September 22, 2014

The Sweet Side of the Sweet Science — Women's Boxing Monthly Vol 16

Female fight community headed for Mexico
By Mark A. Jones — The first ever WBC female boxing convention will be held at the Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, on September 24-27. The Presidents of the WBC, WBA, and IBF will be in attendance as well as numerous professional boxers including, Christy Martin, Mia St. John, Laila Ali, and Ana Maria Torres. Current champions Cecilia Braekhus, Ibeth Zamora-Silva, Zulina Munoz, Mariana Juarez, Jelena Mrdjenovich, and many others are scheduled to attend.

A women’s amateur boxing duel titled “Battle of the Frontiers” was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on August 21. Canada edged the United States 5-4 with six of the nine total bouts decided by split-decisions.

Battle of the Bout Sheet
Frontier Results From Canada:

106 lbs: Taveena Kum, Canada, dec. Alex Love, Colorado Springs, CO., USA, 2-1
112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, TX., USA dec. Amanda Galle, Canada, 3-0
119 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., USA dec. Vicky Pelletier, Canada, 2-1
125 lbs: Sabrina Aubin, Canada, dec. Kristin Carlson, Carol Stream, Ill., USA, 3-0
132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, WA., USA dec. Odile Letellier, Canada, 3-0
141 lbs: Sara Kali, Canada, dec. Destiny Chearino, Warwick, RI., USA, 3-0
152 lbs: Myriam Da Silva, Canada, dec. Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, CA., USA, 2-1
165 lbs: Mary Spencer, Canada, dec. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, MD., USA, 2-1
178+ lbs: Krystal Dixon, New Rochelle, N.Y., USA, dec. Vanessa Joanisse, Canada, 2-1

A Look Ahead To Sept & Oct 2014 in Women's Boxing:

On September 27 at the ABC Sports Complex, Springfield, Virginia, Tori Nelson (10-0-3, 1 KO) Ashburn, Virginia, will defend her WIBA welterweight title for the fourth time when she battles former WBF and WIBA light-welterweight titlist, Arlene Blencowe (2-2) of Taree, New South Wales, Australia. Nelson, 38, after winning the WIBA welterweight title in September, has successfully defended the belt against Kali Reis (UD-10), Mia St. John (KO-2) and Nicole Woods (UD-10). Nelson is a formidable fighter who is versatile and looks to land with the right-cross. Nelson, the former WBC middleweight champion, is ranked #1 by both the WBC and IBF, but a fight with welterweight queen, Cecilia Braekhus (WBA, WBC, & WBO) has eluded her. Enter MMA fighter Arlene Blencowe, who is ranked #11 at light-welterweight by the WIBA and only embarked on her boxing career in July 2012. In a perfect world, Blencowe would be considered a prospect that with some work could develop into a viable contender; she possesses decent skills, but is being thrown to the wolves in this match-up. While the fight lasts, Blencowe will give an inspired if not credible performance until the experience of the champion takes over and ends things in the mid-rounds.  

Prediction: Tori Nelson TKO-5 Arlene Blencowe

On September 27 in Moscow, Russia, local favorite and interim WBA light-welterweight champion, Svetlana Kulakova (9-0-1, 1 KO) will fight the regular WBA light-welterweight champion, Ana Laura Esteche (10-3-2, 2 KOs) of San Martin, Argentina. This fight is a rematch of their June 2013 battle which ended in a controversial split-draw. The June battle witnessed Kulakova start fast, winning the first three rounds, but struggled with Esteche’s inside fighting style for the remainder of the contest. Esteche’s constant pressure caused Kulakova to receive a point deduction for excessive holding in rounds 5 and 8. Nothing has changed since June; Kulakova remains a typical European boxer who is passive, upright, and relies on an excellent sense of range to control the fight. The 31-year-old former glamour model throws a high volume of punches with little power. She was uncomfortable when forced to fight at close range where her arsenal of mostly straight punches were quickly smothered by Esteche. The 24-year-old Esteche is a crude brawler with little firepower but compensates with extreme aggression and punch volume. She failed three times to secure world lightweight titles before moving up in weight and upsetting long time light-welterweight champion, and fellow Argentine, Monica Silvina Acosta by a unanimous decision in January. After a slow start in the June campaign, Esteche won the middle rounds and only a late rally by the hometown fighter forced a draw. Esteche, to win this encounter must begin immediately forcing Kulakova to fight the entire distance under pressure. Esteche, on the road, cannot afford to give away the first three rounds and expect to leave Russia with the WBA belt.  

