TULSA, Oklahoma — Joshua Franco settled the rating on Saturday, capping a rivalry that climaxed with a controversial end in November and ended on the Exhausting Rock Resort & On line casino with a decisive victory over Andrew Moloney within the ESPN important occasion.
“The Professor” retained his secondary WBA title at 115 kilos with a call over Moloney with all three judges scoring the combat the identical: 116-112.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is the acknowledged champion at junior bantamweight. Earlier this week, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza introduced his intentions to wash up the plentiful secondary titles which have muddied the championship image. However with the win, Franco figures to earn a shot at one of many “massive 4” at 115 kilos within the close to future, a stacked division headlined by Juan Francisco Estrada, Gonzalez, Kazuto Ioka and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
“I see larger fights. I see Chocolatito, Gallo Estrada, Ioka,” mentioned Franco, ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 115 kilos. “For positive, this win places me prime 5, on the identical checklist on the different champions. I wanted this combat to show myself.”
Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs) persistently beat Moloney to the punch and landed the cleaner, more durable pictures. The bout featured loads of inside combating, however it was at all times Franco who was in a position to push Moloney again in these exchanges.
Regardless of being simply 25, Franco has now been part of two boxing trilogies. He fought Oscar Negrete three consecutive occasions in 2018 and 2019, with a win sandwiched between two attracts. Saturday’s win over Moloney was their third assembly.
In Frisco: Ortiz scores greatest win of profession towards Kavaliauskas
Vergil Ortiz Jr. fought for the 18th time in his younger profession on Saturday evening. He knocked out his 18th opponent.
The 23-year-old rising welterweight, competing earlier than an enthusiastic crowd of residence followers in Frisco, Texas, took on the hardest check of his profession and handed it in a giant method, flattening onetime title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas 5 occasions on his option to an eighth-round KO.
It was not as simple for Ortiz because it sounds. Kavaliauskas staggered him in Spherical 2 with a brief left hand, then swarmed the younger fighter and landed a number of extra punches. However Ortiz waved him in and threw energy pictures in return as the group roared.
“He caught me with a great shot, however I took it properly and I recovered from it properly,” Ortiz mentioned. “And right here I’m.”
One spherical later, Kavaliauskas linked with a giant proper hand and once more moved in, considering he had Ortiz harm. And inside seconds Ortiz was on the canvas — not from a Kavaliauskas punch, although, however from winging one in all his personal so onerous that when it missed he misplaced his stability. Ortiz obtained proper up and went after his opponent, dropping him with a left hand with simply 10 seconds to go within the spherical.
Ortiz prevailed over a aggressive fighter. Kavaliauskas, a 33-year-old two-time Olympian from Lithuania, had misplaced solely as soon as earlier than, struggling a ninth-round TKO in a 2019 problem of WBO champion Terence Crawford, who’s No. 2 within the ESPN males’s pound-for-pound boxing rankings.
However after the knockdown, Ortiz took over the combat. He remained poised, combating behind his jab. Kavaliauskas grew to become the primary opponent to take Ortiz to Spherical 8, however by that time he appeared slowed. Ortiz dropped him with a physique shot with 1:43 left within the spherical, then floored him with a left hook to the top with 42 seconds left, once more with one other hook on the 22-second mark, then ran throughout the ring to complete the job.
When an Ortiz flurry despatched Kavaliauskas (22-2-1) again to the canvas simply earlier than the bell, referee Laurence Cole jumped in to wave off the bout at 2:59.
“I obtained the win. I might have seemed a bit prettier doing it,” Ortiz mentioned after the bout. “However I am proud of my efficiency, and we’re solely gonna get higher from right here.
“My dad instructed me earlier than the combat the physique pictures had been gonna be the important thing to victory. I slowed him down, and that is all she wrote.” — Jeff Wagenheim
In Carson, California: Casimero retains title in break up determination win over Rigondeaux
To his left, again alongside the ropes, circling to his proper. Guillermo Rigondeaux, even on the age of 40, shuffled across the ring an infuriating quantity as John Riel Casimero seemed for any punch which may contact the previous champion.
