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Jermall Charlo Defeats Brandon Adams in Soldout Houston Homecoming

Kelsey McCarson

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Jermall Charlo’s Houston homecoming at NRG Arena went longer than most people probably expected it would. Still, in the end, the local champ earned the hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Brandon Adams, 29, from Los Angeles, in front of a soldout crowd of 6,408.

Judges at ringside scored it 119-109, 120-109 and 120-108 for Charlo. 

No longer known as the other Charlo, Jermall put his interim—err—suddenly very full WBC world middleweight title on the line in the fight. It was the long-awaited Houston return bout for Charlo, 29, who although one minute older than his identical twin brother, Jermell, had gotten a little slower out of the professional gate than did his sibling. 

Charlo stayed behind his jab during the first round. He didn’t land it with any regularity, but his significant longer reach and greater height kept Adams from doing anything but ducking and dodging early besides the occasional looping roundhouse from long distance.

Perhaps secure in his superiority after the first three minutes, Charlo pressed more for an opening against Adams in round two. Charlo’s crosses and uppercuts were full for steam, but artful dodging by Adams kept the challenger safe from harm. 

Adams did his best to make a fight of it in round three. Charlo threw and landed more punches, but Adams made him miss more than perhaps he was accustomed to doing and even managed to corral Charlo to the ropes where his shorter body might give him an edge. But Charlo’s uppercuts and hooks were fast and vicious, so mostly Adams had just put himself in harm’s way.

Still, it was his only chance, so Adams pressed more in the next round. The action heated up because of the closer quarters, with Charlo’s more powerful and precise punches probably taking the nod. 

They traded overhand rights to start round five. Charlo had Adams dazed in the corner soon after, but the brave boulder of a man got his wits about him and made it through the stanza. 

Charlo is a sharp, powerful and ruthless puncher. A right uppercut, left hook combination put Adams in trouble in round six, but his craft earned him some respect when he dazed Charlo with a hard hook and put the Houstonian’s backs to the ropes toward the end of the round.

But Adams main problem was that whenever Charlo kept him on the end of his longer punches, which was the majority of round seven, there wasn’t much Adams could do to stop it. Sure, he’d lob the occasional hard and awkward counter, but Charlo constantly got the better of things and was always looking to land the telling blow. 

Still, the saving grace for Adams was that for all the physical advantages Charlo had, the hometown fighter wasn’t accurate enough. Credit should be given to Adams perhaps for his quick movement, but it might also be true that Charlo was pressing a bit in an effort to impress the local crowd. 

That showed itself again in the ninth round when Charlo let loose a five-punch combination that Adams deftly avoided in his corner. Adams urged Charlo to bring more pressure, but Charlo was wise to Adams’ attempt at finding a counter opportunity and moved away.

By round ten, it seemed clear the fight would go the distance. Charlo was aggressive in all the right ways, but Adams had too much craft for Charlo to land very many punches clean enough to get the stoppage. Even in round ten, when Charlo seemed to daze Adams, the stocky fighter was able to stem the tide by constantly leaning away from Charlo’s power. 

Charlo did his best to end things early in round eleven with vicious combinations to the head and body, but Adams was just too tough. By the final round, Charlo seemed mostly content to take the win on the judges’ scorecards, a virtual certainty at this point, even in the topsy turvy world of professional boxing. 

Back in 2012 when I first met Jermall, Charlo was undefeated and talented, but he didn’t have a manager or promoter yet. Where Jermell already had twice as many fights on his ledger, as well as a manager, Al Haymon, and a promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, the other Charlo had pretty much nothing going his way except that he seemed to have a place to train at Plex in Houston under the guidance of trainer Ronnie Shields and he appeared to have what it takes physically to make it in the gritty world of professional boxing. 

But something always stood out about Jermall. Maybe it was just that he seemed to be working so hard in the gym every single time I saw him. Where other local fighters I’ve covered over the years in the Houston area usually succumb to the natural apathy that comes with not having a fight coming up soon, Charlo was always in the gym working, sparring and learning as if he did.

