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Andrew Cancio Rips WBA Title From Machado by KO and Other Results

David A. Avila

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Cancio

INDIO, Calif.-Underdog Andrew Cancio ripped away the WBA super featherweight world title from Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado with a murderous body attack and became the first and only world champion from the small desert town of Blythe, California on Saturday.

More than 100 loud screaming fans from Blythe were present to witness the event.

Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) survived a first round knockdown against Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) then showed why fans follow him whenever he fights with a furious rally in front of a near sold-out crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino. Pure delirium followed the change of world title ownership.

As soon as the two combatants stepped in the boxing ring Machado looked much larger against the smaller frame of Cancio. And when the Puerto Rican southpaw slugger connected with a left uppercut in the first round, he seemed too powerful even for Cancio.

“I had been there before. I know what to do when I get knocked down,” said Cancio, who now lives in Ventura but has family still in Blythe. “I was even able to score some punches. I didn’t cover up or hold.”

Cancio had shown a penchant for surviving slugfests against Rocky Juarez, Dardan (Zenunaj) and Rene Alvarado and for digging deep. Once again he displayed that same determination.

The father of two, who works for a utility company, stepped on the gas in the second round and never took his foot off the pedal with a grinding attack to the head and body of Machado. The Puerto Rican fighter had no idea how to defend the blistering blows coming his way.

Machado tried to stymie Cancio’s momentum but just when it looked like the storm was over, the California desert fighter would batter the body relentless from one side to the other. The screams from the crowd seemed to add more fuel to Cancio’s fire in the third round.

The loud cheers penetrated the arena. It seemed like all 19,000 residents of the desert town near the Colorado River were present.

“They really motivate me,” Cancio said who was fighting for the 10th time at the Indio casino.

Cancio moved in for another attack somewhat cautiously in the fourth round. Then the murderous machine-like attack to the body began penetrating through Machado’s defense and the Puerto Rican dropped to a single knee and took an eight-count. The fight continued and Cancio was like a hungry wolf chasing injured prey. Machado tried to fend off the attack but again blows to the body sent him down again. He beat the count and rose with Cancio charging in again with arms pumping and connected again. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the fight over at 2:16 of the fourth round. The desert town of Blythe had its first world champion.

“This was the fight of my life. I feel extremely great winning this world title by knockout,” said Cancio. “It’s been a long road and it felt like we thought it would: unbelievable. For me to execute a plan like we did feels great.”

Machado said the weight loss may have contributed to his poor showing.

“I felt weak in there,” Machado said. “I think I have to move up from 130 pounds.”

Still, it was a great moment for Cancio who almost retired more than a year ago.

“I’m extremely happy,” he said. “I wasn’t going to fail.”

WBC Super Bantam Title Fight

WBC super bantamweight world titlist Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs) hung on to the title literally with an unpopular hit and hold formula against Venezuela’s rugged Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), especially after tasting the canvas.

Manzanilla caught Vargas with a left hook to the chin in the second round after a brief exchange and after that, the tall skinny Mexican fighter grabbed hold of the Venezuelan whenever he got within grasping distance.

Vargas was never penalized for the excessive holding but Manzanilla was not so lucky with his tactics of trying to break the constrictor like grip of the champion. Manzanilla was deducted points in the seventh round for supposedly hitting on the break and again in the eighth. Meanwhile Vargas continued to hold throughout the fight with impunity. After 12 rounds all three judges saw it 117-108 for Vargas who retains the world title. The crowd was not pleased with the decision or the champion’s tactics.

South El Monte’s Jojo Diaz (28-1, 14 KOs) moved up in weight to the super featherweight division and found it advantageous in defeating local rival Charles Huerta (20-6, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

“This will be my weight unless some of the bigger names like Leo Santa Cruz or Oscar Valdez want to fight me,” said Diaz a former two-time challenger for the featherweight world title. “Then I’ll fight at 126.”

Huerta couldn’t match Diaz’s speed but hung in against the speedy southpaw for all 10 rounds.

“I had him hurt a few times, but I couldn’t finish him because he’s such a great warrior,” Diaz said.

Other Bouts

A battle between Mexican lightweights saw Nuevo Leon’s Adrian Estrella (29-3, 24 KOs) use a lot of movement to befuddle Parral’s Oscar Duarte (15-1-1, 10 KOs) and win the vacant WBC Continental America’s title by a disputed split decision.

