This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook takes a look at the past weekend's bouts, including Vasyl Lomachenko's brilliant performance, and John Molina's surprising upset of rugged Ruslan Provodnikov. Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:
John Molina defeats Ruslan Provodnikov via unanimous decision
Welterweight John Molina captured a surprising unanimous decision and outpunched slugger Ruslan Provodnikov in an all-action, 12-round fight from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, by revealing a new weapon in his arsenal -- a sharp and steady jab.
“We knew we had to outwork Provodnikov,” said Molina, the 33-year-old Covina, California, native. “It was a fight that we needed. Ruslan Provodnikov is a very notable name. He’s a tough, tough guy. He kept moving forward."
Molina and Provodnikov promised a war, and they delivered. But what surprised many was the volume of punches and effective jabbing from Molina (29-6, 23 KOs), a veteran more known for engaging in brawls than his boxing prowess.
“People don’t realize I had my amateur career in the pros, and now it’s my time to step out and shine," said Molina. "I have a new trainer. Shadeed (Suluki) showed me how to throw punches and use my power.”
Molina threw nearly 1,110 total punches, including 643 jabs compared to just 265 for Provodnikov, who failed to close the range on his naturally bigger opponent.
"There are no excuses," said Provodnikov. "I lost the fight tonight. I couldn’t find the hungriness. I have to sit down and think of why that happened."
The bout was scored 116-112, 117-111, 115-113. The judges agreed on nine of the 12 rounds, a relatively high percentage according to Showtime analyst Steve Farhood.
Provodnikov did not dispute the scoring.
“Today the decision was the right one,” Provnikov said. “Molina won the fight – he was better tonight. Everything was scored the way it should have been."
Jorge Linares to face Anthony Crolla on September 24 in the UK
Current WBA Lightweight World Champion Anthony Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs) will face WBC Lightweight World Champion Jorge Linares (40-3, 27 KOs) in a unification bout for the WBA, WBC Diamond and The Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships at the Manchester Arena on September 24, 2016, live on Sky Sports.
"I'm so excited to have the chance to unify the Lightweight division," said Crolla. "Jorge is a fantastic fighter and it's another mountain to climb, but these are the tests that I thrive on and I've beaten two great fighters in Perez and Barroso and I'm confident that I can beat Jorge too."
Crolla will make the second defense of his crown in his hometown fortress following his brilliant knockout victory over Venezuelan Ismael Barroso in May.
The Manchester hero now faces another huge test as he aims to unify the division, with gifted Venezuelan Linares putting the WBC Diamond belt on the line for the third time.
Linares became a three-division world champion when he won the title back in December 2014 with a fourth round knockout of Javier Prieto. He then travelled to London in his first defense against Kevin Mitchell last May, climbing off the canvas to stop Mitchell in the tenth round of an epic contest that received acclaim as a 2015 Fight of the Year candidate. The 30-year-old made it three wins in a row in October when he knocked out Ivan Cano in four rounds in Caracas, Venezuela.
"This is my first unification fight and a great personal challenge for me and my career," said Linares. "Last year was an unbelievable year; I had the opportunity to fight in England against Kevin Mitchell in front of a crowd of passionate fight fans in one of the greatest fights of my career. This unification fight for the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships is another personal accomplishment for me and a great opportunity for me to fight in England once more, to be in front of a strong fight fan base."
Crolla can become the first Englishman to win The Ring Magazine Lightweight title and is relishing the task against another elite level opponent, and the 29 year old expects his fans to turn up the heat on the classy WBC king.
"I've been a fan of Jorge Linares for years now and he's technically brilliant at times but like any other fighter, he has vulnerabilities," said Crolla. "It's up to me to expose those vulnerabilities and I truly believe that I can and I will. Linares is a great champion but these are the fights you want to be in boxing for."
Crolla believes Linares' inactivity will hurt him.
"He looked well against (Ivan) Cano last time out but he hasn't been very active, whereas I'm coming off a career-best performance over (Ismael) Barroso," said Crolla. "I really believe I'm coming into this fight in the form of my career and as I've shown in the fights against (Darleys) Perez and Barroso, I'm capable of improving my game when I have to."
As for Linares' "champion in recess designation," WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman provided the following explanation:
"Linares was placed as champion in recess by the WBC due to a broken hand which prevented him from making his mandatory defense. The WBC has granted Linares to return to the ring to fight this blockbuster unification for the prestigious Diamond belt and the winner is committed to fight Dejan Zlaticanin. I am personally proud of this fight as it continues with our goal to facilitate the best matches to take place all over the world."
Demetrius Andrade flattens Willie Nelson
In the co-feature to the Provodnikov-Molina bout, Demetrius Andrade delivered a statement knockout victory over Willie Nelson, staking his claim as one of the world’s best in the stacked 154-pound division.
Undefeated former world champion Demetrius Andrade put on a masterful performance against the top-10 ranked Willie Nelson, flooring the former world title challenger four times, including once in the opening round, and again emphatically in the final round to close the show (TKO 12, 1:38).
