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‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 1 – The Foundations of Skill

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It’s still in print. You can log on to Amazon right now and buy one for yourself, renamed, repackaged, all shiny and new. But I like that mine is old. It comes straight out of Joe’s own era, has followed its own path through these past seventy years to find itself in my hands. It was printed late in 1948 in those perfect months that followed Joe’s eventual destruction of Jersey Joe Walcott in the rematch of their first controversial meeting, after his twenty-fifth straight title defence but before his ill-fated comeback. A legend, a hero, there had never been one quite like him, there arguably never would be again.

Heavily ghosted by Edward J. Mallory, How to Box was not exclusively in Joe’s own words, but it was a capture of his technical essence. Nobody, not Louis, not Mallory, certainly not I myself can take something as perfectly formed and improbable as the boxer born Joseph Louis Barrow and expect to produce a story fully told with only words. Homer himself, wonderful though his account of the boxing match between Epeus and Eurylas may have been, could not have conveyed the splendour of Joe Louis in full flow, so for me, the task is impossible.

But then, nor can I describe the feat of engineering that is The Ambassador Bridge. The nuts, though. The bolts. Hand me them one at a time and I can describe them to you. If we work at it long enough and hard enough, maybe we can begin to understand the process that brought it together, the building of the bridge that once allowed us to cross the water and visit the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The nuts and bolts of Joe’s brilliant engineering are here in this book. If we could put this instruction manual to work for us and study the construction for ourselves, what might we find out? It’s an intriguing idea and one that wouldn’t leave me alone. The result is this close look at Joe Louis, based primarily upon How to Box but with conclusions drawn only from the fight films that travelled the same crooked path as the manual, all the way from the thirties and forties and into our possession. No doubt there will be blind alleys and false leads. I don’t apologise for them. Joe walked those roads too, striving for the perfection.

Legend has it that before beginning the fighter-trainer relationship that would help define him, Louis worked with one Holman Williams, then a promising professional from Detroit who boxed mainly out of Michigan. Williams, soon to be one of the greatest fighters ever to have lived, would never scale the championship heights as did Louis but nevertheless is credited by some with supplying Louis with perhaps the most precious gift he ever received—his jab. But Williams is also said to have taught Louis the rudiments of the defence and was supposedly the first man to encourage Louis to punch in combination. “Don’t throw one punch at a time and wait for the guy to fall,” Holman is said to have urged Louis. “Hit him again!” Passed down to us by the victim and those lucky enough to be in attendance comes the description of his first knockout combination, thrown by Louis at amateur Joe Thomas at the Detroit Athletic Club in 1932. A double jab was followed by a right hand to the body before the teenaged Joe Louis closed the blinds on Thomas with another right hand to the temple.

But his trainer for his move into the professional ranks, Jack Blackburn, would still have his work cut out for him. If Holman Williams was to be an unlucky fighter, Blackburn had written the book on it. One of the most brilliant boxers of his generation he had shared the ring with both Joe Gans and Sam Langford several times, getting the better of each at least once. But the fight game had not been good to him. In between matching the greats and the giants he faced in his time boxing as a lightweight and welterweight, Blackburn found time to find the bottle and find trouble. He was a bad, dangerous man with a dangerous heart.

When he first set eyes upon Louis, he famously sent him away saying, “a coloured boxer who can fight and won’t lie down can’t get any fights. I’m better off with white boys who aren’t as good.”

He changed his mind when he saw Louis punch.

“He was likely to trip over his own feet, but he could kill you with that left jab. I figured, man, if he can hit you that hard with a jab, wonder what he can do with his right?”

What Louis needed to learn from Blackburn, more than anything, was how to move. How to get balanced, how to move, how to box. He knew how to punch, but he didn’t yet know how to fight.

“Boxing is built upon punching and footwork,” says How to Box. “If the stance is too narrow for balance, move the right foot a few inches to the right to widen the stance; if too wide, glide the right foot forwards a few inches. Don’t lock the left leg but keep it straight.”

Freddie Roach described Joe Louis as the “best textbook fighter of all time.” Here we see the first great foundation of that inch-perfect style. Louis hardly ever made small adjustments with his left foot. Watching him, I sometimes get the impression he would prefer not to move it at all. His left jab is always perched over that lead foot, ready to be thrown. Many of Joe’s critics accuse him of being robotic, stiff, of lacking dynamism in his footwork. This is not a criticism without basis, but nor is it the whole story. He sacrifices dynamism upon the altar of destruction; he trades footspeed for handspeed; he swaps a natural establishment of range for naturally being in position to punch—always.

