Pavel Silyagin will face the tough test man Nizar Trimech later today in Russia in what should be a stay busy fight for him. Silyagin is one of the most promising prospects in the super middleweight division and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t punch his way to a world title shot within the next few years. He has great fundamentals and a nice jab though can sometimes be accused of settling into one rhythm for a fight. He looks awkward in the ring but clearly his style and positioning works very well as he’s beaten every opponent hes faced as a pro so far without any major problems.
Nizar Trimech is a solid fighter who has come out of nowhere in recent years and given good fights to notable fighters such as Kamil Szeremeta and Ronny Landaeta. He shouldn’t be on the level of Silyagin and while he’ll give his best effort I think he’ll struggle to have much impact in the fight.
Silyagin will push Trimech back with his jab and out-box him throughout the fight. Silyagin could get a stoppage but I think it’s more likely that Trimech makes the full distance as hes tough and Silyagin might want to get some rounds in to start the year.
This should be an exciting match up between two young Super featherweights. Both fighters hit hard and thats especially the case for Tellez who has stopped all three opponents hes faced since losing a decision to Michel Rivera. Luis Melendez has won 16 fights in a row since an early loss and recently won an eight round decision over Thomas Mattice who is an underrated fighter himself.
Both have vulnerabilities defensively but I think Melendez is a bit more open than Tellez and doesn’t quite posses the same punch power. Tellez also throws accurate punches to the body while Melendez can head hunt a bit too much. As the fight is only eight rounds I don’t believe either fighter will get stopped as both are relatively tough and around the same level skill wise. I think Tellez’s body punching and power combined with his experience in hard fights should lead to him winning a close decision after eight rounds. The early rounds will be fought equally but Tellez will start to take over in the middle rounds when Melendez loses his shape and starts to look out of place.
Subriel Matias is one of the biggest punchers in the super lightweight division and will be looking to avenge his only defeat in the pro’s in this fight. Matias and Ananyan clashed almost two years ago in a bout which took place on the Tyson Fury versus Deontay Wilder rematch card. Matias started out well but couldn’t wear Ananyan down who after withering the early storm dropped Matias and then won the last four rounds due to Matias gassing out. Matias has said he wasn’t in the best shape due to still being effected by the death of Maxim Dadeshev who died after injuries suffered in their fight.
I think Matias has looked good in his two fights since the loss and seems to be in much better shape as well as a better headspace. Ananyan has only had one fight since their first meeting and I didn’t think he boxed great though he was dealing with a lot of inactivity.
I think Matias should be able to grind and out-punch Petros Ananyan who will get stopped in the 10th or 11th round. Ananyan should have got more opportunities after their first fight but can earn himself a world title fight if he beats the dangerous Matias again.
Gary Russell Jr makes his first defence of his WBC featherweight world title in over a year versus the undefeated Mark Magsayo. Russell is notorious for his inactivity and his one fight a year schedule but has actually outdone himself this time as he hasn’t fought in over 23 months. Mark Magsayo picked up a big knockout win in his last fight over Julio Ceja but also showed his flaws as he was dropped and out worked for most of the fight before the knockout.
If Russell is still at his best then he should be able to comfortably out-box Magsayo who while possessing power lacks the technical boxing ability of Russell. If Russell has lost a step then Magsayo could catch him late in the fight and finish him. This fight is most interesting to me because Russell is currently the longest active reigning world champion in the sport as he picked up his world title in 2015. It’s rare for a fighter to hold on to their title for so long and you’d have to think he’ll slip up sooner or later.
Dan Rafael has reported that Stevenson and Valdez are reportedly in advanced talks for a fight which would take place in April. The fight is supposed to take place in Las Vegas with the likely venue in my opinion being the MGM grand. If this fight can be finalized and made then it’ll be one of the better match ups we see this year in the sport. For Stevenson this is the real start of his potential hall of fame run as he’s unifying immediately after winning his first super featherweight world title. At only 24 he has plenty of time and potential to build a resume which sees him enter the hall of fame. Based off his last performance I’d expect him to be a heavy favorite in this fight as Oscar Valdez didn’t look good in his own most recent bout while Stevenson took apart a world champion with relative ease. Valdez at his best can compete and even potentially win this fight as he’s got power and the performance he put on versus Miguel Berchelt was amazing. I don’t think Stevenson is a good stylistic match up for him but i’m glad hes taking the fight.
