Kell Brook’s career at the highest level effectively ended in Las Vegas on Saturday night when he was stopped in the fourth-round by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Brook made a bright start, catching his orthodox opponent with stiff jabs and the occasional right hand. Once Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) switched southpaw the pattern swiftly changed.
Crawford caught the Sheffield man with a right hook that sent him into the ropes, prompting a count from referee Tony Weeks. Moments later Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) was covering up on the ropes, offering nothing in return, which led to Weeks’ intervention.
The judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage: Patricia Morse Jarman 29-28 (Crawford), Dave Moretti 29-28 (Brook), Benoit Russel 29-28 (Brook).
Brook could now retire or finally face fellow Crawford victim Amir Khan. As for the winner, he needs the biggest fights in order to match legacy with his clear talent.
Franco retains world title after controversial ending
Joshua Franco retained the WBA super-flyweight title after a farcical ending to his rematch with Andrew Maloney in the chief support. Referee Russell Mora and the Nevada Commission deemed the bout a no-decision after two completed rounds when Franco suffered right eye swelling from a proposed headbutt.
The true cause of the damage appeared to stem from a thumbed jab, landed fairly by the Australian who was rightly aggrieved.
Ted Cheeseman beats Sam Eggington in Fight Camp domestic dust-up
Matchroom Boxing returned to the promotional scene with a show in Eddie Hearn’s Brentwood backyard. The first of four Fight Camp outings was headlined by Sam Eggington and Ted Cheeseman. The latter won on points after 12 predictable rounds of non-stop, brain cell-bashing action.
Eggington took some shots in the second round and was rocked to his boots. Sam smiled, fired back and tried to get his boxing going as the rounds flew by. Eggington brawled his way back into the contest to tighten up the totals.
The judges’ scorecards:
Phil Edwards 116-113
Howard Foster 115-114
Ian John-Lewis 116-113
Sky analyst Matthew Macklin lauded the grit and determination of both men. It was decent fare and a rematch would probably be easy to make should Cheeseman want to go again rather than move on to bigger things.
“I’m a winner, I Iove winning. I’ve given my heart and soul to the sport,” said an emotional Cheeseman after the headline bout.
James Tennyson stops Gavin Gwynne in six rounds
Belfast power-puncher James Tennyson knocked out Welshman Gavin Gwynne to win the British lightweight title. Tennyson set a hot early pace but Gwynne held firm. Dropped midway through the sixth from a cracking right hook, Gwynne’s face was smashed to bits when Phil Edwards intervened at 2-30.
Wins for Wardley, Gill and Smith on the rest of the undercard
Fabio Wardley stopped Simon Vaillily in round three to win the English heavyweight title.
Jordan Gill was too sharp for Reece Bellotti, sweeping a unanimous points decision over 10 rounds.
Dalton Smith uncorked a cracking shot to finish Nathan Bennett in round five.
Former super-flyweight champion wants crack at WBC king Estrada
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is gunning for a shot at WBC super-flyweight king and old foe Juan Francisco Estrada after defeating Amnat Ruenroeng by unanimous decision in Thailand. Taking place earlier this morning, the judges returned scores of 97-94, 96-93 and 99-91 all in favour of the man known as “Wikaksil Wangek”.
Sor Rungvisai reverted to his more natural southpaw stance rather than the ill-judged orthodox stance he adopted in the Estrada rematch. The fight favourite did a good job of creating distance and avoiding the smothering tentacles of boxing’s premier spoiler.
That was until the third round when a headbutt caused a bad laceration to Sor Rungvisai’s left eyelid. Ruenroeng’s pot shots were landing and an inevitable wrestle to the floor occurred in the sixth round as the 40-year-old veteran finally implemented his mauling game.
Overall it was a solid 10 rounds for Sor Rungvisai who shipped a few clean shots as the bout progressed. The ex-champion will be a handful for any of the champions but is possibly slipping.
Rematch with Mexican belt holder the plan for Sor Rungvisai
Speaking after the bout, Sor Rungvisai said that he was satisfied with his performance and praised Ruenroeng’s preparation. The victor put Estrada on notice for a rubber match. Sor Rungvisai, 33, has been grossly inactive for a top level operator. Estrada took the WBC title from him in 2019.
Daniel Dubois must now defeat Erik Pfeiferand the big heavyweight clash is on
Joe Joyce moved to 11-0 with a third-round knockout over Germany’s Michael Wallisch at the BT Studios. Joyce took a few shots early on but dropped Wallisch with a body and head combination in the second round.
A left hook put Wallisch down again in the third round before a right hand to the jaw, followed by a left hand to the body, finished the visitor off later in that same session. Referee Ian John-Lewis called time at 57 seconds.
“I didn’t get a long training camp but it was a good step to get ready for Dubois,” said the winner.
