A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Ekaterinburg, Russia
Denis Lebedev W12 Mark Flanagan
Retains a cruiserweight title
Scores: 120-107, 119-108 (twice)
Records: Lebedev (30-2, 22 KOs); Flanagan (22-5, 15 KOs)
From the oval to the ring to the lanes to the mud of Churchill Downs, these athletes faced off against the competition with nothing else but their will to win. Vote Now!
Rafael’s remarks: In December, unified titleholder Lebedev, a 37-year-old southpaw from Russia, lost a decision to countryman Murat Gassiev that cost him one of his world title belts, but absurdly the other belt he had was not on the line even though it was originally supposed to be. So Lebedev got the gift of keeping that version of the title and returned to defend it with ease against wholly undeserving Flanagan, 27, of Australia, who had never previously faced anyone closely resembling a legitimate contender. Lebedev was dominant in a near-shutout decision in which he dropped Flanagan with a straight left hand to the pit of the stomach in the ninth round.
Also on the card, promising welterweight Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (12-0, 8 KOs), 23, of Uzbekistan, scored his biggest victory in a unanimous decision — 117-110, 116-111, 116-111 — against Dmitry Mikhaylenko (22-2, 10 KOs), 31, of Russia, who has lost two of his last three bouts.
Saturday at Glasgow, Scotland
Josh Taylor TKO7 Ohara Davies – Full recap
Retains a cruiserweight title
Retains Commonwealth junior welterweight title
Records: Taylor (10-0, 9 KOs); Davies (15-1, 12 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Up-and-comers Taylor, a 26-year-old southpaw from Scotland, and Davies, 25, of England, showed a fierce dislike for each other during the buildup to the fight but Taylor, who retained his Commonwealth title for the second time, got the last word with his fists in a tremendous and dominant performance. In the final moments of the third round, Taylor nailed Davies with a stiff right jab that buckled his legs and forced him to take a knee for a knockdown. In the seventh round, Taylor sent Davies to his rear end with a clean counter right hook to the chin. Davies beat the count and Taylor nailed him with a left hand that forced Davies to wave his hand and turn away, apparently in resignation. But Taylor didn’t let up, pounding him with four more shots until referee Howard John Foster jumped in to stop it at 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
Saturday at Mexico City
Ulises Lara W10 Moises Fuentes
Scores: 97-94, 97-93, 95-95
Records: Lara (18-15-2, 10 KOs); Fuentes (24-4-1, 13 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In a battle between Mexico City rivals, Lara pulled a major upset via majority decision. The fight was supposed to get Fuentes, 29, a former strawweight world titleholder, back in the win column in his first bout since getting stopped in the fifth round challenging Kosei Tanaka for a vacant junior flyweight world title on Dec. 31 in Japan. But Lara had other ideas as he edged Fuentes in a fight that featured good action all the way. Lara showed a good chin and landed enough stinging shots to gain notice from the judges for by far the biggest victory of his career.
Saturday at Gelsenkirchen, Germany:
Francesco Pianeta TKO2 Ozcan Cetinkaya
Records: Pianeta (34-2-1, 20 KOs); Cetinkaya (26-12-2, 19 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Two-time world title challenger Pianeta, a 32-year-old southpaw from Italy who fights out of Germany, suffered both of his losses in world title fights, getting stopped in the sixth round by Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and in the first round by Ruslan Chagaev in 2015. Since then, Pianeta has won three fights in a row, including for the second time in two months as he blew away Turkey native Cetinkaya, 39, who fights out of Germany. Pianeta dropped Cetinkaya three times in the first round and then got the stoppage when referee Oliver Brien waved off the one-sided fight in the second round. Cetinkaya came into the fight having won five bouts in a row, albeit against very low-level opposition.
Friday at Tampa, Fla.
Giovanni Santillan TKO2 Sammy “Hurricane” Valentin
Records: Santillan (22-0, 12 KOs); Valentin (12-1, 9 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In a very well-matched Telemundo-televised main event, Santillan, a 25-year-old southpaw from San Diego, went on the road to face Valentin, 23, in his hometown and got the job done in impressive fashion. In the second round, Santillan and Valentin began to trade toe-to-toe and Santillan clipped him with a powerful right hand during an exchange and Valentin fell into the ropes, which held him up and prompted referee Frank Santore Jr. to call a knockdown. Valentin was still hurt when the fight resumed but rather than hold or move, he went right back into the battle and Santillan nailed him with several punches, including another clean right hand to the head that knocked him down again. He beat the count but was shaky and when Santillan unloaded several clean blows that rocked Valentin, Santore stepped in and stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 11 seconds.
Teofimo Lopez W6 Christian Santibanez
Scores: 60-54 (three times)
Records: Lopez (6-0, 5 KOs); Santibanez (5-7, 3 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Lopez, 19, of Davie, Florida, is one of several high-quality prospects Top Rank signed out of the 2016 Olympics. He also might turn out to be the best as he has outstanding speed and an exciting style made for the pro ranks. Lopez, who represented his parents’ home country of Honduras at the Rio de Janeiro Games, had no issues with Santibanez, 22, of San Antonio, although he went the distance — and past four rounds — for the first time. But even in going the full six rounds, Lopez was dominant and won every round.
Antonio Vargas W6 Leonardo Reyes
Scores: 60-54 (three times)
Records: Vargas (3-0, 2 KOs); Reyes (7-14, 3 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: The 20-year-old Vargas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Kissimmee, Florida, and one of the many prospects Top Rank signed out of the Rio de Janeiro Games, turned pro in February and notched first-round knockouts in his first two fights, both of which were scheduled for four rounds. But Reyes, 23, of Mexico, who has been knocked out eight times, managed to push Vargas the distance in his first scheduled six-round fight. Nonetheless, Vargas, the way more talented fighter, won handily by shutout.
Wednesday at Panama City, Panama
Luis Concepcion KO2 Luis De La Rosa
Records: Concepcion (36-5, 25 KOs); De La Rosa (25-9-1, 15 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In December, Concepcion, 31, of Panama, failed to make weight for a junior bantamweight world title defense against Khalid Yafai in England and was stripped of the title. The next day, Yafai won a one-sided decision to claim the vacant 115-pound belt. In his first fight since that debacle, Concepcion, who has regularly been in crowd-pleasing fights, rolled past former junior flyweight title challenger De La Rosa, 31, of Colombia. Concepcion landed heavy punches in the opening round and then drilled De La Rosa with a huge right hand in the second round. He went down hard, landing partially under the bottom ring rope, and referee Ivan Ballesteros counted him out at 1 minute, 34 seconds as De La Rosa’s trainer was coming into the ring to stop the fight. After the KO, Concepcion did a spectacular back flip off the top of a corner post.
Also on the card, junior featherweight Roberto Vasquez (34-6-2, 23 KOs), a 34-year-old former junior flyweight world titleholder from Panama, won a unanimous decision against Mauricio Martinez (13-12-2, 4 KOs), 29, of Colombia. The judges scored the six-rounder 59-55, 58-56 and 58-56.