Connect with us

Featured Articles

RINGSIDE REPORT: DeGale Betters Dirrell in Boston, Grabs Title



Boxing is back in Boston and it’s not a moment too soon. In the past ten years, there have been only two significant fight cards held in the city and both were at the TD Boston Garden.

The UK’s Ricky Hatton defeated New Yorker Luis Collazo for the WBA welterweight title in 2006 and then two years ago, a successful pro-am show was put on there as well and featured Danny O’Connor in the main event against Derek Silveira in a regional battle.

Thanks to Al Haymon’s revolutionary Premier Champions (PBC) platform, the sweet science was in full effect at the Agganis Arena on Saturday afternoon, May 23 on the campus of Boston University.

Home to the BU Terriers college hockey team, the arena hosted an NBC televised card promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Murphy’s Boxing before a small but very enthusiastic crowd.

In the main event, James “Chunky” DeGale (seen above, after his win, in Freeman photo), 29, London, England, 21-1, 14 KOs, 167.2, fulfilled his obsessive dream of becoming the first Olympic Gold Medalist from Great Britain to win a “genuine” world title.

“I’m speechless,” the new champion told me after the fight. DeGale defeated American Olympic Bronze Medalist Andre Dirrell, 31, 24-2, 16 KOs, Flint, Michigan, 167.8, by unanimous decision to win the IBF super middleweight championship in a tactical but relatively entertaining affair. The Brit scored two knockdowns in the second round and used his superior boxing skills to outpoint his opponent over the distance.

“Dirrell showed a lot of heart like a true warrior,” said DeGale. “That second round knockdown was heavy,” DeGale said of the shot that dropped Dirrell. Dirrell had his moments but they were essentially given to him by DeGale in an attempt to set Dirrell up for more of the abuse he put on Dirrell in the second. When I asked DeGale if that was the case, the Londoner confirmed my assessment of his strategy. “Also, he’s such a good fighter, I couldn’t be careless and make too many mistakes because he’s dangerous with that left hand,” he said.

After a slow first round battle of jabs, traps, and counters, DeGale picked up the pace in the second round and dropped Dirrell hard with a smashing left cross to the face. Dirrell hit the mat flat but bounced up fast, only to get sent back down from a follow-up barrage. Dirrell got his legs back in the third but DeGale pinned him in a corner late in the round and hammered his exposed chin with another hard left hand. In the fourth, DeGale slowed his attack but landed a spearing right jab to the face of Dirrell, who struggled from the outside and clinched on the inside whenever DeGale pressed his advantage in close. As the rounds went on, DeGale showed the true essence of boxing. He hit more than he got hit. His defense was tight. His counters were on point. As chants of “Chunky, Chunky” broke out in the sixth, Dirrell looked like a beaten fighter, or at the very least, an extremely frustrated one.

In the seventh, eighth and ninth, DeGale motored around the ring looking to land his big left hand again as he did in the second round. Occasionally he’d plant his feet and let Dirrell tire himself out by punching wildly at his guard. In the tenth, Dirrell responded to “USA, USA” chants with two straight left hands to the chin of DeGale as “Chunky” backed up into the ropes. DeGale seized control in the championship rounds and outboxed Dirrell to punctuate his tactical victory by official scores of 117-109 and 114-112 twice.

From ringside, I scored it 116-110 in favor of DeGale, who told me he agreed with the 114-112 scores, but that the 117-109 score was “a bit too much.”

“He ran from me and they gave it to him,” said a dejected Dirrell after the second loss of his career.

Edwin Rodriguez, Worcester, MA., 27-1, 18 KOs. 176, stopped Craig Baker, Baytown, TX., 16-1, 12 KOs, 175.6, in the third round of a scheduled ten. Both light heavyweights came to the ring in Red Sox baseball jerseys. Baker, an interesting character for sure, wore a Larry Bird shirt to the Friday weigh-in. It featured Bird’s upside down image and read “Flip The Bird” across the front. In boxing they say you kill the body so the head will follow but Rodriguez took a different approach, targeting Baker upstairs early in an attempt to open up those exposed flanks for Rodriguez’s trademark body punches. In the second round, Baker was starting to feel them as Rodriguez whipped him with long right hands downstairs. Baker stayed pesky on the inside but “La Bomba” was walking through his best punches to land his own. After five consecutive right hands from Rodriguez to the head of Baker, the referee jumped in at 2:22 of the third and called a halt, a surprise only to Baker, who was not punching back.

Baker got into boxing to lose weight. After losing more than 100 pounds in 16 professional wins, he finally lost a fight. “I was pacing myself,” said the winner. “When the referee stopped it, Baker wasn’t throwing back. He took my body punches well but they slowed him down. They did what I wanted them to do. It was like chopping down a tree. The accumulation was too much for him.”