It was classic Rigondeaux. On Saturday evening in Carson, Calif., the Cuban veteran engaged on his personal phrases. He punched when he needed to. However Rigondeaux actually did not win over these within the crowd on the Dignity Well being Sports activities Park.
And extra importantly, he did not earn the favor of the judges. Casimero retained his WBO bantamweight belt in a split-decision win, 116-112, 113-115, 117-111. The one who pressed the motion was in the end rewarded.
“I am centered on [the] knockout, however Rigondeaux at all times runs,” Casimero mentioned in his post-fight interview on Showtime. “Rigondeaux simply at all times run. No combating.”
It was a traditionally boring combat. The 91 mixed punches was the bottom for a 12-round bout in CompuBox historical past. Neither fighter landed greater than seven punches.
In Tulsa: Ali Walsh makes profitable professional debut in TKO win
Sporting a pair of white-and-black trunks his grandfather gifted to him, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, Nico Ali Walsh, made his professional boxing debut Saturday with a first-round TKO of Jordan Weeks in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ali Walsh, 21, displayed the sort of aptitude for the dramatic Ali would certainly be happy with, whipping the group right into a frenzy together with his proper hand because the referee administered a 10-count following the knockdown. The middleweight adopted up with a barrage of punches, bloodying Weeks’ face, earlier than the referee stopped the mismatch.
“I feel me and him made a bit little bit of historical past tonight,” mentioned Ali Walsh, who’s skilled by “SugarHill” Steward, the identical man who guides heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
“This lived up fully to my expectations,” he added. “It has been an emotional journey. … Clearly my grandfather, I have been considering of him a lot. I miss him.”
In Tulsa: Barboza shines in victory over Moran
Arnold Barboza Jr. continued his ascent within the 140-pound division with a unanimous determination victory over Antonio Moran.
Two judges scored it 99-91 with one shutout rating of 100-90.
Barboza (26-0, 10 KOs) threw much less punches than Moran, but outlanded him 278 to 82. Moran (26-5-1, 19 KOs) confirmed his grit and toughness as soon as once more, although, by no means wavering.
The 28-year-old Mexican’s two most-recent losses got here towards world-class fighters: Devin Haney and Jose Pedraza. The Haney defeat was one of the crucial spectacular knockouts of 2019.
Barboza, 29, was in management from the opening bell in his first combat since a tragic victory over Alex Saucedo in October. Saucedo, a former title challenger, suffered two mind bleeds within the bout and retired afterward.
The Lengthy Seashore, California, native sits simply exterior the highest 10 at junior welterweight however is knocking on the door. — Coppinger
In Carson: Russell vs. Rodriguez ends in no determination
Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) had their bantamweight bout stopped simply 16 seconds into the primary spherical due to a brutal unintended head-butt.
Rodriguez, an orthodox fighter, clashed heads with Russell, who’s a southpaw. The highest of Russell’s head gashed the center of Rodriguez’s nostril. Rodriguez instantly went down as blood trickled onto the canvas. After a number of seconds, the referee referred to as off the combat and it was dominated a no-decision due to the unintended foul.
Each fighters had been visibly pissed off. — Ben Child
In Carson: Warren dominates Vazquez for second-round TKO
Rau’Shee Warren, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, crushed an overmatched Damien Vazquez on the primary combat of the televised Casimero-Rigondeaux undercard.
Warren loaded up on massive hooks and linked typically as Vazquez simply did not see the punches coming. Within the first spherical, Warren put Vazquez down twice, with two proper hooks. Vazquez, who lives in Las Vegas, wobbled to his ft and survived the final minute of the opening spherical.
That was his finest accomplishment of the evening. Warren (19-3, 4 KOs) picked up a uncommon stoppage when he landed a blinding left hook in the midst of the ring that staggered Vazquez (15-3-1, 8 KOs) and compelled the referee to cease the combat.
