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Victor Oganov, a Fireball Coming Out of the Amateurs, Keeps Plugging Away

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Victor Oganov, now 43 years old, just won’t go away. On Nov. 9, Oganov is scheduled to fight Ben Sila (8-0) in St Marys, New South Wales, Australia.

Victor Oganov was one of the earlier Eastern Euro boxers. He was of Russian and Armenian descent and like his good friend Vic Darchinyan now lives in Perth, Australia. He was 64-16 as an amateur before beginning his professional career in 1998 in St. Petersburg, Russia with a TKO win.

In January of 2001, in his first fight outside Russia, he TKOed trial horse Michael Alexander in Coventry, England. Seven fights later, he stopped terribly limited New Zealander Sam Leuii (12-12-1) in Sydney, Australia. That brought Oganov’s record to 18-0, all coming by way of stoppage.

Oganov had four more fights in Australia and two in Russia before making his U.S. debut in January of 2007 against Richard “The Alien” Grant in Anaheim, CA. This was Oganov’s first fight against an opponent with a recognizable name. (Grant’s major claim to fame was that he had been knocked out cold by “The Harlem Hammer,” James Butler. This occurred after their infamous fight in November 2001 when Butler lived up to his nickname and hammered the unsuspecting “Alien” after the fight with his bare fist. It was a dark day in New York City boxing history but at least Grant got the UD win while Butler got some well-deserved jail time.)

By the time the Russian met Grant in Anaheim, Grant was visibly shop-worn, having just been KO’d by Librado Andrade. Oganov did not disappoint and stopped Grant in the second round, prompting the New Yorker by way of Jamaica to wisely retire at 19-15-1.

Oganov was now 26-0 with all 26 wins coming by stoppage. However, the combined won-loss record of his opponents was 170-177-14, raising serious questions about just how formidable he was. If KOs are your thing, then Victor might just be what the doctor ordered, but something was missing.

Nevertheless, 26-0 is 26-0 and adding to his perceived aura, Team Oganov began calling out the likes of Danny Green, Denis Inkin, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, The Contender finalist Peter Manfredo Jr and Jeff Lacy. In fact, the now world rated light heavyweight offered to step in for the injured Manny Siaca who was scheduled to face Danny Green on May 30 in Perth. Oganov reportedly offered to fight Green for free. His trainer at the time, Jeff Fenech, even offered a wager of $50,000, but Team Green would have nothing to do with Team Oganov.

Thus, with a perfect record of 26-0 and rated WBO #5, WBC # 17 and WBA # 13 in the light heavyweight division, he signed up to fight Colombian KO artist Fulgencio Zuniga (19-2-1) on Sept. 1, 2007, in Tacoma, Washington. The vacant IBO world super middleweight title would be at stake and questions would be answered about this fearsome Aussie by way of Russia.

Fulgencio’s two losses were to Daniel Santos in a WBO world super welterweight title fight and to future world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (26-0). While the Columbian would hit the skids in and around 2011, he presented a formidable test for Oganov at this stage of his career and the smart money was looking at this fight the way Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal studied prospective bets from his perch in Las Vegas.

Zuniga’s experience against far better competition and his all-around better technical skills would be his main advantage against a guy who was looking for his 27th straight KO. He was more than a live underdog.

After losing the opening round, Zuniga swept the last seven on the judges’ scorecards. He then upped the pace and battered and stopped Oganov in the ninth round after decking Oganov with a left hook that left him flat on his back.

ZunigavsOganov2

“I never felt like myself in there…I don’t make excuses, but I injured a rib in February and maybe I came back too soon. I lacked my usual zip. Maybe I was head-hunting too much, I don’t know. What I do know is that I never could connect with my best punch,” said Oganov after the fight.

“This was not an easy fight and Oganov was very strong.” Said Zuniga, but he was being kind. Oganov, while heavy-handed, was overly offensive-minded and could be picked apart by any opponent who exploited his lack of defensive skills, especially a good counterpuncher.

The Russian bounced back with two quick KO wins in 2008 bringing his record to a still eyebrow-raising 28-1 (28 KOs), but then he would be stopped again, this time by Andre Dirrell (16-0) and the shine began to wear off.

Two more wins in 2009 set up an interesting rough and tumble battle with young Garth “From the Hood” Wood which Victor would lose by MD. This further exposed the Russian as more flash than substance. Oganov’s absence of stiff opposition on the way up was rapidly catching up with him. This bout was in the semi-finals of Season 1 of the Australian version of The Contender reality television series. (As an aside, Wood would go on to win the tournament, earning him a shot at Anthony Mundine. His KO of Mundine in 2010 was a monster upset, but Wood lost the rematch and retired in 2014 with a record of 12-4-1.)

Undefeated Michael Bolling (11-0) TKOd Oganov in 2010 and then Brad Pitt (11-0) retired the Russian with another stoppage loss in November of 2011. By then Oganov was competing as a cruiserweight. (Brad Pitt, alias “Hollywood,” retired in 2016 with a record of 19-1.)