The description of footwork in How to Box is so simple but to see it in action is to understand why simplicity is so often more akin to genius than complexity. Louis does as he describes, leading with his left foot, “a few inches at a time, with the right foot following, always maintaining a proper stance.” Louis almost never abandoned the stance Blackburn drilled into him: The right arm crooked, elbow protecting the ribs, “both arms relaxed, ready to attack or defend…chin down.”

His left hand would famously float; Louis would have that error corrected for him, mainly by Max Schmeling but with more than a little help from James J. Braddock and Tommy Farr. But that stance was, for the most part, developed early and adhered to throughout a career that encountered more styles and types than any other fighter at the weight.

It was visible as early as February 21st ,1925 for Joe’s rematch with Lee Ramage. The first fight had seen Louis drop the boom with Ramage ahead on points. In the rematch, Louis would demonstrate the fundamentals that would take him to the title and then beyond. The ring is not Disney—there are no fairy tales. Every dramatic narrative is built upon the twin pillars of will and skill.

Ramage fought on the backfoot, having previously been hit many times by Louis and finding he did not care for it. As discussed, his footwork lacked dynamism, so Louis never tried to get that step ahead of the opponent. He tended not to pre-cut the ring, and avoided getting ahead of his man as he was circled. Rather, he kept his front toe perpendicular to his man’s backfoot, keeping the psychological and physical pressure firmly upon him, moving with him, the definitive stalker forcing the mistake, stressing balance both in the ring and in print.

“You must be able to move the body easily at all times so that balance will not be disturbed.”

On film, Louis dips as he moves onto Ramage, jabbing, and even when he flashes forwards driving his opponent to the ropes for the first time, Louis is not compromised. He facilitates brutal blows with his studied mobility and is within hitting distance again only seconds later. The second time Ramage comes crashing off the ropes, Louis rotates his torso as he punches, the foundations are so solid that he is able to utilise a plane of movement not seen again in the heavyweight division until Mike Tyson, at least not by a killing puncher. Tiny adjustments with the backfoot are enough to transfer his weight around his body to wherever it needs to be for the punches he is using to douse Ramage’s enthusiasm.

Ramage actually boxes well for much of the second half of the second round. He moves away, jabbing, he looks reasonably skilled, quite graceful. But Louis is so fundamentally correct that even were he not Ramage’s superior in every single way he would still be the master. He is so well balanced that he can call upon almost any punch from almost any position, whether he is dipping in and slipping a jab or moving back throwing clipping uppercuts as Ramage tries in vain to crowd him. He can commit to punches other fighters would be unable to utilize in similar positions having compromised themselves. Joe almost never compromised his fundamentals. This near perfection proved too much for Ramage after only two rounds as first a right hand and then a left hook laid him low.

Of course, there were limitations, and these were exposed by nobody so completely during the Brown Bomber’s prime as they were by Billy Conn. Conn recognized early that he would be trouble for Louis telling his trainer and partner in pugilism John “Moonie” Ray to “get me in with this guy! He wouldn’t be able to hit me with a handful of rice!” years before his first outing at heavyweight. Conn was right. Louis did struggle to hit Conn, for a variety of reasons. Most of these are related to Conn’s brilliance, but that’s a story for another day. Here we are interested in the great heavyweight champion.

Firstly, Billy’s footwork was every bit as disciplined as Joe’s. Going backwards he tended to use the same small moves as Louis did coming in, meaning that he minimized dramatic errors and dented Joe’s momentum. Louis forced his opponents to make the angles. He punished mistakes. He did not, as a habit, make these angles with his footwork, rather he made them with the virtual threat of his fists. He forced the opponent to make the angle. In and of itself, this is one of the hardest skills in boxing to master, but it does not pay to rely too heavily upon even the deftest of skills against a fighter like Conn.

When Conn did abandon his small moves in favour of big ones, they tended to be brilliantly judged and perfectly executed. Joe’s lack of dynamic footwork was exposed.

Conn was also very careful to punch Louis whenever the opportunity presented itself whilst he was going away. Grossly underrated as a puncher at heavyweight (fighting men weighing over 175 lbs. fifteen times Conn registered eight stoppages including one over Bob Pastor), Conn’s work prohibited Louis rushes.

