Friday August 1
From Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK
TV: Boxnation (UK) Sport 1 (Hungary)
Time: 7:00 PM BST, 11:00 AM PDT, 2:00 PM EDT
Leonard Bundu 30(11)-0-2 vs Frankie Gavin 19(12)-0
EBU welterweight title
30 have tried and 2 came close. That’s the motto I up made for 39 year old Leonard Bundu. Bundu has fought his entire career in his native country of Italy. He’s also been a professional fighter for less than 10 years. To be exact he’s been a professional for 9 years. So if you do your math correctly… he turned pro when he was.. 30? Yes. That’s correct.
You may be asking yourself what was Bundu doing all those years? Was he off playing football and then decided since he’s so athletic he might as well try his hand at boxing? No, not exactly. Bundu was a successful amateur standout since 1996. He represented Italy at the 2000 Summer Olympics, scoring a win over Daniel Geale, but ultimately losing to a welterweight from Kazakhstan. Not the one you’re thinking of. While Bundu wasn’t the amateur that Vasyl Lomachenko was, he does have a long history as a fighter and his relative lack of professional experience shouldn’t count against him like it would if he had only started boxing 9 years ago.
His amateur experience will be worth more than it usually is against Frankie Gavin. Gavin is an outside fighter who likes to move, hit, and do some more moving. Gavin has had it relatively easy on the domestic level until his last fight. In his last fight he was dropped in the 2nd and won one of those decisions where the scorecards are wide, but not necessarily an accurate retelling of what really happened. Gavin had to earn everything in that fight and he showed a lot of grit pulling out the victory.
Bundu can box. It will be interesting to see who can win the battle on the outside. Gavin has shown he’s a very talented guy who can stick and move. Bundu’s built a career based on accurate punching. This is a fight between 2 guys on the cusp of entering the top 10 at welterweight (there will be some space after Porter-Brook). I think Gavin’s power could be the difference. This should be a fascinating battle, but not one for the casual fan. Gavin’s style can be a bit conducive to snooze fests.
Lucas Browne 20(18)-0 vs Andriy Rudenko 24(16)-0
If Browne was 10 years younger he would be one of the top heavyweight prospects in the world. Instead, like Bundu, he’s a 5 year pro who’s already nearing the sell-by date at 35 years old. Unlike Bundu, Browne doesn’t have the deep amateur experience to draw on. Still, Big Daddy Browne has been very good so far. He knocked out undefeated Richard Towers in his home county and went 12 rounds with James Toney scoring a wide unanimous decision victory. (Toney is 1 of the 2 guys to go the distance with Browne.
Rudenko is undefeated, has been a pro for 8 years, but has been almost an entirely domestic fighter. Dudenko has a nice record, but has never faced someone like Browne. I’m sure Rudenko has also never experienced power like Browne’s. I think Browne comes in and does the business to Rudenko in a relatively easy fight.
From A La Carte Event Pavilion, Tampa, Florida
TV: Telemundo (US)
Time: 8:35 PDT, 11:35 EDT, 4:35 AM BST
Andrey Klimov 17(8)-1 vs Guillermo Avila 12(9)-2
super featherweight division
Andrey Klimov… that name rings a bell. Where have I heard it before? Is it from that Friday Night Fights card that had Ik Yang? The one where he knocked out a guy in the first round? Oh yeah! It was that one. That’s the one where Klimov beat John Molina by majority decision, both guys weighed 138, and John Molina somehow managed to not drop Klimov. (I’m looking at you Lucas Matthysse.)
Okay, then Klimov followed that up with… a title shot against Terence Crawford. Oh… that guy. Klimov was without a doubt shut out in one of Crawford’s more uneventful performances. It was on the Cotto-Rodriguez undercard.
Klimov has had one fight since that loss. An easy shut out against Francisco Contreras back in Moscow. Friday he’ll be facing Guillermo Avila who’s coming off a loss to Jonathan Oquendo (a 12 round UD) who’s coming off a loss to Abner Mares (a 10 round UD). You get the picture?
Klimov will outbox Avila. Klimov has a granite chin and Avila seems to only snatch victories when his opponents have losing records.
From Little Creek Casino Resort, Shelton, Washington
TV: ESPN2 (US) DigiSport (Hungary)
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
Thomas Williams Jr 17(12)-0 vs Gabriel Campillo 23(10)-6-1
light heavyweight division
Thomas Williams has found a home on Friday Night Fights for a couple of reasons. The first is that he’s a young, hungry lion. Really, at 26 he’s a guy willing to take on all comers and he fights with a desperation to win. The second reason is that he’s entertaining.
