A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Birmingham, England
Kal Yafai W12 Suguru Muranaka — Full recap
Retains a junior bantamweight title
Scores: 119-107 (twice), 118-108
Records: Yafai (22-0, 14 KOs); Muranaka (25-3-1, 8 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In December, Yafai, a 2008 Olympian, won a vacant title when Luis Concepcion failed to make weight for a defense and was stripped the day before Yafai defeated him by lopsided unanimous decision. Yafai, 27, the first world titleholder from Birmingham, England, in the 110 years since Owen Moran won 20-round decision against Al Delmont to win what many recognized as the bantamweight world title in 1907, returned to his hometown to make his first defense and won a hard-fought battle against Muranaka, 31, who was boxing outside of Tokyo for the first time in his 13-year professional career.
Yafai scored the only knockdown of the bout in the second round when he tagged Muranaka with a left-right combination that forced him to touch his knee the canvas. The fight was more competitive than the lopsided scores would indicate as Muranaka gave a tremendously game effort. In the eighth round, referee Steve Gray penalized Yafai one point for repeated low blows. With the defense secured, Yafai has designs on facing the bigger names at 115 pounds, including former titleholder Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, former titlist Carlos Cuadras and former unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada.
Sam Eggington KO10 Cerefino Rodriguez
Wins European welterweight title
Records: Eggington (21-3, 13 KOs); Rodriguez (24-2, 12 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Fighting in his hometown, Eggington, 23, who was coming off a March fight in which he sent two-time world titleholder Paulie Malignaggi into retirement with an eighth-round knockout loss, won his fourth fight in a row as he finished off Rodriguez, 28, of Spain, in style after what had been a sloppy fight. Rodriguez was making his first European title defense but Eggington demolished him in the 10th round with a spectacular knockout of the year candidate. Eggington forced him to the ropes and was laying leather on him before he landed a blistering four-punch combination — a flush right uppercut followed by a left hand, a right and another left hand that sent him through the ropes, onto the ring apron and nearly out of the ring as those at ringside kept the nearly unconscious Rodriguez from falling to the arena floor. There was no need to count and referee Massimo Barrovecchio immediately waved the fight off at 1 minute, 3 seconds. Garcia remained down for several minutes in a scary scene.
Saturday at Leeds, England
Josh Warrington W12 Kiko Martinez
Scores: 116-112 (twice), 114-114
Records: Warrington (25-0, 5 KOs); Martinez (36-8-1, 26 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Warrington, 26, fighting in his hometown, was pushed hard but got the majority decision win against former junior featherweight world titleholder Martinez, 31, of Spain, whose other losses in recent years have come only against the best out there in Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton (twice) and Scott Quigg.
It was a close fight that perhaps could have gone either way but Martinez, angry after the decision was read, had to have known getting the nod in Warrington’s hometown was always going to be a difficult unless he dominated, which he did not. Warrington raised swelling on Martinez’s forehead by the second round and was very busy (but he is not much of a puncher), while the heavier-hitting Martinez’s body attack was solid.
Nicola Adams TKO3 Maryan Salazar — Full recap
Records: Adams (2-0, 1 KO); Salazar (5-2, 0 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Adams, 34, of England, won Olympic gold medals in women’s boxing in 2012 and 2016 and entered the pro ranks with fanfare in April, winning a four-round decision in her debut. That fight was contested with two-minute rounds, the usual length of rounds in women’s boxing. But Adams, along with some others female fighters, have voiced objection to the shorter rounds and want to fight with three-minute rounds as the men do. So Adams got her wish in this fight with Salazar, 18, of Mexico.
Fighting in her hometown before an adoring crowd, Adams dominated and had Salazar in big trouble at the beginning of the third round. She forced her into a corner and was teeing off on her with one unanswered punch after another until referee Howard John Foster stopped the bout 35 seconds into the round.
Also on the card, junior featherweight Thomas Ward (21-0, 2 KO), 22, of England, won the British title from James “Jazza” Dickens (22-3, 7 KO), 26, of England, by ninth-round technical decision on scores of 88-84, 87-85 and 87-85. The fight was stopped and sent to the scorecards after Ward suffered a cut over his left eye on an accidental head butt. Dickens lost his second fight in a row, having been knocked out by junior featherweight world titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux in the second round in July.
Saturday at Ypsilanti, Michigan
James Toney KO6 Mike Sheppard
Records: Toney (77-10-3, 47 KOs); Sheppard (24-21-2. 10 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In a fight promoted as the final bout of his 29-year career, Toney, 48, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but a longtime resident of Southern California, returned close to home to fight for the first time in nearly two years and more than a decade past the time he was a bona fide heavyweight contender. Toney, who won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, cruiserweight and was once one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters, cost himself a heavyweight world title in 2005 with the first of two positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs. Toney has been done basically since that 2005 title fight with John Ruiz and is beyond shot. It’s sad that a commission actually licensed him, but he still had enough to get rid of Sheppard, 41, of Palestine, West Virginia, who has lost to a who’s who of name opponents. Toney, who came into the fight having lost his previous two bouts, both to journeyman opponents, won for the first time since 2013 as he handed Sheppard the 16th knockout loss of his career. Early in the sixth round, Toney landed what looked like an innocuous right hand to Sheppard’s armpit and he went down. Sheppard didn’t exactly give a big effort to beat the count and was counted out 26 seconds into the round.