Teofimo Lopez vs. Steve Claggett – 6/29/2024 Fight Report by Shutterworth

The last time I covered a live boxing event it was back in January 2020 and was the only event any Ring Gang Radio member would attend that year because the world changed significantly after Jake Paul’s first professional fight. Hopefully no pandemic is on the horizon at the moment. Well, lets get to the night of fights and my reintroduction to covering boxing events. The night started off chaotic because due to unforeseen circumstances, I reached the James L Knight center late. From there I proceeded with the wild goose chase to get my credentials. After speaking with a half dozen people and searching several corridors and rooms, I was finally able to locate the space allocated for Top Rank. I picked up my credential and now I’m official.

I arrived at my seat midway through the 5th round of the Elvis Rodriguez vs Jino Rodrigo bout around 8:47pm.

6th Round – Elvis controls the round with pressure and a jab. Rodrigo landed a good body shot.

7th Round – Rodrigo is now stalking Elvis and lands lots of body shots in the beginning. They proceed to get into more exchanges where lots of hooks are landed upstairs and downstairs from both fighters.

8th Round – This round is a bit more chippy as Elvis manages to buzz Rodrigo a few times with well placed hooks while forcing exchanges.

9th Round – Both boxers have been trading rounds with aggression. They clinch more in this round than the previous ones. Elvis manages to find a home for the straight left now.

10th Round – More exchanges happen between both combatants. They clinch as they get tired and the exchanges become more sporadic. Elvis gets buzzed and slightly hurt during this round.

Verdict – Elvis wins a unanimous decision, but didn’t look as dominant as the scores indicated. Keep in mind I only saw half the fight.

Emilliano Fernando Vargas vs Jose Zaragoza

1st Round – Vargas starts off pressure boxing and scores a mean knockdown with a big right hand. Zaragoza gets up and proceeds to get pummeled for another 20 seconds until the referee mercifully stops it. Great performance from Vargas. That young man is going places.

Nico Ali Walsh vs Sona Akale 2

1st Round – Ali is out for blood in the highly anticipated rematch and starts off aggressive. He lands several heavy right hands. One stuns Akale who only managed to land some decent jabs during the round.

2nd Round – Ali boxes more and relents on the pressure. Akale does a good job of controlling the round with jabs to the body. This round was closer due to Ali being on the back-foot more and creating less exchanges.

3rd Round – So far, Ali’s defense seems better than it was for the first fight. This is probably because he’s trying to box more. Akale is struggling to get consistent offense going while Ali lands the jab. Akale finally lands a hard right hand that rocks and sends Ali into a corner. The crowd erupts when they start trading and Ali scores a big knockdown with a nice right hand.

4th Round – Akale increases the pressure and lands a couple of hard right hands on Ali who is now running away from his opponent instead of boxing. Akale continues to chase Ali to the ropes where Ali valiantly fights back to stifle the offense of his opponent to no avail.

5th Round – Ali continues to get worked on the ropes all while Akale manages to find a home for his overhand right. He lands this punch almost at will and begins to hurt Ali more often now, especially in the last 30 seconds of the round.

6th Round – Ali starts to box again on the move, He starts pushing his right hand due to being exhausted. He looks like he hurt his shoulder and starts to move even more while Akale continues to work the body. Although, Akale batters Ali around the ring for the final round, he never hurts him as badly as he did in the previous round.

Verdict – Ali wins a controversial unanimous decision and is met by a symphony of boos from everyone in attendance. Everyone in the theater was in shock as they heard the decision. Ali showed grit, but still came up short against Akale who improved his punching technique from the first fight. Lucky for him, the official judges saw it differently.

Brandon Lee Benitez vs Robeisy Ramirez

1st Round – Ramirez controlled the round with his jab. Neither landed much,but Ramirez stayed in control as the ring general.

2nd Round – Benitez is following Ramirez, but not throwing much. Ramirez finally connects with a big straight left. Benitez starts getting a little more consistent and begins to target the body. Ramirez stalks behind a jab and gets more offensive, finishing the round with a hard left to the body.

3rd Round – Benitez ups the pressure and pays for with combinations an aggression from Ramirez who is starting to have his way offensively. He lands body and head combos on Benitez repeatedly.

4th Round – Benitez finally gets his offense going consistently by body punching. Unfortunately, Ramirez is making him pay for it every step of the way. Ramirez is moving around more while still landing hard shots.

5th Round – Ramirez picking his shots while Benitez tries to hang tough while still coming forward. Ramirez buzzed Benitez during this round as well.

6th Round – The pace has slowed down, but Ramirez continues to dominate by landing hard counters. Benitez is still landing the occasional hard body shot.

7th Round – Benitez is still applying pressure and landing body shot combos. He doesn’t seem to be discouraged by the hard punching Ramirez who starts to take a breather during this round. After a quick break, he turns it up again and starts landing a vicious succession of punches. Ramirez scores a double uppercut brutal knockdown. The crowd goes wild. Great showing by Ramirez.

Steve Claggett vs Teofimo Lopez

1st Round – We now reach the main event of tonight’s broadcast. Claggett starts off fast with the pressure. Teofimo gets caught with some jabs, but responds with hard counter punches. Very competitive round.

2nd Round – Claggett gets Teofimo to move backwards quickly due to his unrelenting pressure, but Teofimo responds with some nice counters to the body and the head. Teofimo’s defense is leaving a lot to be desired as Claggett opens up more offensively.

3rd Round – At this point, Teofimo is going life and death with Claggett as they repeatedly exchange punches with each other. Teofimo’s only saving grace is that his punches are more impactful.

4th Round – Teofimo continues to land quality punches, but they come one at a time and in between Claggett’s spirited rallies. Teofimo continues to give up ground and go to the ropes while Claggett marches forward, the least bit discouraged.

5th Round – Although during certain exchanges Claggett appears to be getting dog walked, he is tough and continues to make Teofimo back up who responds with some hard uppercuts. Claggett answers back with triple jabs every time Teofimo manages to get the better of the exchanges.

6th Round – Both boxers are throwing much more than before. Claggett increased his work rate, but still not landing as much as Teofimo who tees off on certain shots. The damage from Claggetts jabs are starting to show on Teofimo’s face. This was another competitive round.

7th Round – Teofimo is continuing to struggle with controlling the ring as he’s repeatedly forced to the ropes. For every hard punch he lands, he eats three Claggett jabs in return. Claggett even manages to land some chopping right hands on the inside and is having one of his better rounds. Teofimo bounces back towards the end of the round by unleashing a heavy barrage of punches on Claggett.

8th Round – Teofimo begins the round eating more jabs and the fight is now getting repetitive at this point. Teofimo must have noticed the disinterest in the crowd because he turns everything around halfway into the round and stuns Claggett badly, almost stopping him on the ropes. Claggett survives this rough spot and Teo has his most dominant round in the fight.

9th Round – Teofimo finally has full control of the ring and looked as if he caught his second wind offensively.

10th Round – Teofimo is dominating now and has tamed the game Claggett who hasn’t completely given up yet. Claggett hasn’t landed anything significant in a while and gets hurt again by Teofimo with a hard combination.

11th Round – Claggett tries to stage a late fight comeback and keeps Teofimo on the ropes. Teofimo is still landing hard punches, just not as frequently as before. This is probably the closest round since Claggett got hurt badly in the 8th.

12th Round – Teofimo power boxes through the final round, but still gets tagged a lot by Claggett who’s pressure went up a notch. Both fighters exchange blows until the final bell.

Verdict – Teofimo Lopez wins a wide unanimous decision, but is was far from an easy night of work. His face wore the wounds of someone who had a 12 round war and not a lop-sided decision. Teofimo made the fight much harder than it needed to be, but the fans didn’t mind the fun scrap between the two.

All in all, this was a pretty entertaining night of fights presented by Top Rank and ESPN. The card’s pace flowed pretty quickly and the fans were able to get some brutal knockouts along with some spirited combat. What more could you ask for? Hopefully, It won’t take another 4 years to cover a fight, but we’ll see.

Xander Zayas vs Patrick Teixeira Fight Report by King P

 It is good to be back at MSG. Never get tired of coming to the Mecca of boxing. Top Rank Boxing on PR weekend is always fun. Looking forward to all the festivities.

Jordanne Garcia vs Nisa Rodriguez

Rodriguez the bigger fighter and sharper puncher. Garcia was coming forward but smothered her own work on the inside. There was a lot of grabbing on the inside. Mostly initiated by Garcia. But Nisa fought through it and cruised to an easy UD.

Lemir Isom-Riley vs Ali Feliz

Feliz is a young upcoming prospect with some promise. Feliz bombed Lemir out in one round. Knocked him down and continued to pummel him with hard flurries. The knockdown came from a left hook. A right hand from Feliz finished off Isom-Riley.

Antonio Dunton El Jr vs Ofacio Falcon

Not a lot of punches were landed, but Falcon had the edge. It was a rough fight early though, a lot of rough housing. Falcon dropped Dunton El Jr in the second round. Fight was very rough, but Falcon controlled that fight and cruised to an easy UD.

Jahi Tucker vs Quincy LaVallais

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

This was a fight I was interested in, as LaVallais is a former Xander opponent and Tucker has been adamant about wanting to fight Zayas. So, I was interested in seeing how Jahi looked against the same fighter. It was quickly shown that there were levels between both fighters. LaVallais is tough, but he was clearly outmatched by Tucker. Jahi was the faster, more aggressive, and overall, more skilled fighter. He lit Quincy up with combinations and hurt him a couple times. It was a dominant performance by Jahi who earned an easy UD.

Andy Velasquez vs Christopher Rios

This turned out to be one the best fights of the night. It was a back and forth with both fighters getting decent work in. Andy landed his shots, and Rios answered back. Andy was fighting well off the backfoot, but Rios did an excellent job pressing forward and landing shots. It was fairly even throughout the fight, but Velasquez had slightly better work and won via MD.

Tiger Johnson vs Tarik Zaina

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Tiger is coming off a much-needed KO victory, and I was interested in seeing how he looked in this fight. Unfortunately, this fight was very dull. Tiger boxed up Zaina pretty well, even buzzed him early. But Zaina had a very wild style, which made the fight rough at times. There were many lulls, and Johnson won an easy UD in a very ho hum fight.

Bruce Carrington vs Bryan De Gracia

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

This was a fight I was looking forward to, as Naoya Inoue was in the building to watch this fight. De Gracia took the fight on short notice and had a good showing in the first couple rounds. He was able to pressure Shu Shu, and even land some solid shots. By the fourth round though, Shu Shu had BDG figured out. He was able to walk him down while avoiding his shots and landing sharp lefts. Carrington unloaded body punches and knocked BDG down in the fifth round. De Gracia was able to get up, but Shu Shu kept unloading shots. He continued punishing BDG, and before the ref finally waved it off at the end of the eighth.

Xander Zayas vs Patrick Teixeira

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

It took until midnight, but the main event finally commenced. This was Zayas big step-up fight, and it is time to see what level Xander is at. Teixeira had not fought at 154 in 3 years, and it showed. He looked sluggish and powerless, while Xander was sharp and snapped his head back over and over. Teixeira was in survival mode, as Xander tagged him at will. The fight did make people question Xander’s power though. Patrick was a sitting duck, and he did not get hurt once. Still, Zayas did what he had to do and won a lopsided UD. Xander made the heavy PR crowd happy. Afterwards Zayas said he wanted a title shot soon. The names he mentioned he wants to fight: Erickson Lubin, Josh Kelly, and Vito Mielnicki Jr.

Overall, it was an exceptionally long night of fights. There were some good fights, and some ho hum fights. The atmosphere was great though, and the crowds were rocking. That will always make for a good event. Until next time.

