This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook takes a look at an exciting upcoming September fight card at the Fabulous Forum, as well as Sergiy Derevyanchenko's recent win. Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:
The Numbers on Leo Santa Cruz versus Carl Frampton
The featherweight world championship clash between defending titlist Leo Santa Cruz and undefeated former unified super bantamweight champ Carl Frampton features an unpredictable and potentially explosive mix of styles between two of the world’s top fighters.
Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) will make the second defense of his WBA Featherweight Title against Irish superstar Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs), who relinquished two belts at 122 pounds, when they face off in the main event on Saturday, July 30, live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Three-division world champion Santa Cruz ranks as one of the world’s top-three fighters in four key categories – Total Punches Thrown, Landed, Connect Percentage, and Power Punches Landed (all per round, per CompuBox).
The stats prove that Santa Cruz is one of the best punchers in the world, topping Gennady Golovkin, Manny Pacquiao, and ranking only second by a small margin to pound-for-pound champ Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in Power Punches Landed Per Round.
More impressively, Santa Cruz ranks as the world’s best in the Plus/Minus category that was dominated for years by pound-for-pound champ Floyd Mayweather.
In that statistical measure, which is determined by subtracting opponents connect percentage from a fighter's connect percentage, Santa Cruz stands tall at No. 1 (+15.8% per fight), followed by Andre Ward (+15.3), Golovkin (+15.2), Erislandy Lara (+14.5), Terence Crawford (+13.2), Roman Gonzalez (+12.5), and Canelo Alvarez (+12).
While Santa Cruz is a statistical leader in five key categories, defending Santa Cruz’s biggest strength – power punches – is one of Frampton’s greatest attributes.
In his last six fights, Frampton’s opponents landed just 29.2 percent of their power punches. Comparatively, Santa Cruz landed an astonishing 46.9 percent of his power shots over his last eight fights.
Frampton ranks in the top 10 of Opponents Power Punches Connected, meaning he stops his opponents from landing power shots at a staggering rate. Frampton ranks No. 10 in a group that features Guillermo Rigondeaux, Lara, Wladimir Klitschko, Ward, and Crawford.
Additionally, Frampton is the second best in the world in Average Number Of Jabs Thrown Per Round, behind leader Jesus Cuellar and well ahead of Rigondeaux (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 6), Crawford (No. 7) and Kell Brook (No. 8). Santa Cruz is also a statistical leader in this category, ranking No. 9 in the world.
PLUS/MINUS (hit vs. get hit)
Santa Cruz ranks as the world’s best, followed by Andre Ward (No. 2), Gennady Golovkin (No. 3), Erislandy Lara (No. 4), Terence Crawford (No. 5), Roman Gonzalez (No. 6) and Canelo Alvarez (No. 7). The retired Floyd Mayweather had previously held the top spot.
TOTAL PUNCHES THROWN PER ROUND
Leo Santa Cruz only trails Roman Gonzalez in terms of total punches thrown per round. Santa Cruz (No. 2) tops Jesus Ceullar (No. 3), Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 6), Orlando Salido (No. 7) and Gennady Golovkin (No. 9). Santa Cruz throws 84.6 total punches per round, compared to boxing’s overall average of 55.5.
AVERAGE TOTAL PUNCHES LANDED PER ROUND
Santa Cruz trails Roman Gonzalez by less than two percent, connecting at a 33.1 percent clip compared to the overall average of 16.9. At No. 2, Santa Cruz tops pound-for-pound mainstays Gennady Golovkin (No. 3) and Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 4). Santa Cruz’s average more than doubles the CompuBox average punches landed per round of 16.9.
TOTAL CONNECT PERCENTAGE
Santa Cruz ranks in the top three in this important category in which only a few percentage points separate the world’s best. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. ranks No. 1, followed by Golovkin, Santa Cruz, Roman Gonzalez, Adrien Broner and Andre Ward respectively. At 39.2 percent, Santa Cruz landed at a nearly 10 percent higher rate than the overall average.
AVERAGE POWER PUNCHES LANDED PER ROUND
Santa Cruz is second in the world in this category, trailing only Roman Gonzalez by a slim margin and topping Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 3), Abner Mares (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 7) and Pacquiao (No. 8) among others.
AVERAGE JABS THROWN PER ROUND
Santa Cruz and Frampton both rank in the top 10 in average number of jabs thrown per round.
