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Danny Roman Unifies Title, Estrada Wins Rematch and Other Results from L.A.

David A. Avila

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Roman

Southern California’s native son Danny Roman out-slugged Ireland’s TJ Doheny in a brutal back and forth battle to unify the super bantamweight titles by majority decision on Friday. Roman. the WBA title-holder, added the IBF title to his collection.

Making his fourth defense of his WBA title, Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs)  couldn’t have asked for a tougher foe than Doheny (21-1, 15 KOs) whose ability to take a shot to the head astounded the more than 5,000 fans at the Inglewood Forum.

But it was the body that did him in.

In this year of unification fights going viral, the willingness of the two super bantamweights to add gasoline to this year’s bonfire of boxing found another contribution and it was extremely volatile.

Roman was making his fourth defense of the WBA title he won in Japan two years ago and Doheny was making his second defense since winning in Japan last year. Both wanted to add to their growing legend.

The two 122-pound human bullets were slow to burn in the first round but in round two Roman increased the tempo and caught Doheny with a long left hook right on the chin and down he went. It was a perfect blow but did not hurt the Irish fighter. He quickly got up but it gave Roman a quick lead.

For the past three years those who have seen Roman perform know he builds momentum by attacking the body and slowing sapping the energy from his foes. Doheny, unlike the others, uses movement to avoid body shots.

Doheny mounted a counter-attack in the fourth round and it finally showed the crowd why he held the IBF world title. The southpaw’s left cross arrives as if delivered from a handheld rocket launcher. One caught Roman flush and Doheny followed it up a with a half dozen more rocket left hands. Roman was on his heels and Doheny did not let up. Then a missed punch allowed Roman to reset and mount his own rally but the bell rang ending the frame.

The crowd realized it was not going to be easy for either fighter.

Both fighters erupted in the fifth round and exchanged inside with savage abandon. After some vicious exchanges for three minutes Doheny departed to his corner with a bloodied nose.

Not until the eighth round did Roman finally find his rhythm and began to mow through Doheny’s defense and stream of left hands. First he used multiple left hooks, then switched to multiple rights to offset Doheny’s lefts.

As Doheny began to stop using his legs to avoid body shots Roman began lowering his target and attacked the body with left hooks whenever possible. A hint of pain seemed to cross the Irish fighter’s face when hooks from Roman found their mark.

Finally, in the 11th round a left hook from Roman saw the Irish fighter slump to the mat in pain. Referee Raul Caiz gave the count but the Irish fighter was not close to quitting. The fight continued and Roman seemed in control.

The last round saw both try to take control and end the fight with a convincing round. Each had their moment but it was perhaps the closest round since the third round. After 12 rounds the judges surprisingly had it close at 113-113, 116-110 twice for Roman. The native Californian is now the WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion.

New Super Fly Champion

The WBC super flyweight title changed hands as Mexico’s Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada dethroned Thailand’s powerful Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, otherwise known as Wisaksil Wangek, by unanimous decision after 12 back and forth rounds.

Unlike their first encounter a year ago, Estrada came out smoking with a toe-to-toe barrage of blows in the opening round that caught most of the audience off guard. Their first fight saw Estrada box and move and stay out of Sor Rungvisai’s range. This time it was fire versus fire.

The second round saw the Thai champion connect with the big blows and that ended the toe-to-toe affair quickly. Still, Estrada was not the tentative fighter that fans saw back in February 2018 when Sor Rungvisai won by majority decision in the same arena. Not this time.

Estrada had the confidence knowing that he could exchange blows with the Thai fighter that many consider one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, especially after his demolition of Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. The Mexican super flyweight had tasted Sor Rungvisai’s power and it was no longer a mystery. Though not ignorant with his attacks, he still took chances when necessary and it paid off.

Neither fighter was able to knock each other down or cause visible injury but Estrada from the fifth to the eighth round took total control of the fight with his ability to slip and counter on Sor Rungvisai. It seemed that Estrada would breeze through the rest of the fight.

The Thai champion made his counter-attack in the ninth round with powerful single blows that snapped the head back of Estrada when they connected. For the next three rounds he regained control of the fight and the pace. The momentum changed abruptly..

Mexican fans screamed “El Gallo” in unison as Estrada and Sor Rungvisai exchanged big blows. Despite each landing solid blows neither was ever seriously hurt. After 12 rounds the judges scored it 116-112, 115-113 twice for Estrada by unanimous decision and making him the new WBC super flyweight world champion.

“I’m very happy for this win. I worked very hard for this fight,” said Estrada who is a former flyweight world champion as well. “I’ll take a rematch with him but I prefer a unification match.”

Las Vegas’ Vargas Wins

Jessie Vargas (29-2-2), a former welterweight and super lightweight world titlist, knocked out Mexico’s Humberto Soto (69-10-2) in the sixth round of a super welterweight contest.