Raymond Ford vs Otabek Kholmatov / Luis Alberto Lopez vs Reiya Abe Fight Report by Patscorpio

My first fight card of the year. I drove four plus hours from my home in Massachusetts to Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate NY to watch what I felt was a slept-on card:  A Featherweight doubleheader:  Luis Alberto Lopez defends his IBF Bantamweight Title against Reiya Abe and Raymond Ford battle for the vacant WBA Bantamweight Title. If there was one thing that I disagreed with is the fact it was only airing on ESPN+. This card definitely deserved a more widespread audience. Especially with how this card eventually played out. Oh, there was one minor disappointing thing related to my drive to Turning Stone. I like to make a rest area stop in Pattersonville, NY to indulge in some Roy Rogers. However, upon nearing the rest area where it was located, I saw that the whole rest area was going under renovation. The horror!!! Let me not digress from talking about this great offering from Top Rank.

The preliminary action was particularly good and entertaining. One thing I want to specifically mention is I got to meet the legendary Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. That was a huge highlight as I am a fan of the group. Flav was in the house to catch his godson fight. His godson is none other than Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali. Still grinding after being a couple fights removed from his first career loss, he took on Charles Stanford. Stanford would put on a very spirited performance against Nico, who still gets hit a little too much. The judges, however, thought Nico won that comfortably with a fairly wide UD. I did not agree with that one. Rohan Polanco impressed and showed why he is one of Top Rank’s brightest prospects winning a UD over fellow undefeated prospect Tarik Zaina. It was a good back and forth scrap punctuated by Polanco scoring two brutal knockdowns in the last couple rounds of the fight. Floyd Cashflow Diaz also had a very unexpected ebb and flow performance against Edwin Rodriguez. Diaz is a very physically talented fighter, but it looked like his man strength has not come in yet. The punches he was throwing did little to dissuade Rodriguez from moving forward. Wicked shots they threw at each other over the course of eight rounds. Diaz would win a hard-fought decision but the judge that scored the bout 80-72 should be suspended in my humble opinion.

Troy Isley, once seemingly on the outs with Top Rank, put on a career best performance by stopping notable tough guy Marcos Hernandez in seven rounds. Hernandez just could not keep up with the work rate or combination punching from Isley. It was very impressive. Rooting for Isley to keep proving everyone wrong. Local favorite Bryce Mills received quite a surprising reaction from the Verona crowd. He is really loved there. He won an all-out slugfest against Gerffred Ngayot. I am talking about little defense involved. Again, this was a card read with a score not based on reality. Enough to visibly anger Ngayot who was kind of pacing around the ring in disbelief. The last preliminary fight was between highly touted prospects in Brian Norman and Janelson Bocachica. Norman, since signing to Top Rank, has been underwhelming in his performances. This would not be any different. Bocachica dropped Norman hard with a counter in the opening round. Next round, a clash of heads opens a head cut on Bocachica. The ring doctor took a long time to inspect it. After another round of action, he would stop it. Unfortunately, due to the fight not going into round four, the fight was declared a no contest. I had Bocachica winning the fight and he was not happy about having it stopped. I do not blame him because he was robbed of possibly scoring an upset over the undefeated Norman. Norman acknowledged that he fought poorly and vowed to be better next time

Now it is time for the main event fights of the evening. The co-main has IBF Featherweight Champion, Luis Alberto Lopez, making a defense against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe. Lopez has been on a twelve fight win streak since his last loss to Ruben Villa. A streak that saw him scoring punishing wins over notable fighters such as Andy Vences, Gabriel Flores, Josh Warrington (which netted him the title), Michael Conlan, & Joet Gonzalez. Abe was coming off his career best win against former two division champion Kiko Martinez. I thought this fight would be competitive. Instead, Lopez and his unorthodox style co. ed with power showed he was on another level. Within the first three rounds, Lopez managed to nearly shut Abe’s eye with some brutal power shots. Abe had no choice but to get on his bike and then later stand his ground and fight. The ring doctor between every round had to take several prolonged looks at the eye. But the punishment from Lopez continued. A brutal combination in round eight forced the ref to step in and stop the fight. Abe was game but Lopez simply outgunned. A damned good win.

The main event was for the vacant WBA Featherweight Title. Top contenders Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford had the privilege of fighting for it. Ford got quite the crowd reaction like he was the hometown fighter. Having watched Ford before on Matchroom cards, I was expecting this fight to have a boxer vs puncher type of dynamic. Kholmatov is a heavy-handed puncher with all but one of his eleven wins coming by knockout. Instead, it turned into a war of attrition from round one onwards. Kholmatov applied heavy front foot pressure, throwing shots at Ford. Ford is usually very defensive, but he occasionally uses his legs while throwing big shots back in return. Ford’s face showed the results of Kholmatov’s early assault along with an inadvertent headbutt. I am thinking Ford needs to get some punching respect soon because Kholmatov did not seem affected by the shots. Round after round of punishment until Ford finally broke through near the end of the 10th round and badly hurt Kholmatov. Now starting to wane from the punishment from the bout, Kholmatov did nothing but stand toe to toe trying to put Ford down. From my seat in the media section, the sweat coming off both fighters as they were getting hit was reaching me. That was the only unpleasant part of watching this war. Going into the 12th round, the sense was Ford needed to drop Kholmatov in order to have a chance at a win on the cards. That KD occurred but the referee ruled that a slip. This would work in Ford’s favor. Kholmatov, now in trouble, was taking a beating from a Ford whose corner urged him to close the show. Closed the show he did, courtesy of a hook that had Kholmatov turning away and running into a corner almost face first. Ford followed a barrage of punches that forced the ref to stop the fight with 8 seconds left in the round. What an astonishing end to what is unquestionably the new Fight of The Year contender for 2024. Raymond Ford, the first fighter that Eddie Hearn signed from the jump and developed in America, to become a world champion. Ford collapsed in tears from sheer emotion as his corner and family entered to celebrate. The whole media section jumped up cheering and applauding while the whole arena went crazy over what they saw. It was by far one of the greatest fights that I have ever had the privilege of seeing live. Salute to Top Rank, ESPN, Turning Stone Resort Casino. I managed to interview the WBA Featherweight Champion of the World in his dressing room afterwards, who told me he would stick around for one more fight at 126 before moving up. Whatever he plans to do, I am sure it will be exciting. See you at my next live boxing adventure!!!

O’Shaquie Foster vs Abraham Nova Fight Report

By King P

The year has just begun, but Ring Gang Radio is already making our presence known at boxing events. It was great to be back at The Hulu Theater in MSG. Nothing like fights in New York, I will always enjoy them being here. This was the first time I was able to cover a Top Rank event, and I was ready to see boxing by them live and in living color. There is always a different type of atmosphere with TR. 

Got into the building in time to catch Euri Cedeno face off against Antonio Todd. I was there for his fight last year in Florida, where he had a split decision draw against Dayan Depestre. No such issues this time around, as he put a hurting on Todd en route to a fifth round KO. Next up was Tiger Johnson facing off against Paulo Galdino. Tiger is a young fighter that many people are mixed on. Some are high on him; others are down on him. This definitely was the fight to get him back on track, as he hurt Galdino early and got rid of him in the first round. The next fight was a hometown one. The Bronx’s own Ofacio Falcon faced off against Edward Ceballos. Falcon did not have much issue with Ceballos, outboxing him and cruising to an easy UD (60-54 3x).

Next up was another NY fighter, as Long Island’s own Isaah Flaherty faced off against Julien Baptiste. Fight started off rocky, as a clash of heads left Flaherty with a sizable cut on the top of his head. Flaherty’s corner was able to keep it under control though, and he continued the fight without trouble. Flaherty outfought Baptiste, and in the end scored an easy UD (60-54 3x). For the last prelim fight, we had heavyweight action as Guido Vianello took on Moses Johnson. The action started early, as Vianello dropped Johnson with an overhand right. Moments later, Moses got dropped with another right hand. Vianello dropped Johnson 2 more times until the fight was finally stopped at the end of the first. 

The main card kicked off with Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington taking on Bernard Torres. The fight started off rough, and Torres definitely had Shu Shu confused with his Pacquiao imitation style. By the third round Bruce finally had Torres all figured out, ripping him with body shots. In the fourth round, Bruce landed a right hand on Torres that sent him down to the canvas face first. The crowd roared when he got the KO. The Brooklyn kid then channeled his inner Mike Tyson as he borrowed his “I’m the best ever speech” and the crowd loved it. The co-main event was Andres Cortes vs Bryan Chevalier. This was expected to be a competitive fight, but Cortes had other plans. He beat Chevalier from pillar to post. After 4 rounds, the corner finally stopped the fight. 

Now we have reached the main event: WBC champion O’Shaquie Foster defends his title against Abraham Nova. The fight started off on even terms, with both fighters getting off punches. Foster looked a little sluggish, have to wonder how much the weight cut affected him in this fight. In the fifth round Foster’s bicep was hit by Nova’s elbow, and it definitely affected Shaq. But he weathered through, and actually took over the fight as Nova started to fatigue. By the eighth round Nova was completely gassed. Foster wobbled Nova in the ninth round with his right hand and came close to getting the stoppage. In the 12th round Foster dropped Nova with a counter hook. Nova disputed it saying it was a slip, but the call stood. At the end of twelve rounds, Foster was declared the winner by split decision (115-112, 116-111, 113-114). In the post-fight press conference, Foster admitted the weight affected him and it was not his best performance. He said he will be hiring a nutritionist and staying at 130 for a couple more fights. Foster has another mandatory coming soon, and he said he will take the fight if it is ordered. As for who he wants to fight? A unification with Lamont Roach and the winner of Oscar Valdez vs Liam Wilson. Overall, it was a particularly good night for boxing. Salute to Top Rank for giving us a fun and entertaining card. Looking forward to the next card they bring to NYC.

Conor Benn vs Peter Dobson in Vegas at the Cosmopolitan

By Conscious Pilot

It was a nice Saturday on the strip. As I entered the Cosmopolitan, security definitely did their job all night long. I was able to find the fight pretty quickly. Got my media pass armband early and the fights were on!

The first fight featured Khalil Coe, an up and coming light heavyweight prospect who’s been showcased numerous times on Golden Boy broadcasts. He faced an undefeated Mexican fighter with 20 wins 18 of them by KO, by the name of Juan Osuna. I won’t lie, I expected a little bit of resistance from Osuna, but this was easy work for the talented and Power Coe. After some feeling out in the first round, Coe dominated him in the 2nd dropping him 3 times and the ref eventually waved it off. It was the best I’ve seen Coe look and I can’t wait to see him again.

Next fight was a heavyweight bout with a fan favorite in Johnny Fisher. This was my moment of realization that UK fans do travel because as that fight was starting between Fisher and Bezus, the crowd was getting hyped for Fisher. And for good reason! This easy work for Johnny Fisher, stopping Dmytro Bezus in the first round. I’m not entirely on Fisher’s upside but he’s a fan favorite and will get his chances to step up the heavyweight ranks. I’m sure of it.

In the Co-Main, we had Austin Ammo Williams against an undefeated fighter by the name of Armel Mbumba-Yassa. To the crowd, there were some moments of lulls. Not really boos, but you could tell they wanted more action as there is a lot of feeling out here. I appreciated the way Ammo took his time though because Mbumba-Yasa was there to win as a late replacement. Ultimately, Ammo Williams was able to find his openings. Dropping him in the 6th round and getting the stoppage in the 7th with a picture-perfect straight left. Ammo has continued to improve, showing his in-ring IQ. Was able to fight on the back foot, pressing the issue, fighting in mid-range, and mixing it up on the inside. It’s time for Ammo Williams to take a huge leap, he’s one of the best American middleweights we have, and it’s title time sooner than later!

