Monday Morning Boxing Coach: Olympics Recaps & Myke Fox Gets Robbed!
Meet The Gold Medal Olympians Of The 2020 Olympics
Men’s Flyweight – Galal Yafai (GBR) – A Star Is Born.
Galal Yafai seems like a superstar in the making. No other gold medalist showed as much power over their weight class as did Yafai, as he seems like he could fight for a world title quickly, as Great Brittan’s gold medalist, to me looks like a fighter who could take a nation by storm.
Yafai, who is a professional-style power puncher, saw him caught off the ring against his opponents and unload violent body shots to the body, and head.
Yafai started the tournament off on the note that was clearly his focal point, as he stopped Horyun Soghomonyan in the first round. Yafai looked as dominant as ever.
In the second round, Patrick Chinyemba gave Yafai the most issues of the tournament mostly around his awkward body type and ability to avoid the action Yafai looks to create, but Yafai edged a close, 3-2 decision.
Yafai’s most impressive outing was against Cuba’s Yosvany Veitía, as he just never allowed Yosvany Veitía to set distance, and showed him no respect. Someone could scoff at Yafai, and say it is crude, but to force world-level boxers out of avoiding action, is hard, and Yafai brought a fire-fight to Veitia, who couldn’t withstand it.
Yafai in the medal round, nearly was robbed of a spot in the finals as Yafai dominantly beat Saken Bibossinov, but the judges had by a narrow margin. If Yafai hadn’t of gotten this decision, this could’ve been compared to the Michael Conlan decision in Rio 2016, in terms of bad cards.
The finals saw Galal Yafai fight the fight of his life dropping Carlo Paalam early, and never letting him get going. Yafai had a hard bracket, and won fairly and exciting fashion.
Notable facts about Yafai, he has two brothers who are pro boxers, Kal and Gamal Yafai. Yafai didn’t start boxing until ten years ago, at 18-years-old, but said that he fought with his brothers as a child so that was similar in terms of experience to 30 or so amateur fights. Before competing at the Rio 2016 games Yafai quit his job at the car factory.
Men’s Featherweight – Albert Batyrgaziev (ROC) – Knowing How To Win
Albert Batyrgaziev is now an Olympic gold medalist as the fighter representing the Russian Olympic Committee beat Duke Ragan in the finals for the honor.
Batyrgaziev is a 23-year-old representing Babayurt, Dagestan, Russia, who is currently pro, with three fights to his ledger. As a pro, all of his bouts have been ten-round bouts, as he has stopped all three of his opponents.
Batyrgaziev’s path to gold was as follows. Batyrgaziev received a first-round bye which was followed by a one-sided win over Alexy de la Cruz. Batyrgaziev has a lot of things in his favor being a southpaw, fighting in a manner in which he throws a ton of punches, and a good boxing IQ to know when to accelerate in a fight and pick up the pace.
Batyrgaziev had a shaky following two rounds as he beat Erdenebatyn Tsendbaatar of Mongolia, but just barely. Batyrgaziev is a fighter when he looks great he looks like a generational talent, and when he struggles, he looks like an average fighter. The bout with Tsendbaatar offered some insight as to what troubles the Russian fighter as this fight was far from easy.
The defining win of the tournament was when Batyrgaziev defeated three-time Cuban Olympic medalist, Lázaro Álvarez, an Olympic legend in the semi-final by way of a narrow margin of 3-to-2. Batyrgaziev legitimately beat the heavily favored legend, and like I tried to explain priror, Batyrgaziev is an amazing fighter when he is on, and mortal when he is off. Against the legend, Batyrgaziev’s strengths showed.
Batyrgaziev fought Duke Ragan in the finals for gold, and somewhat took the energy out of the fight early. Ragan like a tactical natured fight that is fought in spurts and more of a chess match, Batyrgaziev made it physical with high volume. In short, he fought a more fundamentally sound fight than Samuel Kistohurry of France did to Ragan in round one, which saw Ragan struggle. Batyrgaziev exploits the weakness in opponents with lower output as output is one of his biggest strengths along with angles.
