It was a very busy time for boxing this weekend with plenty of meaningful fights taking place, one in particular being world Junior Lightweight clash Lomachenko vs Martinez. There’s plenty to cover, so let’s get straight to the recap.
Maccarinelli vs Kucher
York Hall, London, England
This was by no means the most anticipated fight of the weekend, but like all those involving Enzo Maccarinelli, it was dramatic. It wasn’t to be Maccarinelli’s night, however, as the former Cruiserweight champ was wiped out in the opening round by hard-hitting Dmytro Kucher. Both men had been feeling each other out with plenty of jabs before the stoppage arrived ten seconds before the bell, with a costly mistake from Maccarinelli offering Kucher a big opening.
Maccarinelli threw a full-blooded right uppercut which missed the target, and, with Maccarinelli’s jaw exposed, Kucher unleashed a crunching left hook that shook his opponent to the boots. Kucher immediately saw an opportunity to catch the early train home and unloaded a big right hand followed by another left hook to drop Maccarinelli who, to his credit, somehow managed to beat the count on incredibly shaky legs. The referee, who may have noticed Maccarinelli’s trainer Gary Lockett waving the towel through the ropes, quite rightly stopped the contest there and then.
Kucher, who now picks up the European Cruiserweight crown, improves to 24 wins, 1 defeat, 1 draw, 18 knockouts, while Maccarinelli drops to 41 wins, 8 defeats, 33 knockouts.
Provodnikov vs Molina
Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York
It wasn’t a major upset per se, but I think most of us were expecting a different result in this Junior Welterweight headliner. John Molina Jr turned in a Unanimous Decision over ruthless slugger Ruslan Provodnikov, which was much owed to his jab, better ring smarts and notable composure in front of one of the sport’s ‘worst nightmare’ opponents. Molina seemed to turn back the clock somewhat here, proving that he’s still a contender following this disciplined performance which contained a potent mix of boxing and brawling to see him emerge as the victor.
Check out Showtime’s Provodnikov vs Molina Highlights:
Provodnikov, who was perhaps the one beginning to show the more ware and tear, was peppered with jabs from the outside which seemed to break his rhythm and stave some of his attacks. Provodnikov was willing and did trade punches at times, as was to be expected, but simply didn’t do quite enough to get through to the judges. Molina did oblige to trade shots in return, but generally wasn’t forced into anything outside of his own gameplan. Molina ate some power shots, sure, but was smart enough to not overstay his welcome in the danger zone before getting back to fighting at range and allowing his more refined work to bring home the win.
Molina Jr now rises to 29 wins, 6 defeats, 23 knockouts, while Provodnikov falls south to 25 wins, 5 defeats, 18 knockouts.
Andrade vs Nelson
You’ve got to hand it to Demetrius Andrade for serving up a real beating to a tough and very capable Willie Nelson before eventually scoring a TKO in the final stanza. Going in, Nelson (who had knocked out Tony Harrison last July in a complete shocker), was no chump at all, and was expected to perhaps ask a question or two of Andrade. But it was quite the opposite that unfolded here. Nelson, despite implementing a tight guard throughout the fight, took a bashing from Andrade while being unable to get off anything significant of his own.
Nelson was overmatched, outgunned, and became the latest victim of one of the Junior Middleweight division’s hottest talents. Andrade held great form throughout the eleven rounds and change, setting up his attacks with left straights to the body and head-snapping right uppercuts that did major damage. When Andrade wasn’t dishing out punishment upstairs, he was unloading heavily to the body which made him look particularly savage. Credit it where it’s due, Nelson showcased a ton of resilience in getting off the deck four times; once in the 1st and 11th rounds, and twice in the 12th. The man’s no quitter.
Going forward, Andrade looks to possess the right kind of talent and power to trouble anyone at 154 pounds, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him mix it up with those inside Boxing Base’s Top 5. Andrade now extends his unbeaten run to 23 wins, 16 knockouts, while Nelson’s slate reduces to 25 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw, 15 knockouts.