So seven years later, that Jermall is now an undefeated two-division world champion with at least a credible path toward megafights against the likes of former unified middleweight king Gennady Golovkin or current lineal champ Canelo Alvarez comes to no surprise to this writer. 

Whether he’ll stay at or near the top of the divisional mountain remains to be seen, but Charlo’s steady rise from relative obscurity should not go unnoticed in the sport. 

Lubin Stops Attou at 154

Erickson Lubin, 23, from Florida, stopped French fighter Zakaria Attou in just four rounds in a junior middleweight scrap that kept Lubin in line for another world title opportunity. Lubin looked electric in the fight, something he’s appeared to be in every outing except one. 

Two years ago, Lubin looked a bit green (or maybe just super unlucky) when he was knocked out by Jermell Charlo in the first round for Charlo’s WBC junior middleweight title.

One wonders what it was like for Lubin to share the card with Jermell’s identical twin brother, Jermall. Was it hard for him to see the same face of the man who so quickly and thoroughly dispatched him of his world championship dreams with one big punch? 

If it did bother him, he certainly didn’t show it against Attou. From the very start of the fight, Lubin was landing hard punches to Attou’s head and body. The Frenchmen moved away, trying to counter, but Lubin was just too sharp for Attou to handle. 

It didn’t help Attou that he injured his right bicep in the bout. Still, even if he had the use of two good arms, this fight probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer than it did. 

Lubin punched him into just about every corner of the ring during every round of the fight. By round four, Lubin had hurt him enough to send him down to the canvas for good. At that point, the fight was mercifully halted by Attou’s corner. 

If there’s anything to criticize about Lubin, it’s that he only really looks for one punch at a time. But at least in that, Lubin is almost always standing flatfooted and throwing with tons of power. He’s fast, He’s athletic. He’s powerful. He’s probably the best fighter in the world right now who has been recently knocked out in the first round. Lubin looks legit. 

Take that one performance away, and Lubin would likely be considered a certain bet to someday win a world championship. Even with that loss, he probably should be anyway. 

Marrero Defeats Ramirez in Featherweight Bout

Claudio Marrero, 30, from the Dominican Republic defeated Eduardo Ramirez, 26, from Mexico, by unanimous decision for a secondary WBA featherweight title. 

The bout was billed as an eliminator bout in the featherweight division, meaning the winner of the fight might theoretically be on his way to facing either regular WBA titleholder Xu Can or super champion Leo Santa Cruz.

But knowing the history of the WBA’s political machinations, which sometimes resembles a sidewalk shell game, the only substantial prize absolutley on the line in the bout (besides what they were paid in money) was probably just pride, and both fighters seemed eager to earn the respect of the other. 

Ramirez was the mover in the bout. He backpedaled from the start trying to get his punches off, while Marrero came forward behind concise footwork and a good jab. 

Ramirez’s main weapon was the right hook from a southpaw stance, though he sometimes would change his footing to get better angles for punches out of an orthodox stance. Marrero ate that hook more than he probably liked, but he also slipped them often enough to employ a sharp one-two, his lead being the right-hand because he was also a southpaw. 

The fight boiled down to Marrero just possessing a slightly higher level of quality, something Ramirez just couldn’t match. He was faster, slicker and the better athlete. Both fighters left their marks on each other, but by the end of the fight it was clear Marrero was the winner. 

Judges at ringside scored the bout 116-112, 115-113 and 118-110 for Marrero, who was jubilant in victory and happy to wear the WBA gold belt around his waist no matter what we in the media think about such things. 

Flores Stops May in Five Rounds at Junior Lightweight

Junior lightweight Miguel Flores stopped Mexico’s Luis May in the fifth round of a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight scrap. 

Born in Mexico, Flores, 26, now lives in Houston and trains at the same place where 140-pound titleholder Regis Prograis does his thing, the Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai gym. Flores is trained by local stalwart Arron Navarro who is one of Main Street’s mainstay cornermen alongside local legend Bobby Benton.  

Flores is now on a two-fight winning streak after suffering consecutive stoppage losses in 2017 to Dat Nguyen and Chis Avalos, just around the time his handlers were talking about their fighter maybe getting a world title opportunity. 