Notable facts, he was a highly regarded national champion kickboxer as a teenager before he began his boxing career. In kickboxing, he has won gold medals at the U18 level at the world championships and European championships. Batyrgaziev was born in Dagestan, and is trained by his father. Manny Pacquiao, the great Filipino southpaw is his inspiration as a fighter.
Batyrgaziev is a technical, high motor boxer with a lot of volume, someone who it makes sense that Manny Pacquiao is his favorite fighter.
I hope a major promoter signs him to a pro contract, as I would like to see him in three-to-four-years fight all the great featherweights currently, such as Rashiem Jefferson, Marc Castro, Duke Ragan, David Navarro, Ceiber Ávila and more.
Men’s Lightweight – Andy Cruz – The Olympic Boxer
Andy Cruz won gold over the favorite Keyshawn Davis and preceded to do a rendition of a Michael Jackson dance. Cruz who is nicknamed the matador, is from the Julio La Cruz school of Cuban boxers were I am not sure I see the application to the pros, but it will take a special fighter to beat him in the amateurs. Cruz had only lost two times in the past six years, once in 2019 and once in 2015, that is how dominant he is.
Cruz started his Olympic journey besting Pat McCormack’s twin brother, Luke McCormack, as Cruz danced circles around McCormack, who seemed confused, lost, and frustrated. Those are the marquee words if Cruz is having his way in the ring.
In the quarterfinals, one of my favorite overlooked fighters Wanderson Oliveira gave him a very competitive fight in which one judge favored Oliveira on the cards. Cruz once again used his feet, and awkward movement to win this bout, but Oliveira was in the same ballpark with hand speed, so the bout was a lot closer than people would think as Cruz had to exploit his foot speed advantage.
In the bronze medal round, Cruz fought Harry Garside in a fight that was a lot of fun, but won’t be remembered as such. Garside came out sharp, but also willing to be hit and forced Cruz to engage the start of the fight was close, but once Cruz landed cleanly, Garside was given a standing eight count, and Cruz went on to win the fight handily.
The finals saw the bout we all wanted to see – the American juggernaut Keyshawn Davis, versus the ultra-amateur Cuban boxer Andy Cruz. In the end, Cruz now is 4-0 over Davis despite the closest bout the two have had yet with Cruz narrowly winning round one, Davis winning round two, Cruz’s hand speed seemed to slow down the volume of Davis just enough to see him lose the final round. In the end, my heart was wrong, and the experts were right as Andy Cruz won gold.
Fun facts about Cruz are he is highly motivated by dance and even did several dances after winning the gold medal. Cruz is a fighters’ fighter, as he started at ten-years-old and was inspired by his idol, Cuban boxer, Mario Kindelan.
Men’s Welterweight – Roniel Iglesias (CUB) – Experience Wins Again
At 32-year-old, and appearing in his fourth Olympic Games, and medaling in three-of-the-four Olympics he went to, Roniel Iglesias will go down as one of the great Olympic Cuban boxers, if for nothing else than his two gold medals, one in the 2012 Olympics at light-welterweight and this year, 2020 at welterweight. Add to it he won a bronze in 2008, and participated, but didn’t medal in 2016.
Iglesias despite his pedigree was viewed as long in the tooth, and mortal against Pat McCormack, the sexy pick to win the whole tournament, as he is as good of a prospect the U.K. has had in some time, but the robotic nature of McCormack caught up with him, as the fluid punches from Iglesias were too much to overcome. Iglesias even made an example of McCormack dropping him in the second round, though it was ruled a slip.
Iglesias is a hard fighter to evaluate as we will never see his prime in the professionals as he fought in the Olympics in three different decades, which is a very long-time, and if he does turn pro – it will be like Arvydas Sabonis coming to the NBA.
Iglesias’ 2020 Olympic gold medal path was an impressive one, after a first-round bye, Iglesias looked very vulnerable getting a narrow decision over Sewon Okazawa of Japan, who might have shown the blueprint to why Iglesias could be a vulnerable pro.
