Boxing: Boxcino

Expect action in Boxcino finals on FNF

May, 21, 2014
May 21
After months of excitement throughout the lightweight and middleweight brackets, the time has come for the finals of the Boxcino 2014 tournament on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights."

The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will host the final pairings of lightweights Petr Petrov and Fernando Carcamo and middleweights Brandon Adams and Willie Monroe Jr. (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET). This marks the second time ESPN has televised an event of this nature, with the first edition of Boxcino coming in 1997, when future star Acelino "Popo" Freitas was crowned champion.

The Russian-born Petrov (34-4-2, 16 KOs), who fights out of Madrid, reached the lightweight finals with a six-round decision win over Fedor Papazov and a fourth-round stoppage of Chris Rudd. Meanwhile, Carcamo (17-5, 13 KOs), of Mexico, came this far by stopping Samuel Neequaye in the second round and winning a split decision over Miguel Gonzalez.

Both finalists staged exciting battles in the semifinals. Carcamo sent Gonzalez to the canvas as early as the first round, but the Cleveland native managed to recover and even out the battle, which had moments of generous exchange.

Petrov was the one who landed the harder punches against Rudd, who took punishment throughout most of the first minute of the fourth round until referee Billy Johnson stepped in to call off the bout.

When the two lightweights square off Friday, it promises to be explosive with the result uncertain. The 31-year-old Russian is faster and the 23-year-old Mexican is more experienced. However, Carcamo is taller, has been a bit more convincing in his wins, and has a big enough left hand to potentially complicate Petrov's plan.

In the middleweight final, Adams (14-0, 9 KOs), of Los Angeles, will enter the ring fresh off a victory over southpaw Raymond Gatica after previously stopping veteran Daniel Edouard in the quarterfinals.

Monroe (17-1, 6 KOs), a native of Rochester, New York, who is a member of a renowned family of boxers, defeated Donatas Bondorovas by split decision before claiming a unanimous decision over Vitalii Kopylenko in the semifinals.

The fight offers an inevitable clash of styles. Adams, a puncher with great power in his right hand, is more aggressive and will surely apply early pressure. Meanwhile Monroe, a southpaw with advantages in height and reach, is better equipped technically and will certainly look to make the most of that to control the pace from distance with his jab.

Boxcino middleweights enter semifinals

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18

The 2014 Boxcino middleweight tournament enters the semifinal round on Friday with a pair of bouts headlining ESPN's "Friday Night Fights."

The two eight-round semifinal bouts will take place from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y. (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET), the same site as the finals on May 23 for both the middleweight and lightweight brackets.

Vitalii Kopylenko (23-0, 13 KOs) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (16-1, 6 KOs)

Kopylenko, 30, the unbeaten fighter out of Ukraine, is coming off a second-round stoppage of Cerresso Fort in the tournament's quarterfinal round. On that same Feb. 28 card in Hammond, Ind., Monroe, a southpaw, won a unanimous decision over Donatas Bondorovas of Lithuania.

In a fight that also doubled as his U.S. debut, Kopylenko made the biggest impression among the four semifinalists by dominating Fort with power shots and twice sending him to the canvas before referee Kurt Spivey stopped the bout less than one minute into the second round. Kopylenko showed consistent punching power and positioned himself as the favorite to take the Boxcino 2014 belt, but he still has a difficult challenge ahead.

"Monroe is a very good fighter," Kopylenko said. "He has good movement and fine skills, but we have a good plan to defeat him."

Monroe, born into a renowned family of fighters, seems to be enjoying the best stretch of his career. He has won his last six fights, and on Friday he intends to further his winning streak.

"Willie has trained hard for this fight. He has worked with taller sparring partners [to prepare] for Kopylenko," said Monroe's manager, Damian Walton. "We respect his resumé and his unbeaten record, but I don't think he has ever faced anyone of Willie's level."

The fight promises to be a clash of styles. Monroe is a good technical fighter with speed and quick footwork who is difficult to hit. However, he lacks knockout power, and against a power puncher like Kopylenko, this could be dangerous. The Ukrainian fighter has a powerful jab and a longer reach and is expected to be the more aggressive fighter.

Brandon Adams (13-0, 9 KOs) vs. Raymond Gatica (14-2, 9 KOs)

Adams, 24, a power puncher, is fresh off a fourth-round TKO win over Daniel Edouard in the Boxcino quarterfinals. Adams will be facing a southpaw, which doesn't seem to bother him.

