A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Lancaster, Calif.
Brandon Rios KO7 Aaron Herrera
Records: Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs); Herrera (32-7-1, 21 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Considering that “Bam Bam” Rios, a 31-year-old former lightweight world titleholder, was fighting for the first time since retiring following a one-sided ninth-round knockout loss to then-welterweight world titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. 19 months ago, he looked pretty darn good. Rios, of Oxnard, California, decided to return to the ring many months ago but it took time for him to get back in shape and for a fight to be set up after others also fell through. He found himself headlining a Premier Boxing Champions card against Mexico’s Herrera, 28, who came into the fight having won three in a row but got dominated.
But Rios exerted the typical pressure he is known for putting on opponents and wore the game Herrera down. In the seventh round, Rios backed Herrera into the ropes with a hard left hand to the body and moments later landed three jabs to the head and followed by a debilitating right hand to the body. Herrera immediately took a knee and referee Jack Reiss counted him out at 2 minutes, 11 seconds as Rios, now working with trainer Ricky Funez, notched his first victory since stopping Mike Alvarado in their rubber match in January 2015.
Mario Barrios KO7 Jose Luis Rodriguez
Records: Barrios (19-0, 11 KOs); Rodriguez (21-10, 12 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Barrios, a 22-year-old prospect from San Antonio, looked good in a dominant showing against Rodriguez, 30, of Mexico. Barrios dished out a lot of heavy punches but Rodriguez continued to fight hard. In the seventh round, Rodriguez was fading as Barrios kept up the attack before finally landing a left hand to the body that dropped him and referee Zac Young waved it off at 37 seconds.
Also on the card, junior welterweight Jose Miguel Borrego (13-0, 11 KOs), a 19-year-old prospect from Mexico, stopped Kevin Watts (11-2, 4 KOs), 25, who was fighting in front of a hometown crowd, at 2 minutes, 42 seconds of the fourth round.
Saturday at Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ryan Burnett W12 Lee Haskins
Wins a bantamweight title
Scores: 119-107 (twice) Burnett, 118-108 Haskins
Records: Burnett (17-0, 9 KOs); Haskins (34-4, 14 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Burnett, 25, got a chance to challenge for a world title in his hometown and did not disappoint in a tremendous performance against Haskins, a 33-year-old southpaw from England, who was making his third defense. Burnett dropped Haskins in the sixth round (right hand) and 11th round (left hand) and cruised to the victory in which both were cut by an accidental head butt in the second round. But Burnett’s domination was not reflected on the nonsensical scorecard of American judge Clark Sammartino, who has judged many world title fights but probably won’t get any more high profile assignments after his unforgivable error: He didn’t know which fighter was which. He scored rounds for Haskins thinking he was Burnett, even though Burnett’s trunks had his name stitched across his waistband. You can’t make this stuff up.
Mike Perez KO1 Viktor Biscak
Records: Perez (22-2-1, 14 KOs); Biscak (10-1, 7 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Perez, 31, a Cuban defector fighting out of Cork, Ireland, was a rising heavyweight contender but has not been the same since the tragic November 2013 night when he won a bruising decision against Magomed Abdusalamov, who wound up in a coma with severe brain injuries. Though he lived, Abdusalamov requires constant care and has had his life dramatically and permanently altered by that fight. Perez went 1-2-1 in his next four fights and appeared to be finished. But, 23 months since Alexander Povetkin blew him away in a first-round knockout, Perez made his return to the ring in a scheduled six-round fight.
Perez weighed 240½ pounds against Povetkin but came back as a cruiserweight, shedding 42½ pounds and weighing in at a trim 198 to face Biscak, 32, of Slovakia, a late replacement whose unbeaten record had been compiled against horrible opposition with a combined record of 21-89-5. So it should have been no shock that Perez, a southpaw, got rid of him in 29 seconds, when he landed a leisurely a right hand and Biscak went down. A hobbled Biscak beat the count but was limping on an apparent injured ankle and referee Hugh Russell Jr. waved off a fight that proved nothing, though Perez, initially scheduled for a 10-rounder against Northern Ireland’s Tommy McCarthy (9-1, 5 KOs), looked like he was in excellent good shape.