Indeed, Joyce’s main incentive was to come through unscathed and keep alive his 24 October date with British rival Daniel Dubois. Joe wishes to get back to Las Vegas and train with Ismael Salas.
Rival Daniel Dubois said: “It was a decent performance. The guy looked like he was ready to quit after the first round. [Joyce] dismantled him pretty good.”
Bourke and Bentley ace the undercard
Chris Bourke outpointed Ramez Mahmood 96-94 on referee Bob Williams’ scorecard to win the BBBofC Southern Area super-bantamweight title. Bourke’s body attacks were paying off in the early stages but it was cat and mouse as light-punching Mahmood kept the rounds close.
Battersea puncher Denzel Bentley showed flashes of excellence against Preston tough guy Mick Hall. Bentley thumped Hall in the sixth round and Hall’s corner withdrew their man before the seventh.
Henry Turner defeated Chris Adaway (PTS4) and Louie Lynn knocked out Monty Ogilvie (TKO2).
All of our bitesize articles are under 250 words. Poster image credit to Queensberry Promotions.
Super-bantamweight title fight tops Queensberry five-fight return bill
At the tender age of 22, Brad Foster made the Lonsdale Belt his own after 12 hard rounds against unbeaten challenger James Beech Jr. Headlining inside Frank Warren’s Covid-free boxing bubble, Beech was competitive but Foster’s high octane attacks, often ending in body shots, ensured he was winning most of the rounds. Foster enjoyed plenty of success switch-hitting between stances. Game Beech (12-1, 2 KOs) was showing facial damage by the fourth.
Things got messy at the end of the fifth as British and Commonwealth king Foster stood off and elected to box from range. Scoring live for BT Sport, located within the specially-organised Stratford structure, former world champion Richie Woodhall gave Beech the round, but had Foster ahead 48-47 overall.
“I didn’t feel the best in there but I got the win and I took these belts home,” said Foster (13-0-2, 5 KOs). “I didn’t feel like I woke up until the seventh round to be honest.”
Foster is an active champion who now needs a break from the ring
After “waking up” Brad’s engine clicked in to place and he started bagging enough rounds to eventually secure a deserved unanimous verdict. Tiring badly, Beech Jr was hanging on in the final 30 seconds of the contest as Foster’s cracking body shots and right hands to the head took their toll. It was fitting to see the young man last the course and, as the old cliche goes, he can come again.
The judges were all in agreement that Brad Foster had done more than enough to retain his duel titles. Michael Alexander totalled 116-113 in favour of Foster, while Howard Foster and Terry O’Connor both had it 117-111 to the same man.
Foster added: “I want a break, take a little rest, then we can have a think about it [what’s next] with my team.”
“It was a great fight,” agreed BT pundit David Haye, who commended Foster for his extra quality of punch. “He looks very good. A switch-hitter, a great all-round athlete. He will start looking at European and possibly world titles.”
Steve Bunce pointed out the fact that Foster had gone through five British title fights in 16 months. The champion confessed he was tired, but still looks forward to a night on the tiles.
Sheeraz Kean on another stoppage win
Fearsome Hamzah Sheeraz improved his record to 11-0 with a seventh career stoppage. Sheeraz resisted the temptation to let the big shots fly against a tentative, overmatched foe and instead dissected Paul Kean round-by-round before the Scottish boxer’s corner decided he had no business continuing in to the seventh round and beyond.
Sheeraz kept hold of the WBO European super-welterweight bauble that he won against Ryan Kelly last November. Marcus McDonnell, Michael Alexander and Terry O’Connor were the unused judges. Gangly Sheeraz needed a mere two minutes to affirm his position as the dominant puncher. A flashing right hand left the Scottish southpaw on his back for a count.
Patient Sheeraz kept working behind a stiff jab as Kean (12-2, 1 KO) wisely spent the majority of the first two sessions on the back foot. Kean’s bloodied nose and damaged eye showed the intensity of Sheeraz’s two-fisted assaults. The Dundee challenger was being knocked about in the corner at the end of round five. Referee Howard Foster was hovering close by.
Kean’s corner mercifully stopped their man from coming out for more punishment after six one-sided sessions. Sheeraz later admitted that having no crowd meant he was more inclined to step back and let his opponent see out the rounds, rather than respond to the noise and seek to get his man out of there.
Adelaye too hot for Gordon
Heavyweight prospect David Adeleye has been making a name for himself on the sparring circuit. The Londoner sprinted to 2-0 with stoppage number two as Matt Gordon (2-3-1) felt the full force. Tattooed Gordon was felled in the corner by a heavy barrage and referee Michael Alexander did not like what he saw after doling out a count.
Krasmaru outpoints Williams
London-based Ukrainian Dorin Krasmaru outpointed battle-hardened journeyman Phil Williams. Krasmaru makes up in punching power what he lacks in mobility. Williams was always on the back foot and conceded every round on Michael Alexander’s single scorecard.
