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The Four Faces on the Mount Rushmore of Boxing: A New TSS Survey

In this survey we posed a hypothetical question: Suppose that there was going to be a Mount Rushmore of Boxing with the faces of four boxers carved on to a granite mountain

Ted Sares

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In this survey we posed a hypothetical question: Suppose that there was going to be a Mount Rushmore of Boxing with the faces of four boxers carved on to a granite mountain. Further suppose that a duly authorized panel decided that Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali would be three of the four, but could not agree on who warranted the fourth slot. Which fighter would you pick?

We posed this question to more than 30 respondents. As the person that ran the survey, I have the honor of going first. I gave the fourth slot to WILLIE PEP. He had an incredible record of 230-11-1 with 65 KOs and is considered one of boxing’s all-time great defensive artists. He turned pro in 1940 and won his first sixty-three fights. After serious injuries suffered in a plane crash in 1947, he came back and continued to win and win and win.

Here are the other picks. The respondents are listed alphabetically.

JIM AMATO, author, writer, collector: As much as I’d like to say my favorite fighter, Roberto Duran, I’ll have to go with HENRY ARMSTRONG. Hank’s accomplishments will never be duplicated.

RUSS ANBER, trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: You simply cannot add anyone to the Holy Trinity! There is the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. These three greats are undisputed. The fourth can never be! No other fighter in history transcended the sport as did these three. Nuff said!

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI, TSS writer: HARRY GREB. In my opinion, Greb is the best pound for pound fighter of all time. He was known as a punching machine and for throwing punches at all sorts of differing angles that often overwhelmed his opposition. His resume and ring accomplishments speak for themselves. Incredibly, many of his best wins came after he suffered an injury to his right eye that caused vision problems.

JOE BRUNO, former New York City sportswriter; prolific author: ROCKY MARCIANO is the only undefeated heavyweight champion and he fought everyone who was around at the time. I’d have him there even before Ali. And what about Jack Dempsey, who was the leading figure in boxing in the Roaring Twenties, the Golden Age of Boxing? Say what you want about Ali, but he lost five fights, including one to Leon Spinks, who was fighting in only his eighth pro fight.

ANTHONY CARDINALE, former manager of several top fighters including John Ruiz: ROCKY MARCIANO, 49-0, heavyweight champion from Massachusetts. Enough said.

JILL DIAMOND, WBC/NABF supervisor and award-winning voice in female boxing: ROCKY MARCIANO would be my choice. My second would be Floyd. Both undefeated and, depending on your point of view, 49 or 50 wins.

CHARLIE DWYER, retired referee and member of the Marine Boxing Hall of Fame: WILLIE PEP. In his prime he was practically untouchable. A classic boxer personified.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, journalist; one of only eight lifetime members of the Boxing Writers Association of America: Lots of possibilities and most are worthy of that fourth slot. But upon further reflection, I’m going with HENRY ARMSTRONG.

PEDRO PETE FERNANDEZ, former boxer and manager of Ring Talk: I select ROBERTO DURAN. Hands down.

JEFFREY FREEMAN, aka KO DIGEST, TSS writer: The fourth carved rockhead for the fantasy Mount Rushmore belongs to the immortal “Brockton Blockbuster,” ROCKY MARCIANO, an undefeated heavyweight champion who personified both toughness and sportsmanship. The name “Rocky” is synonymous with boxing like no other (okay, perhaps “Sugar Ray.”) Behold my Fab Four of Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Rocky Marciano.

HENRY HASCUP, historian and long-time President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: HENRY ARMSTRONG held three world titles at the same time. Armstrong defended the world welterweight championship a division record 19 times. Armstrong was 27-0 with 26 knockouts in 1937, 14-0 with 10 knockouts in 1938, and 59-1-1 with 51 knockouts from December 1936 to October 1940. Armstrong defeated sixteen world champions.

CLARENCE GEORGE, boxing writer: So many worthies….John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, the absurdly untitled Sam Langford, Harry Greb, second only to Sugar Ray Robinson (and arguably his superior) in what has always been boxing’s richest division; and Henry Armstrong, the first three-division world champion at a time when there were only eight divisions. But I have to go with WILLIE PEP. I can’t help but be in awe of his justifiably legendary record  and against a slew of amazing fighters, including the superb Sandy Saddler. What astonishing skill and technique, particularly in terms of defensive wizardry. The greatest featherweight of all time? To be sure. But more, so much more, than that.