Frampton, who is second in the world behind leader Jesus Cuellar, tops master jabbers Rigondeaux (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 6), Crawford (No. 7) and Brook (No. 8). Santa Cruz is ninth best in this category. Frampton, who trails Cuellar by just one percentage point, throws 13 more jabs per round than the overall average.
OPPONENTS POWER PUNCHES CONNECTED
Frampton is amongst the world’s best at preventing his opponent from landing power shots. He ranks at No. 10 in a category that includes Rigondeaux (No. 1), Lara (No. 2), Wladimir Klitschko (No. 3), Ward (No. 4) and Crawford (No. 5). Frampton’s opponents landed just 29.2 percent of their power shots.
Derevyanchenko stops Soliman
Unbeaten rising middleweight Sergiy "The Technician" Derevyanchenko (9-0, 7 KOs) knocked down veteran Sam Soliman (44-14, 18 KOs) three times before stopping the former world champion in the second round of the main event of Premier Boxing Champions Thursday night from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.
A 2008 Ukranian Olympian, Derevyanchenko was in control from the start, standing his ground and delivering smart shots as Soliman attempted to flummox him with movement and awkward angles.
"Soliman came out nervous and not very coordinated, but that's the way he usually fights," said Derevyanchenko. "That's his style."
Soliman got caught with a missile right hand from Derevyanchenko that landed right on the chin and sent the off-balance Australian to the canvas. Soliman didn't appear hurt however, as he continued to come forward to try to disrupt and frustrate the undefeated fighter.
"I looked into his eyes after I knocked him down the first time and I knew he would continue coming forward," said Derevyanchenko. "I wasn't going to drop my guard. I didn't even feel that punch on my glove because it was so clean to the chin. But I felt the last knockdown."
Derevyanchenko continued to land effective shots and caught Soliman off-balance again in Round Two, this time with a left hook that put Soliman on the ground. Soliman again got to his feet but Derevyanchenko quickly stunned Soliman and put him into survival mode.
Soliman tried to tie up and avoid Derevyanchenko, but eventually the undefeated fighter, who trains in Brooklyn, landed several right hands before a sweeping left hook sent Soliman to the ground hard and for the final time of the night. Referee Johnny Callas waved the fight off at 2:41 of the second round.
"I'm doing well," said Soliman after the fight. "I didn't get to warm up, just a couple of minutes, but that's no excuse. He did his job. That's never happened before to me."
The opening bout of the evening saw hard-hitting Ievgen Khytrov (13-0, 11 KOs) unleash a non-stop attack on Paul Mendez (19-3-2, 9 KOs) before eventually earning a stoppage in the ninth-round of their middleweight matchup.
Khytrov and Mendez went toe-to-toe from the first-round, exchanging flurries and showing a willingness to stand in front of their opponent. It was Khytrov who showed the more varied attack while getting out to a fast start and landing 50 percent of his power punches over the first three rounds.
"I love to fight and battle and go toe-to-toe," said Khytrov. "I executed the game plan. My defense was much better and I've worked hard on my defense. This was my best fight because that guy stood and fought, he didn't run."
Mendez stood tough and continued throwing punches, but was unable to land anything that bothered Khytrov. The Ukranian-born fighter, who trains in Brooklyn, attacked the body early while dazing Mendez with uppercuts and power hooks. Rounds Seven and Eight saw Khytrov increase his attack as he seemingly landed power punches at will.
The fight continued in that one-sided manner throughout the opening minute of Round Nine. Sensing an opportunity, Khytrov cornered Mendez and hit him with a series of unanswered hooks that forced referee Joe Lupino to stop the fight at the recommendation of the ringside physician, 1:20 into the round.
Khytrov ended the fight with a 482-125 advantage in punches landed while landing 50 percent of his total shots.
"I wasn't surprised that Mendez took so many punches because I didn't throw every punch hard, I mixed it up, but did throw some hard punches," said Khytrov.