On the inside, he set up a brick-wall defence and cuffed the champion, but his brilliance was not so prosaic. Repeatedly, Conn walked Louis in clinches, he tilted him, he pushed him to the side, he tugged upon his arms, he pushed his head into Joe’s face and chest. In short, he did anything and everything he could to interfere with Joe’s balance. He knew the importance of disrupting Joe’s foundation. Bereft of his most exquisite attribute Louis could not turn over his punches in the special way he had learned and get his power across. Conn survived those cuffing punches both on the inside and the outside where Conn’s perfect footwork and granite chin combined to make him the most elusive of targets for the killing blow. If this sounds like an easy fix, take note of the following—every fighter that tried it got knocked unconscious or something like it, including Billy Conn.

From How to Box:

“…when Billy missed me with a zipping left hook, I quickly crossed a right to his jaw and followed it by several straight rights that sent him crashing to the canvas. I had to wait for Billy to miss.”

I think Louis hits the nail on the head here. He is indeed reduced from forcing the mistake as he did in so many of his twenty-five successful title defences, to waiting for a mistake. But with Louis you would make only one.

“Clever footwork does not mean hopping and jumping around,” we learn from How to Box. “This will put you off balance and the slightest blow will upset you. The purpose of clever footwork is to give your opponent false leads…it also carries you out of danger when hurt.”

This is Louis in a nutshell: economy. Every movement has a purpose, there is no such thing as show. He is often derided for this and is sometimes compared negatively with the only other heavyweight to inhabit that stratosphere reserved for the true greats, Muhammad Ali. I don’t want to get into that too heavily here, but as a final word I want to say that in my opinion, Joe’s footwork is every bit as impressive, in its own way, as is Muhammad’s. Even if Louis had been technically capable of producing Ali’s own brand of genius, Blackburn would not have allowed it. Indeed, amongst the many other services he rendered, Blackburn took Louis down off his toes. The reasoning was simple—to perfect his balance and thereby maximize the kill on his delivery. This is what Blackburn means when he says that Joe Louis is a “manufactured killer, not a natural one.”

Louis, by moving conservatively, kept his powder dry for late round knockouts—KO11 Bob Pastor, TKO13 Abe Simon, KO13 Billy Conn, KO11 Joe Walcott—versus only three visits to the judges’ scorecards—UD15 Tommy Farr, SD 15 Arturo Godoy, SD15 Joe Walcott—in title matches.

No heavyweight had better footwork than Joe Louis given his individual style.

But having said that…it’s not why you watch Joe Louis fight. You don’t watch Joe fight for his footwork—Muhammad Ali, yes, Joe Louis, no.

You watch Joe Louis for a different reason. To quote Jack Blackburn:

“Your fists, Chappie.  Let your fists be your judge.”

We’ll talk about his judges in Part 2.

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In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

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In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

The noted trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre had two fighters on tonight’s ProBox card in Plant City, Florida, and brought along the ace of his stable, Terence Crawford, to provide moral support.

The main event, contested at 140 pounds, had an Eastern European flavor pitting Kazakhstan’s Batyr Jukembayev against LA-based Ukrainian Ivan Redkach. Jukembayev, Crawford’s stablemate, needed no moral support as Redkach fought a survivor’s fight for as long as it lasted. A 33-year-old southpaw, the Kazkh won every second of the fight until the mismatch was halted at the 2:18 mark of round five.

It was the fifth straight win for Jukembayev (23-1, 17 KOs) whose only defeat was inflicted by Subriel Matias, the current holder of the IBF world title at 140. Redkach (24-7-1) was stopped for the fourth time including a fight with Regis Prograis where he succumbed to a phantom low blow. Now 38 years old, he should not be allowed to fight again. His showing tonight bore stark evidence that he is completely shot.

Co-Feature

In the co-feature, a 10-round junior lightweight affair, Jonhatan Cardoso, a 25-year-old Brazilian, advanced to 17-1 (15) with a split decision over LA’s Adam “Bluenose” Lopez. This figured to be a fan-friendly fight and didn’t disappoint. Both fighters threw punches in bunches although Lopez’s workrate declined in the late rounds.

