Last week in boxing: May 24, 2017

Lightweight contender Ray Beltran (right) vs. Jonathan Maicelo. Photo credit: Top Rank Inc.

 

Well, punches were certainly flying in (and out of) boxing rings all over the world over the last few days.

With lots of titles being defended, lots of fighters looking to make their moves toward title shots and lots of controversy stemming from the Anthony Dirrell-Jose Uzcategui bout in Oxon Hill, Maryland, boxing fans certainly had lots to see and talk about from last weekend.

* Unbeaten Naoya “Monster” Inoue, 13-0 (11), successfully defended his WBO 115-pound belt with a third round KO over Ricardo Rodriguez, 16-4 (5), on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.

Also in Tokyo, IBF interim junior flyweight champ Milan Melindo, 36-2 (13), unified the IBF belts as he beat IBF “full” titlist Akira Yaegashi, 25-6 (13), by first round stoppage.

* WBC/WBO super lightweight champion Terence Crawford, 31-0 (22), scored a10th round stoppage over 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz, 19-2 (9), on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fight fans would love to see Crawford and WBO welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao later in the year.

Also at MSG, former two-time title challenger Ray Beltran, 33-7-1 (21), scored a beautiful second round KO over Jonathan Maicelo, 25-3 (12), in a clash for the WBA International, NABF and NABO titles. In round one, Beltran was knocked down (in what appeared to be a clash of heads, more much as anything) but in round two, Beltran connected with a fight-ending left hook, knocking Maicelo out cold.

* In a WBC super middleweight eliminator, unbeaten David Benavidez, 18-0 (17), scored an eighth round TKO over former world title challenger Rogelio “Porky” Medina, 37-8 (31), on Saturday night in Laredo, Texas. Benavidez, who landed power shots all night long, dropped Porky in rounds six, seven and eight, finally finishing off a too-tough-for-his-own-good Medina in round eight with another knockdown. Let’s hope the veteran Medina doesn’t suffer too many more bouts like that. Ouch!

* Gary Russell Jr., 28-1 (17), scored a seventh round stoppage over Oscar Escandon, 25-3 (17), to retain his WBC featherweight championship at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on Saturday night.

And in a bout that lit up social media after it was over, Flint, Michigan super middleweight Andre Dirrell won the interim IBF super middleweight title by eighth round disqualification over Jose Uzcategui. After the bell rang to end the eighth round, Uzcategui landed a crushing left hand that dropped Dirrell to the canvas. Referee Bill Clancy immediately ruled the punch came after the bell and Dirrell was awarded the victory by disqualification. Shortly afterward, Dirrell’s uncle and cornerman Leon Lawson Jr. viciously struck Uzcategui in his own corner. Police are currently looking for Lawson and charges are pending. Replays clearly show that the punches landed were part of a combination that was already being thrown when the bell rang (and, in reality, no punches were actually thrown after the bell). There didn’t appear to be any intent on the part of Uzcategui to land punches (intentionally) after the bell. At worst he should have been deducted a point and the bout should have gone to the scorecards. There will be much more to come on this bout and its controversial ending.

* IBF world super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis, 18-0 (17), scored a third round stoppage over Liam Walsh, 21-2 (14), on Saturday night in London. The Mayweather Promotions fighter is being touted by Floyd Jr. as the fighter on whom to keep an eye as a future star in boxing.

* Shiro Ken, 10-0 (5), took the WBC light flyweight belt getting by defending champ Ganigan Lopez, 28-7 (17), of Mexico by close majority decision Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.

Also in Tokyo, unbeaten Daigo Higa, 13-0 (13), picked up the vacant WBC flyweight belt with a sixth round TKO victory over ex-champ Juan Hernandez Navarrete, 34-3 (25).

Also, Hassan N’Dam, 36-2 (21), won the vacant WBA “regular” middleweight belt via split decision over Ryota Murata, 12-1 (9). After the bout, WBA President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza Jr. issued a statement regarding the controversial scoring of the bout. Judge Raul Caiz Sr. scored it 117-110 for Murata but judges Gustavo Padilla and Hubert Earl raised eyebrows by somehow scoring the bout 116-111 and 115-112, respectively, for N’Dam.

Said Mendoza, “I feel angry and frustrated for not being able to serve the sport with the right decisions. After judging the bout, my scorecard is 117-110 for Murata. First of all, let me apologize to Ryota Murata, Teiken Promotions and ALL Japanese boxing fans. There are no words how to repair the damage caused by the poor decision. I will demand the championship committee order a direct rematch.”

* WBO junior flyweight champ Kosei Tanaka, 9-0 (5), of Japan, beat mandatory challenger Angel Acosta, 16-1 (16), of Puerto Rico, by unanimous decision Saturday in Nagoya, Japan.

* Loved the four-part series “Camp Life” presented by Top Rank Inc. The series gave a good look at life inside the training camp for world champion Terence Crawford. Great job by host Crystina Poncher. Hopefully this will be the start of regular episodes featuring more stars on Top Rank’s roster.

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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