It was another busy weekend in boxing, featuring both the early Fight of the Year and the early Worst Fight of the Year on back-to-back nights.
A lot went down this weekend in boxing, and you probably missed at least some of it. So here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of the fights we saw the past few days.
If your time is super limited when it comes to watching boxing, here are a few recommendations.
- Daniel Roman vs TJ Doheny (Early Fight of the Year candidate)
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Juan Francisco Estrada II (Very good rematch between the super flyweight stars)
- Nonito Donaire vs Stephon Young (KO of the Year candidate)
You can watch all three fights any time with a subscription to DAZN.
DAZN, Inglewood, CA (Friday)
- The biggest card of the weekend for most came on Friday, with Juan Francisco Estrada beating Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in a rematch to win the WBC super flyweight title. Opinion on the outcome was divided, but not about who deserved to win, just some split on the scoring. Some felt it was a master class of boxing by Estrada and deserved wide scores, some felt it was a definite Estrada win but closer than all that. We fell into the latter camp, as did the judges, who scored it 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112.
- The best fight of the weekend, and of the year thus far, was the co-feature on this show, with Daniel Roman beating TJ Doheny in a 122-pound unification. I tried before the fight to get people more interested in this one, but nobody much cared, and there it doesn’t seem to have quite reached the curious but not dedicated fans yet even though the post-fight hype has been there. So tell your friends who have a passing interest in boxing about this fight, and if you haven’t seen it yourself, come on, go watch it. It’s right there on DAZN. Boxing needs more fights like this, and not just from the standpoint of it turning out to be a great action fight. These were and are two of the top super bantamweights in the world and they actually fought each other.
- Jessie Vargas’ hunt for a world title in a third weight class started with a sixth round stoppage of Humberto Soto. Vargas likely will find junior middleweight tougher against a natural junior middleweight, but Soto was game as always in another fun fight.
- Super middleweight prospect Anthony Sims Jr stepped up the competition just a bit and beat Vaughn Alexander over 10 rounds.
- Shakhram Giyasov, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, got a bit of an eye-opener against solid pro Emanuel Taylor, but won a 10-round decision. Two of the scores were 99-91 for Giyasov, which is absurd. Diego Pacheco, Austin Williams, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev all won their fights, too. Argentine super bantamweight Alberto Melian, a two-time Olympian, was dropped twice but won a decision over Isaac Zarate.
DAZN, Lafayette, LA (Saturday)
- Regis Prograis advanced to the final of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament, winning the WBA belt along the way with a sixth round TKO win over Kiryl Relikh. The end came when Relikh’s corner threw in the towel, with Prograis dominating the action.
- Nonito Donaire went VINTAGE! with a wicked left hook knockout of late substitute Stephon Young to punch his ticket to the WBSS 118-pound tournament final. Give credit to Young: he gave it his honest best effort, trying to do some things we’ve seen give Nonito trouble before, but then he got goomed.
Showtime, Las Vegas, NV (Saturday)
- Robert Easter Jr and Rances Barthelemy fought to a split draw in as outrageously dull a fight as you’re ever going to see in the main event of a major broadcast.
- Viktor Postol outpointed Mohamed Mimoune to gain a shot at the WBC junior welterweight title, currently held by Jose Ramirez.
- Heavyweight Efe Ajagba stole the show, I suppose, with a pretty routine second round stoppage win over Michael Wallisch. This was not a good show.
ESPN+, London, England (Saturday)
- Heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois stopped Richard Lartey in the fourth round to go to 11-0 (10 KO) and potentially move on to a fight with Joe Joyce for the vacant British heavyweight title. Check out highlights. Dubois took a few shots in this one, but got through relatively painlessly all in all. He’s still coming along, but doing so nicely.
- In addition to Dubois’ win in the main event, we also saw tune-up type victories for Jack Catterall and Sunny Edwards, plus Lerrone Richards outclassed Tommy Langford to win the Commonwealth super middleweight title, and Zak Chelli dropped and outpointed Jimmy Smith to win the Southern Area super middleweight title.
Golden Boy, Indio, CA (Thursday)
- Yves Ulysse Jr and Steve Claggett first met in 2017, with Claggett taking Ulysse’s “0” via split decision in Montreal, where Ulysse is based. That was an upset — Claggett came in with four losses already and was the road fighter from Calgary. They met again on Thursday night in California of all the places, and once again it was competitive, with Ulysse getting the points nod this time. Style-wise, Claggett just seems to do well with this guy, who is otherwise a fair bit higher up on the chain than Claggett. The Golden Boy DAZN feed was an absolute mess starting halfway into the fifth round, so the latter half of the fight was literally unwatchable, and for once we just mean technically speaking, not in a Rico Ramos kind of way.
- In another rematch, bantawmeight Joshua Franco edged out a split decision win over Oscar Negrete. Their first fight in October was good, and so was this one. There’s plenty of reason they could meet again at some point, but Golden Boy migh want to try and push Franco, 23, up the ladder a little bit. It’s really too bad about the signal issue they had, because this was a good rematch, the main event was a good rematch — we should be talking about Golden Boy having put on a quality Thursday night show. And they did, but you can only see half the main event.
- Marlen Esparza also returned to action a year after her last fight and after the birth of her first child, beating Jhosep Vizcaino by decision over eight rounds. Prospects Alexis Rocha and Anthony Reyes also picked up wins.
UFC Fight Pass, Las Vegas, NV (Thursday)
- Another Roy Jones Jr-promoted show for UFC Fight Pass, whose boxing coverage appears to be expanding with the news that they’ll have their first world title boxing fight between Kazuto Ioka and Aston Palicte live from Japan on June 19. Here, we saw Irish middleweight Connor Coyle improve to 10-0 (3 KO) with a decision win over Robert Burwell on scores of 77-74 across the board, or five rounds to three including a knockdown in the first round. But Burwell made this a fight, and being honest, Coyle is 28 years old and still at this level. It would be a stretch to call him a prospect you need to be watching.
- 22-year-old super featherweight Antonio Williams ended up with a disappointing drew against Eduardo Garza, but welterweight Jerrico Walton, 28, and bantamweight Rosalinda Rodriguez, 32, kept their unblemished records.
DAZN, Florence, Italy (Friday)
- I tried to watch this show, and it’s not even to crap on the matchmaking or anything, but I had been up for dang near 30 hours, had just gotten back from seeing Avengers: Endgame when the show was starting, and I zonked right the hell out on the couch for about two hours while trying to watch it. It all went about as expected. Unbeaten cruiserweight Fabio Turchi knocked out Sami Enbom in 76 seconds in the main event, unbeaten welterweight Alessandro Riguccini stopped Ivan Alvarez at 1:40 of the first round in the co-feature. Junior middleweight Orlando Fiordigiglio had a bit more trouble with Stephen Danyo, winning on unanimous scores of 96-93. Flyweight prospect Mohammed Obbadi finished Jerson Larios in the first round, and veterans Devis Boschiero and Emanuele Blandamura won six-round snoozers against no-hopers.