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Cecilia Braekhus, Claressa Shields Win at the StubHub plus Undercard Results

David A. Avila




LOS ANGELES-A farewell show by boxing network HBO showcased two dominant women in the boxing world as Cecilia Braekhus and Claressa Shields mowed through their respective opponents with little resistance on Saturday.

Braekhus (35-0, 9 KOs) tried hard to put another knockout on her ledger but Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes showed enough resistance to go the distance in front of a sparse and cold crowd numbering less than 1,000 at the StubHub Center.

The Norwegian fighter Braekhus won by unanimous decision after 10 rounds and retains her hold on the undisputed welterweight championship that includes the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF and IBO world titles.

Braekhus started slowly and patiently in the first two rounds but was able to rifle right hands and left hooks through the slower Lopes guard. But she never could put that finishing touch.

In the fifth round a counter right cross staggered Lopes but she remained upright though visibly hurt. A follow up attack proved unsuccessful by the welterweight champion.

“I wanted to knock out the girl who also beat Kali Reis,” said Braekhus “I might have pushed it too much. I got a little bit eager. That normally shouldn’t happen but this is a historical night.”

It was the final show of HBO’s 45 year reign as one of boxing’s premier networks.

“I’m just so honored to be on HBO,” said Braekhus

El Gallo

Mexico’s Juan “El Gallo” Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) won by stoppage at the end of round seven against fellow hometown fighter Victor Mendez (28-4-2, 20 KOs) at the end of the seventh round in their super flyweight clash.

Both fighters hail from Hermosillo, Mexico but there was no hometown comradery as Estrada broke down Mendez more and more each round. Each round seemed to incite more blows from Estrada who fired five and six-punch combinations with ease to the body and head.

Mendez tried to fight his way out of the onslaught but his blows did not seem to have the effect desired. Instead, Estrada would open up even more with left hook to the body and left uppercut to the chin.

Finally, after one particularly rough one-sided round, Mendez’s corner stopped the fight.


In less than a month Claressa Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) wiped out another middleweight contender, this time Belgium’s Femke Hermans (9-2, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 one-side rounds.

Three weeks ago Shields had dominated Scotland’s Hannah Rankin in similar fashion and had few problems with either European fighter. But sitting front row in the audience was Christina Hammer who holds the WBO version. She will be next.

Shields powered through Hermans with her amped up aggressive style and was especially effective with the check left hook. She also rocked the Belgian fighter with over hand rights but could not drop the European fighter who holds a super middleweight world title.

Hermans learned in the first two rounds she couldn’t match the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s speed, so she settled into a defensive counter punching style. It did not work.

Though Shields tried luring the European fighter into some traps, the Belgian boxer refused to lead. The fight was Shields to take. She began pummeling the body especially in the fourth and fifth rounds. In one volley she unloaded seven consecutive body shots and easily slipped a counter right.

Shields wobbled Hermans in the ninth round with a left hook and staggered her with a pair of shots in the 10th round. But the Belgian fighter stayed on her feet. All three judges scored the fight 100-90 for Shields who retains the WBA, WBC and IBF world titles.

Now Shields is set to face Hammer who has the WBO middleweight title in the early spring. Showtime will televise.

Hammer spoke to the media before the Shields-Hermans fight.

“I move around very well, I have better movement,” said Hammer whose fight with Shields was postponed in November due to a stomach illness suffered by the tall German boxer. “I want to be the undisputed world champion.”

Bang Bang

Australia’s Louisa “Bang Bang” Hawton (9-2, 3 KOs) stopped Lorraine Villalobos (2-2-1) of Los Angeles at the end of fifth round in an atomweight fight set for 10 rounds.

Hawton and Villalobos exchanged furiously for three rounds with each connecting with big blows. But by the fourth round Villalobos slowed considerably and Hawton took over the fight.

The Aussie fighter was supposed to meet interim WBC atomweight titlist Brenda Flores who won a split decision last September. But Flores was forced to pull out.

Other Bouts

Serhii Bohachuk (12-0, 12 KOs) won by KO in the fifth round of a middleweight bout over Puerto Rico’s Carlos Garcia Hernandez (15-19-1)

Mario Ramos (7-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Elliott Brown in the fifth round of a 6-round lightweight fight.

