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Avila Perspective, Chap. 102: Networks Rumble

David A. Avila

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A battle of the networks erupts on Saturday with multiple boxing cards shoving each other for attention.

It starts early.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor (15-0) faces Belgium’s Delfine Persoon (44-2) in a rematch on Saturday morning from London, England. DAZN will stream this high volatile rematch between fierce lightweights. The co-main features heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. It all begins at 11 a.m.

Plenty of other sports will take place, but Saturday is the night for fighting, not basketball, baseball or soccer.

Let’s take the Taylor-Persoon rematch. Their first encounter took place at Madison Square Garden on the same card as the upset of Anthony Joshua by Andy Ruiz. Fans from the British Isles arrived in droves and expected to celebrate victories by their champions Taylor and Joshua.

It did not happen.

Instead, Joshua was knocked out by Ruiz and Taylor nearly lost her fight against Persoon. Many felt the Irish fighter did lose, but in the end, Taylor emerged the winner by majority decision.

That near-loss has irked Taylor for 14 months.

“This is a legacy-building fight for me and Delfine. We’re both in this sport to prove that we are the best,” said Taylor. “You have two fighters here that absolutely believe that they are going to win. We both think we’re going to win. That’s what makes this such a fantastic fight.”

A lot of questions will be answered when Persoon and Taylor meet again this weekend. First, Persoon has never had PED testing results by VADA released. Was she juiced when she fought Taylor the first time? Is that how she was so tireless in her pursuit for 10 furious rounds?

Also, can Taylor adjust to Persoon’s hyper-aggressive style?

Persoon does not think so.

“We will see who is the best fighter. We didn’t think (Taylor would grant a rematch). We were very surprised Katie is taking this risk. For her, it is a big risk. If she loses, it isn’t good for her career,” said Persoon adding that Taylor grabs and holds too much. “I must not give her time to hold me. Don’t give her the time.”

Heavyweights

Getting back to the Matchroom Boxing card, Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) has a very capable foe in Povetkin (35-2-1) in this heavyweight match that serves as a litmus test.

Dillian Whyte has rebuilt his reputation and has fans clamoring for another shot at Joshua or maybe even a challenge against Tyson Fury. It’s been nearly five years since he was knocked out by Joshua.

“I’m fighting a consummate professional so I’m not bothered about Tyson Fury. I’m bothered about Povetkin. Povetkin is the most technical fighter I’ve fought. He has beaten a lot of top guys. He’s an Olympic gold medalist. He’s only lost two fights. When the bell goes it doesn’t matter if there’s 100,000 people there or 100 people. You are zoned in,” said Whyte.

Povetkin has only lost to Wladimir Klitschko by decision in 2013 and Joshua by knockout in 2018. The Russian has slowed but his experience is way up there.

“Thanks to Dillian also for taking this fight. Hopefully, it will be a great fight in the heavyweight division. I have taken responsibility to train for this fight, understanding how serious it is,” said Povetkin. “You have to take Dillian seriously. I don’t like to make predictions – but it will be fireworks.”

Light heavyweights on ESPN+

Former light heavyweight world champion Eleider Alvarez and heavy-hitting contender Joe Smith Jr. lead a Top Rank card from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Bubble that begins at 4:30 p.m. PT on Saturday.

Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) is known best for his knockout win over Sergey Kovalev several years back and whenever he’s in the ring it’s not over till its over.

“I want to be champion of the world for a second time. Whether it’s by knockout or decision, I know Joe Smith comes to fight. I’m going to do the best I can to win this because I want to be champion of the world for a second time,” Alvarez said.

Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) is known as the fighter that gave boxing great Bernard Hopkins his last loss with a knockout that sent the Hall of Fame fighter through the ropes. It was a scary ending but that’s the type of power possessed by the fighter from Long Island, New York.

“Being the underdog, I always feel like I have something to prove. I don’t mind it. I like getting in there and proving the world that I belong at the top and should be a champion,” Smith said.

Another interesting bout features former middleweight titlist Rob Brant (25-2, 17 KOs) facing Vitaly Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KOs) of Ukraine. It’s Brant’s first return to the ring since losing in Osaka, Japan to Ryoto Murata a year ago. Kopylenko is also coming off a loss by decision to Steven Butler by decision. It’s sink or swim time for both.

Welterweights on FOX

Shawn “Showtime” Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) finally returns to the ring and faces Germany’s Sebastian Formella (22-0, 10 KOs) in a title elimination bout for the welterweight world title. The former world champion is among the first of the elite fighters to step back in the prize ring. FOX will televise the PBC card on Saturday Aug. 22, at 5 p.m. PT.

