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Fast Results From Quebec City: Gvozdyk KOs Stevenson (Plus Undercard)

Arne K. Lang

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Adonis Stevenson entered tonight’s contest against Oleksandr Gvozdyk as the sport’s oldest active reigning champion. He left the ring looking very much like a has-been after being stopped in the 11th round by his Ukrainian challenger.

Stevenson, making the 10th defense of his WBC world light heavyweight title, started fast. Gvozdyk, wary of the power in Stevenson’s explosive left hand, fought cautiously, constantly circling. When Stevenson let his hands go, his punches invariably landed on Gvozdyk’s gloves. Ten years younger at age 31, Gvozdyk was a millisecond faster.

Gvozdyk won the middle rounds as his punches landed with greater frequency. However, he had a scary moment in Round 10 when he was tagged with a hard left. The ropes held him up but the ref didn’t call it a knockdown. Before the round ended, however, Gvozdyk was the aggressor. He raked Stevenson with a flurry of punches in the waning seconds.

In the 11th, Gvozdyk hurt Stevenson, knocking him into the ropes, and then went for the kill. When he clubbed Stevenson to the canvas, the referee didn’t bother to count. It was the right decision as Stevenson was slow getting back on his feet. He left the ring on his own power but as a precaution was transported to a hospital for observation.

In advancing his record to 16-0 (12), Gvozdyk won the WBC 175-pound belt. And for Ukrainian boxing fans, he completed the trifecta, joining former amateur stablemates Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk as reigning world champions. Adonis Stevenson, now 29-2-1, still has thunder in his left hand, but as the bout wore on he began to show his age.

Gvozdyk’s win was also a victory for his first-time trainer Teddy Atlas, who designed the perfect game plan, a plan that his pupil executed to perfection.

UNDERCARD

Several of the undercard fights were pushed back after the main event, a concession to Showtime which live-streamed the fight for free as a teaser for the Wilder-Fury PPV.

In the first bout of the evening, slated for six rounds, highly-touted heavyweight prospect Oleksandr Teslenko improved to 15-0 (12) with a third round stoppage of Edson Cesar Antonio. Reportedly 224-23 amateur, the six-foot-four Teslenko, a Toronto-based Ukrainian, had a six-inch height advantage over his stumpy, 41-year-old adversary. Antonio, one of four Brazilians on the card, brought a 40-7-1 record but had scored only three wins over opponents with winning records when he fought them.

The 10-round match between super middleweights Shakeel Phinn (19-2-1) and Dario Bredicean (17-0-1) ended in a majority draw. The French-Canadian judge had it 98-92 for Phinn, a Quebec native of Jamaican ancestry, but he was overruled by his colleagues who had it even (95-95). A rangy southpaw, the Chicago-born Bredicean had his early bouts in Germany and now resides in Florida.

In a Mutt and Jeff affair between greybeards, 40-year-old Aaron Pryor Jr., a six-foot-four super middleweight, won a six round unanimous decision over a 41-year-old, five-foot-six Brazilian, Gilberto dos Santos (14-9). Pryor, a pale imitation of his father, improved to 21-11-2. All three judges had it 59-55.

In a 10 round heavyweight match billed for NABF heavyweight title, Oscar Rivas (25-0) won a lopsided decision over Fabio Maldonado, a 38-year-old Brazilian who wasn’t expected to last the distance. True, Maldonado was 26-0 (25) going in, but his opponents were collectively 68-129-3. The scores were 100-89 and 99-90 twice. A Montreal-based Columbian, Rivas has a date penciled in to fight Bryant Jennings on Jan. 19 at the Turning Stone, Casino, in Verona, NY.

In one of the matches pushed back after the main event, Quebec native Mikael Zewski (32-1) pitched a shutout over Mexican journeyman Aaron Herrera (35-9-1), winning all 10 rounds on all three scorecards.

