The War Report: Down the backstreets (Week 3, 2017)
Fight of the Week
Cedric Vitu UD 12 Isaac Real (154) | Paris, France
In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, everything seemed fine for Vitu after outboxing his Spanish opponent in round one,but once Real found a home for his right hand, a fight broke out. It started in the opening moments of the second, when Real landed a big overhand right. The fight quickly turned into a back-and-forth melee until the waning seconds of the third, when Real dropped Vitu with that same overhand right.
Vitu, 45-2 (18), wasn’t dismayed, being down early in the fight, and fought fire with fire going into the middle rounds. He had the clear advantage in hand speed and, after taking turns hitting each other in the pocket, the combinations Vitu put together were more glaring. Real was not difficult to hit and Vitu took advantage of that in the ninth round once, mixing in an uppercut that momentarily stunned the Spaniard.
Real, 16-2-1 (9), was willing to take a punch in order to deliver one the entire fight and it paid off once again to open the 11th round. Within its first five seconds, Real landed another big right hand with the first punch he threw. He proceeded to force Vitu to fight backward and, for much of the 11th, his back was glued to the ropes. Real continued his frenzied pace into the final round,and, midway through it, he landed another big right hand that looked to have hurt Vitu.
The Frenchman was in his shell with less than a minute remaining in the fight, and Real unraveled wild right hands, hoping to take the result out of the judges’ hands. Then, out of nowhere, Vitu landed a perfect counter right hand that caught Real’s chin. With 30 seconds left in the fight, Real’s legs almost gave out and Vitu relished the opportunity to shine in the fight’s final moments. Vitu got the victory with a unanimous decision (115-112, 115-113, 117-111) but Real gave him all he could handle in the best fight of a slow weekend.
KOs of the Week
Darmani Rock KO 5 Solomon Maye (200+) | Atlantic City, New Jersey
— the13thround.com (@the13thround) January 21, 2017
Rock, 7-0 (5), a 20-year old heavyweight prospect out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, put every ounce of his 250-pound frame into a right hand that abruptly put Maye to sleep. Maye, 3-8-2 (3), who is 22 years older than Rock, was out before face-planting onto the mat and not even the crash could wake him from his slumber. By all accounts, Maye was OK after the knockout – one in which he and Rock probably didn’t feel.
Robbie Davies Jr. KO 9 Zoltan Szabo (140) | Preston, England
Davies, 15-0 (11), broke his Hungarian opponent down through nine rounds but a left to the liver highlighted a nice performance by the 27-year-old Brit. Szabo, 13-4 (6), probably hated life for the time he had to endure the agony of the shot. He was hunched over on his knees for a good minute while Davies strutted around the ring and even when the official particulars of the fight were announced minutes later, Szabo was still trapped in the proverbial hell.
Fanlong Meng KO 1 Gasan Gasanov (175) | Shijiazhuang, China
In a match-up of light heavyweight southpaws, Meng, 10-0 (7), stopped Gasanov in his tracks with a beautiful left uppercut to the body in round one. Gasanov, 12-5-1 (10), charged forward with an overhand left but Meng stayed poised to deliver the body shot after corralling him with a right hand. The Russian quickly went to a knee once fully realizing the pain he was in and was still hunched over once getting back to his feet. Nicknamed “Cold Blood”, Meng, Chifeng, China, could be seen pumping his fist in the neutral corner
Fighter of the Week
Daniel Roman (22-2-1, 8 KOs)
Roman had an exquisite performance in the biggest fight of his young career. It was the first time the 26-year-old had ever got the chance to fight on television, or outside his home state of California for that matter, but the spotlight wasn’t too bright for “The Baby Faced Assassin” last Friday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Fighting Adam Lopez in the main event of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” card on Showtime, Roman was calm and collected while imposing a slow beating. His counter left uppercut had Lopez guessing early in the fight and Roman proceeded to box is ears off up until the fourth round. It was early in that round when Roman hurt Lopez to the body before landing a left hand that knocked him down. Roman showed tremendous accuracy with his combination punching moments later and Lopez crumbled to the floor again. It was a wonder how Lopez managed to survive the fourth round and referee Harvey Dock could’ve probably stopped it then as he continued to get beaten up for the last minute of the round.
