Rival Recap - Fall 2021
Elhem Mekhaled returned after nearly two years of inactivity to take on Bosnian Pasa Malagic and defend her super featherweight EBU title. Hungry for a win, Mekhaled quickly scored an impressive 1st round KO.
Jose Valenzuela remains undefeated after a clear-cut, unanimous decision against Deiner Berrio from Sinaloa, Mexico. He followed that up with a TKO win against 26-year-old Austin Dulay, a worthy opponent who put up a good fight and who will surely be back soon. Valenzuela’s record now stands at 11-0 with 7 KOs.
On December 17th, Marie-Ève Dicaire was attempting to get back the IBF title she lost earlier this year to Claressa Shields. She was facing Mexican pugilist Cynthia Lozano, an undefeated fighter with a top KO ratio. Dicaire dominated from the first minute of the fight, her technical skills and her experience getting the better of Lozano. Lozano’s corner decided to throw in the towel in the 7th round, resulting in Dicaire's first career TKO. Now that Marie-Ève has her belt again, a unification bout could be in the cards in 2022!
Artur Beterbiev was facing his mandatory contender Marcus Browne on December 17th at home in Montreal. Despite a nasty cut inflicted by a headbutt from Browne at the beginning of the battle, Beterbiev hunted Browne throughout the fight, knocking him down badly in the 7th round and finishing the job in the 9th round with a destructive left uppercut. Beterbiev retained his perfect record, and is the only champion with a 100% KO ratio . Will Canelo be next?
On September 19th, Maliek Montgomery not only retained his perfect record with a unanimous decision win against Aleem Jumakhonov, but also claimed the vacant USNCB Silver featherweight title. This was the very first UD win for 26-year-old Montgomery, who is more accustomed to KOs, but he led the fight with a masterful hand, and improved his record to 11-0.
On September 23rd, Arslanbek "The Lion" Makhmudov took on Erkan Teper in a main event held at the Centre Vidéotron in Québec City. It didn’t take long for German native Teper to feel the wrath of his Russian adversary. The bombs launched by Makhmudov quickly showed Teper that he would not last long in the ring with The Lion, and he was stopped in the 1st round. Makhmudov retained his perfect record, in both wins as well as KOs, and continues to rise in the heavyweight category.
Christian Mbili had a very solid end to the year, scoring a 3rd round knockout against Ronny Landaeta at the Centre Vidéotron on September 23rd. Following that, on December 11th, he performed beautifully against Ronald Ellis, a tough and experienced opponent, who he beat by unanimous decision in emphatic fashion. With these impressive results, Mbili will surely have some great opportunities coming his way in 2022.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua
The long-awaited battle between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua took place in London on September 25th. Two exceptionally talented boxers, each with their own different style, both with the same hunger to win. Well, we all got our money’s worth – the two fighters gave an amazing performance to a sold-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as well as to millions of others watching on DAZN. All of Joshua’s titles were at stake: IBO, WBA, IBF and WBO. In the end, Ukrainian native Usyk had the upper hand over his British opponent, winning by a close unanimous decision and being crowned as the new unified heavyweight champion. What a fight! Despite the loss for Joshua, he will surely be back soon, as he remains one of the best active heavyweights in the world.
Campbell Hatton continued his progression through the professional ranks. After winning a tight decision in September against Sonni Martinez, he subsequently got his first KO on December 2nd against the Hungarian pugilist Attila Csereklye. Hatton showed beautiful bodywork skills and brought the fight to a stop in the 2nd round with a left uppercut. Job done! He improved his record to 5-0,
The Dominican Lenin Castillo had a significant challenge in front of him on September 25th: he was facing none other than Callum Smith in England. Although the result did not go his way, Rival is proud to work with a professional such as Lenin.
Kieron Conway found the road back to victory on October 9th, when he took on James Metcalf in Liverpool. Conway was able to showcase his technical qualities, which resulted in a tight but unanimous decision in favor of Conway.
Emanuel Navarrete has nothing to prove to anyone, and his unusual boxing style does not fail to entertain the crowd. It was still the case on October 15th, when he took on Joet Gonzalez, an experienced opponent with an excellent chin. “The Vaquero” Navarrete did not disappoint. He defeated Gonzalez by unanimous decision, was able to launch a large number of uppercuts, his trademark and in the process retained his WBO title.