It was a fairly good efficiency for Warren, who hails from Cincinnati. It took present junior featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa 10 rounds to complete Vazquez of their Sept. 2020 bout.
“I at all times knew I had that energy and I at all times knew I had that pace,” Warren mentioned after the combat. “It is nearly taking your time within the ring and letting them come. Once I noticed the chance, I went for it.”
Warren, who gained a secondary bantamweight world title in 2016, now turns his consideration in the direction of successful a world title.
“Subsequent combat is a title combat. I’m the No. 1 contender for the WBA. … Subsequent combat I’m grabbing that title. Possibly I’ll combat the winner of the principle occasion tonight [Rigondeaux vs. Casimero]. I proved tonight that I am prepared for a giant combat. Now it is again residence and again to the health club and again to the drafting board.”
Based on CompuBox, Warren landed a staggering 57% of his energy punches within the transient bout. — Ben Child
In Frisco: Gutierrez edges Alvarado to retain junior light-weight title
Roger Gutierrez retained the WBA “common” junior light-weight title in a unanimous determination over Rene Alvarado, the person he took the belt from in January. The bout was the rubber match in a trilogy that started with an Alvarado knockout in 2017, Gutierrez’s first profession defeat.
This assembly was fought at a slower tempo than the primary two fights. The primary combat was all Alvarado, and within the rematch earlier this yr Gutierrez scored three knockdowns. However this time there have been few sustained exchanges. Alvarado (32-10, 21 KOs) was the aggressor and sometimes despatched his opponent into retreat or a clinch, however Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs) discovered a house for his counter proper hand typically sufficient to bruise the left facet of Alvarado’s face.
Gutierrez, a 26-year-old from Venezuela, took some injury as properly, as his left ear was bloodied. Two judges scored the bout 116-112 and the opposite had it 115-113.
Alvarado, who’s 32 and from Nicaragua, is the brother of IBF junior flyweight champ Felix Alvarado, who gained the bout proper earlier than this one. — Wagenheim
In Tulsa: Jason Moloney earns determination victory over Greer
In a crossroads combat, Jason Moloney pounded out a 10-round unanimous determination over Joshua Greer Jr.
Two judges scored it 98-92, whereas the opposite had it 96-94. The win retains Moloney alive within the 118-pound division. He was coming off a seventh-round KO towards Naoya Inoue in an October title combat.
For Greer, the long run is way much less sure. He hasn’t gained since a call over Antonio Nieves in October 2019. The 27-year-old from Chicago was upset by Mike Plania in June after which settled for a draw vs. Edwin Rodriguez in his final outing.
Greer (22-3-2, 14 KOs) began robust, however Moloney (22-2, 18 KOs) took management in Spherical 3. The Australian’s twin brother, Andrew, fights Joshua Franco in the principle occasion. Moloney is ESPN’s No. 7 boxer at 118 kilos. — Coppinger
In Tulsa: Morrison outlast Haynesworth for unanimous determination
Trey Lippe Morrison, the son of former heavyweight title challenger Tommy Morrison, was prolonged the space for the primary time in a shutout determination over Don Haynesworth.
The hometown favourite from Tulsa gained 60-54 on all three playing cards in his first motion since April, a sloppy combat that featured extra brute than talent.
Morrison (18-0, 17 KOs) and Haynesworth each winged massive punches however not often met their mark. Each heavyweights appeared to tire simply, with Haynesworth, 38, fully gassed by the top of rounds. At 288.6 kilos, Hayneworth (16-7-1, 14 KOs) was an motionless goal however Morrison, 31, nonetheless could not discover him together with his energy pictures on most events.
Haynesworth, a local of New Rochelle, New York, has now misplaced 4 straight. — Coppinger
In Frisco: Alvarado scores first-round TKO of Vazquez
Felix Alvarado, the IBF junior flyweight champion, made fast work of his late-replacement opponent in a non-title bout.
