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Rigo Stops Dickens, Flanagan Outboxes Fana in Cardiff

Miguel Iturrate



Rigo Stops Dickens – The Ice Arena in Cardiff, Wales hosted a huge night of boxing on Saturday, July 16th. The card was especially noteworthy because of the presence of WBA “Super World” super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0) of Cuba who defended his title against James Dickens (22-1).

Both men started the fight with a methodical approach as Rigondeaux appeared to want Dickens to show him something, and Dickens seemed to be employing the same strategy. Even with limited activity, Rigondeaux was clearly the more precise puncher. Round two saw Rigondeaux land a big left hand that cracked Dickens jaw for the only really solid punch of the round.  Unfortunately, Dickens did not come out for round three when his corner determined that the punch had broken his jaw. Afterwards promoter Frank Warren announced that Rigondeaux will be asked back to fight on September 17th.

In the co-feature, Terry Flanagan won a wide twelve round decision over Mzonke Fana. Fana, 42 years old, came to fight and his unorthodox style seemed to frustrate Flanagan, but the British fighter scored two knockdowns on his way to a wide victory. The match was Flanagan’s third successful defense of his WBO lightweight belt and would seem to set up an all-British showdown with Manchester rival Anthony Crolla, who owns the WBA world title at lightweight.

In the final bout of the evening, Liam Williams (14-0-1) defended his Commonwealth and British 154-pound titles against Gary Corcoran (15-0). As the two men entered the ring, you could feel the energy level start to rise up from the nadir of the Rigo-Jazza letdown. Late in round one, Williams uncorked a huge punch that sent Corcoran back into the ropes. If the ropes had not been there to save Corcoran, it would have been scored a knockdown.

Round two saw the fight get sloppy as both men still appeared tense. In round three, a clash of heads caused a huge cut above Corcoran’s eye. The referee called for a doctor’s check, but the fight continued and Corcoran made it to the end of the round. The fight settled in after that, with Corcoran overcoming the cut to keep fighting. In round eight, where both men threw caution to the wind at times, the referee took a point from Corcoran for holding.

In the eleventh round, Williams broke through and shook up Corcoran, whose corner was telling him he was behind on the cards. A knockdown followed and although Corcoran got up, he wasn’t the same. After falling forward and hitting the canvas again, Corcoran got up for the last time but the referee stopped it with Williams peppering Corcoran with shots along the ropes.

In regional title action, WBO European welterweight champion Bradley Skeete stopped Alexandre Lepelley in the seventh round of their one sided contest and WBO Inter-Continental middleweight champion Tommy Langford earned a seventh round stoppage over Timo Laine in a match that saw Laine mount practically no offense. Throughout the card, the British fighters faced men of smaller stature or men a dozen years older in what was truly maudlin matchmaking across the board.

Canada and USA

In Boxing, the Last Weekend of July was Chock Full of Surprises

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

Arne K. Lang



The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated Nick Webb (12-0, 10 KOs) in the fourth round. Allen said that he intended this to be his final fight, but will now hang around awhile.

In hindsight, this was an omen. Before the show was over, upsets – albeit mild upsets – were registered in both featured bouts. Dereck Chisora, trailing on the scorecards, stopped Carlos Takam in the eighth. Dillian Whyte outpointed Joseph Parker. And later that same day, in Kissimmee, Florida, Japanese import Masayuki Ito made a big splash in his U.S. debut, beating up highly touted Christopher Diaz.

– – – –

Joseph Parker is quite the gentleman. Following his loss to Dillian Whyte, Parker was gracious in defeat: “I say congratulations to Dillian. I gave it my best. The better man won.”

In case you missed it, Whyte survived a hoary moment in the final round to win a unanimous decision. Most everyone agreed that the decision was fair but there were a few dissenters. Well known U.K. boxing pundit Steve Bunce said, “I thought Parker deserved a draw.” Bunce noted that the scribes sitting near him were in complete accord that the most lopsided score (115-110) was far too wide.