Prediction: Esteche MD-10 Kulakova

Esteche is expected to prevail over Kulakova
KO Digest’s Top 5 Light-welterweights (140 lbs.) 

1- Erica Anabella Farias (Argentina)
2- Fernanda Soledad Alegre (Argentina)
3- Alejandra Marina Oliveras (Argentina)
4- Ana Laura Esteche (Argentina)
5- Chris Namus (Uruguay)

On September 27 in Gits, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Delfine Persoon (29-1, 13 KOS) of Roeselare, Belguim, will battle the speedy Judy Waguthii (13-6-3, 4 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya, in an eight-round, non-title fight. Persoon is one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport and currently sports the WBC, WIBF, and WBF lightweight belts. During earlier stages of her career, she held the IBF, WIBA, and EBU lightweight titles. In June, she upended long time WBC champion Erica Farias by unanimous decision winning the WBC title and supremacy of the lightweight division. This bout will be the second start of 2014 for the 29-year-old Persoon, who is taking a respite of sorts after entering the ring seven times (7-0) in 2013. The challenger, Waguthii, fails to impress other than she has above average speed and has yet to suffer a stoppage loss in twenty-two professional bouts including five world titles fights in four different weight classes (0-5). Most recently, she lost a one-sided, ten-round unanimous decision to Svetlana Kulakova in a battle for the interim WBA light-welterweight title. She nearly won the title in the tenth round when she landed a desperation right-cross causing a deep laceration over the left eye of Kulakova. Had Waguthii landed the telling blow a few rounds before, she would have won the title. Waguthii, who is respectable, but not dangerous, is anything more than a tune-up fight for Persoon, who faces WBC super-featherweight champion, Diana Prazak in November. Look for Persoon to cruise to a one-sided decision win.  

Prediction: Delfine Persoon UD-10 Judy Waguthii

Persoon #1 lightweight
KO Digest’s Top 5 Lightweights (135 lbs.)

1- Delfine Persoon (Belgium)
2- Amanda Serrano (Puerto Rico/USA)
3- Victoria Noelia Bustos (Argentina)
4- Natalia Vanesa Del Valle (Argentina)
5- Maria Elena Maderna (Argentina)

On October 4 in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, one of the most underrated fighters in women’s boxing, Shindo Go (14-2, 9 KOs) of Wakayama, Japan, will defend her WBC female flyweight title against Arely “Machine Gun” Mucino (20-2-2, 10 KOs) of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The 27-year-old Go, although her knockout percentage is (56.25%), high in women’s boxing circles, she is a boxer-puncher with an emphasis on counter-punching in combination. Of her nine stoppage victories, her opponents owned a combined record of (26-38-3). Legitimate competition has always extended her the distance in fights. She can do everything in the ring and has no glaring weaknesses. Concerning her two losses, the first came in her professional debut and the second, a controversial split-decision loss to the ever-popular Mariana Juarez for the WBC female flyweight title in California. The Juarez loss was Go’s only fight outside her home country of Japan. The WBC title became vacant when Juarez dropped a decision to American Ava Knight in October 2012. Go won the WBC title In May 2013 with a unanimous decision over the hard-punching Renata Szebeledi. The 25-year-old Arely Mucino, already a two-time female flyweight champion (IBF, WBA), has yet to enter the prime stage of her career, but is considered one of the most famous and exciting professional female fighters in Mexico. She lives up to her nickname, “Machine Gun” fighting every second of each round placing bad intentions on every punch. Stylistically Mucino is a midrange, left-hook artist who will lead or counter with the devastating blow. Because of being a midrange, left-hook artist, her defense is compromised down the middle making her vulnerable to straight punches.