IVAN GOLDMAN, author and boxing write: I wracked my brain, but all the names I tried were ultimately indefensible. I know of no fighter to equal the stature of these three men. But I don’t pretend to know everything, and perhaps someone will come up with a name that makes sense. Plenty of quality fighters never got the right fights at the right time.

LEE GROVES, author, writer and Wizard of CompuBox: Very difficult question. I  choose HENRY ARMSTRONG because Mount Rushmore is supposed to embody the four greatest in a certain area, and I have him as the second greatest pound-for-pound fighter in history. At his best, there were few better and he holds the unique record of holding three divisional championships simultaneously, which is made much more impressive by the fact he did it during the one champ per division era. He also would be a terrific standard bearer for the smaller weight classes.

BRUCE KIELTY, boxing matchmaker, manager, and historian: JACK DEMPSEY because he represented the era that brought boxing into mainstream acceptance.

STUART KIRSCHENBAUM, former amateur boxer; co-founder of the National Association of Boxing Commissioners: JACK DEMPSEY is my choice. Other boxers have had more impressive records but talking about being enshrined entails social significance. Dempsey, a cultural icon of the 20’s…the golden age of sports, could also be considered the most popular athlete in American history for his media dominance of that era. During his reign from 1919-1926, Dempsey drew boxing’s first million-dollar gate and over 100,000 live for a single fight. He put boxing as the King of Sports.

JIM LAMPLEY, 2015 IBHOF inductee; centerpiece of the HBO broadcasting team: JACK JOHNSON because without him the lives of the other three could have been quite different.

ARNE LANG, author, historian and TSS editor-in-chief: The question becomes whether to choose someone who was indisputably great — someone like Joe Gans or Sugar Ray Leonard — or someone whose greatness is open to question but who transcended the sport. If the latter — and this is the way I lean — the nod goes to JACK DEMPSEY. No athlete was more celebrated during America’s Golden Era of Sports.

RON LIPTON, former fighter, boxing referee, boxing historian, retired police officer: If, in addition to Ali, Robinson and Louis, a recognizable iconic boxing figure should be chosen to be in their illustrious company and that would be JACK DEMPSEY. Only true boxing aficionados would recognize any of the other well deserving boxing legends from all weight classes which we could go on naming for hours.

FRANK LOTIERZO, former boxer, writer, and lead analyst for The Boxing Channel: I would give the open spot to HARRY GREB because he has the deepest and most complete resume and his accomplishments in the ring are more overwhelming than any other fighter I know of.  Greb defeated the best quality of opposition and Hall of Fame fighters, often giving away height, reach and weight, more than any other fighter who has yet lived. He defeated 18 men who held, had held, or would hold world championships, and this at a time when there were only eight divisions in boxing and one champion in each division. He was a physical beast with power blended with non-stop aggression. He’s the only fighter to beat Gene Tunney who out-weighed him by 13 pounds. And did all that while being blind in his right eye.

PAUL MAGNO, author, writer and boxing official in Mexico: The logical choice is HENRY ARMSTRONG. He belongs for everything he accomplished and everything he could do. There’s a legit case for placing him number two or number three of all-time and, for me, he’s a no-brainer as the fourth face on boxing’s Mount Rushmore

ADEYINKA MAKINDE, author, boxing writer and UK barrister: I suggest JOE GANS, “The Old Master” himself, who was the first American of African descent to win a world title in the 20th century, thus paving the way for Louis, Robinson and Ali. He was a dominant fighter like they were and also a beloved figure because of his personality and his skills, achieving mainstream acceptance.

GORDON MARINO, philosophy professor, Wall Street Journal boxing writer, and trainer: The “Human Windmill” HARRY GREB. (107-8-3) but surely a lot more fights than that. At 5’8” and a middleweight, he fought and beat most everyone, including Gene Tunney.

DIEGO M. MORILLA, award winning bi-lingual boxing writer from Argentina: HENRY ARMSTRONG. He embodies his era like no one else: the fighter who had to take on all comers on short notice with no preparation and at any weight, and still succeeded in ways that we cannot even imagine today. His numbers are mind-boggling in every sense: his record defenses of the lineal welterweight crown, his fights in four of the original eight divisions with titles in three of them and a dubious draw against the middleweight champ Ceferino Garcia. Willie Pep and Jack Johnson deserve consideration as well, but “Homicide Hank” takes the laurel — and the marble — or whatever that big mountainside is made of.

