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Cam F. Awesomem A Super Heavy Talent and Weird in a Good Way



The modern day journalist, under pressure to churn out copy while staving off anxiety which comes from being in a business which has seen laborers battle a downward trend in wage growth, has to be careful not to fall prey to taking available shortcuts.

Hello, Wikipedia.

It’s all there, or enough to get you started, and acquainted enough with the life and doings of a subject you are writing about.

Except when it’s not all there.

Or what is there is riddled with inaccuracies, or glaring omissions, known maybe only to the subject of the entry, giving only a minimal portion of the total picture of the man.

I took a look at the Wikipedia entry for the man formerly known as Lenroy Thompson after seeing his name cross the wires a couple weeks ago, highlighting his successful participation at the Pan American Olympic Festival in Mexico City. “Cam F. Awesome Wins Gold Medal,” I read. And did a triple take.

Wait…what’s the guys name? Real name can’t be Awesome, can it? And lord, I hope the F stands for what I think it does. I thought to myself, chuckling dementedly.

I reached out to Julie Goldsticker, who does PR work for the USA Boxing program, and told her I’d like to speak to Mr. Awesome.

She quickly replied. Sure thing Mike. I think you’ll enjoy talking to him.

Indeed I did, Julie.

Awesome, who was born on Long Island, New York with the name “Lenroy Thompson,” is a standout at super heavyweight for team USA, a program which is working towards reconfiguring their mission and their result in competition. The women involved in the program have no shame in their game, as was hinted out in Mexico City, where Queen Underwood, Marlen Esparza and ace Claressa Shields all took golds, along with Awesome. You’ll recall Shields excelled at the 2012 Olympics, where she won gold, and Esparza impressed with a bronze effort. Among the fellas, only Errol Spence managed to make it to the quarterfinals.

I do confess, I will now be keeping track of Awesome’s progress and will be rooting for him to keep on winning, and get into the 2016 Games, in Brazil, and thrive in golden fashion, because to me, the world is well served when such free thinkers as someone bold enough to change their last name to “Awesome” are out and about and making noise.

My regard for Awesome ticked up almost immediately, when during a phoner I asked about that Wikipedia entry and he filled me in. “I’m not sure who put it together, but I was going to get on there, and fix some things, but then I got lazy,” Awesome said.

Point given for admirable honesty…

Now, the lefty-stance super heavy was indeed born in Uniondale, he informed me. He took up boxing at age 17, right after he graduated from high school, and found he made quick strides in the squared circle realm. He advanced to the US Championships in 2007, losing in the semis to Michael Hunter, currently a pro, and took part in the Olympic Trials. In 2008, Awesome–who by the way was still known as “Lenroy Thompson,” he didn’t change his name until 2011–took part in the US Nationals. Wikipedia informed me that he took advantage of Hunters’ absence, which allowed him to advance further, where he met and lost to Tor Hamer.

Awesome looked to clear up that “advantage” storyline, and helped me comprehend that he is not a cookie-cutter type who does as he’s told, when he’s told. No, he said, he was the best in the country in that class at that time, he stated, and is proud of the fact that he beat Hamer, who made some noise as a pro a few years ago. I chuckled silently as Awesome digressed, and said, “Hamer is just so weird, he’s really cool, actually. His name sounds like a super hero, right?”

By now living in Florida, Awesome’s path got a bit smoother, and then rockier, which Wikipedia touches on, but with semi-infuriating thinness. He beat Bryant Jennings, who just won a WBC title shot eliminator on July 26, in the National Golden Gloves finals in 2009. He was on a road to the 2012 Olympics, thanks to wins like the one at the 2010 USA Boxing Championship in Colorado. Then the snafu, which Wiki “details” under the heading “Drug Suspension.” USADA, the entry reads, in February 2012 suspended Thompson for a year, for failing to meet requirements regarding his whereabouts, needed to be ascertained so he could be found for out of competition testing. Three times he couldn’t be found, the entry says, in an 18 month timespan.

Hmm, think there might be something implied there? Yep, don’t know whose fingerprints are on this Wiki page, but if it were my entry, I’d hope that the counterfactual argument, or at least explanation, would be asked of me.

Anyway, I asked Thompson what happened there. He told me.

