Theres a lot of boxing on this week so be prepared for a long read, I also might miss out a few boxing matches due to the sheer volume of cards this week.
The first card is happening Thursday night in California where Oscar Negrete fights Alberto Ezequiel Melian over 10 rounds for the vacant WBA International Bantam weight title. This is a good fight and credit needs to be given to both guys for taking it off the back of hard fights. Negrete recently had a hard fought trilogy with Joshua Franco where he went 0-1-2 though all three fights could have gone either way. Melian meanwhile has had one comeback fight after losing in an upset to Leonardo Baez. While Melian is a 2016 Olympian I actually think Negrete will take this due to his pro experience combined with Melian not adapting that well to the pros so far.
On the under card Ricardo Sandoval fights Raymond Tabugon in a test to see whether he can mix it at a higher level. Tabugon has fought lots of top names but lost to all of them so at this point he’s used as a measuring stick to compare prospects with the guys at the top. I think Sandoval wins by TKO here.
The fight i’m most excited about on the under card is Leonardo Baez vs Moises Flores. Baez is being backed by Golden Boy promotions after he beat Melian and they are getting him some good names and tests now. Flores is a former interim champ and has only lost to very good names so if Baez can beat him it will be a good statement. I’m also rooting for him because he really has come out of no where to potentially getting a title shot if he puts a few more wins together. The rest of the under card is mostly prospects against people they should beat and looking through theres none i’m keeping my eye on.
The next interesting card comes out of Germany headlined by Firat Arslan vs Kevin Lerena for Lerena’s IBO world title. This isn’t actually a world title fight as very few people recognise the IBO as a world title but it is still a good fight. Lerena is on a good run of form and if he wins this fight I’d hope he tries to fight for one of the other belts as he’s running out of decent opponents that will fight for the IBO belt. Lerena is one of the better champions the IBO has and I think he could win an actual world title if he went for it. Arslan is 49 years old and has been competing for over two decades. He’s a former WBA champ but that was in 2007 and hes very obviously washed up at this point. I think Lerena wins by TKO here but i’m impressed by Arslan’s will to compete at such an old age for boxing. The other notable fight on this card is the debut of Viktor Vykhryst who is a decorated amateur, he will be competing at heavyweight.
Moving over to Costa Rica Yokasta Valle will defend her IBF minimum world title vs Carleans Rivas. This is Valle’s first defense and one I think she’ll win in style in front of her home fans. She won her IBF title on the road in Spain and now herself gets to defend in home territory. If Valle can win this fight then I think over the next few years she’ll likely end up becoming the number one in the division and hopefully unifying all the titles.
A quick mention goes to Saul Farah a heavyweight whos competing in his 100th contest on Saturday. I think its likely hes fought more than 100 times but they haven’t been recorded on boxrec however it’s nice to see the veteran officially get to 100 bouts.
In Panama Luis Concepcion fights for an interim WBA title vs Rober Barrera. I don’t have much to say about this fight apart from the WBA are a massive joke at this point. They have so many champions in each division it weakens the meaning of the belt. I’m not sure who wins this and beyond the stupid belt its for its actually a good match up.
Daniel Matellon also fights for a interim WBA title but this time its in the Light Fly division. He fights Erik Omar Lopez Garcia a good fighter from Mexico who’s 14-4-1 record hides how good he is. I think Garcia will win this title on the road because hes a bit more tested against better competition.
Laura Ledezma fights Mayerlin Rivas for the vacant WBA Super Bantamweight title. Rivas is looking to become a two weight champion here but may find her inactivity leads to her losing out. I think Rivas will deserve to win even with the lay off but may struggle to get the decision in Panama when her opponent is a local.
On another card from Panama Wilfredo Mendez defends his WBO World minimum weight title vs Gabriel Mendoza. This is Mendez’s second defense after he barely scraped by in his first defense by split decision after a cut opened up. Mendoza has challenged for a title before but sholudn’t cause too many problems as he’s now 40 and has also been quite inactive recently. Whoever wins this fight should go to unify the division as it seems like we almost never see it unified.
