Fight of the week: Zhanat Zhakiyanov vs. Rau’shee Warren with an honourable mention to Baranchyk vs. Ramos
Fighter of the week: Zhanat Zhakiyanov
Punch of the week: The first straight right from Easter in the tenth round
Upset of the week: ‘Unknown’ Zhakiyanov beating Warren
One to watch: Giovanni Santillan 21-0
Tokyo, Japan: Feather: Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1) W KO 4 Ryuto Araya (11-5-1). Super Light: Koichi Aso (21-7-1) W TKO 8 Kazuki Matsuyama (13-8-1).
Takenaka vs. Araya
Takenaka retains the OPBF title with stoppage of Araya. The first round saw Araya make a good start using a sharp jab to keep Takenaka on the outside for much of the round but Takenaka was dangerous with counter. Takenaka pressed hard in the second and a left/right combination put Araya down. The challenger made it to his feet and survived to the bell. In the second Takenaka made serious inroads to Araya’s condition. Araya tried to fight back in the third but Takenaka was quicker and had more power. In the fourth a devastating combination from Takenaka put Araya down for the second time and his corner chucked in the towel. Under the rules of the Japanese Commission that is registered as a kayo but for me a knockout needs the count to be completed Third successful defence for 31-year-old Takenaka, the WBA No 8, and win No 9 by KO/TKO. He won the title by beating useful Filipino Vin Rufino and in his last fight had taken a wide unanimous verdict over Filipino Randy Braga (19-1-1). Araya, 29, the Japanese No 5, drops to three losses by KO/TKO. This was his first fight scheduled for more than eight rounds
Aso vs. Matsuyama
In a case of try, try and try again Aso wins the vacant Japanese title with stoppage of Matsuyama in his third attempt at becoming a national champion. Not much skill on show here just blood and thunder toe-to-toe stuff. The first round was close but from there Aso stepped up the pace and was getting the better of the furious exchanges. At the half way mark Aso was in front 49-46 on two cards and 50-46 in the third. Knowing was a long way behind Matsuyama tried to increase his attacks. He had some success but was taking more than he was giving. A wild seventh saw both just throwing leather with Aso scoring heavily. A big right in the eighth stunned Matsuyama and Aso landed a series of head punches which saw Matsuyama’s corner throw in the towel. Aso goes to 14 wins by KO/TKO. Matsuyama now has four losses by KO/TKO. Although he was No 2 to Aso he was only 1-2-1 in his last four fights and again was in his first scheduled ten round fight.
Toledo, Ohio: Bantam: Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1) W PTS 12 Rau’shee Warren (14-1,1ND) . Light: Robert Easter (19-0) W PTS 12 Luis Cruz (22-5-1). Light: Jamal Herring (15-1) W Art Hovhannisyan (17-3-3). Middle: Terrell Gausha (20-0) W PTS 10 Luis Hernandez (15-4). Super Feather: Raynell Williams (11-0) W Justin Savi (29-9-2).
Zhakiyanov vs. Warren
Zhakiyanov makes Warren an ex-champion as he overcomes horror start to beat down the champion and collect the WBA and IBO titles. It is difficult to think of a worse start than Zhakiyanov made in this fight. After trying to walk down the retreating Warren he was caught with a punch that momentarily stunned him. Warren cut looses driving Zhakiyanov back to the ropes and landing a series of head punches and then a short southpaw left hook that saw Zhakiyanov drop to the canvas. He was up quickly and impatiently waited for the end of the eight count. He then strode across the ring only to be dropped for a second time. By now Warren’s fans were already celebrating but Zhakiyanov was up and again took the fight to Warren who found himself on the back foot until the bell. A 10-7 round for sure. Zhakiyanov was hunting Warren down in the second but Warren probably scored with enough counters to edge the round. The third and fourth were Zhakiyanov’s rounds . He pressured Warren trapping him on the ropes roughing him up inside and scoring consistently with right hooks and forcing Warren to fight the fight Zhakiyanov wanted. After four rounds Warren was in front on two cards at 39-35 and38-36 and the other card read 37-37. Zhakiyanov continued to dominate the action in the fifth. He was relentless denying Warren any room and scoring with short hooks from both hands with Warren being hustled out of his stride. That first round was already looking like another country. Warren came back into the fight in the sixth and seventh as he moved more, threw more punches and smothered much of Zhakiyanov’s work and despite a strong finish to the seventh from Zhakiyanov Warren probably edged both rounds. Warren had a couple of good spells in the eighth but it was Zhakiyanov’ round as he hustled, bustled and scored with hooks inside with Warren looking to be tiring. After eight rounds the scoring was 77-74 for Warren, 76-74 for Zhakiyanov and 75-75. So all to play for. Warren made a good start to each of the ninth and tenth rounds but then it was all Zhakiyanov as he stormed into Warren scoring with clubbing shots with Warren just not able to match the amazing work rate of the little Kazak fighter or his strength. Zhakiyanov effectively ended the fight by stamping all over Warren in the eleventh. The champion had no snap in his punches and could not find any punching room as Zhakiyanov powered relentlessly forward. It was the same in the last. Warren started well as they stood toe-to-toe and swapped punches but then the Kazak storm blew away Warren’s confidence and Zhakiyanov pounded away to the bell. Great comeback victory for the 33-year-old Kazak who showed real grit and tremendous stamina. His style is not pretty but it is very effective. Despite being a former undefeated European champion and having scored impressive wins over Kamil Guerfi and Yonfrez Perez Zhakiyanov was relatively unknown but not now. He repaid the faith of his manager Philippe Fondu and trainer Ricky Hatton and is now looking for a unification match with IBF champion Lee Haskins. For 29-year-old Warren who loses his titles in his first defence it is back to the beginning. He has tremendous skills but just could not handle the remorseless pressure Zhakiyanov brought to the ring. He wants a return match but will have to find an answer to the pressure exerted by Zhakiyanov.