One time he was “AWOL,” he said, came when he was in NY, attending a Nets game. He informed testing agency USADA the house he’d be staying at, and gave them his cell number. He wasn’t at the house when they came requesting a sample, and when they tried calling his cell, he didn’t pick up. Why? Because he had no cell service in the arena. If he’d gotten the call, he’d have been tasked with getting back to that house within 60 minutes. But since he didn’t get the call, it was counted as a “miss.” Another miss came when he filled out some required paperwork for USADA for the Trials, online, past the deadline date. (I confess, not being so great at such tasks, I feel for the guy on this one.) And then, for his third strike, he was competing, in Azerbejian, and forgot to inform the testing folks that he was not at home. Since he was competing for USA Boxing, in an international competition, it strikes me that it wouldn’t have been too hard for the testing people to figure out where he was, but anyway…

Three strikes, and he was out. The whole Lance Armstrong doping kerfuffle was not coincidentally playing out during that time, Awesome notes, so, he thinks, that didn’t help when it came time to ponder punishment. “I feel as though they made an example of me,” he admits.

I grilled him, though. Has he used any illegal PEDs, or banned party drugs, or anything?

“No, I haven’t. Anything that is illegal, I wouldn’t know where to start to find them,” said the guy whose Twitter handle is PlantBasedBoxer, because he’s been vegan for the last two years. “I don’t do any drugs. I am anti pain pills even. No marijuana, no PEDs…I mean, I don’t look like I do anything. I don’t have the build for anyone to say I’m on steroids.”

Ah, but that which doesn’t kill us…

Oh, it might not kill us, but it might make us a bit more skeptical about the ways of the world, the way the powers that be operate, shift standards and practices based on whim and the direction of the wind. Not saying that happened with Thompson, but on Feb. 16, 2013, he had a party for himself, to celebrate the fact that he changed his name. Legally, he changed his name to Cam F. Awesome. “The party celebrated my rebirth,” he told me of the bash in Kansas City, which was attended by about 60 people, some of whom were celebrating a mutual friends’ birthday. So Awesome got his crew together and told them of his switcheroo. “Awesome” was the word stitched on his trunks, and, as he put it, “Because if you chose a name what would you choose? Life is awesome, and everyone is their own life. My life is awesome, I’m grateful for everything I have.” And the Cameron, that’s actually his first-given middle name, and the name he mostly answered too, being that his dad was Lenroy the First, and he didn’t want to be a Junior, and didn’t care for the unisex status of “Cameron.” Oh, and the F…tell me it stands for what I think it stands for, please.

“It stands for anything you want it to,” he told me.


So, at age 25, Awesome has a new name, and a somewhat altered POV of the world. Most of us by 25, I dare say, have had our teeth kicked in once or twice, causing us to shift out of a more simplistic way of thinking about the planet and the people who take up space on it. Ah, but we all still have parents, or elders in our life with frown lines showing deep furrows when we screw up. Like, for instance, when we show up and tell them we changed our last name to “Awesome?”

His parents were a bit surprised, yes. “They know how I am little bit out there,” he admits of his ‘rents, of his mom who came from England and his dad who was born in Trinidad. “My mom was a little confused but no one really questioned me. I’m a child with adult-like resources. I do whatever an eight year old would do if they had the money and power to do it.”

Amen to that…if eight year olds ran the world, there damned well would be peace in the Middle East. OK, and ice cream for breakfast all the time, but you get my point…What we’d spend in dentist bills we’d make up for with the dissolution of the military-industrial complex….

The name change has been basically a pure positive, he said. His name always pops out when media scans a list of 50 or so fighters in a tourney, so it guarantees ink. Now, the downsides….”There are a lot of airport checks. I didn’t see that one coming.”

Awesome for now is loving the experience as he lives the dream which has him traveling to foreign countries, allowing him to compare and contrast persons and systems. It has made him that much more grateful for what he and we all have. He recalls that he went to the Dominican Republic for a tourney, and was told that the place they were staying was in the good part of town. “We have running water,” he was told, by a proud person. It wasn’t hot water, but it was running. And there was no AC. “Their idea of living good is different. We’re spoiled, and often don’t realize how good we have it,” he said.

“Most of us don’t leave the country,” he continued. He splurged on a fan for his room in the DR, which he bought for $20, not inconsiderable wages in that nation for a laborer. He left it with a cleaning lady upon departure, but the money laid out seems to be well spent. “That’s why I love America so much,” he says. “So many people don’t know how crappy it can be elsewhere. Our level of poverty is what, $12,000 a year? You can live as king in the Dominican Republic for that.”

