Artur Beterbiev Knocked Out Marcus Brown in 9
Artur Beterbiev continued his run of knockouts reaching 17-0 with all victories coming inside the distance. The thirty-six year old Russian unified titlist at light heavyweight has not been very active having missed all of 2020 and fighting twice in 2021. He got his biggest win to date over Oleksandr Gvozdyk that saw him unify his IBF belt with the WBC all the way back in October of 2019. It feels like Beterbiev is fighting a losing battle with time as he is over thirty-five , inactive, and does not have a long list of big names lining up his way. This victory was over the 24-1 formidable Marcus Browne who fights out of Staten Island, NY though originally from my state, New Jersey. Browne is best known for being a US Olympian in 2012 and for briefly holding the WBA interim light heavyweight title, though not a world champion that is no small accomplishment.
The fight took place on ESPN+ at the Bell Center in Canada which is now Beterbiev’s adopted home. Browne took off to an early lead winning the first two rounds on two of the judges scorecards before Beterbiev took control of the fight. Browne moved and evaded well as he had a tendency to dip under the champion’s punches and work his way inside to dig in body punches. Referee Michael Griffin was a little quick to separate the fighters when both appeared willing to fight inside and do a bit of grappling. In the third round there was a clash of heads as Browne threw a short right hook and he ducked his head down into the forehead of Beterbiev. Was it on purpose, quite possibly as he does have a history of cutting fighters with his head, ,most notably Badou Jack who had a gruesome cut. Browne then seemed to get away from what had worked for him over the initial two rounds and started to fight a static fight with his back to the ropes. It is tough to say whether it was the unrelenting pressure Beterbiev utilized on the front foot or if Browne got courageous with the blood and wanted to initiate exchanges with an opponent with compromised vision.
Beterbiev began to win rounds and connect on punishing short punches. Artur is a freakishly strong fighter and does not need to wind up much at all to generate fight-ending power. Little short choppy punches in close tended to hurt Browne and once on the ropes he would methodically work to break his man down. Browne was tough getting all the way to the ninth round but Beterbiev won definitively. Online observers have begun to sound the “shot” alarm that Beterbiev struggled too much and that he is past his best and I think that is unfair. To claim he is in his absolute athletic prime would be crazy but I think people are extrapolating too much from him losing two rounds. He was clearly shaking off rust and taking his time and once he got control of the action he never relinquished it. Yes Browne won the first two rounds but he did not dominate them or trouble the champion with anything that landed. A lot of this I feel is a proxy of fans looking to discredit Canelo Alvarez in advance. Many are calling on the Mexican superstar to fight Beterbiev as he is viewed as the true foil, a move back to 175 lbs. versus a monstrous puncher. However, these same fans want to hedge their bets and say he is over the hill and will be more so if/when Canelo does move up and beat him.
For as enticing as a Beterbiev vs Canelo encounter would be, I think there is unfinished business at light heavyweight. Fellow Russian titleholder Dmitry Bivol is 19-0 with 11 KO’s and has held the WBA light heavyweight title since 2017 so they have had a four year overlap with titles while not fighting or calling each other out. Bivol is a slick mover and Beterbiev is a bruiser and they make an awesome clash of styles. Two undefeated Russian fighters who have four year title reigns and have won all of their fights without much resistance is a match maker’s dream. As it stands we may have to dream a little longer.
Gilberto Ramirez Slugs with Yunieski Gonzalez in 10th Round TKO Win
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez won a WBC light heavyweight title eliminator at the AT&T Center in Texas on DAZN this past Saturday. Ramirez the tall southpaw from Mexico held the WBO super middleweight title before moving up to light heavyweight. He has a high volume style and has wins over Jesse Hart, Arthur Abraham, Maxime Vlasov and Sullivan Barrera which are his notable wins. He also had victories over some tough stepping stones like Richard Gutierrez, Tommy Karpency, and Fulgencio Zuniga. Some fans hit him with the boring label as he went the distance in eight of his last nine fights at 168 lbs. he has grown into his power since moving up to 175 lbs. he has stopped all four of his opponents. While Karpency and Gomez are not world class they have gone the distance with other known punchers and though Barrera has plenty of mileage he is not an easy fighter to take out inside the distance. Gonzalez entered 21-3 with 17 KO’s and after a break in 2017 came back in 2020 with three wins all by knockout. He first came on my radar with a controversial decision loss to Jean Pascal on HBO and in 2017 lost by stoppage to the previously mentioned Gvosdk.
