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RINGSIDE REPORT from Top Rank/HBO Show in Texas

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CORPUS CHRISTI—Mikey Garcia  (33-0, 28 KOs) rose to the occasion, after an early knockdown, to score an impressive KO win over tough guy Rocky Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KOs) for the WBO junior lightweight title. The bout took place at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas and was broadcast live as the main event of an HBO tripleheader. Garcia wore purple trunks while Martinez came to the ring adorned in the red, white and blue of the Puerto Rican flag.

Picture above courtesy Rachel McCarson, wife of correspondent Kelsey McCarson.

Garcia started coldly efficient. While Martinez employed a jab, cross combination at a distance, Garcia meant to close the distance with shorter punches. The first was largely a feeling out round. The second was more of the same, though the pace picked up a bit by way of Garcia closing the distance between the two competitors. The action was at a lull until Martinez let lose a thunderous right that sent Garcia straight to his rump. Garcia sat in protest a bit after the knockdown. It appeared to ringsiders the fighter either didn’t know what happened, or he believed a slip could be caused by a flush right hand. Regardless, he rose to his feet to continue and made it out of the round unscathed.

“That happens in boxing,” said Garcia afterwards. “He caught me with a good right hand.”

Both men’s heads were snapped back in Round 3. Martinez landed a stiff one-two, but Garcia backed him up hard after with a powerful jab. When he landed another one a bit later, he seemed fueled by the success of it. Next, Garcia sent that very same hard jab along with a straight left hand behind it. The force of the blows were mighty.

Garcia’s gloves were battering rams in Round 4. Martinez did his best to keep away from harm, but Garcia’s blows were just too strong. Martinez jabbed his way out of danger at times, but could couldn’t get out of the way of Garcia’s rights and lefts. Martinez is a pro’s pro though, so he was able to stay in the fight with hard rights followed with ducking motions to stay in the fight.

Round 5 was similar. Garcia landed the telling blows but Martinez worked hard to stay in contention. Garcia stunned Martinez towards the end of the round. In Round 6, Garcia started landing his left hook. The punch put Martinez off balance and allowed Garcia to open up more penetrating combinations. He stunned Martinez and had him in the corner. Martinez fought out of it but was soon eating even more shots than before. Martinez banged his gloves together in a show of bravery. Garcia responded by banging his own gloves against Martinez’s head and torso until the bell sounded. The mercy was but momentary.

Two overhand rights wobbled Martinez in Round 7. He gamely fought on, but Garcia was teeing off now. Ever the precise puncher, Garcia didn’t push the issue. He waited patiently for his opportunities to make his opponent pay, then took what was there. Martinez backed Garcia up a bit with a right, but another overhand power shot by Garcia shook Martinez yet again before the round was complete.

Round 8 was the end of things for Martinez. Garcia landed two overhand rights to stun his opponent, then followed it up with a devastating left hook to end it. Martinez made it to his knees but no further. Referee Laurence Cole counted the fallen fighter out at :56 of Round 8. The winning punch was beautifully set up and frightfully delivered by the winner, Garcia.

“He was pretty hurt by that one,” said Martinez of the body blow. “I knew it was a good shot.”

With a new title belt in tow, Garcia said he was ready to fight whoever Top Rank put in front of him next. When asked specifically about former Cuban amateur star Yuriorkis Gamboa as a possible opponent, Garcia said he was ready and willing to oblige.

“Why not?” said Garcia. “Let’s do it.”

Donaire Drops Darchinyan Again in Rematch

In the co-main event, Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) defeated Vic Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KOs) by TKO in Round 9. The rematch of Donaire’s 5-round knockout victory over Darchinyan six years prior turned into a fierce test of wills. This was not the same Vic Darchinyan from back then. This time, the bout was wildly competitive.

Donaire said after the fight he thought Darchinyan broke his cheek early. Speaking to Max Kellerman, Donaire said it helped him decide whether or not he truly wanted to be a fighter.

“Is this it for me?” Donaire asked himself midway through the bout. It wasn’t, though Donaire said it was hard for him to be as patient with the proceedings as his corner wanted.

“I wanted to fight,” said Donaire. “My corner kept telling me to box, box and be smart…but I wanted to fight.”

The two set a measured pace in the first. Each man fought mostly from the outside. Donaire’s straight right hand was the main weapon of the set, with Darchinyan working patiently behind a stuttered jab. Darchinyan, a southpaw, did partially land a looping overhand left right before the bell.

Donaire was more aggressive in Round 2. He came out fast with a jab, setting up right hands and left hooks. Darchinyan appeared bothered by the speed of Donaire’s punches. Donaire stumbled Darchinyan a bit with a right hand but was soon sent reeling back himself by a powerful counter left. Darchinyan was pleased with his newfound trick, and landed another one before the round ended.

Donaire came out in the third a bit more passive than before. Darchinyan’s left hand was finding a home. Darchinyan’s confidence seemed to grow with each passing moment.

Darchinyan landed his left hand in the third. Donaire was aptly trying to jab the danger away, but Darchinyan met the move with guts and guile. Darchinyan landed another left, then seemed to stun Donaire on the ropes with another one. The two men traded flush shots at the end of the round. Donaire’s left hook landed twice, and Darchinyan responded in kind. The two had to be separated as shots continued to be fired after the bell.