With high hopes from Team USA, who is having a resurgence in 2020, Cleveland’s Delante “Tiger” Johnson, won the first round against Iglesias but saw the Cuban adjust, and have trouble with the tricky, older, more experienced fighter. Iglesias beating Johnson showed the veteran amateur boxer still had something left, as many had written him off based around age.
Iglesias never lost a round after the Johnson bout as he rolled through a veteran of the sport Andrey Zamkovoy, and then made Pat McCormack look like a domestic-level talent, as well as brought about my early fears of McCormack possibly being an orthodox version of Luke Campbell.
Notable facts about Iglesias is at 16-year-old when Olympic champion Yuriorkis Gamboa was hurt, and couldn’t compete back in 2005. He was an amateur rival with now world champion Yordenis Ugas, losing his bout to him over a decade ago, if Iglesias were to turn, him be moved faced, and possibly rekindle that match-up. Iglesias holds wins over 2008 Olympian Javier Molina, Frankie Gomez, Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk, and stopped Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas.
In short, Iglesias is a Cuban boxing legend, and a fighter I hope we see as a pro, though I think it is safe to say he left his prime in the amateurs.
Men’s Middleweight – Herbert Sousa (BRA) – Defense Matters
Hebert Sousa will become an Olympic legend if, for nothing else, his iconic KO win over the defensively-flawed Oleksandr Khyzhniak that came with him facing certain defeat before a dramatic left hook knocked out Khyzhniak, which halted the contest, and crowned Hebert Sousa, a Brazilian boxing legend.
Sousa, a patient counter-puncher who works well on the inside looks for windows to exploits, and this was best seen by the Khyzhniak bout in which Khyzhniak was far too reckless for the sharp-shooter.
Sousa was the two seed, and received a first-round only to be followed by a tough bout in the second round against Tuohetaerbieke Tanglatihan of China, who threw a lot as Sousa barely got by him via a 3:2 decision.
Things continued to be rocky as he barely outlasted Abilkhan Amankul in the following round as it looked liked Sousa’s style, a widely effective pro-style could be destined to see him on the bad end of a decision, yet the boxing gods were with him, as he picked up another 3:2 decision.
Sousa’s breakout performance was against Gleb Bakshi, an aggressive and physical brawler with traits of a boxer. Sousa nullified the physical nature of Bakshi and landed the cleanest work of the Olympics in this bout.
Then the moment happened in the finals for gold. Sousa fought Khyzhniak, a wild Ukrainian puncher in the same vein as Ievgen Khytrov and Ivan Baranchyk. Khyzhniak’s only defense is his offense, as he was described as the master of violence via Twitter for his ungodly stamina, and the large amount of volume he unleashes. Sousa was behind on every card, as he was not throwing enough to beat Khyzniak who looked to be a lock to win, as Khyzhniak was caught with a left hook that greatly hurt him. It was an iconic moment and a great come-from-behind story for Sousa.
Notable facts about Hebert Sousa, the 23-year-old doesn’t believe he has a dominant stance as he feels he fights the same from orthodox and southpaw, and only started boxing eight years ago, when he was 15-years-old. Sousa is the second Brazilian to win a gold medal in boxing with the first being Robson Conceição
Men’s Light Heavyweight – Arlen Lopez (CUB) – In A Class By Himself
At 28-years-old, Arlen López becomes a historic Cuban gold medalist in 2020, as with his win over Great Brittan’s Benjamin Whittaker, Lopez now has won gold in the middleweight division in Rio 2016 and a gold at light heavyweight this year at Tokyo 2020.
His amateur career has seen him beat nearly anyone fighting around his weight class in his era, and ironically his fellow Cuban 2020 two-time Olympic gold medalist, Roniel Iglesias, had three wins over him eleven years ago in 2010. In 2016 Lopez defeated Bektemir “Bek The Bully” Melikuziev in the finals of Rio 2016 to win gold, a fun little factoid, that pro boxing fans might enjoy.
Lopez is special because he has the talent to box as most Cuban do, but against Benjamin Whittaker, a taller, faster fighter, Lopez knew he had to go forward which is an elite trait not always seen in amateur boxers, let alone in Cuban fighters who are often great at keeping distance but fighting inside.