Lopez, now 17-6-1, is better than his record. His first five losses came against opponents who were collectively 109-6 at the time that he fought them. The son of the late Hector Lopez, an Olympic silver medalist for Mexico and a three-time world title challenger, “Bluenose” doesn’t have a signature win, but has a signature moment. He knocked Oscar Valdez down hard in their first of two meetings, a fight he took on 1-day notice when Valdez’s original opponent was scratched after coming in 11 pounds overweight. As a pro he has limitations, but is a high-octane fighter who rarely has a bad fight.

Two of the judges favored Cardoso. Their tallies were 99-91 and 96-94. The dissenter favored Lopez 97-93. The scores were all over the map, but the right guy wn.

Also

In the TV opener, Omaha-bred junior welterweight Charles Harris Jr scored a unanimous 6-round decision over Oceanside, California’s Kyle Erwin. The judges had it 58-56 and 59-55 twice.

A protégé of “BoMac,” Harris Jr., who began his pro career in Mexico at age 16, improved to 9-1 (7). It was the second pro loss for Erwin (7-2) whose lone prior defeat was the result of a cut.

In an unrelated matter, today (May 22) was the day that Ryan Garcia’s B-sample would be opened and analyzed. So we were all led to believe.

Confoundingly, it appears that opening the urine specimen and testing the contents aren’t performed on the same day. Dan Rafael enlightened us. “Will take a few days for results but certainly possible it could stretch into early next week due to weekend and holiday,” Rafael tweeted today on his Fight Freaks Unite platform.

Why wasn’t this made known beforehand so that fight journalists could plan their day accordingly? I place the blame on the New York State Athletic Commission.

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Oleksandr Usyk from a Historical Perspective 

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Oleksandr Usyk flipped the heavyweight division onto its head this past Saturday night in the Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, travelling a long way from home to seal his greatest victory. Usyk, small by modern heavyweight standards, towers over most men at 6’3″ and 220lbs and sporting a reach that lineal champions Ezzard Charles or Joe Walcott would have killed for. Things have changed though, and in the middle rounds of his war with Tyson Fury, Usyk suddenly appeared tiny. Fury, a giant at around 6’8” and over 260lbs seems a heavyweight for this century. Usyk, a journeyman in the most ancient sense of the word, feels like a throwback to a more savage time. His greatest achievements have taken place on foreign soil. The last time he boxed at home was almost a decade ago and given the situation in Ukraine and given Usyk’s 37 years, it is unlikely he will ever box there again.

Usyk took chances in the seventh and especially the eighth to take charge of a fight that seemed to be slipping away from him. In the vertigo inducing ninth, it was he, not Fury who appeared the giant. Usyk draped the Englishman over the ropes like so much fresh meat and tenderised him to within an inch of unconsciousness, the sheer hugeness of Fury perhaps preventing a referee’s intervention on behalf of his opponent, and not for the first time. Against both Deontay Wilder (the first fight) and Otto Wallin, a more squeamish official would have stepped in and stopped the fight, and here, too, there was a case. If Usyk seems a throwback, then Fury has been refereed like one, spared stoppages likely to be inflicted upon his peers, he was allowed once again to continue boxing, as Joe Louis was against Max Schmeling, or Jack Dempsey was against Luis Pirpo. But with Fury buckled at the knees, Usyk seemed the true heavy man in the ring.

In historical terms, Usyk is not a small heavyweight. He would have dwarfed “The Galveston Giant” Jack Johnson in the ring and loomed large over “Big” George Foreman. Usyk has every attribute necessary to make an unpleasant evening for Joe Louis, but it should be noted that while his footwork and speed and technical excellence would be the source of the discomfort, his excess of height and reach are the wildcards. Usyk would seem two to three weight classes bigger than Rocky Marciano, mainly because he is, and the towering Sonny Liston would look up. Circus strongman Jess Willard and the mob-sponsored Primo Carnera would both look down on Usyk – but not by that much. Usyk would stand eye to eye with Muhammad Ali but prime-for-prime he would outweigh him by ten pounds, as he would Larry Holmes. We must skip Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield and reach all the way into the Lennox Lewis era before we find men from history that truly out-size Usyk on a consistent basis.