Since drawing with Jessica Chavez in November 2013, Mucino struggled with former WBA flyweight champion, Tenkai Tsunami in January winning a majority-decision, and in July, defeated Suri Tapia in a WBC eliminator to gain this world title opportunity. Mucino owns legitimate knockout power having stopped Nancy Franco, Chantel Cordova, and Ana Fernandez inside the distance. This fight is likely a career defining fight Mucino; a win over Go establishes her as an elite fighter and places her into the same realm as Mariana Juarez, Zulina Munoz, and Ibeth Zamora-Silva. The light-flyweight and flyweight division of women’s boxing laden with talent, look for Mucino to stay close to Go and use high punch volume to limit Go’s counter-punching opportunities. Mucino has a formidable home ring advantage in this fight. If she is standing at the final bell, she will win a decision on the cards.

Mucino should win if she can avoid this
KO's Sweet Side Breakdown:

Power: Mucino
Chin: Go
Accuracy: Go
Conditioning: Mucino
Defense: Go
Speed: Go
Size: Go
Skills: Even
Punch Volume: Mucino
Quality of Opposition: Mucino

Prediction: Arely Mucino MD-10 Shindo Go

Quick Hits for September/October:

Irma Garcia (10-1-1, 2 KOs) defends the WBA female bantamweight title against Simone Da Silva Duarte (14-6, 6 KOs) Garcia should cruise to an easy points win in this match-up. Monica Lovato (13-1, 5 KOs) is on the comeback trail facing the ever-tough TBA in Pojoaque, New Mexico. Lovato once defeated Mariana Juarez and held the NABF bantamweight title in 2007-08. Surging Argentine featherweight Cecilia Sofia Mena (9-1-1, 5 KOs) is facing a Brazilian prospect Aline de Cassia Scaranello (7-0, 6 KOs) in Argentina. Another bright featherweight prospect from Argentina, Karen Elizabeth Carabajal (5-0) will battle Maria Soledad Capriolo (3-1-3) in Carbajal’s first six-round fight.

A Look Back At Aug & Sept 2014 in Women's Boxing:

On August 23 in Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the main event of a card containing three female bouts, Marcela Eliana Acuna (41-6-1, 18 KOs), 120, of Caseros, Argentina, defended her WBO female super-bantamweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Argentine challenger Edith Soledad Matthysse (12-6-1, 1 KO), 120 ¾, by the scores of (98-92/96-94/97-93). Matthysse, the WBA featherweight champion, worked behind a sporadically effective left jab that won her a few rounds, but Acuna, who at 37, looked to be in control from the outset and coasted down the stretch. The Spin: Acuna is the biggest attraction in the loaded super-bantamweight division and a fighter worthy of her main event stature. Super-fights with champions Jackie Nava (WBC) or Marcos (WBA) are likely on the horizon.

On the undercard, Erica Anabella Farias, 137 ½, of Virreyes, Argentina, returned to her winning ways with a third-round technical knockout of fellow Argentine Roxana Beatriz Laborde, 140. Farias, now a light-welterweight, with the win, improves to an impressive (20-1, 10 KOs) whereas Laborde drops to (8-14-2). The knockout victory was just and exercise in futility for Farias, who looks forward to challenging for one of the major titles in her next outing. Laborde received a standing eight count in the second round leading to the assigned referee ending the fight midway through the third round when Farias landed a series of unanswered blows. The Spin: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the Farias of them all? Well, it is Cecilia Braekhus, but Farias, if she can secure a light-welterweight title, may get a shot at the ‘First Lady’ of women’s boxing. Braekhus, after her defeat of Ivana Habazin, announced that she desires to reduce in weight to the light-welterweight division and win the four major titles there (WBO, WBC, WBA, & IBF).

Was McMorrow robbed in Mexico?
On August 23 in Coacalco, Mexico, “Mighty” Melissa McMorrow (9-5-3), 110 ½, of San Francisco, California, appeared to have done enough to earn a decision victory and the WBC International female flyweight title, but it was not to be. The assigned judges awarded the title to Jessica “Kika” Chavez (21-3-3, 4 KOs), 112, of Mexico City by the scores (96-94/97-94/97-93). The loss marks the third time that McMorrow has tasted defeat in Mexico under suspicious circumstances. Earlier in her career, she lost a unanimous decision to Mariana Juarez and a split decision to Arely Mucino; both fights McMorrow arguably won. In this battle, McMorrow, with her usual aggressive crowd-pleasing style, took the fight to Chavez from the outset. Over the course of the entire fight, she landed the more telling blows forcing Chavez to fight at close quarters instead of countering from distance.