Speaking of kings and such…Awesome and the ladies fought like bosses in Mexico. He says they are buds, hang out, support each other all the way. “Every punch I threw, I heard Marlen like she was sitting next to me,” Awesome said.

He expects the ladies to clean up at the next Games, and wants to snag a gold himself, ideally. And how about a transition to the pro ranks after that? Think about it…a vegan gold medalist with the last name “Awesome?” Al Haymon, get your checkbook ready…

“I would love to represent America till I’m 40,” he says. “If there’s no Olympics for me, I may turn pro, but the jury is still out.”

Awesome has gone 43-5 in the last year and a half, and has close to 300 fights under his belt. Would his style be a good fit for the pros? “What am I like technically? As Kenny Powers said, fundamentals are crutches for the untalented,” he says, chuckling. “I made up my own style. It looks like I don’t know what I’m doing at times, but I’m not doing anything by accident. I throw punches from weird places, and it’s effective. I’m not a power puncher, so I don’t go toe to toe. I’m about 215 pounds, fighting guys at around 270. But I won’t drop down, because I’m so much faster than them at super heavyweight. As long as I don’t get hit, I won’t get killed.”

“You’re sort of supposed to fight and be this macho, manly way, supposed to stand and fight. I want to break the stereo, that you can be educated and articulate and have diversity in life, and be happy in life.”

The perception of the “normal” fighter in the minds of too many is Mike Tyson, complex and fearsome, and Muhammad Ali, his faculties diminished by punches he absorbed, supposedly. “I’ve never watched a Rocky movie and will not, and Ali with Parkinsons, you cannot attribute to boxing. With Tyson, people think he’s crazy. I prefer to be seen as a funny vegan.”

I get the sense that, in a good way, Awesome isn’t an automaton of ambition, that he rightly doesn’t wrap up his persona and being in his won-loss record. “There’s so much more like I’d like to do, before I decide to turn pro, dedicate my whole life to boxing. I want to do comedy, acting, public speaking. I don’t want to be the dude who gets punched my whole life. I’d like to leave a legacy. I mean, yes, money is very important to me. They say it can’t buy happiness. But having it doesn’t necessarily make you unhappy…. but it can buy a helicopter.”

Awesomely said, sir.

Keep punching Cam F., and if I can muster some focus, I will see what I can do about logging on to your Wiki backstage, and filling in some of those blanks. But be forewarned; I might lapse into a lazy spell, in the downtime when I’m not working on building my brand to where I can buy a helicopter.


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Three Punch Combo: Jacobs-Derevyanchenko on HBO, Baranchyk-Yigit and More



This Saturday, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KO’s) takes on Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KO’s) for the vacant IBF middleweight title. The fight, which headlines an HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader, is highly anticipated in boxing circles as on paper it is an evenly matched contest with a wide range of potential outcomes. The fight also bears an eerie resemblance to another middleweight title fight from more than twenty years ago.

On March 16th, 1996, then IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins (28-2-1, 21 KO’s) faced off against the IBF’s number one ranked contender in Joe Lipsey (25-0, 20 KO’s). Opinions were split as to who would come out as the victor. It was televised live in the United States on ABC in the afternoon and served as a precursor for that evening’s big pay-per-view event between Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno.

Hopkins, 31 at the time, had fought much better opposition and those who favored him thought his experience along with his better athleticism would lead him to victory. Lipsey, who was 29, had a burgeoning reputation in the fight game and was known for his relentless pressure style. In addition, he had displayed devastating one punch knockout power in both hands that had many thinking he had a bright future in the sport.

It was the experience and ring savviness of Hopkins versus the untapped raw potential of Lipsey.

As it played out, Hopkins’ skill proved too much for Lipsey. After effectively out-boxing and neutralizing the aggression of Lipsey for three rounds, Hopkins landed a perfectly placed counter right uppercut using Lipsey’s forward momentum against him that instantly ended matters. It was a statement making performance for Hopkins.

Jacobs, 31, is in a similar spot to that of Hopkins when he faced Lipsey. With two losses on his ledger, Jacobs is in need of a statement making victory. One of those losses was to Gennady Golovkin and, of course, Hopkins entered the Lipsey contest with one of his losses to all-time great Roy Jones Jr.