Israel Vazquez, introduced in simply this week, got here out aggressively and landed some pictures, however Alvarado swarmed him within the second half of the opening spherical and dropped Vazquez with a clubbing proper hand. Alvarado returned to his ft, however the referee deemed he could not proceed, prompting the stoppage at 2:50.
For Alvarado (37-2), it was the thirty second knockout of his profession, and his sixteenth in Spherical 1. It was additionally the nineteenth straight victory for the 32-year-old Nicaraguan, who had been scheduled to defend his belt towards Erick Lopez. Lopez needed to withdraw due to visa points. Vazquez (10-5-2), of Puerto Rico, has misplaced 5 of his final six bouts. — Wagenheim
In Frisco: George Rincon defeated Nikolai Buzolin by unanimous determination after eight rounds of a junior welterweight combat by scores of 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72
In Tulsa: Balderas stops Cervantes in spectacular efficiency
Karlos Balderas, as soon as one of the crucial extremely touted prospects in boxing, made probably the most of his recent begin.
The 24-year-old scored a second-round TKO of Fidel Cervantes, battering his opponent from the opening bell. He landed a brutal left hook adopted by a flurry of punches in Spherical 1 that dropped Cervantes (9-2-1, 4 KOs) after which staggered him once more late within the spherical.
The 30-year-old from Kansas by no means regained his senses and absorbed a beating in Spherical 2 earlier than the referee stopped the combat at 2:03.
In December 2019, Balderas (10-1, 9 KOs) was upset by way of a sixth-round KO towards Juan Rene Tellez and parted methods with PBC afterward. The Southern California native regrouped through the lengthy layoff. He linked up with famend coach Buddy McGirt and signed with High Rank.
“I am again and higher than ever,” Balderas mentioned after the combat. “Even with this victory, I’ve issues to work on. I am going straight again to the health club to prepare for the subsequent one. … I am solely getting began.”
Now in his second act, Balderas is hoping to satisfy his huge potential that is been touted since he fought his method into the light-weight quarterfinals on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. — Coppinger
In Tulsa: Cortes demolishes Servania in first-round KO
Andres Cortes scored a devastating first-round KO of Genesis Servania within the greatest win of his younger profession.
Cortes landed a proper hand adopted by a left hook that despatched Servania, who’s from the Philippines, crashing towards the ropes. Servania, a former title challenger, tried to rise up however was in no form to proceed.
Cortes (15-0, 8 KOs), who resides in Las Vegas, will probably step up once more in his subsequent combat. Servania (34-3, 16 KOs) dropped a call to Oscar Valdez in a 2017 world title combat at 126 kilos. — Coppinger
In Tulsa: Bell dominates Cortez for one-sided victory
Albert Bell scored a shutout unanimous determination over Julio Cortez, successful 80-72 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Bell (19-0, 5 KOs), a local of Toledo, Ohio, was coming off an eight-round determination win over Manuel Rey Rojas in April. The 130-pounder simply outboxed Cortez (15-3, 11 KOs), utilizing his important top and attain benefit to maintain the Ecuadorian on the skin.
Bell won’t pack a lot pop, however at 6 ft, he is very tall for the 130-pound division, and he has the boxing expertise to go together with it. He seems to be inching nearer to a top-10 rating in a stacked weight class. Now he simply wants the step-up opponent to show he is at that degree. — Coppinger
In Tulsa: Nova outpoints Pumicpic for unanimous determination win
Abraham Nova returned from an Achilles tear with a profitable efficiency, incomes a unanimous determination victory over Richard Pumicpic within the ESPN+ opening bout.
Nova (20-0, 14 KOs) was surprised late within the first spherical however settled into the combat to win by scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 79-73. The ability-punching 130-pounder was competing for the primary time since a June 2020 determination win over Avery Sparrow.
Pumicpic (22-12-2, 7 KOs), a local of the Philippines, has misplaced 4 of his previous 5 fights. — Coppinger