“I came back, I’m stronger," said Andrade. "Me and my team worked hard. We figured out what we need to do to take it to the next level. I’m ready for the Charlo brothers. I want them.”
With the win, Andrade, who landed a staggering 57 percent of his power punches in just his second fight in two years, moved one step closer to earning another shot at a title fight. Andrade, who never lost his belt in the ring, is now the second mandatory challenger for the WBC Super Welterweight World Title, currently held by Jermell Charlo.
“I’m coming to get those belts,” said the 28-year-old Andrade. “People can’t run no more. The best have to fight the best. I’m coming for them."
Andrade was on his way to pitching a shutout, delivering a statement performance after months of frustration from “boxing politics.” The former WBO 154-pound champion targeted the head and the body of Nelson, relying on a steady diet of combos to floor the 6-foot-3 Nelson in the first, 11th, and twice in the 12th.
“I’m young enough and my reaction time is still going,” Andrade said. “Willie Nelson is a true champion. He pushed me to the limit where I had to figure out what punches to throw. But I put the pieces of the puzzle together and got the knockout, baby."
Nelson, of Cleveland, dropped to 25-3-1 with 15 KOs.
“He was tough,” Nelson said. “I was forcing my shots too much. I felt like I was getting back into the fight, but he was crafty and mobile."
In another undercard bout, Dejan Zlaticanin (18-0, 10 KOs) knocked out Franklin Mamani to earn the vacant 135-pound world title and make history as the first native of Montenegro to win a world championship.
Zlaticanin, 32, blasted late-replacement Mamani with a third round TKO (:54) to win the vacant WBC Lightweight World Championship.
“I’m very proud. I made Montenegro proud,” Zlaticanin said. “I want to thank my fans that came to support me. I think I made my country proud. I think they will be delighted. I don’t think they know what this means, but in a few days they will know.”
The southpaw Zlaticanin pounced with a powerful straight left that had Mamani in trouble just seconds into the fight. The Bolivian, who was also aiming to become the first native of his homeland to win a title, survived the round but he was in trouble again in the third. Zlaticanin staggered him with an overhand left and followed with a series of unanswered blows that forced referee Charlie Fitch to halt the contest with Mamani (21-3-1, 12 KOs) defenseless against the ropes.
After the fight, Zlaticanin called out Jorge Linares, the WBC Lightweight “Champion in Recess”, who pulled out of a tentatively scheduled match with Zlaticanin due to an injury.
“I want Linares next," said Zlaticanin. "He can't run from me anymore."
In additional undercard action, Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs) won a unanimous decision (96-92, 95-93, 99-89) over John Thompson (17-2, 6 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight matchup of former world title challengers. Monroe scored two knockdowns, one in the second and another with a straight right jab in the fifth.
In the opening bout, Russian heavyweight Andrey Fedosov (29-3, 24 KOs) scored four knockdowns en route to a sixth round TKO (1:33) of Mario Heredia (11-2, 9 KOs, 1-2 in WSB).
Adonis Stevenson to face Thomas Williams on July 29
Powerful Adonis "Superman" Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) and lineal light heavyweight (175 pound division) title for the seventh time, against the dangerous, WBC No. 9 rated Thomas "Top Dog" Williams (20-1, 14 KOs), on July 29 at Centre Videotron.
"I am very happy to get back in the ring for my next fight, which will be held July 16 in the superb Centre Videotron of Quebec, against Thomas Williams Jr.," Stevenson said. "I will demonstrate that, like fine wine, I am even better with age. Even though I haven't boxed for 10 months, I've never left the gym and I'm willing to defend my crown."
Williams, of Fort Washington, Maryland, at 28, is 10 years younger than Stevenson and also left-handed. He had a successful amateur career and is reputed to be a major danger in the ring as evidenced by his 10 victories won by knockout in less than two rounds, including his last two outings against renowned Edwin Rodriguez (28-1, 19 KOs) and Umberto Savigne (12-2, 9 KOs).
In both of those two fights, Williams was an underdog, but his determination and lethal punching power made the difference.
"There were many who had lost trust in me two years ago after my loss to Gabriel Campillo (24-6-1, 11 KOs)," Williams explained. "I don't make excuses but there were circumstances that led to this result. I'm coming off the best performance of my career and I'm ready to make a change July 29 in terms of the holding title belt. Stevenson has never faced a puncher like me in the past."
In the co-feature, current WBC Silver light heavyweight champion and WBC No. 1 contender, Eleider Alvarez (19-0, 10 KOs), will attempt to maintain his position as the WBC mandatory challenger against Maximiliano Gomez (22-5, 9 KOs), of Argentina.
Also scheduled to be in action are Nova Scotia native Custio Clayton (8-0, 7 KOs), who will attempt to continue his rise in the welterweight division; Quebec heavyweight Eric Martel Bahoeli (11-6, 7 KOs); charismatic Montreal welterweight Junior Ulysse (10-0, 7 KOs); and welterweight Marie Eve Dicaire (4-0).
