Ward conquers Kovalev in eight

18/06/2017 07:45

WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) won his rematch with Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs)  by eighth round TKO on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas.

In their first fight in November, Ward rallied from a second round knockdown to win a disputed decision against Kovalev, who many believed won the bout.

The rematch was no less controversial.

Ward hurt Kovalev with a right hand to the head, then hit Kovalev with three low blows before referee Tony Weeks stepped in and, instead of giving Kovalev time to recover, shockingly stopped the fight.

Going into the eighth, Ward led 67-66 on two scorecards while Kovalev was ahead 68-65 on the third.

After a cagey and evenly fought opening round, Kovalev was getting the better of the second, landing several hard shots before a low blow from Ward stopped him in his tracks. Ward was warned by referee Tony Weeks.

The Russian’s measured attacks troubled Ward early in the fight but many of the rounds was hard to score because of all the grappling and punching from the clinch.

By the fifth, the American was taking over the fight with his clever counters and body shots, although many of them was on or below the belt line.

In a similar pattern to their first meeting, Ward started coming on strong with Kovalev less effective as the fight progressed.

Kovalev appeared gassed and Ward piled on more punishment.

In the eighth, Ward unleased a huge right that left Kovalev on unsteady legs. Ward then battered Kovalev on the ropes with a succession of shots around the belt line and Weeks stepped in at 2:29 of the round.

 “I could tell he was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him then. I knew he was hurt,” said Ward.

“Kovalev fought a good fight, but once I compute a fighter in my brain, I know what I had to do the next time around.

“Facing great fighters, you’ve got to raise your game to the next level and I’m thankful we did that tonight.”

As debatable as the stoppage was, many will now view Ward as the pound-for-pound number one.

Kovalev said: “It didn’t hurt like I could go down on the floor, but it was a low blow.

“Right now, I could have continued. I didn’t feel that hurt.

“Why stop the fight? It’s crazy.”

Kovalev also said he hoped to have a third fight with Ward but that seems unlikely.

Ward will likely pursue a unification fight with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson or move up in weight.

“Cruiserweight? Heavyweight? I dream big, and everything is possible when you have God,” said Ward.

Also on the card, WBA Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KOs) knocked out WBA Interim titleholder Moses Flores (25-1, 17 KOs) at the end of the first round with a left hook after the bell.

The Cuban moved well and landed occasional shots while avoiding his taller opponent’s winging punches.

Towards the end of the round, Rigondeaux grabbed Flores behind the head and hit him with two left uppercuts. Referee Vic Drakulich went to separate the two fighters as they were throwing punches at the bell and Rigondeaux landed a devastating left hand to the chin. The Mexican took a step back before falling down. Flores stayed on his back and Drakulich counted him out.

Following a lengthy discussion, Drakulich and Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Bob Bennett, ruled the final punch legal and a first round KO victory for Rigondeaux, who retained his world title for the eighth time.

After the fight, Rigondeaux said that if nobody will get in the ring with him at 122lb, he would be interested in catchweight fights with Roman Gonzalez and Vasyl Lomachenko.

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Zeuge outguns Smith to retain WBA belt

18/06/2017 07:37

WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Tyron Zeuge (21-0-1, 11 KOs) scored a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over British challenger Paul Smith (38-7, 22 KOs) on Saturday night at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar, Germany.

All three of the judges scores were 119-108 for Zeuge, who retained his title for the second time as Smith’s third world title attempt ended in defeat. 

Zeuge, 25, got the better of the opening two rounds, as he landed jabs and heavy hooks.

Smith, 34, upped his aggression in the third and rocked Zeuge with a hard right hand. However the German regained control in the following rounds with combination punching.

Zeuge continued to outwork Smith for the remainder of the bout, although the Englishman tried to rally with some shots in the 11th.

A 12th round knockdown for Zeuge just before the final bell, which Smith claimed was a slip, further confirmed the wide margin of victory for the champion.  

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Lee Selby added to Eubank Jr-Abraham card

16/06/2017 17:12

IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby (24-1, 9 KOs) will face mandatory challenger Jonathan Victor Barros (41-4-1, 22 KOs) on July 15 at Wembley Arena on the undercard of the super middleweight fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Arthur Abraham.