The main event between Conor Benn and Peter Dobson was probably better in person than it was on TV. Benn looked crisp and athletic in the early rounds, with Dobson doing a pretty decent Philly shell shoulder roll defense. I would say Benn built up a 3-0 lead. However, Dobson started to find that overhand that just couldn’t miss. Dobson fought this fight in a lot of ways like friend of Ring Gang, Jonnie Rice, did Guido Vianello. Well minus the power. That overhand in mid rounds kept landing and landing. If Dobson had power, he may have dropped or hurt Benn badly. But he didn’t, and nor did Benn. The power Benn once possessed isn’t there and also that right hand can be so easily telegraphed. I will say Benn has solid fundamentals and knows how to use his athleticism. Also, he’s tough and that left hook and body jab is nice. I was actually very impressed with that left. Benn deserved the win, obviously it was a little wide but I’m not complaining. I do want to see Benn again, as well as Dobson.

All in all, it was a great day of boxing, a fun crowd, nice presentation, and some knockouts with a fun main event Matchroom and DAZN did a job with this!

Sunny Edwards vs Jesse Bam Rodriguez Fight Report By King P

2023 was a momentous year for Boxing. Definitely enjoyed traveling to see all the fights around the country. It was such a momentous year; I did not want it to stop. But alas, all good things must end. This would be the final card I attended this year, but it is a great one to end the year. Bam Rodriguez vs Sunny Edwards was a fight I had been long waiting for, and it was great to see it live. I had never been to Arizona either, so it provided a great reason to head over. Warm weather and Boxing are a great combo. I arrived on Friday and was able to catch the weigh-ins. The formal weigh-ins were already completed, and all the fighters made weight. Apparently, Bam took a while to make his way to the scales. So, Sunny returned the favor by making everyone wait for the ceremony weigh-ins. Needless to say, the fans were not pleased and made their voices heard. This was a recurring theme throughout the weekend.

I got to the Desert Diamond Arena early so that I could catch all the fights on the card. The first fight started off with Alberto “Chop Chop” Gonzalez facing off against Alexis Molina. Gonzalez made quick work of Molina, living up to his nickname by chopping Molina down in only two rounds. The next fight was Joe McGrail vs Brandon Marquez. Another quick fight, as McGrail got Marquez out in three rounds. The next fight was a fight I was paying plenty of attention to: Junaid Bostan vs Gordie Russ II. Both are undefeated prospects getting matched against each other early. To make things even better, both parties engaged in a brawl after the Thursday afternoon press conference. Bostan was taunting Russ when they faced off on Friday for the weigh-ins. Constantly telling Russ “Be calm! Breathe!” But now the actual fight began, and they could settle it in the ring. Bostan had a good couple rounds to start off, boxing Russ very well. He was smiling and taunting the whole time. However, in the third round, they exchanged in close range, and Bostan was clipped. The smile left his face, and a look of concern replaced it. Bostan did a respectable job fighting back, but he was hurt badly. Afterwards, Bostan opted to move more while tagging Russ with hard shots occasionally. By the end of the fight, the volume decreased exponentially as Bostan opted to move and throw one hard shot at a time. At the end of eight rounds, the scorecards were read, and Junaid Bostan was declared the victor by UD (79-73 3x). The judges were very generous to Bostan as Russ did enough to win more rounds, but ultimately the right man won. The last fight on the undercard was Arturo Cardenas taking on Carlos Mujica. Cardenas battered Mujica, beating him up and overwhelming him with hard punches over four rounds before the corner decided to stop the fight.

The undercard fights ended early, giving us more than enough wait time in between. The main card started with Peter McGrail taking on Ja’Rico O’Quinn. O’Quinn was one of the fighters I watched in Detroit on the Baumgardner/Linardatou card. He did not look good in his previous fight, and I can see why McGrail picked him as an opponent. McGrail won every second of every round, thoroughly outboxing O’Quinn through four rounds. In the fifth round, everything continued the same, until O’Quinn connected with a right hand out of nowhere that put McGrail’s lights out. McGrail was down and out, as JaRico O’Quinn pulled off the shocking upset. O’Quinn in the post-fight talked about how he did not train at all for this fight, and how he was targeted because he was a cherry. Well, McGrail picked the wrong cherry, and was served a dose of poison for his troubles. Next fight was Galal Yafai taking on Rocco Santomauro. It was a very ho hum fight, with Yafai easily outboxing Santomauro over ten rounds of zero action. Santomauro had nothing for Yafai, and Yafai stayed in first gear. Was the antithesis of a crowd-pleasing fight. The co-main was Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev, coming off his first loss against Marlon Tapales to take on relatively unknown Kevin “Bomba” Gonzalez. Gonzalez certainly did not lack anything in the toughness department. He was hit with a lot of hard shots. In the fifth round, Gonzalez went down from a barrage of punches. He was able to get up and weather the storm, but the onslaught continued. After the sixth round, Gonzalez’s coach warned him he would stop the fight if it kept going on like this. It continued for a couple more rounds until it was stopped in the eighth round after Gonzalez was knocked down again.

Now for the main event: Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez vs Sunny Edwards is upon us. Sunny was getting booed every time he appeared on the jumbotron, and it continued when Sunny walked out to Dreams N Nightmares by Meek Mill. Sunny played the heel role to perfection, and now it is time to see if he can back it up in the ring. The fight started and Sunny was trying to figure out the right distance so he could get in and out on Bam. Bam had the longer reach and could pump out his jab from long range at will. By the end of the second round, there was a noticeable mouse over Sunny’s eye. Sunny did as best as he could to maintain distance while throwing combinations at Bam. But was able to walk Sunny down and light him up with 1-2s, while Sunny did his best to fight back. Halfway through the fight, Sunny realizes he would not be able to move around and counter, as he was clearly down on the cards. So, he made the decision to bite down and fight Bam on the inside, which was the worst-case scenario as it plays into Bam’s strengths. Going into the ninth round, Sunny’s corner wanted to stop the fight, but Sunny pleaded to keep the fight going. Sunny went out in the ninth and kept fighting. But at the end of the round, a sharp straight left dropped Sunny straight to the canvas. Sunny got up, but it was clear he could not see out of his eye and in no way could continue without the risk of serious long-term damage being done. At the end of the round, Sunny’s corner stopped the fight. Bam Rodriguez was declared the winner by TKO and is now the new unified Flyweight champion.

Sunny was taken to the hospital, and therefore not available for comments at the press conference. Bam and his trainer Robert Garcia were there to answer any questions asked. Bam basically said he is moving up to 115 and is open to any big fights up there. He mentioned once again that he was not willing to fight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. He did, however, say he would be extremely interested in fighting Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada, who apparently said he was not impressed with Bam’s performance against Sunny. We will see if this fight comes to fruition next year. Either way, it was a great fight and the night belonged to Bam. Wonderful way to end 2023. Here is to 2024 giving us great/exciting fights like this. Until next time…

Alycia Baumgardner vs Christina Linardatou 2 Fight Report from King P

It was great to be in Detroit for the first time. Detroit is a city rich with tradition. Especially when it comes to Boxing. That’s what I was there for on Saturday night: Boxing at the Masonic Temple to watch Undisputed 130 champion Alycia “The Bomb” Baumgardner defend her titles against Christina Linadartou.

The first fight on the untelevised portion was Joshua Pagan taking on Gabriel Smith. Fight didn’t last long, as Pagan made quick work of Smith within the opening minute of Round 1. Next fight was Joseph Hicks taking on Ramses Agaton. Hicks looked sharp. A bit of rough inside holding, but he fought through it and hit Agaton with hard hooks and uppercuts. Stunned him at the end of the first. Fighting got progressively rough, and a lot of hooks landed from Hicks. There was also quite a bit of taunting from both fighters. At the end of the third, Agaton intentionally laid on the ropes, daring Hicks to tag him. In the fourth, the fight was stopped momentarily to tie Hicks shoes. While getting his laces tied, Hicks winked at Agaton. Then they continued to taunt each other, even at the end of the round. Referee had to separate the two. At the beginning of the sixth and final round, Hicks tried to touch gloves and Agaton pushed his glove away. At the final bell, Hicks stuck his tongue out. Outside of all the taunting, it was a rough fight in which Hicks controlled the pace and landed all the meaningful shots. He was given a 60-54 score by all three judges, making it a wide unanimous decision.

Next fight was Cameron Pankey taking on Misael Reyes. Pankey looked sharp, he was tagging Reyes all fight especially with the left hook which he couldn’t seem to miss with. Credit Reyes for his chin because he’s been absorbing some hard shots. But in the end, he had nothing for Cameron Pankey, who took the decision by 60-54 shutout on all cards. Next fight was Jemarco Holloway vs Angelo Snow. Both Holloway and Snow started off slow in the first, then picked up the pace in the second. Holloway landed some nice uppercuts. Holloway then had some nice work in the third round. Snow was leaking from the nose. Holloway put together his punches well in the fourth, and the ref waved it off. TKO victory for Holloway

After the televised portion of the card began. It kicked off with JaRico O’Quinn taking on Carlos Mujica. Both fighters started off doing nice work in Round 1. Good exchanges between both guys. They were fighting on even terms, but Mujica was applying pressure and O’Quinn was having difficulties keeping up with the higher pace. He managed to tag Mujica and keep up with the pressure though as the fight progressed. At the end, Quinn was announced the winner by unanimous decision (100-90, 97-93, 96-94). Next fight was heavyweight Jermaine Franklin vs Isaac Munoz. Franklin was fighting in his home state (He’s from Saginaw, not too far from Detroit) and so there was quite a bit of cheering for him. Munoz’s best trait was his durability, because he was getting hit with everything but the kitchen sink. Franklin was putting the pressure on him and landing at will. Target practice for him. I was surprised Munoz was still standing after 10 rounds of getting hit with everything Franklin threw. Franklin picked up the easy UD (100-91 2x, 99-91).

Next up was the co-main: the long anticipated debut of the Cuban Olympic gold medalist Andy Cruz. His debut was a ten round fight against veteran Juan Carlos Burgos, who just came off a defeat at the hands of Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis. It was going to be interesting to see how Cruz performed in comparison. Cruz did not disappoint with his performance. He showed great hand speed, footwork, combination punching, reflexes, and defensive slickness. He was able to fight on the outside and inside, tagging Burgos at all angles. Cruz even showed adversity, as he was low blowed a couple of times but was able to push through. The most impressive part was how good his stamina was. This kid has spent his whole career to dare fighting three rounders yet looked completely fresh going into the late rounds. The only thing he did not show was power. Although I expected this to be the case, as Cruz had a slapping style in the amateurs. His trainer Bozy Ennis will seek to correct that, but it will take some time going forward. Cruz did at least turn over his right hand a bit, plus Burgos is a guy who has never been stopped before. And he’s faced the likes of Mikey Garcia, Rocky Martinez, Devin Haney, and Keyshawn Davis. Therefore, I will not hold it against Andy that he did not stop Burgos. We will see in future fights if Andy has some power or not. Overall, Cruz showed his tremendous talent and won an easy UD (100-90 2x, 98-92).

