DeGale and Jack battle to draw

In an early contender for fight of the year, IBF super middleweight champion James De Gale and WBC super middleweight champion Beau Jack battled to a twelve round majority draw yesterday in New York.

DeGale started the faster of the two and scored with a hard lead left hand from the southpaw stance that dropped Jack in the opening round. Jack took the count and recovered well but was having trouble with the Englishman’s speed. degalejackposterThe IBF champion continued his success in the 2nd round but Jack began to score with right hands to the body and head in the third round and the fight was very even through rounds three to five with all three rounds potentially going either way.

Jack , who was coming off a draw to Lucian Bute last year, had his first moments of dominance in the sixth round when he trapped DeGale along the ropes and scored with a flurry of punches. Later in the round he appeared to hurt DeGale with a body shot and despite a flurry from “Chunky” in the final 30 seconds it was Jack’s first dominant round of the fight. The 7th round was again hard to score with DeGale seeminly landing more punches but Jack scoring with the heavier blows.

Early in the eighth round Jack knocked DeGale’s mouthpiece out and before the referee had a chance to replace it, the Swedish born fighter began his best onslaught of the fight. Referee Arthur Mercante jnr had an excellent fight and his decision to hand the mouthpiece off to DeGale’s corner and instruct them to rinse it while the fight continued was probably the best handling of that situation I have ever seen. DeGale was in serious jackdegalecardtrouble during this round and had he received additional time to recover  it could have given his promoter Floyd Mayweather jnr another thing to whine about after the fight (more on that later). There was word in a later round that DeGale lost some teeth during this round and that has since been confirmed.

Round nine was another close round with DeGale now landing the harder punches and Jack landing more punches although Jack was still landing hard blows himself as he again knocked DeGale’s mouthpiece out. DeGale took the tenth on my card as well as all three judges’ cards but the round was one of the better rounds of an excellent bout. Going into the championship rounds I had DeGale up 95-94. Round eleven was scored unanimously for DeGale although the round was very close and I’ve seen a number of different cards scoring the round for Jack.

The final round both fighters sensed they needed to win it to win the fight and fought accordingly. Halfway through the round Beau Jack evened up the knockdowns and dropped DeGale with a hard right hand. DeGale was clearly hurt with blood coming from his mouth and his face swelling up. Jack attempted to finish him and again knocked out the British fighter’s mouthpiece and landed hard shots right up until the final bell.

Judge Glenn Feldman’s 114-112 card in favour of James DeGale was overruled by judges Julie Lederman and and Steve Weisfeld who both scored the bout 113-113 allowing each man to retain their titles. This was a fantastic fight and despite neither man winning it, boxing fans were the winner as this fight topped off a card that will be hard to beat in terms of evenly matched fights and back and forth action. I scored the bout 114-112 for Jack but I wouldn’t tell a person who scored it 115-111 for DeGale that they were wrong because there were that many close rounds in this fight.

During the post fight interviews both men felt they won, both men had every right to say that they won. Beau Jack now 20-1-3 with 12 KO’s, didn’t say much except that he wants to fight at light heavyweight and he thought he won and would prefer a rematch there. DeGale’s promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t say anything. James DeGale, now 23-1-1 with 14 KO’s, stated that he landed the cleaner shots and was “picking his (Jack’s) head off” then Jack’s promoter Floyd Mayweather spoke. Mayweather thought Jack was ripped off for the second time in a row and there’s a lot of people who probably agree. Mayweather then stated that the judges ruined this fight, claimed that ONE judge scored a “unanimous decision” for Oscar De la Hoya in their 2007 bout which Mayweather won by split decision and that this was a bad night for boxing.

By a bad night for boxing Mayweather means it was a bad night for him. This was the exact kind of card boxing needed and especially considering it was in New York, a state that almost lost boxing as a sport because of crazy insurance premiums that the State Athletic Commission was forcing promoter’s to take out in order to host shows in the state, this was exactly the type of card boxing needed. Mayweather, despite what he thinks, isn’t boxing. Both times Mayweather got on the mic during this card he made a fool of himself (he swore unneccessarily on free to air TV while being interviewed after the Davis-Pedraza fight, way to bring the kids into boxing) and the only thing that was bad for boxing tonight was what came out of his mouth.