“I wanted to take on the responsibility of bringing big-time boxing back. I’m one of the first big names to come back and I’m proud to represent my team and my family by getting back in the ring sooner than later,” said Porter, 32.

Few fighters excite fight fans like Porter who’s a pit bull inside the prize ring. His fight a year ago against Errol Spence Jr. lit up the Staples Center in Los Angeles. His clash with Danny “Swift” Garcia was equally exciting. In fact, Porter rarely gives bad fights.

If you ever wondered how the great Henry Armstrong fought, just take a look at any of Porter’s fights. He’s the 21st century Henry Armstrong.

Formella, 33, is one of the few fighters Porter has ever faced that he can look directly eye to eye. Both are short for welterweights. But the German fighter has never lost and has some decent wins on his record.

Also, on the PBC fight card will be super welterweights Nathaniel Gallimore (21-4-1, 17 KOs) meeting Sebastian Fundora (14-0-1, 9 KOs) who is one of the tallest Latino fighters I’ve ever seen at 154 pounds. It’s a very interesting pairing. Gallimore is not short but he’s giving up six inches in height to Fundora, a southpaw out of Coachella, California.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

David A. Avila

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Former world champion Daniel Jacobs needed the last round to win by split decision against upset-minded Gabe Rosado and keep his place in line on Friday for lucrative super middleweight matchups.

But when the ring announcer erroneously announced the winner was from Philadelphia, confusion reigned for a moment until Jacobs was correctly called the winner.

Brooklyn’s Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) jumped out ahead against Philly fighter Rosado (25-13-1, 14 KOs) and held on for the win in front of no fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. For a second, many thought Rosado had won.

Both were careful during the first three rounds measuring each other’s distance and looking for openings to counter. There were very few.

It was the kind of fight expected by those who know boxing: two veterans with immense experience against top-flight world champions. Mistakes were few.

Jacobs, a former middleweight world champion, had fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in close but losing efforts.

Rosado had battled Golovkin too, six years ago in a bloody affair that ended in a loss. He had also lost to other champions like Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo. But none were able to knock him out.

Both were aware of each other’s reputation. Bitter words had been exchanged for years and now they finally got their chance to prove their mettle and they did.

Though Jacobs was recognized as a knockout puncher, Rosado’s resilience was just as well known. Both neutralized each other for most of the fight with their feints and jabs to the body. Neither was willing to leave openings for each other.

Jacobs scored big with a left uppercut at the end of the seventh round. While Rosado wowed viewers with a sizzling right cross in the 11th round.

It was 1950s style, boxing with intelligence. Each found it difficult to land combinations, let alone find openings to score knockout blows. Instead, they had to be satisfied with scoring enough to convince three judges the actual winner.

Neither was able to pull out ahead with any conviction.

After 12 rounds one judge saw Rosado the winner 115-113 while two others saw Jacobs the winner 115-113 to give him the win by split decision.

“It felt just a little weird. It felt like a sparring match,” said Jacobs about fighting without fans in the audience. “This wasn’t a valiant effort.”

Rosado was certain he was the true winner.

“I thought I won the fight. I surprised him,” said Rosado who trained with Freddie Roach for this fight. “I’m a veteran, I know how to fight.”

Indeed, he does.

Jacobs now stands poised to fight one of many super middleweight champions in need of a marquee name.

“I live to see another day,” he said honestly.

Other Bouts

Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6 KOs) proved he was not an easy touch and knocked out former world champion Julius Indongo (23-3, 12 KOs) to march forward in the welterweight division while grabbing the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.

In a fight featuring southpaw versus southpaw Yeleussinov caught Indongo with a roundhouse left the first time they exchanged and down went the former super lightweight world champion. Indongo beat the count and survived the round.

Indongo wasn’t as lucky in the second round as Yeleussinov again connected with a left and down went the fighter from Namibia again. He would not get up at 1:24 of round two giving the knockout win for Yeleussinov.

A battle between undefeated heavyweights saw Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, 3 KOs) use roundhouse rights to stagger the heavier Sahret Delgado (8-1) to win by knockout in the third round. Majidov actually helped Delgado get to his stool after knocking him out on his feet at 47 seconds of the third round.

Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) defeated Mason Menard (36-5) by majority decision after a 10- round lightweight fight that saw a lot of clinching and leaning.

Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy (10-0) out-fought Detroit’s Brandon Maddox (7-4-1) to win by unanimous decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Ababiy hurt Maddox with body shots but found Maddox more resilient than expected.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Pradabsri Upsets Menayothin, Ends the Longest Unbeaten Streak of Modern Times

Arne K. Lang

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During the wee hours in the Americas, a big upset was brewing in Thailand. In Nakhon Sawan, a city roughly 150 miles north of Bangkok, Panya Pradabsri (aka Petchmanee CP Freshmart) out-pointed Wanheng Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) in a domestic clash with international significance. Manayothin entered the bout with a 54-0 (18) record and was making the 13th defense of his WBC world minimumweight title.

Pradabsri had been defeated only once in 35 previous starts, but only 11 of his 34 victories had come against fighters with winning records. According to ringside reports, he kept Menayothin at bay with good fundamentals, a stiff jab, and good lateral movement. All three judges had it 115-113. The fight wasn’t without controversy as Menayothin finished stronger and many folks scoring off the live video thought that he had done just enough to retain his title.

How good was/is Menayothin? That’s a question that serious boxing fans will likely debate for decades.

In the summer of 2019, Menayothin signed a co-promotional deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. At time, GBP president Eric Gomez described him as one of the best fighters in the world. “We really want to bring him to the U.S. so people can see how talented he really is,” Gomez told England’s Sky Sports.

Menayothin was expected to make his U.S. debut in April of this year, but the pandemic ruined that plan. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement, but rescinded it after only two days.

Scottish boxing historian Matt McGrain, who has an exclusive arrangement with this web site, had lukewarm opinion of the Thai mighty-mite although he rated him the second-best 105-pound boxer of the decade, trailing only his countryman Thammanoon Niyomtrong (aka Knockout CP Freshmart).

“He is disciplined, strong, brings good pressure and is armed with a very decent range of punches,” said McGrain, “(but his record) is comprised mostly of men any competent fighter would be expected to beat.”

Although only one boxer from Thailand has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Khaosai Galaxy, class of 1999), the Southeast Asia nation has produced some outstanding boxers over the years – Chartchoi Chionoi, Sot Chitalada, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to name just a few. The difference between these fighters and Wanheng Menayothin is that they all left the comfort zone of their homeland to score one or more important wins on foreign soil.

Menayothin may yet display his wares in a U.S. ring. But at age 35, an advanced age for small fighters in particular, we won’t get to see him at his best and now that his bubble has been burst, disinviting further comparisons to Mayweather and Marciano, the curiosity factor has been tempered.

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Yoka vs. Hammer Kicks Off the Thanksgiving Weekend Slate on ESPN+

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PRESS RELEASE— Tony Yoka, the dynamic heavyweight punching Parisian, aims to impress in his ESPN platform debut. Yoka, who won a super heavyweight gold medal for France at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will fight veteran Christian Hammer in a 10-rounder Friday at H Arena in Nantes, France.

Yoka-Hammer will stream live and exclusively this Friday, Nov. 27 in the United States on ESPN+ beginning at 2:55 p.m. ET/11:55 a.m. PT.

The ESPN+ stream will also include the return of unbeaten 2016 French Olympic gold medalist Estelle Yoka-Mossely against Pasa Malagic in an eight-round lightweight bout. Yoka and Yoka-Mossely, who have been married since 2018, welcomed their second child in May.

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Earlier this year, Yoka inked a promotional agreement with Top Rank, which will co-promote him with Ringstar France.

“Tony Yoka’s potential is limitless, and he is a grounded young man who is motivated to be a great professional fighter,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “France has never had a world heavyweight champion, and I believe Tony is the one to bring the sport’s biggest honor home.”

The 28-year-old Yoka’s stellar amateur run included a berth at the 2012 London Olympics and gold medals at the 2015 World Championships and 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Before his triumph in Rio, he’d already defeated the likes of former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker and current undefeated prospects Joe Joyce and Ivan Dychko. At the Rio Olympics, he defeated Croatian standout Filip Hrgović in the semifinals and edged Joyce in the gold medal match.

As a professional, Yoka (8-0, 7 KOs) made his debut in June 2017 with a second-round stoppage over the previously undefeated Travis Clark. Apart from a decision win over Jonathan Rice in his second outing, Yoka has stopped every foe, including durable Englishman David “White Rhino” Allen and former European champion Alexander Dimitrenko. He made his 2020 debut Sept. 25 and stopped former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in one round.

Hammer (25-6, 15 KOs) has fought many of the leading heavyweight names during his 12-year career, falling short against Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin. He’s notched myriad upset victories, including a highlight-reel knockout over David Price and a 2016 split decision over Erkan Teper for the WBO European belt. In March 2019, he went the 10-round distance against Ortiz and has not been stopped since Fury forced him to retire on his stool after eight rounds in their February 2015 clash.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

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