Donaire started finding his mark in Round 4. Moving around the ring on his toes, Donaire was able to put Darchinyan where he wanted. Donaire landed a left hook to the body during an early exchange that seemed to catch Darchinyan by surprise. Jabs and crosses were sent to Darchinyan a good bit, but it did not deter the aggressive Armenian. With ten seconds left in the round, Darchinyan landed a hard left that stunned Donaire in the corner. Darchinyan was a raging bull. He let loose a fury of punches until the end of the round.

Round 5 was invigorating for Darchinyan. He was the stalker now. He rose first from his corner in anticipation, and came out the hunter. Donaire circled but Darchinyan stayed on him, patiently aggressive. Hard lefts moved Donaire around the ring, if not landing then just bothering him enough to move his feet to get away from the action. Donaire landed a nice left hook towards the end of the round. Darchinyan responded with aggression but Donaire’s blows were the cleaner.

Donaire’s counters made their mark in Round 6. Darchinyan was mostly unsuccessful save for a tackle he employed when the two men collided mid-ring. Donaire landed on his back with Darchinyan atop him. Referee Lawrence Cole stood both up, cleaned the men’s gloves and the action resumed.

More of the same in Round 7. The men were largely inactive, but each had done enough damage in previous rounds to make opponent wary. If the term “high-speed chess” that’s used to sometimes describe fights is something that actually exists, this fight was it. Both men were moving fast and thinking faster.

In Round 8, the measured pace exploded after Donaire landed several telling blows. Darchinyan stumbled and Donaire attacked. It was time for the left hook, which landed flush, hard and with concussive force. Darchinyan went face down, his body slumped over atop the bottom rope. The brave warrior got to his feet but was visibly hurt. He stumbled around the ring a bit, but gave a brave enough face to Referee Cole to continue. Darchinyan was down seconds later after a stumble that was ruled a slip. Donaire then landed a right hand. The two traded sloppy flurries before Darchinyan found himself backed once again into one corner, then another. Darchinyan was hurt badly now. Donaire threw the kitchen sink at him until Cole wisely waved the bout off at 2:06 of the Round 9.

Darchinyan wanted to continue but wasn’t overly upset about the stoppage. He admitted Donaire caught him with a good punch.

“That’s just the way it goes,” said Darchinyan, who promised before the bout he’d retire Donaire.

Demetrius Andrade Scores Impressive Win Over Martirosyan

In the first televised bout of the evening, junior middleweight Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) overcame a Round 1 knockdown to defeat Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) by split decision. Judges at ringside scored the bout 114-113, 117-110 and 112-115.

Andrade’s ring walk music indicated he’d be the “king of the ring” tonight. It proved to be true. The bout was scheduled for 12 rounds for the vacant WBO light middleweight title. Andrade wore blue trunks trimmed in black. Martirosyan wore red.

Round 1 opened with both men trying to set the pace they wanted. Martirosyan wanted to set traps in order to come forward with aggressive counterpunches. Andrade, a southpaw, preferred staying behind a long and fast jab. Andrade landed a sneaky left hand early, but Martirosyan erased the scoring blow with a counter left hook of his own that sent Andrade down to the floor. Andrade made it up though and kept Martirosyan at bay with movement until the bell sounded.

Andrade reestablished his jab in Round 2. The lanky slickster used it to keep Martirosyan mostly at bay, and followed it up on occasion with his overhand left. Still, Martirosyan got the better of the exchanges the times he made his way under Andrade’s jab.

In Round 3, Martirosyan came out with fire. The stalker used short steps to enter into the fray. When there, he let loose hard hooks and quick one-twos. Andrade tried to counter with shortening up his jab, but Martirosyan was starting to slip and parry it now with more authority.

Good work from long range did Andrade well in Round 4. His left hand lead was landing but Martirosyan didn’t seem bothered by it. It was now all about timing. Martirosyan’s mind was working. He wanted to time Andrade’s left hand in order to land a fight-ender of his own, but couldn’t quite solve the puzzle.

Sweat and spit flew from both men in Round 5. Andrade landed his jabs and crosses. Martirosyan stepped through them at times to land sharper blows of his own. Where that failed, he sent hard hooks to the Andrade’s body. Both men upped the ante a bit at the end of the round. Each sent hard shots in succession, but Martirosyan’s were straighter and landed more forcefully. At times, it appeared as if Andrade was just flailing wildly at his Armenian opponent.

Martirosyan seemed to tire in Round 6, and Andrade seized on it like a lion. Hard lefts from Andrade cracked Martirosyan’s head back like a jack-in-the-box. Once, twice, then three times. Now the speedster was sure of his target, and it showed. Andrade wasn’t wild now. He was an accomplished boxer using precision, speed and accuracy. Martirosyan made show of it but Andrade was taking over now, and the stark contrast was punctuated by a looping left hand from Andrade that smacked Martirosyan before the bell rang.

Andrade found new confidence in his jab in Round 7, and his head movement was now giving Martirosyan trouble. Andrade’s jab and hooking front hand made it difficult for Martirosyan to set his feet and fire. Still, the tough slugger landed with force on occasion, and he threw his punches with vigor. The pattern played itself over in rounds 8 and 9. Andrade’s speed was just too much for the tiring Martirosyan.

