December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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ERIC MOLINA stood between Anthony Joshua and some of the biggest fights in the sport. But there was no chance that Joshua was going to let this challenger block his path to Wladimir Klitschko. Anthony defended his IBF heavyweight title, demolishing Molina inside three rounds and then confronted Klitschko in the ring at the Manchester Arena, announcing that he would fight the division’s old ruler on April 29, 2017 at Wembley Stadium.

The prize waiting for Joshua gave this fight with Molina an element of tension, given how much hinged on this result. But the American was a tame challenger. Eric had said beforehand that he was training for one thing and one thing only, to land a knockout punch. However, looking for a single shot did him no good. Anthony’s feet were faster, his hands much too quick for the American. Only at the start of the second round did Molina start to throw his right hand with real intent, countering off the ropes. But Joshua would not let him connect.

The Londoner boxed with his gloves up, unhurried, his guard tight. He was up on his feet, moving his upper body, stepping clear out of range, catching Molina’s offensive efforts on his arms or elbows. His work was crisp and clean, the jab disrupting Eric’s guard. He threw his backhand right straight and, for the most part, accurate.

In the first round, after establishing his jab, Joshua looped round a languid left. He threw it easily but Molina felt the pain. The pressure was getting to him, pulsing from a raucous crowd and from having a bigger, faster, stronger man tracking cooly after him.

Joshua seized the centre of the ring right from the start in the second round. His left hook teed up a heavy right cross. He looked to connect as Molina stepped in. The IBF titlist screwed up a vicious left and Eric had to back off hastily.

Anthony lined up long crosses in the third round. The right hand shot through Molina’s guard. The American jabbed back and heaved a right hook at Joshua’s body. It did not disrupt the champion. He hit in his right and another left cut through. Molina held him in a clinch, trying to keep himself in the fight. But it made his distress abundantly clear to Joshua. Anthony ushered his victim to the ropes. He towered over Molina in this moment and he plunged his right hand straight down, like a matador slamming a broadsword into the neck of a disorientated bull. The strike flung Molina down, his head held up only by his own cornerpost. Joshua stood over him, poised, the stance accentuating the impact of that single shot.

Astonishingly Molina made it to his feet, showing some reserves, but he was in a poor state. At once Joshua stepped into range and fired in three swift left hooks that left Eric Molina flopped over the top rope, with referee Steve Gray waving it off at 2-02 of the third round.

Unrequired officials were Michael Alexander, Deon Dwarte and Glenn Feldman.

Anthony Joshua

To earn this shot Molina had beaten Tomasz Adamek in Poland and competed with WBC champion Deontay Wilder on his way to a stoppage defeat inside nine rounds. But with controlled power Joshua destroyed the American, seemingly at his leisure. “It’s my job to make him look easy, isn’t it?” the Englishman said. “We’ve seen what he can do, we’ve seen what he can’t do so you’ve just got to find your way. No fight’s easy but we trained properly. We definitely trained properly.”

It was the perfect way to announce his showdown with Klitschko. Wladimir himself climbed into the ring, spritely for a 40 year old veteran of 68 fights. Although the two faced off for the cameras, Klitschko greeted Joshua with almost avuncular cheer, referring to watching Joshua win his Olympic gold and the close eye he had kept on Anthony as a professional. The old champion took the microphone to cheerily address the Manchester crowd. “You want it?” he cried out, in the unfamiliar role of entertainer. “You got it!”

“To see Klitschko here tonight, this makes it real and we can focus on that now and look forward to a big 2017,” Joshua said afterwards. “I think we’ve both got that mutual respect and it’s more about boxing.” But he adds, “We’re all predators.”

“When we’re in the ring it’s competition and the best man will be victorious. I think we’re very clear in the respect level but very competitive on the competitive level as well,” he continued. “I need to improve another level and I’ll probably do that throughout my next camp. I hope I get the win. April 29, hopefully I can go out there and defend the title once again.”

But surely, beneath the cheery demeanour, in Klitschko there is a steely determination to win back the titles he views as rightfully his. Wladimir must want to restore the control he’s exerted over the heavyweight division for the last decade. But the arrival of Joshua at the top tier could herald the start of a new world order. Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko is the fight we’ve been waiting for.