It was a battle between former world champions and Vargas was coming off back to back draws against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme. This time he was facing Soto who had just defeated Brandon Rios two months ago in Tijuana. It shocked the boxing world.

But lightning didn’t strike twice for Mexico’s Soto who was caught with a lead right cross by Vargas that dropped him in the sixth round. Soto beat the count but was corralled by Vargas who unleashed an eight punch barrage that made referee Tom Taylor end the fight at 1:48 of round six.

“He came in and I caught him with a right hand,” said Vargas who lives in Las Vegas.

Other Bouts

Ronny Rios (30-3) won by knockout over Daniel Olea (13-8-2) at the end of round five in a featherweight contest when Olea did not answer the bell for round six.

Argentina’s Alberto Melian (5-0) knocked down Southern California’s Isaac Zarate (16-5-3) then was knocked down himself in the later rounds. After 10 back and forth super bantamweight frames Melian won by unanimous decision 95-92 twice and 94-93 to retain the NABA super bantamweight title.

Former Olympic silver medalist Shakhram Giyasov (8-0) discovered there’s a big difference from amateurs to pros when he was tagged in the first round by Maryland’s Emanuel Taylor (20-6) and staggered around the ring. For the next nine rounds Giyashov unleashed his flamboyant combinations and won rounds but was always vulnerable to return fire from Taylor. More than a few times Taylor’s left hooks put the Uzbekistan star on wobbly grounds in their super lightweight fight.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 99-91 for Giyasov and another 97-93 for the Uzbekistani and new owner of the WBA International title.

Super middleweight contender Anthony Sims Jr. had rough waters with St. Louis veteran Vaughn Alexander but he muddled through the listless fight that drew boos from the crowd for inactivity. After 10 rounds the judges scored it 98-92 twice and 96-94 for Sims who trains in Compton, Calif.

South Central L.A.’s Diego Pacheco (3-0) needed only 1:46 to put the drop on Seattle’s Guillermo Maldonado (1-1) and win by knockout in the first round of their middleweight fight. A left hook started the downfall for Maldonado and then a crushing right cross ended the fight. Referee Jerry Cantu did not bother to count. Pacheco brought several hundred fans to the Forum which is located in Inglewood, a city adjacent to South Central L.A. where Pacheco lives.

Former amateur star Austin Williams (1-0) took his first dip into the professional pool and dunked Joel Guevara (3-5-1) once in the first round before referee Ray Corona decided to stop the one-sided battering at 2:06 of the frame. A four punch barrage by the southpaw Williams of Houston floored West Virginia’s Guevara. He beat the count but looked tentative after that in the middleweight match.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Looking at the Heavyweight Calendar (Odds Review)

Miguel Iturrate

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Joshua vs Ruiz

This past Saturday night saw Deontay Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight title defense against Dominic Breazeale go down on Showtime. The fight lasted just 137 seconds as Wilder floored Breazeale with a cannonball of a right hand to end the night early.

With Wilder out of the way, Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr is up next. They meet June 1st at Madison Square Garden. Two weeks later, on the 15th of June, ESPN+ will deliver Tyson Fury vs Tom Schwarz, so fight fans will get a look at all three members of the “Big Three” all in a month’s time.

Wilder’s erasure of Breazeale this past weekend sent a message to the rest of the division as well as giving him a highlight reel to show during upcoming negotiations. Wilder entered a strong -1000 favorite at the sportsbooks for this fight.

Check out our pre-fight review of the Wilder vs Breazeale odds right here at TSS –

http://tss.ib.tv/boxing/featured-articles/57588-wilder-vs-breazeale-odds-review

Looking forward, the odds posted for Joshua and Fury’s upcoming tussles are even less competitive. Let’s take a look at what the books are giving us as we await the two big Brits fighting in the USA.

Madison Square Garden – New York City – Saturday, June 1, 2019

Heavyweight 12 rounds –

Andy Ruiz Jr +1500 Over 6½ +100

Anthony Joshua -3000 Under 6½ -130

Ruiz Jr is 32-1 overall with his lone loss coming at the hands of Joseph Parker in a failed WBO world title bid. That same WBO belt is now in the hands of Joshua as are the WBA and IBF belts.

Joshua was a big favorite over Jarrell Miller, his original opponent, who was denied a license in New York after testing positive for a buffet of steroids. Ruiz Jr took the fight with less than a full training camp, but you have to believe that he is going to come in highly motivated. Ruiz Jr has been caught at a different type of buffet, the all-you-can-eat kind, but even when in the best of shape his body type isn’t “poster boy material.” Miller was big and bulky as well, but he was a near 300 pounder whereas Ruiz Jr will come in between 250 and 260 pounds, which is right around Joshua’s size. Rather than slaying a 300-pound giant, he is facing a guy who is shorter and fatter than him, making it very hard for Joshua to look great on paper.