Chamberlain opens with a KO win
In the opening bout of the evening Mark Chamberlain (6-0) wasted little time removing overmatched Stu Greener (3-5) at lightweight. Southpaw Chamberlain was landing with both hands when referee Michael Alexander pulled Greener out in the first.
Frank Warren was the first UK promoter to return to the scene. BBBofC secretary Robert Smith told Steve Bunce that he was pleased with the evening’s action and would sit down with his staff to assess the good and the bad.
Not all of the fights were ultra-competitive as the matchmaker played it safe on Warren’s first show back. Sheeraz and Adelaye both looked extremely impressive, with much tougher tests to come down the line.
Boxing is back! Top Rank have spent the last couple of weeks reminding us, in case you might be in danger of forgetting. It’s not so much Lampley, Merchant and Jones on HBO, but more Fish, Chips and Scraps on Spike or Frank Maloney on Loaded TV as Bob Arum’s premier Stateside outfit rush to fulfill contractual obligations with their ESPN broadcast partner.
First up, on June 9, was WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson, competing in a non-title 10-rounder against little-known Felix Caraballo. An underwhelming yet completely understanding relacement, after Miguel Marriaga and Rafael Rivera were both unable to attend, Caraballo was chopped down and bagged up in round six as Shakur ruthlessly hunted the body.
Comparing Stevenson to the imperious Floyd Mayweather is unhelpful. Floyd was one of a kind, a once-in-a-generation talent. To even come close to matching Mayweather’s roster of work would be a massive achievement. Hype merchants like Tim Bradley or the grandaddy of boxing’s fireside yarns, Mark Kriegel, should step aside and let Shakur naturally develop in to his own man.
“Everything about this fight week was different. After my last fight was canceled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans,” said Stevenson, improving to 14-0 with knockout number eight.
“He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”
Taking place in a sterile bubble portion of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the rest of the card was an exercise in caution. Tame mismatches over shorter distances were probably designed to avoid any blood-and-guts spectacles. Bodily fluids flying around the ring over championship distances would give off a bad look.
Next up on the schedule was former world champion Jessie Magdaleno. To think that this man once beat Nonito Donaire seems like a weird anomaly now, given how far his career prospects have drifted.
With all footage displaying the now-customary images of fighters, staff and corner teams slinking around weigh-ins and fight nights with personalised face masks, looking like they were ready to hold-up a newsagent, it was opponent Yenifel Vicente who tried most to circumnavigate the rulebook.
At the end of a scrappy 10 rounds, veteran referee Robert Byrd decided that his patience with the underdog had finally run out and the third man disqualified Vicente who had spent the majority of his 30 minute endevours building up an accumulation of fouls and low blows. Magdaleno looked good in patches, knocking Vicente down twice and enhancing his record to 28-1.
Now up in weight, the winner wants WBC 126-pound king Gary Russell. Given the fact that Russell barely fights once a year, Jessie may have to look elsewhere for opportunities.
The relative mediocrity continued in the village bubble on June 16 as WBO number one bantamweight contender Joshua Greer lost over 10 rounds to “Magic” Mike Plania. The Filipino knocked down Greer twice and, despite a late onslaught, held on to win a majority decision.
It was an upset of sorts. Greer, however, was never really anything to shout about, and the WBO’s relationship with Bob Arum no doubt aided his lofty ranking.
“This win is going to change my life,” Plania remarked. “I thought I could knock him out after the knockdown in the first round, but he was tough and adjusted his strategy.”
Former world champion Antonio DeMarco -now being used as a gatekeeper- helped ease prospect Giovanni Santillan to the next level over 10 rounds.
Keep an eye out for middleweight prospect Nikoloz “The Experiment” Sekhniashvili (for the nickname alone) who moved to 6-0 on the undercard.
The fights were flowing thick and fast by the time Gabriel Flores entered centre stage for the first time, against Josec Ruiz. Reared on the tough streets of Honduras, veteran campaigner Ruiz was tough enough to lose by 11 points on all three cards, by way of 10 shutout rounds and a second round knockdown.
This was all about Flores and how he dealt with being the main man after the original headline attraction was scrapped. Jose Pedraza had been due to box Mikkel LesPierre in what was one of the more intriguing comeback bouts of boxing’s tentative return, post-Covid 19. LesPierre’s manager tested positive and the bout was canned.
On the Flores undercard, Clay Collard pulled off a shock by defeating David Kaminsky over six rounds. Collard showed that despite his limitations in ability, fit and ready fighters may well flourish over the next few months.
Current world champion Emanuel Navarrete keeps busy up at featherweight on Saturday evening against Uriel Lopez who has 13 losses and 13 wins on the slate. Sports fans worldwide are apparently starving for action.
The fights that have been served up so far, mixed with what has already been promised over the coming weeks, may well test the veracity of that sentiment.
All photo and image credits: Top Rank and Mikey Williams