Duarte must have been surprised to see Estrella box and move despite sporting an impressive knockout record. It took Duarte, who trains in Indio with Joel Diaz, several rounds to move within punching distance. He never figured out how to cut off the ring against Estrella who benefited from the lapse. After 10 rounds one judge saw Duarte the winner by 97-93, but two others saw it 98-92 and 96-94 for Estrella. The crowd was not pleased.

Former contender Tureano Johnson (20-2-1, 14 KOs) found a difficult opponent in Mexico’s Fernando Castaneda (26-13-1, 17 KOs) who despite a so-so record was coming to win. Both found success throughout the super middleweight fight. Johnson was dominant with right uppercuts and Castaneda found success early with overhand rights and left hooks. Neither was seriously hurt but after eight rounds the fight was ruled a split draw 77-75, 75-77, 76-76 when the scores were read.

“My opponent did an awesome job,” said Johnson after the entertaining back and forth fight.

Castaneda felt he had won but was more than happy that the crowd appreciated his effort.

“I’m very happy to have the crowd support me,” said Castaneda of Aguascalientes, Mexico. “I want a rematch.”

Azat Hovhannisyan (16-3, 13 KOs) utilized body shots to stop Lolito Sonsona (22-3-4, 9 KOs) in the fifth round of their super bantamweight match. Early in the fight, Hovhannisyan dropped the Filipino fighter with a left to the body but was deducted a point for an alleged low blow. It was a borderline punch but signified to the Armenian fighter to continue targeting the abdomen.

Hovhannisyan continued the pressure and though he battered Sonsona to the head repeatedly, nothing seemed to faze the Filipino fighter. But when he drifted to the body that’s where the fierce Armenian fighter found a weakness, Rights to the left side of Sonsona’s body floored the Filipino twice in the fifth round. At 2:23 Sonsona did not beat the count of 10 after the second body shot put him down on the ground. Referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight.

Local fighter Rommel Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Javier Rojas (1-3) in the first round of their super featherweight fight.

The fights can be seen on DAZN.

Photo credit: Alonzo Coston

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Gervonta vs. Shakur: Street Fight or Boxing?

Ted Sares

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Gervonta - Davis

Gervonta “Tank” Davis — out of Baltimore — is a fan-friendly, undefeated (21-0, 20 KOs), two-time super featherweight champion. An all-action fighter, he brings the heat whenever and wherever he fights, operating like a mini-Tyson.

Shakur “Fearless” Stevenson—out of Virginia by way of Newark, NJ—won a Silver Medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and is also undefeated as a pro (11-0, 6 KOs). In a moment of “unbridled” modesty, Floyd Mayweather Jr. called him “the next Mayweather.”

Davis (pictured) and Stevenson used to be good friends but apparently no more. The two have been feuding on twitter.

Shakur, a featherweight, has now called out Tank, saying he wants him at 130—and with his win against Christopher Diaz on the Crawford-Khan undercard, the call-out quickly becomes more meaningful and likely will reignite their twitter war.

What’s not quite clear is whether such a fight would be held in the ring or out in the street because of the many, many things they have in common, one, allegedly, is engaging in nasty street fights.

A recent and widely viewed video appears to show Stevenson, accompanied by fellow boxer David Grayton, in the middle of a parking garage brawl in Miami Beach in an incident that occurred nearly a year ago. Stevenson was in Miami Beach to celebrate his 21st birthday. It was not so much a brawl as it was a beatdown by the two boxers including a vicious kick at the end on a downed victim who already had received several flush shots to the face. A woman with the victim was also assaulted, suffering cuts and bruises. Afterwards, the two grabbed each other’s hands in a somewhat bizarre scene and fled to their hotel where they were arrested.

The video was first posted by slaterscoops.com which revealed that Stevenson and Crayton were arrested on July 1 and charged with misdemeanor battery. By the time the video came to light, the matter had quietly been resolved. Stevenson’s promoter Bob Arum seemed to have been involved in the resolution.

