Weekend Boxing Recaps: Razor-thin Decisions and two Frightful Knockouts

The second weekend of March was chock full of good boxing matches. As usual, Mexicans were well represented among the winners and losers. On Friday, big wins were scored by a Japanese Mexican and by a Mexican from Northern Ireland.

In Tokyo, former WBO world bantamweight champion Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda (33-2) had a relatively easy time in a 10-round match with Thai Veteran Pipat Chaiporn (42-10-1), winning every round on two of the scorecards. A native of Osaka, Kameda relocated to Mexico at age 15 to hasten his development as a prizefighter and has had most of his fights in that country. This was his second outing since suffering his lone defeats in back-to-back engagements with reigning WBA world bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell. Both of those bouts were staged at venues in southern Texas.

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In Belfast, super flyweight Jamie Conlan (pictured in red with his brother Michael) was pushed to the limit by Nicaraguan invader Yader Cardoza in a 12-round contest for a minor WBC bauble. Cardoza knocked Conlan down in the eighth round, hurting him with a short uppercut, but Conlan recovered and gutted out the victory which came via split decision.

Nicknamed “The Mexican,” Conlan has been pictured in publicity photos wearing a sombrero. He has trained extensively in southern California, most recently at Manny Robles’ Rock Gym in Carson where his mates included Oscar Valdez, Jason Quigley, and his younger brother who makes his pro debut this week at Madison Square Garden.

Conlan, who improved to 19-0, seems headed toward a title eliminator with Hong Kong “Wonder Kid” Rex Tso who is promoted by Top Rank. Cardoza declined to 22-11-1 but improved his stock in defeat.

OTHER FRIDAY RESULTS

ShoBox: The New Generation was at the MGM Grand in Detroit on Friday where two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields met Hungary’s Szilvia Szabados in the featured attraction. The bout was historic in that it marked the first time that a female fight was accorded top billing on a premium television network. Fighting near her hometown of Flint, Shields won her second pro fight on a fourth round stoppage. Szabados (15-9) was game, but she ate a lot of leather before referee Harvey Dock decided that he had seen enough.

Undefeated bantamweights Nikolai Patapov (17-0-1) and Antonio Nieves (17-0-2 going in) squared off in the co-feature. Cleveland’s Nieves was the busier fighter but Patapov, a Brooklyn-based Russian, landed the cleaner punches and eked out a split decision. The show was promoted by former world title challenger Dmitriy Salita who vacated Brooklyn when his insurance premiums became too burdensome and found a new home in the Motor City. The TV portion of the show will be re-broadcast on Tuesday, March 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

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At a Top Rank show in Lemoore, CA, lightweight Andy Vences kept his unbeaten record intact with a unanimous 10-round decision over Angel Hernandez. Vences (18-0) hails from the central California farming community of Watsonville. Bob Arum thinks he can be developed into a big regional attraction. Hernandez (13-8-1), from McAllen, TX, has never been stopped and is better than his record. He extended current IBF world lightweight champion Robert Easter the distance in a 10-round fight at Chicago in 2014.

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In a shocker at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Romero Duno, a 21-year-old Filipino, made a big splash in his U.S. debut, blowing away house fighter Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez in less than two full rounds. Gonzalez, who came in undefeated (16-0), staggered to his corner and collapsed after the fight was waved off and was removed to a hospital as a precaution. The good news is that he appears to be okay. “I will take a couple weeks off and I will come back stronger,” he tweeted via Instagram. Duno improved to 13-1 (12).

SATURDAY

In Ludwigshafen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, in a battle of 2008 Olympians, Demetrius Andrade carved out a split decision over Jack Culcay. At stake was Culcay’s WBA world 154-pound title. Andrade had a five-and-a-half inch height advantage and was the busier fighter, but the underrated Culcay proved to be a tough nut to crack. He hurt Andrade in the final round but was unable to apply the finisher.

Andrade (24-0) and Culcay (22-2) were meeting for the second time after an impasse of almost 10 years. They first locked horns in the quarterfinals of the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Chicago. Andrade, who twice defeated Keith Thurman during his distinguished amateur career, got the better of Culcay that day. He went on to win the WBO version of the world 154-pound title which was stripped from him for inactivity.

Andrade, from Providence, Rhode Island, was making his first start overseas. Culcay was born in Ecuador but has resided in Germany since the age of five.

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The aforementioned Rex Tso is now 21-0 (13) after scoring an eighth round stoppage over Japan’s Hirofumi Mukai at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Tso scored knockdowns in rounds 2, 5, and 8, the last two resulting from body punches. The match did not begin until shortly after midnight local time, but yet drew a sold-out crowd of 8,000.

In an undercard bout of note, bantamweight Rey Megrino, a Hong Kong-based Filipino, knocked Japan’s Yuki Strong Kobayashi unconscious in a match that lasted only 23 seconds. The 30-year-old Megrino (24-20-4) has won only half of his 48 pro bouts but is 9-0-1 in his last 10 with eight of those wins coming inside the distance.

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At the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, Montreal slugger David Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs) punched his way back into the middleweight title picture with a frightful third round knockout of Curtis Stevens (29-6). Lemieux got off first in an exchange of left hooks, knocking Stevens cold. He left the building on a gurney for a CAT scan at the Oneida Medical Center. The good news was that Stevens was alert when he was driven away. For more on this event, check out Matt Andrzejewski’s ringside report.

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At the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, an outdoor facility, featherweight Rico Ramos (27-5), a former WBA world 122-pound champion, cruised to a lopsided 10-round decision over Erik Ruiz (16-6-1). The bout, which aired on the CBS Sports Network, was part of the “Knockout Night at the D” series promoted by Roy Jones Jr.

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At the Cypress Bayou Casino, off the beaten path in Charenton, Louisiana, popular Cajun Country lightweight Mason Menard (33-2) scored an 8-round unanimous decision over Venezuela’s Carlos Cardenas (22-13-1). Menard knocked Cardenas down in the opening round but hurt his shoulder and was unable to hurt him thereafter. The bout was designed as a confidence builder for Menard following his unexpectedly poor showing in Omaha against veteran Raymundo Beltran.

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In Mexico City, talented 22-year-old Tijuana southpaw Luis Nery and former unified 112-pound world champion Juan Francisco Estrada had little difficulty dispatching their Columbian opponents. Nery (23-0) overwhelmed Jesus Martinez whose corner stopped the contest after four frames. The bout was sanctioned by the WBC as a bantamweight title eliminator with the winner earning the right to meet their long-reigning champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Martinez entered the match on a 14-fight winning streak but was out of his league.

Estrada (35-2) knocked out Anuar Salas in the fifth round, collapsing his opponent with a series of body shots. It was the eighth straight win for Hermosillo’s Estrada who gave pound-for-pound king Chocolatito Gonzalez a hard tussle in a losing effort in 2012. The bouts were aired in the United States on the Spanish language BeIN network.

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