With Valdez and Stevenson fighting it puts Emanuel Navarrete in a weird spot as he was rumored to be moving up and fighting Valdez but will now have to defend his featherweight title. The WBO featherweight rankings have slim pickings and the other champions are busy so he may have to go back to fighting four or five times a year to stay busy. I’m going to write another post article about who Navarrete could fight next and what his best options are.
Abraham Nova continues his journey to becoming a featherweight in this fight as he’s only one pound over the limit. While he hasn’t made championship weight next I presume he can make it as this seems like it was a catch weight due to Encarnacion being a late replacement. William Encarnacion was a 2012 Olympian but hasn’t done great as a pro and is weighing in at almost the super featherweight division in this fight despite having most of his career at Super Bantamweight. Encarnacion has some power and decent skills but is under sized in this fight and will need to land the best punch of his life to win it in my opinion.
Abraham Nova is a big featherweight with respectable power himself. His career has stagnated over the last few years and he’s not as good technically as has been made out but hes still a fighter who could challenge for a world title some day.
Abraham Nova should be too big for Encarnacion to deal with especially considering the short notice he was given for the fight. I expect Nova to walk Encarnacion down and stop him in six or seven rounds.
This fight is an IBF eliminator for the Super Flyweight world title which Jerwin Ancajas holds. Jade Bornea is 16-0 with 9 knockouts and will take his first step into the world scene after seven years as a pro. Mohammed Obbadi is 22-1 with 13 knockouts and has stepped up to world level once before when he fought Cristofer Rosales, he lost the fight after he retired in the corner at the end of the 7th round.
Jade Bornea is a good fighter who throws quick combinations to the body and head. He works to the body well and has stopped quite a few of his opponents with body shots. Bornea had an excellent amateur career where he claimed wins over the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Murodjon Akhmadaliev, both of whom have gone on to win world titles.
Mohammed Obbadi has good movement and uses his legs a lot instead of taking the center of the ring. He mostly throws one or two punches at a time and doesn’t sit down on them so generates a lot less power than his record suggests.
I think this fight will be very competitive for the majority of the rounds but Bornea’s combination punching and consistent body work will lead him to a twelve round decision win after Obbadi slows down late in the fight. It’ll likely be an 8-4 fight in Bornea’s favour.
Joe Smith Jr was supposed to be defending his WBO Light heavyweight world title versus Englands Callum Johnson but the aforementioned Johnson tested positive for Covid. Instead of rescheduling the fight Top Rank, the promoters for this event, went in search of a replacement opponent on less than three week’s notice. Most of the fighters they contacted couldn’t make the weight in time or didn’t want to risk fighting on such short notice. Geffrard was already pencilled into fight the week before in a stay busy bout so when he got the call to fight for the world title he jumped at the opportunity.