Lopez’s path to the 2020 gold medal was not easy but started off smooth with a bye to the round of sixteen followed by a dominant win over Mohammed Houmri (ALG), which saw Lopez look unstoppable.
In the quarterfinals, Lopez defeated Rogelio Romero (MEX), a southpaw, who has all the makings of being a good pro, as Lopez was vastly too experienced for size alone to beat him. As Lopez picked his spots, and fought like an experienced pro, boxing on the inside and outside.
In the bronze medal round/semi-finals Lopez fought Loren Alfonso (AZE), as Alfonso is a former Cuban who defected to Azerbaijan to better help his family, we were told via the international telecast. Alfonso who is also an amazing backfoot distance boxer, couldn’t handle Lopez when he shifted gears and brought the pressure to him, as Lopez’s dimensions were just too much.
The finals saw Lopez fight Benjamin Whittaker who is a unique character birthed from the social media era, as he did an elaborate walkout, and dance prior to this bout, and fights at a fast pace with a lot of range. Lopez took a page from fellow Olympic light-heavyweight gold medalist Andre Ward’s book, and pushed forward smartly, landing big shots. Those who revisit this fight will always find it frustrating that Whittaker should have at least won three of the judges’ cards in the second round, which he didn’t, as this all, but assured Benjamin Whittaker would win silver, not gold, as he isn’t a big puncher.
Some interesting facts about Lopez are, Lopez doesn’t define his stance as he believes he is effective in both southpaw and regular and doesn’t have a dominant stance though he started orthodox. Per Olympics.com, at the age of thirteen, Lopez realized that he could punch with both hands, and the coach on the team allowed him to continue working on both.
Lopez will be known as one of the historic Cubans to have ever won a gold medal, and now the big question is do we see him in three years at the next Olympics, or does he inevitably take his talents to the pro game.
Men’s Heavyweight – Julio La Cruz – The Professional Amateur Division
Cuba does it again, as it has its third Olympic gold medalist this year, but not just that – Roniel Iglesias, Julio La Cruz, and Arlen Lopez, all have two Olympic gold medals in two weight classes with La Cruz being the latest to join the club.
Look not to put anyone down, but the heavyweight division at this year’s Olympic Games, sums up why we don’t see cruiserweight bouts often on TV. We had two-or-three pro-ready fighters, and the rest being professional amateurs. It was a division for the purist, as most fighters looked to gain points from the outside, get a lead, and then avoid their opponent in the third round.
La Cruz proved to be the best at this, but still had two shaky outings as Emmanuel Reyes seemingly dropped him twice, with neither being called, and Muslim Gadzhimagomedov seemed to sit him down as well as it was called a slip. La Cruz’s defense is very flawed as he loves to fight with his hands low and rely on his speed and timing which is expectational, but as we saw with “The Big Steppa” Khalil Coe, who knocked him out in international competition, La Cruz seems to be what this division all about – professional amateurs, as I am not sure I see Cruz being an amazing pro with his flaws.
La Cruz’s path to victory was simple – a first-round blowout of Elly Ochola of Kenya, in which Ochola was outgunned in every which way.
His second-round bout against Emmanuel Reyes was far more interesting as Reyes seemingly dropped La Cruz twice, but the referee called them slips. Reyes is a pro-style fighter, and will land big hard shots, not volume, so with those not counting, La Cruz’s volume carried him through this bout, though at the very least.
In the sem-finlas, La Cruz fought Abner Teixeira of Brazil, and landed more volume, but I can’t tell you if he landed the better punches as Teixeira seemed to be landing good solid punches on the inside, but they didn’t seem to be rewarded. This bout though felt like La Cruz more than likely edged at least two-rounds, but wasn’t a landslide by any means.
In the finals, La Cruz beat the #1 seed Muslim Gadzhimagomedov, one of the hardest fighters to watch the Olympics, who has a style to accumulate points from distance and avoid his opponent in the final round. Though I believe Gadzhimagomedov dropped La Cruz in this bout and didn’t get credit for it, La Cruz exploits Gadzhimagomedov flaws, and won.
