Las Vegas, Nevada, March 28th
Gary Russell Jr. KO 4 Jhonny Gonzalez, WBC featherweight title
Not exactly an upset, but a rather shocking conclusion for a fight that was expected to be an interesting bout with tons of shifts in momentum for both fighters. Instead, Gonzalez (57-9, 48 KO), a normally durable fighter with more than a few hard-fought battles to his credit, ended up being pummeled around by a superbly fit and motivated Russell (26-1, 15 KO), who in spite of being the favorite was never really thought to be capable of stopping Gonzalez. Russell took control of the action with his speed and superior skills, and by the third round they were already in full war mode, with Russell landing at a higher rate. Gonzalez visited the canvas towards the end of the round, and Russell stormed out of the gates in the fourth to pick up where he had left off, putting Gonzalez down again twice with murderous combinations. Barely a minute into the fourth, referee Tony Weeks decided he had seen enough and the bout was stopped to award the title to Russell, who becomes champion in his second attempt after failing in his first try against Vasyl Lomachenko.
The winner goes on to: Expect Russell to face and probably beat Lomachenko in their rematch sometime in 2015 to take control of the division and enter the pound-for-pound discussion as well.
Jermell Charlo UD 10 Vanes Martirosyan, junior middleweights
Another not-so-exciting performance by both Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KO) and Jermell Charlo (26-0, 11 KO), who keep either setting their personal bars too high or promising things they cannot deliver. As protagonists of the co-main event of the evening, both fighters had the opportunity to make the opportunity count for them, but instead they simply resorted to displaying polished boxing skills without taking any risks, and wasting the good momentum they had going with their little scuffle during their Friday weigh-in. In the end, Charlo appeared to be the busier and more accurate of the two, and that was just enough to earn him scorecards of 97-93 and 96-94 (twice) to earn the victory and inch closer to a mildly deserved title bout in the future.
J’Leon Love UD 8 Scott Sigmon, super middleweights
Mission accomplished for Love (19-1, 10 KO), who came in looking to redeem himself after his first stoppage loss against a normally durable opponent in Sigmon (24-7-1, 13 KO). Love wasted no time, bringing his A-game into a fight in which he needed to look good and win dominantly. He did both things, boxing beautifully and outpunching his foe throughout the bout to secure a win in which he survived some dirty tactics from his foe, who attempted to steal the spotlight with a tepid surge in the seventh round that failed to impress the judges. At least one of them gave him the round in one card (79-73) but the other two scored a shutout of 80-72 (twice) for Love.
Jermall Charlo UD 10 Michael Finney, junior middleweights
Jermall Charlo (21-0, 16 KO), twin brother of the co-main event winner, also appeared on the card partially headlined by his sibling, scoring a dominating win over a pretty much defenseless Finney (12-3-1, 10 KO) with scores of 100-90 across the board.
Sheffield, England, March 28th
Kell Brook TKO 4 Jo Jo Dan, IBF welterweight title
Brook (34-0, 23 KO) showed that he is destined to bigger and better challenges in the talent-crowded 147 lb division with a terrific win over Romanian-Canadian Dan (34-3, 18 KO), a fighter who was expected to give a much more serious challenge in what amounted to a mere homecoming showcase win for Brook in his first defense of the title he picked up from Shawn Porter in 2014. Brook demolished Dan gradually until he simply couldn’t take the punishment.
Sergey Khomitsky KO 4 Adam Etches, middleweights
Minor upset here, as the previously unbeaten Etches (18-1, 15 KO) failed to etch (good one!) another victory against a veteran in Ukranian upset-minded globetrotter Khomitsky (30-11-3, 12 KO). Etches was working effectively behind his jab and piling up points until a straight right hand came out of nowhere to flatten him so spectacularly that the referee didn’t even bother to issue a count, calling on the ringside physician to take a look at Etches, who ended up laying motionless on the floor for a few frightening minutes.
Frankie Gavin UD 10 Bogdan Mitic, welterweights
There was nothing “mitic” about Mitic, but Gavin’s return to the ring was nowhere near epic either. Fighting his way back into the spotlight after his career-derailing loss to Leonard Bundu last August, the southpaw Gavin (22-1, 13 KO) won a pedestrian but solid comeback bout against Mitic (20-7, 13 KOs) by a lone score of 100-90 to make it 3-0 in the comeback trail.
Merida, Mexico, March 28th
Juan Francisco Estrada TKO 3 Rommel Asenjo, WBO/WBA flyweight title
“El Gallo” did it again. Estrada (32-2, 23 KO), one of Mexico’s finest current champs, made it to 6-0 as a champ in his new division since he lost his junior flyweight title in 2012 against Roman Gonzalez with this stoppage of Asenjo (26-4, 20 KO), who was being pummeled but in no danger of being stopped when his corner threw in the towel towards the end of the third episode.
Pasay City, Philippines, March 28th
Donnie Nietes TKO 10 Gilberto Parra, WBO junior flyweight title
Nietes (35-1-4, 21 KO) is quickly becoming one of the most respected Filipino titlists not named Pacquiao, and he gave further proof of his talent with this demolishing win over Mexico’s Parra (19-3, 17 KO) in what amounted to a feel-good homecoming light defense for him. Parra visited the canvas in the eighth and refused to come out in the tenth round.
