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AVILA RINGSIDE: GGG and Chocolatito Wow Large Crowd with Impressive KOs

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INGLEWOOD, Ca.-Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin showed he’s the best above 140 pounds and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez showed he’s the best below that weight as both scored sizzling knockouts in their respective world title fights on Saturday.

A crowd of 12,372 screaming fans at the Inglewood Forum saw Golovkin (33-0, 30 Kos) crush Willie Monroe (19-2, 6 Kos) for a knockout victory in the sixth round. Earlier, Nicaragua’s Gonzalez blew out Mexico’s Edgar Sosa in two rounds in their flyweight title fight.

Golovkin walked into the ring with almost unanimous support. Monroe was a supporting character but never acted like he was a fall guy. Though Golovkin cut off the ring immediately he did not deliver any of his big shots in the first round.

In the second frame Golovkin opened up with the real power and connected to Monroe’s chin with a left hook as the challenger tried to exchange. It was one of those hard disguised blows he’s mastered. Monroe beat the count despite shaky legs and was met with a crushing right hand. Monroe staggered to the floor but was able to beat the count. After getting up he fired a low blow that slowed Golovkin’s attack and ended the round. He was warned.

Monroe took the fight inside and kept firing back. Golovkin was patient with his attack and Monroe fired combinations and kept the champion from firing long range. The fourth round saw Monroe score repeatedly with combinations as Golovkin shrugged them off and pointed to his chest.

“He’s easy to hit but he takes a good shot,” said Monroe.

Golovkin began round five with a short sneaky left uppercut that short circuited Monroe’s legs. He stayed upright and managed to land a solid left counter. The challenger fought back as much as possible and refused to run. He just didn’t have enough firepower to keep Golovkin’s progression.

Monroe seemed willing to fight on but could not find the antidote for Golovkin. A Golovkin combination of several left uppercuts, a right cross and two left hooks sent Monroe down to the mat once again. Referee Jack Reiss asked Monroe if he wanted to continue and he calmly said “I’m done.”

“He caught me with a good shot,” Monroe said. “He’s strong.”

Golovkin was ecstatic for the win and for the crowd reaction.

“Muchas gracias,” Golovkin said to the crowd. “I feel great. My performance was for you.”

The WBA and IBO middleweight champion told the crowd he wanted to prove he can fight any style and was gracious on Monroe’s performance.

“He’s a real good fighter. Seriously,” said Golovkin. “I stay here. I’m a real champ. Let’s show who is number one.”

A number of opponents come to mind including Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and possibly Andre Ward.

Chocolatito

Just think if Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez were the same size as Golovkin? That would be a fight.

The boxing world will have to be satisfied with Gonzalez ruining the smaller weight classes, division by division. Mexico’s Edgar Sosa tried mightily to slug it out with Gonzalez but was out-gunned, out-quicked and over run by the Nicaraguan, who fought with a hunger not seen in his two previous appearances in Southern California fight cards.

Gonzalez hunted down Sosa like it was dinner time from the opening bell. It was clear that the right hand could land whenever he desired. But Sosa survived the first round.

In the second round Sosa was not so lucky. With thousands of Nicaraguans shouting “Nicaragua, Nicaragua” the WBC flyweight champion increased the already intense pressure on Sosa and during an exchange floored the Mexican with a counter right. Sosa got up and soon was met with a short, crisp left uppercut and that staggered and felled Sosa. But the Mexican challenger surprisingly got up and stood up to accept some more due punishment. Gonzalez had no mercy as he chased Sosa around the ring and fired a barrage, including another right that sent the Mexican down a third time. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the contest at 2:37 of the second round without a count. Gonzalez was the winner by technical knockout.

“It was very important because it’s on HBO,” said Gonzalez. “I wanted to showcase my talent.”

Sosa looked shocked at the intensity of the Nicaraguan’s pressure.

“He was good. He surprised me but he’s a good fighter,” Sosa said.

Gonzalez was giddy in his big win in front of a large American crowd that was filled with thousands of Nicaraguan supporters.

“He was a tough fighter but my punches were too much for him,” Gonzalez said of Sosa. “I want to fight Juan Francisco Estrada in a rematch.”

They fought three years ago in L.A., with Estrada forcing Gonzalez to go the distance in a rousing prizefight.

Other bouts

Tijuana’s Ivan Morales (28-0, 16 Kos) stopped Danny Flores (14-7-1, 8 Kos) of Mexico City at 47 seconds of the eighth and last round. The battle between Mexican bantamweights was a tough struggle until the end. Referee Jerry Cantu stopped the fight after Flores took several flush blows.

Super featherweight Pedro Duran (11-0, 8 Kos) got a gift knockout with seconds left in the fight against Mexico’s Daniel Perales (5-2, 3 Kos). Duran scored a knockdown in the first round with a pretty right cross but was unable to end the fight. Though Duran had all the advantages he repeatedly tried shoe-shining Perales, who made him pay with strong counter rights. At 2:50 of the sixth round, referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the fight, causing boos from the crowd.

East L.A.’s Seniesa Estrada (4-0, 1 Ko) floored San Diego’s Carley Batey (4-5-2) in the fifth round with an overhand left and pretty much cinched the fight with that knockdown in their bantamweight contest. Batey was the taller fighter and did well at times with her jab after a seven year absence, but Estrada was able to connect with solid combinations throughout the six round fight. Estrada won by unanimous decision.

Ruslan Madiyev (5-0, 3 Kos) need less than two rounds to knock out Houston’s Julio Sanchez (1-2) with a monstrous right hand at 21 seconds of round two of a lightweight clash. Sanchez was willing to exchange big blows and was knocked down in the first with a seven-punch combination. In the second round a single right by Madiyev pulverized Sanchez into unconsciousness at 21 seconds into the frame.

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

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UK sporting

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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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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