Here is what Arum said according to an article by Niall Doran in Boxing News: “We knew the facts and we knew that he was in a place that he shouldn’t have been at. We had a long talk with him and luckily the people around him, his grandfather who raised him, coach Kay (Koroma) who has a big influence on him and Andre Ward and James Prince who are his managers, took him aside and talked to him. It will never happen again I assure you. He is a great, great kid and he understands what his responsibilities are. He’s not a wild kid and he’s going to be fine. I’m very comfortable with how he’s being raised.”

Let’s hope Arum is correct.

Gervonta Davis

On August 1, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for Gervonta Davis for an alleged assault. The charge was later reduced from first-degree aggravated assault to misdemeanor second-degree assault.

At the court, Anthony Wheeler, a long-time friend of Gervonta, complained that he was diagnosed with a concussion after Davis punched him on the side of the head with a ‘gloved fist.’ Wheeler subsequently dropped the charges. The Baltimore Sun reported that Tank and Wheeler both shook hands, embraced, and walked out of the courtroom together. All’s Well That Ends Well.

But there’s more.

According to TMZ, Davis was arrested in Washington, DC, in the early morning of Sept. 14, 2018, and charged with disorderly conduct after a dispute over a $10,000 bar bill. And then on February 17 of this year, according to TMZ and other sources, Davis was involved in an incident that began inside an upscale shopping mall in Virginia.

As things heated up, Tank and the other man took it to the streets and engaged in a fistfight with closed-fist punches being landed around the upper body. As people tried to break it up, both men fled but the police arrived and arrested them for disorderly conduct. They were booked and processed at a nearby station. Ten days after the incident, a warrant was issued for Davis’s arrest.

Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions, which promotes Davis, told ESPN “We’ll let the judicial system play out….Obviously, this is just an allegation…Again, it just seems odd to me that a black man, allegedly, pushes or shoves — and I’m just reading what the TMZ article says — a police officer and he doesn’t get arrested on the spot, then a couple of weeks later, then they issue an arrest warrant based on their internal investigation. That just seems a little odd to me.”

The police reportedly made numerous attempts to contact Davis by telephone to serve the warrant but received no response.

Tank recently tweeted “Lies lies lies” (9:16 AM – 5 Mar 2019).

The case is still ongoing. Gervonta could well be exonerated and hopefully he will be, but these incidents, whether expunged, dismissed or dropped, are not good for boxing. The recent birth of a daughter seems to have grounded Tank and his recent tweet to wit: LOVE IS LOVE is not the tweet of someone who is in the wrong lane.

Let’s wrap this up with a quite from Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza: “I think the sky is the limit for Gervonta Davis…You put those two elements together — the likability and charisma outside the ring and the entertainment value inside the ring — and he has the potential, if he stays on this track, to be one of the biggest names in the sport.”

Ted Sares is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class and is competing in 2019.

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Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia Wins in LA (is Manny Next?) and Undercard Results

David A. Avila

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Garcia

CARSON, Calif.-Former two division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia had too much firepower for Adrian Granados and simply overwhelmed the gritty fighter from Chicago before winning by knockout on Saturday.

No world title was at stake but future prizes were.

Philly fighter Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) had predicted he would mow through Granados (20-7-2) who was moving up in weight again for this fight and was just too heavy handed before a crowd of more than 6,000 at the Dignity Health Sports Park. The PBC card was televised by FOX.

After a casual exchange of punches in the first round Garcia started bringing the thunder in the second round and connected with a double left hook to the body and a left hook to the head of Granados. The blows resounded throughout the arena and drew oohs from the crowd. Then Garcia caught Granados with a counter left hook that sent Granados sprawling across the ring. He got up and beat the count. Another exchange saw Garcia land a counter right cross and down went the Chicago fighter. He beat the count again but looked hurt. He survived the end of the round.

Garcia stalked Granados who moved more cautiously for the next two rounds but was still catching rights.

In the fifth round a straight right floored Granados while he was against the ropes. He survived the round again.

Granados tried every move he could think to change the momentum but nothing seemed to work. In the sixth both fought inside but Garcia soon began pummeling Granados with the referee looking closely. He allowed the fight to continue into the seventh round but checked with the corner twice.

With the crowd murmuring, Garcia gave chase to Granados and caught him near the ropes with a lead right and another right before unleashing a four-punch barrage. Referee Tom Taylor jumped in and stopped the beating at 1:33 of the seventh round to give Garcia the win by knockout.

Philadelphia’s Garcia had won in Southern California once again. He had beaten Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero by decision three years ago in Los Angeles.

