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Carlos Toro Boxing Newsletter #7
Teofimo Lopez tests positive for COVID-19, Matchroom Fight Camp, Sky Sports Boxing's broadcast future, Alexander Povetkin retires and more!
Teofimo Lopez Tests Positive For COVID-19, Triller PPV Moved To August:
Triller’s first major boxing fight on the platform has been postponed after unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez tested positive for COVID-19, days before facing George Kambosos Jr. in the main event.
The fight was supposed to headline a Triller Fight Club pay-per-view from Miami on June 19 with an undisputed women’s super middleweight title bout and various musical acts confirmed for the show. The fight, along with the undercard, has been tentatively moved to August 14 at a location to be determined.
loanDepot Park, the site of the event and home of MLB’s Miami Marlins, is out of the question in regards to hosting the new fight date of August 14 as the Marlins play the Chicago Cubs on that day.
‘We send our best to Teofimo and his family and hope they get well soon, and look forward to seeing this epic battle on August 14, 2021,” said Triller Fight Club co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh.
This is just the latest setback in what was going to be the platform’s foray into broadcasting world championship boxing. It had hosted boxing events in the past, but those fights mainly featured celebrities, retired fighters, prospects and journeymen. Lopez vs. Kambosos would have been the biggest fight between two active and established professional boxers in Triller’s history.
The event was actually supposed to take place on June 5, but that was on the same weekend as the Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul pay-per-view event which also took place in Miami.
To further bolster the June 19 card on the boxing side, Triller signed Jim Lampley, best known as the voice of HBO Boxing for decades, to a multi-fight broadcaster deal and June 19 would have been his first fight date.
On the music side, Snoop Dogg, Meek Mill, Farruko and more were among the musical acts advertised for the show.
The co-main event bout was Franchon Crews-Dezurn vs. Elin Cederroos for the undisputed women’s super middleweight titles. Also on the pay-per-view card was Michael Hunter vs. Michael Wilson in a WBA heavyweight title eliminator and Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll in a super featherweight bout.
On the free undercard, several noteworthy names were scheduled to fight, including rising junior middleweight Charles Conwell, heavyweight Zhilei Zhang, former world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr.
The fighters involved in the event were excited about Triller entering the pro boxing scene for a number of reasons. Lopez loved the creative freedom he got in working with Triller and using his ideas to showcase his skills as not just a boxer, but an entertainer as well. Hunter hoped to use the Triller platform to raise his profile and attract bigger fights as Hunter is among the short list of top contenders in the heavyweight division whose paths to a title shot remain unclear.
Vences liked the idea of Triller disrupting the current paradigm in boxing when it comes to purses and saw the possibility of boxers as a whole making more money because of Triller, whether directly or indirectly. Vences told me earlier this month that his purse for the Carroll fight was the biggest of his pro career.
On the subject of Triller and boxing, Vences was on to something in regards as to how boxers can stand to benefit financially from it. Triller won the promotional rights to Lopez vs. Kambosos with a winning bid of $6.018 million, which was way more than anyone could have predicted heading into their purse bid back in February.
Triller was more than willing to spend money to create these major events and big boxing fights and some boxers saw that money being thrown around and believed they could make more than what they previously could. It’s why several boxers opted to sign with Triller, but if the platform can’t deliver on these events and still be financially viable long-term, then the status quo will remain.
The change in date also presents yet another problem for Lopez and Top Rank Boxing, the company that promotes Lopez.
This past week, Lopez and Top Rank came to an amended agreement on their contract that ensured Lopez would remain with Top Rank through 2023 as well as raise the minimum purse for Lopez’s fights.
As part of the amended deal, Lopez and Top Rank planned to have Lopez (assuming he would have beaten Kambosos) to fight in early October, possibly on ESPN pay-per-view. If Lopez still ends up fighting on August 14 with Triller, it’s hard to even envision him fighting in October.
Matchroom Fight Camp 2021 Schedule Revealed:
Matchroom Boxing announced the return of the Fight Camp series, set to take place at Matchroom Headquarters in Essex, England starting on July 31 and ending with two cards on August 7 and 14.
This is the second Fight Camp series Matchroom has put together with last year’s Fight Camp coming together as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing shows with fans in attendance from happening.
Last year’s Fight Camp featured four shows and was one of the best series of boxing shows of 2020 with multiple “Fight of the Year” contenders, a “Knockout of the Year” contender and various notable names fighting such as Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin and Katie Taylor.
