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George Kambosos Wins an Unpopular Decision over Maxi Hughes in Oklahoma

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George Kambosos Wins an Unpopular Decision over Maxi Hughes in Oklahoma

Top Rank was at the Firelake Casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma, tonight with a card that aired on ESPN and ESPN+. In an odd development considering the locale, the main event pit a boxer from Australia against a boxer from England. Belgium and New Zealand were represented on the undercard.

The Australian, George Kambosos Jr, got back on the winning track after back-to-back losses to Devin Haney, but he did nothing to improve his stock. In the eyes of ESPN commentator Mark Kriegel, Kamposos’ opponent, Maxi Hughes, had the best of the milling in nine of the 12 rounds. His score carried no sway and  two of the judges saw a different fight, awarding Kambosos nine (?) and seven rounds respectively. The third judge had it even (114-114) on the “10-point must” system.

The fight was expected to go the distance, but wasn’t expected to be as monotonous. Kambosos (21-2, 10 KOs) did more feinting than punching. There wasn’t an indelible moment. Maxi Hughes, a Yorkshireman whose record declined to 25-6-2 (5), returns to England with his head held high.

The bout was framed as an IBF lightweight title eliminator. The winner was presumably headed to a date with Argentina’s undefeated Gustavo Lemos. If Kambosos gets that assignment, the fight will be a hard sell based on his poor showing tonight.

Co-Feature

Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis vowed to be the first fighter to stop Belgium’s veteran lightweight Francesco Patera. Davis didn’t achieve that goal, but he did win virtually every round while improving his record to 9-0 (6). Moreover, he scored a knockdown against a fighter who purportedly had never been knocked down.  It came in round eight when Davis landed a textbook counter right.

The judges had it 99-90 and 100-89 twice. Patera, who declined to 28-4, was never intimidated and had a few good moments, but Davis’s faster hands gave him a big advantage.

Other Bouts

In the final fight on ESPN’s subscription platform. San Diego welterweight Giovani Santillan (31-0, 16) won a unanimous 10-round decision over Ecuador’s Erik Bone. The scores were 98-92, 97-92, and 97-93, tallies that were too wide in the eyes of the announcing crew and the CompuBox guy.

Santillan would relish a match with the winner of Saturday’s mega-fight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. Despite his impressive record, he did nothing to indicate that he would be competitive if such a match materialized. Bone, who has been matched tough every time he fought in the U.S., falls to 27-7.

Tulsa heavyweight Jeremiah Milton advanced to 10-0 (7) with a TKO over North Carolina’s lumpy Willie Harvey (4-3-2). Harvey, a barber by trade with an interesting haircut of his own, was never off his feet, but absorbed a lot of punishment in the fourth stanza and the fight was halted with him on his stool. Milton, who was profiled in these pages as his pro career was just getting started, keeps on winning, but without the wow factor.

Middleweight Troy Isley, a Tokyo Olympian and former two-time national amateur champion, improved to 10-0 (4) with a unanimous decision over Atlanta’s lanky Antonio Todd (14-8). The scores were 79-73 across the board.

In a fight that moved at a glacial pace, New Zealand import Hemi Ahio improved to 21-1 (16 KOs) with a sixth-round stoppage of ponderous, 300-pound Amron Sands (12-3). Ahio pinned Sands in his corner and unleashed a barrage – 15 unanswered punches by our count. They were delivered at close range and none were especially hurtful, but the accumulation led the referee to waive it off.

There was an upset in the lid-lifter. Joe Goodall, a former Australian Rules football player, improved to 10-1-1 (9) with a seventh-round stoppage of Stephen Shaw. It was the second straight setback for St. Louis campaigner Shaw who opened his pro career 18-0.

Shaw had never been on the deck before, but the Aussie put him on the canvas twice in the seventh round. A short, left hook knocked him on the seat of his pants and then Goodall went for the kill, knocking Shaw down with a sweeping combination. Shaw made it to his feet, but his corner pulled him out with only five seconds remaining in the round.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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Results and Recaps from Philly where ‘Boots’ Ennis Stomped Out David Avanesyan

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — On what Matchroom Boxing Promotions called the most important night in Philadelphia boxing in over 40 years, Jaron “Boots” Ennis (32-0, 29 KOs), the current IBF welterweight champion from the city of Brotherly Love, attracted a larger-than-expected crowd of 14,119 to the Wells Fargo Center where he stopped David Avanesyan who was pulled out after five rounds. In Avanesyan (30-5-1, 18 KOs), Ennis looked to impress on two fronts, both commercially and critically.