"It will be the first time I face a southpaw, but I've worked hard at my camp with opponents of similar guard and I've felt very comfortable," Adams said. "It hasn't been a problem and I feel confident for this fight."

Gatica, 30, of Austin, Tex., is coming off a stoppage win against previously unbeaten Sena Agbeko of Ghana. Agbeko entered the bout with 15 wins -- all by knockout -- in as many bouts before Gatica forced the fourth-round TKO. Gatica's manager, Dave Watson, feels confident that his protégé will defeat Adams and even imagines who his next opponent will be.

"Ray has really prepared himself in defense and speed to keep the same pace throughout the eight rounds," Watson said. "Adams is a different opponent -- shorter and well-built. So we'll have another game plan. I see Ray in the final, and I think it will be against [Kopylenko].".

Beyond the prevailing confidence in both camps, this semifinal bout appears to be even. It's a clash of two aggressive fighters with good punching power. Adams could be the one to set the pace early with heavy pressure, while Gatica, who has good leg movement, will look to avoid the exchange and try to overcome his opponent with technique and better experience.

Boxcino lightweights enter semifinals

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
With a pair of explosive semifinals bouts on tap Friday in the 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament, one can expect plenty of action at the 4 Bears Casino in New Town, N.D.

A pair of eight-round bouts will headline ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) as Chris Rudd meets Petr Petrov and Miguel Gonzalez squares off with Fernando Carcamo.

All four fighters were victorious in the Boxcino quarterfinals held Feb. 21 in Laughlin, Nev., with Carcamo scoring the lone stoppage win.

Chris Rudd (13-1, eight KOs) vs. Petr Petrov (33-4-2, 15 KOs)

Both fighters advanced to the semifinal round after winning extremely hard-fought battles in bouts in which neither was the prohibitive favorite coming in. In Rudd's case, he needed an extra round to pull through as his bout with Ghana's Yakubu Amidu was ruled a draw after six full rounds, sending the fight to a one-round "drawbreaker." Rudd, who had fought just once in the previous two years entering the bout, showed plenty of courage after absorbing heavy punishment in the opening round. He went on to rally in the fourth round as the bout turned exceedingly into an all-action affair.

Petrov, meanwhile, a native of Russia who fights out of Spain, entered his quarterfinal bout against countryman Fedor Papazov having been most remembered for being knocked out Marcos Maidana in 2011. But those who expected to see him end up on the canvas against Papzov, whose nickname is "Mr. Knockout," were surprised by the outcome, as Petrov walked through heavy punishment to land precision counter shots. He went on to claim a victory by unanimous decision.

Friday's semifinal bout is expected to be an attractive clash of styles. Rudd, the more aggressive fighter, has won six of his past 10 fights by knockout and will surely be active from the outset. But Petrov, a former world-title challenger at 140 pounds, brings with him 14 years of experience and is better equipped than Rudd from a technical standpoint.

Miguel Gonzalez (23-3, 16 KOs) vs. Fernando Carcamo (16-5, 13 KOs)

This battle of southpaws has the potential for an uncertain outcome. Carcamo, 23, of Mexico, lived up to his reputation as a hard puncher in the quarterfinal round by stopping unbeaten Samuel Neequaye of Ghana. Carcamo overwhelmed his opponent from the start with relentless pressure until referee Jay Nady mercifully stopped the fight in the second round. The marked the sixth in a row for Carcamo by way of stoppage.

Gonzalez, of Cleveland, had to work harder in his opening bout to overcome Miguel Mendoza by majority decision. The victory confirmed Gonzalez is on the right track in his career as he was forced to overcome a late surge from Mendoza, who refused to quit after falling behind early.

Carcamo, an aggressive fighter, will enter the fight with a decided advantage in punching power. He will likely look to set the pace from the start and try to finish the fight early. However, he should take precautions, or he could run into a surprise.

Boxcino middleweight tourney kicks off

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
After a successful debut last Friday to the 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament, the middleweight bracket gets its turn this time around.

The four six-round, single-elimination quarterfinal bouts scheduled will feature eight fighters competing for the right to advance to the April 18 semifinals.

Friday's middleweight pairings certainly look appealing, with names such as Donatas Bondorovas, Vitaliy Kopylenko, the powerful Sena Agbeko and Brandon Adams headlining the ESPN "Friday Night Fights" card (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.

Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1, 6 KOs) versus Willie Monroe Jr. (15-1-0, 6 KOs)

A native of Lithuania now based in Chicago, Bondorovas is an aggressive fighter who sets the distance with his jab and feels plenty comfortable exchanging punches at close range. Bondorovas has won six of his past seven bouts, with the lone loss coming against Bryan Vera on FNF. Monroe, meanwhile, is a promising prospect born into a family of fighters of the same name. Not only was his father, Willie Monroe Sr., an outstanding middleweight from 1985 to 2000, his great uncle, Willie "The Worm" Monroe, is remembered for his three battles against the legendary Marvin Hagler, whom he defeated in their first bout in 1976 before dropping the other two by knockout. Monroe, who has won his last five fights, aims to go further than his predecessors and hopes the Boxcino 2014 becomes his ticket to a title shot.

Vitaliy Kopylenko (22-0, 12 KOs) versus Cerresso Fort (17-2-1, 11 KOs)

Kopylenko, 30, of the Ukraine, will be making his debut on American soil after a fantastic 2013 that featured three victories by knockout. He is a consistent fighter with good technique who likes to work from a distance, relying on his wingspan and movement. Fort is hoping to rebound from a stoppage defeat against Caleb Truax in September. The native of St. Paul, Minn., is an opponent who sets the pace with his aggressiveness, but he lacks consistency on the offensive side, often leaving him exposed to the counter attack.

Sena Agbeko (15-0, 15 KOs) versus Ray Gatica (13-2, 8 KOs)

Expect fireworks in this pairing between two warriors with plenty of power. Agbeko, of Ghana, will attempt to extend his impressive knockout streak while making his first appearance in the U.S. Gatica, of Austin, Texas, looks to recover from a controversial defeat to Fernando Guerrero in November. Gatica is a fighter constantly on the move, looking to control the pace with quick combinations.

Brandon Adams (12-0, 8 KOs) versus Daniel Edouard (23-4-2, 14 KOs)

Adams, 24, of Los Angeles, has opened his career with 12 straight wins, albeit against relatively soft competition. He will match himself against the veteran Edouard, of Haiti, who returns to the ring following a three-year absence. At 33, Edouard has plenty of experience against the likes of Peter Manfredo, Alfonso Mosquera and Jermain Taylor.

FNF kicks off Boxcino lightweight tourney

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20

It's tourney time on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" as the quarterfinals of the 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament kick off this week at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev.

The Boxcino tournament, which kicks off its middleweight edition on Feb. 28, gets underway Friday (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) with four six-round single elimination bouts in the lightweight division. The network had previously broadcast a Boxcino tournament in 1997, won by future four-time world titlist Acelino "Popo" Freitas.

The career path of each of the fighters competing in the lightweight bracket have created a huge anticipation about the quality of bouts we are expected to see.

Yakubu Amidu (21-4-2, 19 KOs) vs. Chris Rudd (12-1, 8 KOs)

Amidu, 29, of Ghana, has held regional titles in Africa and is fresh off a win against Rynell Griffin in November. He has good technique and has already faced top level opponents such as Ali Funeka, Ricky Burns and Juan Carlos Burgos. Rudd, meanwhile, is a fearsome puncher who is coming off the first defeat of his career in November against William Jackson. The clash of styles -- technique versus aggression -- should produce a close and attractive battle.

Petr Petrov (32-4-2, 15 KOs) vs. Fedor Papazov (14-0, 9 KOs)

This bout between Russian fighters promises an entertaining pairing of experience against conviction. Petrov, 30, who was born in Ryazan and now resides in Spain, is a 14-year pro most known for his 2011 knockout loss to Marcos Maidana in an interim junior welterweight title bout in Argentina. Papazov, 28, who is known as "Knockout Man," has yet to face first-class opposition the way Petrov has. In his last bout, held in Krasnodar, Russia, Papazov won a 10-round decision against Sergio Javier Escobar.

Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) vs. Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-2-2, 21 KOs)

Expect a firefight between aggressive Mexican fighters in this one. Gonzalez, 28, who fights out of Cleveland, ended the 12-fight win streak of Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos by knockout last July. Mendoza, 30, has not only stopped all 21 opponents he has defeated, he has faced higher opposition than Gonzalez, including a 2011 defeat against Rey Bautista.

Fernando Carcamo (15-5, 12 KOs) vs. Samuel Neequaye (21-0, 15 KOs)

Neequaye, of Ghan, puts his unbeaten record on the line against the Mexican southpaw Carcamo. In his last bout, Neequaye, 30, won a decision over Dorin Spivey last August. But he faces a tough test in Carcamo, 23, who is aggressive and has plenty of power behind his punches. Carcamo has stopped his last five opponents, the last two inside of two rounds, including a victory last September against former world title contender Vicente Escobedo.