Light flyweight Shukichi Iwata won his pro debut with a fourth round KO of Joel Bermudez (0-2)

Lightweight Reno Moreno floored David Courtney with a body shot to win by KO in round four of a lightweight match.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Callum Smith, Britain’s Best Boxer, Has a Date With a ‘Gorilla’ on Saturday

Arne K. Lang




The best fighter in all of Great Britain will be in action on Saturday, defending his WBA 168-pound world title on his home turf in Liverpool. That’s Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) who isn’t as well-known internationally as several other British boxers but has the highest placement of any U.K. boxer on a reputable pound-for-pound list.

There are five major pound-for-pound lists: The Ring, BWAA, Box Rec, ESPN, and TBRB (Transnational Boxing Rankings Board). Only Box Rec recognizes Smith on its PPV list. He clocks in at #7. But that’s three places higher than the only other British boxer to make the cut, namely Scotland’s Josh Taylor who moved into the #10 slot at TBRB following his defeat of Regis Prograis.

Callum Smith (pictured) certainly looked like a Top 10 PPV fighter in his last start when he blasted out Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam at Madison Square Garden. Smith had his French Cameroonian opponent on the deck in the first, second, and again in the third frame before the referee mercifully waived it off.

Granted, N’Dam N’Jikam wasn’t the hardest guy to knock off his pins, but Smith’s performance was yet spectacular. An orthodox fighter, Smith scored his first two knockdowns with left hooks and the third with an overhand right. These were short, compact punches delivered with tremendous torque.

Smith’s showing became a mere footnote in the night’s proceedings when the main event between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr produced an upset for the ages. So, what was a smashing performance was de-valued, lost in the shadow of a much bigger story.

Callum Smith, 29, is the youngest of four fighting brothers. The two oldest captured regional titles and Liam “Beefy” Smith did them one better, winning a world title in the 154-pound class in his twenty-second pro fight. But the feeling is that the accomplishments of his older brothers actually retarded the perception of Callum Smith as a potentially great champion. Paul, Stephen, and certainly Liam were very good, but not great, and Callum, by virtue of coming from the same biological stock, was thought to have an upside that would crest before reaching the level of greatness.

But make no mistake, Callum Smith is a horse of a different color. He stands six-foot-three (none of his brothers is taller than 5’11”) and hits harder than any of his siblings, even when adjusted for the fact that he is the biggest. During one stretch as he was climbing the ladder, Smith stopped six straight opponents in the opening round. Thirteen of his 19 knockout victims were gone before the bell ending the third round. One who lasted longer was the highly capable George Groves who went down for the count in the seventh in the super middleweight final of the 2018 World Boxing Super Series tournament. Groves retired on that note.

The Gorilla

Smith’s opponent on Saturday is John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs). Nicknamed the Gorilla, Ryder, who is giving up six inches in height and six inches in reach, is a heavy underdog, but the view from here is that he is no pushover.

Akin to Callum Smith, Ryder looked sensational in his last start which was also his U.S. debut, but you will have to take our word for it as hardly anyone was paying attention.

Ryder fought Bilal Akkawy, an undefeated (20-0-1) fighter who was attracting a lot of buzz back home in Australia. After two rather tame rounds, Ryder took Akkawy apart, winning by TKO in the third.

Ryder was originally scheduled to fight David Lemieux in what would have been the co-feature underneath Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs. When Lemieux pulled out with a hand injury, Akkawy, who had been Canelo’s chief sparring partner, filled the breach. That knocked Ryder out of the semi-main and the vast TV exposure that would have come with it. And for whatever reason, Ryder vs. Akkawy was buried deep on the card, going off early – way early before many of the ringside reporters had taken their seat.

The storyline of that fight was that Ryder exposed Akkawy, but that may not have been fair to Ryder. At age 30 (now 31) the Londoner appeared to be reaching his peak. He had won his previous three fights inside the distance against opponents who were collectively 69-2.

Callum Smith is really good. He would make a great opponent for Canelo and that fight may someday come to fruition. But first he must emerge from Saturday’s bout unscathed and although the oddsmakers say that shouldn’t be problem, don’t be surprised if the Gorilla makes things interesting and that Smith vs. Ryder provides more action than the more ballyhooed heavyweight fight taking place later that day.