We’ve seen fighters grouse that they were robbed after fights that were far less competitive. Parker’s post-fight amiability was all the more puzzling considering that he had a legitimate beef that referee Ian John Lewis was too lax, enabling Whyte to turn the contest into a street fight.

Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry was all on board with the selection of Lewis. “He’s a very highly qualified guy who I think is the best British referee,” he said. But Barry changed his tune after the fight, saying that there were at least two occasions when Lewis should have deducted a point from Whyte.

Veteran Australian boxing writer Anthony Cocks said that going forward, Parker, a soft spoken, mild mannered man, needs to have more of a mongrel in him. Cocks noted that when Whyte transgressed, Parker’s response was to look at the ref with a bemused expression. The first time that Whyte bent the rules, opined Cocks, Parker should have hit him in the balls.

– – – –

Top Rank hasn’t had much luck with their Puerto Rican fighters lately. First there was Felix Verdejo. Hyped as the next Felix Trinidad, the 2012 Olympian was 22-0 when his career was interrupted by a motorcycle accident. He won his first fight back in Puerto Rico, but was then exposed by Tijuana’s unheralded Antonio Lozada Jr. who stopped him in the 10th round at the Theater of Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day, 2018.

More recently, Top Rank gave a big build-up to Christopher Diaz, but Diaz, the 2016 ESPN Deportes Prospect of The Year, also hit the skids after starting his pro career 23-0. Diaz was upset on Saturday by Masayuki Ito in a match sanctioned for the vacant WBO 130-pound title.

Unlike Verdejo, Diaz was still standing at the final bell, but he was taken to the cleaners by his Japanese opponent who won comfortably on the scorecards.

– – – –

Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin made his pro debut on the Diaz-Ito undercard. Nikitin won every round of a 6-round contest.

If the name sounds vaguely familiar, this is the guy who defeated top seed Michael Conlan in a quarterfinal bantamweight match at the Rio Olympics. The decision, which Conlan greeted with a middle finger salute to the judges, was widely seen as a heist.

In signing new prospects, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum likes to gather up fighters who compete in the same weight class as fighters that he already controls. This sets up a scenario where he can double dip, extracting a commission from the purse of both principals.

The cluster is most pronounced in the lower weight classes. These fighters, listed alphabetically, are currently promoted or co-promoted by Top Rank: junior bantamweight Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-1), junior featherweight Michael Conlan (8-0), featherweight Christopher Diaz (23-1), super bantamweight Isaac Dogboe (19-0), super bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno (25-1), super bantamweight Jean Rivera (14-0), featherweight Genesis Servania (31-1), bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (7-0), bantamweight Antonio Vargas (7-0), featherweight Nicholas Walters (26-1-1).

The aforementioned Nikitin launched his pro career as a featherweight.

– – – –

In July of 2004, Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson in the fourth round at Louisville. Iron Mike had one more fight and then wisely called it quits. Williams had 48 more fights, the most recent coming last weekend in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Williams was stopped in the 10th round by a local man, 35-year-old Lee McAllister, whose last documented fight had come in 2013. In that bout, McAllister, carrying 140 pounds, outpointed a Slovakian slug in a 6-round fight. During his hiatus from boxing, McAllister (that’s him in the red and white trunks), served a 9-month prison sentence for assaulting a patron while working in an Aberdeen kebab shop.

Danny Williams’ weight wasn’t announced, but in his three fights prior to fighting McAllister he came in a tad north of 270 pounds. He reportedly out-weighed McAllister by 4 stone (56 pounds), likely a loose approximation.

Williams is a product of Brixton, the hardscrabble Afro-Caribbean neighborhood in South London that also spawned Dillian Whyte. But he has no intention of going back there. After the McAllister fight, in which he was knocked down three times, he said he was retiring to Nigeria where he had a job waiting for him as a bodyguard.