Now it was time for the main event. Undisputed champion Alycia Baumgardner takes on Christina Linadartou. Linadartou was greeted with many loud boos, though it did not bother her as she danced her way to the ring. Alycia was walked out to the ring by popular Detroit rapper Sada Baby and was greeted with a loud number of cheers. Alycia started off the fight slow, being very patient and methodical. She picked her spots and tried to counter Linadartou when she came in. By the fourth round, Baumgardner started picking up the pace and landed a barrage of combinations. In the fifth round she put together a nice sequence of body work. She could have gotten a stoppage in that round if there was an extra minute. But alas, this is what we deal with when it comes to women’s boxing. I won’t beat a dead horse here though. By the seventh round, Linadartou was still putting up a valiant effort. But it was clear she was slowing down a bit. Meanwhile Baumgardner was killing her with left hooks to the head and body. Alycia continued to push the pace, and easily outclassed Christina late in the fight. The fight went the full ten, and Alycia was declared the winner, by UD (99-91, 98-92x). It was vindication for Alycia, who suffered the first and only loss of her career to Linadartou. She was excited to get her “lick back” and close that chapter. Baumgardner wants all the big fights. The names she mentioned: Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, and Chantelle Cameron. All great fights for her. We look forward to seeing what’s in store for AB next. But she capped off an incredibly fun, exciting, and lively night of boxing in Detroit. It was an event worth

Prograis vs Zorrilla Fight Report

Before I get into talking about the Prograis vs Zorrilla card, I got to talk about New Orleans for a little. I had only been to New Orleans before on a layover, so it was my first time out in the city. King P and I enjoyed all the food and sights it had to offer. The food especially because we were saying to ourselves, if we lived here, we would be obese. Bourbon St, Canal St, Frenchmen St, etc. were great sources of entertainment. The things that we saw and experienced on that street. I only wished we stayed a couple more days more.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Now onto the boxing experience. This was the first time 2 Ring Gang members were in the house covering the event. The weigh in was an interesting event and we got a glimpse on how many family members and friends that Regis Prograis had. Prograis had the pure patience of a champion to take pictures with anyone. The next day King P and I had to exhibit the same level of patience once we arrived at Smoothie King. The process for getting our credentials and finding the media entrance was a trying process to say the least. The before the bell segment opened with Criztec Bazaldus winning a spirited four round decision over Elroy Fruto. The second fight with Aaron Aponte and Xavier Madrid was a dogfight to say the least. A costly point deduction for Aponte resulted in him losing a split decision. 76-75 x2 for Madrid and 78-73 for Aponte. The third and last fight on the before the bell segment is a special attraction fight between Ginny Fuchs and Indeya Rodriguez. Another hard scrap in which the scrappy Indeya gives Ginny plenty to think about. At the end of eight rounds, Ginny Fuchs won the UD with scores of 80-72 x 2 and 79-73 over Indeya Rodriguez.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

In the opening fight of the main card, Jeremy Hill stopped Mark “Too Sharp” Davis in four rounds. At the weigh in both guys were animated and predicting knockouts. Well one of them got their prediction right. A right hook over the left hand from Hill caught Davis on the temple. A follow up combination deposited him on the canvas. Davis got up on groggy legs and the ref decided to wave it off. The crowd erupted as Hill celebrated and then knelt in prayer. Next fight is the increasingly popular Ramla Ali facing the tough Julissa Guzman. Guzman was landing the heavier shots, but Ali is the one that drew first blood. After a knockdown in round five, Guzman ended things in round eight with a brutal left hook. To her credit, Ali got up before the count but clearly was in no condition to continue. From there the quality of the card took an unexpecting decline in terms of entertainment.

Credit: Bad Left Hook

The co-main between Shakram Giyasov and Harold Calderon started off a chess match. Then it dissolved into a negative affair of posturing and showboating of which neither pleased the crowd. Twelve rounds of non-action with Giyasov getting the unimpressive decision over Calderon among boos in the crowd. The fight was sleep inducing and disappointing because both fighters had the power to make the fight interesting. If it weren’t like such a maze to get to the refreshment stand, I would have gotten a Redbull. King P and I were thinking that that fight was an aberration. We were wrong!!!  The main event everybody has been waiting for with Regis Prograis and Danielito Zorrilla. Liam Paro was Prograis In the first round it looked like Prograis got dropped but ref called it a slip. On replay it looked clear that it was. That was a KD, a blown call and Prograis got shook up. In round three, Prograis did return the KD. The only impressive moment of the fight to me. The rest of the fight was characterized by wild swings by Prograis and getting on the bike by Zorrilla. If Zorrilla had a plan, the plan should have been activated. You must take the belt from the champion. Zorrilla did clearly win the final two rounds of the fight. The judges gave the fight to Prograis by a split decision 118-109 and 117-110 for Prograis with 114-113 for Zorrilla. What a wide range of scores!!! King P and I felt like the scores were close. The fight to me was 115-112. It was closer than to 114-113 for sure. Zorrilla though had no right to be pouting in the ring like he did. He came to spoil and will spoil his future chances to be put on TV. Prograis was clearly disgusted and apologetic about the fight and performance. CompuBox announced they set the record for the least number of punches landed in a twelve round fight. 4-5 punches landed less than Casimero vs Rigondeaux, which is one of the worst fights I ever watched. Hopefully Prograis can rebound and make the rest of the fights on his deal worth it. Always Ring Gang Radio will be there to cover it and be in the mix.

Fight Report – Amanda Serrano vs Erika Cruz/ Alicia Baumgardner vs Elhem Mekhaled by King P

It is great to be back at Madison Square Garden for boxing. Always a joy to be in the building to watch fights. Especially the Hulu Theater, which always has a great atmosphere. Last time I came here was for the Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos card. That was amazing, so I was just waiting to see what was in store for us tonight. Traveling to MSG is never a hassle coming from the Bronx but making the trip in the cold (15 degrees) is never fun. I got through it and made it into The Garden early so I can be ready for all the fights. I knew I was in for a good night when I realized there was already a good-sized crowd early. The Puerto Ricans early made their way into MSG, and they were making themselves known. Puerto Ricans headlined the early fights. The card kicked off with Yankiel Rivera fighting Fernando Diaz, who showed some toughness and determination. But Rivera was just of a higher pedigree, and he showed it. Aaron Aponte fought Joshua David Rivera. Aponte cruised to an easy victory; he looked exceptionally good. Look forward to seeing him more in the future. At this point, the fans were playfully going at it too. The Mexico vs PR rivalry is always a fun one to watch. Next up, Harley Mederos faced off against Julio Madera. Harley is a local talent, so the NY crowd was fully behind him. And they were incredibly happy as he dominated Madera, capping it off with a KO in the sixth round.

After this, it was time for the female fights to start rolling in. Shadasia Green kicked it off against Elin Cederroos. Green has a lot of hype surrounding her, so I was interested in seeing how she performed. Elin had some success early on with the jab and was able to walk down Green. But then in the 3rd, Green unloaded a big right which dropped Cederroos. Elin was able to recover and get back to boxing, but she couldn’t avoid the right. Anytime she was hit with it, it shook up her whole body. Green’s punching power was super legit, thudding punches you could hear all across the arena. Shadasia finally put a stop to things in the sixth round, when she delivered another monstrous right to Elin. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight. Shadasia is a monstrous puncher, and I feel bad for anyone who tries to stand and trade with her. Next up was Ramla Ali, who was fighting Avril Mathie. It’s hard to follow up a Shadasia Green fight in terms of intensity and excitement, so I felt for Ramla. She does not have much as far as power goes. But that’s all you can say, as she has everything in his arsenal. Great footwork, speed, timing, and combinations. Ali is a supremely skilled fighter and showed her level in this fight. Dominant win by Ali. After that fight was Skye Nicolson who was facing off against Tania Alvarez. Skye Nicolson did her best to endear herself to the NY crowd, rocking a Knicks jersey to the ring. She is a fighter that has a lot of male fans, as she is very aesthetically pleasing to look at. This fight, however, was anything but that. Tania Alvarez decided to just come forward face and chin out, just to be tagged over and over. Skye kept throwing wide left hooks, many of them not landing clean. They kept getting tangled up, with the ref constantly breaking things up. It was an ugly fight that went the distance, and Skye left as the victor on all scorecards. Let’s hope for a better fight next time around.

By this time, Hulu was PACKED! Not a single empty seat in the house. Next up was Richardson Hitchins vs John Bauza. This was the fight that the crowd was split for. Bauza got cheered heavily by the Puerto Rican and Jersey crowd. The local kid Hitchins came into some boos but received loud cheers as well. The first round Bauza came out aggressive, throwing wide looping shots and trying to pressure Hitchins. But Hitchins was calm, relaxed, and able to box well. He sat back and countered when the openings were there. Bauza got dropped at the end of the first round, but it was a very questionable knockdown. 2nd and 3rd round, Hitchins started to pick off Bauza even more, and in the fourth round he legitimately dropped Bauza. After the fifth round, levels were clearly shown and Bauza had absolutely nothing for Hitchins. It was a beating, and Bauza got hurt multiple times. Hitchins could have finished him if he were more aggressive. Even then, I am still surprised Bauza’s corner did not stop it. The final score read 100-88 on all cards. Hitchins had a dominant performance, and this could be the fight that starts his rise to superstardom. People are already starting to put him on the level of guys like Haney and Stevenson in terms of talent. That remains to be seen. Look forward to seeing his next couple fights.

Next up, we finally approached the co-main. Alycia Baumgardner vs Elhem Mekhaled for the Undisputed 130 championship. Baumgardner came out to a huge ovation. The crowd loved her. The fight started out slow in the first round, but by the second both fighters were trading. In the third round both fighters continued trading, until Alycia landed a big right hand that dropped Mekhaled. Baumgardner jumped on her and was able to get a second down. Mekhaled was out on her feet but managed to survive the rest of the round. They continued to trade shots, but Baumgardner was clearly getting the better end of Mekhaled. Her shots are heavier/more meaningful. By the eighth round, Baumgardner started to tire out. She was still active and landing, but her punches lost a lot of steam. Mekhaled started to rally, but ultimately it was not enough. Baumgarnder won a wide unanimous decision and is now the undisputed champion at 130.

And now, we have reached the main event. Amanda Serrano vs Erika Cruz for the undisputed championship at 126. Erika Cruz came out and received a surprisingly nice ovation. Amanda Serrano came in through the crowd like AEW’s Jon Moxley, and the crowd ate it up. Round one began, and the action started early. Erika Cruz was pressuring Serrano and throwing wide combinations with her feet never set. She was landing a lot of those punches though. Serrano was getting tagged more often than usual, which was an interesting observation. The action picked up more, until the fighters clashed heads. Erika Cruz had a deep cut open up over her forehead. Her corner did an excellent job working on the cut, but every round it would open up again as she was hit. It was evident the cut was affecting her, as she kept pawing at it every round. By Round 6, Serrano had picked up the pace, increasing her output and even hurting Cruz a couple of times. Erika kept pushing forward though, trying to outwork Serrano. She threw more punches, but Serrano was landing the cleaner and more eye-catching shots. After 10 rounds of great action, the judges gave it to Serrano by unanimous decision. The crowd showed their delight, and exploded after the fight when the announcement was made Amanda Serrano vs Katie Taylor. The rematch has been officially set for May 20, in Ireland. Katie Taylor was invited to the ring and was booed out of the building. Both fighters are ready, and the fans are ready for this fight. I am ready for this fight, and I know the event will live up to the hype. Just like this card did.

Fight Report – Efe Ajagba vs Stephan Shaw / Jonnie Rice vs Guido Vianello by Patscorpio

It’s great being back at one of my favorite venues to catch boxing: Turning Stone Resort Casino. The drive through upstate NY is an exercise in patience outside of stopping at Roy Rogers. The scenery is dull and repetitive and there are miles between exits and I do mean miles. A 4.5-hour drive from my home in Massachusetts. Thankfully it was on a holiday weekend, so it is like stars aligned. I needed to be at this card. It was my first one in 13 months I was not able to make it to any in 2022 due to so many things going on. I love being there from the first fight to the last fight.

First fight didn’t even have a chance to get out of the opening round when Dante Benjamin Jr scored a brutal first round knockout of the undefeated Emmanuel Austin. I guess when you are hungry you are hungry. Hoping it’s a sign of things to come. Next up was top undefeated prospect Bruce Shu Shu Carrington vs Juan Antonio Lopez. Shu Shu has been nothing but workmanlike going 6 rounds with Lopez who showed he was ultra-tough hanging in with him. There are levels to this boxing game, but Lopez can at least hang his head high that he didn’t come to lay down. Next up is the TR debut of Brian Norman Jr. He clearly was looking for the highlight reel 1st round KO because he came out of the corner with fire in his eyes. He didn’t even sit down on his stool after the first round. Coria weathered that storm and started making the fight interesting for the undefeated Norman. Round 5 Coria is emboldened and is taking it to Norman landing some combinations clean. By the 8th round, Norman seems to be fading and getting caught more and more. Norman managed to score the first KD of the fight following a brutal assault on the ropes. It was a good scrap. Norman won comfortably on one card, but the other 2 scores were close even with the KD he scored.