But Flores seems to be back on track. He kept his 35-year-old opponent at the end of his longer and snappier punches right from the opening bell, hurting him on occasion but not quite able to put him away until May’s corner threw in the towel at 1:33 of the fifth round. 

Despite the unexpected losses two years ago, Flores has continued to work and improve, perhaps because he doesn’t just fight for himself, but also for his late brother and role model, Benjamin, who tragically died from injuries suffered inside a ring three months prior to Flores making his own professional debut back in 2009.

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Fast Results from Las Vegas: Tyson Fury Overcomes Doughty Otto Wallin

Arne K. Lang

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Otto Wallin proved to be a more formidable opponent than Tyson Fury’s last victim, Tom Schwarz, by a long shot. One could sense that this wouldn’t be a walkover for the Gypsy King when Wallin backed Fury into a neutral corner in round two and got off a good volley of punches.

Wallin opened what became a very nasty gash over Fury’s right eye in round four. Fury pawed at it continually throughout the fight which went the full distance. Fury seemed to think that the cut resulted from a clash of heads, but the replay indicated otherwise. Near the end of round six, Wallin rubbed the cut with the laces of his gloves, earning a stern but silent rebuke from Fury and referee Tony Weeks who did not deduct a point.

Fury prefers to fight off the back foot until he has his opponent hurt, but with the cut he fought with more of a sense of urgency, pressing forward. The fight turned messy over the final third as the contest turned into somewhat of a hug-fest.

Wallin, who came in undefeated (20-0), landed some hard shots in the final round, but by then he needed a knockout to win. The final scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110. The 118-110 tally was overly severe, distorting the fact that this was a hard fight for the Gypsy King  who improved his ledger to 29-0-1.

The promoters say the rematch with Deontay Wilder, the second bout of a planned trilogy, is set for February but Wallin may have wrecked those plans. It would seem that Fury will need more time to heal that cut.

Co-Feature

Based on raw numbers, it figured that the fight between defending WBO world 122-pound champion Emanuel Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde would be competitive. Both had identical records (28-1) and both were riding long winning streaks; 23 straight wins for Navarrete and 18 straight for Elorde. But the son of Filipino boxing legend Flash Elorde was out of his league. Navarette, who is a big featherweight, was too strong for him. Near the end of round three, Elorde received a standing 8-count when he landed against the ropes, which kept him upright. Twenty-six seconds into the next round it was all over, with referee Russell Mora halting the bout to protect Elorde from taking more punishment.

The victorious Navarette, from Mexican City, was making the third defense of the title he won from Isaac Dogboe. Las Vegas hasn’t been good to Elorde whose lone prior defeat came at nearby Mandalay Bay in a 4-round contest.

Other Bouts

In a mild upset, Jose Zepeda, won a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza. A 2008 Olympian for Puerto Rico and former two-division belt-holder, Pedraza declined to 26-3.

Zepeda (33-2), a native Californian who entered the ring draped in the Mexican flag, did his best work early and late. In the middle rounds it appeared that Pedraza was taking control with superior marksmanship but he couldn’t sustain it. The seventh round was furious as were the waning moments of the 10th. All three judges had it 97-93.

In an 8-round featherweight bout, Isaac Lowe, a fellow Traveler and stablemate of Tyson Fury, remained undefeated with an 8-round unanimous decision over Mexico City’s Ruben Hernandez. The scores were 78-74 and 77-75 twice.

Lowe, who showed good boxing skills but isn’t a hard puncher, improved to 19-0-2 (6 KOs). Hernandez falls to 25-5-2.

In the first walk-out fight, Guido Vianello, a 6’4″, 240-pound heavyweight from Rome, Italy, improved to 5-0 (5 KOs) at the expense of Cassius Anderson,  a 35-year-old former Toledo U. linebacker, whose corner pulled him out after the fourth round. Vianello knocked Anderson down in the first few seconds of the fight, but Anderson wasn’t of a mind to leave that quick.