None of those names are fighting on this year’s shows, but what Matchroom has put together for this year is a number of fights designed to elevate various of their younger talents. This will be the first Matchroom shows that will be on DAZN in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of the five-year global deal between DAZN and Matchroom Boxing which compliments the already existent deals that both sides agreed to years ago.
The main event of the July 31 card will see welterweight prospect Conor Benn take on veteran Adrian Granados in a continued push to turn Benn into a British star and future world title contender.
The co-main event of the first show will see Shannon Courtenay defend her WBA bantamweight title against an opponent to be named at a later date. Originally, Courtenay was set to face Rachel Ball, but Ball is still suffering from the aftermath of her bout with COVID-19 as well as a back injury. The other notable fight on that card is Tommy McCarthy vs. Chris Billam-Smith for the British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles, a fight that was technically announced (but not made official) when McCarthy signed a promotional deal with Matchroom.
In the rest of the undercard, Anthony Fowler will face Roberto Garcia and Avni Yildirim will fight Jack Cullen in Yildirim’s first fight since losing to Canelo Alvarez in February. Campbell Hatton and Sandy Ryan will also be on the card in separate bouts against opponents to be named at a later date.
On August 7, Kid Galahad and Jazza Dickens will face off in the main event for the vacant IBF featherweight title that Josh Warrington surrendered earlier this year. That fight was originally set to take place in Texas on May 8, but visa issues prevented the fight from happening. Other fights announced for the card include Maxim Prodan vs. Florian Marku, Alen Babic vs. Mark Bennett, Johnny Fisher vs. Josh Sandland and Ebanie Bridges vs. Bec Connolly. Fabio Wardley, Ellie Scotney and Aqib Fiaz will have their opponents revealed soon.
The August 14 card is the one with the highest of fights left to be finalized with five fighters still without an opponent. In the main event Joshua Buatsi will face Richard Bolotniks while Savannah Marshall will defend her WBO middleweight title against an opponent to be named at a later date. The other two fights finalized for the show are Raymond Ford vs. Reece Bellotti and Michael McKinson vs. Przemyslaw Runowski while Felix Cash, Kash Farooq, Natasha Jonas and Hopey Price don’t have opponents for their respective bouts.
"I'm delighted to begin our game-changing partnership with the leading global sports streaming platform DAZN with another sizzling summer of Fight Camp action from our stunning HQ in Brentwood, Essex. Last year's line up had it all – and this year's series is set to be even bigger and better with addition of fans. One of the hottest properties in the Welterweight division Conor Benn gets things underway on July 31 when he puts his WBA Continental Title on the line against Adrian Grandos, the all-British clash for the IBF Featherweight World Title between Kid Galahad and Jazza Dickens is set to be a cracker at the top of Week 2 and rising Light-Heavyweight start Joshua Buatsi takes a huge step up when he takes on the MTK Global Golden Contract winner Richard Bolotniks at the top of Week 3,” promoter Eddie Hearn said.
Matchroom Boxing Splits From Sky Sports, Latest On Broadcasting Future For Boxing In The United Kingdom:
Fresh off the heels of the split between Sky Sports and Matchroom Boxing, Matchroom announced a landmark five-year global deal with DAZN.
The new deal may use the term global to describe the reach Matchroom will have with DAZN, but the crux of the new agreement is mainly focused on bringing boxing to DAZN in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. Financial terms were not unveiled but it wouldn't be a shock if the deal was worth nine figures per year, similar to the original DAZN/Matchroom deal in the U.S.
Previously, those two regions rarely got any of DAZN's major events due to Sky Sports being Matchroom's British broadcaster.
In the new deal, at least 16 Matchroom UK fight cards per year will be available exclusively to DAZN subscribers in the UK and Ireland for the first time, from July 2021 onwards.
According to a press release, viewers in the UK and Ireland can subscribe, "for the initial monthly price of just £1.99 in the UK and €1.99 in Ireland – a special limited-time offer introduced when the sports streamer entered both markets late last year that will remain in place for new DAZN subscribers throughout the three-week Matchroom Fight Camp series." In addition, there will be an expanded effort in building upon DAZN's original content, including documentaries and behind-the-scenes content.
The Matchroom UK schedule for July onwards has yet to be officially unveiled but it is expected to have the return "Fight Camp" series on July 31, which will run for three weeks.
The significance of the deal, and the Sky/Matchroom split, can't be understated.