The local favorite Bryce Mills had the loudest reaction of all the preliminary bouts in which he won a competitive but easy decision. Haven Brady though had a harder time finding anyone to cheer for him. He too would go the distance but not without some hard moments here and there. The last fight on the prelims between Adam Lopez and Abraham Nova on paper is a fun fight. After a feeling out type round in round 1, you can both men warmed into the fight. Lopez in particular found the mark with nice left hooks and right hands. Trading punches did eventually put Lopez down for the first time. The ref also called a questionable knockdown on Lopez in which it seemed that Nova pushed Lopez down to the canvas. They continue to fight nip and tuck until the final round where both decided to let it all hang out trading withering shots. Lopez was on the verge of possibly going down at the final bell.

The co-feature saw one of Top Rank HW prospects, Guido Vianello, going against upset minded Jonnie Rice. First round it seemed like both men were trying to find left hooks and right hands on each

other. Unfortunately, the action didn’t pick up like it should. Vianello was the aggressor for sure. Jonnie had been landing the right hands gradually. One of them opened up a very deep cut over Vianello’s eye. The cut got worse as the fight went on until the ring doctor stopped it. The ref, Benjy Esteves, originally was going to say it was headbutt when it was clear as day the punch caused. Lou DiBella and the commission made him do an instant replay which was great so a robbery couldn’t take place. At the time of stoppage, Vianello was up on all cards. So, congrats to Jonnie Rice on taking another zero of an undefeated prospect’s record.

Now we are at the main event with Efe Ajagba vs Stephan Shaw. Efe moving forward letting the jab go and establishing. Shaw followed suit but his hands were not as busy. Not a lot of separation in the first couple of rounds with each man having their moments. Not enough action for the crowd either as the boobirds come out again. Efe had been impressive sticking to his game plan. Shaw was definitely on the verge of losing a clear decision and needing a KO. In the 10th round, he should have been showing urgency but nothing. Efe Ajagba would win a UD with scores of 96-94 on all 3 cards. Although it was great to be at a live event, the heavyweights did not exactly light it up like we all thought. I made it for up by talking to some of fighters and trainers later as well as have a little fun at the blackjack table. See you at the next fights!!!

Lopez vs Kambosos Jr. Nov 27th 2021 Fight Report by King P

It’s great to be back at The World’s Most Famous Arena. Love going here to watch fights, and it’s even better to come here to cover a fight. Tonight, The Hulu Theatre is hosting the long-awaited return of WBA/IBF/WBO Lightweight Champion Teofimo Lopez, as he (finally) defends his belts against his mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. I came in lowkey hoping for a fire fight to make up for long wait. Man, oh man, was I shocked at the outcome.

Got there early so I was able to catch all the fights, including the non-televised portion. First fight was the pro debut of Anthony Herrera as he took on Jonathan Tejada (also debuting). Fight lasted 2 rounds, but it was fun while it lasted. Both guys were throwing punches. Questionable stoppage in my eyes, but Herrera looked good.  Christina Cruz vs Marygueen Vellinga. Cruz looked sharp, had fast hands, and good pop. Easy win (60-54 x2, 59-55).  After that was Ramla Ali vs Isela Vera. I was very impressed with Ali. Looked very sharp and had a nice jab. She has some real skills, Vera had nothing for her. Ali won by an easy UD (40-36 on all cards). I look forward to seeing her fight in the future.

Afterwards the televised portion of the card started, and the seats were starting to fill up. First fight on the main card was Zhilei Zhang vs Craig Lewis. Zhang looked very poor in his last fight out against Jerry Forrest, which ended in a majority draw. So, I was curious to see how he would look this time around. Zhang looked much sharper against Lewis, hurting him multiple times. Had him dancing and got him out early. Much better performance, but there’s still a ton of room for improvement for Zhang. He’s not nearly ready for any of the better competition at Heavyweight. Despite having a size advantage, he’ll get hurt if he steps up at this time. 

      Next fight was young Raymond Ford taking on Felix Caraballo. It was a good scrap. Ford was pushed against the ropes and Caraballo hit him with a couple shots (not all landed). The Puerto Rican crowd was cheering loud for every punch he lands (or didn’t land). Ford landed the harder punches though, albeit sloppy at times. Ford has a nasty habit of going back to the ropes, and he ends up getting caught every time. He needs to stop that because it won’t serve him well as he steps ups in competition. He was able to get the late stoppage (8th round TKO), as Caraballo was spent. However, there were a lot of questions unanswered. Ford is young and has a lot of potential, but he needs to work on some things going forward. Hopefully this fight will be good for his development. A lot remains to be seen.

      The co main event was Azinga Fuzile vs. Kenichi Ogawa, for the Vacant IBF Super Featherweight title. Ogawa was giving Fuzile tons of trouble early. His jab was working effectively, while Fuzile was lunging in with wide hooks that are off the mark. Ogawa was the effective aggressor. Fuzile was put down in the 6th with a big shot, and he looked ready to go. Shocked he survived the round. Fuzile looked like a complete mess as the fight progressed. Beat up, cut, broken nose. Was dropped 2 more times in the 12th, effectively putting an end to any chance he had at winning the fight. Hard fight, but a clear UD win by Ogawa who is now the new IBF Champion at 130 (115-110 2x, 114-111). PS – This fight was what we should have gotten with Casimero vs Rigondeaux LOL.

And now, it’s time for the main event. Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr is ready to begin. By this time, the Hulu was completely packed. Not an empty seat in the crowd. They were all rocking with Teo. Every time they should Lopez on the big screen, the crowd let off a loud roar in unison. When Kambosos was shown on screen, he received a barrage of boos. It got even louder in both cheers and boos as both fighters made their ring entrance and were introduced in the ring. But finally, the bell rings. As soon as it rang, Teo comes out swinging. Looking to end the fight early but is very wild in his approach. Kambosos hits Lopez with a counter right towards the end of the round and drops him for his troubles. Crowd turned shocked. And it only got worse. Kambosos was setting Teo up with counters and circling in and out before Lopez had time to plant his feet and hit him with his right hand. He took Lopez’s shots well when they did land. Teo was clearly frustrated and getting boxed up. It’s like he had no gameplan at all. Wasn’t setting anything up, just aggressively trying to land a hard punch to get Kambosos out of there (to no avail). Teo was however able to put together some shots at the end of the 8th to trouble Kambosos. Then starting in the 9th, the tide started turning with Teo putting together offense to trouble Kambosos. Then in the 10th… BOOM!!! Down goes Kambosos! He was hurt bad and on wobbly legs, but still managed to survive as Teo punched himself out. It became a war of attrition, with Lopez’s face all messed up. Kambosos rebounds in the 11th and does well in the 12th. When the bell rang, everybody stood up and cheered. We had a Fight of The Year on our hands here, something very few people expected.

      It’s time to go to the scorecards, and there’s a long wait. Me being the boxing fan that I am, knows some controversy is brewing. I’m sitting here waiting for the cards to be read when it was announced there was a split decision. Everyone let out a big “oooooh”. First scorecard was 115-111 in favor of Kambosos. 2nd scorecard was 114-113 in favor of Lopez. 3rd and final scorecard were 115-112 to the winner… still undefeated… AND THE NEW!!! George Kambosos was awarded the split decision and is now the Unified WBA/IBF/WBO Lightweight champion. Crowd booed like crazy at the decision even though the right man in my opinion. The funny part was that when David Diamante said “and still undefeated” the crowd cheered loudly because they thought Teofimo won. Either they didn’t know/forgot Kambosos was also undefeated, or they just heard the “and still” part LOL. Either way, I felt the right man won. I personally had it 115-112 for Kambosos. Afterwards Kambosos gave a good account of himself outside of the ring, taking a shot at the “4 Kings” label the media has been pushing for the Lightweight division, and calling himself “The Emperor” of 135. The crowd cheered and laughed when he said that. Teofimo in turn, went on a rant about how he really won the fight and that he won 10 rounds. The crowd showered him with boos.

      All in all, it was a great event that ended with arguably the best fight of 2021. The Lightweight division was turned upside down. We’ll see how things shake up in 2022.

Haney vs Diaz Dec 4th 2021 Fight Report by Patscorpio

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom or Melina Pizano/Matchroom

It’s always been a dream to cover a fight in Las Vegas and be able to watch a fight in Las Vegas.  I was able to kill 2 birds with one stone.  In the house at MGM Grand Arena for the Devin Haney vs Joseph “JoJo” Diaz fight.  As most people know the lightweight division was turned on its ear last week when the lineal, unified lightweight champion and arguable p4p top 5 Teofimo Lopez was upset by IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr in NYC.  Kambosos had expressed vehemently that he would like his maiden title defense to be in Australia.  He was also interested in fighting Devin Haney to settle the undisputed argument that has been raging since September of 2020.   This subsequently increased the stakes for the main event. 

Getting there early I was able to catch the beginning of the YouTube portion where the opening fight was Ricardo “El Nino” Sandoval vs Carlos Buitrago.  In a back and forth but one-sided scrap, “El Nino” scored the 7th round TKO when the ref determined that Buitrago was starting to take too much punishment. Second fight was Amari Jones vs Timothy Lee.  A beautiful counter uppercut from Jones scored a KD in round 1.  Amari had quite the reaction coming out.  His cheering section was extremely loud during the whole fight.  By round 5 it looks like Jones had beaten the fight out of Lee and was extremely close in stopping him. Lee got out of that round but could not survive round 6.  With 20 seconds to go, Lee was taking a battering forcing the ref to stop the fight for Jones.  Third fight was Alexis Espino vs Rodolfo Gomez Jr.  Espino bloodied the nose of Gomez in round 1. Outside of that it was competitive fight.  One thing for sure both guys need better head movement. By the end of the fight, they were throwing and landing combinations with bad intentions.  I personally thought Espino pulled it out, but the judges saw it different.  2 judges saw it 76-76 with the one winning card for Gomez 77-75.  I was surprised it was a majority draw to be honest.  In the final bout of the YouTube portion, Ammo Williams scored a controversial stoppage over Quantavious Cash.  In round 2, Ammo hit with Cash with a huge shot which made Cash reach out to hold.  The ref however stopped the fight just as both fighters tumbled to the canvas.   Not even a count or a chance for both fighters to get to their feet.  It felt like too quick of a stoppage.

The main card starts off with Marc Castro vs Ronaldo Solis.  It was all Castro who scored a knockdown in round 1 and closed the show in round 2 with a thunderous right hand that had Solis slowly slide down the ropes.  The ref wisely waved that fight off.  Up next was Filip Hrgovic vs. Emir Ahmatovic.  Hrgovic getting hit a lot of punches he could be avoiding but he dropped Ahmatovic twice in round 2. Unfortunately, Ahmatovic didn’t escape the next round.  Hrgovic cornered and let off a combination that dropped him down to one knee.  The ref waved it off.  The next fight is an undisputed title defense as Jessica McCaskill defends her belts against late replacement Kandi Wyatt.  First 2 rounds had a mean ebb and flow.  First round it was McCaskill making a fast start, 2nd round it was Wyatt battling back.  After that it was McCaskill landed the heavier blows.  Wyatt has a ridiculous chin to not drop from those shots.  The ref finally saw enough after a combination in the opening of 8th round stopping the fight for McCaskill.  The co-main of the evening is newly signed Matchroom contender Montana Love vs Carlos Diaz.  I had no idea beforehand Love blew weight by 4 lbs.  Well, the extra weight seems to give Love a little bit more pop in his punches. Diaz would be down 3 times in the second round.  3rd round would be the end as the ref thought Diaz was taking too much punishment and stopped it. 