The 30-year-old Welshman had been scheduled to face Barros, 33, last January in Las Vegas, but the Argentine was ruled out 24 hours before the fight because he did not meet the licensing requirements of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, due to a problem with his medical tests.

Selby has successfully defended his world title against Fernando Montiel and Eric Hunter since dethroning Evgeny Gradovich in May 2015.

He was last in action against Spain’s Andoni Gago, who he stopped in nine rounds last March in a non title bout.

Barros is a former WBA featherweight champion and has won his last seven fights since he lost to reigning WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia by eighth round TKO in November 2012.

Selby had hoped to fight British rival Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) this summer but Barros remained the IBF’s mandatory challenger despite the cancellation and Selby was ordered to face him.

Former WBA champion Frampton instead faces Mexican Andres Gutierrez in Belfast on July 29.

“Barros is going to pay, simple as that,” said Selby.

“I was mucked around last time because he and his team couldn’t get their act together and this time, all I can say is, I can’t wait.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be fighting him at last, on a huge bill in London and with the stage set for me.

“I have been a worthy IBF world champion and beating a tough customer like Barros will put me in the hot seat for a fight with Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg, or any of the other world champions.

“Either of those Brits would suit me down to earth. But first it is Barros and I’m determined to make him pay. I don’t need any motivation for this one. I was there in Las Vegas ready to fight and through no fault of my own it didn’t happen. It is now and Barros will be taken apart.

“I’ve never been so up for a fight in my life, not even when I won the world title. This is all about getting me back in the limelight, showing the fans what they have missed and becoming a hero in Wales and the rest of Britain.”

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to meet in mega-fight on August 28

15/06/2017 10:36

Former pound-for-pound king and five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr (49-0, 26 KOs) will fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor on August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Mayweather, 40,  made the official announcement on social media on Wednesday, confirming that he will come out of retirement to face 28-year-old McGregor in a boxing match.

The bout will be contested at the light middleweight limit of 154 pounds. No major world titles will be at stake.

McGregor is one of the best professional mixed martial artist in the world and last year became the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions, which was featherweight and lightweight. But the Irish southpaw will be a huge underdog when he makes his debut in the ring against boxing legend Mayweather.

The American has not fought since outpointing Andre Berto in September 2015, but in returning Mayweather gets the chance to move him past the great 49-0 Rocky Marciano record with his 50th win.

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Burnett outpoints Haskins to win IBF bantamweight title

11/06/2017 07:36

Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9 KOs) captured the IBF bantamweight title when he defeated defending champion Lee Haskins (34-4, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Northern Irishman floored Haskins twice on the way to a points victory, despite a shocking scorecard from American judge Clark Sammartino who scored the fight 118-108 in favor of Haskins.

It looks like Sammartino may have got the fighters names mixed up. Fortunately the other two judges scored it 119-107 for Burnett.

Burnett dominated the action from the start with his fast attacks and good movement.

An accidental clash of heads in the second round left both boxers cut, although Burnett came off worse, with a long gash down his forehead.

There were many head clashes in this fight. A common problem when orthodox (Burnett) meets southpaw (Haskins).

The Belfast boxer kept his composure and continued to get better of Haskins, who was struggling to time Burnett’s right hands.

Worse was to come for the Englishman in the sixth when he appeared to injure his right arm before being dropped by a right hook.

Haskins recovered and tried to fire back with left hands but he was mostly beaten to the punch by Burnett, who knocked down the champion again with more hard shots in the 11th. Burnett looked close to scoring the stoppage but Haskins’ bravery and toughness got him to the final bell.

“I always knew I would be a world champion although I had to dig deep,” said Burnett.

“Haskins made me work but I did it. I’m the champion of the world.”

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Chris Eubank Jr vs Arthur Abraham set for July 15

07/06/2017 18:18

IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr (24-1, 19 KOs) will fight former two-time super middleweight world champion Arthur Abraham (46-5, 30 KOs) on July 15 at the SSE Wembley Arena in London.

The 12-round bout will be for Eubank’s minor world title, which he won when he defeated little-known Renold Quinlan by 10th round TKO in February.

Eubank has won six fights in a row since his only loss, a split decision to rival Billy Joe Saunders for the European, British and Commonwealth middleweight titles in November 2014. Saunders is now the reigning WBO middleweight champion.

But Eubank, 27, has only fought low-level opposition since the Saunders defeat and Abraham, 37, represents a return to world-class level.