Andrade’s quality came out in Round 10. He was in control of the action from start to finish. His long jab was a paintbrush, Martirosyan’s face was the canvas. Straight lefts and right hooks kept the hard-puncher at a distance, and dips and dives made up for the rest when Martirosyan tried to make the action.

Martirosyan seemed in slow motion in Round 11. Andrade’s hands seemed faster than ever. He did just enough to keep Martirosyan at the end of his punches, and shimmied his shoulders at times to show that it was easy for him.

If Andrade believed he had the fight in the bag, he didn’t show in Round 12. He pressed the action using the same tools he used the entire night: jabs, crosses and right hooks. Martirosyan  was just too slow to land anything in return when he tried, and Andrade wasn’t letting off the gas.

Top Rank Prospects Alex Saucedo and Oscar Valdez Remain Undefeated

Two of Top Rank’s best young prospects were on display on Saturday night as part of the untelevised portion of the undercard. Both remain undefeated.

Welterweight prospect Alex Saucedo (11-0, 8 KOs) defeated Steven Hall (6-5, 6 KOs) by TKO in Round 3.

Hall was game, but Saucedo’s hands were too fast, too strong and too easily able to find their mark right from the opening bell. Hall’s head was snapped back in succession in Round 1 by willful jabs and sharp combinations. The pattern continued throughout the six minute and eleven second fight.

Hall crumbled against the ropes and down to his back at the end of Round 2, but made it back to his feet before the count could reach 10. Saucedo landed another brutal hook shortly thereafter but couldn’t follow it up enough to get Hall out before the bell sounded.

Round 3 began with an even more brutal hook from Saucedo. Hall crumbled backwards to the corner from the force of it. Saucedo wisely followed it up with hooks and crosses in rapid-fire succession before the referee halted the bout at 11 seconds of the round.

Featherweight prospect and former Mexican amateur star Oscar Valdez (8-0, 7 KOs) scored a Round 5 knockout over Jesus Lule Raya (6-7, 1 KO). Raya was the type who looked in trouble before he even entered the ring. But he gave it his all when the bell sounded.

It wasn’t enough.

Valdez was patient in Round 1. He stayed out of range, but moved in here and there enough to land punishing left hooks to the body. He augmented the approach with more lateral movement than he probably needed, but he looked crisp and fluid doing it. He was in command.

Round 2 began with more vigor. Raya came forward as if he believed he could win. But Valdez responded with more aggression of his own, much of it sharp jabs. Still, the left hook to the body landed enough times to take the round.

In the third, Valdez stayed in the pocket more. His left hook was now setting up right crosses and lefts to the temple. Raya did his best to keep pace. There was lots of action with neither man relenting.

Round 4 was similar though Raya was content to stay a bit more at a distance this time, possibly in response to catching all those hooks to his torso.

Valdez became the stalker in Round 5. He worked in behind a stiff jab to send hooks downstairs and crosses up the chimney. The end came after Valdez found a home for his overhand right. Then another and another. He landed several of them in succession, the last of which was the knockout punch, a hard left uppercut to the chin.

A count was not needed. Raya was out as 2:48 of the round.

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Andrade Grabs Vacant WBO Middleweight Belt in Boston on DAZN, Katie Taylor Defends Titles

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TD GARDEN​​ — It’s a good thing Eddie Hearn didn’t listen to the people who told him not to promote prizefighting in Boston. With all four major American sports in full swing in the city, Matchroom Boxing absolutely rocked the house as an equitable fan attraction in New England.

The media was out in full force and so were the fans. At the final fight week press conference, Hearn introduced ESPN’s Dan Rafael before he even barked for his boxers. “You know it’s a big card when Dan Rafael shows up,” he said of the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer award winner for career excellence in journalism. Hearn knows it’s about building hype and that’s what he’s doing.

Sugar Ray Leonard was on the mic for DAZN. Paulie Malignaggi was doing the same for Sky Sports. I saw Micky Ward and Conor McGregor seated at ringside. Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride was also spotted in the mix throughout the night.

“We did about five thousand in Chicago,” Hearn told me of his first Matchoom USA show October 6 on DAZN. Hearn expected about seven thousand for Boston, hoping for a good walk-up crowd. “I’m pleased with ticket sales. I’m pleased with the venue. If the fans are happy and enjoy a great night at the fights and if they want us back, we’d love to return,” he said.

Hearn’s originally scheduled main event fell apart in September when Billy Joe Saunders controversially failed VADA drug testing for the banned stimulant oxilofrine. “Unfortunately Billy Joe failed a drug test. I don’t think the Massachusetts Commission had any choice in denying him a license,” Hearn told me during the final fight week press conference at Fenway Park.

Saunders was to defend the WBO middleweight title against Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius Andrade. Instead, Saunders was stripped of his strap and unknown African champ Walter ​Kautondokwa stepped in to face Andrade for the vacant WBO 160 pound title. “I’m too old to fight nobodies now,” said the 30 year-old Andrade without a trace of irony. In fact, Andrade’s whole pro career has been carefully built on soft touches and vacant ABC championships.