(Important note: That desperation has gotten him into trouble. Against Cornelius White back in January, they were in a 1 round shoot-out that was about as entertaining as a single round can get. Williams got sloppy trying to gun White down and got caught. Down he went.)
His opponent on Friday is Gabriel Campillo. While his luck isn’t as bad as some, it’s about on par with Gabriel Rosado’s luck. Nearly all of Campillo’s losses can be accounted for.
First, Vyacheslav Uzelkov. That can’t be accounted for. He got knocked out plain and simple, however his next loss can.
Karo Murat scored a majority decision victory over Campillo. Possible (typical) nutty German scoring, but who can say. Campillo had a case for the win, but I guess it wasn’t that strong.
Campillo hasn’t had enough controversy in his life. He decided he needs to give Beibut Shumenov a rematch. A rematch after beating him five months earlier in Kazakhstan. (Think about that for a second, Campillo went to Kazakhstan to fight Shumenov! This is a guy who had a grand total of 8 professional fights at the time! And he beat him! The balls on Campillo. What are the odds someone agrees to fight Golovkin in Kazakhstan?) The rematch featured some interesting Las Vegas scoring. Campillo lost a split decision, while most feel Campillo won.
Now, Murat must be feeling generous or bad for Campillo. He decides to give Campillo a rematch. The result? A draw. Okay… Let’s just say the fight took place in Germany. Murat lives in Germany. Draw your own conclusions.
His next fight was Tavoris Cloud. This one was fascinating. Cloud dropped Campillo twice in the opening round. Then, by most accounts, Campillo outboxed Cloud for the next… 11 rounds? Okay, maybe not 11, but by the end of the fight it was clear that the IBF light heavyweight title wasn’t going home with Cloud. What was the result? Split decision for Cloud.
Campillo, at this point, was probably gutted. He took nearly a year off after the Cloud fight before coming back against… undefeated Sergey Kovalev. Campillo had a ton of problems heading into the fight including arriving in the US late. Campillo wouldn’t make it out of the 3rd round. He looked unfocused the entire fight.
He followed that with a loss to Andrzej Fonfara. This one made sense to those who watched it. Campillo looked like the chapter of his life as an upper tier fighter has finished. He’s had 1 tune up fight in Spain post-Fonfara which he won by TKO.
Now he’s back in the US and will face a fast rising prospect. If Campillo can return to the same tricky guy he was before, I can see him scoring a draw here. If not, Williams will have a mostly easy time with Campillo.
Saturday August 2
From Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Daiki Kaneko 20(13)-3-3 vs Cirilo Espino 19(12)-13-3
super featherweight division
Kaneko had a rought start to his career. He lost 2 fights relatively early and drew another 3 as well. In 2011, something must have clicked for him because he started to knock everyone out. He looked unstoppable on the Japanese scene capturing the Japanese super featherweight title. The reward for his victories came last year on New Years Eve.
Kaneko would make his 2nd venture outside of the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo to face the widely regarded number one or two super featherweight in the world, Takashi Uchiyama.
Kaneko looked terrific. Uchiyama struggled early. Kaneko’s activity made it tough for the KO Dynamite man to get started. Midway through the fight, Uchiyama started to come on and he showed why he’s regarded as an elite super featherweight.
In the 10th round, Kaneko hit Uchiyama with a hellacious shot. A huge right hand dropped the champion. Uchiyama would be okay and go on to win his toughest decision victory, but it was Kaneko who scored a moral victory. His performance had his name thrust into the mix of the top super featherweights in the world. Not as an elite caliber fighter, but he’s certainly live against anyone from Mikey Garcia to Takashi Miura.
Espino should be no problem for Kaneko. He’s mostly a Filipino journeyman. Not the Sonny Boy Jaro kind either.
This is the knockdown from the Uchiyama fight. I made it myself.
Ryo Akaho 23(16)-1-2 vs Masaaki Serie 25(10)-6
I’m not too sure Akaho ever leaves the domestic level in Japan. He’s 28, and despite his impressive record, hasn’t stepped up in 2 years after losing a decision to Yota Sato (then he was a super flyweight.) Akaho should be aiming for the stars right now given the bantamweight division is a bit in flux. That is if he’s as good as his record indicates.
From Chetumanl, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sergio Thompson 29(26)-3 vs Adones Aguelo 21(13)-9-2
super featherweight division
Sergio Thompson scores one of the biggests wins of his career against Ricard Alvarez on the Canelo-Angulo undercard and he follows it up with a shot at an overmatched journeyman. Interesting. What’s more interesting is how Alvarez wasn’t stopped. Thompson is a tremendous puncher. In his 12 round loss to Japanese whirlwind Takashi Miura, who was and still is the WBC titlist at 130, Miura’s ability to put Thompson down was the difference in that close fight.