Undercard; Gervonta Davis wins IBF 130lb title, Immanuwel Aleem stops Khytrov

The undercard was sensational. Gervonta Davis looks like he could be a major player at junior lightweight with a dominating performance in his first 12 round bout over Puerto Rico’s IBF world titlist Jose Pedraza. Davis dominated the first four rounds, making Davis miss and exploding on him with counters. He appeared to slow down in rounds five and six but Pedraza’s only really good round was the sixth. Davis took over again quickly in the seventh and put Davis away after dropping him with a series of shots punctuated with a right hook from the southpaw stance.

Davis, now 17-0 with 16 KO’s, reminds me of Adrien Broner when he was at this weight and hopefully he keeps the same focus. While Pedraza, now 22-1 with 12 KO’s, probably had no business being a world titlist (he won a vacant title and hasn’t fought anyone inside the top 10) Davis looked good in dispatching him.

The other televised undercard was another war between undefeated prospects Immanuwel Aleem (16-0-1, 9 KO’s) and Ievgen Khytrov (14-0, 12 KO’s). Aleem boxed from the outside early but hurt Khytrov, a former world amateur champion in 2012 with a win over Olympic gold medalist and Japanese middleweight prospect Ryota Murata, with an overhand right midway through the round. Aleem then became right hand happy and threw pretty much just his overhand right for the rest of the round and seemingly punched himself out by the end of the stanza attempting to finish the Ukrainian.

Khytrov took the second on my card with his aggression. He cut the ring off well and threw a lot of punches on the inside although his defence was very leaky and he took his share of big punches in return. Aleem looked exhausted until he came to life late in the third and stunned Khytrov with a left hook. he then followed it with a beautiful double left hook and dropped Khytrov heavily. Referee Eddie Claudio administered the eight count, then took an inexplicable ten more seconds before he restarted the fight. Rather than using combinations, Aleem winged wild left hooks in an attempt to finish Khytrov and let him off the hook.

The Ukrainian’s corner went off between rounds at their man’s lack of defence and told him not to stay so tall and the advice was well received. Khytrov came back well in rounds four and five and seemed to have recovered and worked his way back into the fight as Aleem had slowed down again. Coming in lower and moving his head more, Khytrov made Aleem miss and went to work when he trapped him along the ropes and seemed to be on his way to a stoppage victory with Aleem tiring. The end came suddenly in round six.

Aleem used his jab better early in the sixth and kept Ievgen off him momentarily before Khytrov went to work. With Aleem defending along the ropes, he landed a right uppercut which backed Khytrov up. He missed with a right hand but then landed a huge corkscrew left hand followed by an overhand right and dropped Khytrov heavily. Khytrov beat the count but was clearly hurt and despite an additional seven seconds on top of the eight count, Aleem landed four consecutive right hands followed by two left hooks forcing the stoppage. There was a lot of hype behind Ievgen Khytrov so this is a huge win for Aleem, who wasn’t very well known before this fight.

Boxing Preview; De-Gale-Jack, Nasio-Fujimoto

This weekends boxing action is headlined by the huge super middleweight unification fight out of New York with IBF titlist James DeGale unifying with WBC titlist Beau Jack with an IBF junior lightweight title fight on the undercard. Also featuring this weekend is Cuban star Erislandy Lara defending his WBA junior middlweight title against former Miguel Cotto victim Yuri Foreman. There is no action domestically but Australian heavyweight champion travels to Japan to take on former K-1 star and now full-time boxer Kyotaro Fujimoto for the vacant OPBF heavyweight title.

James DeGale vs Badou Jack
Vacant Ring Magazine world championship, WBC/IBF world titles
New York, USA
Television- Fox Sports 5, 1.30pm Sunday 15 Jan
Australian fight fans are being treated to a lot of Showtime fights free to air on Fox Sports. It’s expected to continue with the huge welterweight showdown between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia later this year as well as the Carl Frampton vs Leo degalejackposterSanta Cruz rematch but first up is the entirely under-hyped super middleweight unification bout between WBC titlist Badou Jack and IBF titlist James DeGale.

DeGale (23-1, 14 KO) took the vacant IBF title by defeating Andre Dirrell in 2015 following Carl Froch’s retirement. He has since defended it twice with a clear cut decision wins over former champion Lucian Bute and Italy’s Rogelio Medina. DeGale’s sole career loss was via razor thin decision to George Groves back in May 2011. Groves and DeGale were amateur rivals with Groves defeating DeGale in the unpaid ranks before DeGale went on to win the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Groves win over DeGale for the Commonwealth title in 2011 was a huge upset and a huge fight for British boxing but DeGale has bounced back well while Groves’ career has slid following his losses to Carl Froch in 2014.