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Fast Results from The Big Apple: Haney, Hunter, and Serrano Win Handily

Arne K. Lang

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Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions was at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden tonight with a 10-bout card that produced no surprises. In the featured bout, 20-year-old lightweight Devin Haney stayed on course for a hoped-for showdown with Vassiliy Lomachenko with a dominant performance over Russia’s little-known Zaur Abdullaev. The fight was stopped after four one-sided rounds with Abdullaev apparently suffering from a fractured cheekbone.

Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) was far more athletic. Abdullaev, who brought an 11-0 record into his U.S. debut, had trouble handling Haney’s speed and was simply overwhelmed by Haney who was the far busier fighter.

Co-Features

Amanda Serrano, who has won more titles in more weight classes than Carter has pills, added the WBO world featherweight title to her dossier with a lopsided decision over fellow Brooklynite Heather Hardy. This fight appeared that it would end early; Serrano’s punches were harder and cleaner. But Hardy, seven years older at age 37, refused to fold and actually did some good work in the middle rounds. The scores were 98-92 and 98-91 twice.

Serrano improved to 37-1-1. It was the first pro loss for Hardy who fell to 22-1.

In a 12-round heavyweight contest, Michael Hunter won his sixth straight, improving to 18-1, with a 12-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Sergey Kuzmin (15-1). Although Hunter is on a nice roll, this was not the sort of performance likely to win him any new fans. His best moment came in round five when he knocked Kuzmin flat on his back with a left hook, but from that point on, he seemed content to out-box his Russian adversary who had a 37-pound advantage but was conspicuously slower.

All three judges had it 117-110. After the bout, Hunter expressed a desire to fight Alexander Povetkin on the Joshua-Ruiz II card in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7.

Other Bouts of Note

It was a mixed bag for 32-year-old Azerbaijan heavyweight Magomedrasul Majidov who won his pro debut with a fourth-round stoppage of Ed Fountain but didn’t look all that impressive. More was expected of Majidov, a three-time world amateur champion who scored three wins over Anthony Joshua as an amateur. Fountain (12-7) lost his fifth straight.

Kazakh welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov, a two-time Olympian and 2016 gold medalist, looked sensational while advancing his record to 8-0 (4) with a vicious first-round knockout of Reshard Hicks. Yeleussinov, who is trained by his father, knocked Hicks to the the canvas twice, the second of which left Hicks face down, forcing referee Ron Lipton to end the bout without the formality of a count. It was the first pro loss for Hicks (12-1-1), a 34-year-old ex-G.I. from Killeen, Texas.

Uzbekistan super bantamweight Murodjon Akhmadaliev improved to 7-0 (6 KOs) with a fourth-round stoppage of Columbia’s Wilner Soto (22-7). This was a stay-busy fight for the 24-year-old former Olympian who was originally slated to challenge WBA/IBF title-holder Daniel Roman who had to withdraw because of a shoulder injury suffered in sparring. Akhmadaliev toyed with the overmatched Soto for the first three rounds before unleashing the heavy artillery.

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA

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The Avila Perspective, Chap. 64: New York, L.A. and Las Vegas Fights

David A. Avila

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Three of the Big Four promoters in prizefighting are showcasing young and old talent in the next two days from New York City to Los Angeles.

Las Vegas speedster Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) headlines a Matchroom Boxing card at Madison Square Theater in Manhattan when he fights Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (11-0, 7 KOs) on Friday Sept. 13. DAZN will stream the boxing card live.

Dripping with talent, Haney has passed all of the tests so far in his brief and meteoric career including rumbling with Mexican tough guys like Juan Carlos Burgos and obliterating Antonio Moran.

But like all prospects and young contenders, the big question always is can he take a punch?

Abdullaev only has 11 fights and though he has seven knockouts, he has yet to face quality opposition. But his backers say he can fight and that’s all anyone can hope to see.

The fight native New Yorkers and followers of the female fight world want to see is the world title clash between Brooklyn’s undefeated Heather Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) defending the WBO featherweight strap against Brooklyn’s Amanda Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs) in a 10 round semi-main event. It’s going to be a dog fight.

The WBC Diamond belt will be another reward for the winner. Both girls will be tested for PEDs in accordance with WBC rules. For years female prizefighters were virtually untested.