Danny O’Connor, Framingham, MA., 26-2, 10 KOs, 147.4, beat up Chris “Gumby” Gilbert, Windsor, VT., 13-2, 10 KOs, 146, registering a fifth round TKO to win the New England welterweight championship close to home. Bull versus matador. Brute versus brains. This is how O’Connor was able to handle the tank-like Gilbert. In the first round, Gilbert charged hard and was merely outboxed. In the second, O’Connor gored the bull with brutal left hands to the gut and Gilbert went down twice in obvious pain. By the fourth, O’Connor was in complete control of the fight and he hit the defenseless Gilbert at will up and down. In the fifth, Gilbert fell again from body punches and the referee put a stop to Gilbert’s agony at 1:04.

“Gilbert was tough as nails. I didn’t believe his level of skill was at my level. I could’ve fought down to his level but I stayed skillful. I stayed true to me,” said O’Connor of the victory.

Undercard Results:

Featherweight Jonathon Guzman, 19-0, 19 KOs, Boca Chica, Dominica Republic, 124.6, stopped Christian Esquivel, 27-7, 20 KOs, Mexico, 123.2, in the corner after five rounds. The undefeated Guzman keeps his knockout streak intact in the last bout of the day.

Heavyweight Danny “Smooth” Kelly, 8-1-1, 7 KOs, Washington DC, 239.8, obliterated Curtis Lee Tate, 7-6, 6 KOs, Memphis, TN., 229.4, with three thudding knockdowns in the first round. The slaughter was wisely waved off by the assigned referee at 1:05.

Middleweight Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, 21-1, 14 KOs, Cork, Ireland, 159.6, brutalized MelvinBetancourt, 29-2, 23 KOs, Dominic Republic, 159.6, for a scary second round knockout. Sporting a traditional green Irish kilt and bright yellow boxing shoes, O’Sullivan walked his man down and hammered him with lefts and rights before a sweet right hook put Betancourt flat on his back for the count. The pillow-fisted Betancourt had never fought outside of the Dominican Republic and it showed. Time of the KO was 2:46. Said the victorious O’Sullivan afterwards, “Anyone I hit is going to sleep. I want Gennady Golovkin. I’ll knock him out.”

Middleweight Immanuwel Aleem, 13-0, 9 KOs, East Meadow, NY., 159.2, knocked out DavidToribio, 21-15, 14 KOs, Dominican Republic, 159.6, at just 0:39 of the first round. A wicked left to the body sent Toribio down in a corner and a follow up right hand to the head as he fell was just the icing on the cake. Toribio was counted out with a grimaced look on his face.

Light heavyweight prospect Edwin Espinal, 6-0, 4 KOs. Providence, RI., 171, defeated Alvaro Enriquez, 5-14-2, Mexico City, Mexico, 170.4, by unanimous decision to stay undefeated. Bouncing on his toes and attacking behind a high guard, Espinal battered his Mexican opponent around the ring like a rag-doll in the first round before reducing his output in the second to choose his shots more carefully. The boom was nearly lowered in the fourth and final round when Espinal scored a hurtful knockdown from a hard right hand to the chops but Enriquez hung in there like a Mexican fighter. Scores: 40-35 from all three judges.

Super featherweight Ryan “Polish Prince” Kielczewski, 23-1, 7 KOs, Quincy, MA., 127.6 scored a first round knockout of Anthony Napunyi, 11-12, 6 KOs, Nairobi, Kenya, 125.4, to get back in the win column after his first professional loss last month to Danny Aquino in Connecticut on ESPN Friday Night Fights. Kielczewski’s opponent made the ever menacing throat-slash sign at the weigh-in face off but Kielczewski made him pay for that nonsense with a vicious body attack that sent him down and out at 2:54.

Junior lightweight Logan McGuinness, 23-0-1, 10 KOs, Ontario, Canada, 136.8 decisioned Gerardo Cuevas, 17-14, 15 KOs, Mexico City, Mexico, 142, over six rounds. Cuevas brought a soft abdomen to the ring against McGuiness but that didn’t stop him from dropping the Canadian with a soft left jab in the first round. McGuiness responded well by attacking the body of Cuevas who stayed feisty with his jab and busy fists. McGuiness pounded the jelly bellied Cuevas in the third and “Pipino Junior” looked a little gassed in the corner after the assault. The pace slowed considerably in the second half of the bout for both. Scores: 57-56 on all three cards.

Bantamweight Gary “Another” Russell, 2-0, 2 KOs, Washington, DC, 117.2, stopped Brandon Garvin, 0-2, 118.6, Philadelphia, PA in one round. Cornered by current WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr., this Russell made short work of his opponent, dropping him with a right hook along the ropes during an exchange that left Garvin in no condition to continue. The referee appropriately stopped the fight at 1:03 of the first. This was opening bout of the show and the first bell sounded at 1:38 PM.


Featured Articles

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

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



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.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

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.



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.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading