A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Washington, D.C.
Luis Ortiz KO6 Tony Thompson
Records: Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs); Thompson (40-7, 27 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: From the moment Ortiz knocked out contender Bryant Jennings in devastating fashion in the seventh round on Dec. 19, he immediately became the heavyweight division's bogeyman, a guy no top guys are interested in tangling with. He was a superb amateur on the famed Cuban national team and he's a fast southpaw with crushing power who does not generate enormous money. For all of those reasons, getting a top big man to set foot in the ring with him is and will be a nightmare for Golden Boy Promotions.
"You still haven't seen the best of me, you have not seen the best of 'King Kong.' I am ready for anyone in the ring any time."Luis Ortiz
Golden Boy ran through several opponents who turned down the opportunity to headline this HBO card. After Alexander Dimitrenko accepted, he tried to get more money that was not available and pulled out. So on about a month's notice, Thompson, the 44-year-old two-time former world title challenger (twice knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko), took the fight. Thompson has rarely turned down an opportunity and quickly accepted the fight with the bonus being that it was already set to take place in his hometown of Washington, D.C., where he had never fought in 17 years as a pro.
Thompson gave it his best effort but he was not in top shape, was very slow and was a sitting duck for Ortiz's blaster of a left hand. The 6-foot-4, 242-pound Ortiz, whose interim world title was not at stake because the organization understandably declined to sanction Thompson as a challenger, scored three knockdowns in the fight between southpaws.
Ortiz, who defected and fights out of Miami, nearly ended the fight in the first round when he knocked Thompson down hard with an overhand left to the head. The 6-5, 264-pound Thompson did not want to be embarrassed in front of his home crowd and showed heart to stay in the fight. But he had little to offer and went down for the second time from an identical overhand left as the third round ended.
In the sixth round, "The Real King Kong" once again landed a powerful overhand left and Thompson went down again. This time he was done and referee Malik Waleed counted him out at 2 minutes, 29 seconds as Thompson was trying to get up. It was another devastating performance from Ortiz and will do nothing to convince other top opponents to fight him.
Overall, he landed Ortiz landed 88 of 250 punches (35 percent) while Thompson connected on 43 of 221 punches (19 percent), according to CompuBox punch statistics.
As they should have, two judges had Ortiz winning every round but one judge, Washington's Lloyd Scaife, had a disgraceful hometown card on which he had the audacity to give Thompson two rounds in a fight that was pure Ortiz domination from start to finish.
Golden Boy hopes that Ortiz will return May 7 to fight on the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan HBO PPV undercard against Russian mandatory challenger Alexander Ustinov (33-1, 24 KOs). The fight is due by June 19.
Jessie Vargas TKO9 Sadam Ali
Wins a vacant welterweight title
Records: Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs); Ali (22-1, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In perhaps the best performance of his career, Vargas, 26, a former junior welterweight titlist from Las Vegas, scored a definitive victory to claim his second world title. He and Ali, a 27-year-old 2008 U.S. Olympian from Brooklyn, New York, met for the 147-pound world title recently vacated by Timothy Bradley Jr., who elected to accept a big-money third meeting with Manny Pacquiao on April 9 rather than face Ali, the mandatory challenger.
Going into the fight, it was universally viewed as an even fight that could be a good one, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. It was competitive and entertaining as both fighters had their moments in the fast-paced fight.
In the end, however, it was Vargas, who landed more punches, was more accurate and who had an answer whenever Ali would land, who rose to the occasion. He fought a very disciplined fight and gave credit for the win to the game plan and motivation given to him by Dewey Cooper, his new trainer.
Vargas came into the fight with a chip on his shoulder still ticked off by how his last fight in June ended, a unanimous decision loss challenging Bradley for the belt. He came close to stopping Bradley in the final seconds of the bout, but felt as though he was robbed of the chance to finish him when referee Pat Russell mistook the clapper signaling 10 seconds left in the round as the final bell and stopped the fight with about seven seconds left. Vargas vowed he would not wait around to get going again and he did lived up to that promise against Ali, whom he knocked down twice.