Easter vs. Cruz
Easter keeps his IBF title as he outclasses a gutsy Cruz who is down in each of the last three rounds but stays the distance. Easter was able to use his huger height and reach advantages to work on the outside over the first two rounds with Cruz just lunging with his attacks. Easter also took the third and fourth working behind his jab but Cruz was more aggressive. He was walking Easter down but had no answer to the stabbing jab from Easter and there was already a bump showing beneath his right eye. After four rounds Easter was well in front on scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37. Cruz had a better fifth. He was still eating the jab but got inside and scored with some good hooks. Easter launched a furious attack at the start of the sixth and seventh taking Cruz to the ropes and bombarding him with hooks and uppercuts and overhand rights. He then went off the boil allowing Cruz some success but scored with stinging rights to the head later in the each round. Easter took a round off in the eighth just boxing on the back foot pushing out the jab but the pedestrian-paced Cruz just could not close the distance to do any scoring. After eight rounds Easter was still way ahead on scores of 79-73 on two cards and 78-74 on the third. Cruz had his best round of the fight in the ninth as Easter’s work rate dropped and the challenger was able to score with hooks and uppercuts and the occasional clubbing right. That was as good as it got for Cruz. Fifteen seconds in to the tenth a straight right from Easter shook him badly and he took a couple of steps back and went down. Easter drove Cruz around the ring trying to finish the job but he was wild with many of his punches and Cruz showed plenty of guts and was still there at the bell. Easter hardly threw a punch in the eleventh and Cruz was actually outscoring him but with ten seconds to go another long right thundered onto Cruz’s chin. He slumped into the ropes which propelled him forward and he stumbled past Easter with Easter turning to follow and landing a left with Cruz already on his way to the floor. He was up at eight and the bell went. Cruz was just trying to survive in the twelfth. He stood up to a lot of punishment until he was nailed with another right and fell forward to the canvas. Easter went to a corner and climbed up the ropes to celebrate his victory. It was a bit premature as Cruz was up at eight and able to continue and stayed out of trouble to the bell. Scores 119-106, 118-107 and 117-108 all for Easter. Fighting in his home town and making the first defence of the title he won with a debateable split decision over Richard Commey the 26-year-old Easter was a prohibitive favourite and really Cruz was no threat at any time in the fight. His mandatory challenger is Denis Shafikov who is just 5′ 5″ tall and might have to take his stool with him when he leaves his corner or he will be uppercuting Easter in the testicles. Puerto Rican Cruz showed guts but not much else. He suddenly crept into the IBF ratings posted 1 November at No 15 despite not having fought since April. No change there then.
Herring vs. Hovhannisyan
Former US Marine Herring returns with a win as Hovhannisyan retires at the end of the third round. First fight for Olympian Herring, 31, since losing to Denis Shafikov on a tenth round stoppage last July. Armenian Hovhannisyan was 15-0-2 in his first 17 fights but some challenging assignments have seen him fall to 2-4-1 in his last 7fights
Gausha vs. Hernandez
Olympian Gausha remains undefeated as he climbs off the canvas to get wide unanimous decision over Hernandez. Although a clear winner it was not an easy night for Gausha. He managed to outbox the aggressive Puerto Rican but Hernandez never stopped rolling forward. It looked as though an upset was on the cards when Gausha was floored heavily in the third. It was a shaky moment but Gausha fought his way through it. Hernandez continued to assert pressure and landed some big punches but Gausha was in control again and used a superior skills set to pocket the rounds. His cause was helped when Hernandez lost a point in the seventh for one low punch too many and Gausha ground out a solid win over a very competitive opponent. Scores 98-90 twice and 97-91 all for Gausha. The 29-yerar-old Gausha has been stepping up gradually. He is a former two-time USA champion and is looking to become the second most famous sportsman to come from Glenville after the great Jesses Owens. “La Roca” Hernandez, 30, gave Gausha a torrid time . he seems to be the opponent of choice for unbeaten prospect having lost in the past to Eddie Gomez, Rashidi Ellis and Esquiva Falcao
Williams vs. Savi
Williams floors and halts Savi in two rounds. In his first fight for a year the former top amateur from Cleveland gets his sixth win by KO/TKO over a fading Savi. It seems that if you can get past the second round against Williams you can go the distance as three of his wins by KO/TKO have come in the first round and three in the second. The former US …
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