Badou Jack (20-1-2, 13 KO) took the WBC title from Anthony Dirrell, who defeated Sakio Bika for the WBC title and was making his first defence of the title. Jack showed he was one of the top super middleweight’s in the world in his next fight with a majority decision win over George Groves on the Mayweather-Berto undercard and was unlucky not to get the decision over Lucian Bute in a fight that he clearly won (Bute later tested positive for banned substances). Jack’s only loss was in 2014, a surprise first round knockout against Derek Edwards, who has since lost his last three bouts.

DeGale should be the favourite but Jack has surprised people in his last three fights and a lot of people were expecting him to lose all three. This is a fight between two of the top three super middleweights in the world and Ring Magazine has put their vacant title on the line for the winner. WBO champ Gilberto Ramirez, in my opinion, is the top super middleweight in the world following his domination over Arthur Abraham, who had established himself as the best super middleweight behind Carl Froch with wins over Robedrt Stieglitz and Martin Murray. DeGale has the edge in speed for me and I think this will be the difference. I expect this one to go 12 rounds and Jack will likely make it close but DeGale should be able to control the fight with his hand and foot speed and take a close decision.

The undercard sees an IBF junior lightweight title fight between Jose Pedraza and Gervonta Davis. The title has gone to Pedraza after Rances Barthelemy moved up to lightweight and Pedraza is making his third defence. Davis, a 2012 national golden gloves champion, is taking a significant step up in class, competing in his first 12 round fight but has a thirsd round knockout over former title holder Cristobal Cruz on his record. A women’s world title fight between one of the best women’s boxers in the world Amanda Serrano and former WBC bantamweight champion Yazmin Rivas for the WBO junior featherweight title and a middleweight contest featuring Ukraine’s former world amateur champion Ievgen Khytrov make up the rest of the card.

Erislandy Lara vs Yuri Foreman
WBA junior middleweight title
A non televised fight on Australian TV, Lara is making a rather routine defence against Foreman, who hasn’t really done a whole lot since losing back to back fights against Miguel Cotto and Pawel Wolak in 2010 and 2011. Lara won’t pressure Foreman as much, which might give Foreman a chance as his losses were both against pressure fighters, but Lara is too slick and technical and should win a wide decision.

Kyotaro Fujimoto vs Wille Nasio
Vacant OPBF heavyweight title
Kyotaro Fujimoto (15-1, 8 KO) is a former K-1 fighter who was being built up as the next Japanese star after wins over Peter Aerts and Jerome Le Banner but after losses to Semmy Schilt and Gegard Mousasi in 2010 he switched to boxing. His one loss was to Solomon Haumono by knockout the last time he went for the OPBF title. He has since won the Japanese national title and has defeated middleweight boxer Nobuhiro Ishida on points (Ishida is a notoriously tough middleweight who was only stopped by Gennady Golovkin and has a first round knockout win over James Kirkland) and scored wins over Peter Okhello and Australia’s Nathan McKay.

Nasio (10-1, 9 KO) is coming off a fourth round stoppage over Hunter Sam and his only loss was to Tai Tuivasa in a one night tournament in the fourth fight of his pro career. He’s also defeated Nathan McKay, although his win was via first round knockout and Kyotaro went 8 rounds with McKay. Nasio should be the favourite in this fight, Kyotaro has trouble keeping strong guys at a distance and he doesn’t have huge power for a heavyweight. If Nasio takes his time and puts on steady pressure he should be able to break down Kyotaro the same way Haumono did and force a mid round stoppage.

Horn vs Pacquiao and Australia’s Rich Boxing History

News broke yesterday that Jeff Horn will challenge Manny Pacquiao for his WBO welterweight title at a venue to be determined on April 23 (April 22 US time). Suncorp Stadium is favoured to host the bout but Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium and an offer from the UAE to host the bout abroad are also possible.

pacquiao-hornIf this fight comes off on Australian soil it will be one of the bigger boxing matches ever held in Australian boxing history but despite certain news sites reporting that this fight will be the biggest in Australian history, there  have been bigger fights on Australian soil before. The Jack Johnson vs Tommy Burns heavyweight title fight
drew a crowd of 15,000 with 25,000 unable to get tickets to the bout. Now I know that Suncorp Stadium holds 50,000 spectators but in 1908 when this fight took place, Australia’s population was just over 4 million compared to today’s population of 23 million and 50,000 isn’t such a big number.