December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
Chris Eubank & Henry Wharton

Action Images/Nick Potts

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CHRIS EUBANK was able to comfortably outpoint the Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Henry Wharton in defending his WBO world super middleweight title on December 10 1994, rediscovering the type of form that had seen him dethrone WBO world middleweight champion Nigel Benn four years previously. Claude Abrams, for Boxing News, recalled a night in which ‘‘Eubank had achieved more than he had done in the previous three years’’.

EUBANK had been very active in the months leading up to the Wharton contest, but the man nicknamed ‘Simply the Best’ had looked far from it in recent times – notably in scraping through to points decision victories over Dan Schommer in October and the limited Mauricio Amaral in July.

WHARTON, a dangerous puncher to the head and body, had registered two consecutive knockout wins since suffering his sole career defeat at the hands of Eubank’s rival Nigel Benn whilst challenging for the latter’s WBC world super middleweight title. Wharton entered the bout with every confidence in his ability to dethrone Eubank and felt that ‘‘his style was made for beating him’’, but this proved not to be the case.

Did Benn deserve to beat Eubank in their rematch?

BEFORE the action got under way, the estimate sell-out crowd of slightly over 9,000 at the G-Mex Centre in Manchester were treated to a bizarre and extravagant ring entrance from the champion. Abrams recalled Eubank ‘‘rising on a distant platform until he was near the ceiling of the arena overlooking the crowd, fireworks sparkling underneath to give the impression he was in some kind of rocket, as Wharton tried to keep warm in the ring.’’ Eubank’s work inside the ring that night, nonetheless, was focused, aggressive and masterful.

THE 28-year-old Eubank started quickly with impressive body-punching early on and by the forth session was making Wharton miss, whilst finding the challenger an easy target for his own sharp punching. Eubank showed an eagerness to close the show in the fourth, but the bravery and determination of Wharton saw him successfully survive the onslaught before hooking his way back into contention.

TO his credit, Wharton continued to respond. The Yorkshire man had success in the fifth and the fighters exchanged solid blows in the sixth, despite the seemingly harder punches coming from the champion.

EUBANK began to take over in rounds seven and eight ahead of a ninth in which he once again looked to finish the job, thumping in a succession of lefts and rights which left Wharton leaning on the ropes. Wharton showed terrific bravery and determination to survive, especially with a left eye injury which was beginning to worsen, as Eubank unsuccessfully beckoned in referee Steve Smoger to bring a halt to proceedings.

BY the eleventh the damage to Wharton’s eye was horrific and worsening as Eubank continued to nail the injury with his jab. By this point, Eubank was on cruise control and coasting to victory, much to the displeasure of the crowd who had, more than once, felt a stoppage was nearing.

BOB Mee’s prediction for Boxing News that ‘‘stylistically, Wharton should suit Eubank’’ was entirely vindicated by the champion’s comfortable night’s work, so much so that Eubank raised his arms in twelfth knowing he had already done enough to win the fight. The three scoring judges at ringside agreed and Eubank was declared the winner by unanimous decision, with English judge Roy Francis scoring the fight 118-112, Arizona official Gerald Smoltz scoring it 116-112 and Midlands judge Paul Thomas seeing the fight 115-113, all in favour of the champion.

WHARTON would challenge for a world title for a third and final time in 1997, losing a majority decision to then-unbeaten Robin Reid, before retiring two fights later with a 27 – 3 (20) ledger. Wharton, who was never stopped and was only defeated in world championship contests, is considered by many to be one of the best super-middleweights never to win a world title. Eubank, on the other hand, would lose his WBO world title via unanimous decision in his next contest in an absorbing encounter with Steve Collins. After defeat to Collins, Eubank would win four and lose four (all four defeats in world title challenges, including a rematch with Collins) before retiring with a record of 45 – 5 (23) having contributed enormously to the golden era of British super middleweights.

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December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
James DeGale

Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra

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PROMOTER Frank Warren insists James DeGale will not walk away from boxing despite the Londoner hinting at retirement following his shock defeat to Caleb Truax.

Truax, the 34-year-old American, was a 16-1 outsider to beat the former Olympic champion at London’s Copper Box Arena on Saturday night.