During their time together (since 2012), Matchroom grew into practically a juggernaut in today's modern British boxing landscape and Sky being its broadcaster was a big reason for that. The hope for DAZN is that it can use boxing, which is a more popular sport in the UK than in the U.S., to grow into the new market and become a juggernaut in its own right. And while technically DAZN's ceiling can be very high to grow a new subscriber base, its floor is also extremely low. DAZN is pretty much an unknown entity in the UK and there's no guarantee as to whether or not DAZN UK will succeed as they hope.
Although not mentioned in the announcement, it is worth noting that DAZN still isn't getting Matchroom's full roster. The two British heavyweight stars on that promotional roster (Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte), have unique deals with Matchroom in regards to broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom. Joshua’s next fight, more than likely against Oleksandr Usyk later this year, will more than likely be on Sky Sports Box Office.
Going back to the deal, in addition to finally venturing into the UK and Ireland (which DAZN had been attempting for a while), the existing partnerships between DAZN and Matchroom Boxing's sub-entities in the United States, Italy and Spain are being expanded. What this means is that there will be more events in each of those countries with Italy and Spain struggling to get anything going for the past year due to the pandemic.
“Game. Changed. This historic deal builds on the success and momentum of our long-term partnership with Matchroom around the world and solidifies DAZN at the forefront of the global sports streaming era. Together, we are committed to building the new home of boxing in the UK and Ireland while continuing to grow the global home of boxing in a way that matches today’s evolving viewing habits and brings fans all over the world more of the most premium live action, more round-the-clock global storytelling, and more broadcast and content innovations – only on DAZN,” DAZN Co-CEO James Rushton said.
The new deal is just the latest gamble DAZN is attempting with Matchroom Boxing. It all began in 2018 when DAZN and Matchroom announced a jump into the American market with boxing as its main draw as part of an eight-year, $1 billion deal at the time. When that was signed, the deal called for 16 Matchroom U.S. and 16 Matchroom UK shows per year but there's been some restructuring of that deal, especially during a pandemic where doing that many shows is hard to pull off (and a financial pitfall aside from the recent mega events headlined by Alvarez).
From that point onwards, DAZN reached deals with Gennadiy Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy Promotions, Comosa AG to bring the World Boxing Super Series to the platform and more.
But DAZN has not gotten the massive U.S. presence that it had hoped for and part of that was because the pandemic slowed down whatever momentum it had to almost a screeching halt. There are also other factors, such as the lack of a Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin 3 (which would have been the biggest fight the streaming service could pull off) and moving the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. to Saudi Arabia, away from a U.S. primetime timeslot and limiting the fight's visibility stateside.
DAZN UK has a better chance at succeeding right off the ground due to boxing's popularity in the region but it will still face much of the same challenges that the U.S. branch has been dealing with. A new streaming service with boxing as its main draw is not an easy thing to pull off, much less so when it has little to no television presence whatsoever.
On the Sky Sports front, Sky and Top Rank Boxing agreed to a broadcast deal that will have Top Rank events air on Sky through 2025 with the June 12 Top Rank on ESPN card, headlined by Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremiah Nakathila, being the first event. The deal calls for at least 18 Top Rank cards on Sky Sports per year. Of course, most of Top Rank’s events take place in the United States, which usually means broadcast start times past midnight in the United Kingdom. It’s a massive get for Top Rank and Sky, but it’s not a deal that will completely fill Sky’s hope to keep boxing in some way, shape or form on Sky Sports.
That’s why Sky also reached a deal with BOXXER, founded by Ben Shalom and former Head of Boxing at Matchroom Sport John Wischhusen. The deal with BOXXER also goes all the way to 2025 and that deal is more of an effort to broadcast domestic boxing. Sky Sports, BOXXER and Top Rank will reveal a more detailed fight schedule for the remainder of 2021 in the coming weeks.
As for DAZN, they also reached a deal with Canelo Alvarez and Canelo Promotions to stream fight cards from Mexico. The first of four cards over the next year will take place on June 26 in Guadalajara with Julio Cesar Martinez defending his WBC flyweight title against Joel Cordova. The undercard of that event will see Daniel Matellon, who was recently elevated to WBA “Regular” light flyweight champion, face Jose Argumedo, and Gabriel Valenzuela, Diego Pacheco and Christian Alan Gomez Duran appearing on the card as well.
Alexander Povetkin Announces Retirement:
Alexander Povetkin, who has a long list of accomplishments as both an amateur and professional, announced his retirement from boxing.