At +1500 will people bite on Ruiz Jr? He is more experienced than Miller and he is probably a better fighter overall and though he is facing a formidable champion, Joshua is not a finished product. Perhaps Joshua will be chasing an early finish, feeling the pressure of Wilder’s performance, and if so will he make a mistake that Ruiz can exploit? We are roughly 10 days from finding out.

MGM Grand Garden – Las Vegas, Nevada – Saturday, June 15, 2019

Heavyweight 12 rounds –

Tom Schwarz +1800 Over 9½ -105

Tyson Fury -3600 Under 9½ -125

Tyson Fury closes out the run of top heavyweights with a very deliberately chosen showcase fight against Tom Schwarz. Schwarz is 24 years old and 24-0 but he is a fighter who has come up on the regional German scene and as the old boxing cliche goes, there are levels to this game.

Former contender David Haye mounted a 2016 comeback, booking fights against Mark De Mori (30-1-2) and Arnold Gjergjaj (29-0). It took Haye precisely 6:42 to dispose of both of them, and though Fury is a completely different beast than Haye, the level difference between he and Schwarz may be even as striking.

Wilder has gotten through his “challenge” and if Fury and Joshua also emerge as winners as expected, it will leave several open questions –

– Will Fury vs Wilder 2 happen first, or will Wilder vs Joshua go down first? Could Joshua and Fury meet and freeze Wilder out?

And….

– Will we see any of these fights take place in 2019?

If Joshua or Fury stumble, it will only add to the chaos in the heavyweight division. But if the professional oddsmakers know anything, it isn’t likely to happen.

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Three Punch Combo: An Early Look at Inoue-Donaire and Under the Radar Fights

Matt Andrzejewski

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Inoue vs Donaire

THREE PUNCH COMBO — This past Saturday, Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KO’s) punched his ticket to the bantamweight final in the World Boxing Super Series when he impressively knocked out Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round of their scheduled 12-round fight. The win sets up a showdown with veteran Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KO’s) who punched his ticket to the final with an impressive knockout of Stephon Young last month.

As expected, Inoue has opened as a monstrous favorite in the betting markets. While this suggests a one-sided wipeout, I have some other thoughts.

Inoue is pound for pound one of, if not the, hardest puncher in the sport today and put that power on full display in his destruction of Rodriguez in the semi-finals. But having enormous power does not make him indestructible.

In watching that fight against Rodriguez, there were clearly flaws on display on the defensive side of Inoue’s game. For one, Inoue does not move his head at all and as such can be hit. Rodriguez landed several clean punches on Inoue in the first round. And Inoue frequently keeps his hands low looking to bait opponents into throwing to set up counter opportunities. It has worked so far but could be something he pays for down the road.

Donaire is a smart and skilled fighter and though he is 36, his last few fights have shown that he still has plenty left in the tank. Moreover, he possesses one thunderous left hook and has always been at his best when fighting below 122. He has all the capabilities to expose Inoue’s flaws and a left hook that can alter the course of a fight as we have seen him doing plenty of times in the past.

Unlike a lot of people, I do not consider Donaire to be another layup for Inoue. There is real danger in this fight for Inoue if he does not make changes to his game. Donaire has starched big punching rising stars before and I would not discount his chances to expose the significant defensive flaws in Inoue’s game.

 Under The Radar Fight

Boxing returns to ESPN on Saturday with a card from Kissimmee, FL headlined by 130- pound champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13 KO’s) who is making the second defense of his title against former US Olympian Jamel Herring (19-2, 10 KO’s). While I think this should be an excellent fight, the co-feature, which is flying deep under the radar, should be even better.

In this fight, former two division world champion Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KO’s) makes his return to the ring after losing his lightweight title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in December to face Antonio Lozada (40-2-1, 34 KO’s). Given their respective styles, this fight at the very least will provide plenty of sustained action.

Appropriately nicknamed “The Sniper,” Pedraza at his best is a precision puncher. A boxer-puncher by trade, he uses subtle movement inside the ring to create angles that are used to land sharp power shots on his opposition. He is also a very good inside fighter and will shift around on the inside to once again set up just the right angle to land his power shots with maximum efficiency. But despite being a good inside fighter, Pedraza has a tendency to stay in the pocket a bit too long which leaves him open to getting hit.

Lozada is best known for his upset TKO win against one-time blue-chip prospect Felix Verdejo in March of 2018. However, he failed to build momentum off that win and is coming off a lackluster split draw his last time out to 12-7-1 journeyman Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez.