Fun facts, La Cruz’s nickname is “The Shadow”. In January 2014 he was shot in his left hip after someone attempted to rob him. De la Cruz was leaving a training center in his hometown of Camaguey, Cuba, along with his training partner boxer Leinier Pero the incident occurred. He was hospitalized after the shooting.
La Cruz wants to win gold at the 2024 Olympics, and became a 3x Olympic gold medalist. La Cruz said the move to heavyweight was a great benefit to him as he started doing strength training and the weight cut would’ve been hard.
Men’s Super Heavyweight – Bakhodir Jalolov – Makes History For His Country
They don’t draw pictures of how you win a gold medal and Bakhodir Jalolov will more than likely point to his dominant gold medal win over Richard Torrez Jr., as is defining moment, but Jalolov had a rocky road to the finals.
The heavily favored Uzebekistani fighter, who had knocked out Torrez Jr., two years prior internationally, and is signed with promoter DiBella Entertainment with eight professional fights to his record already, now will have a gold medal as well.
In his first bout he beat Mahammad Abdullayev, in a bout he stayed on the outside for the most part, and despite giving his opponent a standing eight count at one point, the bout lacked much sizzle.
In the following round, Jalolov met Satish Kumar who he had another ho-hum fight with as Jalolov was doing enough to win, but not enough to capture the attention of the sport world at this global event.
The medal rounds Frazer Clarke of Great Brittan gave him a very hard fight even giving Jalolov a standing-eight count, in a competitive bout, the scar tissue over the eyes of Clarke failed him more than his skill or will as Clarke looked more impressive than Jalolov in a loss than Jalolov did in a win.
In the finals, Jalolov rematched Richard Torrez Jr., an exciting American heavyweight he resembles a more polished southpaw Tommy Morrison, as Torrez looked for redemption, winning the first round, before the six or so inch reach advantage became blatantly clear, Jalolov was able to win based on seemingly size, giving Torrez Jr. as standing-eight count in the finals.
Fun facts about Jalolov, he is heavily inspired by Novak Djokovic and influenced in boxing by Wladimir Klitschko. Jalolov being already a somewhat developed pro fighter as well could fight for a world title in roughly the next two years as well.
Women’s Flyweight – Stoyka Krasteva (BUL) – The Most Impressive Path To Gold
Stoyka Krasteva took a hard road to get to the gold at women’s flyweight, and it must feel that much more fulfilling.
Krasteva had a stern test in the first round against Nguyễn Thị Tâm, who matched her aggressive spirit and volume, but couldn’t sway the judges.
The second round was a shocker at the time, but in hindsight showed the buzzsaw that Krasteva was, as she beat Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs, of the U.S., my favorite to win the division. Krasteva seemed to annoy Fuchs early and often, as Fuchs looked irritated and off her game after the first round. When Krasteva is at her best she fights like a fly who you can’t swat, but keep annoying you via humming and stinging. This fight is a perfect example.
The bracket didn’t get any easier as Krasteva faced another heavy favorite, Chang Yuan of China, one who was viewed as a sure-fire medalist. Once again, Krasteva overwhelmed her, as two of the most decorated fighters in the bracket lost to her back-to-back.
The medal round saw Tsukimi Namiki of Japan, confused on how to solve the puzzle that was Krasteva, as well to my perception appeared to be flopping at times looking for the referee to take a point. The ref didn’t Krasteva overwhelmed the backfoot boxer, who seemed to hate the pressure.
The finals saw Krasteva put a capstone on her magnificent run by beating the number one seed, Buse Naz Çakıroğlu on all five of the judges card. Krasteva put forth the performance of a lifetime, at an event of a lifetime this was special.
With this tournament, Krasteva should go down as one of the greatest Bulgarian boxers to ever live.
No many notable facts were found on Stoyka Krasteva other than she started boxing at the age of four, and because she was a tomboy, who got into trouble often and was around mostly boys. In 2018 she began working as a coach at Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria.
Women’s Featherweight – Sena Irie (JPN) – Japan’s Newest Star
The host country of Japan won its first gold medal in boxing in 2020 with Sena Irie winning on all five of the judges’ scorecards against Nesthy Petecio of the Philipines in the finals of the women’s featherweight tournament.