Chavez, who has struggled since winning a razor-thin decision over Yesica Yolanda Bopp in 2013, is a consummate professional and had her moments in this bout, but she was forced to fight McMorrow’s fight for the greater portion of the match. ‘Team McMorrow,’ in a post-fight press release stated, “Chavez is a good fighter, and we fought a fairly even fight. I think I was the aggressor and landed the harder cleaner shots. I wanted to make the fight very decisive since I know that the judges will not work in my favor, but she did a good job of keeping her distance from me. However, I think I deserve the decision as much as she does. It is frustrating that when I watch the fight I can only claim rounds that are undeniable, and she gets credit for everything else.”

The Spin: Chavez picks up the WBC International flyweight title and is still rated #1 at light-flyweight by the WBC. Chavez will face WBC light-flyweight champion, Ibeth Zamora-Silva on November 29 in Toluca, Mexico. McMorrow remains one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters in the world and is now relegated to picking up the pieces and moving on with her career.

Nava too slick for Ashley
On September 6 in Mexico City, Mexico, Jackie Nava (30-4-3, 13 KOs), 121 ½, of Tijuana, won the WBC female super-bantamweight title and defended her interim WBA super-bantamweight strap with a ten-round, majority-decision over New York’s Alicia Ashley (20-10-1, 3 KOs), 121 ½, by the scores (95-95/97-93/98-92). For Nava, 34, the victory was the second since returning from a two-year interruption (childbirth) to her career. The 47-year-old Ashely drops the title in her fourth defense. The first half of the match witnessed Ashley dominate the early action with efficient movement, keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Her superior defense caused Nava miss a high percentage of her punches. Ashley countered will with her full arsenal of punches landing better than she received. In the second half of the bout, Nava settled into a rhythm and trapped Ashley in the corners and on the ropes often enough to force exchanges in a position of the ring that benefited her. Nava was the aggressor throughout which likely impressed the assigned judges enough to award her with a decision that was closer than the issued cards would otherwise indicate.

The Spin: Nava, with winning the WBC title, is holding two major title belts in the crowded super-bantamweight division. Unification bouts with Argentine super-bantamweight champions, Yesica Patricia Marcos (24-0-2, 8 KOs) or Marcela Eliana Acuna (42-6-1, 18 KOs) would receive huge fan support in Argentina or Mexico. The Acuna vs. Marcos bout held in January 2013 in San Martin, Argentina, drew more than 40,000 spectators.

Braekhus dominates to stay the best in the world
On September 13 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the ‘First Lady’ of women’s boxing, Cecilia Braekhus, 142 ¾, Bergen, Norway, won the IBF welterweight title and successfully defended her WBC, WBA, & WBO straps with a convincing ten-round unanimous decision over Croatian Ivana Habazin, 145 ½. Braekhus dominated the scorecards (100-90 x 3) and the fight employing her superior speed of hand and foot to beat her outgunned opponent consistently to the punch. ‘’I’ve been dreaming of this moment for a long time,’’ said Braekhus. ‘’To be the first female boxer to unify a division is a huge achievement and something that I am extremely proud of. I'd like to thank all the fans that traveled to Copenhagen to support me and Ivana for the part she played in this historic fight.’’ With the win, Braekhus wins the final piece of the four major welterweight title puzzle and improves to (26-0, 7 KOs), Habazin (13-2, 5 KOs) with the loss, displays excellent toughness.

The Spin: Braekhus is the #1 fighter in the sport of women’s boxing and calls the shots. If she drops to the already packed light-welterweight division, which is dominated by Argentine fighters, Fernanda Soledad Alegre (WBO), Alejandra Marina Oliveras (WBC), Ana Laura Esteche (WBA), and Marisa Nunez (IBF) are crowned champions. Klara Svensson (14-0, 5 KOs), also promoted by Sauerland, won the interim WBC light-welterweight title with a ten-round decision over Marie Riederer (15-2-1, 10 KOs) on the undercard. Svensson, 26, of Malmo, Sweden, has a huge fan base and factors into the equation at light-welterweight.