Lozada certainly does not have the technical proficiency of Pedraza. He is slow and plodding. But what he does bring to the table is relentless pressure combined with a high volume of punches. He will press forward, recklessly at times, winging punches consistently hoping to wear down his opposition through attrition.  As such, he tends to get hit a lot and can be involved in shootouts.

Cleary, Pedraza is the more skilled fighter, but given Lozada’s all-offensive mindset as well as Pedraza’s willingness to stay in the pocket, the leather is all but guaranteed to be flying from the opening bell. Neither are big punchers either so I suspect we see a fight that goes rounds providing many exciting exchanges and one that could certainly steal the show on Saturday.

Another Under The Radar Fight

Also on Saturday, Fox Sports 1 will televise a card from Biloxi, MS featuring a crossroads fight between former 154-pound champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO’s) and former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO’s). But it is another 154-pound fight on the undercard that is receiving almost no coverage that I want to highlight. It pits Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO’s) against Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO’s).

Booker turned pro in 2016 after a successful amateur career and has kept up a fairly busy schedule. He is coming off a dominating 8-round unanimous decision over veteran Juan De Angel in January and now is taking a big jump up in his caliber of opposition in facing Omotoso.

Booker, a southpaw, likes to press forward behind a stinging right jab. He possesses elite level hand speed and likes to use that jab to set up quick power punching combinations. Booker is also an excellent counter puncher and possesses a very potent right hook coming from that southpaw stance. He will often hold his left low to bait his opponents into opening up to set up counter opportunities. However, he has also been clipped by his share of left hooks fighting in this manner and this is something he will need to tighten up against Omotoso. So just how will Booker respond to Omotoso’s pressure and heavy handed body attack? Depending on the answer, we will either see Booker step up to the next level or get exposed. And that’s what makes this fight so intriguing to me

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Serhii Bohachuk KOs Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez in Hollywood

David A. Avila

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in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Super welterweight prospect Serhii Bohachuk got his first taste of upper tier boxing from Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez and gave him his best Sunday punch to win by knockout.

Bohachuk (14-0, 14 KOs) showed the excited Hollywood crowd he’s more than ready for former world title challengers like Hernandez (34-11, 22 KOs) or maybe even the current contenders with an exuberant display of pressure fighting at the Avalon Theater.

The smiling Ukrainian fighter has been steadily attracting fans to the 360 Promotions fight cards.

Trained by Abel Sanchez, the lanky and pale Bohachuk – whose nickname “El Flaco” fits perfectly – always moved forward against Mexico City’s Hernandez who has made a reputation of being crafty despite the strength of competition. With Bohachuk constantly applying pressure the Mexican fighter used the first round to touch and feel his way around the Ukrainian bomber.

In the second round a sharp counter right floored Hernandez who quickly got up and resumed the contest. It looked like the end was near until Hernandez caught Bohachuk with a solid right cross. It was a warning shot well heeded by Bohachuk.

Both fighters exchanged vigorously in the third round with the Ukrainian fighter’s youth a definite advantage. Hernandez was able to display his fighting tools more effectively in the third round but could it be enough?

Bohachuk was clearly the heavier-handed fighter but was finding it difficult to connect solidly against the Mexican veteran. But in the fifth round Bohachuk lowered his gun sights and targeted the body with a left hook that dropped Hernandez.  The fight was stopped by referee Wayne Hedgepeth at 1:40 of the fifth round.

Other Bouts

A battle of super featherweights saw Rialto, California’s Adrian Corona (5-0) rally from behind to defeat Florida’s Canton Miller (3-3-1) by split decision after six rounds.

Corona had problems with Miller’s speed in the first two rounds and was unable to track the moving fighter’s direction. But in the third round Corona began to apply more aggressive measures against Miller and was especially effective with lead rights. The momentum changed quickly.

Miller switched from orthodox to southpaw and it served to pause Corona’s momentum, but he seldom scored with solid blows. Though Miller landed quick soft blows, Corona was landing with strong shots and convinced two of the three judges that he was the winner by 58-56 twice. A third judge saw Miller the victor by the same score 58-56.

“It’s not my job to judge the judges,” said Miller. “It’s my job to just fight.”

Corona was happy with the victory.

“I could have put the pressure on him a little more,” said Corona. “It was a very technical fight and he put on a great fight.”

Other Bouts

George Navarro (6-0-1, 2 KOs) knocked out Cesar Sustaita (3-5) with a perfect overhand right that disabled the senses and forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to halt the fight at 1:37 of the first round.

“I worked hard to prepare for this fight,” said Navarro.

A super bantamweight clash saw Humberto Rubalcava (10-1, 7 KOs) knock out Daniel Constantino (3-3-2) and win by knockout after a flurry of a dozen blows went unanswered. Referee Angel Mendez stopped the battering at 1:39 of the first round.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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