But DeGale, who was taken to hospital after the bruising encounter following a suspected broken nose, was no match for Truax and lost on a majority decision.

DeGale was making his comeback after nearly a year on the sidelines following shoulder surgery, and was expected to have despatched of Truax with a view to fighting long-term rival George Groves or Chris Eubank Jnr in an all-British mega fight next year.

But the 31-year-old’s career now hangs in the balance after losing his IBF super-middleweight title with Eubank Jnr describing his performance as “shameful” and Groves urging his long-term rival to hang up his gloves.

“I am devastated with my performance last night,” DeGale tweeted on Sunday. “I feel like I’ve let everyone down – myself, my family, friends and fans. I don’t want to be in any other position than No 1 so I am going to take some time out to reflect and make some decisions going forward.”

DeGale’s tweet would appear to suggest the Londoner, who shot to prominence after winning Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, is considering his future in the ring.

But Warren, who already has one eye on a rematch with Truax, believes DeGale will fight on.

“I don’t think he will retire,” Warren said. “You’ve got to be tough mentally, and if you had a bad day at the office, as James had, then you have got to push it to the back of your mind, learn from it, get back in the ring and show them what you are made of.

“It is not like he is a washed-up fighter. He is only 31 and he is still a young man. Of course it is a setback – any loss is a setback for a champion if you lose your title – but champions come back and win and we have seen a lot of fighters do that over the years.”

DeGale’s fourth defence of his title fell apart in the fifth round after Truax unleashed a number of fierce shots with his opponent up against the ropes. DeGale somehow survived the barrage, but headed to his corner bruised, bloodied and in deep trouble.

DeGale put up brave resistance to stay in the fight, but it was Truax who delivered the more telling shots, with two judges scoring the fight 115-112 and 116-112 in favour of the challenger.

“James got his tactics wrong,” Warren added. “I know what I am going to say when I see him. He might not want to hear it, and he might tell me to p*** off and mind my own business, but you can only say what you think.

“I went to the corner in the 10th round and said, ‘James, you are behind in this fight and you need to win these two rounds at least’. I jumped up in the last round and screamed at him: ‘James, you’ve got to knock him out.’ He looked at me quizzically.

“He could have won the fight, but he let the other fella make it his by being the aggressor and coming forward and that caught the eye of the judges.”

December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
harry greb

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BAD decisions, it seems, are not a modern phenomenon. World middleweight king Harry Greb found out first hand way back in 1923.

By this account, his great rival, Gene Tunney was rather fortunate to be rendered the winner in the third of their five meetings for the U.S. light-heavyweight title.

Let us take you, if we may, back to the Roaring Twenties on a cold winter night at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden. 

We have leafed through our deep, rich and highly delicate archive and have word-by-historical-word re-typed the original typewritten fight report by our man – Truman Harte – who sat ringside and witnessed these two great warriors from another time.


Fans Hoot Verdict

There will be a riot some night in Madison Square Garden if these weird boxing decisions don’t stop. It looked for a few minutes as if there might be one on December 10th, when Gene Tunney was given the decision over Harry Greb in a fifteen-round bout for the light-heavweight championship of the United States.

In my opinion Greb won this fight by such a decisive margin that after the tenth round Tunney would have had to score a knockout to earn a victory. Greb swarmed all over the pride of Greenwich Village, hit him with everything but the water bucket, cut both his eyes, and had his nose bleeding – but lost the decision! Greb has never fought a better or a cleaner fight than this one in the Garden. It was Tunney who roughed and butted with his head. Greb did hold a bit now and then, but so did Tunney.

The Pittsburgh Windmill is the middleweight champion of the world, but last night weighed 171½lbs. The extra weight didn’t hurt him a bit. He was faster than ever, and tireless.

When the bout ended and Joe Humphreys announced Tunney as the winner, there was sustained booing and hooting. Tunney was given the raspberry as he left the ring and Greb was cheered to the echo.

Fans Indignation

Several thousand fans refused to leave the amphitheatre after the decision. They tried to crowd to the ringside, hooting and shouting derisively. One excited man reached the press seats, and was edged none too gently out of the Garden by three special officers.