“This is what makes Danny Garcia one of the best fighters in the world,” said Garcia. “I had to be the first man to stop him and I did that today.”

The win puts Garcia as a strong candidate to face multi-divisional world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao who now holds the WBO welterweight world title.

“I hope I didn’t scare him away. Frankly I would love that fight or Keith Thurman or Errol Spence,” Garcia said.

Other Bouts

Brandon Figueroa (19-0) of Texas rumbled to a knockout win over Venezuela’s Yonfrez Parejo (22-4-1) to win the interim WBA super bantamweight title. The battle was fought mostly inside, forehead to forehead, but surprisingly, neither fighter suffered cuts from butts.

Figueroa and Parejo slugged it out inside until the sixth round when Parejo took the fight outside and scored well from distance. But Figueroa kept hunting him down and digging to the body and head. Finally, in the eighth round Figueroa began catching the moving Parejo with digging shots that seemed to affect the Venezuelan boxer. At the end of the round Parejo signaled he had enough.

Figueroa was deemed the winner by knockout.

“Honestly I thought I was going to finish him the next round,” said Figueroa.

California’s Andy “the Destroyer” Ruiz (32-1) won by knockout over Germany’s much taller Alexander Dimitrenko (41-5) in a heavyweight fight set for 10 rounds. Despite the size disparity Ruiz was the aggressor throughout and attacked the body with punishing blows. In the third round Ruiz almost ended the fight when Dimitrenko was severely hurt. After the end of the fifth round Dimitrenko’s cornered signaled the fight was over and referee Ray Corona waved it off. Ruiz wins by knockout as the crowd cheered loudly.

Ruiz was recently signed by PBC and may have found a home more suited for his weight division. It was his first fight under the PBC banner.

“I’m ready for the next one, I kind of seen that coming,” said Ruiz who admitted to eating a Snickers for energy. “The game plan was dropping the body down.”

Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (25-7, 21 KOs) used the trusty knockout to win for the first time in four years. The victim was Evert Bravo (24-10-1) a super middleweight from Colombia who had his own losing streak like Angulo.

Both punished each other with hard combinations the first round, but in the second frame Angulo found his rhythm and fired a barrage of blows that left Bravo slumped along the ropes. Referee Rudy Barragan stopped the fight at 1:23 of the second round to give Angulo his first victory since he defeated Hector Munoz at the Staples Center on August 2015. He now trains with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear.

“I found a good coach,” said Angulo.

More than 1,000 fans remained to see Angulo perform long after the Garcia-Granado’s main event. He’s still a draw, especially in Southern California.

Former US Olympian Carlos Balderas (8-0, 7 KOs) stopped Luis May (21-14-1) with a barrage of blows in the fourth round of their lightweight clash. Balderas knocked down May several times but the crafty May used every means to survive including multiple low blows. Finally, at 1:07 of round four, Balderas unleashed several blows that saw May go down and a towel was thrown from his corner. Referee Ray Corona stopped the fight.

Fontana, California’s Raymond Muratalla (7-0) floored Mexico’s Jose Cen Torres (13-12) three times in the third round to win by knockout at 2:58 of the round in a super lightweight bout. Muratalla dropped Torres with a short right uppercut for the first knockdown. A right to the body sent Torres down a second time. A double right cross delivered Torres down a final time as referee Ray Corona immediately stopped the fight.

Las Vegas fighter Rolando Romero (9-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Colombia’s Andres Figueroa (9-5, 5 KOs) with a left hook during an exchange of blows at 1:27 of the fourth round in their lightweight scrap. Figueroa landed with a thud and was unconscious for several minutes and sent to the hospital.

Denver’s Shon Mondragon (2-0) battered Mexico’s Hugo Rodriguez (0-4) in the third round forcing referee Eddie Hernandez to end the fight at 1:55 of round three in a super bantamweight match.

Nelson Hampton (5-2) of Texas beat Phillip Bounds (0-3) by decision after lightweight fight.

Other winners were Jeison Rosario by split decision over Jorge Cota in a super welterweight fight. Omar Juarez beat Dwayne Bonds by decision in a super lightweight bout. Featherweights Ricky Lopez and Joe Perez fought to a draw after 10 rounds.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results From NYC: Crawford TKOs Khan but not Without Controversy

Arne K. Lang

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Crawford vs Khan

Amir Khan, who doesn’t shy away from tough assignments, was in New York tonight opposing WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, a man who is on everyone’s short list of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters. The general assumption was that Khan had the slickness to win a few rounds but that his chin would ultimately betray him.