– – – –

The ink was barely dry on the weekend’s events when news arrived that Tyson Fury was close to signing for a December bout with WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder. On social media, Fury said the deal was almost done and Fury’s promoter Frank Warren confirmed it while saying that it was conditional on Fury looking good when he opposes Francesco Pianeta on Aug. 18 at the Windsor Park soccer stadium in Belfast. Fury vs. Pianeta underpins Carl Frampton’s WBO featherweight title defense against Luke Jackson.

As to whether he would be ready to defeat Wilder after only two comeback fights, Fury, who turns 30 this month, said he was ready to beat Wilder on the day he was born.

Deontay Wilder is disappointed that his dream match with Anthony Joshua won’t happen until next spring at the earliest, but there are plenty of options out there for him and more of them for him to ponder after this past weekend’s events.

Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz looked good against Razvan Cojanu, dismissing his hapless Romanian adversary in the second round on the Garcia-Easter card in Los Angeles.

After the bout, WBC prexy Mauricio Suliaman gave Wilder his blessing to skirt his mandatory against Dominic Breazeale for a rematch with Ortiz.

Presumably that also applies if Wilder accepts promoter Eddie Hearn’s offer for a match with Dillian Whyte. The WBC now lists Whyte as their “silver” champion and has bumped him ahead of Breazeale into the #1 slot in their rankings. And then there’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller who has an Eddie Hearn connection and is a more interesting opponent than Breazeale.

If Wilder vs. Fury is a go, say Fury and Warren, it will be held in December in New York or Las Vegas. We make New York the favorite. The only good date in Las Vegas in December for an event of this magnitude is Dec. 1 and that’s only because Thanksgiving arrives early this year. The National Finals Rodeo, a 10-day event which fills up the town, arrives on Dec. 6, eliminating the next two weekends. And when the rodeo leaves, Christmas is right around the corner. Historically, boxing promoters shy away from putting on a big show right before Christmas on the theory that fight fans have the “shorts,” having exhausted their discretionary income on Christmas gifts.

There are some interesting fighters competing in the upper tier of the heavyweight division and a slew of intriguing prospects coming up the ladder. The division hasn’t been this exciting since the Golden Age of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, et al. Enjoy.

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Asia & Oceania

Three Punch Combo: The Unlikely Comeback of Vaughn Alexander and More

Matt Andrzejewski




THREE PUNCH COMBO — Vaughn Alexander (12-0, 8 KO’s) turned pro in 2004 and was once considered a very promising prospect. He was featured in his early fighting days on the undercard of several high profile events including Roy Jones Jr-Antonio Tarver II and Felix Trinidad-Ricardo Mayorga. After coming out victorious on the Trinidad-Mayorga undercard, Alexander moved his record to 5-0 with 4 knockouts and seemed destined to one day be headlining big cards.

However, an armed robbery conviction stemming from an incident in December of 2004 put Alexander behind bars. An ill-fated escape attempt shortly after the conviction set him back further. Alexander was set to do 18 years in prison and his boxing career seemed to have come to an end.

Alexander would serve 11 of those 18 years. Released in March of 2016, he decided to resume his boxing career and would eventually sign with promoter Main Events. Alexander, now 32, is 7-0 in this comeback which continues this coming week against Dennis Douglin on the Sergey Kovalev-Eleider Alvarez undercard in Atlantic City.

Main Events has wisely been taking it slow with Alexander. They stepped up the competition in his last two fights which were against Elvin Ayala and Devaun Lee. Alexander had some tough moments in those contests but came out on top. He now takes another mild step up in facing Douglin (20-6, 13 KOs) who gave current 168-pound title holder David Benavidez a mild test a few years ago.

Alexander, the brother of former welterweight champion Devon Alexander, fights in an aggressive manner looking to use the jab to get into range to unload combinations. He has fairly heavy hands though he does not exhibit one punch knockout power. His hand speed and athleticism are average at best, and defense is certainly not a strong suit. At this point in his comeback, Alexander seems like a guy who could make for some entertaining fights given his style but it is difficult to envision him being competitive with the better fighters at 160 or 168 pounds.

The comeback of Vaughn Alexander is a fascinating story. How far can he go? My guess is with his back story and style he will at the very least get a shot at a big name opponent.

