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Berto Gets TKO Win, Stops Zaveck After Fifth Round…WOODS

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BertoOrtiz_Hogan21This fight won't remove the hurt from his last bout, but Andre Berto helped ease the sting a bit with his stoppage victory over Slovakian Jan Zaveck in the main event which unfolded at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi on Saturday night.

After the fifth round, Zaveck's corner said no mas, with their man's right eye swollen badly. He wanted to continue, and swore in dismay, but he was starting to eat clean, hard shots in the HBO After Dark headliner. Berto, who dropped his WBC crown to Victor Ortiz in April, threw 90 more punches, while Zaveck landed 20 more, but Berto's power was the difference-maker.

Both men have a tendency to drop their heads, and lower their eyes, which lessens their ability to pick up incoming fire. Berto took full advantage of that, and cracked Zaveck while the loser looked down. No one can question his heart, as he seemed genuinely irked that his face was busted up. “Is my right eye swollen too?” he asked his corner while they tried to urge him to quit.

Berto (age 27; from Florida; 27-1 with 21 KOs entering) weighed 146 3/4 pounds , while the IBF welterweight champion Zaveck (age 35; from Slovenia; 31-1-1NC with 18 KOs entering) was 146 1/2 pounds.

Analyst Max Kellerman mentioned that Berto hired ex Balco chemist Victor Conte to recommend supplements, and lauded the hire. Berto did indeed look strong and fast and fiesty in the first. He ripped to both sides of the body. Zaveck didn't come to survive; he thrived in the first with a solid uppercut, and didn't look overwhelmed by his first fight in the States. Berto pumped a jab, but mostly as is his custom wants to get it done with power shots. Trainer Tony Morgan told Berto after the second that he wanted bhim to get in and get out, and move his head more. The Zaveck corner told their guy to “be careful.”

In the third, both men were squared up, winging it, though Zaveck wasn't as busy as Berto. His right hand to the body after Berto piled up combos with a minute left wasn't enough to win him the round. Berto took the fourth off, somewhat, and I think let Zaveck open up. He roared back in the fifth, and opened up a nasty cut on Zaveck's right eye. The fight became a rumble, but Berto had more skills, and more strength. Zaveck went back to his corner and his trainer didn't like his face. “Both eyes are swollen, it's too much,” the trainer said. The left eye was cut too, not as badly, though.

In the TV opener, Gary Russell Jr clashed with Leonilo Miranda (26-3 entering; from Mexico), in a clash of featherweights. Russell looked solid against a guy who'd amassed wins at home, and emerged the victor, by scores of 80-72, 80-72, 79-72.

The 17-0 Russell has been having hand problems but they looked to be working well early. The 23 year old Russell comes from Maryland, and was selected for the 2008 Olympics. His hand speed is most noticeable, one termed an “exceptional” talent by Kellerman. Jones said he thinks Russell will be a big star in years to come, but heard his brittle hands are troublesome.

The two lefties started fast, but Russell was faster. His jab is crisper than a Deadhead, and though he often throws it in singlet form, he put a few combos together late in the first. His father-trainer Gary Sr asked him to add the hook to the mix after the round.

In the second, Jones had me shaking my head when he told Kellerman that Russell wasn't really a “boxer” because he stays in the pocket, and doesn't really move his feet much,  after Kellerman had made a point of saying what an impressive “boxer” he is. Kellerman defended his point, and then Jones flip-flopped, and admitted that Russell is indeed a boxer. “You are boxing, he is a boxer,” Jones said. It was a more-than-a-bit-strange exchange. Russell, during all this, was in a comfort zone. He stood in the pocket, slipped some when he had to, but basically stayed in an offensive mode.

Russell got nastier in the fourth. He worked over Miranda on the ropes a minute in. Body and head, hard shots were landing on Miranda. Russell did go low-ish a few times, but nothing Golota-ish. Watching Russell slip punches, and then slide to reset, I flashed back to Jones Jr. telling us he isn't really a “boxer” and I shook my head again.

Russell blasted Miranda in the sixth, and the underdog ducked outside the ropes to get some air. Kellerman by this time cemented himself as at least a vice president in the Russell Jr Fanclub, as he said that he could see Russ and Donaire in a super fight in a couple years. We shall see how it plays out. I'd like to see him against top 20 guys first, then top tenners, and of course if those hands are as brittle as they say, his time could be short.

All wondered if maybe Russell hurt a hand by the eighth. Why wasn't he putting Miranda down, then?

We'd go to the cards…

Russell said his bum left hand felt good, so the “hurt hand” theory went out the window. He also said he was ready for the division's elite.

SPEEDBAG Kellerman to end the show sort of ripped Al Haymon a new one. He said the advisor gets slammed for having excess influence at HBO, and evidenced Russell getting to fight an eight rounder against a journeyman. Max said the coddling of Haymon fighters by Haymon and those who sign off on the fights on TV is unfair to the fighters themselves. Max is Mensa smart; I'd be surprised if he didn't have cover as he said this. Might there be a good idea among those truly in the know who'll be running HBO boxing, and might Max understand that Haymon's coziness, or perceived coziness, might be at the end of the line under the new regime?

OTHER ACTION (From DiBella Release)
Biloxi, MS – (9/3/2011) –  It was a clean sweep for DiBella Entertainment (DBE) stable-mates Thomas Oosthuzien, Randall Bailey, Luis Orlandito Del Valle and Ivan Redkach earlier in Biloxi, Mississippi, on the undercard of tonight's live HBO Boxing After Dark telecast, featuring former WBC Welterweight Champion, Andre Berto looking to reclaim a piece of the welterweightr crown when he takes on reigning IBF Champion, Jan Zaveck.

In a very entertaining fight, South Africa's Oosthuzien defended his IBO Super Middleweight Title with a twleve round unanimous decision victory over Aaron Pryor Jr.  The southpaw Oosthuzien, who was making both his U.S. and DBE debut, was able to work behind a vicious body attack to outwork Pryor for most of the fight.  Pryor hung tough, and did some good work of his own, causing a nasty cut to open over Oosthuzien's right eye, but in the end Oosthuzien was the much busier of the two, winning by scores of 117-11 on all three judge's scorecards.

IBF #2 rated welterweight, Randall “The K.O. King” Bailey improved to 42-7, 36KO's with a dominant ten round unanimous decision over Yoryi Estrella.  Bailey, the manadatory challenger to tonight's main event winner, controlled the action throughout, dropping Estrella with an uppercut in the 5th round, before going on to win by scores of 100-89, 100-89, 98-91. 

Del Valle knocked out Anthony Napunyi with a tremendous overhand right, improving to a perfect 14-0, 11KO's.  Official time of the stoppage was 1:21 of round three.

Redkach improved to a 8-0, 7KO's stopping Vernon Alston (4-2, 4KO's) in the third round of their scheduled six round lightweight contest.

In the opening bout of the evening, Gerald Jordon (8-5-1, 5KO's) scored an upset six round split decision over previously undefeated welterweight Sergio Vartanov (9-1, 6KO's).

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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