Irie, who is 20-years-old will now be a Japanese folk hero as she ran through a tough gauntlet to face the tournament favorite and beat Petecio in their fourth meeting in international competition. Irie started the Olympics with a win over Yamileth Solorzano of Estonia, in a bout that she outclassed her in, outboxing her from the outside.
Irie’s style is that of an elusive backfoot boxer, who is not trying to fight in the inside, but instead, move, and gain points through speed and volume.
If you want to see a vintage Irie Olympic performance I would look at her bout in the round of sixteen in which she fought Khouloud Hlimi of Tunisia, and was rarely hit. Irie at her best is a fighter who lives by the motto of hit and not get hit.
Irie narrowly beat Maria Nechita of Romania in the quarterfinals, in a fight that saw Nechita have a lot of success with brute force. In the round prior, Nechita overwhelmed Ramla Ali, a tournament favorite, but couldn’t have the same luck with Irie who gutted out a close win.
Irie’s bout against Karriss Artingstall of Great Brittan came down to what type of work you favor more in a fight, as well as let’s be honest, where the location of the Olympics. Artingstall would’ve won the fight if it was a pro fight, and I favored her, but Irie did enough to win and advance to the finals.
Her gold medal match, tonight, saw her beat Nesthy Petecio, one of the shining stars of the tournament, and a master of fighting on the inside but never could get on the inside on Irie who fought the fight of her life in the finals in truly a gold medal deserving performance.
Irie, a native of Tokyo, Japan, now will be the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in women’s featherweight as the division was introduced for this Olympic year. Things of note about her, her nickname is the Irie Crocodile and is currently a student at Nippon Sport Science University in Tokyo.
Irie began to box at the age of seven in 2008 at Sugar Knuckle Boxing Gym in Yonago, Japan, the same town she was born in. Irie found inspiration to start training boxing based on a cartoon show that featured boxing. Irie stated that she looked up to the characters with championship belts. Thirteen years later, now Irie has one of the most sought-after prizes in all of boxing, an Olympic Gold medal.
Women’s Lightweight – Kellie Harrington – Ireland’s Greatness
Get ready for stardom, Kellie Harrington, as here it comes.
A fighter inspired by Katie Taylor, doubled-down on Taylor’s impressive 2012 achievement, of a gold medal having her very own Olympic moment, and certainly should be the face of Irish boxing for the next decade.
Harrington, a well-rounded fighter, who prefers to stay on the outside and accumulate points via distance control and range mostly dominated the Olympic lightweight division.
Harrington was awarded a bye through the first round and faced Rebecca Nicoli, in her first Olympic bout, as Harrington showed off her impressive angles, distance control and ability to pull-counter.
In the following round, it was more of the same Harrington beat Imane Khelif, in a bout that after you watched the first-round you basically had seen the whole fight. Harrington, when she is in control can cruise and Khelif was stuck in the same gear.
Her hardest bout came to Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand, who had a case to be made for beating Harrington as she outthrew Harrington, and it was the judges who viewed Harrington’s work as the cleaner of the two. The judges awarded the fight 3:2 in Harrington’s favor, but this was a very close bout, and the fighter from Thailand gave her all she can handle.
In the finals, Harrington had another close one the cards don’t reflect it as Beatriz Ferreira applied pressure that threw Harrington a bit off, but Harrington adjusted late and got the decision win.
Fun facts about Harrington, she intends to go back to her part-time job cleaning at the St Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Harrington is one of 180 openly gay athletes in the 2020 Olympic Games. Harrington had one of the most endearing wins ever as when she won gold her joy and tears were uncontainable, as you couldn’t help but feel for her as the passion she showed – explained the moment for her.
Women’s Welterweight – Busenaz Sürmeneli (TUR) – The Historic Turkish Female Fighter
Busenaz Sürmeneli of Turkey made history become the first female boxer to ever win a gold medal in boxing, and she did so in impressive fashion, making it look easy in the women’s welterweight division in Tokyo 2020.