Under The Radar Fight Results

Not all fights in this sport receive the press coverage they deserve. This past weekend, there was an excellent card in China headlined by a pair of intriguing world title fights that fell under the radar.

Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10 KO’s) made the third successful defense of the flyweight title he wrestled from Zou Shiming last year in knocking out Froilan Saludar (28-3-1, 19 KO’s) in round six of their scheduled 12-round fight.

Kimura, a pressure fighter, got off to a slow start but began to pick up the pace beginning in round three. His pressure and body attack in that round started to take away the movement of Saludar who up to that point had been out-boxing Kimura. With Saludar a more stationary target than he was in the first few rounds and also showing signs of tiring, Kimura took over the fight in the middle rounds, raking the challenger with hard combinations both upstairs and downstairs. In round five, a left hook to the body put Saludar on the canvas for the first time. The pressure from Kimura continued into round six when another left hook downstairs put Saludar down for a second time. This time Saludar would not make it to his feet.

Also on the card, Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7 KO’s) successfully defended his 105-pound title with a unanimous twelve round decision against former 105-pound champion Chaozhong Xiong (27-8-1, 14 KO’s). It was a masterful boxing performance by Freshmart (aka Thammanoon Niyomtrong) who used a well-timed jab and skilled sharp counterpunching with both hands to control the fight. Xiong seemed perplexed throughout the fight and unwilling to let his hands go as when he did so he often ate sharp counters from Freshmart.

In round seven, Xiong landed his best punch which was a hard counter right to the temple of Freshmart. However, Freshmart absorbed the punch well. Xiong did not come close to landing anything more substantive after that moment and Freshmart coasted down the stretch in what was a dominant effort.

Under The Radar Fights

It is another busy week in the sport with televised cards on Bounce TV, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports and HBO. With so many fights on tap, there are bound to be a few that are flying deep under the radar.

On the undercard of the Devon Alexander-Andre Berto welterweight fight on Fox on Saturday, former middleweight champion Peter Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KO’s) takes on J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KO’s) in a high stakes crossroads fight in the 168-pound division. Both Quillin and Love were once highly touted fighters. However, they each suffered a devastating knockout loss and have yet to get their respective careers back on track. Now they face each other with the winner poised to get back into title contention.

Once known for his hand speed, athleticism and heavy handed power, Quillin was stopped by WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in the first round of their highly anticipated title fight in December of 2015. Since that loss, Quillin has had only one fight, winning an eight round decision over journeyman Dashon Johnson.

Love was also once considered a top prospect. But he suffered a shocking knockout loss to Rogelio Medina in August of 2014. Since then, Love is 6-0-1 but has faced vastly inferior opposition.

The match is fascinating as both combatants were once promising fighters who now face a ton of questions following a bad defeat. With Quillin there is the added question of whether he can carry his power north to 168. Quillin vs. Love is an evenly matched fight on paper and should be a solid entertaining contest.

Prior to the main show on Fox, Fox Sports 2 will televise some of the preliminary action. One fight that has piqued my interest is the welterweight contest between southpaws Luis Collazo (37-7, 20 KO’s) and Bryant Perrella (15-1, 13 KO’s).

Collazo has been the ultimate gatekeeper at welterweight for years and is coming off yet another upset win when he stopped Sammy Vasquez. However, that fight took place in February of 2017 and Collazo has been inactive since then.

In Perrella, Collazo is facing yet another opponent looking to leap up the rankings. As his record indicates, Perrella is a power puncher with thunder in both fists. He is also a natural counterpuncher. Perrella himself was once a very highly touted prospect but a knockout loss to Yordenis Ugas in September of 2016 put the brakes on his ascent up the ladder.

A win against Collazo would go a long way in getting Perrella back in line for a big fight in a loaded welterweight division. However, it won’t be easy. I anticipate a competitive back-and-forth type fight with plenty of action as well as drama.