Depending on who you ask, Povetkin will be remembered as one of the most established heavyweight contenders of the past 15 years or as a fighter who has failed drug tests multiple times which cost him major fights and paydays.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, Povetkin made his retirement official, mentioning how the many years of fighting have taken their toll on the 41-year-old fighter and that he is still dealing with injuries he needs to take care of.
The announcement comes less than three months after Povetkin took a bad loss to Dillian Whyte in a rematch of their exciting back-and-forth bout in Eddie Hearn’s backyard last year. Povetkin retires with a 36-3-1 (23 KO) pro record and a list of accolades from even before he fought in the paid ranks.
As an amateur, Povetkin was one of the most accomplished super heavyweights of the early-to-mid 2000s. Povetkin won the Strandzha Cup in 2002 and 2003 as well as the European Amateur Boxing Championships in 2002 and 2004 and the AIBA World Boxing Championships in 2003.
In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Povetkin had an impressive gold medal run that saw him beat Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov (who won a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics) in the quarterfinals, Roberto Cammarelle (who won a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics and a gold medal in 2012) in the semifinals and Mohamed Aly in the finals.
Less than a year later, Povetkin turned pro and spent the majority of his early career fighting in Germany. In his 22nd pro fight, Povetkin won a secondary WBA world title by beating Ruslan Chagaev back in 2011. From that point onwards, Povetkin would face and beat the likes of Hasim Rahman, Marco Huck and Andrzej Wawrzyk before facing Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. The fight against Klitschko was Povetkin’s first shot at winning a true world title (Klitschko’s WBA Super and WBO titles as well as the Ring Magazine belt were on the line), but Povetkin failed to win and lost an extremely lopsided decision to Klitschko. Povetkin was dropped four times and failed to win a single round 10-9 on any of the three judges’ scorecards (Klitschko was docked a point in round 11).
Funny enough, the fight is perhaps best remembered by the insane purse bid for the fight. Vladimir Hryunov won a purse bid for the fight with a winning bid of about $23,333,330, beating purse bids from K2 Promotions and Sauerland Events that ranged from $6 million to $7.1 million.
Povetkin did bounce back well from that loss to Klitschko, beating Mahmoud Charr, Carlos Takam, Mariusz Wach and David Price among others from 2014 to 2018. During that time, Povetkin tested positive for meldonium, canceling a fight against then-WBC champion Deontay Wilder in 2016. Later that year, Povetkin tested positive for ostarine, which also canceled a fight against Bermane Stiverne.
His only other world title challenge took place in September 2018 when he faced Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium. Povetkin had a little bit of success in the early going, but went on to get stopped in the seventh round.
Afterwards, Povetkin beat Hughie Fury and fought Michael Hunter to a draw and set up a fight against Dillian Whyte. The first fight against Whyte last summer was one of the most exciting fights during the pandemic and saw both men get knocked down. But it was Povetkin who delivered an impressive knockout over Whyte to win the fight and an interim WBC heavyweight title. They were originally supposed to have a rematch late last year, but was postponed due to Povetkin testing positive for COVID-19. They would go on to fight in Gibraltar back in March, but Povetkin looked way off in that bout.
Povetkin was sluggish, his legs were highly unstable and looked way past his prime from the very beginning of their rematch. Whyte dominated the fight, stopping Povetkin late in the fourth round to win back the title.
The only thing missing from Povetkin’s resume was a world title run (if you were to discount his run as the WBA “Regular” titleholder), but besides that, Povetkin had one of the more impressive heavyweight runs in the post-Lennox Lewis era of the heavyweight division from his Olympic gold medal run to his many wins against world champions and top contenders.
News and Notes From Around The World Of Boxing:
The third Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight was announced at a press conference in Los Angeles on June 15. The pay-per-view bout will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 24, which Top Rank had circled the date as the earliest the fight could take place. The pay-per-view is expected to have a mix of Top Rank and PBC bouts with the heavyweights being a focal point of the undercard. Their February 2020 rematch was a big hit in Las Vegas, selling 15,210 tickets at the MGM Grand with a live gate of $16,916,440 (seventh-highest live gate in Nevada history according to the state athletic commission).
PBC announced the TV card for the June 27 FOX card from Minneapolis. In the main event, recently-elevated WBA “Regular” super middleweight titleholder David Morrell Jr. will take on Mario Cazares, who defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by technical decision last year in Mexico. The co-main event will see rising cruiserweight contender Efetobor Apochi face Brandon Glanton and in the opening bout Omar Juarez will face All Rivera.