It is often said that the best shall fight the best. On October 9th, Efe Ajagba had a sizable challenge ahead as he took on Frank Sanchez. We were treated to an exciting battle between two undefeated boxers, both capable of KOs. Sanchez managed to get the win, however we expect to see Efe back in the win column shortly!
Robeisy Ramirez took on the undefeated Orlando Gonzalez Ruis in Las Vegas on October 9th. Ramirez won a very comfortable unanimous decision against the Puerto Rican and continues to increase his position in the rankings. At the same time, he won the vacant NABF.
Hughie Fury was facing Christian Hammer on October 16th in Newcastle. Both boxers had good moments during the fight, but Fury had the advantage on all completed rounds before it ended. Hammer also lost a point for punching the opponent during a break. The fight finally ended in the 5th round in favor of Fury because of a corner retirement due to Hammer's injury. Another win on Fury’s record!
On November 13th, David Benavidez had a 10-round fight on a card broadcasted by Showtime. Benavidez defeated Kyrone Davis by TKO in the 7th round. He controlled the ring space from start to finish, inflicting destructive blows to the body and head of Davis. It's a big left hand that finally ended the outcome of the fight. Benavidez should have very nice opportunities in 2022.
On October 22nd, Oscar Rivas made history by becoming the first ever Bridgerweight champion. He got the WBC belt of the new category with a win by unanimous decision against the Canadian Ryan Rozicki in an exciting fight from start to finish. Both pugilists gave such a show! Although Rivas was penalized in the 12th round and lost a point, his pugilistic skills and his experience were enough to defeat Rozicki.
Michel Rivera managed to maintain his perfect record on October 30th, beating in Las Vegas, José Matias Romero by unanimous decision. Rivera won all rounds decisively to add a win to his collection. At only 23 years old, the future is more than promising for the young Dominican boxer. We have not heard the last of him!
On November 5th, the female fight of the year took place in Las Vegas! Maïva Hamadouche, the IBF super featherweight champion, was trying to unify against Mikaela Mayer, the WBO champion, on a Top Rank event. Hamadouche, true to herself, launched a high volume of phenomenal punches during the ten rounds of the fight. The judges, however, gave the advantage to Mayer who became a unified champion. Hamadouche certainly deserves a rematch. Fans would look forward to it!
Demetrius Andrade was facing Irishman Jason Quigley. Quigley got his chance to face Boo Boo after a tight win against Shane Mosley Jr, earlier this year, but he did not last long in front of Andrade, who was truly a man on a mission. Andrade KO ’ed his opponent in the second round after several heavy blows, including a devastating left hand, launching a clear message to the division. Boo Boo improved his perfect record and is closer to a unification opportunity.
Jose Benavidez Jr vs. Francisco Emanuel Torres
Jose Benavidez Jr, made his much awaited return to the ring after three years away to face Francisco Emanuel Torres. Torres, who hadn’t lost since 2017, did not make it easy for Benavidez. We were treated to a back and forth fight where each pugilist had his moments. It resulted in a draw.
Gabriel Rosado is a man of challenges. After shocking the whole world with his knockout against the Uzbek southpaw Bektemir Melikuziev, Rosado was facing the rising star of Tijuana, Jaime Munguía in California. The Puerto Rican had bad intentions, and despite a defeat against Munguía, he fought valiantly as always.
Ségolène Lefebvre had a huge challenge in front of her on November 20th in Douai, France: she took on the talented Mexican boxer Paulette Valenzuela in a WBO super bantamweight championship fight for the vacant title. Ségolène was more than ready to fight a pressure fighter and a power puncher like Valenzuela. She intelligently used her jab and her combinations to control the rhythm of the Mexican pugilist, who ran out of time to execute her plan. Ségolène won convincingly and t became a world champion!
On November 20th in Las Vegas, Patrice Volny had an elimination fight against Esquiva Falcao to determine the mandatory middleweight IBF contender. Unfortunately, an unintentional headbutt thwarted the plan of the Montreal boxer, and he ran out of time to finish a job that was starting to pay off. A tight decision in favor of Falcao was awarded due to headbutt ending the fight prematurely. Volny deserves another opportunity!
