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Andrew Cancio Rips WBA Title From Machado by KO and Other Results

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INDIO, Calif.-Underdog Andrew Cancio ripped away the WBA super featherweight world title from Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado with a murderous body attack and became the first and only world champion from the small desert town of Blythe, California on Saturday.

More than 100 loud screaming fans from Blythe were present to witness the event.

Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) survived a first round knockdown against Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) then showed why fans follow him whenever he fights with a furious rally in front of a near sold-out crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino. Pure delirium followed the change of world title ownership.

As soon as the two combatants stepped in the boxing ring Machado looked much larger against the smaller frame of Cancio. And when the Puerto Rican southpaw slugger connected with a left uppercut in the first round, he seemed too powerful even for Cancio.

“I had been there before. I know what to do when I get knocked down,” said Cancio, who now lives in Ventura but has family still in Blythe. “I was even able to score some punches. I didn’t cover up or hold.”

Cancio had shown a penchant for surviving slugfests against Rocky Juarez, Dardan (Zenunaj) and Rene Alvarado and for digging deep. Once again he displayed that same determination.

The father of two, who works for a utility company, stepped on the gas in the second round and never took his foot off the pedal with a grinding attack to the head and body of Machado. The Puerto Rican fighter had no idea how to defend the blistering blows coming his way.

Machado tried to stymie Cancio’s momentum but just when it looked like the storm was over, the California desert fighter would batter the body relentless from one side to the other. The screams from the crowd seemed to add more fuel to Cancio’s fire in the third round.

The loud cheers penetrated the arena. It seemed like all 19,000 residents of the desert town near the Colorado River were present.

“They really motivate me,” Cancio said who was fighting for the 10th time at the Indio casino.

Cancio moved in for another attack somewhat cautiously in the fourth round. Then the murderous machine-like attack to the body began penetrating through Machado’s defense and the Puerto Rican dropped to a single knee and took an eight-count. The fight continued and Cancio was like a hungry wolf chasing injured prey. Machado tried to fend off the attack but again blows to the body sent him down again. He beat the count and rose with Cancio charging in again with arms pumping and connected again. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the fight over at 2:16 of the fourth round. The desert town of Blythe had its first world champion.

“This was the fight of my life. I feel extremely great winning this world title by knockout,” said Cancio. “It’s been a long road and it felt like we thought it would: unbelievable. For me to execute a plan like we did feels great.”

Machado said the weight loss may have contributed to his poor showing.

“I felt weak in there,” Machado said. “I think I have to move up from 130 pounds.”

Still, it was a great moment for Cancio who almost retired more than a year ago.

“I’m extremely happy,” he said. “I wasn’t going to fail.”

WBC Super Bantam Title Fight

WBC super bantamweight world titlist Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs) hung on to the title literally with an unpopular hit and hold formula against Venezuela’s rugged Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), especially after tasting the canvas.

Manzanilla caught Vargas with a left hook to the chin in the second round after a brief exchange and after that, the tall skinny Mexican fighter grabbed hold of the Venezuelan whenever he got within grasping distance.

Vargas was never penalized for the excessive holding but Manzanilla was not so lucky with his tactics of trying to break the constrictor like grip of the champion. Manzanilla was deducted points in the seventh round for supposedly hitting on the break and again in the eighth. Meanwhile Vargas continued to hold throughout the fight with impunity. After 12 rounds all three judges saw it 117-108 for Vargas who retains the world title. The crowd was not pleased with the decision or the champion’s tactics.

South El Monte’s Jojo Diaz (28-1, 14 KOs) moved up in weight to the super featherweight division and found it advantageous in defeating local rival Charles Huerta (20-6, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

“This will be my weight unless some of the bigger names like Leo Santa Cruz or Oscar Valdez want to fight me,” said Diaz a former two-time challenger for the featherweight world title. “Then I’ll fight at 126.”

Huerta couldn’t match Diaz’s speed but hung in against the speedy southpaw for all 10 rounds.

“I had him hurt a few times, but I couldn’t finish him because he’s such a great warrior,” Diaz said.

Other Bouts

A battle between Mexican lightweights saw Nuevo Leon’s Adrian Estrella (29-3, 24 KOs) use a lot of movement to befuddle Parral’s Oscar Duarte (15-1-1, 10 KOs) and win the vacant WBC Continental America’s title by a disputed split decision.