Veteran broadcaster Brian Custer, who’s been one of the mainstays of the Showtime Championship Boxing series as its host, has signed with ESPN and will serve as an anchor for SportsCenter and as a play-by-play commentator for college football and basketball. Custer will begin his SportsCenter duties in July and begin calling college sports in the fall. According to a press release, ”In addition to his ESPN duties, Custer will continue his role as host for Showtime Championship Boxing.”
2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov is now a promotional free agent after spending his pro career with Matchroom Boxing. Yeleussinov is 10-0 as a pro and is coming off a second-round TKO victory over former unified junior welterweight champion Julius Indongo last November. Elvis Crespo, CEO of Boxing Stars Management (which manages Yeleussinov), said, "We would like to thank Matchroom Boxing for bringing Daniyar to this point of his career. We are seeking the best option for Daniyar so he can be properly marketed and moved to the top of the welterweight division. Daniyar is a top talent, and has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with and is a future world champion."
Lindolfo Delgado will make his Top Rank debut on the ESPN+ undercard of the June 19 card from Las Vegas, taking on Salvador Briceno. Guido Vianello vs. Dante Stone, Eric Puente vs. TBA and Omar Rosario vs. JJ Mariano also announced for that June 19 undercard.
The WBA has ordered Hiroto Kyoguchi, the sanctioning body’s “Super” light flyweight champion to fight Esteban Bermudez, who recently scored a major upset win over Carlos Canizales on May 28 to win the “Regular” version of the title. Both sides are in the middle of a negotiating period with a July 11 deadline to come to terms on a deal. If that can’t be reached, then a purse bid may be ordered and a purse split would be 65/35 in favor of Kyoguchi.
Miguel Flores will be fighting on the Jermall Charlo vs. Juan Macias Montiel non-TV undercard on June 19, no opponent was announced by PBC. Alexis Salazar vs. Jairo Rayman, plus Desmond Lyons, Willie Jones and Michael Angeletti are confirmed for the Charlo vs. Montiel event.
On June 1, the WBO ordered super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka and former world champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr. to start negotiations for title fight. Both sides have 30 days as of June 1 to strike a deal or else a purse bid will be ordered with the minimum bid for it being $100,000. Ioka has not fought since he retained his title on December 31, 2020 against Kosei Tanaka in one of the most highly-anticipated all-Japanese world title fights in recent years. Ioka hoped to secure unification bouts, but the super flyweight title scene is pretty much tied up at the moment. The WBA and WBC titles figure to be up for grabs in a planned, impromptu four-man tournament involving Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras as a result of the controversial decision Estrada got over Gonzalez. The only top beltholder at 115 pounds is IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas who just retained his title back in early April.
The July 3 Showtime Championship Boxing card will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. In the main event, Chris Colbert will defend his interim WBA super featherweight title against Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Shakur Stevenson Wins Interim WBO Super Featherweight Title:
For 36 minutes, Shakur Stevenson delivered a boxing clinic in Las Vegas, perhaps to the detriment of his perception as a young, exciting fighter to watch out for.
In the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card on June 12, Stevenson outboxed Jeremiah Nakathila throughout 12 rounds to win a unanimous decision to capture the interim WBO super featherweight title. Stevenson won every single round and scored a knockdown midway through the fight, resulting in 120-107 scores across the board.
Stevenson showcased phenomenal defensive boxing, getting hit only 28 total times in the fight by Nakathila. Nakathila was never a threat in the fight and Stevenson made sure to thoroughly outclass his opponent.
However, in going the distance in one of the most lopsided televised main events in recent memory, the topic of Stevenson and the promotion surrounding him was put into question. In essence, the fight was boring to many people watching the fight as everyone eagerly anticipated a devastating stoppage or knockout, but it never came.
For some time, Top Rank and ESPN advertised Stevenson as not just a budding superstar who will dominate the sport for years to come but made many comparisons to a young Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The comparisons to Mayweather, especially a young Mayweather, comes with a certain amount of expectations. Most people fondly remember Mayweather as an exciting pugilist who was able to take out opponents in quick fashion. Mayweather only went the distance three times in his first 16 fights while Stevenson has gone the distance eight times in his 16 bouts.
Right now, if you ask pundits and fans who saw Floyd throughout his first 16 fights, they would look at that version of Mayweather more favorably than Stevenson.
No one doubts that Stevenson is a great boxer. How exciting his fights are have no bearing on his abilities. But in the professional ranks, how you win is arguably just as important as winning fights because at the end of the day, the boxing on television is just as much of an entertainment product as it is a sporting product.
