Monday, 13 August 2018 00:11

The Week in Boxing, Aug 12 | Bernie's rant

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Don King is the Man!

His newest protege, Trevor Bryan, ranked #4 by the WBA, bested BJ Flores who was ranked #5 and is a former US amateur standout. With the win, Bryan secured the interim WBA Heavyweight title Saturday night at the Celebrity Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bryan 20-0 (13) devastated "El Peligroso" (The Dangerous one), 34-4-1 by knocking him down en route to a 4th round TKO.

Flores, 39, who has campaigned at Heavyweight in his last 3 fights, suffered major ring rust by fighting only twice in the last 2 years. His last contest was an 8 round UD win over a marginal pugilist sometime in 2017. Incidentally, Bryan's last two opponents, had an abysmal combined record of 4-44! But apparently Bryan is no slouch as he boasts a significant UD win over tough Derric Rossy in 2015.

Was Bryan playing possum in his last 2 contests? Leave it to promoter Don King to play the numbers game.

Currently another member of his stable, Guillermo Jones, 45, who hasn't fought in dog years is ranked # 10 in the WBA despite having only one heavyweight fight under his belt.

Nordic Nightmare
Robert Helenius of Finland 34, 27-3 (16) won a 6 round UD over Belarus native Yury Bykhautsou who usually fights at Cruiserweight and gave away six inches. The fight was a rematch and a spirited contest. Bykhautsou's record now is a stellar 10-17-3; Helenius, of course, took # 1 ranked Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte to the distance in a fight last year, dropping a unanimous decision.

Miller vs Adamek
300-pound heavyweight contender and top ten ranked pugilist Jarrell Miller has apparently signed to fight former Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion Tomasz Adamek on October 6th at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

Adamek has lost 3 out of his last 7 fights in the last 5 years, usually fighting in his homeland of Poland. In the twilight of his career, his reflexes have slowed as has his work rate but don’t count this bulldog out. Despite his 6'1 230lb frame, he has beaten much bigger guys such as Andrew Golota, Michael Grant and a prime Chris Arreola. He also challenged for the heavyweight title against giant Vitali Klitschko back in 2011.

Fight canceled, Mansour stiffed
Heavyweight contender Amir Mansour was stiffed again on his rematch with Russian prospect Sergey Kuzmin which was scheduled for August 18th at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Bethlehem, Pa. And it’s not only Mansour who losses but the restaurants, Taverns, Parking Concessions and associated local businesses that take a hit also. Subsequently Kuzmin is looking to face David Price in September in the UK. 

Pure Garbage

WBSS tournaments
With little else to report this past weekend, I will give a preview of the upcoming WBSS tournament for the 140 pound division coming next month.

Let's scroll back to 2009, The Super 6 World Boxing Classic was formed by Showtime and Sauerland promotions to showcase the best talent in the rich Super Middleweight division. All of the stars of that division were invited, Andre Ward, Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Jermaine Taylor etc... The only questionable omission in that group was IBF champion Lucian Bute. It was a great tournament and gave a great deal of notoriety to the fighters involved. Ultimately Andre Ward was the ultimate winner.

Since that tourney, a new organization has formed WBSS and conducted tournaments in the respective Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight divisions to crown the best out there. The Cruiserweight division appeared to be a huge success with Ukrainian phenom Oleksandr Usyk prevailing. The field was competitive and relevant although former Cruiserweight Champ Tony Bellew was oversighted.

The current Super Middleweight tournament has been a bust, though, with pertinent player Jürgen Brähmer mysteriously dropping out and Callum Smith being put up against weak competition. Why wasn't WBO champion Carlos Ramirez invited? George Groves in securing a position in the finals but has been delayed due to a shoulder injury he sustained.

..... Now bring on the Light Welterweight 140 pound division. The lack of participation by prominent 140 pounders in this tournament has raised eyebrows to the credibility of the omitted fighters and the validity of the tournament itself. Where are Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner, WBC Champ Jose Ramirez, Undefeated Standout Olympian from the Ukraine, Denys Berinchyk, and top ten Ring ranked Jack Catterall from the UK?

It seems Boxing politics lay precedent in the promotion of this grouped competition to showcase young international talent and ignore the philosophy "Let the Best Man Win!"