Ramirez jumped out to an early lead as he could not miss with his straight left hand. He won the opening two rounds as Gonzalez appeared to be banking on one big punch. In the third round Ramirez rocked Gonzalez to the core and had him on wobbly legs for most of the round. The fight then fell into a pattern of Ramirez rocking Gonzalez and opening up with straights, hooks and uppercuts while the wounded fighter would load up and score with a shot or two of his own. Ramirez showed defensive liabilities like dropping his hands in combination and not moving enough after landing but it made for a very entertaining fight. Gonzalez had a little more success later in the fight scoring though he never garnered much momentum, there was a moment where it looked like Ramirez punched himself out and started getting hit more. Ultimately he won by technical knockout in the tenth round after a very entertaining fight. This was a WBC eliminator so it should put Ramirez in line for Beterbiev but let’s see what happens. Maybe Ramirez’s team thinks Artur looked just vulnerable enough to go after him or maybe they go the WBO route and take on Joe Smith Jr who is a popular American title holder from Long Island, NY who also is with Top Rank and fights on ESPN. He is also the most vulnerable of all the titlists.
-Long time professional and brief WBA 130 lb. titlist Rene Alvarado fell to 32-11 following a loss to up and coming prospect Lamont Roach now 22-1-1. Alvarado is a fighter I have always respected as he came up tough on Golden Boy Promotions Fox Sports 1 cards often against tough opposition. Even in defeat he always gave it a good go around and continued to test himself. It all culminated with a hard fought win over Andrew Cancio to win the WBA title. I also feel the judges had this loss to Roach wider than it should be. For Roach it is his third win since losing a WBO title shot against Jamel Herring.-Seneisa Estrada best known for her seven second KO of Miranda Adkins that went viral scored a one shot KO over undefeated Maria Mechio Santizo. She continues her undefeated run of 22-0 with 9 KO’s and also has a victory over current title holder Marlen Esparza-Marlen Esparza got her fourth win in a row since losing to Estrada and defended her WBC light flyweight title for the second time by defeated former title holder Anabel Ortiz whom the above mentioned Estrada won her title from. Could there be an Estrada and Esparza rematch?
Joseph Parker Batters Derek Chisora Wins Decision
Do not let the judges fool you! This was not close though it was competitive in spots. The officials had Chisora bank five rounds on two cards and six on a third but in reality he may have won a single round. Parker had Chisora on the floor three times throughout the contest though one of the knockdowns should have been ruled a push. Parker landed his uppercut with impunity and had Chisora in trouble from the third round onward. The Manchester Arena Crowd in the UK were treated to some heated exchanges and shows of power in this rematch of their first bout in May that took place at the same venue. Parker won a controversial decision that he solidified on DAZN this past Saturday.
The New Zealander, Joseph Parker, attracts a lot of varying opinions amongst boxing’s hardcore fan base. Some see a man who took a late start to boxing overachieving with a reign as WBO heavyweight champion where he beat future champion Andy Ruiz and has also beaten Hughie Fury. Many cite his punching power, ability to take a punch and commitment to training as signs of a solid professional fighter who is world class. On the other end of the spectrum are fans and observers who feel he lacks the fortitude to be an elite fighter with timid performances against Fury and Anthony Joshua and losing a dog fight to Dillian Whyte. He also showed defensive vulnerabilities against Shawndell Winters and Junior Fa ultimately winning both fights but not giving inspiring performances.