Ali's right eye began to swell in the action-packed fourth round. Ali was having a very good eighth round when Vargas cracked him with a clean overhand right that crumpled him near the ropes as the round was coming to an end. Vargas continued to attack in the ninth round, dropping him with a right hand midway through it and then finishing him when he badly rocked him with another right hand and referee Kenny Chevalier intervened at 2 minutes, 9 seconds.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Vargas landed 159 of 429 punches (37 percent) and Ali landed 118 of 408 blows (29 percent). But Vargas, ahead on all three scorecards going into the ninth round, closed the show in that round by landing 21 of 35 power punches.
With the victory in hand and the belt around his waist, Vargas called for a rematch with Bradley regardless of the outcome of his third meeting with Pacquiao. Top Rank promoter said he would like to match Vargas with the April 9 winner. Whatever happens, Vargas, with such a good and crowd-pleasing performance, put himself in position for big business.
Oscar Escandon KO7 Robinson Castellanos
Wins a vacant interim featherweight title
Records: Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs); Castellanos (21-11, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In November, titleholder Gary Russell Jr. was scheduled to face Escandon in a voluntary defense before he was supposed to face mandatory challenger Castellanos. But Russell suffered a cut in training and the fight with Escandon was canceled. With Russell sidelined, Castellanos and Escandon were approved to fight each other for the interim belt with Russell mandated to fight the winner later this year.
Castellanos, 33, of Mexico, had scored two upsets in row -- a fifth-round knockout of then-undefeated Ronny Rios in October 2014 and a lopsided decision against Rocky Juarez in January 2015 -- to earn the mandatory shot against Russell. But Castellanos could not make it three big wins in a row as the much-shorter Escandon, 31, a 2004 Colombian Olympian, who was moving up in weight, pressured him nonstop, banged him to the body and outfought him.
Castellanos' best moment came in the second round when he dropped Escandon with a hard jab-right hand combination that sent him to his backside. Escandon, however, did not appear hurt, got up quickly and took over the fight.
He steadily broke Castellanos down, had him in trouble in the fifth round (during which Castellanos suffered a bad cut over his left eye) and then dropped him with a clean right uppercut in the seventh round. Castellanos went down to a knee and referee Frank Garza counted him out at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. It was a big win for Escandon, who has yet to meet his baby daughter, who was born three weeks ago while he was in training camp.
Saturday at Bethlehem, Pa.
Julian "J Rock" Williams TKO7 Marcello Matano
Junior middleweight - Title eliminator
Scores: 116-112 (twice) Frampton, 115-113 Quigg
Records: Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs); Matano (16-2, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Williams, 25, of Philadelphia, is probably right when he says that no top 154-pounder is going to fight him unless he has to. Now, one will. Williams beat and battered Matano -- who should have never been anywhere near a world title elimination fight based on his overwhelmingly soft opposition -- in a one-sided fight that headlined a Showtime-televised tripleheader to become the mandatory challenger to titleholder Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs). It is a fight that should be a snap to make since they are both with manager Al Haymon.
Matano, 29, of Italy, who was fighting outside of his home country for the first time, saw a four-fight winning streak end in violent fashion. He showed toughness but Williams took his time and broke him down, especially with a good body attack.
Williams was in total command when he hurt Matano with a left hook and a right hand in the seventh round. Williams then pounded a defenseless Matano across the ring with a series of big punches until referee Gary Rosato waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 24 seconds. After the fight Williams made his case for a significant fight and for Charlo to face him.
"Maybe guys will come out from under the rock and get some of this West Philly work," William said. "Jermall has been watching my performances. Him and his (twin) brother (Jermell) know exactly who I am. He needs to fight or vacate now. He needs to step up, but he's already laying his groundwork and making excuses. Step up and fight me. It's two of the best junior middleweights in the world. It's about greatness. I want to be great. All of you turkeys at 154 pounds, let's fight."
Avtandil Khurtsidze TKO10 Antoine Douglas
Records: Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 21 KOs); Douglas (19-1-1, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Fast-rising contender Douglas, 23, of Burke, Virginia, was supposed to take on 42-year-old former titleholder Sam Soliman (44-13, 18 KOs), whose best days are way behind him. But Soliman suffered a knee injury and pulled out and Khurtsidze, a superior opponent, took the fight on less than three weeks' notice. It proved to be a very bad decision by Douglas' team to accept him as the opponent. Khurtsidze, 36, a native of Georgia (the former Soviet Republic) who fights out of Brooklyn, New York, extended his winning streak to nine fights in a row with a bruising performance in which he doled out such extensive punishment to Douglas that his career may be altered forever.
The 5-foot-4 Khurtsidze, who has not lost since a decision to Hassan N'Dam in an interim world title bout in 2010, bulled forward from the start laid a beating on Douglas, who got no assistance from his cornermen, who should be ashamed of themselves for not protecting their fighter and stopping the fight sooner.
Khurtsidze knocked Douglas down for the first time in his career with a left hand early in the third round, sending him face first through the ropes. Douglas rallied to win the fourth and fifth rounds in the highly entertaining bout before Khurtsidze opened the seventh with a huge left hand that floored Douglas again. A fading Douglas took enormous punishment in the 10th round as Khurtsidze blasted away until referee Benjy Esteves finally stopped it at 33 seconds with Douglas defenseless against the ropes.
"I knew he was going to get tired," Khurtsidze said. "I felt like I was going to catch him. He's a good fighter, but he's not strong. I knew he was going to be hungry. But I also knew that I was going to beat him. It was short notice but I did everything I could in the time we had. I stayed in the gym and stayed sharp. Whoever they put in front me, I'm ready for them. I love fighting. I'll fight anybody."
Douglas, who spent the night in the hospital for observation, said, "I feel OK. He definitely dictated. He definitely had a better day today. It's not discouraging, we just weren't able to execute. Naturally, I'm crushed. It's back to the drawing board."
Tony Harrison TKO6 Fernando Guerrero
Records: Harrison (23-1, 19 KOs); Guerrero (28-4, 20 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Harrison, 25, of Detroit, was viewed by many as a can't-miss prospect until he ran into Willie Nelson last July and was upset in a ninth-round knockout. Harrison rebounded in October for a one-sided decision against Cecil McCalla and followed with this dominant knockout victory against Guerrero, a 29-year-old southpaw from Salisbury, Maryland.
The first round illustrated how the fight unfolded as Harrison landed 10 of 38 punches, according to CompuBox statistics, while Guerrero pulled the rare feat of landing none of his 11 shots. Things did not get much better for him. Harrison pounded him in the second round with a series of heavy shots before knocking him down face first with a right hand just before the bell ended the round. Guerrero had a couple decent moments in the fourth and fifth rounds but Harrison was never in any trouble and then he put Guerrero away in the sixth round with two more knockdowns. A left hand dropped Guerrero to his rear end in a corner and when the fight resumed he was so wobbly that he staggered near another corner across the ring before Harrison nailed him with one right hand. Guerrero went down again in that corner and referee Gary Rosato waved off the fight at 1 minute, 54 seconds.
Overall, Harrison landed 100 of 314 punches (35 percent) and Guerrero connected on just 51 of 188 (27 percent). Guerrero, who was knocked out by then-middleweight titlist Peter Quillin in the seventh round of a 2013 title shot, dropped to 3-3 in his last six, including that loss. All of his defeats have been by knockout and it does not look like he has anywhere left to go at this point. Harrison seems back on track after his defeat and said he wants a rematch with Nelson.
Also on the card, blue chip middleweight prospect Ievgen Khytrov (13-0, 11 KOs), 27, a 2012 Ukrainian Olympian who fights out of Brooklyn, New York, won a unanimous decision against Kenneth McNeil (9-2, 6 KOs), 25, of Birmingham, Alabama, on scores of 99-90, 97-92 and 97-92.
Saturday at Grozny, Russia
Lucas Browne TKO10 Ruslan Chagaev
Wins a heavyweight title
Records: Browne (24-0, 21 KOs); Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: When Tyson Fury outpointed Wladimir Klitschko in a big upset in November he became the legitimate heavyweight champion. Period. However, the WBA has this nasty habit -- one it claims it is trying to break -- of having three titleholders in the same weight class with a "super," "regular" and interim titleholder. Chagaev has been the secondary so-called "regular" titleholder since 2014 and was making his second defense against mandatory challenger Browne.
Browne, 36, showed enormous heart to rally for the biggest win of his career as he became the first Australian to win a heavyweight title. The fight was a bit messy, but Chagaev, a 37-year-old southpaw from Uzbekistan, dropped Browne hard with a straight left hand with 35 seconds left in the sixth round. Bleeding from his left eye and on wobbly legs, Chagaev blasted Browne with another left hand that sent him bouncing off the ropes moments later. Browne was in terrible shape as the round ended and was lucky to make to the bell. Browne got himself together and actually had a pretty good seventh round.
In the 10th round, Browne, cut over his left eye and on his forehead, landed a flush right hand on Chagaev's chin, which sent him staggering backward and down with a minute to go. Chagaev walked into the punch that he never saw and was badly hurt. He beat the count but was in rough shape. Browne went right after him and teed off. He landed around 18 unanswered shots -- mostly right hands -- as Chagaev staggered along the ropes until referee Stanley Christodoulou finally stopped it at 2 minutes, 27 seconds. He was definitely a few punches too late on the stoppage.
With the upset secured, Browne next is obligated to face Fres Oquendo by June in one of the bouts that is part of a WBA tournament designed to whittle its titleholders down to only one.
"I'm so proud to have won this title for Australia," Browne said. "Obviously, I can improve but I showed that my heart and power can never be questioned. I'm thrilled to have made history. It was a big step up, but I got the win and I thank everyone for the support. Words can't describe how I feel right now."
Saturday at Mexico City
Antonio Margarito W10 Jorge Paez Jr.
Scores: 97-93, 96-93, 95-94
Records: Margarito (39-8, 27 KOs); Paez Jr. (39-8-2, 23 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: More than four years after former welterweight world titleholder Margarito had his surgically repaired right eye turned into hamburger in a 10th-round knockout loss to then-junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto in their hostility-filled December 2011 rematch and then retired, he returned to the ring.
Mexico's Margarito, who turns 38 next week, looked extremely rusty and slow against Paez, 28, of Mexico, who was moving up in weight as he lost his second fight in a row and for the third time in his last four bouts. Despite Paez's limitations he gave Margarito a lot of problems in this high-contact slugfest. Margarito's right eye still looks horrible and misshapen, he's even slower now than he was during his prime and he did not seem to have a lot of steam on punches, but he stood in the center of the ring and traded with Paez for most of the fight.
The crowd of around 10,000 loved the action and grew even louder in the sixth round, when Paez connected with a pair of hard right hands and a left to knock Margarito down hard. Margarito showed resilience by beating the count. He was very wobbly as Paez tried to finish him but Margarito dug deep and fought back hard in some of the most intense exchanges of the brawl. Margarito recovered well from the knockdown and finished the fight strongly, even nearly stopping Paez in the final round.
Margarito, still viewed as an outcast by many for attempting to fight Shane Mosley in a 2009 welterweight title fight with hand wraps that contained elements of plaster of Paris (and having his license revoked for it), got the win over Paez but what is the point of continuing his career? Paez is a journeyman and nearly knocked him out. A good opponent probably would destroy Margarito, whose eye was first badly injured in a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2011, after which he had surgery. The notion of Margarito getting a big fight is unseemly.
Giovanni Delgado W10 Cesar Juarez
Scores: 96-95, 96-93 Delgado, 95-94 Juarez
Records: Delgado (16-4, 9 KOs); Juarez (17-5, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Delgado, 24, of Mexico, the third opponent in about 10 days took the fight on a couple of days' notice and pulled the upset. He came into the bout having lost two in a row and three of his last four bouts. Juarez, 24, of Mexico, was coming off a decision loss in a sensational brawl with Nonito Donaire for a vacant junior featherweight world title fight on Dec. 11. Perhaps he returned to action to quickly after that brutal fight. Whatever it was, he did not have the same kind of spirit that he had in the title bout, and Delgado got off first throughout the solid scrap. Delgado stayed busy round in and round out and did enough to get the close decision.
Friday at Tampa
Orlando Cruz W10 Romulo Koasicha
Scores: 100-87, 99-88 (twice)
Records: Cruz (23-4-1, 11 KOs); Koasicha (25-6, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Cruz, 34, of Puerto Rico, who came out as boxing's only openly gay fighter in 2012, won his third bout in a row since back-to-back losses, including by seventh-round knockout to Orlando Salido for a vacant featherweight world title in October 2013. Cruz dominated Koasicha in the Telemundo-televised main event, scoring three knockdown en route to the victory.
Cruz floored Koasicha twice in the sixth round, first with a left hand that left Koasicha with a bloody nose, and then with a combination later in the round. In the 10th round, Cruz dropped him again under heavy pressure. It was as one-sided a fight as there could be without a knockout.
Koasicha, 24, of Mexico, lost his second fight in a row, having been previously knocked out in the 10th round in November challenging featherweight world titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko.
Friday at Kyoto, Japan
Shinsuke Yamanaka W12 Liborio Solis
Retains a bantamweight title
Scores: 117-107 (three times)
Records: Yamanaka (25-0-2, 17 KOs); Solis (23-4-1, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Yamanaka, a 33-year-old Japanese southpaw, survived two knockdowns in the third round but also knocked down former junior bantamweight titleholder Solis, 33, of Venezuela, twice en route to the victory. Yamanaka, who retained his title for the 10th time, scored his knockdowns in the second round (on a right hook) and ninth round (left hand). Solis' right hand caused Yamanaka to hit the deck twice in the third. Yamanaka got back in the fight, and because open scoring was used, he knew he was ahead 77-72 on all three scorecards following the eighth round.
Ganigan Lopez W12 Yu Kimura
Wins a junior flyweight title
Scores: 119-109, 118-110, 114-114
Records: Lopez (27-6, 17 KOs); Kimura (18-3-1, 3 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Lopez, a 34-year-old southpaw from Mexico, lost his first shot at a world title when then-junior flyweight titlist Pedro Guevara outpointed him in July. Two fights later, Lopez got another shot and pulled the upset against Kimura, 32, of Japan, who was making his first defense after having taken the belt from Guevara by split decision in November. It was a relatively boring fight as neither fighter had much to show on offense but Lopez, a little sharper, got the job done in fairly dominant fashion.
Wednesday at Chonburi, Thailand
Wanheng Menayothin TKO5 Go Odaira
Retains a strawweight title
Records: Menayothin (41-0, 16 KOs); Odaira (12-5-3, 1 KO)
Rafael's remarks: Menayothin, 30, of Thailand, retained his 105-pound world title for the fourth time as he constantly pressured Odaira, a 31-year-old southpaw from Japan, who was fighting for the first time in one year. Menayothin dropped him in the third round with a right hand and took a shellacking the rest of the way as he lost his second strawweight world title bout in his last three bouts. In the fifth round, Menayothin landed a pair of uppercuts that had him in big trouble before he went down after taking a few more shots. Referee Raymond Chang stopped the bout at 2 minutes without bothering to count.