Quick Hits for August-September:

Amanda Serrano (21-1-1, 16 KOs) moved up to lightweight and won the WBO title with a sixth-round knockout of former champion Maria Elena Maderna (13-8-3, 2 KOs). Mariana Juarez (40-7-3, 17 KOs) retained the WBC International female super-flyweight title with a fourth-round technical knockout of Carla Romina Weiss (9-3-1). The knockouts continued with Jelena Mrdjenovich who took what her opponent gave her landing well to the body forcing Marilyn Hernandez (25-10) to retire on her stool after the sixth round. Mrdjenovich retained her WBC female featherweight title. Yesica Patricia Marcos (24-0-2, 8 KOs) knocked out Silvia Fernanda Zacarias (8-17-5) in the third round. Marcos holds the WBA super-bantamweight title which was not on the line in this battle. Victoria Noelia Bustos (12-3) defended her IBF female lightweight title for the second time with a ten-round unanimous decision over Natalia Vanesa del Valle Aguirre. On an all-female card containing seven bouts, former bantamweight champion, Kaliesha West (16-2-3, 4 KOs) was featured facing late substitute and former WBC super-featherweight champion, Olivia Gerula (15-14-2, 3 KOs). Gerula fought well and upset West winning an eight-round unanimous decision.

KO Digest’s Dynamite Dozen Pound-for-Pound Ratings:

"First Lady" Braekhus calls the shots

1- Cecilia Braekhus 26-0, 7 KOs (Norway)
2- Marcela Eilana Acuna 42-6-1, 18 KOs (Argentina)
3- Anne Sophie Mathis 27-3, 23 KOs (France)
4- Yesica Yoland Bopp 27-1, 12 KOs (Argentina)
5- Delfine Persoon 29-1, 13 KOs (Belgium)
6- Diana Prazak 13-2, 9 KOs (Australia/USA)
7- Jackie Nava 30-4-3, 13 KOs (Mexico)
8- Erica Anabella Farias 20-1, 10 KOs (Argentina)
9- Jelena Mrdjenovich 33-9-1, 17 KOs (Canada)
10- Christina Hammer 17-0, 8 KOs (Germany)
11- Naoko Fujioka 12-0, 6 KOs (Japan)
12- Ibeth Zamora-Silva 20-5, 8 KOs (Mexico)

"The Sweet Side of the Sweet Science" is written by women's boxing expert Mark A. Jones -- exclusively for KO Digest. You can find more of Mark's female fight coverage on his women's boxing blog:  Boxing Jones

September 13, 2014

CES Results -- Gingras beats McCreedy, new generation on display

Title For Title at Twin River Casino
By Jeffrey Freeman -- In the ring, win or lose, Lowell's "Irish" Joe McCreedy does not wear the look of a man who's having a good time in there. Last night at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, McCreedy lost an eight-round unanimous decision to fitness freak Rich Gingras (15-4-1, 9 KO's) in the "Classic Entertainment & Sports" main event. Despite having some good moments in the fight, even landing some of his wild punches, McCreedy (15-8-2, 6 KO's) was hit with considerably more than he dished out, wearing an agonized expression whenever Gingras' punches landed, above or below the belt. As an insightful fan screamed, "Put him out of his misery!" to McCreedy from the beer section, I couldn't help but notice that boxing indeed resembles a sad form of misery that McCreedy would at this point be best put out of.

McCreedy in his misery 
Rich Gingras UD8 Joey McCreedy -- Strong start for McCreedy saw him landing his looping overhand rights in the first two rounds while Gingras struggled to find the range above the belt. McCreedy began to tire in the third, his mouthpiece poking out as Gingras started to connect upstairs. McCreedy never stopped lobbing bombs and some found the mark but he was dog-tired by the end of the round. A divided crowd got their money's worth in the fourth, enjoying grueling toe-to-toe action at the center of the ring. Joey's former trainer Dicky Eklund was seen wandering around ringside, shouting instructions to no avail. Last hurrah in the seventh for McCreedy falls short. Scores: 80-72, 79-73, 80-72.