The main event had the arena on edge.  JoJo Diaz came into an insane reaction while Devin got booed out of the building.  That was incredibly wild seeing as Haney was the hometown fighter.  So, a motive for chip on the shoulder was already established. The early rounds see Haney being surgical with his shots while JoJo not offering much of resistance.  Any big swing by JoJo got a loud reaction from the crowd.  Both then started to invest in body work with the only noticeable sign was the fact that Haney’s mouth was wide open.  Diaz in round 4 has a real interest in making this into a dogfight.  He slammed him to the canvas and came alive by landing sharp punches to the body and head. Mid rounds were or more less controlled by JoJo Diaz who was able to land his overhand punches for Haney’s shoulder roll defense and picking off Haney’s punches with a tight high guard.   In round 9, they got a two-way warning from referee Russell Mora to keep it clean.  It was kind of a momentum killer when Haney was landing lead right hands on Diaz. Diaz took advantage afterwards to land right hooks to the body and head.   One can imagine how much more both men can take from each other.  Don’t get me wrong It’s a very competitive fight.  You can feel the fight is far from over.  I just couldn’t get over how shaky I thought Haney looked at times.  In round 12, Diaz made a final stand, but Haney showed the absolute dog in him.  He matched Diaz in output coupled with his superior hand speed until the final bell.  It was an extraordinary fight with the judges scoring it 117-111 x2 and 116-112 for Devin Haney.  The lightweight division is on fire, but one thing is for sure.  All the top lightweights are vulnerable in their own ways.  Made more poignant during the media scrum afterwards in which Devin Haney mentioned he doesn’t have too many fights left at 135.  I couldn’t agree more as I think him trying to cut down to keep his belt is slowly starting to physically affect him.  Hopefully an undisputed fight for all the belts happens sooner rather than later.

Andrade vs Quigley Nov 19th 2021 Fight Report by Patscorpio

It’s been 23 months since my last media assignment but it’s great to be back.  Matchroom Boxing decided to make its annual trip back to the Northeast.  The destination – SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH.  The main event – WBO Middleweight Champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade makes his 5th defense against contender Jason Quigley.  Promoter Eddie Hearn would also load the card up with 3 other world title fights.  A rare world title quadruple header in New Hampshire.  Apparently, there hasn’t been a world title fight in this state since 1904!!!  Something long overdue indeed!!!  How could I not go?  I live 45 mins from the venue in nearby Massachusetts.  It was a no brainer.  The first fight was highly touted prospect Khalil Mack taking on Aaron Casper.  Watching this fight Coe looked listless against Casper who put on a spirited effort.  The effort was enough for him to get a majority draw.  The lone non-draw score, 39-37, went to Coe.  Thomas O’Toole would score a brutal 1st round knockout over Mark Malone.  Nelson “Chino” Perez vs Raymundo Rios was largely one sided.  Knockdowns in the 1st and 2nd rounds each by “Chino” on Perez.  Surprisingly this would go the distance with Perez winning a unanimous decision with identical scores of 40-34.  The last fight of the YouTube portion would see Demsey McKean take on Don Haynesworth.  After a couple of uneventful rounds, McKean came to life and started to apply pressure on Haynesworth.  By the 5th round, it looked like the fight would be on the verge of stoppage.  How Haynesworth stayed on his feet taking the beating he was taking was beyond me.  A final barrage in round 6 from Demean forced the ref to stop the fight with Haynesworth laying helplessly on the ropes.

Credit::; Ed Mullholland/Matchroom

The opening bout of the main card is a women’s fight between WBA super lightweight champion Kali Reis versus Jessica Camara.  The fight is also sanctioned for the vacant WBO belt as well.  Reis’s entrance was unique.  It got a segment of the crowd hype.  The fight was plenty of ebb and flow with a fair amount of blood.  Camara has no career KO’s.  Can’t figure out how this is the case.  She was rocking Reis pretty good especially with the left hook.  She came to fight.  Reis was no slouch with her punches giving it as good as she gets.  The amount of bombs these 2 are throwing and landing is incredible.   The final round was one for the ages as Reis was hitting her with right hands that had Camara on the verge of going down.  Scores: Dave DeJonge 95-94 Camara, Tom Schreck 97-93 Reis, and Martha Tremblay 97-93 for Reis.  A split decision win for Reis who wins 2 belts and earned a date with Chantelle Cameron next.  However, for being the local favorite, the crowd was booing Reis.  The crowd clearly felt Camara won.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Second bout featured unified WBA/IBF Super bantamweight champion MJ Akhmadaliev vs late substitute opponent Jose Velasquez.  Akmadaliev really came into the ring to Michael Jackson Black or White.  Very disarming I have to say lol.  At first it looked like a first round exit was coming for Velasquez as he just caught punches without throwing.  I guess he needed to feel some punches to get warmed up.  One thing is for sure Akhmadaliev is very heavy handed.  Showing excellent lateral movement and combination punching.  Velasquez has really made no adjustments outside of fighting harder.  As the fight went on the defense of Akhmadaliev began to get leaky and Velasquez started tagging him more frequently.  Too cleanly for my liking.  Akhmadaliev had also been getting dirtier.  From holding Velasquez down to butting him down to the canvas with his shoulder.  Add in the low blows which lead to repeated warnings from the ref.  Velasquez was still not being dissuaded.  It was good ebb and flow to end the fight.  Velasquez with the flipping and pushups afterwards to the enjoyment of the crowd.  All 3 judges would turn in scores of 119-109 in favor of the champion Akmadaliev.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Co main of the evening WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez vs McWilliams Arroyo.  Man, they did not waste any time in the opening round.  They both traded knockdowns to start it off.   A definite round of the year candidate.  2nd round a still shaky Arroyo is running into the impressive offensive arsenal from Martinez and got dropped.  An intentional headbutt would bring an unfortunate end to a fight that was warming up.  The ringside physician called off the fight.  Since it didn’t go 4 rounds, the fight was officially declared a no decision.  The main event though had a lot of energy.  Cape Verdean and Irish flags waving all around.  The Irish contingent were going crazy for Quigley making his entrance to the ring.  After some tentative moments, Andrade scores a KD in round 1.  Quigley was looking badly shook up.  Round 2 was no better for him.  2 more vicious knockdowns and the referee waved it off, leaving Andrade with a successful 5th title defense.  Afterwards, he got on the mic and reiterated that he was ready for any challenge from anybody especially Jermall Charlo.  Quigley had to go to the hospital afterwards due to a broken jaw.   It was great to be back at a live fight again.  I missed it so much during the pandemic.  Thumbs up to Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing for an entertaining night of boxing.

The Adventures of Bob and Todd by Patscorpio

Disclaimer – This is a harmless parody that is not meant to be taken seriously.  It does not reflect the true thoughts of Ring Gang Radio, who respects and admires the accomplishments of all major players in the boxing world.

Intro – “Founder Bob” and “President Todd” are trying to stage a fight between WBO Super Featherweight Champion Jamel Herring and Interim champion Shakur Stevenson but find themselves running into some problems.

Bob – Gotdammit!!!

Todd – What is it Sir?

Bob – Fucking MSG!!!! They won’t host Herring vs Tupac.

Todd – Tupac?

Bob – That Olympic kid from Jersey…Shakur, is it?

Todd – You mean Shakur Stevenson.

Bob – Tupac…. Shakur. Whatever…. I can’t book him at MSG.  They say he needs to fight someone that has a chance of beating of him.  Someone that can knock him out.

Todd – Well Jamel Herring did KO Carl Frampton earlier this year.

Bob – Yeah?!! and I knocked out Jimmy Brown on the set of “Dirty Dozen” in 66.  That’s why he retired from football you know.

Todd – What?

Bob – You’re not the only one that can say outlandish things Todd.  Anyways cut the bullshit.  What’s a place that has a big population of Neg….err…Bla…err…. African Americans?

Todd – I don’t know sir.  I would have thought that both men coming from the tri state area we can look elsewhere.

Bob – *mimicking* We can look elsewhere.  You’re useless Todd!!!  Wait I know a place!!!!

Todd – Where?

Bob – What’s that city that Ali fought in? The first fight from exile where he faced that bleeding mick Quarry?

Todd – Atlanta?

Bob – Yes!!!! Atlanta!!!! That was a fun city.  They were all out with their loud clothes and big puffy fros and foxy mamas.  I had my first piece of brown sugar there if you know what I mean?

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – Contact the guys at the stadiums where the Falcons and Hawks play.  See if they have open dates available.  Tell them we are delivering champions…not like they know anything about that.

Bob and Todd both laugh – “HAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Bob – After that I need you to call Paco and tell him to call off the purse bid.  If I don’t, Don King might try to take this fight from me.

Todd – Mr. King is irrelevant sir.  He has no fighters.

Bob – You’re gotdamn right he’s irrelevant!! But I need that bid called off.

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – and tell him he reaaaallllllly owes me for this staging this fight.

Todd – What does he owe?

Bob – The WBO Middleweight Title. I want it.

Todd – The WBO Middleweight Title?

Bob – Is there an echo in here? Yes, the fucking belt.  I signed Ali’s grandkid to Top Rank.  Tell you the truth I’ve never seen him fight but he’s an Ali.  I want to make him a champion within his first 5 fights.

Todd – Sir we could just get the belt off Murata?

Bob – Todd do I own the fucking WBA?  Plus, if I job him his people might release more Covid to our country.

Todd – He’s Japanese not Chinese.

Bob – THEY ARE ALL THE SAME TO ME!!! Just tell Paco I want that belt back. He knows what to do.  That smug English toffee Hearn isn’t doing anything with that Rhode Island kid Andrade anyways.  I bet you I will find him some opponents.

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – Good……. what was I just talking about?

Todd – *sigh*

The Career Mode Glitch

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane.  Its 2011 and you’re a hardcore boxing fan probably still in your twenties.  It’s the weekend and boxing After Dark on HBO just ended.  The fights weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either.  You don’t have to work the next day, so you don’t have to go to bed any time soon.  These are simpler times my friend.  Boxing is over, but that blood lust for compelling fights is still nagging at you.  Before you know it, you’re turning on your PS3 or Xbox gaming console. 

If you were a boxing fan during this era that indulged in video games, you knew there was only one game that could quench your thirst for more boxing.  This masterpiece was Fight Night Champion, the last great boxing video game to exist in the free world.  It goes without saying that this game is already in your system so once it’s fired up you proceed to get that boxing monkey off your back.  You start out playing a few bullshit random matches before finally loading up the highly coveted career mode.  Career Mode was everyone’s little pet project in Fight Night Champion.  You created your boxer and controlled his attributes, training, and career trajectory. 

Now you’ve had steady progression with your created boxer’s career and see that a title shot is only a few fights away.  You’re faced with a few options.  You can take the slightly more challenging step-up fight that would prepare you for the champion or you can take the same type of fight that’s gotten you to this position.  You won’t improve your stats much, but the odds are in your favor and another win won’t hurt. It’s getting late and you’re starting to get a little sleepy, but you don’t want to shut the game off just yet.  With that in mind, you don’t want the stress of having a tough fight now, so you go for the easy match up. 

You start out dominating the infamous “Jobber Magee”, but for some reason you can’t put him away like all the others in the past.  He weathers the early storm and manages to land a punch that causes a bad cut on your eye. The blood seems to reinvigorate your opponent and he begins to increase the pressure.  Now you’re thinking to yourself that you should have just taken the tougher fight if it was going to be this much trouble.  Your early onslaught has your stamina looking funny in the light and before you know it, Jobber Magee lands a heavy shot that sits you down on the canvas.  You try to get up, but its no use.  Your head is cloudy, and you have noodle legs.  The ref counts you out and the rest is history.  You’re the latest victim of the Career Mode Glitch. 