Chairman Williams McCormrick of the licence committee of the State Athletic Commission was at the ringside. So was Senator James J. Walker, who sponsored the bill under which boxing is legalised in the State. There should be food for reflection for both of these gentlemen in the scene they witnessed last night.

The referee was Louis Magnolia. The judges were Charles Mathison and Frankie Malden. How they voted I do not know, but we can find out from the State Athletic Commission.

In the semi-final the decision was almost as bad as in the final bout. There was a different referee, but the same judges, and Roland Todd, England’s middleweight champion, who beat Tommy Loughran decisively in my opinion, lost the official verdict.

Tunney opened a 9 to 5 favourite in the betting. He went to 2½ to 1 before the fighters entered the ring. I offer this for what it’s worth, without comment.

Tunney Fouls Without Rebuke

After the last fight between Tunney and Greb, in which the former won the light-heavyweight title that he retained last night by virtue of dubious decision, it was said in defence of the verdict rendered that Greb fouled continually. Last night Tunney butted Greb with his head four or five times. greg fought in his usual whirlwind style, but was not guilty of any questionable tactics.

According to my count Greb won ten rounds, Tunney four, and one was even. The Pittsburger had the Greenwich Villager bewildered with his speed.

It was a fast and furious battle all the way. They fought like lightweights, and it was wonderful that they could sustain the dizzy pace they set over fifteen rounds. At the finish Tunney was rather weary, but Greb looked as if he could keep going for fifteen more rounds.

Battling Siki was introduced before the battle began and made a big hit with the crowd. He was arrayed in evening clothes and carried a cane. He shook hands with everyone in the ring, including the photographers, bowed profusely and as a parting shot rubbed his hand over Joe Humphrey’s bald head.

When Greb entered the ring he was presented with a silver cup, the gift of the volunteer firemen of Manhasset, L.I., for whose pension fund he boxed an exhibition some time ago. Everybody liked Harry in the Garden it seems, but the officials who rendered the decision against him.

Referee Annoys Greb

Greb started off by capturing the first round by a slight margin. His left hooks landed flush on Tunney’s jaw and shook Gene up. Tunney devoted his attention to body punching, but could not keep the Pittsburger away or slow him up with these blows. Referee Magnolia seemed to annoy Greb by continually cautioning him.

Greb kept his head, however, and fought a clever fight. He forced the issue all the time. Round after round he came out and chased Tunney. Tunney seldom led. He was always waiting, waiting with counters to the body. One round was much like the other. In the twelfth session Tunney fell through the ropes and landed on the press table. While he was trying to get back in the ring the bell rang.

Greb landed two punches to Tunney’s one, forced the issue all the way and was by far the fresher at the finish. But not even this could win for him.

Read: When Harry Greb dished out one of history’s most savage beatings in their first fight

It is true that Greb is not a hard puncher, yet several times he staggered Tunney with left hooks and right crosses to the head. In the tenth in particular he had Gene dazed from a right to the chin.

Gene Tunney is still the light-heavyweight champion of the United States, but how he retained that title I can never tell you, beyond the fact the officials voted him the winner over Greb.

Perhaps there is some way of judging fights that this writer is not familiar with, and that by this method Tunney was entitled to the verdict. It is too much for me. Having watched fights of importance all over this country and in England, I must still know little about them if Tunney beat Greb in the Garden.

The paid attendance was 11,079 and the receipts 43,016 dols.

 The two would face each other twice more: a no-decision the following September in Cleveland, Ohio. The consensus is that a draw would have been the fair result. And the last – in March 1925 – a ten-round decision for Tunney in St Paul, Minnesota. This was Tunney’s most decisive victory and possibly Greb’s hardest defeat.

More on Harry Greb


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December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
Stephen Smith

Ed Mulholland/HBO Boxing

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Miguel “Mickey” Roman (58-13, 45 KOs) brought new life to his career with a spectacular and dominant ninth-round technical knockout victory against four-time, two division world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (44-14, 31 KOs) in a Fight of the Year Candidate and main event of HBO Boxing After Dark at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Roman, a native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, scored knockdowns in rounds four and eight before the fight was finally stopped at 1:43 of the ninth round after a fight-finishing flurry sent Salido to the canvas for the last time in his career.