It didn’t take long for there to be some excitement after Ennis landed a clean jab that caused Avanesyan to stagger momentarily. Ennis turned southpaw and the action stopped after Ennis landed a low blow. Rounds two and three saw both fighters decide to fight on the inside. Ennis was able to land crisp upper cuts while only getting hit with a few shots in exchange. After four rounds, the evidence was clear that Avanesyan was getting hit with clean shots as his face started to get busted up. Avanesyan had a moment when he landed a right hand that got the attention of the crowd and Ennis.

In return, Ennis continued to press forward, this time behind a straight left and combinations. A huge overhand left floored Avanesyan who rose to his feet. Round five ended with Ennis landing some clean power shots that had Avanesyan looking deflated. The ringside physician called an end to the fight after the conclusion of round five.

After the fight, Ennis agreed that he would love the opportunity to fight Terence Crawford if Crawford were to win next month, this despite not having the type of performance that he would have loved to have had after having a year-long lay-off. Eddie Hearn mentioned that he would love to have Ennis return to Philadelphia sometime in October or November if the Crawford fight can’t be made in a possible unification fight.

Other Bouts

After three pedestrian rounds, what sounded like it would be a grudge match between Jahlil Hackett (9-0, 7 KOs) and Pete Dobson (16-2) finally turned into a fight in the fourth. With both fighters finally warming up, Hackett used his jab to continue to work his way inside to land power combinations. Dobson was forced to back up into the ropes and take shots after a large lump formed on his forehead above his left eye.

The action settled down after the sixth round with Hackett taking total control. He continued to work behind an educated jab that stunted any offensive attack that Dobson tried to muster. After all ten rounds, two of the judges saw the fight 97-93, while the third had it 96-94 all in favor of Jahlil Hackett.

Skye Nicolson (11-0, 1 KO), the 2020 Tokyo Olympian and current WBC featherweight champion, utilized her skills in every way to defeat Dayan Vargas (18-2, 12 KOs). All three judges scored the fight 100-90 after Nicolson completed the shutout in dominating fashion through her command of range with a sharp jab and lateral movement. Moving forward unification fights and a possible move up in weight may force Nicolson to face the type of opposition that could make for more entertaining fights in the future.

Light heavyweight action kicked off the main portion of the DAZN telecast. Jersey City native Khalil Coe (9-0-1, 7 KOs) made short work of Kwame Ritter (11-2). After an uneventful first round, Coe started to close the distance to start the second round and as a result he landed a hard straight right that hurt Ritter. A left hook dropped Ritter and he fell backwards into the ropes. When he got up, Coe was able to swarm him with hard shots and the referee called a halt to the action with just one second remaining in the second round.

Former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufu” Diaz (29-4, 19 KOs) made quick work of the game but clearly overmatched Derlyn Hernandez (12-2-1). A short-left hook hurt Hernandez and the seasoned Diaz took his time applying the follow-up pressure that forced the referee to wave off the action at the 2:36 mark of the second round. Diaz stated prior to this comeback fight that he’s looking for one more run towards a world title.

Christian Carto (23-1, 17 KO’s) looked impressive in three rounds of action against Carlos Buitrago (38-14, 22 KOs). Both fighters were happy to exchange from the opening bell. Carto took the punches he was hit with well and was able to return fire with combinations that caught and dropped Buitrago to start round three. A series of well-placed power combinations hurt Buitrago as the round came to an end, which prompted the referee to stop the bout at the end of the round.

A pair of Boots Promotions fighters kicked off the night with entertaining bouts:

It took all six rounds to decide the Ismail Muhammad (5-0, 1 KOs) Frank Brown (3-5-2) fight. Brown pressed the action early and caught the cold Muhammad in an exchange knocking him down for the first time in his career. Muhammad rose to his feet and proceeded to work the gameplan to get himself back into the fight. Muhammad scored his own knockdown in the fourth round and finished the fight strong to earn the unanimous decision victory by scores of 58-54 twice and 57-55.

Dennis Thompson (1-0) won his professional debut at bantamweight with a unanimous decision over the game Fernando Valdez (1-8).

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Muratalla Nips Farmer and Segawa Upsets Villa on a Top Rank Card in Las Vegas

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Fontana, California lightweight Raymond Muratalla, ranked #2 by the WBC and WBA and #4 by the IBF, continued his charge toward a world title with a hard-fought 10-round decision over Philadelphia southpaw Tevin Farmer on a Top Rank card at the Palms in Las Vegas tonight. The judges had it 97-92, 96-93, and 95-94. There were no knockdowns but referee Tom Taylor deducted a point from Farmer in round eight for excessive holding.

Farmer, 33, formerly held the IBF junior lightweight title. He lost the belt in his fifth defense to Jojo Diaz in 2020 and was out of the ring for the next 29 months. He won three straight after returning to the ring, elevating his record to 33-5-1 (8) preceding tonight’s tussle with Muratalla.