Janibek "Kazakh Style" Alimkhanuly did not waste any time on December 20th. He was facing Hassan N'Dam and inflicted damage from the beginning of the fight. Alimkhanuly completed the work in the 8th round with a TKO following a multitude of unanswered shots. Kazakh Style continues his quest to the top of the rankings!
Jessica Camara vs Kali Reis
Kali Reis and Jessica Camara, two excellent boxers, were facing each other in a semifinals’ bout in the super-lightweight category as part of the Road to Undisputed tournament organized by Matchroom Boxing. What a fight they gave us in New England! Jessica Camara set the tone very early in the first rounds, imposing her rhythm and landing several counter attacks, but Reis adjusted very well and won a narrow decision against the Canadian boxer. Kali Reis is now a finalist of the tournament and will face the British boxer Chantelle Cameron in 2022.
The Canadian Kandi Wyatt had a golden opportunity on November 21st. She was facing the undisputed welterweight champion Jessika McCaskill and was trying to pull a big upset and take over the belts. “Kandi Crush” did not get the desired result as she felt short in the 7th round, but her effort was never in question. Wyatt remains one of the best in her category and will certainly have other noteworthy challenges in 2022.
On December 5th, Sebastian Fundora took on Spanish boxer Sergio García in Los Angeles. The super welterweight rising star imposed himself and kept his perfect record by adding an 18th victory, a win by unanimous decision. "The Towering Inferno" cleverly used his jab to control the distance. He is now closer to a world championship fight.
Eduardo Ramirez put on a great performance against Miguel Marriaga on December 5th in Los Angeles. He won his fight by unanimous decision, sweeping all the rounds and succeeding in knocking Marriaga down in the 3rd round. The Sinaloa southpaw continues his climb and we look forward to seeing him in the ring in 2022!
The Punisher, Kudratillo Abdukakurov took on Canadian prospect and fellow undefeated boxer Cody Crowley, on December 11th. Each boxer had good moments during this 10-round fight, which ended with a unanimous decision in favor of Crowley. Abdukakurov will certainly have the opportunity to get back in the mix in 2022!
On December 17th, Mazlum Akdeniz took on Arturo Bustamante at the Bell Centre and knocked him out in the 4th round. Akdeniz largely dominated the first three rounds and continues to impress. The young boxer now has a 15-0 record with 8 KOs and will inevitably continue to climb up the rankings!
Chris Algieri had a difficult task ahead on December 11th in Liverpool: he was facing the young British sensation Conor Benn. Even if the fight did not go the way Chris was expecting, Chris handled defeat with class and showed once again why he is one of the most respected professionals in the game!
“The Chechen Wolf” Arthur Biyarslanov did not waste any time on December 17th at the Bell Centre and had the upper hand over Alan Ayala, stopping his opponent in the 1st rd. His record improves to 9-0 with 7 KOs to his credit.
The Canadian Steve Rolls was facing Christopher Brooker on December 17th. Rolls dominated the fight from the opening bell, and he finished the show in the 9th round by knocking out Brooker.
Xander Zayas had a heck of a year! After winning a clear-cut, unanimous decision versus Jose Luis Sanchez last September, Zayas scored two more spectacular wins One in October against Dan Karpency, who was stopped in the 4th round, and the other against Alessio Mastronunzio, with a spectacular first round TKO on December 11th at Madison Square Garden. The year culminated with Zayas being named 2021 Prospect of the Year by many boxing outlets and he is definitively on a very promising path to a world title.
On December 17th, Yan Pellerin was matched up vs Francisco Rivas at the Bell Centre. Pellerin did not allow Rivas to get in rhythm as he dictated the pace from the very beginning, winning every round earning a unanimus decision.
“The Real Deal” Amanda Serrano went up to lightweight on December 18th to face Spanish fighter Miriam Gutierrez in Florida. Serrano put on a breathtaking performance, landing no less than 236 power punches that earned her a comfortable win by unanimous decision. Serrano vs Katie Taylor in 2022?
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