As the interim WBO titleholder, the next step for Stevenson is likely a fight against full champion Jamel Herring. Both Stevenson and Herring had been wanting a fight against WBC champion Oscar Valdez, but all signs lead to neither of those guys fighting Valdez next unless something changes soon.
In the co-main event, Jose Pedraza delivered a tremendous performance, beating previously-unbeaten contender Julian Rodriguez after Rodriguez couldn’t continue fighting past the eighth round.
Pedraza targeted Rodriguez’s left eye with constant short combinations of which Rodriguez had no answer for. Pedraza’s right hand was accurate throughout the night when it needed to be and Pedraza avoided any dangerous exchanges with Rodriguez.
It was the type of win Pedraza needed to stay alive in a loaded 140-pound division that could see all four sanctioning body’s world titles be vacant within the next 10 months. Pedraza is only ranked on one sanctioning body (WBO), but don’t be surprised if Pedraza looks to aim towards that title if it becomes vacant.
Results From The June 12 Top Rank Card From Virgin Hotels Las Vegas In Las Vegas, Nevada:
Shakur Stevenson defeated Jeremia Nakathila by unanimous decision to win the interim WBO super featherweight title
Jose Pedraza defeated Julian Rodriguez by TKO, round 8
John Bauza defeated Christon Edwards by TKO, round 2
Manuel Rey Rojas defeated Tyler McCreary by unanimous decision
Xander Zayas defeated Larry Fryers by TKO, round 3
Bryan Lua defeated Frevian Gonzalez Robles by unanimous decision
Kasir Goldston defeated Maurice Anthony by unanimous decision
Troy Isley defeated LaQuan Evans by TKO, round 4
Jahi Tucker defeated Ysrael Barboza by unanimous decision
Jeremias Ponce wins IBF junior welterweight title eliminator:
Jeremias Ponce secured a world title shot with the biggest performance of his career in foreign territory.
Traveling to Newcastle, England, Ponce dominated hometown favorite Lewis Ritson and stopped him in the 10th round. The fight, which headlined a Matchroom Boxing on DAZN card, was set to crown a mandatory challenger to Josh Taylor’s IBF junior welterweight title.
The fight opened with Ponce showcasing his power, delivering heavy hands to Ritson’s body throughout the round and backing up the Newcastle native.
Ponce’s power punching did not stop after the first round as he continued to work the body in round and started to mix up his power punches more in the third round, landing a big uppercut to Ritson’s chin. Ritson would start connecting on his bigger punches in the fourth, including a one-two combination upstairs that split Ponce’s guard and backed off the Argentine fighter.
Ritson would get a feel for Ponce’s timing and rhythm and land even more clean punches in the fifth round. However, Ponce refused to slow down his pace and continued to throw big shots in the second half of the fight.
As the fight progressed, Ritson became unable to land anything big that would hurt Ponce or even slow him down. Ponce dropped Ritson in the opening seconds of the 10th round under the weight of Ponce’s power punching.
Once Ritson got back up, a towel that appeared to have come from Ritson’s corner was thrown, but referee Steve Gray threw away the towel and told Ritson to keep fighting. Ponce sent Ritson to the canvas two more times before Gray stopped the fight.
In regards to Ponce’s title future, he will have to wait for some time to see when he’ll have his championship opportunity and against who. Taylor holds the WBA, WBC and WBO titles as well and already has a WBO mandatory challenger in Jack Catterall. Even if Taylor fights Catterall next, there’s no guarantee that Taylor would stay at 140 pounds to fight Ponce.
Taylor has shown interest in moving up to welterweight which would mean vacating all his titles. Ponce would have a guaranteed shot at the IBF title and could face Subriel Matias, who also won an IBF title eliminator on May 29 against Batyrzhan Jukembayev, for the vacant belt.
Results From The June 12 Matchroom Boxing On DAZN From The Eagles Community Arena In Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, England:
Jeremias Nicolas Ponce defeated Lewis Ritson by TKO, round 10 to win an IBF junior welterweight title final eliminator
Thomas Patrick Ward defeated Edy Valencia Mercado by unanimous decision
Alen Babic defeated Damian Chambers by TKO, round 3
Solomon Dacres defeated Alvaro Terrero by TKO, round 4
Cyrus Pattinson defeated Yoncho Markov by KO, round 2
April Hunter defeated Klaudia Vigh by points
(Took Place Before DAZN Broadcast) Joe Laws defeated Chris Adaway by points