And another Quebec native, 32-year-old Marie Eve Dicaire (14-0, no knockouts) won the IBF word female 154-pound title, deposing Uruguay’s Chris Namus (24-5) by unanimous decision. The scores were 96-94 and 97-93 twice.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Odds Review for Friday’s Boxing on Telemundo

Miguel Iturrate

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boxing odds
South Florida promoter Tuto Zabala Jr has a seven fight card planned for the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee this Friday, February 22nd that sees three undefeated prospects headline the show. For more than two decades, Zabala Jr has promoted the sport in Mexico and Florida and Friday’s event will air on Spanish language Telemundo in the United States, so check your local listings for start times.
A pair of ten round bouts hold the main event spots as undefeated Yomar Alamo faces veteran Manuel Mendez at welterweight and likewise unbeaten Carlos Monroe takes on Jonathan Tavira in a middleweight bout.
The 23 year old Alamo is from fight hungry Puerto Rico and he is considered a key piece to promoter Zabala Jr’s plans to run shows back on the island. The 28 year old Mendez once carried the ‘prospect’ label as well but Mendez is 1-3-1 in his last five fights. The experience of being in there with the likes of Sonny Fredrickson (19-1) and undefeated Johnathan Navarro (15-0) will make him Alamo’s toughest test to date. The welterweight division is crowded and Alamo is going to need to keep winning beyond Friday to get noticed, but he already banks on the fervent support of his “boriqua” crowd. Promoter Zabala Jr may be wondering if matchmaker Ruben DeJesus picked the right guy in Mendez. Alamo’s record in Puerto Rico looks to have a good bit of fluff. He didn’t face an opponent with a single pro win until his seventh fight. He faced 40 year old vet Edwin Lopez in 2016, but Lopez hurt his hand in the first round and could not continue, so Alamo is largely untested.
Middleweight prospect Carlos Monroe looks to go 12-0 as he steps in to his first bout scheduled for ten rounds. Veteran Jonathan Tavira provides the opposition for the 24 year old Monroe, who turned pro in December of 2017 and notched 10 fights in calendar year 2018. Monroe has been brought along carefully, as the combined record of his 11 opponents stands at 46-98-8. Tavira has been in there with the likes of Arif Magomedov, Dario Bredicean and Esquiva Falcao, all undefeated fighters on the way up. Tavira hits hard but he has been stopped five times in his six losses, so look for Monroe to improve on his eight KOs to date.
2016 U.S. Olympian Antonio Vargas looks to improve to 10-0 in an eight round bantamweight bout against Lucas Rafael Baez (34-17-5). Vargas was originally scheduled to take on Wilner Soto, a veteran with a 21-5 record and he was a big favorite in that match-up.
Below are the current lines as we start off fight week.
Fri 2/22 – Osceola Heritage Center – Kissimmee, Florida
Welterweight 10 rounds –
Manuel Mendez(16-4-1) +160
Yomar Alamo(15-0)         -210
Middleweight 10 rounds –
Jonathan Tavira (17-6)            +550
Carlos Monroe (11-0)             -1050
Bantamweight 8 rounds –
Lucas Rafael Baez        +1150
Antonio Vargas            -2450
(Opponent change for Vargas, line should be similar for new opponent Lucas Rafael Baez)

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Blake Caparello Looks To Grab WBA Regional Belt This Friday

Miguel Iturrate

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Caparello
This Friday night in Australia, light heavyweight contender Blake Caparello returns to action as he faces youngster Reagan Dessaix for the WBA’s Oceania title in the main event of a planned six fight card at The Melbourne Pavilion.
Dessaix currently holds the belt that Caparello held back in 2017, and the 22-year-old is hoping a win on Friday will put him on the international radar. It is where Caparello, who enters this fight as a 32-year-old, has been and hopes to get to again.
Those are the basics of Friday’s main event, the youngster Dessaix making a significant leap in competition level as he looks to get ranked internationally, while the veteran Caparello is hopeful a win will propel him closer to another world title shot.
Caparello laid claim to the IBO’s world title at 175 pounds back in October of 2013 when he won a comfortable unanimous decision over veteran Allan Green. Caparello, who was 17-0-1 at the time of the Green fight, went on to an introductory fight in the United States, and a win there saw him earn an August of 2014 title shot against WBO champion Sergey Kovalev.
Caparello has to feel he was close to a world title as he had the feared Kovalev down in round one before the “Krusher” took him out in round two. Since then, he has fought Isaac Chilemba and Andre Dirrell, extending both ranked veterans the full fight distance. The March of 2018 loss to Chilemba was for the WBC’s world title, and Caparello managed to go 2-0 the rest of the calendar year.
Green, Kovalev, Dirrell and Chilemba. The bottom line is that Dessaix had a solid amateur career in Australia, but there is no one with resumes like the men Caparello has faced when asked to step onto the world scene.
The WBA’s current world champion is Dmitry Bivol (15-0), who is making the fourth defense of his title in March against hard hitting Joe Smith Jr. The veteran Caparello could mount a case for a mandatory shot against either man with a win on Friday, while Dessaix would likely have to keep fighting and winning before earning a shot at a world title.
The co-feature bout is for the Australian title at 154 pounds and sees 31 year old Billy Klimov facing Joel Camilleri. Camilleri is favored as he has had a lot more professional experience than Limov, who turned professional at 29 years old. Strictly regional stuff here.
Both fights have lines at some of the sportsbooks. Check out the numbers as they were at the start of fight week below.
Fri 2/22 – The Melbourne Pavilion – Victoria, Australia
WBA Oceania Title
Light Heavyweight 10 rounds –
Reagan Dessaix(16-1)         +255
Blake Caparello (28-3-1)    -365
Australian Title
Super Welterweight 10 rounds –
Billy Limov (4-0-1)     +200
Joel Camilleri(16-5-1) -280
Check out the link for the live event right here. http://www.epicentre.tv/events/blake-caparello-v-reagan-dessaix/