Los Angeles – Munguia, Ryan Garcia and Franchon

WBO super welterweight titlist Jaime Munguia (33-0, 26 KOs) of Mexico meets Ghana’s Patrick Alottey (40-3, 30 KOs) in a world title challenge on Saturday Sept. 14, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. This Golden Boy Promotions card will be part of the Mexican Independence Day weekend celebration and also Munguia’s last foray in the 154-pound weight class.

Munguia’s lack of defense has made every fight a 50/50 proposition and even this fight against the shorter Alottey could test the Mexican’s chin. The Ghanaian fighter has 30 knockouts on his resume with all wins taking place in Africa.

Ryan “The Flash” Garcia will bring his army of fans to the outdoor arena once again. The last time he fought at Dignity Health Sports Park it was called the StubHub Center and he slugged it out with the very tough Puerto Rican Jayson Velez in May 2018. That night the slender fighter won by decision.

For about a year Garcia has been working under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso in San Diego and the change was immediately visible. The head trainer for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has tweaked Garcia’s defense and head movement. He has also polished the vast offensive weaponry the 21-year-old possesses. He’s still learning.

Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) faces Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs) who walked into a press conference in the Golden Boy Building with singing artist Usher. The big question most are asking is if Usher will be present at the fight on Saturday. That’s not Garcia’s query.

“Avery can fight and he’s got skills. He’s no pushover,” said Garcia, adding that the lightweight division is growing with young budding talent. “The new generation is here with Teofimo (Lopez), Devin (Haney), I’m excited and want to be in the best fights to show that I belong with these other fighters.”

Also on the boxing card will be women’s WBC super middleweight titlist Franchon Crews (5-1) who was scheduled to face WBC heavyweight world titlist Alejandra Jimenez who was dropping down in weight for the fight. But the Mexican fighter was allegedly unable to obtain a visa and could possibly be replaced by former foe Maricela Cornejo (13-3, 5 KOs).

Crews defeated the classy Cornejo for the world title a year ago in Las Vegas and the Mexican middleweight had sought a rematch. Cornejo was recently posting photos of herself in Israel on her social media accounts. If she does accept the fight it definitely shows Cornejo has confidence and that’s a big plus. One of the remarkable things from their first fight was watching Cornejo clapping and congratulating Crews in earnest after their fight. It was a sincere gesture and made me appreciate Cornejo even more.

Las Vegas – Fury, Navarrete

England’s Tyson Fury, the lineal heavyweight world champion, meets Sweden’s Otto Wallin in a battle of undefeated heavyweights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday Sept. 14. ESPN will show and stream the Top Rank fight card.

Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) who defeated Wladimir Klitschko for all of the titles back in November 2015, then dropped out of the boxing world for a few years. He has returned to activity and is changing the boxing landscape with both his charisma and fighting skills. His fight against Deontay Wilder last December was one of the more memorable heavyweight world title fights in the last 30 years.

Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) is a southpaw who can crack as almost all heavyweights can. He’s represented by Mark Taffet, the former HBO executive who leads the career of female star Claressa Shields. That should say a lot about the big Swede’s talent.

Also on the card is Emanuel Navarrete (28-1, 24 KOs), the WBO super bantamweight titlist who fought just last month in Los Angeles against Francisco De Vaca and knocked him out in three rounds. He defeated Isaac Dogboe for the title last December and then stopped him in the rematch last May. He’s an angular looking fighter with long arms, incredible stamina and knockout power. He will be meeting Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1, 15 KOs) of the Philippines in another world title fight.

Fights to Watch

Fri. 6 p.m. PT DAZN – Devin Haney (22-0) vs Zaur Abdullaev (11-0), Heather Hardy (22-0) vs Amanda Serrano (36-1-1).

Sat. 3:30 p.m. PT DAZN – Jaime Munguia (33-0) vs Patrick Alottey (40-3), Ryan Garcia (18-0) vs Avery Sparrow (10-1), Franchon Crews (5-1) vs Maricela Cornejo (13-3).

Sat. 4:30 p.m. PT ESPN+ – Tyson Fury (28-0-1) vs Otto Wallin (20-0), Emanuel Navarrete (28-1) vs Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1).

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing

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