Fast forward to the present and you’ll see art imitate life more often than it should.  Boxers allow themselves to spoil on the vine, by facing sub par competition as soon as they’re on the verge of being world class.  Challenging character-building fights are scoffed at an ignored for easier opposition.  To be fair, not every boxer operates this way, but its certainly becoming the majority.  Super fights die on the negotiation table and potential meaningful fights fall to the wayside due to cannon fodder fighting above their level causing upsets.  As a boxer you should always want to improve and take fights that can add to your foundation or legacy.  Hoping to get rewarded while on the path of least resistance can come back to haunt you.  There are no shortcuts in boxing and sitting on your lead whether in a fight or in the rankings can be detrimental to the result you seek. 

Unlike Fight Night Champion, real life boxing has certain consequences.  You can get injured or seriously hurt.  Certain performances will catapult you to the top of the world while some will make you plummet to the nether realm of boxing social media.  It’s better to face these boxing challenges with pride and determination than to prolong the inevitable hoping to build your confidence with inferior opponents.  Cherry picking competition and fighting infrequently are a recipe for disaster.  These career journeymen know what’s at stake and one good performance on a night where you have a bad performance can be the difference in propelling or stagnating your career.  Father Time is undefeated, but the Career Mode Glitch will always be the biggest risk a boxer takes before Father Time get a chance to lace up his gloves.  Proceed wisely.

Written by Shutterworth for Ring Gang Radio.

Miami Fight Night: Jan, 30th 2020 Fight Report by Shutterworth

Outside of the arena

Boxing’s most stacked card so far for the year 2020 made it’s way to South Florida to ride the Super Bowl wave. The good folks over at Matchroom Boxing and DAZN aired three world title fights on a Thursday night which is highly unheard of in the states. Usually Patscorpio is our media guy for these events, but due to the rare occasion of South Florida getting a big fight, I took it upon myself to get my feet wet. Yes, my first Ring Gang Radio fight card as a member of the press was an interesting one.

In order to beat traffic, I arrived at the location around 2:45 pm which was pretty early. This would give me enough time to get situated and scope out the scenery which consisted of dirt fields and construction vehicles. I soon learned that the arena hosting the fights was built in 2 weeks specifically for this event and the Lady Gaga concert this Saturday. Media check in was set for 4pm, but was constantly being pushed back due to the lack of available seating space. This came to no surprise, since this arena didn’t seem like it was built to hold any type of combat sport. From the outside it looked big, but not big enough for three world title bouts in a fight starved city like Miami.

There wasn’t much to do except for stand around and mingle with other media members and guess the cause for delays. Check in went from 4pm to 4:45, to 5:00pm. The first bout was pushed back from 5:00pm to 5:30pm which is around the time we eventually got credentialed. From there we had to walk almost a quarter mile to the arena since the media tent was set up outside and far as hell.

The long trek to the arena after getting our credentials.

It goes without saying, that I ended up missing the first couple of fights. Once inside the arena which felt like the inside of a club, it was a game of musical chairs. Media kept being moved around the arena like a bad foster kid. It wasn’t until Amanda Serrano’s fight with Simone Da Silva that was able to find a decent spot to sit.

Finding a decent seat was like reading Where’s Waldo.

Serrano made short work of her opponent. She walked through some decent counter left hooks before eventually overwhelming Da Silva with power shots. After this fight, the media was forced to move again. Seating was getting very limited and space to stand and watch the fight was almost mission impossible. For that reason I couldn’t fully enjoy Austin William’s quick destruction Donald Sanchez. More people were starting to arrive in the arena, but it wasn’t quite full yet. The Anthony Sims Jr. vs Roamer Alexis Angulo fight was next and damn near put me to sleep while standing up. Very skittish and flat performance from Sims Jr who seemed afraid to engage or do anything offensively meaningful. Angulo didn’t impress either, but he made the fight and pressed when Sims relented. Angulo went on to win a split decision and keep his Latino title belt. Alexis Espino would wake everyone up again with is check hook stoppage of a very game Vincent Baccus. This was the excitement everyone was looking for.

Roman vs Akhmadaliev

The televised card portion of the card started shortly after and things got off to a great start between unified Jr Featherweight champion Daniel Roman and hungry challenger Murodjon Akhamdaliev. The arena really started to get crowded around this time. Roman seemed to get off to a slow start as he fought behind Akhamadliev’s movement and unpredictably explosive offense. It wasn’t until 4th round where Roman started to find his groove a bit and get his own offense going. From then one, fans were treated to some violent exchanges that would push both men backwards. Although but boxers where cut and bruised, Roman seemed to be more effected by the punishment than MJ who never looked discouraged. Roman would hesitate to jab or move his hands in key moments. This proved to be fatal as he ended up losing his WBA and IBF world titles via split decision. It was close competitive fight that some felt could have been a draw, but I felt the right man edged it out. Akhamadaliev became the new unified champ. It was the first time I ever saw titles change hands at a boxing event. This was also the 2nd upset of the night.

That theme would continue during the grudge match between Tevin Farmer and Joseph Diaz. Both fighters came out strong. Farmer ended up hurting his hand in the 1st round and in the 2nd round Jojo was the victim of a nasty cut from an accidental headbutt. This wasn’t enough to stop Diaz who was determined to win a world title on his 3rd attempt. He punched in combination frequently causing Farmer to get overly defensive an eat hard shots that would tax his evasive skills. In addition, he tired Farmer out with a good body shots to the pit of the stomach. Farmer would land on occasion, especially during exchanges, but he never seemed able to mount enough offense to win rounds or control the fight. Any time he would clinch, Diaz made sure to rip shots on the inside before breaking. Jojo would eventually win the IBF Jr. Lightweight title in convincing fashion. Farmer who won their previous twitter battles, fell short where it counted most. He aims for a rematch this year.

The co feature between Youtubers Jake Paul and AnEsonGib was next, but not before a performance from NLE Choppa who’s act consisted of yelling adlibs while a couple of his songs blared over the speakers. By now, the audience reached its peak capacity. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the Paul vs Gib fight and the atmosphere from the previous entertaining bouts helped with that. The build up to the fight lasted longer than the actual fight itself. Paul who the crowd seemed to be against stopped Gib with a pretty decent right hand in the very first round. Fans also received a little verbal back and forth between Jake Paul’s family nemesis KSI afterward. Don’t be surprised if we get this fight next.

A decent amount of the crowd left before Demetrius Andrade got to defend his WBO middleweight title against Luke Keeler in the main event. This fight was always unnecessary for this event, but I digress. Andarde came out strong dropping Keeler with his first hard punch of the fight. Everybody expected a stoppage shortly after, but somehow Andrade ran into the same problems as before when it comes to finishing off over matched opponents. By the time the six round came, most of the fans had left and when Andrade finally did finish off Keeler in the 9th, even more people had left. All in all, a pretty good night of boxing with a few hiccups, but nothing entirely awful.

Hopefully this won’t be the last time Matchroom Boxing does an event down here. This was a learning experience to build from. South Florida is a great spot for quality boxing.

12/21/2019 Post Fight Report – Terence Crawford vs Egidijus Kavaliauskas

            Madison Square Garden – one of the true meccas of boxing.  Now I’ve been to MSG to see various sports events since 2001, but the fact I would be covering a fight there for the first time was kind of surreal to me.  It would also be the latest stage for WBO Welterweight Champion of the World Terence “Bud” Crawford making a title defense against Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas.  In the lead up to this fight, it was taking a hit by critics alike.  The biggest criticism it seems came from the choice of opponent. “Mean Machine” is a very competent boxer on top of being undefeated.  However in his last fight out, he would fight to a majority draw against noted 147 spoiler Ray Robinson.  This was enough to raise some eyebrows.  The other big criticism was the fact on the undercard there was a fight that was getting major attention:  Teofimo Lopez vs Richard Commey for the IBF Lightweight title.  Most people thought that should have been the main event or on its own separate card.  To sum, negativity was the unfortunate theme of this promotion.  The ESPN+ portion of the undercard was fairly entertaining.  I was, in particular, surprised to see Mickey Bey facing and losing to George Kambosos.   That was very random to me.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

The main (regular ESPN) portion of the card would start off with rematch from the 2016 Olympics.  Michael Conlan(12-0 7 KO’s) vs Vladimir Nikitin (3-0 0 KO’s).  In their Olympic meeting, Nikitin would win a controversial decision over Conlan.  Conlan would have a now infamous meltdown as this would be the catalyst for leaving the amateur ranks.  Now I was kind of neutral about this fight happening since Nikitin only had 3 pro fights.  But I think I understand why they made it.  The fact that Top Rank had one of its most lauded signings, Robeisy Ramirez, get upset in his first fight might be the reason they decided to strike when the iron is hot.  The fight itself wasn’t really exciting in the first half of the fight outside of the slip in round 3 by Nikitin.  The second half of the fight heated up with Nikitin putting pressure on Conlan trying to land the overhand right to supplement the body.  Conlan was absolutely lacing with Nikitin with power shots from outside, but Nikitin did not go anywhere.   In the 8th round, Conlan did briefly manage to have Nikitin in trouble but weathered the storm.  They slugged it out all the way to the final bell.   Personally I had the fight 96-94 in favor of Conlan.  The actual scores (100-90, 99-91, 98-92) I thought were very wide and did not reflect the fight.  The 100-90 score in my opinion showed wildly incompetent judging.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch in the future if the stakes are higher and both fighters build up their profiles even more.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

The co-main event was the fight everybody was anticipating the most.  Teofimo Lopez (14-0 11 KO’s) going for his first title shot against IBF Lightweight champion Richard Commey (29-2 26 KO’s). On paper, this had all the makings of a fight of the year candidate.  Explosive punchers who could land and end a fight at any given time.  The energy in the arena was buzzing loudly by this point.  I think everyone was anticipating this fight going some rounds.  Unfortunately the fight would terminate suddenly in round 2.  After a feeling out type opening round where Commey landed the more effective shots, he was dropped by a hard right cross counter by Lopez.  Commey was all over the place trying to regain his bearings.  Lopez, seeing how badly hurt Commey was, jumped on him and rained down blows upon blows. The ref definitely gave Commey all the chances in the world.  Instead of getting on his bike and/or trying to hold, Commey just went back into the ropes.  Lopez did not let up on the assault forcing the ref to stop the fight.   A redemption of sorts for Lopez, who did not look like himself in his previous fight among rumors of family issues.  Commey was in the corner almost inconsolable and near tears.  The newly crowned IBF Lightweight champion has a lucrative unification fight with Vasyl Lomachenko waiting for him sometime in 2020.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

            The main event of the evening, Terence Crawford (35-0 27 KO’s) vs Egidijus Kavaliauskas (20-0-1 17 KO’s) definitely had a buzz going on around the arena.  Say what you want about Crawford but he is a very solid fanbase and he does draw.  The crowd did go wild for him when he came out.  In contrast, Mean Machine definitely got some very noticeable boos.  But when the bell rang to start the fight that changed.  Crawford, known for switching stances during bout, uncharacteristically started off southpaw.  He kept Kavaliauskas on his toes and hesitant to throw within the first 2 rounds.  In round 3, Kavaliauskas broke through with a whistling right hand that buckled Crawford and sent him to the canvas.  To the surprise of everyone, the ref ruled that it was a slip. Emboldened by the result of that right hand, Kavaliauskas gained more confidence and went right after Crawford.  His right hand was finding the mark more often than not.  Within a couple of rounds, you can see swelling developing around Crawford’s right eye.  This was becoming a true dog fight that no one expected.  In round 7, the first official knockdown was scored by Crawford where his right hand sent Kavaliauskas down to one knee.  Crawford proceeded to keep his foot on the gas and hammered Kavaliauskas in the 8th round, buckling him with huge right hands and a right uppercut.  In the 9th round, Crawford dropped Kavaliauskas 2 more times. The uppercut finding its mark on a fading Kavaliauskas.  The ref would immediately wave the fight off after a right hook sent Kavaliauskas down to a knee.  An unexpected and entertaining gut check for Terence Crawford who retains his title and keeps his name alive in the conversation of the best welterweights of in boxing today.   One thing I did think was becoming an actual issue was I think Crawford might be reaching the point of “spoiling on the vine”. Mean Machine is a good fighter but not expected to trouble an elite fighter like Crawford.  I hope sooner than later, we see Crawford in a fight that we can get up for before total spoilage occurs that ruins some attractive matchups for him.