JOHN RAFUSE SR., former professional boxer: My pick is ROCKY MARCIANO.

FREDERICK ROMANO, author, historian, formerly with HBO: Tough assignment. Henry Armstrong at his peak is a good choice in my opinion as is a prime WILLIE PEP.

LEE SAMUELS, Top Rank publicist emeritus: MARVIN HAGLER was the first star champion we ever worked with at Top Rank. Hagler’s firefight against Hitman Tommy Hearns at Caesars Palace was one of the greatest fights of all time. Hagler in the 80’s was all fighter, one of the greatest in boxing history. He was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame a few years ago and when he went to the podium, he wept and said the Petronelli brothers – Pat and Goody – “were like my fathers who cared for me so much.”

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY, elite trainer, former title contender, commentator: WILLIE PEP. No question.

PETER SILKOV, writer and manager of The Boxing Glove: I’m torn between Jack Johnson and Henry Armstrong; it’s a shame we can’t choose five!  Overall, I choose JACK JOHNSON as his feat of securing his shot at the world heavyweight title is one of the greatest acts of courage and perseverance in the history of boxing, and without him there would have been no Louis or Ali.

MIKE SILVER, author, writer, historian: For me this is a no brainer. The fourth face should be HARRY GREB. His almost superhuman record speaks for itself. He was the ultimate fighter. I didn’t say boxer, for he was not a boxer, at least not in the traditional sense. Harry Greb was a pure fighter whose unorthodox windmill style has never been duplicated. All of the greats he fought spoke of him with awe and considered him their toughest opponent.

BRUCE TRAMPLER, Top Rank matchmaker; 2010 IBHOF inductee. I’d suggest Jack Dempsey who meant so much to the sport as Babe Ruth did for baseball, but I’ll go with the great HENRY ARMSTRONG.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS, boxing writer and voice of Beltway Boxing: That’s a tough one but for me, it would be SUGAR RAY LEONARD.  He’s a six-time world champion and he, after Ali, was the next boxer to go mainstream as far as commercial endorsements are concerned.

PETER WOOD, 1971 New York City Golden Gloves middleweight finalist and author: JOHN L. SULLIVAN is my choice. This bare-knuckle champion was a hard rock, a badass, and our glorious American Hercules. He could “lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house.”

Observations:

The final tally of votes yielded Henry Armstrong as a narrow winner with a secondary cluster around Dempsey, Greb, Marciano, and Pep following closely behind.

Some went as far back as Jack Johnson and Joe Gans, some went modern with Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard, and some simply could not come up with a selection that matched the three already on the mountain.

Peter Silkov and Jim Lampley had almost identical responses,

A sincere “Thank You” to all the participants.

Ted Sares is one of the oldest full power (raw modern) lifters in the world and is a four-time winner of the EPF’s Grand Master championship. He also is a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Remembering Oscar ‘Shotgun’ Albarado (1948-2021)

Arne K. Lang

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Former world junior middleweight champion Oscar “Shotgun” Albarado passed away on Feb. 17 at age 72 in a nursing home in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas. Albarado’s death didn’t go unnoticed in the town that he put on the sporting map, but news out of Uvalde appears to travel to the outside world by Pony Express. There’s been no notice of it in the boxing press; even the authoritative boxrec has yet to acknowledge his passing. This isn’t uncommon. A boxer has a high probability of dying in obscurity, even if he had a large fan base during his heyday.

The folks in Uvalde had a big shindig to honor Albarado after he won the title; a barbecue at the fairgrounds. “All Texas and especially the city of Uvalde share pride in your accomplishments,” read a proclamation from the Governor of Texas, Dolph Briscoe.

The date was June 20, 1974. Sixteen days earlier, Albarado had wrested the 154-pound title from Koichi Wajima in Tokyo. Down two points on two of the scorecards through the 14 completed rounds, Albarado took the bout out of the judges hands, knocking Wajima down three times and out in the final stanza.

It was a long road to Tokyo. An eight-year pro, Oscar had at least 55 pro fights under his belt when he was granted a crack at the title. As he was scaling the ladder with occasional missteps, he became a fan favorite at the Olympic Auditorium, the shrine of Mexican-American boxing in L.A. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Albarado’s parents were migrant farm workers. They spent a portion of each year picking sugar beets in Minnesota. The kids went along with them. Albarado was purportedly six years old when he first worked in the fields.

