There is a strong mixed martial arts connection, as well as future crossover implications, to the December 7 IBA/WBF light welterweight title fight between 12-time, three division world champion Holly Holm (31-2-3, 9 KOs) and WIBA super featherweight champion Diana Prazak (11-1, 7 KOs), who will square-off in the 10-round main event on Fresquez Productions-presented “Fire And Ice” show at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque.
Alan Dawson – London
Junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse, 29, knocked down June 23 opponent Humberto Soto, 32, at the end of the fifth round of their STAPLES Center duel in Los Angeles and, in so doing, claimed a stunning stoppage win. Soto enjoyed an early superiority over Matthysse but, as the contest wore on, Humberto began to trade but relinquished the upper-hand – and victory – to the Argentine. With the win, Matthysse captured the vacant WBC Continental Americas title.
Official verdict: Matthysse by way of KO.
“With my team we worked hard, trained hard, we knew we had to win by knockout,” said Matthysse to Showtime. “This is the best one [performance] because this didn’t go to the judges. [In my next fight] I just want the opportunity to fight whoever.”
Prospective opponents may not willingly align themselves with Matthysse (31-2-0, 29ko) as the Buenos Aires native’s power was the decisive factor, yet, during the initial jousting, he did show mild vulnerability as Soto (58-8-2, 34ko) out-boxed him.
With a body clad in decorative ink and boxing in baby blue trunks, Matthysse began the fight perhaps encumbered by his role as the favourite. Underdog Soto boxed positively, popped his jab out, sent in wide shots and parried Matthysse’s lead incoming punches. Lucas, a heavy-hitting Argentine, grew confidence late in the opening session, though, and showed Soto he possessed a foundation-rattling hook shot.
The stanza was Soto’s, though, as he had the faster hands, an aesthetically-pleasing combination-punching style and forced the fight early. That ability to out-box his man continued into the second round and Soto found success with his uppercut, together with his overhand right.
Matthysse’s desire to work, however, seemed to be impeded by a referee who was all too eager to make himself noted in the contest but, when the bout reached it’s third session and a barnburner broke out, it favoured Matthysse who was the harder puncher. Matthysse paid particular attention to Soto’s midsection and pummeled the rib-cage with acute shots. Soto’s demise was punctuated by his inability to avoid Matthysse’s favoured areas of the ring as he got himself trapped against the ropes and had no answer or defence for Matthysse’s overhand right over the follow-up left hand.
In the fourth, Matthysse increased his work-rate, let his fists go, continued to work Soto’s body, sat down on his punches and caught the Mexican cleanly with straight rights and left hooks. Soto was fighting back but, midway through the session, he was knocked back onto the ropes and stunned by Lucas’ Herculean power.
Between rounds, Matthysse – like George Foreman was known to – propped himself up on the corner and refused to take his stool in a statement that he was comfortable with the frenetic pace of the fight.
Despite Soto being known for throwing punches in bunches, it was Matthysse who pieced his shots together and, noticeably, threw punches in flurries of three. For all of Soto’s technically-sound attacking moves, he fell into the trap of fighting his opponent’s fight, staying in the pocket and failed to dart out of the danger zone once he had landed his shots. This allowed Matthysse to retaliate and, as had been the tale of the fight, it was his shots that had the greater snap.
That snap… that hellacious power when it was fully realised at the end of the fifth round, was enough to perturb Soto and his team from continuing the fight. Matthysse knocked down Soto with a succession of signature overhand rights, putting Humberto on his seat but, even though he returned to his stool – albeit on legs that were far from sturdy – his corner were not comfortable in allowing their ward to enter the sixth and so Matthysse was rewarded with a headline-grabbing stoppage victory in California.
Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photos: Tom Casino/Showtime
Former two-weight world champion Humberto Soto and fearless junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse get their dukes up on Saturday, June 23 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and have vowed to wow the Californian crowd with a display filled with machismo. Matthysse has declared that his team have been preparing for a war whilst Soto stated that experience will see him edge the toe-to-toe battle.
A 29-year-old from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Matthysse (30-2-0, 28ko) has built up a headhunter’s reputation founded on his 85 percent chance of securing victory by way of knockout, however, when campaigning on American canvas, he has twice found himself on the wrong side of a decision when a fight is to be decided by the ringside judges. On both occasions – Zab Judah in New Jersey in 2010 and Devon Alexander in Missouri in 2011 – the crafty South American brawler made a case for victory.
On his two losses, Matthysse said: “Those were both very difficult fights to have to adjust to them and change the way I fight. I know I won both those fights… deep in my heart, I know it. It did hurt me, but we’ve got to come back stronger and I know we are ready for bigger and better things.”
While Judah and Alexander are slippery opponents who would be more comfortable fighting in space, rather than in the centre of the ring, Soto (58-7-2, 34ko) possesses an alternative style… one which Matthysse is more comfortable with.
“With Humberto, we all know he’s going to come to fight. He wants to come to battle and that makes me very happy because we are ready to give him a war.”