However, Abraham, also a former middleweight world champion, lost his WBO 168lb title by a one-sided decision against Mexico’s Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in April 2016, so Eubank may be catching the German at the right time. Although Abraham has since won his last two fights.

“I respect every fighter,” said Eubank. “Anyone who enters the ring has my respect but it’s my time now. I’m the next generation.”

Abraham said: “I’m very happy to be fighting here in England. I’m looking forward to it and I think it will be a good fight.”

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Stevenson flattens Fonfara en route to second round TKO win

04/06/2017 07:45

WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (29-1, 24 KO) stopped Andrzej Fonfara (29-5, 17 KO) in the second round of their rematch on Saturday night at the Bell Center in Montreal, which is Haiti-born Stevenson’s adopted hometown, in Canada.

In the first fight in May 2014, Stevenson dominated most of the bout, scoring two knockdowns, in the first and fifth rounds, but Fonfara showed his toughness and fought back, dropping Stevenson in the ninth round, before losing a unanimous decision.

Stevenson again started well, flooring Fonfara in the first round with a hard left hand. But this time, although Fonfara got up almost immediately, he never recovered. The Pole took more punishment until the bell rang to end the round.

It was the same in the second as Stevenson unleased more unanswered blows and Fonfara’s trainer Virgil Hunter stepped up onto the ring apron and signalled referee Michael Griffin to stop the fight at 0:28 of the round.

“I was focused on the fight, and you saw what happened,” said Stevenson. “My hands were moving very good, and you saw what happened. Fonfara tried, but I was ready for this fight.

“I’m the greatest at 175.”

Most boxing observers rank Stevenson number three at light heavyweight behind IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andre Ward and former titleholder Sergey Kovalev, who meet on June 17. This is mainly due to Stevenson fighting lesser opposition since winning the WBC title with a first round KO over Chad Dawson in 2013.

A unification clash between Stevenson and the winner of Ward-Kovalev would decide who is the best fighter at 175 pounds.

But Stevenson’s next opponent is likely to be Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KO), who maintained his number one mandatory position with a 12 round points win over former world champion Jean Pascal (31-5-1, 18 KO) on the undercard.

Alvarez clearly won most of the rounds, although one judge poorly scored the fight 114-114, it was overruled by scores of 117-111 and 116-112.

Colombia-born Alvarez, who now resides in Canada, dominated the action throughout, connecting with stiff jabs and hard right hands, rocking Pascal several times in the fight.

Haiti-born  Pascal, who also resides in Canada and became one of the country’s most popular fighters, did not throw many punches, but tried to steal rounds by showing some offence towards the end of many rounds, which may have influenced the judge who scored the bout a draw.

Alvarez should now finally be matched-up with Stevenson after taking step-aside money to allow the champion an optional defence against Fonfara.

Pascal may continue fighting but he is finished as a top-level fighter.

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Mikey Garcia to fight Adrien Broner at 140 pounds

01/06/2017 18:16

WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) will face fellow American Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) on July 29 in a non-title bout at light welterweight.

Three-weight world champion Garcia will move up five pounds to meet Broner, a former world champion in four weight divisions.

Garcia, who has won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight, claimed the WBC 135lb belt  with a third round knockout over Dejan Zlaticanin in January.

Broner, who has won world titles at super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight and welterweight, recently held the WBA 140lb belt but was stripped of the title 14 months ago because he failed to make weight a day before a a defence against Ashley Theophane, which Broner won by ninth round TKO.

Broner’s last fight was at the 147-pound welterweight limit when he outpointed Adrian Granados in February, but he has agreed to come back down to 140 pounds to fight Garcia.

The venue of the bout has yet to be confirmed.

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Spence dethrones Brook, Groves crushes Chudinov

28/05/2017 07:47

Unbeaten welterweight Errol Spence Jr (22-0, 19 KOs) dethroned defending champion Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) by a 11th round KO on Saturday night at Bramall Football Ground in Sheffield.

Brook took a knee and stayed down for the count with his left eye swollen shut, handing Spence the IBF welterweight title.

An eye injury was also a decisive factor in Brook’s previous defeat. Brook suffered a broken right eye socket in a fifth round loss to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in September.

Brook made a good start, countering well over the visitor’s single jabs and landing right hands through Spence’s guard.

