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Avila Perspective, Chap. 47: Notes on Live Boxing, Referees , Wilder and More

Arne K. Lang



Live Boxing at the Olympic

Prize fights were slightly different back in the 20th century.

When you entered a prize fight at the Olympic Auditorium circa 1987 your face would be hit with a haze of cigar smell and you could see a ghostly waft of smoke floating above the boxing ring. The lights seemed dim and there was always a buzz of sound.

You could also hear strolling vendors selling beer, peanuts and hot dogs. It was part of the charm of watching live boxing at the old Los Angeles venue.

Today, 21st century prize fights have an entirely different feel with stringent laws that prevent smoking in public arenas. And no longer are strolling vendors allowed to hawk beer and peanuts. Yet, some things remain.

The sounds of punches connecting on each other echo in the arenas. Fans gather before and after the fights to talk about what they saw and the buzz and exhilaration from watching an exciting match provides its own endorphins. Those are priceless memories. Nothing compares to watching a live boxing card, especially for the very first time.

Luckily, Southern California leads the world in staging numerous boxing cards.

Thursday in Indio

Down in the desert region of Indio, Calif. a fight card at Fantasy Springs Casino features a little known lightweight slugger named Romero Duno (19-1, 15 KOs) facing Juan Antonio Rodriguez (30-7, 26 KOs) that promises to be a real head banging affair. Both guys pack a punch. Several other notable bouts are scheduled that include Manny Robles IV, Travell Mazion, and Rommel Caballero. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions main fights.

Speaking of smoke-filled arenas, one of the heroes of that bygone era, Ruben “El Puas” Olivares, will be signing autographs and taking photos with fans. Many consider Olivares one of Mexico’s greatest, if not the greatest bantamweight slugger of all time. The Mexico City native fought during the 1960s and 1970s and sold out the Inglewood Forum in his day. Olivares will be at Fantasy Springs Casino at 6 p.m.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Title Saturday

In Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. a suburban town in Los Angeles County near Long Beach, a Roy Englebrecht Events fight card features women in the main event.

Raquel Miller (8-0), a middleweight contender and former Olympic alternate, meets Huntington Beach’s Erin Toughill (7-4-1) in an eight round bout for the NABF middleweight title on Saturday May 18. The fight takes place at Hawaiian Gardens Casino. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Miller was the backup for Claressa Shields and we all know how good she is. The alternate has some bones to pick and it starts on Saturday with a title fight against Toughill a former boxer turned MMA fighter turned boxer again.

Toughill fought some extremely good fighters in her day like Laila Ali. Now 41, Toughill still has gas in the tank and nearly upset middleweight contender Maricela Cornejo a few months back.

“I think she beat Maricela,” said Miller who watched the streamed fight. “I expect a very good fight. She’s a veteran.”

Hollywood Sunday

Serhii “El Flaco” Bohachuk (13-0, 13 KOs) meets former world title challenger Freddie Hernandez (34-10) of Mexico in an eight round super welterweight match up at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood, Calif. Several celebrities are expected to attend the 360 Promotions fight card.

Bohachuk, 24, trains in Big Bear with Abel Sanchez and is very familiar with his next opponent Hernandez. His stablemate Alfredo Angulo fought Hernandez and lost three years ago to the Mexico City fighter.

“We have never talked about Freddie Hernandez but I know a lot about him,” said Bohachuk. “I expect a lot of things from him because he is a veteran with a lot of experience.”

So far no opponent of Bohachuk has ever heard the final bell. All have been knocked out.

Also, a super middleweight title fight pits Germany’s Alem Begic (22-0, 19 KOs) against fellow German Benjamin Simon (27-3, 26 KOs) in a 10-round fight for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title.

Doors open at 3 p.m.

All the bouts can be watched on page on Facebook or Youtube.

Good referees and good trainers

Old school fighting returned last weekend in Virginia for the super welterweight world title and in Arizona for the super bantamweight and super featherweight world titles.

Boxing always gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to fights that end in an unpopular decision. Judges and referees take their fair share of criticism for their part. On this occasion referees played a big part in their success.

Referee Bill Clancy gave a clinic on exceptional refereeing during the world title fight between the eventual winner Julian “J Rock” Williams and former champ Jarrett “Swift” Hurd. During most of the 12 rounds both fighters fought in extremely close proximity and engaged in what some call “trench warfare.” It was like watching a fight from 1950s era boxing.

Clancy allowed both fighters to use their expertise in fighting in-close. In their back and forth battle the two prizefighters clinched maybe once. The only time the referee broke them apart was when the bell rang to end a round. It was a great example of professional refereeing. Most referees break up fighters even if one of their hands is free. That’s what is called over-refereeing.

Referees should allow more in-fighting. This is not the amateurs, this is prizefighting. Let the fighters show their skills. Outside fighting is not the only kind of fighting.

Now fans are calling the Williams-Hurd fight one of the candidates for Fight of the Year. If not for referee Bill Clancy it could have had a different tone.

In Tucson, Arizona, a couple of world title fights ended with the trainers stopping the fights on behalf of their defeated guys.

The most notable stoppage arrived when Francisco Vargas was getting battered in the sixth round by WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt. Immediately at the end of the frame trainer Joel Diaz looked at his fighter and waved to the ring referee and supervisors while signaling to end the fight. His guy was getting beat up and there was no sense in allowing punishment to continue.

Diaz and his brother Antonio Diaz have been in wars themselves and showed why many boxing experts consider them among the best trainers and ring seconds in the world. They take care of their fighters.


Heavyweights collide with WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) defends against Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday May 18, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Showtime will televise.

Wilder returns to the ring five months after his highly entertaining fight with England’s Tyson Fury at Staples Center this past December. Despite knocking down Fury twice, the title fight ended in a split draw.

Now he gets to face Breazeale, a Southern California fighter who fought IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua and lost by knockout three years ago. It’s a comparison test to determine whether a future title unification clash is warranted.

“I’ve grown a lot in the last few years. The Joshua fight was an eye opener.  It was good experience. I learned then that I was standing there a lot more and taking some damage that I didn’t need to take because of the big guy that I am,” said Breazeale.

Wilder wants a good fight from Breazeale.

“Dominic Breazeale better display himself on that night, because I put him on my card. He didn’t have to be on my card,” said Wilder. “I think this is the most excited I’ve been and the most I wanted to hurt a man since 2015 with Bermane Stiverne. And we all know what happened to him.”

The Showtime telecast begins at 6 p.m. PT.

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Looking at the Heavyweight Calendar (Odds Review)

Miguel Iturrate



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 –

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?


– 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



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



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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