Boxing: Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – Stiverne Destroys Arreola, and Much More

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

Los Angeles, May 9

Bermane Stiverne TKO 6 Chris Arreola, vacant WBC heavyweight title

A rematch with higher stakes ends in an even more dramatic way in this vacant heavyweight title bout. A lot of things appeared to be different this time around, but Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KO) managed to win even more clearly in his second bout against Arreola (36-4, 31 KO) in a fight that Arreola was controlling (not without some difficulty) until the fateful 6th round. After a very even first round, Arreola stepped up the pace to grow in volume and intent in his punches, but apparently he broke his hand sometime during the 4th round and began to lose steam. Sensing his foe’s sudden loss of power, Stiverne moved in for the kill and he got it in the first minute of the sixth round, when a massive right hand to the top of the head wobbled Arreola and sent him to the canvas. After another knockdown, and while Arreola was being pummeled against the ropes, referee Jack Reiss intervened to put an end to Arreola’s dream of becoming the first Mexican-American to win a heavyweight title – and to allow Stiverne to become Haiti’s first titlist in this division. The fact that Arreola was ahead on two scorecards midway through the bout, as well as his loyal following, will surely mean that he’ll be back for a third try (he had already failed against Vitali Klitschko back in 2009), but for now, Stiverne becomes the new champ after a solid win that will transform him into a force to be reckoned with in the boxing industry – along with his promoter, the eternal Don King.

The winner goes on to: The prospects are not bad for Stiverne in a division undergoing serious reconstruction. A fight with unbeaten former Olympian and mandatory contender Deontay Wilder would go great lengths in answering a lot of questions for both of them.

Amir Imam UD 8 Yordenis Ugas, junior welterweights

A solid test for a young talent in need of more serious challenges. Imam (14-0, 12 KO) looked cautious at the beginning, but he gained confidence quickly and began outlanding and outwitting Ugas(15-3, 7KO), a former 2008 Olympic medalist from Cuba who was crafty and game but who was unable to get the continuity he needed to do the damage he wanted. In the end, Iman pressed the action in the final quarter of the bout to win by scorecards of 79-73 and 78-74 (twice), in a solid step-up victory.

The winner goes on to: The prospects are not so promising for Iman, who looked good but limited in a division filled with talent and power.

La Guaira, Venezuela, May 9

Johan Perez TKO 10 Fernando Monte de Oca, interim WBA jr welterweight title

An unexpectedly game opponent makes things interesting for a local fighter in his homecoming. Perez (19-1-1, 13 KO) figured to have a celebratory defense in front of his countrymen against what appeared to be a soft touch in Monte de Oca (15-3, 12 KO), but quickly found himself into a real challenge when the determined challenger decided to make the most out of his title bout. Perez landed more punches, but Montes de Oca’s power forced him into a defensive shell many times during the bout. Still, the challenge proved to be an endurance contest for which Perez was much better prepared, and the challenger simply decided to stay in his corner at the beginning of the 11th round. Solid win by a fighter who will have to grow quickly into a true champion if he wants to keep his belt for a long time.

The winner goes on to: As a second-tier titlist in a talent-laden division, Perez needed a solid, dominant victory to stay in the mix. It’s still unclear whether he’ll serve as a stepping stone for another contender or be able to parlay his belt into bigger and better opportunities.

Pasay City, Philippines, May 9

Donnie Nietes TKO 9 Moises Fuentes, WBO junior flyweight title

The “other” Filipino champion left in the boxing scene did it again. With Johnriel Casimero losing his title on the scales a few weeks ago and Merlito Sabillo losing his strawweight belt in Mexico earlier, Nietes and Manny Pacquiao are the Phillipines’ only two champs left, and Nietes is showing that he is doing his part to keep the country in the larger boxing picture. This time, Nietes (33-1-4, 19 KOs) retained his WBO junior flyweight belt in Manila with a terrific KO victory over Mexico’s Fuentes (19-2-1, 10 KO) in a knockdown-filled event. Fuentes visited the canvas three times in the final round to force the stoppage in the ninth round, but Nietes lost a point after the first knockdown because it appeared to have been produced by a punch during the break. The final right hand that dropped Fuentes for good, however, was as indisputable as they come. Add to that a previous draw in their first clash in 2013, and you have the recipe for a possible rematch. In any case, Nietes’ performance was as good and as dominant as expected, and no one will hold him accountable if he decides to pursue other opportunities.