Hearn’s undercard also suffered a hit when popular local junior welterweight Danny “BHOY” O’Connor pulled out of his bout against Tommy Coyle, citing injury. According to Hearn, “​O’Connor was working very hard in camp but I don’t think it was going particularly well.”

The live crowd in attendance at the Garden was loud and enthusiastic. In a full sized entertainment venue that seats close to twenty thousand fans and with promotional aspirations optimistically set at half that number (official attendance was listed at 6,874), your best chance to have seen these fights for yourself was on the emerging and effective streaming app DAZN.

For Brits stuck back home it was on Sky Sports.  For everybody else, I’m here to ringside report.

In the Main Event for the vacant WBO middleweight championship, Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, 30, 160, 26-0 (16) dominated Namibian import Walter Kautondokwa, 33, 17-1 (16). ​A stablemate of former super lightweight champ Julius Indongo, Kautondokwa drew inspiration from his countryman’s international accomplishments in boxing. Indongo parlayed the WBO African title into an eventual unification showdown with Terence Crawford in Nebraska. “He’s definitely not stopping this train,” promised Andrade at the weigh-in.

He was right.

In the first round, ​Kautondokwa slipped to the canvas and Andrade hit him on the chin while he was on all fours. Referee Steve Willis ruled it a knockdown, rather than reacting to the foul. Kautondokwa pushed the action in the second but Andrade scored with the cleaner punches. In the third, Andrade scored a clean knockdown with a flush left hand to the chin. The challenger rose and answered the bell for the fourth down by two extra points. Kautondokwa went down again twice more in the fourth leaving Andrade with a look like, “What more do I have to do?”

As the rounds wore on and on, Andrade found the answer to be elusive, even if Kautondokwa wasn’t terribly so. His best power punches were either missing or being blocked, and Kautondokwa was proving durable. By the championship rounds, it was clear that Andrade wouldn’t be able to stop the train that was Kautondokwa. The energy in the live crowd suffered accordingly. Michael Buffer announced what was already known, that Andrade won a virtual shutout on the cards.  Scores were 120-104(2x) and 119-105.

“I did what I had to do. I could see that he was tough. It was good to get those twelve rounds in because I’ve been inactive,” said Andrade at the post-fight press conference. He also spoke of a fight week injury to his left shoulder that affected his performance and prevented a knockout. To be perfectly honest, it sounded like an excuse for not finishing off a badly hurt fighter.

In her de facto Irish Homecoming, Katie Taylor, 32, Bray, 11-0 (5) successfully defended her WBA/IBF female lightweight titles against the very experienced Cindy Serrano, 36, Brooklyn, 27-6-3 (10), over ten two-minute rounds. Serrano was moving up in weight to challenge Taylor, who’s already made two title defenses this year in London and in Brooklyn. Serrano was never in danger of being hurt or knocked out and Taylor was never in any danger of losing the fight.  Taylor won every round on all three cards 100-90.  “Cindy was just in there to survive,” said a disappointed Taylor.  Some fans jeered the “action” but it didn’t bother Serrano. “Eddie Hearn believes in female fighting. Hopefully he can turn it around and we can get a couple more promoters just like him.”

To make the first defense of his newly won IBF super featherweight championship, Philly southpaw Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 27-4-1 (6), stopped Belfast KRONK’s James Tennyson, 22-3 (18) in five. During promotion for the title bout, it looked for all to see that Farmer was overlooking Tennyson with his focus squarely on a big money grudge match with Gervonta Davis. ​“I’m not overlooking James but I want to fight Tank Davis. I have to have that fight and it’s got to happen. Let’s leave the streets on the streets and fight in the ring. We’ve talked enough.”

In the ring, Farmer looked at his opponent and punched right through him. In the fifth frame, Farmer dropped Tennyson with a solid left hook to the body. It got no better for the Belfast native. The next round, Arthur Mercante stopped it when Tennyson fell again from body shots. ​In accepting the fight, Farmer’s promoter Lou DiBella didn’t want to deny his fighter the opportunity to appear on such a high profile card so he willingly worked with Hearn to make it happen.  Time of the TKO was @1:44 of the round 5.

In an IBF featherweight elimination bout scheduled for twelve, Evander Holyfield’s Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I., 25-3 (17), dropped a pedestrian UD to Ingle Gym’s Kid Galahad, Sheffield, 25-0 (15). At the press conference in August to announce the match-up, there was bad blood in the air. “Toka is a bum,” a chippy Galahad told me at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. “He didn’t want this fight. He was talking trash so I called him a wanker and it got a little out of hand.”

“I’m gonna beat him,” Galahad promised.

At the final press conference, Galahad was demonstrably more peaceful. During the media face-off with Kahn, he offered his hand to shake but Toka just left it hanging there. “I’ve calmed down,” Kid told me. “Nothing personal, just business.” ​Is Toka a bum?​ “You can’t call him a bum.” ​You did Kid.​ “I might have gone over the top. Any fighter that gets in the ring you gotta have some respect for. Toka is gonna show up and my job is to make sure I do a job on him.”  Job well done, Kid.  Final scores were 118-110 twice and 115-113.

