Fight Preview Round Up: October Four Card Finale! Part I

Tureano Johnson offers stiff challenge in Jaime Mungia’s second fight at 160

Jaime Mungia enters his second fight at the middleweight limit with trainer Erik Morales in their third installment as a team. Mungia is only twenty-four years of age, 35-0 (28) 6-0 (3) in title fights, and a rising young star in the deep Mexican boxing fraternity. He faces long time middleweight challenger Tureano Johnson who seeks an elusive first title challenge. Tureano is thirty-six years of age, 21-2-1 (15) and a veteran who made his splash back in 2014 when he lost a controversial technical knockout against Curtis Stevens. He led on the cards and with less than a minute to go he was stopped on his feet robbing him of a career breakout victory. For three years he knocked on the door at middleweight gold while Gennady Golovkin was the kingpin. His shot never came.

Mungia came into the consciousness of many American fight fans in 2018 when Golovkin needed a short notice foe and Jaime’s team got the call. The Nevada Boxing Commission was not satisfied with the unproven young fighter and declined to sanction the fight leaving Golovkin’s team looking elsewhere. Not long after that publicity boost, Mungia stepped in for the injured Liam Smith to face WBO titlist Sadam Ali. Ali was a welter who moved up to shock Miguel Cotto and pick up a WBO title at 154 lbs. While Ali’s star emerged he turned out to be a place holder for Mungia who steam rolled him in four rounds.

Johnson’s career hit a rough spell in 2017 when Sergey Derevyanchenko battered him to a dominant twelfth round stoppage, he sat out 2018 completely and laid an egg in a February 2019 draw against 26-13 Fernando Castaneda. Personally, I thought his career was finished at that point. He bounced back in July of that year and pounded 16-0 rising contender Jason Quigley whose corner pulled him out heading into the tenth round. Mungia’s rising star finally lost some shine in April of 2019 when he struggled mightily with Dennis Hogan in a controversial majority decision. I do not like to casually throw the robbery term around but I felt at the time that Hogan got hosed and felt by December it was the robbery of the year. In that fight Mungia was slow to return his gloves back into position and he was countered over and over. Hogan’s foot work offset Mungia who had had his way with all of his previous opponents. While Mungia showed guts in never giving up and pursuing the win he was exposed in many ways. Following the fight he hired legendary fighter Erik Morales to take over as trainer and moved to middleweight.

For fight week DAZN had the two on video chat with Golden Boy Promotions’ Beto Duran to hype the fight up. Mungia stated he relocated from the comforts of Tijuana to the mountains outside of Mexico City to focus on endurance with altitude training. He also told Duran he feels great and that at 160 lbs. he is a stronger fighter. For Johnson he warned that “Quigley was just a taste” and then pivoted to the cliched “I am motivated to prove the doubters wrong”. When asked about who he wants to take on if victorious, Johnson stated Charlo without any hesitation before following up with Golovkin. Johnson also declared, ” this is tailor made for me” “I picked this fight he can’t swim with this shark”. Mungia sat stone faced and told Duran he will knock Johnson out, Johnson responded with a light laugh but he seems up and confident for this fight.

When this fight was initially announced I was excited to see Mungia take on such a risky fight. I think Tureano has a great shot to win this fight and out of all the big names at 160 Mungia might be the best route for Johnson. Jaime is young and still growing as a fighter. Against Hogan he showed many holes in his game and the question is how much of that came to the weight cut and how many of these issues have Mungia’s team addressed? In his last outing with Gary O’Sullivan, Mungia started the fight with head movement and careful boxing before devolving back into his usual slugging style. Tureano Johnson is not a huge puncher but he throws dangerous overhand rights and has a crisp left hook and he likes to get inside. Against Quigley, Johnson got inside the jab and worked his younger opponent along the ropes and wore him down. Hogan had a lot of success with short counters but lacked the firepower to take Jaime out. O’Sullivan landed a bomb of an overhand right in the third round that shook Jaime a little. I feel Johnson’s strengths play out well against Mungia’s weaknesses but am not fully sure Johnson can pull the upset. Mungia takes a good punch (though he hasn’t faced any real bombers), has a good gas tank and has a great offense that offsets his defensive liabilities. Johnson will have to get inside to be successful but that will require him to walk through the fire to do it.