Thompson may not be due for a title shot just yet, but a couple of good wins should put him back in contention.
Victor Terrazas 37(21)-3-1 vs TBA
super bantamweight division
I’ve been sitting here writing for about an hour and a half. In that time Terrazas opponent has been switched from Jesus Rios 30(24)-6-1 to Gary Russell Jr’s old rival, TBA. Interesting. This is going to be Terrazas first fight since being stopped by Leo Santa Cruz almost a year ago.
From Revel Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey
TV: HBO (US) Main Event (Australia)
Time: 6:45 PM PDT, 9:45 EDT, 2:45 AM BST
Sergey Kovalev 24(22)-0-1 vs Blake Caparello 19(6)-0-1
WBO light heavyweight title
Australia had better hope Browne scores a big knockout win, otherwise this recent string of bad luck for Aussie fighters will get even worse. Blake Caparello is a 27 year old Australian southpaw making only his second appearance outside of Australia. No opponent thus far, even Allan Green who outweighed him by nearly 7 pounds at the weigh-in, will prepare him for this.
Sergey Kovalev is the boxing equivalent to the German Blitzkrieg.
If your history is fuzzy, here’s how it worked. The intention was to make battles short. To prevent as much loss as possible and limit wasting precious resources. While the planning and underlying workings of the attack were pretty complex, here’s my quick explanation: Start with the planes. Drop bombs. Disrupt everything. Take out infrastructure. Take out supply lines and communication. Then move in with tanks. Do more damage. Disorient. Finally, send in ground troops after the coast is mostly clear. Claim victory.
That sounds like a Sergey Kovalev fight. Kovalev dives right into things and starts swinging to knock something loose. Those few that have made it out of the first couple of rounds are then subjected to bodywork and more heavy shots. Those that make it past this point get whatever’s left in the tank and usually nobody except Darnell Boone makes it to this point.
Kovalev did look a bit vulnerable at times in his last fight. Cedric Agnew had success fighting out of his (Joshua Clottey inspired) guard and tagging Kovalev who was more concerned with the attack than moving his head or defending himself. Caparello will need to keep his cool and focus on making Kovalev miss rather than hit the guard. Those punches to forearms, biceps, and shoulders add up as we saw in the Agnew fight. If Caparello can do that, he might have enough to last 12 rounds. If he can ensure lasting 12 rounds, all he’ll need to do is be busy. It’s unlikely he wins on the cards, but it’s better than trying to expose yourself and knock Kovalev out. At this point, there’s not much in the way of strategy to get Kovalev. Those who’ve landed on him note that all he does is keep coming forward.
While Golovkin’s post fight interviews are a complete inverse to the style we see him fight with in the ring, Kovalev’s interviews are mostly on par with what we’d expect. He called Adonis Stevenson manure in his last post fight interview and is known to trash talk guys who he puts down.
Isaac Chilemba 22(9)-2-2 vs Cory Cummings 17(13)-6-1
light heavyweight division
Chilemba is one of the rare light heavyweight contenders out there that hasn’t been beaten by either Stevenson or Kovalev. If I’m looking at this correctly, it appears to me that they’re setting Chilemba up to be next for Kovalev. Obviously, if a fight with Hopkins or Pascal falls through. The problem is that Chilemba facing either Kovalev or Stevenson is yet another predictable outcome. Chilemba has never been knocked out, but has made trips to the canvas. He can be definitely be outboxed.
Cummings has lost 6 of his last 9 fights. This streak stretches all the way back to 2006. Chilemba should easily beat Cummings.
From Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: HBO (US) Sport 1 (Hungary)
Time: 6:45 PM PDT, 9:45 EDT, 2:45 AM BST
Brandon Rios 31(23)-2-1 vs Diego Chaves 23(19)-1
It’s the 9th inning of Rios’s career. He’s at the plate. He’s down by 2 with 2 runners on. The count is 2-2. If he misses this pitch, a chance at a title is not quite out of reach, but very far away. It’ll definitely have to wait till next season, if ever. That’s where Rios is at in his career. He’s suffered 2 straight losses (3 of his last 4 to most enlightened observers.) One to Mike Alvarado in which Rios was befuddled by lateral movement and a jab. The other loss was to Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao did what he does best and didn’t allow Rios to win a single round. The gameplan is out on how to beat Rios. A slider that tails away from him, just out of reach.