Leo Santa Cruz to face Carl Frampton on July 30 in Brooklyn
Undefeated featherweight world champion and local Southern California product Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) will travel to Barclays Center in Brooklyn on July 30 to face fellow unbeaten Irish star Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs). The bout will be televised on Showtime.
“I am in terrific shape, I feel fantastic in the gym and I am ready for the biggest fight of my career,” said Frampton. “On July 30 I will become a two weight world champion. I respect Leo Santa Cruz, he is a great fighter and person, but I am preparing meticulously to overcome any challenge he brings on July 30. I cannot wait to hear the crowd at Barclays Center. It is my first time boxing in New York, where some of the greatest fights have taken place. I know there will be a large number of fans traveling from the UK and Ireland but there is also a huge Irish-American audience and I am eager to show them all what I can do.”
Santa Cruz and Frampton collide in a battle of world champions who mix dizzying speed with incredible output to produce exciting fights. Frampton, a unified world champion at 122 pounds, will move up a notch in weight and challenge at 126 pounds.
Even more notable is that the fight will take place away from the West Coast fanbase Santa Cruz has cultivated over the years.
"I've never been to New York before and I’m looking forward to this big opportunity to put on a show for new fans in a new city,” said Santa Cruz. “I always fight for the fans and I'm excited to be able to do that somewhere I haven't been before. Frampton is a good fighter. He has power and skills and he moves when he has to, but he has a weak chin. When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down. He doesn't like pressure and I have that. I'm looking forward to putting on an exciting show at Barclays Center and I hope I leave with lots of new fans."
Santa Cruz won the 126-pound title in a “Fight of the Year” candidate against former three-division champ Abner Mares last August in Los Angeles. It was just the third fight in the featherweight division for Santa Cruz, who has won belts at 118 and 122 pounds while earning a reputation as one of boxing’s most active and exciting fighters.
The 27-year-old Santa Cruz also holds victories over Cristian Mijares and Eric Morel. He has competed in world title bouts in 11 of his last 13 fights since 2012. After stopping former world champion Kiko Martinez in the fifth round last Feb. 27, Santa Cruz makes his second world title defense in his East Coast debut.
After defeating rival Scott Quigg in their 122-pound unification bout last Feb. 27, Frampton will attempt to capture a world title in a second weight class. Fighting out of Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Irish national amateur champion in 2005 and 2009 expects to bring some of his rabid fans stateside come July 30.
The 29-year-old Frampton became a world champion in 2014 when he defeated Kiko Martinez to earn a super bantamweight title. He made his U.S. debut in July 2015 when he defeated Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez Jr. in Texas before unifying the title against Quigg.
Jury renders verdict in Canelo civil lawsuit case
A Florida jury ruled against boxing star Canelo Alvarez and awarded the promoter for All-Star Boxing $8.5 million in damages. All-Star Boxing sued both Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions for essentially taking Canelo away from the company while the boxer was under contract.
The jury found that no such contract existed, and thus, Golden Boy would not be responsible for any damages. However, it did find that Canelo was the beneficiary of unjust enrichment, finding that All-Star Boxing should be compensated by Canelo in the amount of $8.5 million.
Alvarez is likely to appeal the verdict.
Golden Boy Promotions issued the following statement about the case:
"We are extremely pleased that not only did the jury find that no contract ever existed between Canelo and All-Star Boxing, but issued a judgment against All-Star Boxing and ordered them to pay Golden Boy's substantial legal fees."
"Over the last five-plus years, many questioned why we wouldn't just settle the case before trial. The answer is simple: We would not be extorted. It was clear from the beginning that neither Canelo Alvarez nor Golden Boy Promotions had acted inappropriately in any way. We are grateful that the jury was able to see that."
"However, it is absurd to think that All-Star Boxing provided anywhere near that amount of value that the jury awarded under a separate claim. We will appeal this part of the decision, and are confident we will win, just as we did on the contract dispute."
"Outside of appealing the financial damages, we now look forward to putting this episode behind us and working with Canelo Alvarez to continue his meteoric rise though the boxing ranks."
Vasyl Lomachenko picks up second belt with spectacular win
He came, He saw, He annihilated.
Two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko showed why many consider him to be the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, as he knocked out defending three-time WBO junior lightweight world champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez (29--3-3, 17 KOs), of Puerto Rico in the fifth round on Saturday night.
"I need more fights to get better. I want more fights to make history," declared Lomachenko after he hoisted up his new world championship belt. "Line up all the top fighters and let's find out who is the best."
Lomachenko was a force of nature in the bout, slipping punches, using brilliant footwork, creating angles, flashing his hand speed, and then unleashing his thudding combinations, all of which made the veteran Martinez look like an overwhelmed amateur.
Lomachenko is now a two-division world champion, and just as he did with his first professional world title, he won world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights -- seven.
Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) captured his first world title -- the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title -- in his third professional bout, winning a 12-round majority decision over unbeaten Gary Russell in 2014 to tie the record for fewest fights to win a world title. On Saturday, he broke the record for winning world titles in two different weight divisions in the least amount of fights.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services