Undercard Results (Winners listed first)
Ivan "The Volk" Golub (12-0, 10 KOs), Brooklyn, NY by way of Ukraine
Ernesto "Fantastico" Ortiz (10-4, 7 KOs), Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Shelly "Shelito's Way" Vincent (18-0, 1 KO), Providence, RI
WDEC8 (77-75, 77-75, 76-76)
Christina Ruiz (7-9-3, 4 KOs), San Antonio, TX
"Marvelous" Mykey Williams (3-0, 2 KOs), East Hartford, CT
WDEC (40-36 X 3)
Issac Johnson (2-4, 0 KOs), Colorado Springs, CO
Alantez "Slyaza" Fox (20-0-1, 9 KOs), Forestville, MD
Paul "Chicho" Valenzuela, Jr. (17-4, 11 KOs), Santa Rosalia, Baja California, Mexico
Christopher Davis-Fogg (1-0, 1 KO), Framingham, MA
Jeff Anderson (0-2), Lincoln, RI
Kamegai and Soto-Karass wage second war
It's tough to find an undercard bout that can upstage a main event featuring pound-for-pound star Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, but the rematch between Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23 KO's) and Jesus Soto-Karass (28-10-4, 18 KO's), set for September 10, may just be the most exciting bout of that evening, if not the year.
Following their epic 2016 "Fight of the Year" candidate this past April 15 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Kamegai and Soto-Karass will battle once again from the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles on HBO.
"I am very grateful to K2 Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Teiken Promotions in making this rematch and honored to be on the Roman Gonzalez- Carlos Cuadras undercard at the Fabulous Forum," said Yoshihiro Kamegai. "Jesus Soto-Karass and I had a great fight in April. I have a lot of respect for Soto-Karass. He is a warrior. I hope to put on another exciting fight with him in front of the great Southern California Boxing Fans."
The ten round super welterweight clash will serve as the chief support to the main event featuring WBC Flyweight World Champion Gonzalez (45-0-0, 38 KOs), who will move up one weight class and challenge undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Carlos "Principe" Cuadras, (35-0-1, 27 KO's).
"I am excited to come back to the ring against such a great warrior like Yoshihiro Kamegai," said Jesus Soto-Karass. "We put on a great show in April and I am sure we will deliver another great show in September. We are both great warriors who come forward and are willing to leave it all in the ring. This rematch will serve for one of us to finally emerge victorious, as we give the fans of Los Angeles a fight of a lifetime."
In their first bout which ended in a split decision draw (97-93, Kamegai, 96-94 Soto-Karass, and 95-95), Kamegai and Soto-Karass delivered an all-out brawl which had fans packed into the Belasco Theater with a special viewing room opened to accommodate the demand.
Both warriors went head-to-head in ten thrilling rounds that had fans in an uproar. When the fight had ended and the judges' scores were read, no one complained it was a draw because in a bout like that--no fighter deserved to lose.
"If fans thought the first Kamegai and Soto-Karass fight was an epic Fight of the Year contender, let me just say this-on September 10th, both fighters will be coming back in the ring with a vengeance to prove who is the true winner in this rematch," said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Both of these fighters are fierce warriors and the fans can expect to witness what could be the beginning of the next big rivalry in the sport."
Mostly fighting in his native Japan, Kamegai burst on to the boxing scene in the United States with a 2014 "Fight of the Year" candidate against former world champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, an epic 12-round battle that was awarded to the California native. The 33-year-old has built a sizable fan base, one that is expected to grow for his rematch with Soto-Karass.
Soto-Karass has faced numerous world champions and contenders over his 15-year career, including Keith Thurman, Andre Berto, Marcos Maidana, and Devon Alexander. He is a former NABF and WBC Continental Americas champion who has been thrilling boxing fans since his debut in 2001.
Check out the latest chatter in the sweet science:
“My bet on Viktor Postol to beat Terence Crawford is a better investment than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway.”
LIAM SMITH, on his bout with Canelo
"A lot of people will be surprised that size will not be a factor in this fight."
OSCAR DE LA HOYA
"It's a pleasure to be here once again, I love coming to the UK, and can see that this country takes boxing serious. The UK is turning out some serious boxers and more current world champions than Mexico."
FRANK WARREN, Chairman of BoxNation
"Liam fights like a Mexican, and what he brings to the table will create fireworks. He will shock everyone in Dallas. The fans can be prepared for a really big shock."
“Reynoso is a tough fighter. We know he swings for the fences. Because he’s from Argentina, a lot of people call him a little Marcos Maidana. He’s probably the toughest opponent so far, but we’re ready for whatever he brings."