 The “Comeback”

Following a now familiar trend of ill-advised comebacks, Victor Oganov returned in 2016 to KO hapless Jae Bryce (3-6) but then disappeared for over two years before coming back in 2018, only to get KOd by streaking Demsey McKean (11-0) and then by Jason Whatteley (4-0) in June of this year.

The days of calling out the likes of Danny Green, Chad Dawson and Carl Froch are long gone for Victor Oganov. Luckily, these overtures were never taken seriously. Hopefully, the affable Oganov, now 32-7, will call it quits after the Sila fight on Nov. 9.

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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In a Shocker, Ryan Garcia Confounds the Experts and Upsets Devin Haney

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Its good to be crazy. Like a fox.

Ryan “KingRy” Garcia knocked down WBC super lightweight titlist Devin Haney three times to remind everyone of his fighting abilities in winning by majority decision on Saturday.

“I just knew what I could do,” Garcia said.

Fans will not forget the lanky kid from Victorville, California now.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) fooled everyone in playing crazy weeks before the fight, then showed shocking power to hand Haney (30-1, 15 KOs) his first loss as a professional at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Haney’s WBC super lightweight title was not at stake for Garcia because he weighed three pounds over the limit.

After Garcia seemingly acting out of control on social media, Haney’s guard must have slipped in the first round during the first few seconds as Garcia connected with that hellish left hook and Haney, with a look of shock in his eyes, almost went down. He barely survived the first round.

“He caught me with it,” said Haney.

During the next few rounds, Haney proceeded to advance toward Garcia seemingly fully aware of the lethal left hook. He used feints and rights to score with a busier approach as Garcia seemed cocked and ready to counter with a left hook.

In the fourth round it seemed Haney was confident he had regained control of the fight, but every time he opened up with more than a two-punch combination Garcia reminded him whose hands were faster and more dangerous.

Though Garcia seldom jabbed he seemed bent on looking for the right moment to unleash his deadly left hook. And every time the Southern California fighter opened up with a combination he scored and Haney dare not exchange.

A few times Haney smiled as if signifying he escaped.

In the seventh round Haney looked to punish Garcia’s body and instead was met with a three-punch combination included a left hook to the chin and down went Haney slumped on the ground. He managed to beat the count and as soon as Garcia came within reach Haney wrapped his arms around him with a python grip. Despite the warnings by referee Harvey Dock, the fallen fighter would not release and Garcia impatiently fired a weak punch during the break. The referee deducted a point from Garcia though he could have deducted a point from Haney for not obeying his instructions to release his hold. Haney actually went down three times in the round but only one was counted by the referee.

From that point on Haney was very cautious but still looking to win by decision.

Though Garcia kept using a shoulder-roll defense that left his body exposed, he would retaliate with three and four punch combinations that usually Haney could defend against other fighters.. But Garcia’s blazing combinations were too fast to defend.

In the 10th round Haney looked to attack and was countered by Garcia’s right and a blinding left hook to the chin and another two blows that sent the former undisputed lightweight champion to the floor again.

It didn’t look good for Haney to survive.

Garcia walked into the 11th round still composed and never out-of-control He dared Haney to exchange and when within striking distance Garcia unleashed another lightning combination and down went Haney again with a defeated look.

Both fighters had fought each other as amateurs six times so there were no surprises between them. But Garcia’s power and speed were superior and that was the difference in a professional fight.

In the final round both were cautious with Garcia’s combination punching proving too dangerous for Haney to open up. Garcia celebrated early as the round ended confident of victory.

After 12 rounds Garcia was seen the victor by majority decision 112-112, 114-110, 115-109.

“You really thought I was crazy,” Garcia told the interviewer and the crowd. “You guys hated on me.”

Other Bouts

Arnold Barboza (30-0) won a curious split decision victory over United Kingdom’s Sean McComb (18-2) in a 10-round super lightweight fight. McComb’s long reach and busy southpaw style gave Barboza trouble. But he managed to win the fight though the crowd was not pleased.

Bektemir Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) defeated France’s Pierre Dibombe (22-1-1) by technical decision after eight rounds due to a cut on his eye from an accidental head butt. It was a very competitive super middleweight fight.

Costa Rica’s David Jimenez (16-1, 11 KOs) outworked John “Scrappy Ramirez (13-1, 9 KOs) in a 12-round scrap to upset the Los Angeles based fighter. After a few close rounds Jimenez simply bullied his way inside and forced Ramirez against the ropes and unloaded his guns.

After 12 rounds two judges saw it 117-111 and 116-114 all for Jimenez.

“I’m a hard-working man from Cartago I come from nothing,” said Jimenez. “My corner told me I had to work inside.”

Charles Conwell (19-0, 14 KOs) stepped on the gas early with vicious body shots and uppercuts and blasted through the resilient Nathaniel Gallimore (22-8-1, 17 KOs) for several rounds. After a brutal fifth and sixth round the referee halted the one-side beating in favor of Conwell who was fighting for the first time under the Golden Boy banner.