Duarte must have been surprised to see Estrella box and move despite sporting an impressive knockout record. It took Duarte, who trains in Indio with Joel Diaz, several rounds to move within punching distance. He never figured out how to cut off the ring against Estrella who benefited from the lapse. After 10 rounds one judge saw Duarte the winner by 97-93, but two others saw it 98-92 and 96-94 for Estrella. The crowd was not pleased.

Former contender Tureano Johnson (20-2-1, 14 KOs) found a difficult opponent in Mexico’s Fernando Castaneda (26-13-1, 17 KOs) who despite a so-so record was coming to win. Both found success throughout the super middleweight fight. Johnson was dominant with right uppercuts and Castaneda found success early with overhand rights and left hooks. Neither was seriously hurt but after eight rounds the fight was ruled a split draw 77-75, 75-77, 76-76 when the scores were read.

“My opponent did an awesome job,” said Johnson after the entertaining back and forth fight.

Castaneda felt he had won but was more than happy that the crowd appreciated his effort.

“I’m very happy to have the crowd support me,” said Castaneda of Aguascalientes, Mexico. “I want a rematch.”

Azat Hovhannisyan (16-3, 13 KOs) utilized body shots to stop Lolito Sonsona (22-3-4, 9 KOs) in the fifth round of their super bantamweight match. Early in the fight, Hovhannisyan dropped the Filipino fighter with a left to the body but was deducted a point for an alleged low blow. It was a borderline punch but signified to the Armenian fighter to continue targeting the abdomen.

Hovhannisyan continued the pressure and though he battered Sonsona to the head repeatedly, nothing seemed to faze the Filipino fighter. But when he drifted to the body that’s where the fierce Armenian fighter found a weakness, Rights to the left side of Sonsona’s body floored the Filipino twice in the fifth round. At 2:23 Sonsona did not beat the count of 10 after the second body shot put him down on the ground. Referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight.

Local fighter Rommel Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Javier Rojas (1-3) in the first round of their super featherweight fight.

The fights can be seen on DAZN.

Photo credit: Alonzo Coston

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 274: Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney in Hollywood, Jake, Amanda and More

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HOLLYWOOD, Ca.- Adorned in a white suit, Ryan “King Ry” Garcia arrived on a big white horse followed by a handful of fair maidens dressed in various colors and some twirling hula hoops into the Avalon Theater on Vine Street on Thursday.

Inside the historic theater that once served as the Hollywood Canteen during World War 2, where actors like Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth greeted soldiers, but this time it was the boxing media waiting.

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) will challenge undefeated Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) for the WBC super lightweight world title on April 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. DAZN pay-per-view will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card.

It doesn’t get more Hollywood than this.

Inside the 97-year-old theater, once the two opposing factions arrived, the pageantry turned into a war of words, taunts and accusations.

This is boxing.

Aside from the taunts and words of derision tossed at each other, the Haney father and son combination admitted that Garcia was the one fighter willing to fight Devin.

“He (Garcia) raised his hand when no one else did,” said Bill Haney the father.

Devin Haney sat next to his father on the stage anxious as ever to prove his talent in the prize ring. After his victory over Regis Prograis that followed wins over Vasyl Lomachenko and George Kambosos, the former undisputed lightweight world champion is now dwelling in the super lightweight division and holds the WBC version.

“I was killing myself trying to make the weight,” said Haney about moving up to the 140-pound super lightweight division.

Haney has long been familiar with Ryan Garcia since their amateur days as they met in the boxing ring six times as youths.

“They fought six times in the amateurs with both of them winning three apiece. Now they meet with championship gold and the chance at being the face of American boxing on the line,” said Oscar De La Hoya, the promoter and head of Golden Boy Promotions. “In other words, this one counts!”

Garcia and Haney have taken similar paths.

Garcia fought professionally numerous times in Mexico where it is legal to fight under the age of 18. So did Haney. Both faced unknown opponents, sometimes last-minute changes forced them to fight foes that were not originally scheduled.

As pros, the two similarly and eagerly sought to face the best opponents possible despite their inexperience. Both proved more than capable.

Garcia quickly amassed a surprisingly large following of fans through social media and through his exploits of sudden knockouts from his uncanny speed.

“Everything I have today, I earned it,” said Garcia. “Nobody gave me a handout, I never had money, I’m really a small town boy.”

Haney proved able to defeat veteran world champions feared for their technical expertise with his own buttery-smooth fighting prowess.

“I am happy to be here. I worked hard to be here. I sacrificed a lot to be here, and at the end of the day, the world will see it on April 20,” said Devin Haney.