Lionel Rose, one of Australia’s most popular world champions, made a defense of his world bantamweight title against British and Commonwealth champion Alan Rudkin at the Kooyong Tennis Stadium in Victoria. The fight was broadcast on free to air television across the country. Now Rudkin is definitely no Pacquiao, but Horn is definitely no Lionel Rose either. Lionel Rose fought in an era when boxing was televised for free and covered in the press. When Rose won his world title it was televised on free to air television. Jeff Horn has spent a large part of his professional career fighting in New Zealand. Horn, like all of our boxers, deserves to be better known than he is but in the Mundine/Green era of boxing our contenders for world titles are talked about less than the NRL players who do the sport to keep fit in the off season.

Pacquiao also isn’t the greatest boxer an Australian has ever challenged. Hector Thompson travelled to Panama to challenge Roberto Duran, considered by many one the greatest lightweights of all-time, in 1973. Tony Mundine challenged Carlos Monzon, considered by many one of the greatest middleweights of all-time, in 1974. Paul Ferreri challenged Carloz Zarate, considered by many one of the greatest bantamweights of all-time, in 1976.

Now you may say that Pacquiao is considered by many one of the greatest pound for pound fighters of all-time because of the amount of weight classes he has won titles in. Not many boxing historians hold that opinion. It is notoriously easier to win a world title in the current era of boxing and there are many more weight classes to win titles in. Pacquiao is never talked about like the previous three men are when it comes to discussing who is the greatest of all-time in their weight class. He was a terror at featherweight and junior lightweight and his wins over larger opponents like Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De la Hoya have made his legend but he never cleaned out a division like Duran, Monzon or Zarate did.

I’m not having a dig at this fight at all either, in fact I’ve been researching accommodation and flights in case it happens here, I just think it’s a little insulting to disrespect our rich boxing history and I think it’s disrespectful for the media, after years of only reporting the latest mismatch involving Anthony Mundine or Danny Green or whichever NRL player has last taken up our sport as the only boxing worthy news, now coming back to the sport and calling this fight something that it isn’t. Considering all we have to go on is that this fight is Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn, calling this fight the greatest boxing match in Australian boxing history is insulting!

What if the fight flops? The initial Anthony Mundine vs Danny Green fight didn’t sell nearly as many tickets as projected. What if Horn gets knocked out in the first few rounds? This could happen; Horn has been down before and Pacquiao is a huge step up in class and while he might not have Randall Bailey power, he has way more speed than anyone Horn has faced before. If either of these situations happens or a combination of the two, will people still be calling this the greatest boxing match in Australian boxing history?

On the other hand, if Horn does defeat Pacquiao in front of a sell-out crowd, then we have something to discuss.

Roman Gonzalez added to GGG-Jacobs card

gonzalez_cuadras_160910_006a20720x527Pound for pound king and current WBC junior bantamweight champion Roman
“Chocolatito” Gonzalez will defend his title against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KO) on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin vs Danny Jacobs undercard. This will be the third time that Golovkin and Gonzalez have co-featured on the same card and the second time in New York with the card set to take place at the Madison Square Garden on March 18th.

Gonzalez’ opponent won’t be a pushover but I doubt he’ll cause the four weight world titlist much trouble. Rungvisai has won 14 straight bouts since his loss to Carlos Cuadras, the man who Gonzalez took the title from in September, but non against any ranked contenders. Rungvisai doesn’t travel well as all four of his losses have occurred on the four times that he has fought outside of his native Thailand.

The card is scheduled to be televised on HBO in the United States, which means that Australian fans should get the fight telecast by Main Event pay per view, although they have not telecast bigger fights than GGG-Jacobs before. The undercard also features Ukraine’s Olympic Gold Medalist Oleksander Usyk, who will make the second defense of his WBO cruiserweight title against an opponent to be announced.

Zac Dunn defends Commonwealth title March 17

15940579_596993310504204_8066459060533703336_nUndefeated Commonwealth
super middleweight champion Zac Dunn will defend the title he won in November for the first time against Scottish fighter David Brophy on March 17 at the Melbourne Pavilion.

Brophy (17-1-1, 2 KO) has only twice fought outside of Scotland and one of those was his only loss, a fourth round KO loss to George Groves on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Charles Martin heavyweight title fight in April last year.