But Rios’s got a guy on the mound who’s a fastball pitcher. If there’s one pitch Rios knows he can hit, it’s the fastball. A pitch that’s not going anywhere. That’s going to come straight down the pipe and hard. Rios doesn’t have to do anything but sit back and work.
It sounds easy on paper, but Chaves can bring the heat. Ask Keith Thurman.
Chaves is a talented Argentine fighter who’s problem might be he doesn’t know exactly what he is. Against Keith Thurman he was able to outbox him for portions of the fight. Through 8 rounds most had it even. Thurman adjusted nicely and Chaves was left to wonder which style he should fight in. The boxer puncher who countered nicely or the head first power puncher. Ultimately, Thurman’s power held up as Chaves ran out of gas.
The good thing for Chaves is that Rios doesn’t have the different wrinkles in his game that allowed Thurman to make educated adjustments. His footwork is 2 dimensional. Go forward, step back to take a break. His options are usually only jab and throw something heavy. Or to the body.
Where Rios excels, and where Chaves must avoid if he doesn’t want the same fate he met against Thurman, is stepping in and fighting inside. You’ll find few fighters in all of boxing who are better at the inside game than Rios. Rios has an iron chin and seems to get stronger when his ears touch his opponents.
If Chaves is bold enough to step in and let Rios fight an inside fight, he will certainly lose. Rios will do the body work necessary to make this happen by the mid-rounds.
Chaves will do well to study tape of the Alvarado fight. If he can move laterally, step in to land a couple of hard shots, then out again it will be an easy victory for him.
One interesting note about this fight is that Chaves will be perhaps the biggest puncher Rios has ever faced. Pacquiao’s power is no longer what it once was and Rios smiled for all 12 rounds. Chaves does have legitimate power and it will be interesting to see how Rios reacts to it.
Jessie Vargas 24(9)-0 vs Anton Novikov 29(10)-0
WBA world junior welterweight title
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Jessie Vargas is only 25 because the guys been around for a long time. (He was on the Mayweather-Ortiz undercard!) This will be his second fight at junior welterweight after leaving the division 3 years ago to go to welterweight. Vargas has wins over Josesito Lopez, Khabib Allakhverdiev, and Pablo Sarmiento. (Yes, Sergio Martinez’s trainer. It’s not a pretty fight. However if you’re mad at Pablo for the Cotto fight, go look at fight up.)
Vargas is a very talented boxer-puncher who’s only downside is his current lack of power. He attributes the change to his move up to welterweight. It makes sense. He didn’t have a single knockout or stoppage win as a welterweight. Prior to moving up he was 17(9)-0. A better than 50% knockout rate. He then won 8 straight without even so much as putting someone down. (What should not be discounted and really what’s the ultimate takeaway here is that Vargas is a gifted boxer.)
Novikov is a Russian fighter who’s made some ventues around the world including fighting in California twice in the last year. They call him the Pick Hammer and I’m not entirely sure why. This is going to be Novikov’s first fight as a junior welterweight after going as high as 160 earlier in his career.
Neither guy has ever faced someone like the other. Novkikov has faced mostly inferior competition wherever he’s fought. Plan for this fight to go 12 rounds. Novikov hasn’t knocked someone out since 2012 (coincidentally he was popped later in that year for failing a drug test) and Vargas isn’t a devastating puncher either. Vargas also hasn’t knocked someone out since 2011.
Jessie Magdaleno 18(14)-0 vs Carlos Rodriguez 18(10)-14-4
super bantamweight division
Magdaleno is the younger brother of Diego Magdaleno and at 22 he’s one of the rising prospects in the sport. I don’t anticipate Carlos Rodriguez to trouble him much, but just watching this kid grow in the ring is always a treat.
Jose Ramirez 10(8)-0 vs Alfred Romero 7(6)-3
junior welterweight division
Ramirez is one of the top 10 prospects in all of boxing. His ultraviolent style is a fans dream. His ability to settle down, box, and set-up big punches is a purists dream. For overmatched guys alike his opponent Alfred Romero, seeing Ramirez opposite is probably a nightmare.
If Ramirez continues to progress like he’s done thus far, he’s going to need a good nickname. If you’re a sick or twisted person, you’ll go with “Richard.” Jose “Richard” Ramirez. It’s probably too soon for some people, but that speaks to the devastation he sometimes causes in the ring. I think Rambo could work for him. Jose “Rambo” Ramirez. He does evoke this sort of ultra-macho, “I’m going to take out everyone on my own and save everybody” feeling when he fights. I’m open for suggestions. I think “Rambo” Ramirez is the leader in the clubhouse.