He was 17 years old when he had his first documented fight, a 4-rounder in San Antonio, but there are some reports that say he was fighting in Mexico when he was as young as 15.

Albarado became a local attraction in South Texas and then spread his wings, moving to Los Angeles where there was better sparring and boxers of Mexican extraction were a more highly-valued commodity. He was backed by LA fight functionary Harry Kabakoff, a wheeler-dealer who knew all the right people. A colorful character, Kabakoff, born Melville Himmelfarb (don’t ask) had struck it big with bantamweight Jesus “Little Poison” Pimentel, a boxer he discovered while living in Mexicali.

Billed as the Uvalde Shotgun and eventually as just Shotgun Albarado, Oscar had his first fight at the Olympic on Jan. 9, 1969, and four more fights there in the next three months. He lost the last of the five and with it his undefeated record to Hedgemon Lewis who out-pointed him in a 10-round fight. There was no shame in losing to Hedgemon, an Eddie Futch fighter who went on to become a world title-holder.

Albarado was back at the Olympic before the year was out. All told, he had 17 fights at the fabled South Grand Street arena, going 13-3-1. His other losses came at the hands of Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez (L UD 10) and Dino Del Cid.

Del Cid, dressed with a 29-8-2 record, was a Puerto Rican from the streets of New York or a Filipino, depending on which LA newspaper one chose to read. Apprised that Albarado was a slow starter, he came out slugging. A punch behind the ear knocked Albarado woozy and the ref stepped in and stopped it. It was all over in 81 seconds.

Oscar demanded a rematch and was accommodated. Six weeks later, he avenged the setback in grand style, decking Del Cid three times in the opening stanza and knocking him down for the count in the following round with his “shotgun,” his signature left hook.

As the house fighter, Albarado got the benefit of the doubt when he fought Thurman Durden in January of 1973. The decision that went his way struck many as a bit of a gift. But the same thing had happened to him in an earlier fight when he opposed fast-rising welterweight contender Armando Muniz.

As popular as Alvarado was at the Olympic, his pull paled beside that of young Muniz. Born in Mexico but a resident of Los Angeles from the age of six, Muniz attended UCLA on a wrestling scholarship before finishing his studies at a commuter school and had represented the United States in the 1968 Olympics while serving in the Army.

Muniz vs. Alvarado was a doozy. We know that without seeing the fight as we have the empirical evidence in the form of the description of the scene at the final bell; appreciative fans showered the ring with coins. The verdict, a draw, met with the approval of the folks in the cheap seats, but ringside reporters were of the opinion that “Shotgun” was wronged. The LA Times correspondent had it 7-2-1 for the Texan.

Oscar had two more fights after avenging his loss to Del Cid before heading off to Tokyo to meet the heavily-favored Wajima who was making the seventh defense of his 154-pound title. Two more trips to Tokyo would follow in quick succession.

Albarado made the first defense of his newly-acquired belt against Ryu Sorimachi. He stopped him in the seventh round, putting him down three times before the match was halted. Three-and-a-half months later, he gave the belt back to Wajima, losing a close but unanimous decision in their rematch.

Oscar quit the sport at this juncture, returning to Uvalde. He was in good shape financially. He had used his earnings from his Olympic Auditorium fights to open a gas station. With the Tokyo money, he expanded his holdings by purchasing a laundromat.

This would be a nice place to wrap up this story. Former Austin American-Statesman sportswriter Jack Cowan, a Uvalde native, recalled that when Oscar opened his service station, he gave his new customers an autographed photo of himself in a boxing pose inscribed with the words “Oscar Albarado: The Next World Champion.” He would make that dream become a reality, defying the odds, while breaking the cycle of poverty in his family. Boxing was the steppingstone to a better life for him and his children.

But ending the story right here would be disingenuous. This is boxing, after all, and when the life story of a prominent boxer comes fully into a focus, a feel-good story usually takes a wrong turn.

Oscar got the itch to fight again. Sixty-seven months after walking away from boxing, he resumed his career with predictable results. He was only 34 when he returned to the ring, but he was a shell of his former self, an old 34.