But it was obvious early on that the American southpaw’s speed would cause Brook problems, as Spence landed some hard shots of his own.

It remained competitive at the halfway point but Brook’s attacks were having little effect on the challenger.

Spence started to connect more regularly to head and body, and by the the seventh Brook’s left eye began to swell.

The hometown fighter landed his best punches of the fight in the eighth, but Spence upped his work rate in the following rounds.

By the 10th Brook was getting busted up and he was floored by a series of head and body shots.

Brook, his left eye was almost swollen shut, got up and tried to fire back but Spence’s punches was too powerful and in the 11th, Brook finally took a knee and was counted out by referee Howard Foster at 1:47 of the round.

“I give myself a B-minus,” said Spence. “I was a little bit off with my offence and defence, but I give Kell a lot of credit. I proved tonight that I had a chin and I have true grit. He came over to America to take the title (from Shawn Porter) and I came over to the UK to take the title from him. This is what true champions do. You go anywhere to fight. He’s a true champion, and I wanted to fight him. He’s a tricky fighter and awkward. He’s also a strong fighter who can punch.”

“I want to unify divisions. I want all the champions. I want Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao. I want to fight the best, just like true champions do.”

Spence is now on course for some mega-fights at 147lb, although he is unlikely to fight neither Thurman or Pacquiao next.

WBA and WBC champion Thurman will likely be out of action until early next year after having right elbow surgery last month.

WBO champion Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to defend against Jeff Horn in Australia in July.

“Spence is one of the best if not the best I’ve faced,” said Brook. “I got caught in the seventh round in the left eye. It was like the Golovkin fight, although not quite as bad but it was getting worse. I had double vision and I couldn’t see out of the eye. So I had to stop. I’m gutted that, in front of my home fans, I’ve lost my belt. I’ll live to fight another day.”

Also on the card, George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) captured the vacant WBA super middleweight title with a sixth round TKO over former champion Fedor Chudinov (14-2, 10 KOs).

Groves became world champion at the fourth attempt, stopping Chudinov on his feet with unanswered punching in the sixth round.

In his previous world title defeats, Groves was stopped twice by countryman Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014, and then he lost to Badou Jack by a split points decision in September 2015.

Chudinov lost the WBA title by a disputed majority decision to Felix Sturm, who vacated the belt after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol following the February 2016 bout. 

The Russian caught Groves repeatedly with hard shots early on and the Briton remained on the back foot in the following rounds as Chudinov continued to march forward relentlessly, throwing a high volume of punches.

Groves was cut above his left eye in the fourth from a clash of heads, but he responded with several combinations and he landed more punches than Chudinov in the fifth.

Then Groves produced his best punches in the sixth and following a barrage of unanswered punches, referee Steve Gray stopped the fight at 1:13 of the round.

“This is the end of a lifetime’s work,” said Groves. ” (Trainer) Shane McGuigan has resurrected my career. Now I’m mature enough to admit that. I feel like I’m the best in the division. I’m willing and ready to fight anyone.
“He caught me with some good right hooks, and one actually stung quite a bit. But I found my feet.

“I can put those losses to bed now, get on with my life and hopefully go on to better things.”

The win sets up the possibility of an all British unification clash between Groves and IBF champion James DeGale next year. Groves outpointed bitter rival DeGale in May 2011.

Groves could also fight WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez, or the winner of the WBC title bout between Callum Smith and Anthony Dirrell, who meet in Los Angeles on September 9.

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Inoue overpowers Rodriguez to retain WBO belt

22/05/2017 07:54

Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs) retained his WBO super flyweight title for the fifth time when he knocked out mandatory challenger Ricardo Rodriguez (16-4, 5 KOs) on Sunday at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.

 Inoue was too strong and fast for the Mexican from the opening bell. The Japanese puncher dropped Rodriguez twice in the third round and he was counted out at 1:08 of the round.

Also on the card, IBF interim light flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13 KOs) stopped IBF champion Akira Yaegashi (25-6, 13 KOs) in two minutes 45 seconds of the first round.

It was so surprising the way Melindo, not regarded as a hard-puncher, quickly put away Yaegashi, who is well-known for his toughness.

The Filipino fighter dropped Yaegashi three times before referee Eddie Hernandez saved the Japanese veteran from further punishment. 

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