Written by Patscorpio

10/18/19 Artur Beterbiev vs Oleksandr Gvozdyk Fight Report

Last weekend was a treat to be able to spend some time in one of my favorite cities in the world, Philadelphia, to catch the unification bout between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev.  Not only were their respective WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles on the line, but the lineal one as well.   The trip started late Thursday night.  I had a loaner at the time as my new car was being prepped for me to pick up next week.  So I didn’t drive myself down.  Instead I took a bus from Boston, a Megabus to be specific.  I learned some lessons.  Number 1 – Don’t assume you are the only one that takes late night trips.  Number 2 – If you don’t get a numbered, assigned seat on a Megabus, you are rolling the dice on your comfort.  Number 3 – A Megabus will sometimes make multiple stops before your destination.    Number 4 – Do not do third party reservations for a Megabus.  The Megabus I took was packed at 11:45 pm.  The non-numbered assigned seats were a little tighter than I expected.  I’m a 6’3 ½” 240 pound man having to be scrunched up next to someone for 7 hours.  My knees were screaming at me the whole way.  Outside of that it was a smooth trip.  Got there and took an Uber to my cousin’s house, who lived 10 minutes from the where it was being held, Liacouras Center.  North Philadelphia is an interesting place.  Not the nicest part to walk around without being on alert, but the cheesesteaks were on point.  Anyways crashed at my cousin’s place after eating and caught up on sleep throughout the afternoon. I woke up at 2 pm and by 4 pm was out the door on my way.

I arrived at the Liacouras Center after making a stop at a nearby craft beer for some short rib nachos and an interesting almost 17 % ABV beer.  Picked up my credential at the media entrance and made my way to the floor to where the media section was located.  I got there just in time to see the first fight of the whole card.  One thing that I like about the Top Rank undercards, if you get a lot of action to “whet your appetite” before the main fights.  Michael Seals didn’t waste any time in dispatching overmatch Elio Trosch in only 1 round.  Josue Vargas is in a tough scrap with Johnny Rodriguez and won this on all 3 cards 80-72.  The scores did not mirror how tough this fight really was.  Jeremy Adorno showing his class against Misael Reyes winning a 38-37 and 40-35 x 2 decision.  Julian Rodriguez vs Leonardo Doronio is not the most exciting affair outside of a few rounds, but still ended in the 6th and final round won by Rodriguez.  Joseph Adorno ended up brutally dropping Damian Sosa in round 2 into the second ropes.  The ref waived it off immediately.  Sonny Conto was the overwhelming dispatching Steven Lyons in anticlimactic fashion after Lyons stayed on his stool for Round 2.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

                Finally it was time for the televised portion of the card.  The co-main featured former WBA Welterweight Champion Luis Collazo against up and coming prospect Kudratillo Abdukakhorov. Very interesting name to pronounce never mind type and spell out. 2 things that I noticed off the bat.  Collazo has a very noticeable size advantage and was walking down the younger challenger.  This is the Collazo I remember watching all those years ago.  Abdukakhorov was landing a lot of clean punches but it didn’t seem like it had any real effect on Collazo.  The ebb and flow slightly changed when around round 6, Collazo ending up hurting his hand.  He wasn’t throwing as much but continued to still walk Abdukakhorov down.  Going into the 10th and final round, I felt the fight was close.  Unfortunately it would not come to a satisfying conclusion.  A headbutt opened up a nasty cut on Collazo and had him very unsteady of his legs.  So they went to the scorecards for a technical decision.  Kudratillo Abdukakhorov is declared the winner by the scores 99-91, 97-93, and 98-93.  I honestly did not see any of these scores in this fight at all.  The crowd also did not agree with it either.  I thought Collazo did enough to win a decision here.  Nevertheless Kudratillo Abdukakhorov is now the newest mandatory for Errol Spence.  I honestly don’t think he is ready for Spence, that fight may be ugly to watch.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)                

Finally, the main event that we have all been waiting for: Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk. There was a heavy Ukrainian contingent at Liacouras Center.  They weren’t really obnoxious, outside of the playing of the 3 national anthems, but they were LOUD!!!!  Beterbiev was the de facto villain of the fight.  The boos for him were pretty loud as he walked to the ring stoically.  In contrast, I thought my ear drums were going to pop when Gvozdyk came out.  It seemed like the whole arena was behind him.  There was good solid action to start off the fight.  A surprising knockdown by Beterbiev to start off although it was late rescinded by the commission via instant replay.  The Ukrainian contingent are extremely riled up by this point.  Competitive first half where Gvozdyk seemed more jittery than usual.  Beterbiev’s power clearly making a difference on whatever plan the WBC champion had in store.  Gvozdyk landed enough jabs and right hands on Beterbiev to visibly mark up his face but was neglected to go the body.  Beterbiev was more than willing to walk through fire to land his.  By the 8th round, the tide seemed to be turning for good as Gvozdyk seemed to be breaking down from the pressure that Beterbiev brought on him.  9th round you can sense the end was near as a couple of hard rights had Gvozdyk backing in trouble and hanging on.  Teddy Atlas was going crazy in the corner as usual screaming at Gvozdyk to try to rally him Filled with confidence entering round 10, Beterbiev closed the show scoring 3 knockdowns to force the ref to stop the fight.  With this win, Beterbiev not only unified 2 light heavyweight belts but also picked up the lineal distinction.  A career best victory for a fighter who had been battling promoter issues for the majority of his prime and a new fight of the year candidate for 2019.

Fight Report brought to you by Patscorpio

Boxing and Brand Loyalty Don’t Mix

Although still a niche sport, boxing has grown tremendously in the past several years.  This is partly due to the emergence of digital platforms such as DAZN an ESPN Plus that feature prominent boxers from around the world plying their trade.  For the promotional entities that lack digital platforms to show new fights (PBC), they still have a firm grasp on the television networks and pay per view model for boxing.  Everyone is getting in where they fit it in so to speak, without any clear advantage over the other.  None of these promotional companies are perfect and each one still seems to find a way to not make certain good fights happen, but that’s a story for another article.  Boxing fans are left with three major boxing platforms competing to deliver the best product. 

Normally this would be looked at as a good thing, but somehow someway some boxing fans took it upon themselves to join the “Great Promoter War”.   Instead of enjoying the fact that three different companies are competing to bring them bouts, they openly profess their brand loyalty while only supporting that company’s schedule and boxers.  As a hardcore boxing fan, you would think that feat is impossible, but here we are.  A true hardcore fan that loves boxing and wants to see the best fight the best consistently, will hold each promotional company to the same standard.  They wouldn’t shower praise on mismatches that line the pockets of boxers regardless of the promotional company. The sport loses, once fans start accepting the bare minimum from some promoters while ignoring better effort from others.  Once this happens, there’s no initiative to put out better cards. 

Unless you work for one of the big three boxing platforms, you shouldn’t care about brand loyalty.  Boxing fans worry too much about the business of boxing and not the sport of boxing.  This isn’t entirely the fan’s fault since they reflect the sport’s progression which has been more about business than actual fighting.  You would think a few cooking shows were in the works with the amount of times you’ll hear the word marinate when potential fights are discussed.  With super fights taking forever to happen to the point where they don’t even happen at all, it’s no surprise that some boxing fan’s interest would shift towards the business side of the sport.  It’s only natural to want to find out why some of these big fights aren’t happening.  Unfortunately, once some go down this path, they change for the worse.  Some fans align themselves with certain boxing platforms as if they’re expecting a royalty check and a pat on the head. 

Brand loyalty is no longer a trend with just fans.  It has also crept into some of the independent boxing media and Youtube channels.  People are picking and choosing what to cover in a sport that is already a niche activity.  How can boxing grow an attract new fans if it’s treated like a product and not a sport?  Brand loyalty might give you access to certain fighters an event once your media platform reaches a certain level, but it’s a double-edged sword.  Usually those that engage in this method must abandon one side of the sport to bring light to another. 

No matter how you cut it, there’s no upside to brand loyalty in boxing.  True boxing fans are fans of the sport and want to see it prosper in its entirety, not just a few boxers or promoters.  Furthermore, boxing is too big to just limit yourself to only supporting certain boxers and platforms.  Boxers and promoters come and go, but the sport will always remain.  HBO cut boxing from its network last year.  I’m sure the fans of that programming are still around watching boxing somewhere.  Boxing has always been the theater of the unexpected, but brand loyalty is something nobody should expect.  Real fans just expect to see boxing at its best, no matter who presents it.

Written by Shutterworth for Ring Gang Radio

7/13/2019 Prudential Center: Greer Jr vs Potapov / Stevenson vs Guevara – Fight Report

Last weekend,  I went to the great city of Newark, New Jersey to take in the Top Rank card at Prudential Center which was headlined by a doubleheader.  In an IBF 118 eliminator co main event, Joshua Greer faced Nikolai Potapov. In the main event was hometown hero Shakur Stevenson facing Alberto Guevara.  The untelevised undercard was a joy to watch with several Top Rank prospects on the card.

In the opener local favorite Joseph Adorno overwhelmed Adriano Ramirez in only 2 rounds.  Vijender Singh had the crowd going “Ooh!!” scoring a brutal 4th TKO over Mike Snider.  The ref stopped Snider, who was cowered in his corner taking repeated right hands to the head.  John Bauza and Angel Sarinara put on a spectacular slugfest that went the distance with Bauza winning the decision.  Julian Rodriguez after a 22-month layoff got rid of Hevinson Herrera in the opening round.  The knockout combination was thrown so swiftly if you blinked you would have missed it.  Top Rank would have a star making debut as Vito Mielnicki making his pro debut at.  The local fan support for Vito was crazy.  The crowd would also go crazy at the knockout of Tamarcus Smith.   A highlight reel knockout if I ever saw one.  It made the ESPN Sportscenter top 10 sports plays segment.  In the final undercard fight, Josue Vargas would score a 7th round TKO over a game Manuel Lopez with a barrage of uppercuts and right hands on the ropes.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

The main televised card opened with Joshua Greer Jr vs Nikolai Potapov with winner taking on the winner of the WBSS 140 final between Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue later this year.  The undercard was a pretty lively affair which the crowd had got accustomed to. This fight was anything but that and the crowd throughout the fight voiced its displeasure.  It was a very slow-paced fight in the early going with both men feeling each other and going on the defensive.  The action picked up in the middle rounds, particularly in the 5th and 6th rounds after some incessant booing from the crowd.  Greer, who had knocked out 7 of his last 8 opponents, looked very tentative but did hit Potapov with consistent body shots.  The fight still remained close going into the later rounds although neither appeared to have a sense of urgency.  When the final bell rang, the feeling was Potapov did more than enough to win the fight.  Judges said otherwise as Greer won an unpopular majority decision with scores of 116-112, 115-113, and 114-114.  Potapov and his promoter Dmitry Salita in the post-fight interview said they would appeal the decision, which they felt was unjust.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

The main event, Stevenson vs Guevara, was a fight that almost never came to pass. Guevara was the third schedule opponent since the card was first announced.  Shakur had previously been signed to fight undefeated Hairon Soccaras and then Franklin Manzanilla but they both would pull out of the fight for differing reasons.  The fight ended being nothing but a showcase to the Newark crowd who cheered loudly for their hometown son.  Guevara was never in the fight at all.  He shied away from the action and fought negative.  When Shakur decided to increase the pressure, Guevara melted instantly.  2 knockdowns in the second round and 1 knockdown in round 3.  The last knockdown the ref would issue the full 10 count while Guevara pretended he wanted to continue on. In the post-fight interview, Shakur called out all the current featherweight champions, excluding Gary Russell Jr.

Written by Patscorpio for Ring Gang Radio