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GGG: The End Game for the Big Drama Show

Ted Sares



GGG-The-End-Game-for-the-Big Drama-Show

When serious fans discuss the Fighter of the Decade, Gennadiy Golovkin (more often referenced as “GGG” or “Triple G”) must be part of the discussion as his record between 2010 and 2019 is 22-1-1, boosting his overall mark to 40-1-1.

Golovkin had a superb amateur career, reportedly finishing 345-5. He was a world amateur champion in 2003 and an Olympic silver medalist in 2004.

GGG first raised eyebrows in the pro ranks when he brutalized and stopped tough Kassim Ouma in 2011 in the first defense of his WBA middleweight title. He quickly projected like an Eastern Euro Pacquiao—humility, skills and mystique all wrapped up like a Kazakhstan dumpling. He was ready for a “Big Drama Show.” Like the great Kostya Tszyu, GGG was (and still is) a charismatic figure, revered by his cult-like fans. And, oh yes, he was very, very marketable. He had become the “New Kid on the Block.”

Watch out, middleweights. There’s a new sheriff in town. As a matter of fact, junior middleweights and super-middleweights should also be on the alert. This heavy-hitting boss man is gunning for all of you – Jackie Kallen

This post from an April 4, 2013 article in nails it. “GGG is the quintessential boxer/puncher–the complete package; he is marvelous to watch because he combines so many attributes including great stamina, musculature with minimal body fat, well-honed technique, numbing KO power in either hand, superb footwork and balance, and the ability to use perfectly leveraged combinations that exact tremendous punishment. His propensity to close the ring and walk his opponent down means that he goes on the stalk as soon as the bell rings. A master at keeping the right separation, GGG quickly gets comfortable in an appropriate range, and begins using his crunching jackhammer jabs that set up his heavy artillery of hooks, straights, and the occasional jarring uppercut. The entire scenario is like the work of an artist, but instead of paint, this artist uses controlled violence.”

The Streak

After the aforementioned slaughter of Ouma in 2011, Triple G continued working his way through a 23-fight KO streak utilizing numbing one-punch power. The streak has been well vetted but certain impressions remain indelible such as…

His KO of Nobuhiro Ishida with a vicious overhand right that was audible and left the Japanese fighter unconscious.

His KO of Matthew Macklin with a left hook body shot that left Macklin withering in verbal pain in the third round at Foxwoods.

Curtis Stevens’ shocked expression after being knocked down by a left hook.

His exchange of rights with Daniel Geale and the Aussie “Real Deal” then going down like he had been sapped. Another short night of boxing for the Kazakhstan bomber who went on the stalk early, opened a cut with his punishing jabs, and finally caught his prey in what had become a familiar scenario.

His strategic use of a jackhammer jab to keep David Lemieux at bay before stopping him.

His victory over a game Kell Brook (36-0 going in) who moved up two weight classes to challenge for Golovkin’s WBC and IBF middleweight titles and who gave GGG all he could handle until the Brit finally succumbed to an eye injury. It was the first time GGG had shown he could be tagged and even stunned.

The Jacobs Fight (March 2017)

The cracks that showed up for the first time in the Brook fight grew wider. Golovkin won, but he was not the normal GGG and settled for a close but unanimous decision as he retained his title for the 18th consecutive time. His then trainer Abel Sanchez said he was satisfied with how his charge performed. Judges Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld both scored the fight 115-112, and Max DeLuca had it 114-113 for Golovkin, who scored a knockdown of Danny in the fourth round. The 23-fight KO streak had ended.

(Golovkin weighed 159.6 lb. while Jacobs weighed 159.8 at the official weigh-in a day before their 2017 fight. However, by skipping a fight-day weight check and thereby declining to compete for the IBF title, Danny seemed to have gained significantly coming into the ring and looked to be around 180 pounds. Max Kellerman suggested he was utilizing a “strategic plan.” Others thought he was also manipulating the system, thus causing the playing field to become uneven. Whatever the case, GGG had gone through a grueling 12 rounds of action with the operative word being “grueling.”)

