Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla serves up a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away. Follow Morilla on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing
Macau, China, February 22
Zou Shiming TKO 7 Yokthong Kokietgym, flyweights
Olympic success usually implies a heightened expectation in the professional arena for the right fighter, and Shiming is taking that concept to the next level. The two-time gold medalist from China was a star before he ever threw a punch as a professional, and is advancing his career in great strides. Fighting at home once again, Shiming (4-0, 1 KO) scored a seventh round KO over Yokthong Kokietgym (15-4, 11 KO) of Thailand, after a methodical drubbing that ended when Kokietgym visited the canvas in three occasions in round seven to award Shiming (not precisely known for his punching power) the first stoppage of his career at the 2:10 mark. Another solid victory by a fighter who is spearheading the development of boxing in entirely new markets.
The winner goes on to: Probably becoming the first fighter after Oscar de la Hoya fighting his entire career as a TV headliner.
Miguel Vazquez UD 12 Denis Shafikov, IBF lightweight title
Dominant fighters can also be the most unexciting fighters ever, and unfortunately that’s the case with one of Mexico’s finest fighters today. Vazquez (34-3, 13 KO) is a methodical punching machine, but little else can be said about him, a fighter who usually imposes superb boxing lessons upon his opponents, but who nevertheless fails to stir any kind of emotion in his crowd. This time, he spoiled the immaculate record of Russia’s Shafikov (33-1-1, 17 KO) with a unanimous decision with scorecards of 115-113, 116-112 and 119-109 in his favor. The disparity of the scorecards is a testimony of the judges’ appreciation for Vazquez’s safety-first approach in contrast with Shafikov’s aggressive but ineffective output.
The winner goes on to: Babysitting his title until the right opportunity to cash in on it appears in the horizon. Please wake me up when it’s over.
Marvin Sonsona TKO 3 Akifumi Shimoda, featherweights
Two young former champs in desperate need of a victory? Sounds like a recipe for success. But no one expected this much success from 23-year-old Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 KO), a Filipino fighter born in Manny Pacquiao’s hometown trying to regain the belt he lost against Wilfredo Vazquez in 2010. After both southpaws had gone through the motions for the first two rounds, Sonsona landed a devastating, thudding left uppercut that stopped Shimoda (28-4-2, 12 KO) dead on his tracks and sent him backwards onto the canvas, where he was counted out and remained motionless for a few frightening minutes. It was a terrific victory for one of the most promising Filipino talents out there, who may have been rushed a bit in his earlier days but is now in the expert hands of Sampson Lewkowicz, the very same advisor who brought Manny Pacquiao to the United States for the first time. If he ever manages to achieve half as much as Manny did, he could be one of the heirs to his throne.
The winner goes on to: Hopefully, more of this. On high-profile televised cards, and in America. Please.
Hull, England, February 22
Tommy Coyle TKO 12 Daniel Brizuela, lightweights
KO of the year? Hardly. Fight of the year? Possibly. Comeback of the decade? Easily. Feeding off the bad-blood rivalry between their native countries, England’s Coyle and Argentina’s Brizuela engaged in a terrific fight that had both of them on the canvas 4 times apiece and losing a point each for infractions, and which ended in a dramatic late TKO for the local fighter. Brizuela (25-3-2, 8 KO) got off to a great start when he sent Coyle (18-2, 8 KO) to the canvas in the second round with a straight right, following up with two more knockdowns in round six with punishing body shots. With a 10-7 round on him, Coyle was deducted a point in the eight rounds for low blows. Sensing a disaster in his own home turf, Coyle went on kill-or-be-killed mode, catching Brizuela with a right hook that sent him to the canvas. After a ninth round that had Brizuela losing a point for low blows, Coyle went down yet again in the eleventh after another body shot. But then the miracle happened, as Coyle fought for his life and sent the visiting fighter down twice before being deducted another point for hitting on the break. Spurred on by a crowd already on their feet, Coyle caught a second (or third) wind and came out gunning for a stoppage in the final round, and he got it after Brizuela rose from the canvas after the final knock-down of the event and the otherwise fair referee stopped the contest, robbing the brave Brizuela of a chance to hear the scorecards or go out with more dignity. A heart-stopper, from beginning to end. We’ll be talking about this one for quite a while.
The winner goes on to: Oh, was there ever a fight that CLAMORED for a rematch? Ideally, it should happen on an even bigger stage. They both deserve it.
London, February 22
Tony Conquest UD 12 Daniel Ammann, vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight title
Talk about living up to your name! Conquest (13-1, 5 KO) did conquer the British Commonwealth title against Australias Ammann (29-6-1, 6 KO), but he did very little to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in a division that is in bad need of exciting fighters. He was more accurate and powerful than his opponent (not a very difficult challenge), but he’ll need more than that to tackle the toughest opposition in the division.
The winner goes on to: With some exciting matchup waiting for him at the local level, it will be a while before we hear from Conquest again.
Phoenix, Arizona, February 22
Siarhei Liakhovich UD 8 Chad Davis, heavyweights
Joachim Alcine TKO 3 Jovan Ramirez, middleweights
Going back to the top after losing so much ground can be a daunting task, but both Liakhovich (26-6, 17 KO) and Alcine (35-7-1, 21 KO) appear ready to give it another try. It remains to be seen whether people will be willing to pay to see it or not. In the main event of this doubleheader, former heavyweight titlist Liakhovich won a lackluster eight rounder against Davis (5-12, 1 KO) with scores of 80-74 and 79-73 (twice), snapping a three-fight losing streak, and doing little else. Right before that, former 160 lb champ Alcine notched an uneventful third-round KO over previously unbeaten Jovan Ramirez, dropping the local fighter twice in the third for the stoppage.
The winners go on to: Beating the Davises and Ramirezes (?!?!) of the world is not going to get them far, but they will continue doing it until someone notices them.
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