His face now starting to become bludgeoned, Lopez showed guts as he tried to get himself back into the fight in rounds five and six but Roman never let it happen. It was easy pickings for him once his opponent got desperate and, by the end of the seventh, Lopez’s face was a mess after Roman reintroduced that left uppercut. The thud at the end of Roman’s punches became increasingly louder as the beating continued through the eighth and the dominance was getting uncomfortable. Lopez’s trainer Ronnie Shields gave his fighter one more round before the ninth and after more of the same recurred in those three minutes, he put an end to the drubbing.
Roman dominated in just about every facet of the fight and he handed Lopez, 16-1-1 (8), the first defeat of his career. Adding to its impressiveness was Roman’s disposition throughout the fight. It was near-perfect and, in the post-fight interview, Showtime’s Steve Farhood eluded to that notion by suggesting they keep tape of this performance off YouTube for future opponents to see, So far, they have but Roman will be seen again after winning this junior featherweight title elimination bout set by the WBA. Roman took a big step forward for title contention with the win and Nehomar Cermeño looks to be the next step in order to face the WBA’s 122-pound champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Hostile Agents of the Week
Hasiquio Balderas (writer)
In a report by Paul Gift for BloodyElbow,com, many details emerged in Golden Boy Promotions’ antitrust lawsuit against Al Haymon. Within the report, disparaging emails between representatives of Golden Boy and a certain media member came to light. Balderas, a writer for various websites, including RingTV.com – which is owned by Golden Boy – unabashedly called Haymon the N-word in one email to Ramiro Gonzalez (Golden Boy’s PR Director) and, under the same hateful breath, somehow compared the adviser to Hitler in another.
You’d be hard-pressed to find the work Balderas has done as a boxing reporter – a term that’s used loosely these days – but whatever he’s done isn’t important, if ever it was. It just goes to show how anyone can be a member of the boxing media if he tried hard enough. Speaking as someone part of that bunch for the past two years plus, I had never seen or heard of Balderas before this story was released. His twitter account says a lot about him, however, and, in it, you will find a selfie-loving knob job whose biases are as clear as day. The only things unclear are all the feeble attempts of photographs Balderas attempts to take.
It’s understood that Golden Boy can’t control what’s said by some idiot in an email thread but accepting that type of behavior isn’t a good look. Surely there will be more dirt dug up once this trial goes forward – unless, of course they settle out of court – an agreement usually inspired by not wanting to show their own books. In the meantime, Balderas needs to take a walk down the backstreets.
The father and trainer of Danny Garcia, Angel embarrassed himself in the press conference officially announcing his son’s March 4 welterweight title unification bout with Keith Thurman. It’d be naive to be shocked by Angel’s actions and language but you can still see the suits on the dais cringe while he spoke at the mic. The only ones who seemed to enjoy it were probably the media – knowing what they were capturing would be a hit on their YouTube channels. Angel wouldn’t stop either, once taking advantage of a mic set in front of his seat. There, Angel could be heard telling off Kelly Swanson, a PR Director for Haymon clients. She was trying to calm him down but Angel made it a point to remind her that he’s 53 years old and that no one needs to tell him to stop. It was a perfect way for him to end the childish tirade.
Meanwhile, throughout the whole ordeal, Danny could be seen sitting there quietly as his dad made a fool of himself and blatantly disrespected Swanson. The father-son combo seem to be polar opposites at the root of their personalities and Danny takes a lot of unwarranted flack that’s generated through his father. The two are inseparable for the time being, however, and hopefully Angel’s tough-guy mentality doesn’t drag Danny down the backstreets.