Canelo (September 2017)

Six months after outlasting Danny Jacobs, Golovkin, now 37-0, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1) fought to a controversial draw at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a long-awaited fight. Cenelo was coming off easy wins over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Liam Smith, and Amir Khan.

Canelo started fast and finished strong while GGG owned the middle rounds. Judge Adalaide Byrd turned in a mind-numbing scorecard, 118-110, in favor of Alvarez. Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Golovkin and Don Trella had it 114-114. The questionable scoring drew loud boos from the sellout crowd of 23,358. The general feeling was that GGG had won.

Again, the fight had been grueling.

Canelo (September 2018)

In the rematch, Alvarez claimed a majority decision in a thrilling fight in front of another sellout crowd of 21,965 at T-Mobile Arena to unify GGG’s WBA and WBC titles with his own lineal championship. Judge Glenn Feldman scored it 114-114, while Steve Weisfeld and Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Alvarez.

Again, this one could have gone either way or could easily have been another draw. To quote Brian Campbell, “A modern classic of a middleweight title bout revealed the same truism boxing fans knew all too well coming in: Death, taxes and Canelo Alvarez getting the benefit of the doubt.”

Golovkin angrily and uncharacteristically left the ring after the decision and declined a post-fight interview. His face, however, was a pulpy mess and this may have been part of the reason.

The Rolls Fight (June 2019)

The Big Drama Show returned and Gennady delivered with a fourth-round knockout over previously undefeated (19-0) Canadian Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden. This was Golovkin’s first fight since his controversial loss to Canelo in 2018, a bout in which GGG surrendered all three of his middleweight belts.

“Everybody knows. Everybody knows,” Golovkin said. “First guys, of course, I’m ready for Canelo in September. I’m ready to come out. Just ask him. … If you want a big drama show, please tell him.”

The Derevyanchenko Fight (October 2019)

In still another grueling affair, Golovkin escaped with a unanimous decision — this time in a genuine “Big Drama Show” — by scores of 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 to claim the IBF world middleweight title. “The Technician” gave GGG all that he could handle. Golovkin, now 37 years old, did not resemble the destroyer that he had once been.

The Future

Going the distance with Danny Jacobs in 2017 and the two fierce fights with Canelo followed by a battle with Sergey Derevyanchenko fought at a hellacious pace suggests GGG’s end game may be at play and that his best days are behind him. Four of his last six fights have put heavy mileage on his tires.

He is still very good and still has a cult-like following, but with a three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN worth $100 million, he also has risky obligations to fulfill. He also has dumped Abel Sanchez and hired Johnathon Banks to tend his corner.

Sooner or later, the stars may become aligned for a third Canelo fight, but first it appears that GGG will defend his IBF belt against Poland’s undefeated but feather-fisted Kamil Szeremeta (21-0). The fight, tentatively set for Feb. 29 in Chicago, could present Golovkin with easy work, something he badly needs.

Enjoy him while you can.

Ted Sares can be reached at

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Hits and Misses from Another Weekend in Boxing

Kelsey McCarson




The boxing scene this past weekend lacked the international superstar flavor of previous weeks when Naoya Inoue and Canelo Alvarez did their things on grand stages but, in fact, there was a vast slate of important matchups all over the world and by the time all the punches had been thrown and landed, there was a strong list of qualified candidates for this week’s TSS Hits and Misses feature.

Here are the most important takeaways from another busy weekend in boxing.

HIT: Lee McGregor and Kash Farooq’s Brilliant British Bantamweight Battle 

There was no reason for undefeated bantamweights Lee McGregor and Kash Farooq to fight each other this early in their careers. Sure, each man boasted one of the most prized domestic titles in the sport, McGregor the Commonwealth title and Farooq the British version. But those belts are usually won by fighters making their way up the rankings, especially in cases where the belt holders so aptly appear capable of someday competing at the world level, so it didn’t make much sense for either man to take the unnecessary risk.

But McGregor, 22, and Farooq, 23, fought each other anyway, with McGregor (pictured on the right) edging out the split decision by scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 112-115 in what turned out to be just as terrific a fight as envisioned.

It was a close contest that could have gone the other way. Regardless, the fans in attendance at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena were treated to a riveting battle between two of Scotland’s best young fighters.

