometimes blood makes me very angry.”

Dinu felt that illegal blows led to his downfall. But the winner Pulev was satisfied.

“It doesn’t matter, I was prepared and really good in this moment. I think I was very good boxing today and showed good punching today,” Pulev said.

Former champions

An expected battle between flashy ex-super bantamweight world champions didn’t deliver the goods as Jessie Magdaleno (26-1, 18 KOs) defeated Rico Ramos (30-6, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a featherweight contest for a vacant WBC regional title.

A tentative Magdaleno was cautious and deliberate against Ramos who seemed to be stuck in slow motion for the first half of the fight. Behind some lefts to the body and snappy combinations Magdaleno mounted up points for six rounds.

Ramos stepped up the action in the seventh round and began stepping into the danger zone while delivering some threatening combos inside. Magdaleno resorted to holding and moving as the action shifted in Ramos’s direction.

But it was never enough as Ramos seemed to lack pep. The last two rounds saw Ramos engage with Magdaleno but neither landed the killing blows. After 10 rounds all three judges saw the fight in favor of Magdaleno 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 who now holds the WBC USNBC featherweight title.

“It was a long layoff and I took a fight against a tough, tough veteran and former world champion,” said Magdaleno, whose last fight was the loss of the WBO super bantamweight title to Isaac Dogboe last May. “Got to go back to the drawing board. I boxed as good as I could, he’s just a tough fighter.”

Other Bouts

Max Dadashev (13-0, 11 KOs) was dropped in the second round by muscular Filipino southpaw Ricky Sismundo (35-13-3, 17 KOs) and had a look of surprise. He turned it up in the third round and caught Sismundo rushing in with a slick counter left-right combination on the button. Sismundo was counted out by referee Tom Taylor at 2:30 of the third round of the super lightweight clash.

Former Olympian Javier Molina (19-2, 8 KOs) had a rough customer in Mexico’s Abdiel Ramirez (24-4-1, 22 KOs) who never allowed him space to maneuver in their super lightweight match. After eight close turbulent rounds Molina was given the decision by scores 78-74 twice and 79-73.

South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden (27-2-1, 12 KOs) thoroughly out-boxed Mexico’s Mahonry Montes (35-9-1, 24 KOs) until a clash of heads erupted a cut over his right eye. The fight was stopped in the sixth round and Van Heerden was given a technical decision by scores 60-54 on all three cards.

Welterweights Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, 8 KOs) and Jonathan Steele (9-3-1, 6 KOs) slugged it out for six back and forth rounds at high intensity. There were no knockdowns but plenty of high level stuff going on. The bigger Mominov had the advantage and tried to take out Mitchell, but the smaller welter from Texas was just too tough and skilled to be overrun. Judges scored it 59-54 three times. Good stuff.

Detroit’s Erick De Leon (19-0-1, 11 KOs) survived a knockdown in the fifth and rallied to win by technical knockout over Mexico’s Jose Luis Gallegos (16-6, 12 KOs) in the seventh round of a lightweight clash. A barrage of unanswered blows by De Leon forced referee Ray Corona to halt the fight at 1:55 of the seventh round.

L.A.’s David Kaminsky (4-0, 2 KOs) out-pointed rugged Arizona’s Estevan Payan (1-7-1) to win by unanimous decision after four round in a middleweight contest.

Tyler McCreary (15-0-1, 7 KOs) fought to a draw with Mexico’s Roberto Castaneda (23-11-2) after six rounds. He got all he could handle from the Mexicali featherweight as both traded blow for blow throughout the contest. It was good experience for the young McCreary who looked good but tried too hard to take out the hard headed Castaneda.

Eric Puente (2-0) beat Alejandro Lopez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a lightweight match by 39-37 scores all three cards. It was a very close match with little separation between the two.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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