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.

Australian Boxing Preview (December 9-10, 2016)

It’s a big weekend of boxing action this weekend with the Joseph Parker-Andy Ruiz jnr WBO heavyweight title bout taking place in New Zealand and Anthony Joshua defending his IBF title against Eric Molina (previews to come) but there are also a number of shows on the domestic scene.

On Friday night there are two cards in New South Wales with former IBO junior lightweight title challenger Kye MacKenzie taking on Dylan Emery for the vacant Australian junior welterweight title at the Hordern Pavilion. In the other card on Friday night at North Sydney Leagues Club former NSW Welterweight champion Ben Savva fights for the OPBF welterweight title against Filipino Dennis Padua.

On Saturday night alongside the Parker-Ruiz card, which co-features Jeff Horn vs Ali Funeka, 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Andrew Moloney takes on Carlos Ruben Dario Ruiz for a regional WBA title. On the undercard features Moloneys brother, Jason Moloney, a fellow undefeated bantamweight contender as well as the Balla brothers (Ibrahim and Qamil) and middleweight Michael Zerafa.

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Hordern Pavilion (Friday December 9)
Television- Fox Sports
While the poster above shows Paul Gallen vs Junior Paulo (which will likely be the televised main event) and the card also features other NRL stars, this is a boxing blog and will concentrate on the better matchups.

Kye MacKenzie vs Dylan Emery
(Vacant Australian junior welterweight title)
MacKenzie (15-1 , 13 KO) returns after a year long layoff and jumps right back into a tough fight, taking on Dylan Emery (17-0, 10 KO) for the vacant national title. While MacKenzie has spent the better part of his career fighting at junior lightweight, Emery has spent the majority of his career campaigning as a welterweight. Despite his wins over world rated Clive Atwell and local stars Matt Gartlett and Waylon Law, as well as his IBO world title fight loss to Jack Asis taking place at lower weight divisions, MacKenzie has had a number of fights at higher weights. Emery, on the other hand, hasn’t made junior welterweight since a 2014 stoppage over Ray Thompson.

This is quite a jump in class for Emery, who hasn’t been past six rounds in any of his 17 contests and has taken only slow steps up in competition during his career. Despite this, Emery is an effective body puncher who possesses a solid left hook and with his size matches up evenly with the ring rusty MacKenzie. MacKenzie should be the favourite due to his level of opposition and the fact that he has fought bigger guys before should somewhat negate Emery’s size advantage. If MacKenzie can overcome the ring rust he should prove too skillful for Emery.

Tommy Browne vs Samuel Colomban
(Six Rounds, junior middleweight)
Former WBA and WBC featherweight title challenger Tommy Browne (32-1-1 10 KO) continues his comeback in the higher weight divisions, taking on Cameroon’s 2006 Commonwealth Games representative, Melbourne-based Samuel Colomban (24-9, 11 KO) over six rounds. Both men have been in form with Browne winning the vacant NSW middleweight title with a decision over Irish veteran Joe Rea earlier this year and scoring a sixth round stoppage over Tasmanian Steve Maxwell on the Renold Quinlan vs Daniel Geale undercard. Colomban is coming off a loss to world rated Dennis Hogan but prior to that defeated Melbourne’s Ben Capps and dropped a close decision to undefeated Anthony Buttigieg.

This is an excellent piece of matchmaking. Both men are experienced, both men have fought a lot of the best fighters in their country and for once there isn’t some meaningless title on the line. Colomban will be the naturally bigger man however Browne is more experienced on the world scene, having gone 12 rounds with Injin Chi and 10 rounds with Chris John. I’m picking Browne to win a close decision but this is a good piece of matchmaking and should be an entertaining fight.

Also on the card outside of the NRL bouts, 2012 Olympian Jai Opetaia takes on Peter Brennan, a 40 fight veteran who has been in with some of the best cruiserweights in the country and  Irish-born Geroid Clancy takes on Thailabnd’s  Akrapong Nakthaem over six. The other bout in NSW on Friday night, headlining the North Sydney Leagues Club show, is Ben Savva (4-1, 0 KO) vs Dennis Padua (10-11-2, 5 KO) for the OPBF welterweight title. Savva is a skillful boxer who won the vacant NSW title in his last bout over Alex Ah Tong. Padua has never fought in Australia, but is coming off a 7th round KO win in his most recent fight for the Filipino title. This card is not being televised.

Melbourne Park Function Centre (Saturday December 10)3533
Television- Stream

Andrew Moloney vs Carlos Ruben Dario Ruiz
(10 rounds, WBA regional title)
Having won the state and national titles, 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Andrew Moloney (10-0, 6 KO)continues his rise through the regional ranks, taking on the Argentine Ruiz (21-8, 10 KO). Ruiz is a former minor world title challenger, having lasted until the 10th round with current WBA junior bantamweight champion Luis Concepcion in 2013 for the WBC Silver Flyweight title. This is a good step-up for Moloney, who has steadily increased his competition since turning pro.

The undercard sees Andrew’s brother Jason (10-0, 9 KO) taking on Mexican Enrique Bernache (22-9 11 KO), also over ten rounds for a WBA regional title. On the undercard Michael Zerafa (20-2, 11 KO) continues his comeback after his stoppage loss to Peter Quillin last year, fighting Western Australia’s Renato Oliveria (9-0, 2 KO) over ten rounds for an IBF regional title. Ibrahim Balla (9-1, 6 KO) returns from his first professional loss over ten rounds with Indonesian Agus Kustiawan (17-5-1, 7 KO) and his brother Qamil Balla (9-0-1, 3 KO) battles another Indonesian Musa Letding (11-5-4, 6 KO), also over ten rounds.