In an entertaining ten round junior welterweight scrap, Tommy “Boom Boom” Coyle Quincy, Hull, Yorkshire, U.K., 25-4 (12), outpointed Ryan Kielczweski, Quincy, Mass, 29-4 (11) over the distance. Unanimous scores were 99-90, 98-91 and 96-93. The “Polish Prince” substituted for Danny O’Connor against Coyle, a fighter TSS’s own Ted Sares expected Ryan to have had his hands full with in a knockout loss; describing Coyle as a “load” in the ring. In the seventh round, Kielczweski was felled by a massive right hand to the body and a vicious follow up left hook to the head. He took a long nine count but got up to then stalk a fading Coyle down the stretch.  “This is the most ready I’ve been for any fight,” Kielczweski told me before the bout. “I fought in September. A week later I got a call for this one so it’s like I’m on a ten week training camp.”

Coyle is a pressure fighter and an interesting character. Kielczweski struggled to keep him at bay but landed with several quality power shots of his own, many coming in the last three rounds—after the knockdown. Calling this his “American Dream” come true, Coyle grew up in England loving ROCKY movies and Irish Micky Ward fights. Tonight, he was almost in one.

In a super featherweight comeback bout, former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Scott Quigg, 30, Bury, U.K., 35-2-2 (26) made a successful return against journeyman Mexican Mario Briones, 29-8-2 (21), stopping him in two rounds with an unanswered three punch combination along the ropes. Trained by Freddie Roach, Quigg was defeated last March by WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in a bruising non-title bout. Quigg suffered multiple facial laceration and a broken nose in the unanimous decision loss. “I want a rematch with Valdez and with Carl Frampton because I want to avenge my losses. If I’d be happy not fighting them again, I’d be in the wrong game,” a candid Quigg told me. “The work Freddie’s had me doing and the sparring I’m on, I feel like I’m a ten times better fighter now.”

In a junior middleweight rematch, Murphys Boxing U.S. Marine Mark “Bazooka” DeLuca, Whitman, Mass, 22-1 (13) outgunned Walter “2 Guns” Wright 37, Seattle, Washington 17-5 (8) to defeat the only man to have beaten him as a pro, winning 97-93, and 96-94 twice. From ringside I scored it 6-4 in rounds for DeLuca who scored well early with left hooks. Wright did well in the middle rounds on the inside when DeLuca was tiring but it wasn’t enough. Though his promoter Ken Casey questioned the outcome of the first fight last June in N.H., DeLuca told me it was tight. “But he got me,” he admitted. Wright didn’t understand the manufactured controversy. “I won. To come across the country, fight the local guy, and beat him, I should think I’d get my props for winning. My performance should outweigh politics.” On this night, Wright’s good but not good enough performance earned him an appropriately scored unanimous decision loss.

There was no protest from Wright with the verdict.

UNDERCARD RESULTS:

In the show opener, super lightweight southpaw Sean McComb from Belfast improved to 4-0 (3), outclassing 37 year-old Peruvian Carlos Galindo, 1-6. Galindo’s only win came against Maine’s Brandon Berry last June in N.H. This was McComb’s first appearance outside the U.K. Galindo took a body beating and the fight was stopped in the third after a pair of knockdowns.

Accompanied to the ring by middleweight corker Spike O’Sullivan, Murphys Boxing’s Gorey, Ireland heavyweight Niall Kennedy 221.6, 12-0-1 (7) took a few to give a few against New Jersey’s Brendan Barrett 238, 7-1-2 (5), including a hip-toss and a headlock. The 6’3” Kennedy used his good left jab and strong right cross to earn a unanimous six round decision, dropping the stocky Barrett in the fifth with a brutal right hand. Official scores: 60-53 twice and 58-55.

Kazakh Olympic Gold medalist welterweight prospect Daniyar Yeleussinov improved to 4-0 (2) against Salem, Mass “Mantis” Matt Doherty, 8-6-1 (4). Doherty wore a J.D. Martinez Red Sox jersey to the ring but he was outgunned. The 27 year-old southpaw finished Doherty off with a barrage of unanswered punches in the first round and referee Arthur Mercante waved a halt.

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Andrade Grabs Vacant WBO Middleweight Belt in Boston on DAZN

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TD GARDEN — It’s a good thing Eddie Hearn didn’t listen to the people who told him not to
promote prizefighting in Boston. With all four major American sports in full swing in the city,
Matchroom Boxing absolutely rocked the house as an equitable fan attraction in New England.

The media was out in full force and so were the fans. At the final fight week press conference,
Hearn introduced ESPN’s Dan Rafael before he even barked for his boxers. “You know it’s a big
card when Dan Rafael shows up,” he said of the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer award winner for
career excellence in journalism. Hearn knows it’s about building hype and that’s what he’s
doing.

Sugar Ray Leonard was on the mic for DAZN. Paulie Malignaggi was doing the same for Sky
Sports. I saw Micky Ward and Conor McGregor seated at ringside. Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin
“The Clones Colossus” McBride was also spotted in the mix throughout the night.

“We did about five thousand in Chicago,” Hearn told of me his first Matchoom USA show
October 6 on DAZN. Hearn expected about seven thousand for Boston, hoping for a good
walk-up crowd. “I’m pleased with ticket sales. I’m pleased with the venue. If the fans are happy
and enjoy a great night at the fights and if they want us back, we’d love to return,” he said.