Joe Smith Jr’s rise to an unlikely world title is well documented at this point and he’s a fighter that has fought on the world stage consistently for the last five years. Steve Geffrard on the other hand isn’t very well known at all and has spent the majority of his career fighting on small shows while building a record. Geffrard actually lost his first two professional fights after a good amateur career which set him back massively as no big promoter would invest in him. Long stretches of inactivity in recent years also haven’t helped his pro career though he has gained huge experience through sparring the likes of Sergei Kovalev and Joshua Buatsi to name just a few. While there’s little footage of Geffrard online he seems to be technically well schooled. Due to the level of the opposition in the videos and how long ago they were it’s hard to work out quite how good Geffrard is but I would presume he’s reasonably good as he has been called to spar top pro’s all over the world. A lot of fighters who become sparring partners for more established pro fighters tend to take negative traits into the ring of not letting their hands go but I think Geffrard won’t suffer from that problem. He’s trained by Kevin Cunningham who is a well regarded trainer who’s worked with multiple world champions. I don’t think Cunningham would train Geffrard if he had a sparring partner mentality or wasn’t any good which gives me hope of a good fight come Saturday night. From recent interviews Geffrard also seems to understand that this is an opportunity of a lifetime for him so I expect him to fight to the best of his abilities
Joe Smith Jr will be looking to land the overhand right throughout the fight both behind a double jab and also by itself. Smith has a decent left hook as well but the overhand right is his biggest asset and the one by which he’ll either win or lose the fight by. Smith will push forward as that’s both in his nature and his best style of fighting while Geffrard will likely box from the outside and try to land counter left hooks when Smith attempts to land his overhand rights. I expect a few closish early rounds before Smith’s power shows through when he lands an overhand right and hurts Geffrard. After that it’ll be hard for Geffrard to win rounds as Smith’s punches are more damaging and depending on his chin he could get stopped before the twelve either if Smith lands cleanly or if he gets broken down in the second half of the fight. Another more unlikely option is that Joe Smith Jr walks forward and gets countered by left hooks and kept behind Geffrard’s solid jab for twelve rounds. I could see this happening especially as Smith had a bad case of Covid last year and at the best of times hasn’t dealt with mover’s especially well. Geffrard being a late replacement also play’s to his advantage in some ways as he knows Joe Smith Jr’s style well but Smith will have no idea what Geffrard’s style is and hasn’t had time to switch up game plans. I still think Joe Smith Jr’s power and experience at the championship level will pull him through to a late stoppage or 9-3 decision but the fights an interesting one and Smith is the sort of champion who could be dethroned by any hungry challenger with the right style.
This is a good fight between two fighters that are fringe prospects especially in the case of Tazhibay. Shinard Bunch is one of the most active boxer’s in the sport as he’s had twenty fights in just over two years. He’s taken a few fights versus other prospects on the way up and while hes 0-1-1 in those fights he should have got the upset decision over Janelson Figueroa Bocachica. Tazhibay is the opposite of Bunch with him only having nine fights in six years against mostly limited competition.
Shinard Bunch has a lot of power and has been improving as a fighter due to his activity. Tazhibay hasn’t fought since 2019 and from footage still fights in an amateurish style where he doesn’t plant his feet enough to get power. He has a nice straight right hand which he throws to the body and head but rushes his punches for the most part. I think he’ll want to get into exchanges, much to his detriment, and will get clipped by a right hook from Bunch.
The activity and power difference will set these two apart with Bunch picking up a stoppage win in the third or fourth round in my opinion.
I expect this to be a good fight to watch as Nunez presses the action against his foes while Arrieta also likes to come forward. Both of these fighters are undefeated and are facing off against each other in order to prove themselves on TV. The winner will likely start to get offered fights by Premier boxing champions and with the backing of a major promoter could aim for world honors.
Luis Reynaldo Nunez is a fighter with a lot of confidence and that shows in his style in the ring as he’s not hesitant to let his hands go and establish himself on the front foot. He consistently punches to the body which is a good sign for a young prospect. I also like his punch selection and the variety of combinations he throws. He’s got respectable power but certainly won’t be regarded as a power-puncher.
Carlos Arrieta has a nice left hook to the body and is also a consistent body puncher. He doesn’t move around the ring or have the variety of punches that Nunez has in my opinion but he’s competent in his own right. He hasn’t fought many opponents with winning records and had a hard fight with Ricardo Nunez who I would expect him to stop or at least not struggle against if he’s to compete with a talent like Nunez. Ricardo Nunez isn’t a bad fighter but is past his best and was up in weight versus Arrieta at featherweight rather than his more natural weight class of Super Flyweight.
I think Luis Reynaldo Nunez will be a class above Arrieta who will get picked apart by Nunez due to the gaps in foot and hand speed. Nunez also has more tools than Arrieta who at his best will come forward and bang away at the body. I think Nunez will win by decision as Arrieta will be competitive enough that he won’t get stopped and Nunez hasn’t looked to be a devastating puncher at featherweight like he was at super bantamweight. With this fight being over the featherweight limit I would be impressed if Nunez’s power carries up through the weight classes and he stops Arrieta