KO Digest scored it 77-75 for Gingras who picks up a second regional title.

The light heavyweight winner immediately called out "Mr. Providence" Vladine Biosse for a rematch of their disputed 2013 draw.

In the "Classic Co-Main Event" featuring welterweights scheduled for six rounds, Christian Steele of Atlanta, GA squared off against local Providence prospect Nick DeLomba. After missing the first round to chat ringside with Lowell's tipsy Dicky Eklund (who incidentally had "no comment" about the current corner situation of his homeboy Irish Joey McCreedy when asked by ringside photographer Pattee Mak) my attention returned to the action in the ring which found DeLomba getting more early resistance than might have been expected from an "opponent" with several more losses than wins. In any case, DeLomba used his advantages in speed and in size (rangy height) to "control" what turned out to be a sloppy fight with Steele doing more holding than hitting in the last few rounds. Official Scores: 60-54 on all three cards. DeLomba is now 5-0 while Steele is 5-10-2.

The future is now at CES
In a cruiserweight bout billed by CES big boss Jimmy Burchfield as "Joe Frazier vs Rocky Marciano" -- Alvin Varmall of LaPlace, Louisiana played the role of Frazier, bobbing and weaving inside to do damage on the stocky Antonio Mignella of nearby Providence. Mignella was nothing if not sturdy and he leaned on Varmall on the inside whenever the pair weren't exchanging at close quarters. In the second round, Varmall unleashed a nasty right hand to the temple in close and Mignella hit the canvas face first. "Rocky" got up but wobbled badly into the ropes and Joey Lupino wisely called a halt. Varmall improves to 3-0 (he KO'd Andre "Not The Son of God" Ward in his second pro bout) with 3KO's while Mignella literally falls to 3-1. Somebody make Varmall vs Alexis Santos please. 

On The Undercard:

Super Welterweights -- Second professional fight for Worcester, MA's Khiary Gray-Pitts against Boston's Sergio Cabrera. Gray-Pitts is a young talented boxer (the "new generation" of CES as advertised) who I've seen perform in the Lowell Golden Gloves in recent years. As a pro, Gray-Pitts showed a tight defense and good combination punching whenever he stopped to plant his fleet feet. A Gray-Pitts left hook buzzed Cabrera in the first round and the effect of the fight was showing on the surface of his red-faced mug in the second. In the third, Cabrera actually started asking for a beating and Gray-Pitts issued him one, ripping shots to the head and body. In the fourth and final round, the pace slowed considerably and Gray-Pitts focused more on a nifty display of defense rather than fight-ending offense. Pitts goes to 2-0 while Cabrera falls to 0-3. Official Scores: 40-36, 40-36, and 40-36.

Sucra Junior looks sweet like his Dad
Super Welterweights -- In the evening opener, Ray Oliveira Jr (21 year old son of New Bedford, MA's favorite son Sucra Ray Oliveira) made his professional debut against Providence's Angel Valdez, also making a pro debut. Junior got off to a very fast start, rattling his game opponent with a right cross seconds into the four-rounder. Body shots from Oliveira brought down the guard of Valedez, and Ray Jr punished him with power shots high on the head. Valdez showed early fatigue but he stayed in the fight until an uncontested combination right hand to the body, right hand to the chin caused referee Joey Lupino to jump in and stop the fight in the third round to end a pretty good little scrap.

Lightweights -- Scott Sullivan from New Bedford, MA made his pro debut by beating the stuffing out of Boston's seriously overmatched and undertrained Moises Rivera. In the second round, Rivera suddenly turned his back in the corner from a volley of Sullivan's punches and referee Joey Lupino jumped in to stop the fight. Rivera goes to 0-4 while Sullivan goes into boxing a new pro with his first win. 

Photos by Pattee Mak
Super Middleweights - Free swinging (fan friendly) brawl between Zack Christy and Saul Almeida, Framingham, MA, results in a four-round decision win for Christy, 40-36 on all three cards. Christy, Warwick, R.I., makes a successful pro debut while the somewhat capable cage fighter Almeida goes to 0-6 in the boxing ring. 

KO Digest Credentialed Ringside Report by Jeffrey Freeman