“It’s my moment, and I want to fight against any champion,” said Roman. “I was doing everything well, even though everything is always against me. But things will change from now on. That’s why I want any champion at featherweight or super featherweight, but on HBO. The new camp, the good work we did, the good training–those changes made the difference and we are all able to see that tonight. Nobody knew, but if I lost, I would have retired. It was very important to fight against a great champion like Orlando Salido and win.”

“I’ve beaten young fighters before, but this time it was a matter of age,” said Salido. “Time takes its toll, and obviously I just couldn’t do it. This was my last fight. Thank you to all, to those who will remember me for all the great fights that I had, and to the people who have followed me.”

Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (24-2, 17 KOs) scored a ninth-round technical unanimous decision victory against Stephen “Swifty” Smith (25-4, 15 KOs) of Liverpool, United Kingdom in a scheduled 10-round super featherweight bout. Vargas, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, tried the new boxing skills that he has learned under his new trainer Joel Diaz. However, the fight was cut a bit short in the ninth round after a severe laceration on Smith’s left ear called a halt to the fight. Vargas was victorious with scores of 89-82, 88-83 and 88-83.

“This was a great win for me, and I’m happy I ended the year on a good note,” said Vargas. With my new team, I know I’ll be back soon and in big fights. I want to be world champion again, and I’ll be back very soon.”

Stephen Smith

Rene “El Gemelo” Alvarado (28-8, 19 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua headlined the HBO Latino Boxing double-header with an upset split decision victory against Denis Shafikov (38-4, 20 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight fight. Alvarado defeated the native of Miass, Russia with scores of 96-93, 96-94 and 94-95.

Ireland’s Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (1-0), the welterweight prospect who has recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions, made a successful professional debut with a four-round unanimous decision victory against Travis Conley (1-1, 1 KO) in the super welterweight division. McKenna won with three scores of 40-36.

December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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AFTER a one-sided beating of Guillermo Rigondeaux that culminated with the Cuban retiring after six rounds citing a hand inury, Vasyl Lomachenko claimed he always suspected his rival would quit.

“Nothing he did surprised me,” Lomachenko told the media gathered inside Madison Square Garden. “Nothing at all, not even the finish. I didn’t expect him to do more in the ring, and from the press conference beforehand, I was waiting for him to say ‘No Mas’.”

Lomachenko continued: “After the third round I knew it would not go the distance. I had felt his style, I knew what he could do. It was over.”

The Ukrainian refused to take too much credit for the victory – which was also Rigondeaux’s first defeat after rising two divisions from super-bantamweight – when asked if he should now be regarded as the Fighter of the Year.

“No!” he answered. “So what [if I have won three times in 2017]. They’re not big wins. Maybe they’re big wins for the fans but not for me. Rigondeaux should not have been fighting in this weight class, it’s not his size. So it wasn’t a big win for me.”

It is the fourth consecutive time Lomachenko has forced an opponent to quit on his stool.

“You can’t do anything with him,” said his promoter Bob Arum. “He’s untouchable.”

December 10, 2017
December 10, 2017
rigondeaux quit

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THE promoter of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Dino Duva of Roc Nation, responded to criticism that the Cuban tonight did a modern day ‘No Mas’ and quit against Vasyl Lomachenko.

After taking a steady drubbing for six rounds the Cuban, visibly frustrated at points of the contest and stung on several occasions by the brilliance of Lomachenko, stunned the Madison Square Garden crowd when he declared he could not continue. It immediately brought back memories of Roberto Duran, annoyed by the ease with which Sugar Ray Leonard was beating him in 1980, turned his back and quit.

“The left hand has been looked at and we can confirm it is damaged,” countered Duva. “We don’t know yet what happened or if it’s broken but we will let the media know once he has been checked by the hospital.”

Immediately after the bout, Rigondeaux – very much used to being the boss in a boxing ring until tonight – claimed, “I lost because I injured my hand and I could no longer throw it,” before admitting that Lomachenko was “very technical, very quick and very explosive.”

At the time of the stoppage, Rigondeaux had lost a point for holding and was down 59-54 (twice), 60-53 on the three scorecards.