Here is a list of the participants, in no particular order, who will be battling next month for The Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Terry Flanigan, UK, 33-1 (13), 29yrs, 5'10 southpaw,38% KO rate. Recently lost his WBO lightweight title to Maurice Hooker. He possesses little power, does not go to the body and is primarily a headhunter. He is busy on his feet but not creative goes in and out of the pocket like a stop watch., He also bum rushes his man with the predictable one-two and his defense is average as overhand shots often splits his gloves.

Eduard Troyanovsky, Russia, 27-1 (24) 5'8 38 years old!, Orthodox, 69" reach. He held the IBF title for several years but was dethroned by Julius Indongo in the first round. He cuts off the ring very well and sets his opponent up to lower the boom. He fights straight up and his jab is marginal. Eduard uses the uppercut but his range of motion lacks fluidity and his defense is compromised when getting hit; He also has a habit of dropping his gloves when swinging wildly off his back feet. Most of his fights have been in his native Russia. I'm surprised there was never a showdown with Terrance Crawford when the latter was fighting at super lightweight.

Ryan Martin, USA, 22-0 (12), 25yrs, 5'10 southpaw. He is an unknown commodity in this tournament. He boasted a great amateur career record of 226-24 and probably has the best jab in the grid but there is nothing that stands out about his style or overall abilities. He is a good counter puncher and has good form and balance. In his most recent fight, Martin stepped up competition, winning an 8th round UD over veteran Breidis Prescott. Martin has been a professional since 2013.

Ivan Baranchyk, Russia, 18-0 (11), 25yrs, 5'7 orthodox. Has been heavily showcased by Shobox and fights out of Miami, Oklahoma. With an amateur record of 120-30, he lacks a good amount of discipline in the ring. Although he fights with a great deal of moxy, he lunges with his punches and disregards defense, often dropping his gloves. He seems to be all about offense and aggression yet lacks finishing instinct.

Kiryl Relikh, Belarus, 22-2 (19), 28yrs Orthodox 5'10, current WBA Champion, Ricky Hatton trainer. Relikh is heavy-handed, has a good chin and will take one to give one; Multidimensional in ability and shows no fear. Possesses a shoddy defense at times with a lunging style in which he may leave room open for an uppercut. Is limited in fluidity, and his sense of rhythm can be disrupted which is indicative on poor connect percentage; He has been observed periodically swinging wildly.

Anthony Yigit, Sweden, 21-0-1 (7),26yrs 5'7 southpaw, 2012 Olympian. Yigit lacks distinctive punching power and lunges while he throws punches, he often pushes his jab and lacks whipping ability. He's got quick feet but doesn’t use them to his advantage, often going toe to toe with his adversary. Watch out for his left hook.

Regis Prograis, USA 22-0 (19), 29yrs, 5'8 southpaw; Amateur record  87-7; Regis gave Errol Spence a run for his money back in the day with 2 close contests in the amateur ranks. Built for power, he's compact and muscular, but does have a marginal reach of 67 inches. He fights out of a crouch with a good work rate and a great body attack. Has good command of either hand and uses them creatively and dynamically. Prograis fights at angles, changes speeds and is a good combination puncher; He manages his energy well in the ring and primarily relies on timing and his rhythm. He's not fully balanced all the time of the time and often fights with his gloves down. To my knowledge, he has not received a signature punch that has hurt him or tested his chin.

Josh Taylor, Scotland,13-0 (11), 27, ambidextrous, 5'10; 2012 Olympian. After his professional debut, he fights on average of every 4 months; Has great command of his punches with either hand and was a National Taekwondo Champion as a teenager; Keeps a good distance with a superb jab but is also proficient on the inside too. Goes to the body frequently and is elusive with his footwork. Showcasing a great chin, he gets hit too much because of a lack of head movement and often comes straight in; Has a signature knockout win over highly touted Ohara Davies in his defense of the British Commonwealth title in 2017.

Currently the matchups for the quarterfinals are: 

Prograis vs Flanigan
Taylor vs Martin
Relikh vs Troyanovsky
Baranchyk vs Yigit

N.B: Bernie's views are simply his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or others who write for FightSaga.

Bernie Campbell is a graduate of Wagner College and has been writing about the fight game for the past several years. He resides in New York City in which he brings to life his 50 plus years of experience in reporting and observing about the "hard knocks" of the world of pugilism!

He has had a renaissance man-like existence, working as a porter, pizza driver, data technician, mailman, and social worker. He tries to see through the smoke screens of professional boxing, and he prefers to “tell it like it is!”

Bernie also does freelance reporting for the Boxing Newspaper publication, USA Boxing News!

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