Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla previews the fights you need to follow every week.
Indio, California, March 20th
Alfonso Gomez vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai, 10 rounds, junior middleweights
It’s do-or-die time for both of these battle-tested warriors. Gomez (24-6-2, 12 KO) is a 34-year old veteran Mexican brawler-boxer known for his spirited fights against the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Jose Luis Castillo and others, and Kamegai (25-2-1, 22 KO) is a 32-year old Japanese KO artist who jumped into the scene with a terrific bout against Robert Guerrero in a losing effort back in mid-2014. They’re both accomplished boxers, but when the fight is on the line they both like to bang, and that’s what they’ll be aiming for in this crossroads bout of sorts. A more tactical, technical battle may be expected, but they both know that an impressive win is what they need to keep their names in the mix at the top level in a star-studded division.
What to look for in this fight: Expect some serious fireworks on both ends of the fight, with Kamegai getting the best of it at the end for a unanimous decision win.
Ronny Rios vs. Sergio Frias, 10 rounds, featherweights
Rios (23-1, 10 KO) was an outstanding amateur and a promising prospect until he ran into perennial trial horse Robinson Castellanos last November for a surprising KO defeat. He’ll be looking to bounce back from that loss in this scheduled 10-rounder against Mexico’s Frias (16-4-2, 8 KO), a usually durable fighter who will likely give him the confidence-building victory (by decision, in my prediction) that he needs.
Mexico City, March 20th
Alejandro Hernandez vs. Martin Casillas, 10 rounds, bantamweights
Hernandez (28-11-2, 15 KO) is a superb boxer who has had his share of bad luck and tough early fights in his career, but most of his defeats were at the hands of current or former champions, and he has never been “properly” stopped in any of his losses. The value is still there, and he’ll be looking to get another crack at a world title against Casillas (15-4, 9 KO) in this potentially entertaining regional title bout televised by Telemundo.
Vicente Sandez vs. Thanasis Michaloudis, 10 rounds, heavyweights
Tough assignment for Sandez (12-4, 8 KO), who will be counting on his condition of local fighter as one of the few advantages against a menacing foe in Greece’s Michaloudis (8-0, 7 KO) while trying to rebound from his latest loss last July in his first trip overseas, even though Michaloudis has built his record against five debutants and three perennial losers. Should be a lovely little scrap.
Rostock, Germany, March 21st
Juergen Braehmer vs. Robin Krasniqi, 12 rounds, WBA “regular” light heavyweight title
This one has the potential to be the fight of the week (not a great merit, considering the competition). Braehmer (45-2, 33 KO) rarely fights out of Germany, and he is now going to be facing another locally-based contender in Kosovo-born Krasniqi (43-3, 16 KO) in what is shaping up as a huge fight for the German fans. The bad blood has been building up progressively between both opponents, and the promise of an explosive bout grows more as fight time approaches. Nice afternoon bout to start your Saturday early, if you are lucky to catch it live.
Vincent Feigenbutz vs. Balazs Kelemen, 12 rounds, super middleweights
Feigenbutz (18-1, 17 KO) and Kelemen (22-0, 13 KO) will be facing each other in a very promising early crossroad bouts between two talented young fighters. As the local power puncher, Feigenbutz will have the upper hand, but Hungary’s Kelemen has had a respectable level of opposition and he’ll be looking to keep his 0 at all costs. A nice bout to keep an eye on.
Denis Boytsov vs. Irineu Beato Costa Junior, 10 rounds, heavyweights
Top contender meets perennial journeyman? Check! Boytsov (35-1, 26 KO) will be trying to make it 3-0 since his upset loss to Alex Leapai back in 2013 against a proven trial horse in Brazil’s Costa (16-3, 14 KO) a kill-or-be-killed minded journeyman who always comes to fight (however briefly). Great choice of opponent to test a talented challenger in Boytsov at this stage of his comeback trail.
Tapachula, Mexico, March 21st
Emanuel Lopez vs. Carlos Padilla, 12 rounds, vacant WBA interim junior lightweight title
Don’t you just love it when your title has such a long, distinguished name? It’s like an exotic meal: it’s vacant, it’s interim, it’s the WBA… it’s delicious! Well, it isn’t, actually. Seriously, enough with the title belt nonsense. Mexico’s Lopez (17-4-1, 6 KO) and Colombia’s Padilla (15-1-1, 9 KO) would barely qualify as headliners in a perfect world, but this is the WBA, where no one walks away from a fight without a title belt wrapped around their waist. In the name of good will, I do hope that the quality of the action lives up to the title they’ll be fighting for, and I’ll be watching in the hopes of being proved wrong. Common sense, however, indicates quite the opposite. The fight headlines an interesting list of intriguing matchups featuring local talents, both male and female, as part of the WBA “KO to Drugs” series. Somewhere in that list there will be a terrific fight, indeed.
Shannon Briggs vs. TBA, 10 rounds, heavyweights
Si, señor!! The “Shannon Briggs One-Round-Or-Less Barnstorming Tour” is headed south of the border! Briggs (57-6-1, 50 KO), a former world heavyweight titlist on a first-round stoppage streak in his comeback trail after his loss to Vitali Klitschko back in 2010, is reportedly traveling to Mexico in search of his next knockout victory. If things go as planned, Briggs will be facing an opponent to be determined in his quest to expand his record of 35 first-round victories. Whether he’ll temporarily translate his beloved hashtag of #LetsGoChamp into #VamosCampeon, remains to be seen, along with his ability to produce anything other than a mildy crowd-pleasing performance in a pre-ordained glorified exhibition bout. We’ll be watching anyways, of course. #WeCantHelpIt.