Khan won one round at the most — and that’s being generous – before the bout was stopped after 47 seconds of the sixth frame with Khan in pain from a low blow. Referee David Fields stopped the action to allow Khan to recover and then stopped the fight on the advice of the ring doctor with the apparent encouragement of Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter. Because the low blow was accidental, Crawford was declared the winner by TKO.

It appeared that this fight would end in a hurry. In the opening round, Crawford decked Khan with an overhand right. Khan got to his feet but was in distress and for a moment it didn’t appear that he would last out the round. But Crawford did not press his advantage in round two and Khan regained his composure.

Crawford was in complete control when the fight ended, having raked Khan with combinations and a series of body punches in the fourth and fifth stanzas. Although the final punch of the fight was way south of the border, Khan’s refusal to continue was widely seen as an act of surrender. After the bout, Crawford called out Errol Spence.

PPV Undercard

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez, whose highlight reel knockouts and brash demeanor have made him arguably the most exciting young prospect in boxing, found a new way to conclude a fight tonight, collapsing Edis Tatli in the fifth round with a body punch. Lopez, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in a suburb of Miami (his parents are from Honduras and Spain), improved to 13-0 with his 11th knockout. Tatli, a Kosovo-born Finn making his U.S. debut, suffered his third loss in 34 starts. A two-time European lightweight champion, Tatli hadn’t previously been stopped.

Fast rising featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Newark, simply outclassed former world title challenger Christopher Diaz, winning the 10-round bout on scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 98-82. The 21-year-old southpaw, now 11-0, was too fast and too busy for his Puerto Rican adversary who fell to 24-2.

In the first of the four PPV bouts, lightweight Felix Verdejo won a unanimous 10-round decision over Bryan Vasquez. Verdejo, a 2012 Olympian for Puerto Rico once touted as the island’s next Felix Trinidad, was returning to the site where he suffered his lone defeat, succumbing to heavy underdog Antonio Lozada whose unrelenting aggression ultimately wore him down, resulting in a 10th round stoppage.

Vasquez appeared to injure his left shoulder near the midpoint of the battle, an advantage to Verdejo, now 25-1, who started slowly but outworked Vasquez down the stretch, winning by scores of 98-92 and 97-93 twice. Costa Rica’s Vasquez, the husband of prominent boxer Hanna Gabriels, falls to 37-4.

Other Bouts

 Super welterweight Carlos Adames, who hails from the Dominican Republic but has been training with Robert Garcia in Riverside, California, made a strong impression with a 4th round stoppage of Brooklyn’s Frank Galarza. The undefeated Adames, now 17-0 (14 KOs), knocked Galarza (20-3-2) to the canvas with a hard left hook and then went for the kill, pinning Galarza against the ropes with a series of unanswered punches that compelled referee Benjy Estevez to intervene. The official time was 1:07.

 Super welterweight Edgar Berlanga, a 21-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, needed only 46 seconds to dismiss 38-year-old Brazilian trail horse Samir dos Santos. Berlanga, who began his pro career in Mexico, has now knocked out all 10 of his opponents in the opening round.

Super welterweight Vikas Krishan, a two-time Olympian, improved to 2-0 with a 6-round unanimous decision over Noah Kidd (3-2-1). The scores were 59-55 and 60-54 twice.

A 27-year-old southpaw who as a job waiting for him as a police officer, Krishan is the second notable boxer to emerge from India, following on the footsteps of Top Rank stablemate Vijender Singh.

Bantamweight Lawrence Newton, a Floridian who has been training at Terence Crawford’s gym in Omaha, won his 12th straight without a loss with a 6-round unanimous decision over Jonathan Garza (7-3). The scores were 60-54 and 59-55 twice.

In a 6-round junior welterweight match that was one-sided but yet entertaining, Lawrence Fryers won a unanimous decision over Dakota Polley. Fryers, wh is from Ireland but resides in New York, improved to 10-1. The 20-year-old Polley, from St. Joseph, Missouri, fell to 5-3.

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