Albarado was knocked out in five of his last seven fights before leaving the sport for good with a record of 57-13-1 (43 KOs). He made his final appearance in Denmark, the adopted home of double-tough Ayub Kalule who whacked him out in the second round.

Albarado’s obituary in the Uvalde paper was uncharacteristically blunt. “He suffered from pugilistic dementia,” it said, “caused by repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows.”

There was no sugar-coating there, no Parkinson’s to obfuscate the truth.

If he had known the fate that awaited him, would he have still chosen the life of a prizefighter? That’s not for us to say, but author Tris Dixon, while researching his new book, spoke to a bunch of neurologically damaged fighters and almost to a man they said they would do it all over again.

Albarado had four children, three sons and a daughter. When he was elected to the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017, he was too decrepit to travel, but all four of his children — Oscar Jr, Emmanuel, Jacob, and Angela — made the trip to North Hollywood to accept the award on his behalf.

The kids were proud of their old man, a feeling that did not dissipate as he became incapacitated. If boxing was helpful in tightening the bond, then it’s a fair guess the Uvalde Shotgun had no regrets.

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Brandon Figueroa KOs Nery and Danny Roman Wins Too

David A. Avila

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LOS ANGELES-Brandon Figueroa took the air out of Mexico’s Luis Nery to win by knockout and unify the WBA and WBC super bantamweight titles on Saturday. It was a belly buster that did the job.

Texan Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) set out to prove that Tijuana’s two-division world champion Nery (31-1, 24 KOs) could not endure a toe-to-toe battle with the bigger guys and he proved it before several thousand fans at the Dignity Health Sports Park.

It was a back-and-forth battle that saw Nery attack the body and head while Figueroa focused on winging big blows from a distance and in close. Many of the rounds were extremely close to score.

When Nery was able to battle from a distance and dive inside, he seemed the much more athletic between the two champions. But Figueroa just seemed stronger and unfazed by any of the Mexican fighter’s blows.

Though Figueroa absorbed a lot of punishment, he never seemed in trouble. When Nery connected with a several combinations in the fifth round by landing five-punch and three-punch combinations, it looked like he was taking control.

He did not.

Figueroa opened the sixth round with two left hook blasts that reminded Nery that the taller Texan had a punch. When Nery tried to rally with his own blasts, Figueroa slipped under back-to-back left hooks. It seemed to change the tide.

“I knew he was getting tired,” said Figueroa. “He was trying to box me.”

In the seventh round Figueroa was able to connect with a left hook and followed up with a lead right. Nery countered with a three-punch combination that was met with Figueroa countering with a three-punch combination to the head and body. Then both fighters exchanged inside and Figueroa connected with a right to the chest and a left uppercut to the solar plexus and down went Nery.

Nery could not beat referee Tom Taylor’s count and was counted out at 2:18 of the seventh round.

Figueroa is now the WBC and WBA super bantamweight unified champion.

“It feels amazing,” said Figueroa. “I know everyone doubted me.”

Roman Wins Super Bantam Eliminator

Los Angeles-based Danny Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs) battered Mexico’s Ricardo Espinoza (25-4, 21 KOs) to win convincingly by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a super bantamweight fight.

After a slow start Roman began to out-maneuver the heavy-punching Espinoza and found openings for left uppercuts. Boy did he find openings.

“I concentrated on finding my distance,” said Roman.

Roman snapped Espinoza’s head back so many times it seemed that the Mexican fighter would not be able to last the full 10 rounds. But like most Mexican fighters he would not quit.

Espinoza tried every move in his catalogue but nothing worked against the superb technique used by Roman, who formerly held the IBF and WBA super bantamweight world titles. It was a perfect example of technical prowess defeating raw power.

The uppercut was the chosen weapon of choice and Roman exhibited how to throw it from various positions and angles. It landed perfectly every time as if targeted by a laser. Espinoza never could avoid the uppercut.

During the last three rounds Espinoza’s face was bloody and battered while Roman looked as if he were merely sparring. The end seemed near but the fighter from Tijuana battled until the final bell.

“I thought he was going to go down,” said Roman. “But he had a big heart.”

All three judges scored it for Roman at 97-93 and 98-92 twice.

“It’s a step closer to getting back my titles,” said Roman who lost the titles to Murodjon Akhmadaliev a year ago by split decision. “I’m here to fight the best.”

