Friday Boxing Recap: Zhakiyanov Dethrones Rau’shee Warren and More

ZHAKIYANOV UPSETS WARREN — Zhanat Zhakiyanov, a well-traveled Kazakh making his U.S. debut, went into hostile territory and emerged with a piece of the world bantamweight title on Friday night at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. In a see-saw battle that begs for a rematch, Zhakiyanov overcame two knockdowns in the opening round to score a 12-round split decision over defending IBF champion Rau’shee Warren.

Trained by former two-division world champion Ricky Hatton, Zhakiyanov (27-1) had fought in various parts of Europe plus Thailand, China, and Australia, but was completely unknown in the United States. In Cincinnati’s Warren, now 14-2 as a pro, he was meeting one of America’s most decorated amateur athletes.

Zhakiyanov followed his trainer’s game plan to the letter. “He was never going to outbox (Warren),” said Hatton after the fight, “he had to get in his chest, he had to mug him and make it a brawl.”

Warren wasn’t happy with the decision. His lone previous setback, to Juan Carlos Payano, was also a split decision and Warren avenged that defeat in their rematch.

Warren-Zhakiyanov was officially the semi-main. Local product Robert Easter Jr. defended his IBF lightweight title against Puerto Rico’s Luis Cruz in the featured attraction. Easter, who was two inches taller and had a 4-inch reach advantage, took control of the fight in the sixth round and won going away while improving his ledger to 19-0. On the canvas in each of the last three rounds, Cruz (22-5-1) showed tremendous grit in making it to the final bell.

Born and bred in Toledo, Easter received a long and loud ovation from the 8,000-plus in attendance as he walked into the ring and then he rewarded the home folks with a satisfying win in his first title defense.

In the third TV fight, Cleveland’s Terrell Gausha improved to 20-0 with a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Luis Hernandez in a 10-round middleweight contest. Also, Cincinnati’s Jamel Herring stopped Art Hovhanisyan after three rounds and Cleveland’s Raynell Williams scored a second round knockout over Justin Savi.

Other than Rau’shee Warren, it was a clean sweep for the Buckeye State contingent.

BUFFALO RUN

At the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, fast-rising junior welterweight Ivan Baranchyk, a Brooklyn-based Ukrainian, advanced to 14-0 with a 10-round unanimous decision over Abel Ramos of Phoenix. The scores (99-91, 97-92, 97-93) didn’t do justice to Ramos (17-2-2) who went toe-to-toe with his highly touted rival in a scintillating slugfest that featured three knockdowns, two by Baranchyk. Both fighters were on the canvas in the third frame.

In the 8-round co-feature, Joseph “Mack” Williams, a light heavyweight from Far Rockaway, New York, out-worked former Dominican Olympian Lenin Castillo to earn a majority decision. Williams improved to 11-0.

In another bout of note, heavyweight James McKenzie Morrison (10-0-2, 9 KOs) dismissed disinterested Dieuly Aristilde (9-9) in the opening round. It was the eighth loss inside the distance for the 40-year-old Aristilde who bused in from Boynton Beach, Florida.

James McKenzie Morrison doesn’t have as big an upside as his half-brother Trey Lippe Morrison but will likely rake in a few good paydays before his career is finished.

Photo credit: Leo Wilson / PBC

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

 

COMMENTS

Radam G :

Wow! I have been saying it forever. Warren is more a show off sight than a pug that can fight. A novice can get in his face and beat him. Dude is a poser and pompous picture taker. OMFG! He picture takes the whole fight. HE just will not dig and use that God-given talent that he has been blessed with. And I ain't hating. I'm just stating. Holla!


oubobcat :

Baranchyk-Ramos was an absolute war. Baranchyk showed me a lot in this fight too. He was losing and the momentum seemed to be turning from him in the first five rounds. But he never took his foot off the gas and won the fight in the second half of the bout with rugged determination. He was also in tremendous shape and his power held throughout the course of the bout. He has some defensive issues and other flaws (squaring up on the inside) but if he can work to improve on these things in the gym may have a real chance to be something in this sport. I have never been sold on Warren. I know he scored two knockdowns in this fight but his lack of power has proven to be a major flaw when stepping up. He is not as slick against better fighters and the pressure seems to get to him. There were early comparisons to Paulie Malignaggi but Malignaggi was much quicker in my opinion both with hand speed and foot speed. Warren is a notch below and though he can beat a certain level of fighter on a consistent basis will always see him struggle against fighters who are more of the elite level in the sport. Finally, how about Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter? Garcia says he wants the best and Easter is right up there at 135. No need to wait or marinate, make it in the spring if PBC is serious about making these type of bouts.


Radam G :

Baranchyk-Ramos was an absolute war. Baranchyk showed me a lot in this fight too. He was losing and the momentum seemed to be turning from him in the first five rounds. But he never took his foot off the gas and won the fight in the second half of the bout with rugged determination. He was also in tremendous shape and his power held throughout the course of the bout. He has some defensive issues and other flaws (squaring up on the inside) but if he can work to improve on these things in the gym may have a real chance to be something in this sport. I have never been sold on Warren. I know he scored two knockdowns in this fight but his lack of power has proven to be a major flaw when stepping up. He is not as slick against better fighters and the pressure seems to get to him. There were early comparisons to Paulie Malignaggi but Malignaggi was much quicker in my opinion both with hand speed and foot speed. Warren is a notch below and though he can beat a certain level of fighter on a consistent basis will always see him struggle against fighters who are more of the elite level in the sport. Finally, how about Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter? Garcia says he wants the best and Easter is right up there at 135. No need to wait or marinate, make it in the spring if PBC is serious about making these type of bouts.
TIMBER!!! Mikey G will put the string-bean Easter to sleep in a round or two. Easter is raw with a million-and-one bad habits. The big one is that he punches while on his heels with his big head up in the sky and his chin straight up. Holla!