“I’m used to being the shorter fighter. It doesn’t bother me."
“I’ve watched tape on [Julius Jackson]. He still has the same posture, he has no finesse. He’s a straight up type of fighter. Nothing we can’t handle."
“There’s definitely pressure. We know if I lose tomorrow it will set me back even more. But we’re not thinking about that. We’re coming to win. This is an opportunity to erase my loss."
“I don’t see anyone at lightweight that can beat me. I’m only 22, but at this point next year we want to be considered a contender for a title shot.”
“I switch to lefty when I have to. I can fight the whole fight lefty if I need to."
Our DSH boxing notebook has been filling up this week, as it has been a busy time in the sweet science. Check out the latest news:
Update: Adam Lopez and Roman Reynoso fight to draw
With a potential title shot on the line, Adam Lopez and Roman Reynoso fought to a 10-round draw in the main event of the 15-year anniversary telecast of ShoBox from Foxwoods Resort Casino.
“The decision was [expletive]," said Lopez. "He could not hit me.”
In attendance ringside before the fight, newly crowned IBF Junior Featherweight World Champion Jonathan Guzman (22-0, 22 KOs) announced that he’d like fight the winner of Lopez-Reynoso, raising the stakes for this matchup of 122-pound prospects. While the fight was close and entertaining, analyst Steve Farhood, who has called all 219 ShoBox telecasts, didn’t believe either fighter did enough to earn an immediate title shot against Guzman.
“It was a close fight, but I feel I won,” Reynoso said. “He never hurt me. The only thing that surprised me is that he was more aggressive than in other fights. I hurt my hand from hitting him.”
The fight looked like a toss-up heading into the 10th – with Lopez leading by just one connect after nine rounds – and the Ronnie Shields pupil came up with a huge final round rally. The undefeated prospect hurt Reynoso (18-1-2, 7 KOs) in the final seconds with a flurry of shots, forcing the Argentine to spit out his mouthpiece to buy himself nearly 30 seconds of rest. Seemingly out on his feet, Reynoso somehow survived the onslaught without falling to the canvas.
Lopez (15-0-1, 7 KOs) out-landed Reynoso 34-21 overall and 34-20 in power shots in the final round, but it wasn’t enough to earn him the victory.
“It was a tough fight. He didn’t want to engage,” said Lopez, who out-landed Reynoso 158-144 overall and 131-125 in power shots. “He’s slick and experienced and a good fighter. I feel that this was my best performance on ShoBox. I have been working on new things with Ronnie Shields and it showed in there. I know I hurt him in the last round."
Judge Don Ackerman saw Lopez a 96-94 winner, while Bill Morande had it 97-93 Reynoso, and Peter Hary cast the deciding ballot at 95-95. All three judges scored the last round 10-9. Had Reynoso fell to the canvas in the final seconds, the 10-8 round would have given Lopez the win.
On the undercard, late replacement Jerry Odom knocked out previously once-beaten Julius Jackson with a vicious third round knockout (1:57) in the ShoBox co-feature.
“I saw the right hand. I was throwing combinations and I saw the opening and landed a good shot,” Odom said. “As opposed to the last couple fights, I am in a great place physically, mentally and spiritually. I have a great team around me. We are unbreakable.”
Jackson (19-2, 15 KOs), the son of former two-division world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, was outworking Odom through two rounds, who took the fight 10-days notice after Ronaldo Ellis suffered a hand injury. That was until Washington, D.C.’s Odom (14-2-1, 13 KOs) clocked Jackson with a flush right counter shot with one minute left in the third, spelling the end for Jackson, who couldn’t beat the count and suffered his second consecutive knockout loss.
“He threw the punch at the right time and caught me,” Jackson said. “I was OK, but the referee stopped the fight. I felt up until that point, I was boxing well and winning every round.”
Rolando Chinea won a close, eight-round split decision victory over O’Shaquie Foster (10-2, 7 KOs) in a matchup of lightweights, scored 79-73 (Chinea), 77-75 (Foster) and 78-74 (Chinea).
“He is a hell of a fighter and it was fun to fight him,” said Chinea, who was largely able to minimize the jab, Foster’s best weapon. “Like I said before the fight, he could not take pressure. I brought the pressure. I blocked and slipped a lot of his punches. My will and desire to win outweighed his will to punch."