Size, as Usyk has proven, is far from everything. Big by historical standards, he is small by modern standards. What else is now true in the wake of the seismic fistic events of Saturday night? Firstly, Usyk is unquestionably ranked the #1 heavyweight in the world. Of this, there can be no dispute. Accounting for his two wonderful defeats of another “super” heavyweight, Anthony Joshua, he is 3-0 against the rest of the top five and sitting unassailably at the head of the heavyweight table. More, and I have been surprised to see it disputed in some corners, Usyk is now almost as equally unassailably the pound-for-pound number one. The only fighter breathing the same air as Usyk right now is Naoya Inoue. Inoue has been operating at or near the highest level for longer, but the level of his opposition has not been as rarefied. Comparing the first phase opposition defeated by Naoya to the murderer’s row of cruiserweights that Usyk ran into during the Super Six series can lead to only one conclusion. Although Naoya’s busy, weight-class-bursting style has topped him out for most of the past two to three years, only one of these men has consistently been beating bigger, taller, longer opposition at the highest level, and that is Usyk. It is not a matter of opinion – he is the smallest man in my heavyweight top ten.

01 – Oleksandr Usyk

02 – Anthony Joshua

03 – Joseph Parker

04 – Tyson Fury

05 – Filip Hrgovic

06 – Zhilei Zhang

07 – Agit Kabayel

08 – Daneil Dubois

09 – Martin Bakole

10 – Joe Joyce

Usyk lives among giants now and where there is parity of height (Kabayel) he is the lighter man by 15 pounds. This is not true of Naoya, who despite his weight-hopping, still manages to run into fighters of the same height and of shorter reach. The opposition argument is narrow, but the relative size opposition is not and there is no pound-for-pound credential more significant than that of consistently out-fighting bigger men. Usyk has done so and will continue to do so for as long as he fights. There is simply no smaller man in his class.

Not since the heyday of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield has a lineal heavyweight champion consistently fought bigger men and not since Mike’s hype-infused prime has a heavyweight menaced the number one pound-for-pound spot. Usyk has not enjoyed anything like the same machine support as Mike did; indeed, he has laboured in the shadow of more prominent men until such time as he thrashed them. He is a true manifestation of pound-for-pound glory in the unlimited class. Where does this leave him in terms of all-time standing?

I am reluctant to rate active fighters for reasons that are obvious enough; Usyk could be pole-axed in three by an irate Fury in a December rematch and all this ink is for naught. But what I am willing to do is play let’s pretend and imagine Usyk as retired and consider his place in heavyweight history now.

Usyk’s raw numbers are low-grade at just 22-0 with 14 knockouts. Worse, most of this was built in the cruiserweight division and not the heavyweight division. Against men weighing in as heavyweights, Uysk is essentially 7-0, and only 3-0 against ranked opposition. On the other hand, one of these victories came against Daniel Dubois, now ranked, and the 3-0 was posted against Tyson Fury, generally held to be the best or second-best heavyweight in the world, and Anthony Joshua, ranked behind only Fury at the time of his first fight with Usyk. So, when he stepped up, he stepped up to tackle the best in the world and has become lineal as a result. It’s a hard ledger to wrestle with, but fortunately we have a career that is comparable in the shape of Gene Tunney.

Tunney, a career light-heavyweight, earned a heavyweight legacy built of essentially one man: Jack Dempsey. Past-prime and inactive, Dempsey was ripped apart by Tunney in their legendary first fight and did better in a losing effort against the genius “Fighting Marine” in a rematch, much like Joshua did against Usyk. Tunney then boxed the limited but game Tom Heeney and retired. The rest of his heavyweight career was spent beating great middleweights like Harry Greb and limited losing-streak gatekeepers like Charley Weinert and Martin Burke. One thing that must be noted is that Tunney is matching men who are smaller than Usyk’s cruiserweight opposition to his heavyweight credit. Men like Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev would have been big men in Tunney’s era, but they aren’t counted towards heavyweight legacy for the Ukrainian – either would constitute Tunney’s second-best heavyweight scalp, I think. Tunney’s wider resume does not necessarily include fighters who compare that favourably even to Dereck Chisora or Chaz Witherspoon, the men who make up Usyk’s second layer of opposition.

The point is, Tunney was made a legend for defeating a champion. Both Fury and Joshua were active, physically enormous fighters that Usyk simply unmanned with a type of genius Gene Tunney would have stood to applaud. Tunney appended to his light-heavyweight career the important part of a heavyweight career – the part where you fight and beat the champion, and it has made him a stalwart of heavyweight history. This, Usyk too has achieved, but I have been more impressed with Usyk’s summit than Tunney’s. To be direct: Usyk should rate higher at heavyweight than Tunney.