The winner goes on to: Nietes is as talented as they come, but he may suffer from the shortage of opponents in his weight class in his effort to make the best out of his talent.

Milan Melindo MD 12 Martin Tecuapetla, flyweights

An exhibition of solid boxing skills is what earned this fight for the local idol. Melindo (13-1, 12 KO) controlled the early going with solid jabs and combinations against a tough trialhorse in Tecuapetla (11-6-2, 8 KO) of Mexico. Melindo was happy to establish his superiority with his fast and accurate punching, but ran into trouble late when Tecuapetla began mounting a serious attack in the second half. However, the last stretch belonged to Melindo, and he got the victory by scorecards of 116-112, 115-113 and an inexplicable 114-114 to stay in course for a title shot sometime in the near future.

The winner goes on to: Melindo is a tough fighter with an entertaining style, and he’s in perfect position to become a building block in a division undergoing major changes.

Liverpool, England, May 9

Derry Mathews SD 12 Martin Gethin, lightweights

A mild upset took place when Gethin (24-5-1, 11 KO) dropped a split decision against Mathews (35-9-2, 19 KO), who took advantage of his local status by clinching a few of the most disputed rounds with carefully placed outbursts of activity, to earn the victory by scorecards of 117-113 and 116-112 on while the remaining card went to Gethin by 115-114.

The winner goes on to: After this nice win, Mathews should be able to secure a few serious paydays in a division that features several attractive fighters in the UK.

Chris Eubank Jr. TKO 7 Robert Swierzbinski, middleweights

Another pedestrian win against a non-descript opponent? Check. Eubank (15-0, 10 KO) was his usual flashy and dominant self in his stoppage of yet another overmatched opponent in Swierzbinski (13-3, 3 KO), who visited the canvas seven times en route to his loss.  A lot of corrective action looms in the future for Eubank in spite of his win, however, due to his faulty stance and his apparent lack of speed.

The winner goes on to: Wake me up when Eubank fights someone with a pulse and we’ll revisit this question once again.

Sheffield, England, May 9

Kid Galahad TKO 4 Fred Mundraby, vacant Commonwealth junior featherweight title

Here’s a name to remember. And hopefully, for boxing-related, non-Elvis reasons. Galahad (17-0, 9 KO) is a flashy and talkative 24 year-old fighter with an attractive style and a loyal following in his native Sheffield. High hopes are placed on his talents, and he had no problem showing them off in this card, where he dominated Australia’s Mundraby (15-2-1, 7 KO) from the very beginning, landing heavy body shots and imposing a severe punishment on the visiting fighter before his corner decided they had seen enough and kept him from coming out to the fifth round to spare him further punishment. After the fight, Galahad called out his countryman Scott Quigg in what would be a terrific fight. Let’s hope it happens.

The winner goes on to: Galahad can talk the talk and presumably can walk the walk as well, so it’s a matter of time before we see him fighting for a title belt of some sort. Could happen this year.

Hughie Fury UD 8 Danny Hughes, heavyweights

A “Battle of the Hugs,” indeed. Fury (14-0, 8 KO), cousin of heavyweight contender Tyson Fury, is a 19 year-old boxer of Irish ancestry from a family that carries boxing in their blood (his grandfather Martin went by the nickname of “Black”, and when you are the grandson of Black Fury, well, you have some serious shoes to fill). But this time, Hughie and Hughes (12-3-2, 3 KO) brought together the ‘ugh’ factor in a stinker of an 8-rounder that contributed very little to their respective reputations. Even though limited in his punching power with barely three stoppages to his credit, Hughes was the most powerful of the two, landing serious leather on Fury, who appeared disoriented at times and who looked to his jab as his most serious offensive weapon. But at the very least, Fury was the aggressor while Hughes contented himself with landing sporadic counterpunching outbursts. Hughes had his best performance in the last two rounds, but it wasn’t enough, and Fury made his family proud with a victory that provides more questions than answers.

The winner goes on to: A name doesn’t make a fighter, and Fury will need to translate the explosiveness of his surname into his ring performances in a hurry if he really wants to enjoy some of the success of his big cousin.

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