Busenaz Sürmeneli is a bull, and steamrolled most of her competition, as Surmeneli wins her fights just as much in the gym as in the fight itself, as her physical condition was top-notch and her strength was overwhelming.
Surmeneli was the number one seed and defeated a very tough distance fighter in Karolina Koszewska, who I thought could give her issues, but her pressure was far too much, as Koszewska’s elite attributes of her frame and distance were negated badly.
In her second bout, she beat Anna Lysenko in a bout that Lysenko early on seemed shocked by the power and strength of Surmeneli. As she was pushed around the ring, and rendered rather ineffective by Surmeneli.
In the medal round, Lovlina Borgohain tried her hand against Surmeneli and had a bit of early success only for the pressure to once again, prove to be far too much. Surmeneli had one plan, move forward, and it was a lot to overcome for all.
In the gold medal match, Gu Hong of China won the first round a rare feat against Surmeneli, but then in return was given a standing eight count in the following round, as well as a point, was taken for holding. As Surmeneli never saw any form of resistance in the 2020 Olympics, and is looking to be one of the pioneers of women’s boxing in Turkey. At only 23-years-old, I am sure we will see her in the Olympics again.
Notable facts about Busenaz Sürmeneli are that she began boxing at the age of ten, and in 2015 she met Recap Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, and promised him she would win a medal at the Olympic Games one day. That promise came true at this year’s Olympics. Busenaz Sürmeneli never lost on any of the judges scorecards for the entire duration of the Olympic Games which is an impressive and dominant stat.
Women’s Middleweight – Lauren Price – The Future Star
“Come on!” Those are the word you hear often from Lauren Price as she dominated the women’s middleweight division en route to gold at Tokyo 2020.
The decorated football (soccer) player and world champion kickboxer has earned yet another medal, as Price seems to be destined for big things in the sport of boxing.
Her first bout was a sheer trouncing of Mönkhbatyn Myagmarjargal of Mongolia, as Price was just far too talented and displayed her bounce in her boxing movement that became a staple of watching Lauren Price fight. Price moved like a kangaroo, and had sharp crisp punches that darted in-and-out.
The co-main event was more of the same as Atheyna Bylon, had nothing for Price who looked like she was going to waltz her way to a gold medal. Price was just too talented, too quick, and too strong for Bylon, who looked befuddled.
Price’s only competitive bout was against Nouchka Fontijn, in a hum-dinger of a bout. Nouchka Fontijn took an early first-round lead, and Price was docked a point for holding, yet Price won a narrow points decision which some found controversial. Fontijn’s no-nonsense pressure was thrown off Lauren Price, as it is no surprise that Price and Fontijn were 2-2 in bouts against each other with Price getting a narrow victory. I am not sure what the future holds for either, but I hope to see this rivalry continue
In the gold medal match, Li Qian was never really in the bout as Price was too fast and moved around too much to be effective, as Price took all the drama out of the bout early. Price’s lone Olympic scare was quickly forgotten after her one-sided gold medal victory.
Price is the goods.
Fun facts, Price’s close family compare her to the Winnie The Pooh charchter Tigger. She is incredibly close with her grandparents who heavily shaped her life experience, and at one time even was a taxi driver as trained in the sport. Her grandfather Derek passed away last year, and she kept a card by her side each-and-every night in Tokyo that he wrote for her. To me, Price has the chance to be the Ronda Rousey of women’s boixng if the cards fall right.
Who You Should Watch For Besides The Gold Medalists –
Imam Khataev – My favorite Olympic fighter to watch, as he made each bout he was in exciting, and unpredictable as his power was the best of the tournament, and his style is well suited for the pros. I view Khataev in the model of an Artur Beterbiev, but with youth on his side.
Yuberjen Martínez – One of the best lower weight fighters I have seen in some time, The Colombian is something serious with the only problem being he might be a little too small to get a major investment. Martinez could be a world champion in three or four fights at 105 lbs, and possibly a two-division world champion at 108 lbs in less than ten. The big question will be how will he fair against the much bigger fighters at flyweight and super flyweight as Martinez is a special talent, who is mostly offensive, but capable on defense. A rare trait.