Martinez Beats Burgos

Sacramento’s Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) discovered that Tijuana’s Juan Carlos Burgos (34-5-2, 21 KOs) still has plenty of fight remaining and showed it with a gutsy 10 rounds of back-and-forth battering. Still, Martinez won by unanimous decision though every round was competitive.

Boy was it competitive.

Martinez, 23, had a 10-year advantage in youth but was unable to convince Burgos. Every round saw savage combinations connect by each fighter, but the judges all felt that the Sacramento fighter was superior. All three scored it 99-91 for Martinez. The crowd booed the decision.

“I was landing the cleaner shots,” said Martinez. “He’s a tough competitor.”

Other Results

A super lightweight match saw Jose Valenzuela (8-0) knock out Nelson Hampton (7-4) in the first round.

Gabriela Fundora (1-0) won her pro debut by unanimous decision over Jazmin Valverde (2-2) in a four round flyweight match. Fundora is the sister of super welterweight contender Sebastian Fundora.

A lightweight bout was won by Justin Cardona (5-0) by first round knockout of James De Herrera (4-7).

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Buatsi Flattens Dos Santos in Manchester; Charr KOs Fraudulent Lovejoy in Cologne

Arne K. Lang

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In a Knockout of the Year candidate, rising light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi (14-0, 12 KOs) leveled Daniel Blenda Dos Santos, an unheralded Frenchman, in the fourth round, closing the show with a pulverizing right hand – and for good measure, touching him with another right as he fell. A 2016 Olympic bronze medalist for England, the Ghana-born Buatsi trained for two months in the California Bay Area under his new trainer Virgil Hunter and his American sojourn paid dividends.

Dos Santos, who found his way to boxing after serving three-and-a-half years in prison, was undefeated (15-0, 8 KOs) coming in, but hadn’t fought beyond six rounds. He was knocked down earlier in the fight with a chopping right hand. There were less than 20 seconds remaining in the fourth when Buatsi put Dos Santos to sleep, and to his credit he did not celebrate but consoled his distraught victim.

Other Bouts

In a shocker, 31-year-old southpaw Jason Cunningham improved to 29-6 (6) with a unanimous decision over Gamal Yafai (18-2) who was making the first defense of the European bantamweight title that he won in Milan.

Cunningham had Yafai on the canvas three times — knocking him down with left hands in the second, fourth and sixth rounds — but Yafai, the younger brother of former 115-pound world title-holder Kal Yafai — wasn’t deterred and kept coming forward. In the end, however, Cunningham’s lead was too big for Yafai to overcome. The judges had it 115-110 and 114-111 x2 for the southpaw who was a consensus 10/1 underdog.

Super middleweight Lerrone Richards breezed to a lopsided 12-round decision over Italian veteran Giovanni DeCarolis to snatch a vacant European title. Trained by Dave Coldwell, who previously handled Tony Bellew, Richards was content to rack up points and the one-dimensional DeCarolis, who was making his first start in 23 months, had no way to stop him.

The judges had it 120-108 and 119-109 twice. The London-born Richards, whose family roots are in Ghana, improved to 15-0 (3). This may have been the last rodeo for the 36-year-old DeCarolis who fell to 28-10-1.

Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) was fed a softie for his first defense of his European cruiserweight title in the form of 36-year-old Romanian Alexandru Jur who brought a 19-4 record but had defeated only four men with winning records. Except for a few brief moments, Jur showed little inclination to mix it up. McCarthy put Jur down with a body punch in round four and finished him off two rounds later with another body punch. The official time was 2:09.

McCarthy, who is of Irish and Jamaican descent, moves on to a date with fellow Brit Chris Billam-Smith. Jur lost for the fourth time in his last six starts.

Cologne

Credit Christopher Lovejoy for having the gumption to defy Don King who threatened legal action if Lovejoy went ahead with his match today with WBA “champion in recess” Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr. But the 37-year-old Lovejoy, who arrived in Germany all by himself, traveled a long way to destroy whatever credibility he may have had. Fighting off the grid, he had rung up 19 fast knockouts in 19 fights against 19 presumptive Tijuana taxi drivers.

Carrying 306 ½-pounds, the six-foot-five Lovejoy lasted less than two full rounds against Charr who was making his first ring appearance in 42 months. Lovejoy was counted out after being dropped with a volley of punches in the second round.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson / Matchroom

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