Chinea (13-1-1, 6 KOs) was the aggressor, dictating the tempo of the fight from the outset. And while most rounds were extremely close – closer than the relatively wide scorecards – Chinea’s activity was the difference. Chinea threw 733 total punches, compared to 641 for Foster, and he edged Foster by nearly 150 power punches (592-449).
Foster, who’s record fell to 10-2 with 7 KOs, complained that he “had distractions and couldn’t focus.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, Ian Green handed previously undefeated super welterweight prospect Khiary Gray the first loss of his career with a stunning second round TKO (2:50).
With former world champion and fellow Paterson, N.J., Kendall Holt in his corner, Green (10-1, 8 KOs) came from behind to floor Gray with a big right cross to the chin that sent him tumbling face-forward into the canvas. Gray, a local favorite from nearby Worchester, Mass., tried to hold on with just 30 seconds left in the round, but he couldn’t make it to the break and was falling backward into the ropes when the referee halted the contest.
“I got him good, and I got him out of there,” said Green, who out-landed Gray 14-0 in the final minute. “He got me good one time, but I kept my left hand up and hung in there. We’re going all the way up. This is just the start.”
Gray (13-1, 10 KOs), who was seemingly in control of the fight and rocking Green with ease, became the 151st fighter to suffer his initial defeat on the prospect developmental series.
"He just caught me,” Gray said. “I don’t even know what punch it was. I didn’t even see it. I tried to hold on and waste some time, but I got caught again. I just need to get back to the gym and fix my mistakes. I’ll bounce back."
Update: Shumenov petitions WBA to declare purse bid for Lebedev title fight
It has been more than a month since World Boxing Association (WBA) world cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs) petitioned the WBA to either declare a purse bid for a title fight between WBA Super cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev, or strip Lebedev of his title belt for being non-compliant.
Last July, Shumenov defeated B.J. Flores by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to become the WBA mandatory challenger for Lebedev, who hasn't fought a mandatory defense since April 10, 2015.
The WBA issued a resolution this past April that Lebedev, who defeated Victor Emelio Ramirez in May to also become International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion, must fight Shumenov within 120 days of the latter's May 21, 2016 knockout victory over Junior Wright.
On record for making changes to insure only one world champion in each division, incredibly, the WBA presently has 38 different world title belt holders in only 17 different weight classes. Only three WBA divisions have one world champion - super lightweight, lightweight and light flyweight - and eight have three world titlists, including its cruiserweight division, which presently has world champions in Lebedev, Shumenov, and Interim champion Yunier Dorticos, who is the WBA second mandatory challenger.
The WBA has suddenly declared this month a rash of mandatory defenses, however, declaring and actually making these title fights are two different things, as Shumenov has learned.
Lebedev's promoter, Andrei Ryabinsky, has been quoted in stories about having a deal in place for his fighter to defend his IBF title first.
Shumenov, who is a former WBA Super light heavyweight champion, has now proudly worn the WBA belt around his waist for a total of nearly five years.
"I was looking forward to fighting Lebedev and I don't understand his unwillingness and refusal to step in the ring with me," Shumenov said.
Team Shumenov is extremely disappointed because not knowing if or when the WBA is finally going to rule has left Shumenov unable to book any fights. The WBA's failure to enforce its own purse bid rule, or strip Lebedev, has prevented Shumenov from getting fights.
Update: Berridge replaces injured Chad Dawson
Undefeated No. 1 light heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez (19-0, 10 KOs) has found a solid boxer to face him in his July 29 fight, as he will take on New Zealand southpaw slugger Robert "The Butcher" Berridge (27-4-1, 21 KOs).
"I prepared to face a southpaw in Chad Dawson and Berridge is also left-handed, so adapting will be easier," Alvarez said. "I tip my hat to him for accepting this challenge with only a 10-day notice."
The Alvarez-Berridge bout, scheduled for 10 rounds at a 180-pound catch-weight, will air on Spike TV in the United States. Named "The Butcher" because of his aggressive style and power, the 31-year-old sputhpaw has won the several regional titles during his pro career including New Zealand (2013 and 2015), WBC Asia (2013), PABA (2013-2014), and WBO Oriental (2013-2014).
"For sure, I am really disappointed in Dawson's withdrawal, but these things happen that you cannot control," said Alvarez.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services