The Sweet Science’s Diego Morilla compiles a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene with short recaps, links to videos and other articles, and all the info you need to keep up with the week’s most important results. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away. Follow us every Sunday on Twitter at #SRCatTSS @TheSweetScience @MorillaBoxing
New York, Saturday November 25
Sergey Kovalev KO 2 Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy, vacant WBO light heavyweight title
A stoppage was expected, and we got an utter and complete demolition. Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) was finally reunited with his former WBO world title belt after crushing Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs) in devastating fashion. There were doubts surrounding Kovalev’s changes in his training team and his two defeats at the hands of Andre Ward, but he dismissed all of those doubts and then some with a dominating performance over a tough contender. Two knockdowns in the first round set up a third one in the following episode, and a few seconds later the carnage was halted by referee Harvey Dock right when Kovalev was getting ready to send Shabranskyy out for good.
The winner goes on to: Shabranskyy’s other conqueror was Sullivan Barrera, who fought on the undercard to promote a fight with the winner. Expect just that to happen, sometime in 2018.
Sullivan Barrera UD 10 Felix Valera, light heavyweights
Not exactly the fireworks that we expected here. Cuba’s Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) was expected to produce a dominant performance and perhaps a stoppage against Valera (15-2, 13 KOs), but there were concerns about his stamina right off the bat when both fighters visited the canvas in the opening round. The fight started to veer sideways very soon, with Barrera getting cut in the second round and Valera scoring repeatedly below the belt to end up losing a whooping three points for low blows through the bout. Barrera returned the niceties towards the end, losing a point himself before winning by scores of 97-89, 98-88 and 97-90.
The winner goes on to: The idea was to have Barrera win decisively and look good in the process in order to start pimping a fight against main event winner Sergey Kovalev, but it will be hard to get excited about that bout after such a lackluster performance. We’ll get the fight anyway, and hopefully it will be everything that this fight wasn’t.
Yuriorkis Gamboa MD 10 Jason Sosa, junior lightweights
Mild upset here in a career-saving win for Gamboa (28-2, 17 KOs), who was called up for this fight at the last minute in what appeared to be his first fight as a potential stepping stone after being a former unified featherweight champion. Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KOs) was attempting to come back after losing his WBA super featherweight title to Vasyl Lomachenko, and scored a knockdown in the seventh round when Gamboa appeared to go down and touched the canvas with his glove, but that was as close as he was to changing the course of the fight, in which Gamboa put rounds in the bank earlier on and rallied towards the end to snatch a majority decision win by scores of 95-93, 96-92 and 94-94. Not a bad performance for a guy who was so close to becoming a trial horse.
The winner goes on to: This was not exactly a performance that has us all salivating for a bigger and better matchup, but there are plenty of interesting pairings to be made in the 130-ish division so expect a serious fight for Gamboa in the near future, this time as the “A” side and with plenty of time to get ready.
Oberhausen, Germany, Saturday November 25
Manuel Charr UD 12 Alexander Ustinov, heavyweights
Real fight, bogus title. Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) won this interesting matchup in front of a very large audience against the then-once-beaten and clear favorite Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs), pounding out a twelve round unanimous decision in a lively scrap. After a spirited first round, Charr was slowed down by a cut in the second episode and started fighting with a greater sense of urgency that paid dividends in the seventh, when he shook Ustinov with a left hook and had the towering Russian in all kinds of trouble. His progressive punishment reached its best point in the eighth, when Charr sent Ustinov to the canvas to solidify his claim to victory, and with it the spurious vacant WBA “regular” heavyweight title. Charr ended up picking up a victory by scores of 115-111 (twice) and 116-111.
The winner goes on to: The WBA has already ordered that Charr must start negotiations to defend his title against Fres Oquendo in what could be yet another layer of insult on top of an already insulting situation.
Uncasville, Conn., Saturday November 25
Constantin Bejenaru UD 10 Thabiso Mchunu, cruiserweights
Bejenaru (13-0, 3 KOs) remains on track to become his home country of Moldova’s first-ever world champion with this thorough beating of the always dangerous Mchunu (18-4, 11 KOs), scoring a unanimous decision in an entertaining battle between hard-punching southpaws. Mchunu, a native of South Africa, never had a chance to mount any offensive at all and even went down briefly in the seventh round to give Bejenaru a win by scores of 98-91 and 97-92 (twice).
The winner goes on to: Mchunu was brought in because of his very credible challenge of the super tough current WBO cruiserweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk, and there are now enough arguments to make this Moldova vs. Ukraine matchup for all the Eastern European marbles. Should be a good one.
Danny O’Connor TKO 3 Danny Gonzalez, junior welterweights
Mild upset here, as the previously unbeaten Gonzalez (14-1, 5 KOs), a native or Puerto Rico, is stopped in only three rounds against O’Connor (29-3, 11 KOs), a fighter with a superb amateur run who came back after a few setbacks looking for a chance to revive his career, and did just that.
Thailand, Friday November 24
Wanheng Menayothin UD 12 Tatsuya Fukuhara, WBC strawweight title
It isn’t getting any easier for Menayothin to reach Floyd Mayweather’s suddenly relevant 50-0 unbeaten record. The always dominant Thai made it to 49-0 (17 KOs) but not without a true fight in his hand, after Japan’s Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7 KOs), a worthy but not thoroughly qualified challenger on paper, gave a great account of himself in his failed quest to become his country’s first fighter to lift a boxing title in Thailand. Scorecards were 116-112, 118-110 and 117-113 for the champ, one of boxing’s most stable and longest-reigning champs who may need a crossover fight against an MMA fighter just to match Mayweather’s dubious feat.