Farmer fought mostly off his back foot but was seemingly ahead after seven frames. But Muratalla, who improved to 21-0 (16), had more fuel in his tank and clearly got the best of the late rounds. He landed the best punch of the fight with a shade over a minute remaining in the final stanza, catching Farmer against the ropes and rocking him with a looping right hand.

Co-Feature

In a major upset, Sulaiman Segawa, a 33-year-old southpaw from Silver Spring, Maryland, by way of Uganda, out-worked Ruben Villa to win a 10-round unanimous decision and snatch away Villa’s regional featherweight title. The judges had it 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94.

Villa came in ranked #1 at 126 by WBC. He had lost only once in 23 starts, that coming in a WBA title fight vs. Emanuel Navarrete, a narrow defeat. Among his victims were reigning IBF featherweight champion Luis “Venado: Lopez. He was a consensus 14/1 favorite over Segawa who was 16-4-1 with only six knockouts coming in. But Villa fell behind early and although he had his moments, he didn’t punch hard enough to keep the Ugandan from staying the course.

Other Bouts of Note

In his first fight at 140 pounds, Brisbane, California’s Charlie Sheehy won an unpopular 8-round decision over SoCal’s Ricardo Quiroz. The judges had it 78-74 and 77-73 twice.

Sheehy (10-0, 5 KOs) was underwhelming. Quiroz (13-5) has been repeatedly matched tough and has never been stopped.

In a junior lightweight match, Jonathan “Geo” Lopez, a 21-year-old Pennsylvania native of Puerto Rican descent, trained by Eddy Reynoso, improved to 16-0 (12 KOs) first a first-round demolition of Venezuela’s Leonardo Padilla (23-6-1). Lopez, who defeated the likes of Xander Zayas and Abdullah Mason in the amateurs, knocked Padilla sideways and through the ropes with a body punch. Padilla slumped to his knees when he was extricated and was counted out at the 1:43 mark. “Geo” is a fighter who bears watching.

Albert “Chop Chop” Gonzales, a 22-year-old SoCal super featherweight, used an effective body punch to wear down and stop Texas campaigner Conrado Martinez. The end came at the 1:43 mark of the sixth and final round. Trained by Robert Garcia, Chop Chop improved to 9-0 (5 KOs). Martinez falls to 9-2.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez Delights the Home Folks: TKOs Barrera in 10

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Former pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez retuned to the ring last night (Friday, July 12) after a 19-month absence and scored a 10th-round TKO of Colombia’s Rober Barrera. The match was staged in the sports arena named for Alexis Arguello in the old town district of Managua. It was a homecoming for Chocolatito who was making his first start in his native Nicaragua since February of 2015 and making his debut as a bantamweight. He previously held titles at 105, 108, 112, and 115.

Barrera was 27-5 heading in, but his last three wins came against opponents who were a combined 12-55-4, suggesting he would be easy meat for the hometown hero. But the Colombian proved to be a lot tougher than expected. He wasn’t afraid to exchange with Gonzalez but was gradually worn down. He slumped to the canvas after taking a left to the rib cage in round eight and was felled by a combination in the next frame. Referee Ramon Gonzalez was remiss in not stopping the fight sooner. The official time was 0.51 of the 10th and final round.

Chocolatito Gonzalez (pictured on the left next to Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez after a sparring session at the Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, CA) turned 37 in June. That’s an advanced age for a prizefighter, in particular a prizefighter who competes in one of the smallest weight classes and Chocolatito began his boxing career in the very smallest class.

In October of 2015, he was elevated to #1 pound-pound-pound by The Ring magazine and also by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, displacing long-reigning king Floyd Mayweather. Chocolatito was then 43-0 with 37 KOs and competing in the flyweight (112-pound) class. Since then, Gonzalez is 9-4, losing twice to Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (L MD 12; L KO 4) and twice to Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (L SD 12; L MD 12).

Scottish boxing historian Matt McGrain, writing about Chocolatito’s “coronation” at the top of the P-F-P list, had this to say: “[Gonzalez] is the antithesis of Floyd…a destroyer who does not seek to hit and not be hit, but rather to hit, hit, hit…he breaks people.”

There were shades of the 2015 version of Gonzalez tonight. He still throws punches in bunches, but he also gets hit more often than he would have earlier in his career. Now a veteran of 22 world title fights who has answered the bell as a pro for 305 rounds, he would be wise to call it a career and rest on his laurels.

But he won’t and his next fight will inevitably be a bantamweight title fight in Japan. In an unprecedented development, all four of the belt-holders at 118 are Japanese: Junto Nakatani (WBC), Takuma Inoue (WBA), Ryosuke Nishida (IBF), and Toshiki Takei (WBO). On top of that, Chocolatito’s promoter is Japanese boxing kingpin Akihiko Honda.

With his win tonight, Gonzalez, a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, advanced his record to 52-4 (42 KOs).

Photo credit: Supreme Boxing

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