The Mexican Soto paid tribute to Matthysse’s attributes but cites the gulf in experience (Soto has boxed 470 rounds compared to Mattysse’s 110) to be pivotal come fight time. He said: “There is no doubt Lucas is a strong opponent and a strong fighter. He comes forward and always looks for a fight.
“The difference in this fight is the experience. I have a lot of experience, and that’s what’s going to lead me to victory. Matthysse is a good fighter. He’s going to stay in there and he’s a smart fighter. We’re going to go toe-to-toe.”
Words: Tommy Barber – London
Photos: Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
Ahead of former WBA/IBF super lightweight world champion Amir Khan‘s fifth fight on American canvas, the 25-year-old dubbed King was subjected to a dissident’s protest as Angel Garcia, the father of his July 14 opponent Danny Garcia, brandished him “over-rated“. Garcia recently edged ring legend Erik Morales to claim the vacant WBC championship at 140lbs and makes the first defence of the belt against Amir at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
On a night that Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya believes will “be exciting” and in a match-up that Freddie Roach regards to be “the best fighting the best”, Khan (26-2-0, 18ko) is set to participate in his eighth successive world title bout but does so against an undefeated boxer. Khan, though, regards Garcia (23-0-0, 14ko) to be the one who should be experiencing fear.
“I have seen him fight and he has a dangerous style,” said Khan of his opponent, who has already defeated one fighter from Britain; Ashley Theophane at Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, a little over two years ago. “He is tough,” Khan continued, “but he has never faced anyone like me. I promise this is going to be a good fight… a legendary fight.”
Both fighters could be highly motivated but for alternative reasons. Khan, for instance, is coming off a loss – to Lamont Peterson, whom he relinquished his brace of world titles to in Washington in a 12-round fight not short of controversy in 2011. The last time Khan fought having just been beaten was in 2008, when he demolished Oisin Fagan inside two rounds.
Furthermore, Khan was due to box Peterson in a rematch, but the bout was called off when the latter failed a drug test due to testosterone pellets that were later found to have been inserted inside the armpit as early as the build-up to their first match-up. The disruption to Khan’s fighting schedule may have provided the 2004 Olympic silver medalist with an appetite for destruction.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old from Philadelphia, Garcia, is slowly leapfrogging significant fighters in the world ranks and is determined to improve with every in-ring appearance he makes. Garcia’s last three opponents include Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Morales, all of whom he defeated via points decisions and he is banking on adding Khan’s name to his resume: “I bring blood, sweat and tears. You haven’t seen the best of Danny Garcia.”
Any respect shown proved to be exclusive to the boxers as Garcia’s father, Angel, angered Amir by stating that he “is an overrated fighter”. Khan swiftly riposted: “When I beat your son, am I still going to be overrated? Maybe it’s Danny who is the one who is overrated.”
Danny even acknowledged that he will have to be on top of his game if he is to return to the East Coast with the W on his record, as he labelled Khan “a great fighter”. He added: “When you put two great fighters together, you have to fight your best to get the win. This is a big fight, but every fight is a big fight for me.”
On The Beak – Admin
Paul McCloskey’s May 5 clash with DeMarcus Corley at the Kings Hall, Belfast in Northern Ireland has taken a new twist after he was named as a possible opponent for Juan Manuel Marquez’s July 14 fight in Texas. The WBO interim light welterweight champion takes over Cowboys Stadium that night and the four-weight king has been linked with a fight with Dudey after his promoter suggested his preference for a southpaw opponent.
McCloskey faces the former WBO champ ‘Chop Chop’ Corley in May in a huge night for boxing for the city, with the all-Irish middleweight Betfair Prizefighter, Martin Lindsay and Jamie Conlan all in action, and now McCloskey’s promoter Eddie Hearn says the show has taken on even greater significance with the former unbeaten European champion in the running for a shot at the pound-for-pound Mexican great (pictured left).
“Paul’s name has been mentioned by Marquez’s team in the last week and I reached out to Top Rank yesterday to let them know that we’d love the fight,” said Hearn. “I think we are in with a decent chance but a convincing win against Corley in front of a packed King’s Hall crowd would strengthen our case for a July clash with Marquez.”
McCloskey added: “It’s an honour to be linked with a showdown with Juan Manuel and it’s a dream fight for me. May 5 has always been a pivotal night for me as I aim to get back into world title contention, and this news has made a huge occasion even bigger.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Junior welterweight campaigner Mauricio Herrera has credited the artillery possessed by April 14 opponent Mike Alvarado, who he lost a unanimous decision to at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas. The dust-up, heralded as a fight of the year candidate, was a competitive contest edged by Alvarado, however, Robert Hoyle registered a 99-91 scorecard – awarding Herrera a solitary stanza – something Mauricio feels discredits his own display.
“I gave the fans what they came to see,” said Herrera, who stood in front of Alvarado (33-0-0, 23ko) for heavy segments of the affair and willingly traded with the devastating puncher from Denver. “I stood toe to toe with the big guy and I lost a close fight.”
