Murata Avenges Loss to Brant with Second-Round KO
There were rumors that Rob Brant was going to fight Jeff Horn after a second win over Ryota Murata. Well, Murata threw that idea out the window, recapturing the WBA “Regular” Middleweight title he lost in the first matchup and putting himself back on track for Japanese superstardom.
Early on, Brant was outboxing Murata just like he did in the first fight, but Murata’s increasing willingness to walk through Brant’s shots to land his own, often to the body, slowed Brant enough that by the second round Murat was landing much more often. Eventually, Murata’s shots took their toll and Brant went down from an accumulation of punches. When he got back up, the referee could have and probably should have stopped the fight, but instead gave Brant a chance to fight back. He couldn’t, wobbling around the ring while Murata continued his onslaught until the referee finally ended things late in the second round.
Murata, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is 33 years old, so unless he plans on staying in Japan and cashing in with easy fights, it’s now or never. Australia and Japan aren’t that far apart; he should look to take the Jeff Horn fight to get a win over an internationally-known opponent.
Ronny Rios Hands Diego De La Hoya His First Loss
Oscar’s nephew, Diego De La Hoya, unexpectedly lost his first fight this weekend, and cost Golden Boy Promotions a ton of money in doing so. Looking to pick up the WBA “Gold” Super Bantamweight title, De la Hoya took on Ronny Rios, a 30-3 fighter that lost to Rey Vargas and Azat Hovhannisyan in two of his last four fights.
In a back and forth fight, Rios dropped De La Hoya with an uppercut in the sixth, and when De La Hoya got up, the referee looked at him and stopped the fight. It looked like an early stoppage, until the referee reported that De La Hoya told him he didn’t want to continue. That’s a rough look for a young fighter, and will only fuel the idea that he was never a real prospect, just the relative of a great fighter.
Amir Khan Makes His Money with Easy Stoppage of Billy Dib
Billy Dib lost a title shot to Tevin Farmer in 2018 at 130 pounds. Less than a year -- and one win over a sub-.500 fighter -- later, and the 33-year-old Australian decided to fight Amir Khan at 147. Unsurprisingly, Khan walked through the much smaller fighter, dropped him in the third, then again in the fourth, which caused Dib’s corner to throw in the towel. How does a Khan-Dib fight make any sense? Money.
See, the fight was in Saudi Arabia and Khan is reportedly making 7 million pounds ($8.75 million) for the mismatch, which was actually an improvement over the initial matchup with India’s Neeraj Goyat, who was injured training for the bout. Both Rick Ross and Tyga performed before the fight, which shows just how much money the Saudis put into the show. It was weird, but it was clearly intended to be a spectacle, not a serious competition.
With the victory, Amir Khan is pushing for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, and his people are claiming they have a great offer, though it’s unclear what that offer is. How quitting against Terence Crawford and beating a 130-pound fighter leads to fighting Pacquiao -- especially if Manny beats Keith Thurman next weekend -- only Khan could rationalize. A more reasonable offer is that of MMA coach John Kavanagh, who said that he wants Khan to fight Artem Lobov in bareknuckle boxing.
Shakur Stevenson Scores Easy KO Win, Wants Title Shot Next
In his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, Shakur Stevenson put on a show against a replacement of a replacement opponent, Alberto Guevara; knocking him down twice in the second round and once in the third, which prompted the referee to end the contest. The fight was underwhelming, and Guevara, who was cheered before the fight for stepping in on late notice when the first two opponents backed out scared, didn’t show much skill or heart in the matchup.
Supposedly, Stevenson has had enough of beating up these nobodies and wants a title shot. He tweeted to IBF Featherweight Champion Josh Warrington, “Yo @J_Warrington U free in December? I’ll be more then honored to come to England.” If he actually is willing to go to England to fight the undefeated 28-year-old in what would only be his 13th fight at 22 years old, all credit to him.
Jamal “Shango” James Wins Tough Decision over Antonio DeMarco
Unlike Alberto Guevara, Antonio DeMarco deserves heaps of praise for going into James’ hometown and giving him a tough, back-and-forth fight. In Shango’s hometown of Minneapolis, DeMarco hurt James in the second round, then went toe-to-toe with him over the course of 10 rounds. DeMarco was all heart in this fight and hit James with some good shots. Unfortunately, Demarco’s power hasn’t translated from 135 to 140, so his shots weren’t enough to really damage James. In the end, “Shango” took a unanimous 98-92, 98-92, 98-92 decision.