Hearn’s originally scheduled main event fell apart in September when Billy Joe Saunders
controversially failed VADA drug testing for the banned stimulant oxilofrine. “Unfortunately Billy
Joe failed a drug test. I don’t think the Massachusetts Commission had any choice in denying
him a license,” Hearn told me during the final fight week press conference at Fenway Park.
Saunders was to defend the WBO middleweight title against Providence, Rhode Island’s
Demetrius Andrade. Instead, Saunders was stripped of his strap and unknown African champ
Walter Kautondokwa stepped in to face Andrade for the vacant WBO 160 pound title. “I’m too
old to fight nobodies now,” said the 30 year-old Andrade without a trace of irony. In fact,
Andrade’s whole pro career has been carefully built on soft touches and vacant ABC
championships.

Hearn’s undercard also suffered a hit when popular local junior welterweight Danny “BHOY”
O’Connor pulled out of his bout against Tommy Coyle, citing injury. According to Hearn,
“ O’Connor was working very hard in camp but I don’t think it was going particularly well.”

The live crowd in attendance at the Garden was loud and enthusiastic. In a full sized
entertainment venue that seats close to twenty thousand fans and with promotional aspirations
optimistically set at half that number (official attendance was listed at 6,874) your best chance to
have seen these fights for yourself was on the emerging and effective streaming app DAZN.
For Brits stuck back home it was on Sky Sports.

For everybody else, I’m here to ringside report.

In the Main Event for the vacant WBO middleweight championship, Providence, Rhode Island’s
Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, 30, 160, 26-0 (16) dominated Namibian import Walter
Kautondokwa, 33, 17-1 (16). A stablemate of former super lightweight champ Julius Indongo,
Kautondokwa drew inspiration from his countryman’s international accomplishments in boxing.
Indongo parlayed the WBO African title into an eventual unification showdown with Terence
Crawford in Nebraska. “He’s definitely not stopping this train,” promised Andrade at the
weigh-in.

He was right.

In the first round, Kautondokwa slipped to the canvas and Andrade hit him on the chin while he
was on all fours. Referee Steve Willis ruled it a knockdown, rather than reacting to the foul.

Kautondokwa pushed the action in the second but Andrade scored with the cleaner punches. In
the third, Andrade scored a clean knockdown with a flush left hand to the chin. The challenger
rose and answered the bell for the fourth down by two extra points. Kautondokwa went down
again twice more in the fourth leaving Andrade with a look like, “What more do I have to do?”

As the rounds wore on and on, Andrade found the answer to be elusive even if Kautondokwa
wasn’t terribly so. His best power punches were missing or being blocked and Kautondokwa
was proving durable. By the championship rounds it was clear that Andrade wouldn’t be able to
stop the train that was Kautondokwa. The energy in the live crowd suffered accordingly. Michael
Buffer announced what was already known, that Andrade won a virtual shutout on the cards.
Scores were 120-104 twice and 119-105.

“I did what I had to do. I could see that he was tough. It was good to get those twelve rounds in
because I’ve been inactive,” said Andrade at the post-fight press conference. He also spoke of a
fight week injury to his left shoulder that affected his performance and prevented a knockout. To
be perfectly honest, it sounded like an excuse for not finishing off a badly hurt fighter.

In her de facto Irish Homecoming, Katie Taylor, 32, Bray, 11-0 (5) successfully defended her
WBA/IBF female lightweight titles against the very experienced Cindy Serrano, 36, Brooklyn,
27-6-3 (10), over ten two-minute rounds. Serrano was moving up in weight to challenge Taylor,
who’s already made two title defenses this year in London and in Brooklyn. Serrano was never
in danger of being hurt or knocked out and Taylor was never in any danger of losing the fight.
Taylor won every round on all three cards 100-90.

“Cindy was just in there to survive,” said a disappointed Taylor.

Some fans jeered the “action” but it didn’t bother Serrano. “Eddie Hearn believes in female
fighting. Hopefully he can turn it around and we can get a couple more promoters just like him.”

To make the first defense of his newly won IBF super featherweight championship, Philly
southpaw Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 27-4-1 (6), stopped Belfast KRONK’s James
Tennyson, 22-3 (18) in four. During promotion for the title bout, it looked for all to see that
Farmer was overlooking Tennyson with his focus squarely on a big money grudge match with
Gervonta Davis. “I’m not overlooking James but I want to fight Tank Davis. I have to have that
fight and it’s got to happen. Let’s leave the streets on the streets and fight in the ring. We’ve
talked enough.”

In the ring, Farmer looked at his opponent and punched right through him. In the fourth frame,
Farmer dropped Tennyson with a solid left hook the body. It got no better for the Belfast native.
The next round, Arthur Mercante stopped it when Tennyson fell again from body shots. In
accepting the fight, Farmer’s promoter Lou DiBella didn’t want to deny his fighter the opportunity
to appear on such a high profile card so he willingly worked with Hearn to make it happen.
Time of the TKO 5 was 1:44.