What that means is that the top twenty at heavyweight is the minimum Usyk can expect from history’s eye should he retire undefeated. In such a case, I would place Usyk in this sort of company:

18 – Ezzard Charles

19 – Oleksandr Usyk

20 – Jersey Joe Walcott

21 – James J Corbett

22 – Peter Jackson

23 – Ken Norton

24 – Max Schmeling

25 – Vitali Klitschko

26 – Riddick Bowe

27 – Gene Tunney

Also illustrative of a point is Tunney’s career pre-heavyweight. Tunney, every bit as brilliant as Usyk in the ring (although notably smaller, and successful against notably smaller opposition), laced up his gloves on close to ninety occasions and his level of competition dwarfs that of Usyk. That is no indictment. All it really means is that Usyk isn’t among the thirty greatest fighters ever to have drawn breath, like Tunney is. He can join an enormous and star-studded cast that includes Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins and Carlos Monzon in that. I do think, though, that Oleksandr Usyk’s career, were it to end tomorrow, could be readily compared to that of Evander Holyfield and that means that an unbeaten Usyk, lineal cruiserweight and heavyweight champion of the world, current pound-for-pound king, is within spitting distance of a list that captures the fifty greatest fighters in history.

56 – Ruben Olivares

57 – Wilfredo Gomez

58 – Vicente Saldivar

59 – Oleksandr Usyk

60 – Evander Holyfield

61 – Ted Kid Lewis

62 – Lou Ambers

63 – Rocky Marciano

64 – Abe Attell

65 – Manuel Ortiz

A retired Naoya Inoue would join him in the top seventy, I think, and a retired Bud Crawford the top ninety.

Boxing is dead, haven’t you heard?

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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Another Victory for Ukraine as Berinchyk Upsets Navarrete in San Diego

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Whether it was inspiration or perspiration, Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk motored past Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete by split decision to become the WBO lightweight world titlist on Saturday.

Just hours after his fellow countryman Oleksandr Usyk became undisputed heavyweight world champion, Berinchyk joined the club.

“This is a great night for all people of Ukraine,” Berinchyk said.

The undefeated Ukrainian Berinchyk (19-0, 9 KOs) gutted out a win over Navarrete (38-2-1, 31 KOs) who was attempting to join Mexico’s four-division world champion club in San Diego. The lanky fighter known as “Vaquero” fell a little short.

Through all 12 rounds neither fighter was able to dominate and neither was able to score a knockdown. Just when it seemed one fighter gathered enough momentum, the other fighter would rally.

A butt caused a slight cut on Navarrete in the 10th round. That seemed to ignite anger from the Mexican fighter and he powered through the Ukrainian fighter the next two rounds.

In the final round Berinchyk bore down and slugged it out with the Mexican fighter as both relied on their weapons of choice. For most of the night Navarrete scored with long-range uppercuts and Berinchyk scored with overhand rights.

After 12 rounds two judges scored it 115-113, 116-112 for Berinchyk and one 116-112 for Navarrete. Ukraine gained its third world titlist in one a week. Berinchyk joins Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko as world titlists.

“He’s a very tough guy,” said Berinchyk of Navarrete.

Welterweights

A battle between undefeated welterweights saw Brian Norman (26-0, 20 KOs) knock out Giovany Santillan (32-1, 17 KOs) in the 10th round to become the interim WBO titlist.

For nine rounds both welterweights engaged in brutal inside warfare as each tried to beat the sense out of each other.

Norman worked the body early as Santillan targeted the head. Neither fought more than two inches from each other.

The younger Norman, 23, connected with a right cross during an exchange that wobbled Santillan in the eighth round. From that point on the Georgia fighter began setting up for his power shots. Finally, in the 10th round, uppercuts dropped Santillan twice. In the second knockdown Santillan went down hard as referee Ray Corona stopped the fight immediately at 1:33 of the 10th round.

Other Bouts

Heavyweight Richard Torrez (10-0, 10 KOs) knocked out Brandon Moore (14-1) in the fifth round for a regional title.

Lightweight Alan Garcia (10-0) defeated Wilfredo Flores (10-3-1) by decision after eight.

Photo credit: German Villasenor

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