A card out of Ukraine which we don’t usually see is next. Artem Dalakian defends his WBA World fly weight title vs Josber Perez. Dalakian has been a champion for almost two years now but hasn’t defended his belt vs any good opposition or unified. Perez should not be fighting for a world title considering he just lost and his comeback fight was vs a 0-1 fighter. What makes it even more insane is that the person who beat him (Rober Barrera) is fighting for an interim title on the same day as he gets too fight for the real thing. I’m really hoping after this Dalakian starts taking on better opposition as his title reign so far hasn’t been great to say the least.
One of the biggest cards of the weekend sees the return of Kell Brook after more than a year out of the ring. He returns to face Mark DeLuca in what should be a relatively straight forward tune up fight for him before he takes on the big players at 154. This fight could get interesting however as Kell Brook hasn’t fought for a year and is clearly on the slide it just depends on how much he has left on whether he wins or not. I think even if hes firing at 70 to 80 percent he should beat Deluca whos struggled domestically in the US before. My prediction is a Brook stoppage in the 9th round.
This card also sees the return of Kid Galahad after his somewhat controversial loss to Josh Warrington last year. He faces Claudio Marrero in an IBF eliminator to face Warrington again. Both of these fighters like to spoil in fights so this could be a horrible fight to watch, I also thought the Galahad vs Warrington fight was a terrible fight due to Galahads holding and I really don’t want too see it again. I hope Marrero wins so we at least get a new fight instead of having to watch that horrible fight again. Terri Harper also gets her chance to become a world champion when she faces Eva Wahlstrom in a WBC and IBO unification. I rate Harper quite highly and I think she’ll win this fight as Wahlstrom is 39 and I also thought she was lucky to get a draw in her last title fight.
My upset pick of the week is Jesus Amparan to beat Martin Joseph Ward by TKO. Amparan can really punch and Ward has been ko’d before so its certainly possible. Ward also hasn’t fought anyone coming to win in over a year and may not be entirely switched on to fight someone coming to win in what is a bit of a random 10 rounder. It doesn’t seem like Ward can land himself a big fight which is a shame as hes a decent fighter. After he lost to Tennyson in 2018 it really has derailed his career after such a promising start and unfortunately I think due to poor management hes going to lose again here which may be the final nail in the coffin.
The last and biggest card of the week comes from the USA headlined by Gary Russell Jr defending his WBC Feather weight title vs Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Russell is a real talent in the sport but has been very inactive fighting just once a year since 2015 when he won his title. It’s sad to see a talent waste so many years of his career but hopefully hes motivated to fight more now that hes financially secure after his other defenses. Nyambayar is a technically sound boxer from Mongolia who can really punch. The disadvantages he has is that Russell is much faster than him but apart from that he is on a near level playing field. I think Russell may be a bit rusty due to his inactivity between fights and it’ll catch up to him in this one vs a good opponent. Nyambayar has been inactive himself but is younger and has been less active in his career overall. I predict Nyambayar to KO Russell in round 9-12 to usher in a new WBC feather weight champ after 5 years of stagnation.
The final bout thats interesting this week is Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Liborio Solis for one of the WBA’s many bantamweight titles. Rigondeaux is a great fighter but is coming towards the end of his career now and at 39 he doesn’t have the legs to outbox people from the outside anymore. I think he’ll lose within the next year but it won’t be to Solis who isn’t exactly a spring chicken himself at 37. My prediction is that Rigondeaux gets a late stoppage after having a phone booth type of war for 8 or 9 rounds.
I hope you enjoy the boxing this weekend and that all the boxers get home safely from their bouts. I think my most anticipated fight of the weekend is Russell vs Nyambayar otherwise known as king Tug. As always I’ll be back next Thursday for another preview of the weeks boxing and whats worth watching.