In an IBF featherweight elimination bout scheduled for twelve, Evander Holyfield’s Toka Kahn
Clary, Providence, R.I., 25-3 (17), dropped a pedestrian UD to Ingle Gym’s Kid Galahad,
Sheffield, 25-0 (15). At the press conference in August to announce the match-up, there was
bad blood in the air. “Toka is a bum,” a chippy Galahad told me at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. “He
didn’t want this fight. He was talking trash so I called him a wanker and it got a little out of hand.”
“I’m gonna beat him,” Galahad promised.

At the final press conference, Galahad was demonstrably more peaceful. During the media
face-off with Kahn, he offered his hand to shake but Toka just left it hanging there. “I’ve calmed
down,” Kid told me. “Nothing personal, just business.” Is Toka a bum? “You can’t call him a
bum.” You did Kid. “I might have gone over the top. Any fighter that gets in the ring you gotta
have some respect for. Toka is gonna show up and my job is to make sure I do a job on him.”

Job well done Kid.

Final scores were 118-110 twice and 115-113.

In an entertaining ten round junior welterweight scrap, Tommy “Boom Boom” Coyle Quincy,
Hull, Yorkshire, U.K., 25-4 (12), outpointed Ryan Kielczweski, Quincy, Mass, 29-4 (11) over the
distance. Unanimous scores were 99-90, 98-91 and 96-93. The “Polish Prince” substituted for
Danny O’Connor against Coyle, a fighter TSS’s own Ted Sares expected Ryan to have had his
hands full with in a knockout loss; describing Coyle as a “load” in the ring. In the seventh round,
Kielczweski was felled by a massive right hand to the body and a vicious follow up left hook to
the head. He took a long nine count but got up to then stalk a fading Coyle down the stretch.

“This is the most ready I’ve been for any fight,” Kielczweski told me before the bout. “I fought in
September. A week later I got a call for this one so it’s like I’m on a ten week training camp.”

Coyle is a pressure fighter and an interesting character. Kielczweski struggled to keep him at
bay but landed with several quality power shots of his own, many coming in the last three
rounds—after the knockdown. Calling this his “American Dream” come true, Coyle grew up in
England loving ROCKY movies and Irish Micky Ward fights. Tonight, he was almost in one.

In a super featherweight comeback bout, former super bantamweight and featherweight
champion Scott Quigg, 30, Bury, U.K., 35-2-2 (26) made a successful return against
journeyman Mexican Mario Briones, 29-8-2 (21), stopping him in two rounds with an
unanswered three punch combination along the ropes. Trained by Freddie Roach, Quigg was
defeated last March by WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in a bruising non-title bout.

Quigg suffered multiple facial lacerations and a broken nose in the unanimous decision loss. “I
want a rematch with Valdez and with Carl Frampton because I want to avenge my losses. If I’d
be happy not fighting them again, I’d be in the wrong game,” a candid Quigg told me. “The work
Freddie’s had me doing and the sparring I’m on, I feel like I’m a ten times better fighter now.”

In a junior middleweight rematch, Murphys Boxing U.S. Marine Mark “Bazooka” DeLuca,
Whitman, Mass, 22-1 (13) outgunned Walter “2 Guns” Wright 37, Seattle, Washington 17-5 (8)
to defeat the only man to have beaten him as a pro, winning 97-93, and 96-94 twice. From
ringside I scored it 6-4 in rounds for DeLuca who scored well early with left hooks. Wright did
well in the middle rounds on the inside when DeLuca was tiring but it wasn’t enough. Though his
promoter Ken Casey questioned the outcome of the first fight last June in N.H., DeLuca told me
it was tight. “But he got me,” he admitted. Wright didn’t understand the manufactured
controversy. “I won. To come across the country, fight the local guy, and beat him, I should think
I’d get my props for winning. My performance should outweigh politics.” On this night, Wright’s
good but not good enough performance earned him an appropriately scored unanimous
decision loss.

There was no protest from Wright with the verdict.

UNDERCARD RESULTS:

In the show opener, super lightweight southpaw Sean McComb from Belfast improved to 4-0
(3), outclassing 37 year-old Peruvian Carlos Galindo, 1-6. Galindo’s only win came against
Maine’s Brandon Berry last June in N.H. This was McComb first appearance outside the U.K.
Galindo took a body beating and the fight was stopped in the third after a pair of knockdowns.

Accompanied to the ring by middleweight corker Spike O’Sullivan, Murphys Boxing’s Gorey,
Ireland heavyweight Niall Kennedy 221.6, 12-0-1 (7) took a few to give a few against New
Jersey’s Brendan Barrett 238, 7-1-2 (5), including a hip-toss and a headlock. The 6’3” Kennedy
used his good left jab and strong right cross to earn a unanimous six round decision, dropping
the stocky Barrett in the fifth with a brutal right hand. Official scores: 60-53 twice and 58-55.

Kazakh Olympic Gold medalist welterweight prospect Daniyar Yeleussinov improved to 4-0 (2)
against Salem, Mass “Mantis” Matt Doherty, 8-6-1 (4). Doherty wore a J.D. Martinez Red Sox
jersey to the ring but he was outgunned. The 27 year-old southpaw finished Doherty off with a
barrage of unanswered punches in the first round and referee Arthur Mercante waved a halt.