Next month in Brooklyn the two longtime foes will be performing. Will it be the biggest grossing pay-per-view of the year 2024?

Jake and Amanda

Jake Paul and Amanda Serrano are boxing’s best tag team.

Several years ago, Paul recognized that Serrano, a seven-division world champion Puerto Rican was capable of much more than fighting on the small stage.

Genius.

Paul signed Serrano to his Most Valuable Promotions company and together they have been able to draw a mixture of fans long ignored by other promoters.

Welcome to the age of the influencers.

For the past several years Paul has fought MMA stars, boxers and other social media influencers. And when he signed Serrano she fought Katie Taylor in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden where their fight drew more than a million pay-per-views.

Paul (8-1, 5 KOs) meets Ryan Bourland (17-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round cruiserweight fight on Saturday March 2, at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. DAZN will stream the card.

He will be co-piloting the fight card with the great Amanda Serrano (46-2-1, 30 KOs) who will be defending the undisputed featherweight world championship against Germany’s Nina “the Brave” Meinke (18-3, 4 KOs).

Once again Serrano and Paul will share a very good fight card that also features female super flyweights Krysti Rosario-Ortiz (2-0) and Gloria Munguilla (5-0).

Others on the card include Javon “Wanna” Walton, a featherweight out of Atlanta, Georgia. If he looks familiar there is a reason. He was featured in the Sylvester Stallone film Samaritan and also appeared in the HBO series Euphoria.

Walton has always boxed and now will be a part of the Paul and Serrano team.

Paul has that magic touch for attracting fans to boxing.

Just today Most Valuable Promotions signed Indian prizefighter Neeraj Goyat. The welterweight fighter was recently seen on social media approaching Paul in his training camp and daring the fighter to meet him in the boxing ring. The short video clip attracted more than 150 million views.

Paul, ever the think-out-of-the-box promoter, signed Goyat immediately.

“In just 2.5 years, MVP has organized some of the world’s most significant boxing events, and I’m excited to work with MVP to elevate the status of professional boxing in India and bring attention to boxers from India globally,” said an excited Goyat.

“His viral callouts of Jake Paul certainly got our attention,” said MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian.

Out-of-the box thinking.

Fights to Watch (all times Pacific Time)

Sat. DAZN 1:30 p.m. Amanda Serrano (46-2-1) vs Nina Meinke (18-3).

Sat. ESPN+ 2:10 pm Otabek Kholmatov 12-0, 11 KOs) vs. Raymod Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs); Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) vs Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs)

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Madueno Upsets Pauldo and Lopez Overcomes Escudero at Whitesands

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Madueno Upsets Pauldo and Lopez Overcomes Escudero at Whitesands

When it comes to professional boxing down in the Tampa Bay area, Canadian transplant Garry Jonas is a one-man band.

The architect of the Wednesday Night Fights series, Jonas doesn’t have to pay a site fee for the shows that he promotes because he owns the venue. The shows that he stages at his Whitesands Events Center in Plant City air on his live streaming platform ProBoxTV. His series currently has only one sponsor, a bookmaking operation called SportsBetting.Ag., and he owns that too. (A self-styled serial entrepreneur, Jonas continued his assault on the established order last week with his purchase of the respected Boxing Scene website, but that’s a story best saved for another day.)

Jonas promotes high-grade club fights. When he started this venture, he promised entertaining, well-matched fights and tonight he delivered. The “A” side fighters in the co-main events were matched tough.

In the featured bout, lightweight Justin Pauldo (17-2, 1 NC) was upset by Mexico’s Miguel Madueno. Managed by Jolene Mazzone, the former VP and matchmaker for Main Events and trained by Ronnie Shields, Pauldo, a resident or nearby Orlando, was unbeaten in his last 12 heading in.

In his previous start, Madueno turned in a lackluster performance against surging Canadian campaigner Steve Claggett. His showing (he was 30-1 with 28 KOs heading in) was inconsistent with his record. Tonight, he was more pugnacious, out-working the man in front of him, a 4/1 favorite. The decision was split; 97-92 and 95-94 for Madueno, 95-94 for Pauldo. There were no knockdowns, but the Mexican had a point deducted in round 5 for leading with his head.

Co-Feature

The co-main was an entertaining 10-round light heavyweight affair in which Edgar Berlanga stablemate Najee Lopez improved to 10-0 (8) with a hard-earned majority decision over Marcos Escudero (14-3). One of the judges had it a draw (95-95) but he was overruled by his cohorts who had it 97-93 and 99-91.

Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent but was born and raised in the Atlanta area, hadn’t previously gone beyond six rounds. He was the house fighter. Named the 2023 Prospect of the Year by the ProBox team of TV commentators, Lopez was making his eighth appearance at Whitesands. Escudero, a South Florida-based Argentine had won four straight heading in at club shows in Delray Beach, FL after back-to-back setbacks in competitive fights with Joseph George.

Escudero, who did most of the leading, had many good moments. The 99-91 tally against the Argentine was a head-scratcher. (Commentator Paulie Malignaggi said the offending  judge, Alvaro Rodriguez, should have his fee withheld and be forced to serve a one-year suspension.)

Also

In an 8-round lightweight contest, former two-time Olympian Tsendbaatar Erdenebat, a 27-year-old Mongolian southpaw who began his pro career in China and now resides in southern California, improved to 9-0 (4) with a unanimous decision over Guinea-born Mohamed Soumaoro (11-3) who was a willing mixer but was out-classed. The scores were 79-73 and 80-72 twice.

As one would expect from a two-time Olympian, Erdenebat is a good technician who puts his punches together well, but doesn’t have a lot of power. If his name rings a bell, he’s the fellow who purportedly sent Ryan Garcia to the hospital from the effects of a body punch during a sparring session.

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Two Featherweight Title Fights Top a Strong Bill at Turning Stone on Saturday

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When Top Rank announced in December that they would be returning to Turning Stone Resort & Casino for an ESPN+ show on March 2nd featuring two featherweight world title fights they promised a deep action-packed show. Usually such words fall by the wayside as the event ultimately comes together but in this instance the docket is loaded from top to bottom with name attractions, undefeated prospects, local grudge matches and two very well-matched co-headliners.

In the first of the co-headliners, Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) makes the third defense of his IBF featherweight belt against Japan’s Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs). Lopez is a popular brawler whose aggressive style and lack of attention to defense usually makes for entertaining fights. Abe, a southpaw, is a slick boxer who is coming off a career best win against Kiko Martinez last April. Abe has a style similar to that of Ruben Villa who outboxed Lopez to a ten round unanimous decision win in 2019.

The co-headline finale is being contested for the vacant WBA featherweight title between Otabek Kholmatov (12-0, 11 KOs) and Raymond Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs). Both fighters were highly touted heading into the pro ranks. Ford has the speed advantage but Kholmatov has a big edge in power. Social media seems split right down the middle on this fight and oddsmakers agree installing Kholmatov as a very slight favorite as of this writing.

Also on this show is the return of the ever popular Nico Ali Walsh (9-1, 5 KOs) who bounced back from his first career defeat on Dec. 16 at a show in Guinea where he defeated a Frenchman with a 9-2-1 record (mysteriously, that fight isn’t yet listed on boxrec). He will face off against Luke Iannuccilli (7-0, 3 KOs). Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, will make his debut at Turning Stone Resort Casino in the same exact arena where his aunt and Boxing Hall of Famer Laila Ali made her professional boxing debut in October of 1999 with her legendary father sitting ringside. This will mark the fourth time a member of Muhammad Ali’s family has fought at Turning Stone.

The card also includes several contests featuring up-and-coming undefeated fighters. One match in particular to keep an eye on is an eight-round welterweight bout between a pair of unbeaten fighters in Rohan Polanco (11-0, 7 KOs) and Tarik Zaina (13-0-1, 8 KOs). Zaina opened some eyes last November when he defeated Marcelino Lopez and Polanco is coming off three consecutive wins against opponents who had a cumulative record of 39-3.

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t notate the local grudge match on the docket between Gerffred Ngayot (6-1, 5 KOs) of Buffalo and Bryce Mills (14-1, 5 KOs) of Syracuse. They are scheduled to face off in a six-round bout in the 140-pound division. They are on this show because each have solid local fan bases and matching them was a way to help fill the stands. Mills is a sharp accurate counterpuncher with all-around solid skills. Ngayot is an aggressive fighter who is not afraid to be first and fire away to the body. Stylistically this could turn into quite a barnburner and each have plenty of motivation to make a statement on what is a much bigger stage than they are accustomed to.

We are often quick to criticize those in the sport when cards come together that are seemingly either loaded with mismatches or bouts that just don’t pique much interest. This is an instance where those involved need to be applauded for putting together a card from top to bottom that will certainly give fans plenty of bang for their buck.

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