That one had to lose for the other to accomplish the life-changing unification win was less important than the grander scheme view of the sport that is always this: the best versus the best at any level benefits both the winner and the loser for whatever comes next.

MISS: Bill Wanger’s Troubling Revelations on Chris Mannix’s SI Boxing Podcast

Bill Wanger, EVP, Head of Programming and Scheduling over at Fox, revealed to Chris Mannix on the S.I. Boxing Podcast some troubling details about how he, one of the most powerful figures in boxing today, views the current state of the sport.

Among the most unreasonable claims by Wanger were that to alleviate the title belt confusion in boxing the PBC might be on their way toward creating their own belts, the idea that the PBC already possesses 99% of the top overall talent in boxing and that the WBO title Terence Crawford wears is somehow less important than those worn by PBC welterweight titleholders Errol Spence and Manny Pacquiao.

All three of those viewpoints show one of two possibilities. Either Wanger doesn’t know anything about boxing at all or he’s willing to obscure the truth for his own agenda. The latter is most likely the case and it’s not something all that new to the sport. Promoters and TV executives probably lie more than anyone else in boxing.

But haven’t we had enough of that already? Boxing has been shooting itself in the foot for decades now because it seems to constantly attract the same kinds of people with the same kinds of agendas.

It would be nice to see someone try something different.

HIT: Pablo Cesar Cano’s Surprising Resurgence at Junior Welterweight

Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano suddenly looks like a legit contender again. Cano is just 30 years old, but just two years ago he appeared to be on his way out of the sport after losing three out of four bouts.

But in the latest edition of Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch, the 30-year-old junior welterweight rallied from a first-round knockdown to stop Roberto Ortiz in the very next round. It was Cano’s third straight win, and his last two were stunning knockout victories.

In January, Cano was a huge underdog when he scored an impressive first-round stoppage over former lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares. Now Cano has done something similar with his quick stoppage of the hard-punching Ortiz at the Plaza De Toros in San Miguel de Allende.

Cano is a solid professional, the kind of hardworking fighter that makes boxing better. It takes courage and tenacity to get through the tough times in a hard sport, but Cano stayed resilient, and now he’s set up for more big fights.

MISS: Boxing’s Continued Inability to Create Competent Judges 

Showtime’s “Shobox: The Next Generation” series is one of the better programs in the sport because it offers talented up-and-comers a chance to showcase their abilities to a larger audience.

But these smaller shows, such as the one that took place in Sloan, Iowa on Saturday night, can often lead to some wacky scores being turned in from judges who just don’t seem to know what they’re doing.

Such was the case when unbeaten light heavyweight Joseph George was awarded a split-decision victory over Marcos Escudero on Saturday night. Judges Bob LaFratte (97-93) and Carlos Sucre (97-94) somehow saw things go the Houston-based fighter’s way when almost everyone else who watched the fight on TV and in the arena, including judge Gloria Martinez, scored the fight for Escudero.

Boxing needs better judges. Everybody knows that. But whatever the solution ultimately turns out to be, the sport needs to do something proactive to keep bad judges out of those seats in the first place.

HIT: Rocky Fielding’s Return to Win Column After Devastating KO Loss 

Rocky Fielding was trounced by Canelo Alvarez in just three rounds last December.

Some fighters never recover from getting worked over like that, and the more times it happens, the less likely the fighter can muster the will to move forward.

On one hand, the 32-year-old’s only two losses came against Alvarez, who has since gone on to stop Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title, and Callum Smith, the undefeated WBA champion whose World Boxing Super Series tournament performance showcased him as the best 168-pounder in boxing.

On the other, though, Fielding was completely outclassed in both cases, and as fast as Alvarez beat him, Smith did it even faster by stopping Fielding in just one round back in 2015.

So, there was no telling if Fielding could take a step toward becoming a relevant contender again. But the former 168-pound secondary titleholder rebounded nicely by dispatching the heavyhanded Abdallah Paziwapazi in two rounds on Friday night during his hometown return at the Olympia in Liverpool.

Fielding might not ever be able to seriously compete against the very best fighters in the sport, but he’s proven to be a hard out for just about everyone else. He’s the type of fighter who adds depth to a division and maybe someday he can be something more.

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