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Rob Brant is the New WBA Middleweight Champion

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada- In a major upset that saw a mega fight disappear, Rob Brant took the WBA middleweight title from Japan’s Ryota Murata with a lot of hustle and a heck of a chin to the surprise of many on Saturday.

Murata (14-2,11KOs) was expected to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin if he won, but the dress rehearsal turned into a nightmare as Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) attacked and attacked while out-punching the Japanese fighter nearly two to one in front of a stunned audience of more than 2700 at the Park Theater at the MGM.

“This was one of the best moments of my life, said Brant. “I wasn’t thinking of punch output. I was thinking about winning.”

With many planning their trips to Tokyo for an expected showdown between Murata and Golovkin, the Las Vegas based Brant put a stick into the spokes of their travel plans.

Brant started quickly with combination punching and moving in and out of range during the first three rounds of the middleweight bout. Murata smiled throughout the incoming blows from the upstart Brant.

“It’s easy to smile, but his eyes were swollen and he had blood on his mouthpiece,” said Brant.

It wasn’t until the fourth round that Murata found life while attacking the body.

The body punches opened up the lead right cross for Murata, who began targeting Brant’s head. But the Minnesota native was able to absorb the big blows and kept firing back. Though Brant was landing more shots, Murata’s punches were clearly harder and landed with a thud.

The crowd got into the fight early as cheers of “USA! USA!” were shouted sporadically throughout the fight. It probably had an effect on the judges.

It seemed Murata was landing the more effective blows in the middle rounds, especially when he targeted the body, then switched to the head. But though they were hard punches, Brant moved backward and kept returning fire.

The action was measured, but constant, with no slow rounds after round three. At times it looked like Murata was about to score a knockout but it never came. Brant proved resilient. More than that, he convinced the three judges he was the winner 119-109(2x) and 118-110.

Only the widespread scores were surprising. It seemed like a much closer fight.

Dudashev prevails

Maxim Dudashev (12-0, 10 KOs) tried to blast it out with Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (33-7-1, 24 KOs), but after taking heavy incoming fire, the undefeated super lightweight changed tactics and out-boxed the former world champion to win by unanimous decision.

Dudashev moved around just enough and used quick short combinations to out-score the long-armed Tijuana fighter after the midway point of the 10-round affair. Though DeMarco was able to score with heavy body shots  and lead lefts to the head, Dudashev managed to fire off combinations that kept winning rounds in the second half of the fight. The judges scored the fight 97-93, 96-94, 98-92 for Dudashev. TheSweetScience.com scored it 96-94 for Dudashev, who keeps the NABF super lightweight title.

“This was a great learning experience for me,” said Dudashev. “DeMarco is a true champion, and he fought with great heart and determination.”

Falcao and other bouts

Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao (22-0, 15 KOs) showcased his various boxing skills against Argentina’s Guido Pitto (25-6-2, 8 KOs) who lost by unanimous decision but forced the undefeated fighter into various situations. In the first four rounds, Falcao fought from the outside with impunity as Pitto was unable to touch the Brazilian. But when the Argentine boxer took the fight inside, he found more success and forced Falcao to utilize his inside boxing skills. The fighting was intense but Falcao was just too strong and slightly quicker in winning every round in the 10 round middleweight fight. Pitto’s best moments came during the fifth round when he forced his way inside. All three judges saw it 100-90 for Falcao.

Ireland’s Michael Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs) battered Nicola Cipolletta (14-7-2) every round with rights to the body and head. The Italian boxer rarely fired back and after several unanswered blows by Cipolletta the referee Russell Mora stopped the featherweight fight @1:55 of round seven. Cipolletta protested the stoppage but never truly engaged Conlan, who must have connected on more than 60 percent of his punches thrown. It was a whitewash for the former Irish Olympian.

Vladimir Nikitin (2-0) won by unanimous decision over Louisiana’s Clay Burns (5-5-2) in a featherweight fight that was much closer than the scores given. Burns started out fast and easily won the first two rounds. Then the battle got much closer as Nikitin’s overhand rights began scoring. Burns switched to southpaw and switched back and forth and that gave Nikitin pause. The last two rounds were very close especially the final round. But all three judges scored it 59-55 for Nikitin, thus only giving Burns one round. It was much closer in reality.

A battle between undefeated Puerto Rican lightweights saw Joseph Adorno (10-0, 9 KOs) drop Kevin Cruz (8-1, 5 KOs) twice in winning by unanimous decision. Though Adorno’s knockout streak was snapped, he engaged in a spirited battle against left-handed Cruz who let loose in the sixth and final round. A counter left hook by Adorno floored Cruz the second time during a furious exchange. Cruz beat the count and tried his best to go for the knockout; Adorno scooted away until the final bell. Scores of 59-53(2x) and 58-54 for Adorno.

Adam Lopez (11-1, 5 KOs) won by knockout over Hector Ambriz (12-8-2) in a featherweight match. The end came @1:29 of the eighth and final round of the fight when Lopez fired a four punch combination that forced referee Tony Weeks to halt the fight though Ambriz was still standing.

Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3 KOs) stopped veteran Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15 KOs) with a series of body blows @2:13 of round two in a super lightweight contest between lefties.

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