Sunday Report Card, April 8 : The Ultimate Weekend Wrap-Up

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

The big show was in Las Vegas on Saturday, but let’s kick this off with a look at Friday’s action.

Ponce, Puerto Rico, Friday April 6

Lenin Castillo TKO 10 Aaron Mitchell, light heavyweights

Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KO), a former Olympian for the Dominican Republic, stopped Mitchell (27-3-1, 21 KO) in the last round of the bout to grab the vacant NABO title in the 175-pound division and earn a top ten ranking position in the WBO charts.

Photo credit: Fernando Gaztambide

Quilmes, Argentina, Friday April 6

Javier Maciel TKO 6 Martin Rios, middleweights   

In what was the debut of former champ and local hero Marcos Maidana as a promoter and leader of his new “Chino Promotions” outfit, former title contender Javier Maciel (32-6-0, 23 KO) stopped the always durable Martin Rios (22-16-4, 12 KO) in a fight in which there were plenty of holding, elbows, and other actions that required the constant intrusive action of referee Gustavo Tomas, but which was never a dull fight. Rios took the first two rounds with his better reach and aggressive instinct, but Maciel grew after that and ended up demolishing Rios with a hook to the liver in the sixth round. Rios beat the count but spat his mouthguard and refused to continue fighting, wincing in pain.

Other results:

Bobirzhan Mominov TKO 2 Jose Balcedo, super welterweights

Shokhrukh Abdiev UD 6 Luis Ojeda, welterweights

Cristian Choque Chambi UD 4 Mukhammad Amin Kuldashov, flyweights

Fernando Martinez MD 6 Nicolas Botelli, bantamweights

Los Angeles, CA, Friday, April 6

Hector Tanajara UD 8 Hector Ambriz, super featherweights  

In a card in which there were only three (yes, three…) bouts altogether due to an unusual number of cancellations due to people missing weight and other contractual problems, Tanajara (13-0, 5 KOs) won by a wide margin against Ambriz (12-5-1, 6 KOs) at the Belasco Theater in another Golden Boy Promotions card at the cozy Californian venue. The tall native of San Antonio is one of the company’s latest acquisitions, and he did not disappoint in his televised debut as a headliner by connecting his decent hook at will against an equally tall and lanky opponent. Tajanara took all scorecards by identical margins of 80-72 across the board.

Marlen Esparza KO 3 Laetizia Campana, female flyweights

It took more time than expected, but finally Esparza (5-0, 1 KO), an Olympic trailblazer and young star of the Golden Boy Promotions roster, got her first stoppage win as a professional after knocking out Campana (2-5) in three rounds in a dominating performance, tailor-made to showcase her skills and her superb combinations. The Philly native took a massive beating in the second round and as soon as Esparza stormed out of the gates in the third it was clear that the fight was over. The referee agreed and stopped the carnage at the 11-second mark.

Avellaneda, Argentina, Friday April 6

Yesica Bopp KO 6 Soledad Del Valle Frías, WBA female junior flyweight title

Just another night at the office for an already legendary pioneer of Argentine female boxing. “Tuti” Bopp (34-1-0, 15 KO) owns a superlative talent and rarely looks bad in the ring. The opposite is the usual, and the extraordinary has become the norm. And that’s how she looked against  “Playboy” Frías (13-11-4, 4 KO), a brave but limited foe who received a merciless beating until the referee finally halted the carnage and gave Bopp another title defense to add to her already historic run.

The winner goes on to: Marlen Esparza may still be green in the pro ranks, but she already has an eye set on Bopp and the feeling is mutual. An eventual crossroads bout looms for both of them, but I’d say that at least one year separates us from that excellent fight between two of the best female fighters in the lower divisions.

Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday April 7

Jarrett Hurd SD 12 Erislandy Lara, unifies IBF and WBA junior middleweight titles  

A war he wanted, and a war he delivered. The talented, unbeaten “Swift” Hurd (22-0-0, 15 KOs) had to work hard to defeat Cuba’s Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), who traded furious and generous amounts of leather with his opponent from the very beginning of the fight, keeping a constant pressure throughout the exciting and close bout. Two judges saw Hurd winning the bout while the third one saw it for the Caribbean fighter, all of them by razor-thin margins of 114-113 in a fight in which Hurd scored a very late, dramatic knockdown that obviously defined the bout and tilted the result in his favor. The fight was indeed decided in that fateful last episode, when Lara was hurt, cut, and took a count after being sent to the canvas. Lara had set the pace earlier on, but Hurd established his jab in the third and stayed in control through the seventh. But after that it became a constant back-and-forth that made it difficult for the judges to pick a clear winner for every round. By neglecting his defensive style in an attempt to win over the crowd, Lara limited himself, especially in his footwork and counterpunching, and this was seized by a hungry and determined opponent. – J.J. Álvarez

The winner goes on to:  In 2018, Hurd may unify titles with Jermell Charlo, who has expressed an interest in taking on the winner of Lara-Hurd. The 27-year old Charlo (30-0-0, 15 KOs) owns the WBC belt in the 154-pound division, but Hurd is now facing a mandatory defense against undercard winner Julian Williams, who earned his chance by beating Jamaica’s Nathaniel Gallimore.

The loser goes on to: At the age of 34 and without a world title to his credit, Lara may have to settle for an eventual rematch against Hurd, who expressed an interest given the close result. Lara had difficulties finding opponents as a champion, and he will have even more trouble now that he does not own a belt.

James DeGale UD 12 Caleb Truax, rematch, IBF super middleweight title

If there were any doubts about the victory of “Golden” Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) in their first bout, in which he unexpectedly got the majority nod, now there were no doubts about the victory of his foe. DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) did not leave anything to chance this time, and regained his crown by scores of 117-110 and 114-113 twice. It was a difficult fight in which De Gale started strongly but suffered a dangerous cut on the right eye in the third round. Surprisingly, referee Robert Byrd considered that the cut was caused by a legitimate blow, when it was clear that it was the product of a headbutt. DeGale slowed down his output after the injury, but still managed to earn a solid victory that gave him his title back in an exciting bout that clamors for a rubber match. – J.J. Álvarez

Julian Williams MD 12 Nathaniel Gallimore, IBF super welterweight eliminator

A competitive bout, filled with solid and constant exchanges. “J Rock” Williams (25-1-1, 15 KOs) defeated Jamaica’s “No Problem” Gallimore (20-2-1, 17 KOs) in a solid performance that did not deserve to be called a draw by judge Patricia Morse and her ridiculous 114-114 card. The other two officials, Eric Cheek (116-112) and Max DeLuca (117-110) leaned towards Williams, who became the clear winner and almost managed to stop Gallimore in the eleventh round after landing a barrage of punches and had his foe at the very edge of defeat. – J.J. Álvarez

Other results:

Sergio Mora SD 8 Alfredo Angulo, middleweights

Emanuel Medina UD 8 Saul Corral, welterweights

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