Quick results of notable fights this past week (In order of weight class)
Darmani Rock KO 5 Solomon Maye (200+)
Zhilei Zhang KO 1 Peter Graham (200+)
Junior Anthony Wright KO 2 Damon McCreary (200) | Detroit, Michigan
Fanlong Meng KO 1 Gasan Gasanov (175)
Patrick Nielsen UD 10 Beibi Berrocal (168) | 98-91, 98-91, 98-91
Derrick Webster UD 10 Thomas Awimbono (168) | 100-92, 98-92, 98-92
Ronald Ellis UD 8 Christopher Brooker (168) | 79-73, 79-73, 77-75
Robert Brant TKO 1 Alexis Hloros (160)
Jack Arnfield TKO 11 Mick Hall (160)
Skender Halili TKO 5 Romon Barber (154)
Cedric Vitu UD 12 Isaac Real (154) | 115-113, 115-112, 117-111
Kenneth Sims Jr. UD 8 Emmanuel Robles (140) | 79-72, 79-72, 78-73
Zab Judah TKO 2 Jorge Luis Munguia (140)
Andreas Maier TKO 1 Atif Shafiq (140)
Robbie Davies Jr. KO 9 Zoltan Szabo (140)
Marvin Petit TKO 7 Juan Ocura (135)
Duarn Vue TKO 2 Lance Williams (130)
Daniel Roman TKO 9 Adam Lopez (122)
Stephon Young UD 8 Olimjon Nazarov (118) | 77-75, 78-74, 78-74
Leroy Davila TKO 3 Anthony Taylor (118)
James Smith TKO 1 Szilveszter Ajtai (118) | Detroit, Michigan
Tibo Monabesa UD12 Rene Patilano (108) | 116-112, 116-112, 117-111
Declarations of War
Fights made over the past week (In order of weight class)
Dominic Breazeale vs. Izu Ugonoh (200+) | Feb. 25 – Birmingham, Alabama | Originally slated to face Artur Szpilka (out due to injury), Breazeale, 17-1 (15), will still take on a Polish heavyweight but this one is making his American debut. Born to Nigerian parents in Poland, Ugonoh, 17-0 (14), is a physical specimen standing 6-feet 5 and weighing up to 250-pounds of solid muscle. No slouch of his own at 6-foot-7, Breazeale, is coming off a knockout loss to the preeminent “Mr. Universe” of boxing today, IBF titlist Anthony Joshua. This match-up serves as the co-feature to Deontay Wilder vs. Andrzej Wawrzyk (WBC 200+) on FOX.
Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis (200) | April 1- Dortmund, Germany | Huck, 40-3-1 (27), looks to return to cruiserweight prominence with this WBC-sanctioned bout for its interim cruiserweight title. Tony Bellew, the current holder of the WBC 200-pound belt, fights at heavyweight vs. David Haye on March 4. Huck had the last dominant title reign in the class, tying Johnny Nelson with 13 consecutive defense until he lost in August 2015. Fighting out of Latvia, Briedis, 21-0 (18), is the No.1 contender in the WBC rankings and Huck is No.2.
David Lemieux vs. Curtis Stevens (160) | March 11 – Verona, New York | The main event of an “HBO Boxing After Dark telecast,” this middleweight contest has been anticipated for some time. Lemieux, 36-3 (32), Montreal, Quebec, goes for his third win in a row since losing the IBF title to the current middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin. Also a past victim of “GGG,” Stevens, 29-5 (21), Brooklyn, New York, rattled off a couple wins in 2016 as well and if either wants another shot at the middleweight crown, these two knockout punchers must get through one another first. A co-feature for the HBO telecast has yet to be determined.
Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia (WBA/WBC 147 unification) | March 4 – Brooklyn, New York | The fight was made weeks ago but this welterweight title unification bout officially lands at the Barclays Center and the Showtime production will air live on CBS. Holder of the WBA title since Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement, Thurman, 27-0 (22), is coming off a big win over Shawn Porter last June – his only defense of the belt. Garcia, 33-0 (19), has yet to defend his WBC title after beating Robert Guerrero a year ago to save it from vacancy. Deeming the opponent unfit, the WBC did not sanction his knockout win over Samuel Vargas last November. Regardless, this will go down as one of the biggest fights of 2017.