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Canada and USA

Size Doesn’t Matter to Mikey Garcia who Dominates Robert Easter in L.A.




dominated Robert

RINGSIDE REPORT BY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT TARRAH ZAEL -Four-division world champion Mikey Garcia dominated Robert Easter Jr. with a machine-like performance to unify the WBC and IBF titles in the lightweight division on Saturday.

Forget about the size disadvantage, forget about the reach disadvantage, Garcia, victorious by unanimous decision, put on a masters class on the art of prizefighting at the elite level.

In a battle between lightweight world champions, Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) proved in front of 12,560 fans at the Staples Center that size doesn’t matter as Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) suffered his first defeat as a pro.

Although, Toledo, Ohio’s Easter threw more punches in the first round, his flaws were easily spotted by Garcia. Jabs were fired like pistons but most of the taller fighter’s flashy blows touched only air or the gloves. But the few jabs Garcia fired landed like ramrod blows and snapped back Easter’s head. Though Easter won the first round he quickly discovered what was in store.

By round three, Garcia was a little more aggressive and began following up the retreats of Easter. During one of those exchanges Garcia connected with right hands and a left hook to the chin of Easter and down he went to the canvas. Upon arising, he tried to look for a counter against the careful approaches of Garcia but the bell sounded to end the round.

For the next couple of rounds, Garcia used his punching power to control the fight. Even against Easter’s longer arm reach, Garcia was still able to walk down his opponent, repeatedly putting him on the ropes. It seemed as though  after the first knockdown, Easter spent most of the rounds avoiding Garcia instead of battling it out. Survival seemed to be his primary concern.

It wasn’t until round nine that Easter found a burst of energy and went toe to toe with Garcia. But, Garcia stayed on top of the willing scrapper and easily tore him apart with powerful combinations that put Easter back on his defense.

From rounds 10 until the 12th and final round, Garcia seemed comfortable pressing the issue behind a tight guard and ramming punches through Easter’s guard. The taller fighter tried countering through Garcia’s combinations but the openings simply were not there.

After 12 rounds, the judges saw the fight in Garcia’s favor with scores 116-111, 117-110 and 118-109.

Garcia’s definitive victory showed the Riverside fighter’s ability to move up and down in weight classes and easily dominate. During the post-fight interview Garcia called out current IBF world welterweight title holder Errol Spence Jr. who seemed ecstatic at the prospect of a super fight between them.

“I’m here for the biggest challenge and I don’t know if there is anyone that is a bigger challenge than Errol Spence Jr. I know he’s up to fight everyone, so let make it happen,” said Garcia.

“Definitely, I want that fight. I feel that’s the best fight available for me right now,” said Spence.

Not only did we hear and see a confident Garcia but talks about him possibly taking on yet another division weight class in the future have boxing fans reeling with anticipation.

It was an impressive showing for Garcia.

Other TV Bouts

Heavyweight southpaw Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, stepped back into the ring after suffering his first loss against Deontay Wilder back in March.

In round two, Cuba’s Ortiz (29-1, 25 KO) administered a quick jab and straight left to the chin of Romania’s Razvan Cojanu (16-3-, 9-1 KO), sending him to the floor. Cojanu wobbled and struggled to stand up but not before referee Jerry Cantu called the fight at 2:08. The first two rounds had Cojanu leaving his chin wide open for Ortiz to stay calm and perfectly calculate his two-punch knockdown.

It was an emotional win for Ortiz as he bounced back with a victory knockout win over Cojanu. Just five days prior to his flight, as he was boarding the plane, he got news from his wife that they found a cure for his daughter’s disease. His10-year-old daughter Lis Ortiz is battling epidermolysis bullosa, a disease that causes the skin to be very fragile and blister easily.

After his victory win, Ortiz sent a greeting to his wife and children before thanking God that a cure had been found for his daughter’s disease. However, regarding his lone defeat to Wilder, he was shaking his head.

“In my mind King Kong has not been defeated. I don’t feel I lost against Deontay Wilder,” said Ortiz.