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Will Fury’s Deal With ESPN Torpedo The Fights That Fight Fans Want to See?

Arne K. Lang

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Fury's deal with ESPN

For the past few weeks, boxing fans have been led to believe that the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was ever so-close to being a done deal. But in the world of professional boxing where Machiavellian characters seemingly hold all the positions of power, nothing is ever a done deal until it’s finally finalized. Today’s announcement that Tyson Fury has signed with ESPN is the latest case in point. It’s a three-fight deal that will reportedly earn the Gypsy King $80 million if he can successfully hurdle the first two legs.

As Thomas Hauser has noted, what we have in boxing today is something similar to leagues in other sports. There’s the Top Rank/ESPN League, the Matchroom/DAZN League, and the PBC/Showtime/FOX League. We would add that these are intramural leagues. Occasionally there’s cross-pollination, similar to when the Yankees play the Mets in a game that counts in the regular season standings, but basically the boxers in each league compete against each other.

We have no doubt that WBC/WBA/IBF heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua will eventually fight Wilder and/or Fury, but it now appears that these matches, when they transpire, will have marinated beyond the sell date. The action inside the ring may mirror the Mayweather-Pacquiao dud.

A match between Joshua and Wilder is already somewhat less enticing than it would have been if it had come to fruition last autumn. The odds lengthened in favor of Joshua after Wilder’s raggedy performance against Tyson Fury on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles.

True, the Bronze Bomber almost pulled the fight out of the fire with a thunderous punch but he was out-slicked in most of the rounds and it wasn’t as if he was fighting a bigger version of Pernell Whitaker. Before that fight, casual fans were less tuned-in to Deontay Wilder’s limitations.

It was reported that the Wilder-Fury rematch was headed to Las Vegas or New York, but that Las Vegas fell out of the running when the State Athletic Commission insisted on using Nevada officials. Fury was the one that balked.

In hindsight we should have seen that this was fake news. No Nevada officials were involved in Fury-Wilder I. The judges were from California, Canada, and Great Britain. The California judge voted against Fury, scoring the fight 115-111, a tally for which he was excoriated. The judge from Great Britain, like many ringside reporters, had it draw. The TV crews, especially the crew from Great Britain, left no doubt that Fury should have had his hand raised and the controversy made the hoped-for rematch more alluring.

So who will be Tyson Fury’s next opponent? Speculation immediately centered on Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev.

Pulev, who turns 38 of May 4, sports a 26-1 record. He was slated to fight Anthony Joshua in October of 2017 but suffered a torn biceps in training and was forced to withdraw. In his most recent bout he outpointed Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin. He’s currently ranked #1 by the IBF.

On Dec. 8 of last year, Bob Arum announced that he had hammered out a deal to co-promote Pulev. It was subsequently reported that Pulev’s first fight under the Top Rank/ESPN umbrella would be against Finland’s Robert Helenius on March 23 in Los Angeles. Six days ago, the distinguished European fight writer Per Ake Persson told his readers that the fight had fallen out, ostensibly because the parties could not come to terms.

Tyson Fury is the most charismatic white heavyweight to come down the pike since Gerry Cooney and the big galoot is bigger than Cooney ever was as he has avid followers on both sides of the Atlantic and Cooney didn’t have social media to enhance his profile. I have little doubt that ESPN will recoup their investment in him. However, deals in boxing are never consummated with an eye on uplifting the sport – on patching things up with the disaffected – and here’s yet another example.

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