Defeated by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94, Herrera (18-2-0, 7ko) does not protest the outcome but argues against the one-sidedness of the first score. He stated: “The 9-1 score discredits my performance. There is no way in hell I only got one round. I am not disappointed because the crowd lifted me up during and after the fight. I told everyone I was going for broke and I did my best.”
Herrera and Alvarado was the clear fight of the night on a card that also featured exciting brawler Brandon Rios, however, the Oxnard-based former lightweight champion had an off night – perhaps drained by his inability to make weight the day before – and appeared second best to opponent Richard Abril. Regardless, Rios emerged triumphant with a debatable split decision.
Elsewhere around the globe, Juan Manuel Marquez out-boxed and out-hustled Serhiy Fedchenko, in Mexico. Marquez now gears toward a July 14 outing and it was initially believed he would fight Rios but because of the performances last weekend, Alvarado may have stolen pole position for a crack at Juan Manuel. If granted, Alvarado could give a good account of himself as, using Mauricio’s words: “he is a gutsy guy”.
On The Beak – Admin
Masterful Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39ko), a Mexican boxing legend with full world championships in three separate weight classes, gave ‘The Professor’ Serhiy Fedchenko (30-2-0, 13ko) a fistic lesson in jabbing and combination-work on Saturday, April 14 as the Ukrainian suffered a dominating defeat in Marquez’s home town – Mexico City. It was Dinamita’s first fight on his own patch in almost 18 years.
(Embedded video above credit – YouTube, JuanManuelMarquezHD)
On The Beak – Admin
Three weight world champion Juan Manuel Marquez, 38, takes on unheralded Ukrainian 140lber Serhiy Fedchenko (30-1-0, 13ko) for the interim WBO junior welterweight world championship title on Saturday, April 14 at the New Mexico City Arena, Mexico City and, at the weigh-in yesterday, both fighters registered identical weights – 140lbs. JuanMa (53-6-1, 39ko) looked cut and powerful at the weight, while The Professor appeared athletic.
On The Beak – Admin
Once revered as an Arturo Gatti incarnate, Michael Katsidis is losing his battle to remain significant between 135 and 140lbs as the game, industrious Australian was defeated by Albert Mensah by way of majority decision at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Friday, April 13. Katsidis was busier than Mensah, but it was the Ghanaian whose aggression was the more effective. Katsidis is now 28-6-0, 23ko and has lost four of his last five fights.
(Embedded video above credit – YouTube, SoSoBoxing)
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Ukrainian super lightweight contender Serhiy Fedchenko boxed to a straight-forward points victory against an overmatched prospect from Hungary, Laszlo Fazekes on Saturday, February 18 at the Olympiahalle in Munich. Fedchenko had all the advantages… speed, physical prowess, accuracy and he bossed the contest from opening round to closing, leaving his opponent beaten up, swollen, marked up and dripping blood.
Official verdict: Fedchenko wins by way of eight round decision.
Boxing in black with gold trim and modeling himself on the technical finesse of Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez, Fedchenko – like the main event star, Vitali Klitschko – is a prizefighter hailing from Ukraine and, in the opening round versus undefeated prospect Fazekes, fought with patience, poise and precision.
In the second round, the gulf in class became more apparent as Fedchenko’s accuracy began to wear Fazekes down. The visiting Hungarian’s face had reddened significantly, he was breathing heavier and, when the ring bell chimed to call a halt to fistic proceedings, he returned to his stool with a slightly bloodied nose.
Fast, strong and letting fly with three-punch combinations that focused on the hook, Fedchenko continued his dominance in round three and, in the fourth, Serhiy paid attention to Laszlo’s body, tucking left hands into the side and powering heavy leather onto the lungs, however, he never neglected head-work and so the display against Fazekes had all the markings of a methodical beat down.
Like all the rounds that preceded it, the fifth continued the motif of Fazekes fighting second best… his face looked sore, there was severe reddening around the eye and his nose was leaking blood near constantly. Fazekes by no means had the will beaten out of him but he was getting beaten up.
The way Fedchenko fights backed up his 43 percent knockout ratio… he lacks true knockout power but he does not launch significant haymakers, instead, he appears to have taken a module in the school of Bernard Hopkins when the American had evolved from his Executioner’s role and into one based on boxology. Hopkins further wised up on defence and honed in on an accurate punch that had less snap, than a power punch that could miss entirely.
With head movement, ducking and slipping, Fedchenko was able to evade Fazekes’ shots and frustrate the away pug throughout rounds six and seven. In the eighth and final stanza, Fedchenko coasted to his one-sided points triumph with swift fists and flurries of action and the respective fighters’ faces told the whole story. Fedchenko looked like he had simply gone through a routine gym workout, while Fazekes’s dripped sweat and blood that had run from his mouth and nostrils.
With the win, Fedchenko moved to 30-1-0, 13ko while Fazekes incurred a career-first defeat as he dropped to 8-1-1, 6ko.