Monday Morning Boxing Coach – Olympic Medal Rounds + Wood & Rice Pull Off Upsets
Most Olympic Medal Match Are Set
Before you deep-dive into the medal round matches my favorites from this Olympic Games so far are Imam Khataev, Lauren Price, Keyshawn Davis, Oshae Jones, Yuberjen Martínez, Benjamin Whittaker, and Pat McCormack.
Medal round bouts to be set on Monday.
- Semi-finals | Ragan (USA) vs. Takyi (GHA) – This fight will be all about work rate. Ragan has had one of the most impressive Olympic runs, and is more skilled, but he will have to take note of the heart of Takyi, who is going to throw a lot of punches and be rough.
- Semi-finals | Alvarez (CUB) vs. Batyrgaziev (ROC) – A battle of two of the best amateur fighters over the past ten years will see one of them falling short in what could be the last Olympic games for both of them. The two know what it takes to have success at this level, as we should be in for a very focused and high-level bout.
Medal round bouts to be set on Monday
- Finals | McCormack (GBR) vs Iglesias (CUB) – Pat McCormack is a blue-chip fighter seemingly destined for the gold medal, and Iglesias though being a Cuban fighter should strike fear in your heart just feels a tier below McCormack, who at the very least should be a world title contender at some point, but has the hallmarks being a U.K. star with a gold medal.
- Semi-finals | Khyzhniak (UKR) vs. Marcial (PHI) – After seeing Marcial brutally knockout Vic Darchinyan’s cousin, Arman, and seeing the flaws Khyzhniak has on defense, barring the pressure breaking Marcial, Marcial could have another great Olympic moment.
- Semi-Finals | Conceição (BRA) vs. Bakshi (ROC) – Bakshi was my favorite going into the tournament, and he should make it to the gold medal bout, but has a lot of the flaws of Khyzhniak, except he belives in defense. Bakshi is rugged, tough, physical and mean. Now we just have to see how he does against a strong, and aggressive inside fighter such as Conceicao.
- Finals | Whittaker vs. Lopez – Benjamin Whittaker is a great boxer with good handspeed, with the only rough aspect to his journey, is you can see him writing his autobiography during these fights, case-and-point, when he sat on the ring ropes after beating my favorite fighter in the Olympics, Imam Khataev. Whittaker, who is sporting gold hair, more than likely as to foreshadow the gold medal he wants to win, and a musiscan to boot, will have to face one of the better Cubans in the tournament in Arlen Lopez, a Cuban boxer, who can also fight on the inside. Whittaker should be favored as his speed is incredible, but never doubt Cuba in the Olympics.
- Semi-Finals | Gadzhimagomedov (ROC) vs Nyika (NZL) – Without question, I believe Nyika will be a solid pro, the question will be can David Nyika beat the heavily amateur style of Gadzhimagomedov. This division has largely been one of the weaker ones of the tournament, but I love the upside of Nyika.
- Semi-Finals | Teixeira (BRA) vs. César La Cruz (CUB) – Brazil has created a great amateur boxing program over the years as the influx of Brazil, will face the age old tradition of the Cuban boxing program. Julio Cesar La Cruz is a solid amateur with major defense flaws, most seen in his KO loss to now pro Khalil Coe. Teixeira is a high volume, pressure fighter.
Men’s Super Heavyweight
- Semi-Finals | Jalolov vs. Clarke – I want to see Jalolov show more urgency in the medal rounds as so far he has just gone through the motions, that being said we have to see if they allow Frazer Clarke to fight in the semi-finals due to his cut as Jalolov might get a walkover to the finals. I hope this fight happens as Clarke will make Jalolov fight an honest fight.
- Semi-Finals | Torrez Jr. vs. Kunkabayev – Unless Torrez Jr’s cut that was sustained during the Pero fight gets worse or his chins shows ill-effects, Torrez holds every advantage over Kunkabayev, with the biggest being a weaponized pace, that will more than likely be the difference. We’re very close to an Olympic rematch between Jalolov vs. Torrez Jr.
- Semi-Finals | Çakıroğlu (TUR) vs. Hsiao-wen (TPE) – It is hard not to favor Çakıroğlu as she is built to do well at this event with a style that is awkward and unpredictable, as well as a physically strong, but Hsiao-wen, has a build and a style that can beat anyone given her five-foot-nine-inch frame at women’s flyweight. This will be interesting to see, and the winner of this bout will have earned their way to gold medal round. As this will see two of the best fighters in this division doing battle for a spot in the gold medal match.