Kid Galahad vs. Joseph Agbeko (126) | Feb. 4 – London, England | Galahad, 21-0 (12), gets his first big fight since serving a long suspension after testing positive for a banned substance (stanozolol) after a September 2014 victory. The 26-year-old stopped three opponents since making his return last April but those foes are incomparable to Agbeko, 31-5 (23).
Michael Conlan vs. Tim Ibarra (122) | March 17 – New York, New York | An Irish Olympian who made unconventional waves this past summer in Rio, Conlan will make his professional debut headlining a Top Rank Promotions card at The Theater in Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day, on the eve of Golovkin-Jacobs (WBA/WBC/IBF 160). Already expected to be a raucous crowd for the 25-year old’s debut, UFC superstar Conor McGregor will help that cause already agreeing to walk Conlan to the ring to face Ibarra, 4-4 (1).
Tomoki Kameda vs. Mike Tawatchai (122) | March 10 – Tokyo, Japan | Kameda, 32-2 (20), will fight in his home country for the first time in a little over three years. After a tour in the United States, where he endured two back-to-back decision losses to the U.K.’s Jamie McDonnell, Kameda returns home to face a tough Thai opponent in Tawatchai, 42-9-1 (25).
This week’s boxing schedule
Television schedule (U.S.)
Friday, Jan. 27
UniMas (11:00 p.m. ET/8 PT) | Sportsmen’s Lodge – Studio City, California
Erick De Leon vs. Jose Salinas (130) | Headlining a Top Rank card, De Leon, 14-0 (8), a 24-year-old Mexican southpaw, will try and showcase his skills against Salinas, 10-2-1 (5), a fighter out of New Mexico, who’s normally accustomed to fighting at lightweight.
Arnold Barboza Jr. vs. Johnny Rodriguez (147) | Having five wins in each of the past two calendar years, Barboza, 14-0 (5), begins 2017 with a solid opponent in Rodriguez, 8-1-1 (5).
Alexander Besputin vs. Gilberto Pereira dos Santos (154) | Besputin, 5-0 (5), is a Russian junior middleweight prospect to keep an eye on. The 25-year-old, who now lives and trains out of Glendale, California, has an accomplished amateur background and, if Pereira dos Santos, 12-4 (9), is as tricky as every other Brazilian boxer, Besputin should get some good experience.
Saturday, Jan. 28
Showtime Extreme (8:00 p.m ET/5 PT) | MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada
Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros (IBF 126) | Referred to overseas as “The Welsh Mayweather,” Selby, 23-1 (8), looks to defend his IBF featherweight title for the third time after having only one fight in 2016. Barros, 41-4-1 (22), is coming off a big split decision win in Japan over Satoshi Hosono last October and, just like every anonymous Argentinian fighter, you never know what you’re gonna get.
Josh Taylor vs. TBA (154) | Taylor, 7-0 (7), a 26-year-old Scottish prospect, will open the U.K.-inspired Showtime Extreme card against an opponent yet to be announced. Whomever that may be is no matter, however, as this is merely an introduction of a man they call “The Tartan Tornado.”
Showtime (10:00 p.m. ET/7 PT) | MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada
Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz II (WBA 126) | An immediate rematch of last July’s “Fight of the Year” candidate, Frampton, 23-0 (14), looks to defend the WBA featherweight title for the first time after taking it from Santa Cruz via unanimous decision. Santa Cruz, 32-1-1 (18), was clearly beaten by the Irishman in his first defeat but leading up to fight week, the Mexican fighting out of Rosemead, California has realized he needs to be more aggressive in the rematch. With the expectation of that awareness being fulfilled this Saturday night, and seeing as how fun the first one was, this is a can’t-miss fight.
Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia (WBC 135) | After a 30-month absence in the ring, Garcia, 35-0 (29), made his return last July on the undercard of Santa Cruz-Frampton but, this time around, he looks to make a splash by fighting for a world title against a tough opponent. Holder of the WBC lightweight belt, Zlaticanin, 22-0 (15), is a strong southpaw who won the vacant title with an easy knockout of Franklin Mamani last June. Garcia, 29, who previously won titles at featherweight and junior lightweight, is no Mamani and, while he too is coming off an outclassing stoppage, the match-up with Zlaticanin should be competitive.
HBO (10:00 p.m. ET/ 7 PT) | Fantasy Springs Hotel & Casino – Indio, California
Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt (WBC 130) | The last two fights in which “El Bandido” has participated have happened to be surefire “Fight of the Year” candidates. Holder of the WBC junior lightweight title, Vargas, 23-0-2 (17), had to take time to heal from the action-packed draw he had with Orlando Salido last June and his opponent this Saturday night could push him toward an unprecedented third “FOTY” in a row. Berchelt, 30-1 (27), gets his first world title shot after knocking out just about every opponent put in front of him in Mexico. The 25-year-old power puncher is a classic Mexican fighter and Vargas has a handful if he gets into another toe-to-toe scrap that headlines an HBO Boxing After Dark telecast.
Takashi Miura vs. Miguel Roman (130) | Miura, 30-3-2 (23), who lost the WBC junior lightweight title to Vargas in a November 2015 “FOTY” candidate, hopes to inch himself closer to avenging the knockout defeat. Roman, 56-11 (43), is riding an 18-fight win streak and 15 of those victories came by way of knockout. That was all against menial opposition, of course, but this match-up rounds out an HBO doubleheader that is blatantly trying to produce unmitigated violence.
Notable fights this week not on TV
In order of weight class
Wednesday, Jan. 25
Wanheng Menayothin vs. Melvin Jerusalem (WBC 105) | Phitsanuloke, Thailand
Friday, Jan. 27
Bakhram Murtazaliev vs. Marcus Beckford (160) | Studio City, California
John Vera vs. Salim Larbi (154) | Phoenix, Arizona
Maxim Dadashev vs. Jerome Rodriguez (140) | Studio City, California
Robson Conceicao vs. Aaron Ely (130) | Studio City, California
Keenan Carbajal vs. Gustavo Molina (126) | Phoenix, Arizona
Felix Alvarado vs. Roberto Rodriguez (115) | Managua, Nicaragua
Saturday, Jan. 28
Simon Kean vs. Avery Gibson (200+) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
David Benavidez vs. Sherali Mamajonov (168) | Las Vegas, Nevada
Tureano Johnson vs. Antonio Gutierrez (160) | Indio, California
Steven Butler vs. Brandon Cook (154) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cecilia Braekhus vs. Klara Svensson (IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO 147) | Oslo, Norway
Sadam Ali vs. Jorge Silva (147) | Indio, California
Jaron Ennis vs. TBA (147) | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yves Ulysse Jr. vs. Jose Emilio Perea (140) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hevinson Herrera vs. Roiman Villa (140) | Puerto Colombia, Colombia
Ayaz Hussain vs. Ulises Perez (140) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nicolas Gonzalez vs. Jaider Parra (140) | Madrid, Spain
Batyrzhan Jukembayev vs. David Rangel (140) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Lamont Roach Jr. vs. Alejandro Valdez (135) | Indio, California
Ablaikhan Khussainov vs. Oscar Mejia (135) | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Ivan Redkach vs TBA (135) | Las Vegas, Nevada
Sergio Prado vs. Marc Vidal (126) | Madrid, Spain
Jorge Lara vs. Oktay Takalak (126) | Las Vegas, Nevada
Iwan Zoda vs. Robert Onggocan (112) | Pontianak, Thailand
Sunday, Jan. 29
Raphael Tronche vs. Bogdan Dinu (200+) | Macao, China
Carlos Takam vs. Marcin Rekowski (200+) | Macao, China
Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (IBF 115) | Macao, China