As to a fight with current IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight title holder Anthony Joshua, Ortiz had this to say: “I want to fight Joshua, but he only fights boxers he’s sure he can defeat. I’m going to ask the government to put me on disability, maybe that way Joshua will fight me.”

Maybe one day we will see the two heavyweights battle it out in the ring.

The TV opener had two welterweight contenders battling it out for the vacant WBA International belt in a scheduled 10-round bout. Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (22-0, 14 KO) of San Antonio, Texas proved he belongs among the top 147-pound contenders by dominating his opponent Jose “El Gato” Roman (24-3-1, 16 KO) of Garden Grove, CA.

Barrios, who opened a cut over Roman’s eye in the first round, was the more technical and stronger fighter of the two.

In the fourth round Barrios decked Roman with a powerful left hook. In the ensuing rounds, Barrios stayed on top of Roman, walking him down with hooks to the liver and quick overhand rights to the head. Finally, at the suggestion of Roman’s corner, the bout was halted at the end of the eighth round giving Barrios the belt.

Other Bouts

Jose Balderas (4-0) of Santa Maria, CA dominated Alfredo Chanez of Tijuana, Mexico (6-5, 3 KO) in a four-round bantamweight bout. Balderas stayed calm against the bouncy frustrated Chanez. He used his height and longer arm reach and good defensive skill to win the rounds. All three judges scored the fight  42-35 for Balderas.

In a quick lightweight bout, Jerry Perez (8-0, 6 KO) of Oak Hills, CA took down his opponent Aaron Hollis (4-7-2, 1 KO) of Cincinnati, OH who absorbed too many left hooks to the chin.  Perez, who trains alongside Leo Santa Cruz, sent Hollis to the ground two times before the final knockdown in the second round at 1:34.

Showing amazing punching power like his older brother, Marcos Maidana, Argentina’s undefeated Fabian Maidana (16-0, 12 KO) overpowered Andrey Klimov (19-5, 9 KO) of Russia. The end came at 2:32 in the seventh round with hard blows to the chin of Klimov in a scheduled 10-round super lightweight bout.

Super featherweight Karlos Balderas (6-0, 5 KO) showcased his strong defensive skills while taking apart Giovanni Caro (27-24-4, 21 KO) of Mexico. Balderas, a former U.S. Olympian, put Caro down with straight lefts to the chin in the fourth round, scoring a knockout at 2:09.

Lina Lincona (2-0, 1 KO), a firecracker female prospect out of Long Beach, CA captured her second win in her early professional career by unanimous decision after four rounds in a light flyweight battle against Judit Hachbold (4-5) of Hungary. All three judges scored the fight 40-36.

In an evenly matched lightweight bout scheduled for eight rounds, Robert Marroquin (27-5-1, 20-1 KO) from Texas, went toe to toe with Ray Perez (23-10, 7 KO) of Philadelphia. Marroquin took a couple of rounds to get comfortable in the ring before finding his rhythm, but it was Perez who stayed on top with his power. In the final round, Perez connected his strong hooks on the head of Marroquin, causing a cut over the left eye. The referee stopped the bout at 1:03 in the eighth, giving Perez the victory by way of knockout.

Louie Coria (9-1-0, 4 KO) of Moreno Valley, CA,  who trains at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, was the stronger and more technical fighter over his opponent Guadalupe Arroyo (3-13) of Puebla, Mexico.  After six rounds in the featherweight bout, he won the unanimous decision with all three judges’ scoring the fight 60-54.

Brandon Glanton (7-2-0, 6 KO) of Atlanta, who also trains at the Garcia boxing academy, simply outclassed his opponent  Daniel Najera (7-3-1) of Monterrey, Mexico in a scheduled six-round heavyweight battle. Glanton was the stronger, more talented fighter with his uppercuts and hooks in route to stopping Najera at 1:35 in the third round.

A junior welterweight battle went all four rounds, Wesley Diana (6-0-0, 5 KO) of Kissimmee, Florida, won a unanimous decision over Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Envicil Dixon (7-22-2, 2 KO).

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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