Another winner was Sergiy Derevyanchenko (15-5) by decision over Vaughn Alexander (18-11-1) in a super middleweight match.

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

One young man flew halfway around the world to take on a world champion in his own living room; not once, but twice. The other young man quit prior to one fight, and then again during another one.

The first guy mentioned is an obedient son of an ultra-streetwise father.  The type of parent where, if he doesn’t know the answer (and more times than not he most likely does), he will know where to find it. The second guy doesn’t appear to have that quality guidance scenario going on for him, which is probably for the best, because he believes he has all the answers.

The first guy is on record as saying he wants to go down in boxing history as an all-time great.  The other guy?  He decided not to continue in a fight while he was still sporting an undefeated record.  You may think to yourself if there was ever a time to soldier through, right?

Then yesterday, that same guy missed making weight by 3.2 pounds, and seemed to be more than fine with it, to the point where he actually appeared to be quite pleased with himself.

If you haven’t heard, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia are going to share a boxing ring in a twelve round go for God knows what will be at stake by the time they actually punch off.  The fact that no one from Garcia’s team has stepped in and rescued him from these unfolding events, his own personal well-being, and/or not to mention Devin Haney is, well, troubling in and of itself.

Back in the amateur days, the record shows they split six fights.  They were boys back then, so it means zero.  If anything, you’d want to be the older of the two, and Ryan had over a three-month age advantage.  If you’ve only been on the planet for a total of 120 months or so, every extra month could be a big enough difference in strength and development. Now as world class professionals in their prime?  That’s different.  Younger is always better.  Devin is that guy.

Haney and Garcia fought six times for free but will fight only once as professionals.  Then one of them will continue with their march for historic greatness, while the other will head back to Kamp Krazy, where he’s the current Mayor.

It’s never smart to lay 8-1, 9-1 in boxing.  And if you see taking Garcia as a value bet with +500 to +600 and beyond, you don’t understand value and you evidently don’t like money.

There is, however, a wagering opportunity here.

Total Rounds:  Fight doesn’t go 10.5 rounds.

Take anything over +125.  It’s worth a unit on a scale of 5.  Logically, there are a lot of ways to cash this ticket: legitimate victory, meltdown, catching lightning in a bottle, etc.  Or simply the exiting stage left of a guy who may be already plotting his next career move.

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In a Massive Upset, Dakota Linger TKOs Kurt Scoby on a Friday Night in Atlanta

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Although it was an 8-rounder on a show with two “tens,” Kurt Scoby’s match with Dakota Linger was accorded main event status on tonight’s card at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. This had everything to do with Scoby (pronounced Scooby), a former record-setting college running back who was considered one of the brightest prospects in the 140-pound weight class. “[Scoby] works harder than almost anyone I’ve ever seen,” said veteran New York promoter Lou DIBella in a conversation with Keith Idec. “But he’s literally getting better after every fight and he’s got the hammer of Thor, man. He can punch through walls.”

The Duarte, California product who has relocated to Brooklyn and trains at Gleason’s Gym, was undefeated (13-0) heading in and was expected to make Linger his ninth straight knockout victim. But Linger, a 29-year-old Buckhannon, West Virginia policemen whose first ring engagements were in Toughman competitions, wasn’t intimidated by Scoby’s press clippings or by Scoby’s bodybuilder physique.

Linger, who improved to 14-6-3 with his tenth win inside the distance, took the fight right to Scoby and repeatedly found a home for his overhand right. In the sixth round, after Linger strafed the ever-retreating Scoby with a barrage of punches, referee Malik Walid determined that he had seen enough and waived it off. The decision seemed a tad premature, but neither Scoby nor his cornermen offered anything in the way of a protest.

Tournament results

In the first installment of an 8-man super welterweight tournament, Brandon Adams returned to boxing after his second three-year layoff and showed no ring rust whatsoever. Adams, a 34-year-old family-man who grew up in the Watts district of LA, dismissed Ismael Villareal with a wicked punch to the liver in the waning seconds of round three. The official time was 2:59.

A former wold title challenger, Adams who improved to 23-3 (16 KOs), has become the king of boxing tournaments. He first attracted notice in 2018 when he won the fifth edition of “The Contender” series, scoring a wide 10-round decision over Shane Mosley Jr in the championship round.

Villareal, a second-generation prizefighter from the Bronx whose dad fought the likes of Hector Camacho, declined to 13-3.

Adams next opponent will be Francisco Veron who will bring a record of 14-0-1 (10).

In an energetic 10-rounder, Veron, a Florida-based Argentine with a strong amateur pedigree, scored a unanimous decision over Mexico-born, LA southpaw Angel Ruiz (18-3-1). The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, and 96-94.

Ruiz certainly had his moments, but Veron launched and landed many more punches despite fighting the last six rounds with a damaged eye.

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