It wasn’t really supposed to be one, but it wound up a huge weekend in boxing.
Weekends like this one, with upsets like that one, are pretty rare in boxing. This weekend figured to be busy and draw some attention, but not this much, because nobody saw what happened happening.
Anyway, let’s get to the results from the sport this weekend.
DAZN, New York, NY
- Andy Ruiz Jr utterly, truly, completely shocked the world, stopping Anthony Joshua in the seventh round to win the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles. Hey, I said when Ruiz got the call that he was better than people were acting like he was. But nah, I didn’t think he could wi. I thought he’d do OK, show he was a legit skilled fighter, and that he’d also get stopped and most people would still just write him off as a fat guy. Instead he beat Anthony Joshua, clean and clear. These things just don’t happen often, and when they do, it’s just incredible. It can be a reminder of what makes boxing so special despite all the sport’s flaws and fuck-ups and missteps.
- Callum Smith bulled past Hassan N’Dam, who was as stubborn as ever about getting knocked down. It wasn’t the fight we wanted for Smith, of course, but at least he did what he was supposed to do with it. Hopefully next is something more significant.
- Katie Taylor got the majority decision nod against Delfine Persoon. I’ll be the first to admit I had my theories, that the long-reigning titleholders of women’s boxing just couldn’t hang with the Taylors and Shieldseseseses of the new wave, but Persoon was not Christina Hammer. Someone convinced Hammer she could box with Shields. Persoon came to goddamn fight, and she made this rough. Sergio Mora on the DAZN broadcast mentioned a fight I kept thinking of by the middle rounds: Salido-Lomachenko. I had this one even, but a lot of people thought Persoon deserved the win. In my view, there should be a rematch. Persoon got Taylor to fight Persoon’s fight, and Taylor, to her credit and detriment, went with it and fought her heart out, too.
- Josh Kelly went to a draw with Ray Robinson. I thought Kelly deserved the win, but Kelly’s style is one that isn’t always going to resonate if he’s not really spectacularly dominant, and against better opponents, I don’t think he’s going to dominate. This was a bit of a reality check for him.
- Joshua Buatsi stopped Marco Antonio Periban in the fourth round of a showcase. Buatsi is in a frustrating (for fans) position where he’s really clearly not good enough to go hunting the big names at 175, but he’s also clearly better than most of the people he’s going to face between that level and this one. Within a few fights he probably does need to fight someone like a Joe Smith Jr, though, to see what’s what.
- Chris Algieri stopped Tommy Coyle after eight rounds of a really good fight. The win puts Algieri in position for a 140-pound world title shot, which frankly I don’t think he can beat any of the 140-pound titleholders, but it was a fun fight and he remains a good fighter.
FS1, San Jacinto, CA
- Ivan Redkach picked up a career-best win, dropping former two-division titleholder Devon Alexander three times in the sixth round, earning the stoppage victory. Alexander is now 1-4-1 in his last six fights dating back to 2014, and while he arguably deserved wins last year over Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto, this is the sort of loss where you really have to wonder what he has left at age 32. That’s still young, but he’s going to have to take the demotion to journeyman level and try to work from there. Redkach, at 33, keeps himself in the mix for this level of fight. He’s fun to watch and always fights hard, so he’s easy to stick on TV.
- Willie Monroe Jr picked up a win over Hugo Centeno Jr in a middleweight fight, winning on scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. Monroe, 32, just keeps hanging around, one of those guys who probably isn’t going to suddenly win a world title, but the level below that, his skills are a problem.
- Nigerian heavyweight Onoriode Ehwarieme was stopped in the first round by club fighter Rodney Hernandez. So much for Ehwarieme getting in the PBC heavyweight mix.
- On the FS2 prelims, Jhack Tepora and Marlon Tapales won as expected. Tepora outpointed Jose Luis Gallegos over 10 rounds, and Tapales stopped Roberto Castaneda in the third.
ESPN+, Cardiff, Wales
- Jay Harris came into his fight with Angel Moreno already holding the Commonwealth flyweight title, and now he’s added the European belt, comfortably outpointing the game Spanish veteran over 12 rounds. Craig Evans won a decision over Stephen Ormond in a rematch, and prospects Zhankosh Turarov, Sultan Zaurbek, and Jacob Robinson (son of former featherweight titleholder Steve Robinson) all picked up wins. Turarov and Zaurbek return July 6 in Kazakhstan, which will also on on ESPN+.
Odds & Ends
Everything that was done and reported by deadline.
- Chachoengsao, Thailand: WBC 105-pound titleholder Wanheng Menayothin made it 53-0 (18 KO) with a technical decision win over Tatsuya Fukuhara in eight rounds. Scores were 78-74, 78-74, and 79-73. The 33-year-old Wanheng is getting up there for a strawweight, but there remains no blueprint. This was a rematch of a 2017 fight, which Wanheng won by unanimous decision. Fukuhara is now 21-7-6 (7 KO).
- Macau, Macau SAR: Fanlong Meng beat Adam Deines by unanimous decision in some type IBF light heavyweight eliminator. Meng (15-0, 9 KO) was down in the eighth round, but won on scores of 115-111, 116-110, and 117-109. Germany’s Deines drops to 17-1-1 (8 KO). The win puts Meng somewhere in line to fight for the belt currently held by Artur Beterbiev.
- Tokyo, Japan: Japanese flyweight champ Junto Nakatani stayed busy with a non-title fight at Korakuen Hall, beating Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-7-1, 4 KO) via first round KO at 83 seconds. Nakatani (19-0, 14 KO) is a 21-year-old southpaw on the rise, someone who may soon be a player at 112. American veteran Charles Bellamy, aka Charlie Ota, dropped an eight round decision to Yuto Shimizu on scores of 77-76, 77-75, and 78-74. Bellamy, 37, is now 28-4-2 (18 KO), and Shimizu improves to to 13-4-2 (5 KO).
- Scunthorpe, England: Dec Spelman (16-2, 8 KO) won the English light heavyweight title from Kirk Garvey (12-3, 4 KO) via decision on scores of 97-94, 97-93, and 98-92. Garvey had won the belt from Miles Shinkwin back in March, and last November gave Andre Sterling a pretty decent fight at York Hall.
- Menangle Park, NSW, Australia: Tommy Browne, a veteran fighter you may recall challenging for featherweight titles back in 2005 against In Jin Chi and Chris John, is still fighting at 36, which isn’t a crazy age or anything, it’s younger than me. Anyway, Browne’s a junior middleweight these days, and he beat fellow veteran Jorge Daniel Miranda by decision on Saturday. Browne was probably last seen by most against Anthony Mundine in Jan. 2018, when Mundine knocked him out in two. He’s won five straight since then, improving his career record to 41-7-2 (17 KO). Argentina’s Miranda falls to 56-19 (22 KO) with his second straight loss, the previous coming to Esquiva Falcao in March.