- Semi-Finals | Namiki vs Krasteva – Namiki to me is a clear favorite as Krasteva is coming into the medal rounds with a shaky performance, as Namiki is steadily improving. A solid match-up, but I think we see Japan in two bouts for gold medals in this Olympic Games.
- Finals | Petecio (PHI) vs Irie (JPN) – Nesthy Petecio should be the favorite especially with her adjustment against Irma Testa, a fantastic boxer, who she was able to adjust to and stop Testa’s jab in one round, will face the hometown fighter, Irie, for the gold. Irie is a slick boxer, who fights well on the outside, and is very focused on a specific plan in each fight. Petecio, a southpaw, you can see is heavily inspired by Manny Pacquiao and is master of closing distance.
Medal bout will be set next week
- Sürmeneli (TUR) vs. Borgohain (IND) – Sürmeneli should be a heavy favorite in this bout as Sürmeneli is the strongest women’s fighter, in my opinion, on the Turkish team, an impressive in the first year that Turkey decided to have a women’s boxing team. Sürmeneli is all offense and pressure.
- Jones (USA) vs. Hong (CHN) – Hong is big, and strong, but stiff and not cordinated. Jones should be able to show the difference in technical ability as we set forth for an interesting gold medal match that looks to be Surmeneli vs. Jones.
- Price (GBR) vs. Fontijn (NED) – If Lauren Price wants to live up to the hype I have written about her, not that she is reading, this will be the big test as Fontijn beat Savannah Marshall at Rio 2016. Fontijn is a fighter who overwhelms opponents with volume and pressure, Price is a smooth boxer-puncher, who in my eyes has yet to make one wrong move in the tournament yet.
- Magomedalieva (ROC) vs. Qian (CHN) – Magomedalieva is the more interesting of the two fighters to watch, the question will be is Qian’s size. Magomedalieva has fought in bigger weights prior, such as women’s light heavyweight. This will be a contrast of styles.
Late-Replacement Rice Stops Coffie On FOX
The FOX telecast which saw every single main card bout, changed the week of the fight happened, saw also an upset in the main event.
Michael Coffie might have something else to be tried of than his age being brought up before every fight, as Jonnie Rice, a late-replacement for Gerald Washington, and Las Vegas, NV gym veteran, stopped Coffie in five rounds when Coffie reacted poorly to a punch and made a maneuver the referee deemed not a boxing move and waved the bout off.
An important sub-plot is Rice was one of Michael Hunter’s sparring partners for his upcoming fight with Mike Wilson, so despite taking the fight on late-notice, Rice, put forth a camp with a main event-level heavyweight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The bout showed me a lot. One, Coffie has a high boxing IQ, it just seemed as though with an opponent like Rice, he couldn’t execute what he wanted to do based on not being able to exploit his power, and inexperience in the sport of boxing, as I saw him thinking through shots, but unable to land.
As for Rice, he outboxed Coffie for several rounds, as it appeared Coffie might have been waiting for Rice to fatigue, but left hooks landed very clean as Coffie’s defense was too relaxed. In the fourth round, Coffie appeared to target Rice’s body as it looked that might change the course of the fight, but Rice would rally in the fifth round to land multiple straight punch combinations. Rice, who resembled James “Buster” Douglas in terms of his body and punches thrown, had his career moment, and his celebration was a heartwarming moment seeing the underdog win.
Hopefully, Rice gets a big fight out of this win, and we don’t see the typical boxing non-sense of doing a rematch, right away – trying to spoil a feel-good moment.
Vito Mielnicki Jr stopped 24-hour late replacement Noah Kidd in two rounds, after James Martin, who beat him in his last fight, missed weight, as Mielnicki did so in-front of a packed crowd screaming his name. Mielnicki Jr. looks refocused after his first pro loss, but questions will still linger as Kidd was a last-minute opponent change, and not on the same tier as James Martin, or other tougher regional fighters prospects might fight.
Mielnicki Jr. dropped Kidd twice, en route to the win.