Jacobs holds a significant experience edge in the pro game compared to that of Derevyanchenko. Jacobs is also the more athletic fighter. Similar to that of Hopkins against Lipsey, Jacobs will look to play the role of the boxer-puncher and use his experience along with athleticism to dictate the tempo of the fight.

Derevyanchenko, 32, comes in highly touted. Similar to Joe Lipsey in 1996, he enters with an undefeated record along with a glossy knockout percentage and many in the sport see a fighter with raw untapped potential.

The similarities between Jacobs-Derevyanchenko and Hopkins-Lipsey are striking. Will history repeat itself or will Derevyanchenko be able to rise to the occasion?


The World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament resumes this week with a pair of fights in New Orleans. While the fans will be mostly showing up to watch the main event between hometown rising star Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KO’s) and Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 KO’s), it is the other WBSS fight, pitting Ivan Baranchyk against Anthony Yigit for the vacant IBF title that piques my interest.

Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) is well known to US fight fans from his multiple appearances on the ShoBox series on Showtime on which he has scored some highlight reel knockouts. He is an aggressive pressure fighter with heavy handed power. He has been showing signs of improved boxing skills of late and is coming off a career best performance in knocking out former world title challenger Petr Petrov.

Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) is a former decorated amateur who participated in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. A southpaw with quick feet and good hand speed, Yigit is an excellent counterpuncher who is adept at using feints to bait his opponents to throw to set up counter opportunities. He is also very slick and uses good head movement, making him not an easy target to hit.

This is a classic matchup of an aggressive pressure fighter against a skilled slick boxer. Baranchyk has the buzz and will be favored, but Yigit’s style and skill could present a major challenge for him. It’s a very compelling fight,.

The Journey of Yuandale Evans

On April 24th, 2010 I hit the road to attend a club show in a suburb of Cleveland. I wanted to get a firsthand look at a local fighter named Yuandale Evans who was headlining the 6-fight card. The venue was a small indoor soccer complex and tickets were only $20. There was no assigned seating and I had no problem finding a ringside seat for the evening’s festivities.

Evans did not disappoint. Fighting in front of the sparse audience, he dispatched an opponent named Reymundo Hernandez in the first round. I liked what I saw from Evans and thought he had a bright future in boxing.

A year later, Evans found himself on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fight Series in a step-up fight against veteran Emmanuel Lucero. This was a coming out party for Evans as he impressively took apart the former world title challenger. There was speed, athleticism and power in his game and many took notice.

Nine months later, Evans found himself in a significant fight. It was another date on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fight Series but this time against a fellow undefeated fighter in Javier Fortuna. Fortuna had been getting a lot of buzz and if Evans could defeat him then he’d find himself on the brink of a world title opportunity.

But the Fortuna fight did not go well for Evans. As a matter of fact, it was disastrous.  Fortuna scored a vicious, highlight reel first round knockout, the kind of knockout loss that many fighters never recover from.

It appeared for a while that Evans would not get back in the game. Out for three years, he finally returned in 2015 with two wins against less than stellar competition. These wins were needed confidence boosters.

After those bounce back wins, it took another 17 months for Evans to return to the ring. This time, in his first major test since the Fortuna loss, he faced Billel Dib. Brought in as the “B” side, Evans was supposed to be a name on the resume for Dib, but he flipped the script, scoring a clear ten round unanimous decision.

The win against Dib, which took place in the 130-pound division, put Evans back on the radar. But it was his next performance that put him into contention. Dropping down to featherweight and again coming in as the underdog, he scored a rousing split decision win against Louis Rosa in November of 2017 in a fiercely fought contest that received Fight of the Year consideration. Evans fought with passion and determination to secure the best win of his career.

Evans, now 20-1 with 14 KO’s, will challenge undefeated 130-pound world title holder Alberto Machado next week. Evans is once again an underdog. Not many are giving him much of a chance. But if Evans fights like he did against Rosa and can stay inside on Machado, applying constant pressure, we could be in for another surprise.

Evans has come a long way since I first saw him fight at a small indoor soccer venue in Ohio and I for one do not discount his chances to lift Machado’s world title belt.

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Andrade Grabs Vacant WBO Middleweight Belt in Boston



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 fourth 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, 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.


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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Rob Brant is the New WBA Middleweight Champion



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. 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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