Nonito Donaire TKO 2 William Prado, junior featherweights
Donaire Jr (34-3, 22 KO) has fallen from potential pound-for-pound top-5 entrant to co-main event fighter in his native country. This time, the “Filipino Flash” continued his journey towards redemption with a homecomiung win over Brazil’s Prado (22-5-1, 15 KO), who suffered a terrible and ill-placed cut between his nose and his right eyebrow that severely impaired his vision. All Donaire had to do was simply pound on that injury to batter Prado into submission.
Pensacola, Fla., March 28th
Roy Jones Jr. TKO 1 Paul Vasquez, cruiserweights
Seriously, how many ropes did that ring have? Did I count SIX per side? Fortunately, Jones Jr (61-8, 44 KO) didn’t need that web of white ropes to entangle his opponent into submission, as Vasquez (10-7-1, 3 KO) did a good job at entangling himself into a corner and allowing Jones to fire at will to earn the stoppage in front of his loyal hometown crowd. The stoppage itself was weird enough, as the fight was waved off by the referee as soon as Vazquez reached his corner at the end of the first episode. And that was after administering a count of approximately 35 seconds while instructing Jones to stay on a neutral corner, which the referee seemed unable to identify properly. Even old Jersey Joe Walcott would have done a much bet job on this one. It’s all water under the bridge now, as Jones lives on to fight another day at the ripe age of 46 and looking far removed from his best days.
Montreal, Canada, March 28th
Donovan “Razor” Ruddock TKO 5 Raymond Olubowale, heavyweights
Just when you thought Shannon Brigg’s return to the ring was too much, here’s another example of insanity. Fighting for the first time in 14 years, Ruddock (39-5-1, 30 KO), a
51-year-old former heavyweight contender with a formerly formidable physique and the power to match it, returned to the ring against a relatively younger 44 year-old in Olubowale (10-7-1, 7 KO) to display very few things other than a wrinkled and diminished version of his once imposing muscular frame. True to his awful defensive philosophy, Ruddock started on the wrong foot (because that’s exactly what a 14-year layoff will do to your memory), and found himself on the receiving end of a long string of straight right hands that eventually deposited him on the canvas in the fourth round. Fortunately, the referee had a soft spot for Ruddock and allowed him to get away with another trip to the canvas and then declared a somewhat hasty stoppage in the following round, when Olubwale rose on unsteady legs after a legitimate knockdown. As long as he stays within his demographic group, Ruddock can probably have one or two more fights before he retires again.
Lima, Peru, March 28th
Carlos Zambrano UD 12 Daniel Ramirez, vacant WBA interim featherweight title
Peruvian boxing champions are very few and far in between, but lately they’ve been producing them two at a time. This time, Zambrano (25-0, 11 KO) grabbed a portion of the WBA title cake (the least nutritious portion, but still) with a workmanlike victory over Ramirez (24-12, 20 KO), a native of the Dominican Republic. Zambrano managed to impose his superior boxing ability on an onrushing and determined challenger.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, March 28th
Paul Fleming UD 10 Chaiyong Sithsaithong, junior lightweights
Fleming (20-0, 13 KO) is hailed as one of the most promising Aussie prospects out there, and he increased his stock value with this win over Sithsaithong (36-12-4, 26 KO). The southpaw Fleming was a stand-out amateur and an Olympian for his country, and is now on his way to a path to a title shot after graduating to main event fighter with this solid win.
Panama City, Panama, March 27th
Shannon Briggs TKO 1 Zoltan Petranyi, heavyweights
Wait, wait, wait… did the ring announcer introduce Briggs with a resounding “Let’s go, Shemp”!?!? Was this a mispronunciation of his usual “Let’s go, champ” hashtag-war cry, or an invitation for Briggs’ return to the ring to become even more of a crazily comedic self-satire than what it already is? In any case, the “Shannon Briggs One-Round-Or-Less Barnstorming Tour” notched another success, and this time it was in Panama, where Briggs (58-6-1, 51 KO), a former world heavyweight titlist on a first-round stoppage streak (or sort of) in his comeback trail after his loss to Vitali Klitschko back in 2010, landed with the intention of continuing his march onto heavyweight championship territory by recruiting new fans. In that interest, he took the country by storm, crashing on legendary Roberto Duran’s restaurant to have his shirtless picture taken with him, and revving up the locals with his war cry “Let’s go champ” translated into Spanish as “Vamos campeón”. And on fight night, he took care of Petranyi (51-22-1, 16 KO), a 48-year-old Hungarian journeyman, with ease. It all started pretty sloppy, with Briggs losing a point for shoving Petranyi to the ground (yes, because the Briggs campaign could really use some WWE-style theatrics), but then he went to work and chased his hopeless opponent around the ring to drop him twice (more legitimately this time) and secure the victory in under two minutes. And as if on cue, former cruiserweight champion Guillermo Jones jumped into the ring and challenged Briggs to a future bout, with the winner challenging Wladimir Klitschko for the title. At this point, either Larry, Curly or Moe have better chances of fighting for the heavyweight crown, but Briggs will keep aiming for it anyway. We wish all of them good luck, of course. #LetsGoStooges.
Arcadia, Florida, March 27th
David Carmona UD 10 Daniel Lozano, super flyweights
In one of the closest bouts in a pretty much one-sided weekend, Carmona (18-2-4, 8 KO) got a decision win over Lozano (13-2, 10 KO) on a Telemundo card in one of the few televised bouts on Friday night. Both fighters were in line for a title bout sometime in the future, and this win could clear the way for Carmona to get some of that action after his solid performance, punctuated by a knockdown of Lozano in the ninth and by scorecards of 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94.