Some are calling this a fight of the year contender, but it is unlikely to hold up until January with so little (comparatively) at stake. Demarco has now lost five of his last seven, so at 33 years old he should probably call it a career. As for James, he made it very clear he wants to fight the winner of Pacquiao-Thurman, which he thinks will be Pacquiao. The issue, as always with “Shango,” is why perhaps the most famous boxer on the planet would want to fight a high-risk, low-reward opponent like Jamal James.
Ken Shiro Stops Taconing in Sixth
Even before Murata’s big stoppage victory, Ken “The Amazing Boy” Shiro had the Japanese crowd feeling good. He stopped Filipino veteran Jonathan Taconing in the fourth round of their bout, landing a right hand that dropped the 32-year-old face first. Taconing got up in time, but his legs were too shaky for the referee to allow the fight to continue and it was called off. The win moved Shiro to 16-0 with nine knockouts.
Rey Vargas Wins Boring Decision over Kameda, Calls out Danny Roman
All was not well this weekend for Japanese boxers, however. Tomoki Kameda lost to Rey Vargas as an amateur and claimed he has been thinking about how to beat him since that day over 11 years ago. It must have been frustrating, then, to need to move to plan B, C, D and E over the course of a dreadful, unanimous 117-110, 117-110, 117-110 Vargas victory on Saturday.
The fight really wasn’t close. Kameda was beaten to the punch nearly every time and was docked a point for desperately punching Vargas on the break in the final round. After the fight, Vargas, the WBC Super Bantamweight champion, called for an all-Mexican unification bout against the IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight champion Danny Roman.
Joshua Greer Wins Decision, Can’t Bring Out “Night-Night” Pillow
Joshua Greer won a tight, controversial, majority 116-112, 115-113, 114-114 decision over Nikolai Potapov. Potapov’s people -- and Dan Rafael, who tweeted “Wow. Whatever” -- disagreed with the decision and are going to appeal it (which never works), but the fight was boring enough that nobody seemed to care which way the fight went anyway.
As with any Joshua Greer fight, the crowd wanted to see a knockout so he could bring out his famed “Night-Night” pillow. Rather than discuss the highly controversial decision and justify why he felt he won, in a post-fight interview Greer knew what the people wanted to see and said, “He’s very awkward with the Russian style, but at the end of the day, this is the pros. I pulled it out. … The booing didn’t bother me. I know I won the fight. Every time I hit him to the body, I hurt him. I didn’t get the knockout, but I got the win. Next time out, you’ll see the pillow again.”
Heavyweight Roundup: Joyce Beats Jennings, Fury Beats Peter, Dubois Stops Gorman and Washington Stops Helenius
There were a ton of heavyweight fights this weekend, some more relevant than others. Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce beat nine-year veteran and renowned vegan boxer Bryant Jennings via decision to move to 10-0. Jennings was the first fighter to go the distance with Joyce, who at 33 is moving up the ranks quickly. It will be interesting to see whom he fights next, but one man calling him out is fellow British heavyweight Daniel Dubois because…
Daniel Dubois knocked out fellow undefeated British heavyweight Nathan Gorman this weekend in the fifth round with an overhand right, and though he got up, the referee saw he was not going to win the fight -- he was knocked down and hurt before -- and called it off.
Hughie Fury, the British heavyweight who some thought could be a serious contender until he lost to Kubrat Pulev, bounced back by beating what was left of former title challenger Samuel Peter this weekend. At 38 years old, Peter looked awful and retired with a dubious shoulder injury in a fight he was clearly losing. It’s time for Peter to call it a career.
Speaking of Samuel Peter, one of the fights he recently lost was to Finland’s Robert Helenius. Helenius fared much worse this weekend, because American heavyweight/ former USC football player Gerald Washington knocked him out cold with a huge right hand in the eighth round of a close fight. Washington will never be the best heavyweight in the world, but he is still a very dangerous opponent for anyone not elite in the division.
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