Saturday at Sloan, Iowa
Jose Haro KO8 Daniel Franco
Records: Haro (14-1-1, 8 KOs); Franco (16-2-3, 11 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Lost in a very solid victory for Haro, 30, of West Jordan, Utah, who won his sixth fight in a row, is the fact that it came at the potentially tragic expense of Franco, 25, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, in the main event of a CBS Sports Net-televised card. It had been a tough fight but ended with Haro, who landed a lot of hard right hands, dropping Franco with a clean overhand right in the eighth round and then landing an even harder one, right near Franco’s temple, moments later that dropped him again, this time very hard face first. It was as brutal a KO as you will ever see and referee Celestino Ruiz immediately waved off the fight without a count at 2 minutes, 43 seconds. Franco, who dropped to 1-2 in his last three fights with both losses coming by knockout, appeared as though he would be fine as he was quickly alert and moved onto a stool for the ringside doctor to check him out. But several minutes later he laid back down on the canvas, was taken out of the ring on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital, where he had emergency surgery for two brain bleeds. He remains in a coma and is fighting for his life.
Friday at Verona, N.Y.
Regis Prograis TKO2 Joel Diaz Jr.
Records: Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs); Diaz Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Prograis, a 28-year-old southpaw with power and skills from New Orleans who fights out Houston after being forced there by Hurricane Katrina, took the big step from prospect to legitimate contender with this stunningly easy destruction of Diaz in a fight most thought would be highly competitive. On paper it looked like one of the strongest main events in years on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” but it turned out to be all Prograis, who scored his 13th knockout in his last 14 fights and made a major statement.
After a spirited first round, Prograis took over against Diaz, 25, of Palmdale, California, who came in on a seven-fight knockout streak and plenty of confidence. But Prograis had to have taken that confidence away with the way he disposed of Diaz. Ten seconds into the round, he dropped Diaz with a left hand, but he also stepped on his foot at the same time and Diaz did not appear hurt. But then Prograis hurt him badly with a clean straight left hand that crumpled him to the mat. He got knocked down for the third time moments later by another left hand. Prograis was all over Diaz and firing away when he landed yet another clean left hand that sent Diaz to the canvas for the fourth time in the round and referee Mark Nelson waved it off at 2 minutes, 55 seconds. This is a huge win for Prograis, who then declared himself the 140-pound division’s boogeyman and called out unified champion Terence Crawford and ex-titlist Adrien Broner. It’s going to be hard to find quality opponents willing to fight Prograis.
Steve Rolls W8 Demond Nicholson
Scores: 77-74 (twice) Rolls, 77-75 Nicholson
Records: Rolls (16-0, 9 KOs); Nicholson (17-2-1, 16 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Rolls, 33, of Toronto, and Nicholson, 24, of Laurel, Maryland, put on a good, close fight. Rolls got off to a quick start and took an early lead thanks in large part to scoring a knockdown with a left hook in the waning seconds of the first round. Nicholson still appeared a bit shaken in the second round but got himself together before beginning to assert himself in the third round. There were several close rounds as the fight wore on with Rolls a little busier in punches thrown (412-390, according to CompuBox) but Nicholson had the slight edge in landed shots (134-117). It was a hard fight to score and could have gone either way as Rolls pulled out the close call. Rolls felt his jab was a key weapon and Nicholson, to his credit, did not complain about the result, electing to instead give Rolls credit for a good performance.
Jon Fernandez KO2 Juan Reyes
Records: Fernandez (13-0, 11 KOs); Reyes (14-4-3, 2 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Spain’s Fernandez, is a 21-year-old protégé of former middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez and is definitely a prospect to watch. He was very impressive blowing away the experienced Reyes, who had gone the distance in his three previous losses. Fernandez had it all working in the first round as he peppered Mexico’s Reyes, 27, who fights out of Bell Gardens, California, with punches, landed his right hand nearly at will and cut Reyes under the left eye. Fernandez continued to torment him with an avalanche of clean combinations in the second round until finally landing a blistering right hand smack on the chin and Reyes went down and out, flat on his back, causing referee Charlie Fitch to immediately wave off the fight without a count at 2 minutes, 36 seconds. It was a knockout of the year candidate, after which Reyes was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Also on the card, junior middleweight Charles Conwell (3-0, 3 KOs), 19, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland knocked out Jeffrey Wright (4-7-1, 4 KOs), 30, of Milwaukee, at 57 seconds of the third round in their scheduled six-rounder.