Brophy has the classical European style; hands held high coming forward behind a solid jab but uses very little head movement. He has only been past six rounds three times in his career but one of his two stoppage victories was in his last outing, suggesting that he may have more power than his record suggests.

This isn’t a bad fight for Dunn, the only man to stop Brophy was one of the best super middleweights in the world so it’s a good chance for Dunn to do similar. It shouldn’t be more than a routine defense for Dunn however, Brophy is there to be hit and Dunn has enough power to take him out.

The fight headlines one of two cards promoted by Brian Amatruda of Big Time Boxing in March, the other March 3rd, also at the Melbourne Pavilion, sees Anthony Buttigieg and Rocky Jerkic clash for the vacant Commonwealth junior middleweight title. Czar Amonsot will also appear on the undercard against an opponent to be named.

Horn vs Pacquiao possible for April

Undefeated Australian Jeff Horn is the leading contender to take on WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in April at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan of Duco Promotions is currently in Los Angeles in negotiations with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum for an April 23rd fight.

After scoring a sixth round stoppage over Ali Funeka on the undercard of the Joseph Parker vs Andy Ruiz heavyweight title fight in New Zealand in December, Horn’s team were looking at a lead up fight in order to lure Pacquiao to Australia later this year. However, after Pacquiao stated that he would require a $20 million purse to fight fellow American and current junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford, Arum has suggested that he wants to take Pacquiao on somewhat of a world tour with possible bouts in the UK, Mexico and the Middle East.

Pacquiao, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jesse Vargas for the WBO welterweight title in November, will require a big purse to face Horn but likely not what he would have required to fight Crawford. Horn has a high ranking in the WBO and IBF sanctioning bodies but doesn’t figure inside the Ring Magazine top ten and is currently ranked 12 by Boxrec. I personally think Horn has more credibility than the American based Ring Magazine gives him credit for but he is, at the very highest, the tenth ranked welterweight in the world in a packed welterweight division.

Manny Pacquiao wouldn’t be the first huge star to travel to Australia, however he would likely be the most popular fighter to ever fight on Australian soil. Australia has hosted a number of huge names in boxing in the last 110 years. Jack Johnson became the first African American world heavyweight champion at Rushcutter’s Bay in Sydney when he defeated Tommy Burns with a 14th round stoppage in 1908. The great uncrowned champion Sam Langford fought five 20 round bouts with Sam McVey (another great heavyweight who was ducked because of the colour of his skin) in Sydney and Brisbane from 1911-1913.

Prior to his reign as light heavyweight champion, Archie Moore toured Australia and fought in bouts with local champions Ron Richards and Fred Henneberry as well as other local club fighters. Masahiko “Fighting” Harada fought Johnny Famechon for his WBC featherweight title in 1969, losing a close decision. Jeff Fenech fought two legends of the sport in Carlos Zarate and Azumah Nelson on Australian soil while more recently Roy Jones jnr and Shane Mosley fought out of their primes (and their natural weight classes) in losing efforts to Danny Green and Anthony Mundine repsectively.

While this fight would be huge for Australian Boxing (even more if Horn were to upset Pacquiao), Pacquiao isn’t the greatest fighter to fight in Australia, he is just the most well known.

Moloney brothers to feature on Green-Mundine undercard

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2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Andrew Moloney, along with his twin brother Jason, will feature on the undercard of the Danny Green vs Anthony Mundine rematch in Adelaide on the 3rd of February.

Andrew, undefeated in his first eleven professional contests including seven knockouts, will take current Filipino junior bantamweight champion Renoel Pael. Pael, who has previously held the Filipino bantamweight title also, has won 21 contests from 26 including a draw however he has lost on every occasion he has fought outside of the Philippines including three of his last five bouts but he has never been stopped.

Jason also boxes a Filipino opponent, Marco Demecillo, who has recorded 22 wins from 29 bouts in his professional career. Demecillo headlined a show in Punchbowl in 2015 where he lost every round to Irish born TJ Doheny but lasted the 12 rounds in a contests for the PABA junior featherweight title. Demecillo has 17 knockouts from his 22 wins and has fought ten rounds or more on a number of occasions.

So far the undercard is shaping up to be semi decent with Trent Broadhurst vs Nader Hamdan also announced for the undercard. A few more domestic matchups would be great but it will be good for a larger audience to be able to get a look at the Moloney twins as they are two of Australia’s best prospects.