Zlaticanin vs Mamani
Let’s not beat around the bush: this was a god awful world title fight. Venomous Lightweight puncher Dejan Zlaticanin captured the vacant WBC belt after wiping the floor with eleven-day-notice opponent Franklin Mamani (stiffer test Emiliano Marsili was the original) inside three rounds. The one-sided action saw Mamani hurt and shaken on several occasions, with the only question ever really being when the referee was going to jump in and stop a maurauding Zlaticanin from beating up a very limited opponent.
No one doubts that Zlaticanin is a true force at 135 pounds, but a mismatch such as this will have made him one of the Lightweight division’s weakest champions given the circumstances behind this victory. Zlaticanin now rises to 22 wins, no defeats, 15 knockouts, while Mamani drops to 21 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw, 12 knockouts.
Monroe vs Thompson
Willie Monroe Jr returned to winning ways after bettering John Thompson in a career-building Middleweight contest following his May 2015 drumming at the hands of Gennady Golovkin. Monroe did seem to coast somewhat in the second half of the fight, but there’s no questioning who the better fighter was here. Monroe was sharper, slicker, and managed to drop Thompson twice in the early stanzas, that being in the second and fifth. Final scores came in 95-93, 96-92 and 99-89 for Monroe, and this result should be a decent enough boost to get him back into the mix.
Monroe Jr now improves to 20 wins, 2 defeats, 6 knockouts, while Thompson reduces to 17 wins, 3 defeats, 6 knockouts.
Martinez vs Lomachenko
Madison Square Garden, New York
Vasyl Lomachenko is regarded as one of the best technical pugilists in the sport. But despite having only clocked up six pro outings, the guy really needed a career-defining, showcase fight to become a hit with fans. Tonight that happened, and boy did he send a message to fight fans, his detractors, and of course his rivals campaigning at Junior Lightweight. Lomachenko dominated the action from the get go before knocking out then-WBO champ Roman Martinez in the 5th round, with the final punches producing what may already be considered a candidate for KO of the Year.
Check out Top Rank’s Lomachenko vs Martinez Highlights:
Martinez was able to get off some notable shots in the 4th frame, but was ultimately overwhelmed by Lomachenko’s elite skill set, which included phenomenal range precision, footwork and lightning hand speed. Martinez is a solid, all-round operator who had the grit and guts to beat and draw against Orlando Salido last April and September, but this was never a contest that was going to be decided on brawn alone. Lomachenko danced circles around his foe tonight, as he usually does, but was notably sitting down on his punches more than we’re used to seeing. And that is what made him particularly dangerous.
Lomachenko unleashed a left-right combination out of nowhere in the 5th, which clearly took Martinez completely by surprise, with the right hand sending Martinez straight to the canvas for the first and final time. Lomachenko will have no doubt got the boxing world talking following what looked like fairly easy work en route to becoming a two-time world champion in New York. Thrilling stuff, indeed.
Lomachenko now inflates his slate to 6 wins, 1 defeat, 4 knockouts, while Martinez reduces to 29 wins, 3 defeats, 3 draws, 17 knockouts.
Verdejo vs Martinez
Upcoming Lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo kept to winning ways by stopping a game yet ultimately overmatched Juan Jose Martinez the 5th round. Verdejo seemed to miss a noticable portion of his offense here, but let’s remember that he is still a bonafide prospect. Verdejo dominated the first four sessions, however, landing enough eye-catching shots and stiff enough jabs to place Martinez in fairly deep waters from the onset. Verdejo caught Martinez with a looping flush right hand in the 5th, and followed it up with a barrage of unanswered punches which forced the referee to halt the action.
Verdejo’s record remains unblemished, building to 22 wins, 15 knockouts, while Martinez drops to 25 wins, 3 defeats, 17 knockouts.
What’s your take on Provodnikov vs Molina, Martinez vs Lomachenko, plus the rest of this weekend’s boxing outcomes? Fire away in the comments below.