On the undercard

The undercard is pretty loaded with a few good battles and some undefeated fighters being showcased:

22-0 Rashidi Ellis and 16-0 Alex Rocha square off in a battle of undefeated young welterweights. In their face to face on DAZN Ellis stated he is motivated to “take that 0” from Rocha and was mostly dismissive of Rocha. He kept reminding Beto Duran he is too fast for Rocha and that until the challenge was proposed he never heard of his opponent. Rocha stated, “I think this fight is going to steal the show. This is a better fight than the main event. ” I got this fight because I asked for it”, Rocha announced before being laughed at by Ellis. “You asked for this”, he responded implying you asked for this ass kicking.

WBO 112 lb. title bout between 23 year-old 17-1 Mexican champion Elwin Soto against 28 year-old Nicaraguan Challenger Carlos Buitagro

Women’s flyweight scrap between American Olympian Marlen Esparza 7-1 and Sulem Urbina 12-0. From their face to face on DAZN there is certainly bad blood. Esparza seems to shrug it off as a one way rivalry but Urbina is motivated to avenge multiple amateurs losses to Esparza. Esparza seeks to get back on track after suffering her first career defeat.

Two 5-0 prospects Bektemir Melikuziev and Tristan Kalkreuth are featured (linked are their boxrec pages to see their records)

Lamont Roach looks to bounce back at 130 lbs. following his WBO title shot ended in defeat versus Jamal Herring.

Oleksandr Usyk faces first real test as a heavyweight in Derek Chisora

Usyk enters the ring as a heavyweight for the second time in his career at thirty-three and on the verge of a title opportunity. In his way is the experienced and unpredictable Derek “Delboy” Chisora. The injury riddled Usyk climbs up from heavyweight after unifying all four titles at cruiserweight on the back of winning the World Boxing Super Series. His heavyweight debut came last year with a one sided stoppage over Chazz Witherspoon who offered very little in return. Usyk is the mandatory challenger for the WBO title held by Anthony Joshua and much like Dillian Whyte, he risks everything with this fight. For Chisora this is his last chance to get a title shot after a rollercoaster of a career. Chisora broke out in 2012 when in one weekend slapped WBC champion Vitali Klitschko which cost him $50,000 in fines, spat water in Wladimir Klitschko’s face, went twelve hard rounds with Vitali Klitschko, brawled with David Haye where he was hit with a glass bottle and saw his boxing license revoked.

Chisora has since fallen into a pattern of losing a big fight to be written off only to rebound with a signature victory and come back into the discussion. I thought he was finished after Tyson Fury made him quit in 2014 and when Dillian Whyte knocked him out cold in 2018 but here we are in 2020 and he has a chance to knock off one of the biggest names in the division. Usyk is a master boxer at a time when heavyweights seem to just keep getting bigger and bigger. 6’5″ is starting to seem short for a titleholder and 230 on the small end; Usyk is 6’3″ and weighted only 215 in his debut at heavyweight. Usyk is looking to defy trends and show skill trumps size and despite holding a height advantage with Chisora he will likely be outweighed by thirty to forty pounds. In the same vein as Lomachenko, Usyk is a phenomenal mover with sublime boxing skills. At 17-0 (13) he has hardly lost a round and has only seriously been tested one time. Chisora is a rugged and tough fighter who has come up short versus the best but was normally dwarfed in size. His loss to moved up cruiserweight David Haye came by knockout but Haye is a much more proven puncher than Usyk.

I think the smart money is on Usyk to effectively move and outmaneuver Chisora to a wide points victory or a late stoppage. Chisora does remain dangerous deep into fights as shown with Carlos Takam who he was getting dominated by before landing a hail Mary to win the contest. Ricky Hatton when interviewed by DAZN feels that Chisora is a live dog seeing as Usyk “has not really taken a heavyweight punch”, and that “Chisora has a puncher’s chance”. Ricky ultimately stated he feels Usyk will win but that it is going to be a good fight. He also predicts, “Usyk will be stronger as a heavyweight and have more power” Usyk is not known as a puncher despite his record. Maybe with the speed advantage, punch accuracy, and foot work to position himself to land we might see Usyk land a surprise left that flattens Chisora. I feel this one probably goes all twelve. A victory here puts Usyk in the opportunity to be a road block to Fury vs Joshua for all the heavyweight belts as he plans to enforce his mandatory status. Of course Joshua could dump the belt and move forward with Fury anyway.

The under card is also pretty interesting:

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