The confusing mess that occurred for Joey Spencer’s win over James Martin is just as interesting as the fight itself. Both Spencer and Martin missed weight, as Spencer came in two-and-a-half pounds over, and Martin came in 151 lbs, four pounds overweight for his scheduled rematch with Vito Mielnicki Jr.
Spencer, and Martin would then decide to fight, which turned out to be a fairly even bout as their styles neutralized each and the punch totals provided painted an accurate picture as Martin outthrew Spencer, but Spencer landed the cleaner punches. Spencer’s lead left-hook was the difference in the fight.
Spencer won a unanimous decision winning just about every round on all, but one of the cards.
Super middleweight Andre Dirrell returned after a long lay-off to get a third round knockout of Christopher Brooker. It made me nervous that the broadcast brought up Caleb Plant’s name so much, as it felt like they might be foreshadowing a future fight.
Karl Dargan, who is now 36-years-old, and returned to the ring, at super lightweight stopping former Golden Boy Promotions undercard fighter Ivan “Striker” Delgado in three rounds.
Unbeaten heavyweight Norman Neely will need some more time before stepping up as he looks to be a little raw to jump into the world-level tier of fighters, as Neely went all six-rounds in his bout.
Leigh Wood Stops Can, Becomes World Champion
Leigh Wood stopped Xu Can in the 12th and final round for a form of the WBA featherweight world title, as Wood becomes a world champion under the instruction of popular boxing coach, Ben Davison. Can’s typical high volume was, but kaput as he marched forward and was met with shots and then turned.
The night was not a good night for trainer Pedro Diaz, who went home 0-2, on the evening.
Wood, who I had always viewed as a domestic-level fighter picked up a decision win, to get a form of a world title, and gets to have a crowning achievement for his career. My friend, Shutterworth, of the Ring Gang Radio said it best, that Wood fought like how the world expect Jermell Charlo to fight Brian Castano.
Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith defeated Tommy McCarthy in a competitive, but sadly not all that entertaining bout, that saw Billam-Smith win three forms of regional cruiserweight titles. A story bigger than the fight itself was Carl Frampton, who was with McCarthy watching Billam-Smith’s hand get wrapped, who is trained by his former coaches, who had issues with Barry & Shane McGuigan
Jack Cullen defeated former Canelo opponent, Avni Yildirim, as Yildirim did Canelo no favors, looking lost against Cullen, who is largely considered a domestic level fighter. Yildirim has fought for the world title twice.
After a win on the undercard, it was announced Anthony Fowler will fight Liam Smith on October 9th, the bout will be a domestic attraction, that probably won’t catch fire in the U.S.
Club Show Results
A statement was made by super featherweight Christian Tapia, who has won all, but one of his twelve fight by way of knockout as he won the NABA super featherweight title with second-round KO of Mason Menard. Menard has lost to Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, and Ray Beltran at lightweight. The win is a statement.
The co-main event saw former Mayweather Promotions fighter Dylan Price get the best win of his career over defeating Edwin Rodriguez, a fighter who beat Thompson Boxing’s Saul Sanchez, and got a draw with Joshua Greer Jr. The scores were 77–75, 78-74 and 79-75.
The son of the greatest cruiserweight boxer in history, and one heck of a heavyweight, Evander Holyfield, Evan Holyfield, a super welterweight, got the third stoppage over an experienced fighter who had gone 158 rounds as a professional in Agustin Cicero. Holyfield dropped Cicero five times, it will be interesting to see if a promoter bites on him soon, as he is currently undefeated with six pro fights.
Francis Hogan turned pro at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and to this point, has had seven pro fights, going undefeated thus far, and with his win over Isiah Hart, the toughest opponent of his career. Hogan was in his second six-round pro fight. Ticket sellers are always people to follow in the sport of boxing.
MMA In 500 Words Or Less
A.J. McKee defeated long-reigning Bellator featherweight world champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in less than two-minutes. A head-kick followed by a choke ended the bout. Bellator has the face of their company, and a star for their Showtime deal.
Sean Strickland ruined Uriah Hall’s winning streak as he punished him for all five rounds, and to pick up a one-sided decision. Women’s strawweight Cheyanne Buys stopped Glorinha de Paula in one-minute with a head kick, she is someone to be aware of. Former Invicta champ Jinh Yu Frey won a three-round decision over Ashley Yoder as well.