I think this result for Parker is a give and take sort of performance. Parker is now working with the ex middleweight title holder Andy Lee who was known for his power punching and counter punching and it rubbed off. Parker was very sharp and accurate with his punching. He also displayed serious power as he took away Chisora’s legs in the third round and had him wobbly throughout much of the fight. The bad is that he still seems to be plagued by poor ring generalship which I think is the real story of his career. He has lots of raw ability and has maximized it in his training but I think he lacks a fighter’s instincts or at least the instincts to be the very best. There were about three or four instances where he had Chisora all but out on his feet and let him off the hook. Worse, he would often get trapped and cornered at the end of the very same round and get pounded on along the ropes. Chisora was way too worn down to make it matter but an elite fighter at their best could have flipped the tables on Parker for carelessly keeping an opponent in the fight longer than he ought to.
Parker has now advanced 30-2 with 21 KO’s and is now 6-0 since suffering back to back losses in 2018 to Joshua and Whyte. He has made subtle improvements though he still has some of the problems that have plagued him since getting to the top level of the division. I am not sure what a path to a major world title looks like for Parker. Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury are in possession of all the belts at this very moment and it is tough to say what the political landscape looks like. Uysk and Joshua are set to have a rematch of their October fight where Usyk defeated Joshua to take the titles. For many this fight is a formality and it is expected that Usky wins again. If he does, who does he face next? Tyson Fury for all the hardware makes the most sense. If he loses, does he get a third fight? Does the big unification happen next? My point is that there is a log jam that way of commitments and other bigger fights. Fury has Dillian Whyte trying to press his mandatory status to get a shot and Fury is eyeing the unification though he has to wait. If Parker has to play the waiting game for a shot he will likely have to fight top guys to stay in the top of the heap when the title picture becomes clearer. DAZN has dangerous heavyweights in its line up including Whyte, Joe Joyce, Filip Hrgovic, and Michael Hunter. Can he beat these guys? I don’t think I would make him the favorite over any of them. Let’s see how this all plays out.
For chisora the “DelBoy” has lost his third consecutive fight and took some real punishment. He showed plenty of bravery and experience in surviving, like walking to his corner when down near the end of the round to get his count and end the round by his stool. He pushed back hard when he had a chance to but ultimately came up short again. Chisora has fought a long list of elite fighters and made quite a name for himself in his antics but I think the time is up. He may be able to sort out pretenders from contenders but I think he has accomplished what he was going to accomplish and with a long string of tough fights it would probably be beast if he hung up the gloves.
-Carlos Gongorra of Ecuador finally lost after a strong run including a big upset of Ali Akhmedov that I wrote about-Alan Babic “the Savage” won a sixth round KO on the card. The fan favorite took some heavy punches in the third round with a tough opponent willing to trade but ultimately overcame. Babic of Croatia and fighting out of the UK is becoming immensely popular in fan circles for his clubbing and brutish style with a wide open defense. These two things lead to knockouts and the suspense of knockouts. His fights are fun to watch but it is uncertain whether he can overcome the flaws in his game to be a serious contender.
David Morrell TKO’s Alantez Fox Remains Undefeated
David Morrell wasted little time with Alantez Fox in a third round TKO when the towel came in from Fox’s corner. 6-0 Morrell floored Fox with a short left and his legs never seemed to get back under him. After a prolonged barrage of punches the corner of Fox had seen enough. The Minneapolis native remains undefeated with the victory at the Armory in front of his home crowd including former title holder Caleb Truax.
-Alberto Puello of the Dominican Republic made his US debut and advanced to 20-0 with a decision victory and is one to watch for. He is a crafty southpaw who can move, in fight, lead and counter. He was very impressive so keep him on your radar.
-Jose Valenzuela advanced to 11-0 7 KO’s at lightweight with a doctor stoppage to start round four. Austin Dulay showed massive guts getting up from multiple knockdowns and protested the stoppage angrily. Sure the fight was pretty much over as he was getting pelted and knocked around the ring but he was lucid and ready to go and landed a few big shots the round before. No I’m not saying he was on the verge of winning but he should have been let out for the fourth round. The doctor did not even look at Dulay or do an inspection of any kind before the referee decided to end the bout.
-Kronk fighter Anthony Sims Jr won to get his career back on track following his first career loss in January 2020 followed by twenty-two months of inactivity.