Keyshawn Davis – One of the most exciting American prospect since Shakur Stevenson in 2016. Davis looks unstoppable win he is on, and has a high-ceiling, an exciting style, and personality made for television. In short, Davis should be a star.
Duke Ragan – Duke Ragan’s silver medal performance in Tokyo, will make the already pro signed to Top Rank Inc., a marquee attraction from this point forward and was a true-feel good story of the Olympic Games. Ragan fought amazing, and lived up to the adage when it counts, Ragan wins.
Ceiber Avila – An action featherweight southpaw, once again from Colombia, who throws violent punches like fellow Olympian Oscar Valdez, but showed some issues in pacing himself as he lost to Samuel Takyi before he could medal based off-gassing himself out, and Takyi’s incredible heart. Avila with the right development could be interesting.
Hovhannes Bachkov – A violent pressure fighter who isn’t crude. Bachkov should be a very good professional and I foresee him as a world champion, but beyond just that – Bachkov has one of the most fan-friendly styles of a fighter with a deep amateur pedigree. If handled right, Bachkov should be a star.
Benjamin Whittaker – It isn’t if, it is when Benjamin Whittaker becomes a star, as he can fight, and he has the personality to make people love him or hate him. A pure boxer, who is elusive, long in the frame, at roughly six-foot-three-inches tall, and has some of the fastest hands in the Olympics. Whittaker is going to be one of the major boxers in the U.K. for the next decade.
Richard Torrez Jr. – A tad undersized, but the modern-day remix of Tommy Morrison from the southpaw stance, will be a load of fun in the professional game, as he brings it each and every fight, with the only disclaimer being, at some point guys just might be too big for him. Fun KO artist to watch.
Oshae Jones – Though Jones will surely not be fully satisfied with Bronze at the Olympics, I still believe Jones is the most-well round of any of the women’s boxers in the field with the only fighter I could see being her equal or competition being the great Lauren Price. Jones will be a world champion, and has a style that breaks down her opponents that is unlike many who have succeeded in the amateurs, especially in the U.S.
Emmanuel Reyes – The shining hope of entertainment in the heavyweight division at the Olympics looks to be a solid pro. Originally born in Cuba, now living in Spain, Reyes stopped tournament favorite Vassiliy Levit in his first bout, and seemingly to my eyes dropped Cuban eventual Gold Medal winner, Julio La Cruz two times in their bout. Reyes could be a guy, as his power is legit.
Pat McCormack – Pat McCormack is a blue-chip type talent, but I am a bit nervous as watching him in the tournament, reminded me of Luke Campbell, who was a solid pro, but could never quite win the big fight. Hopefully, McCormack will fair better as many minds smarter than me, have him as being the top of class.
Albert Mengue Ayassi – The welterweight from Cameroon seemed to get jobbed out to Aidan Walsh, as I favored Ayassi’s work, but Ayassi is still raw, and having a lot of success on the world level. I see him as a darkhorse to keep your eyes on in the pros, or future Olympic Games, as he has a lot of elite traits very early in his career.
Caroline Dubois – Dubois, the sister of heavyweight contender, Daniel Dubois, is poised to have a great pro career if she wants to. Her style is suited to see her be methodical, and gain massive point advantages against opponents. Dubois will be a world champion, and is very pro-ready.
Nesthy Petecio – Women’s featherweight Petecio screams of being a world champion with her ability to get inside fighters rather easily, and her silver medal is less of a disappointment as a foreshadow to potential future professional greatness as her style will be more dangerous over a longer duration. You also see a heavy influence from her countryman, and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in her style.
Eumir Marcial – Already signed by Manny Pacquiao Promotions, Marcial is a sure-fire solid pro, with a legit possibility of being a world champion. Marcial has good power and an exciting style.
Karriss Artingstall – Featherweight Artingstall screams of being a world champion to me and a fighter at the top of her division for years to come if she decides to go pro.
Nouchka Fontijn – I am not sure we will ever see Fontijn as a pro, but her career is impressive as she gave Lauren Price, one of my favorites of this class, all she could handle, and some might even believe she won the bout, and holds a win over Savannah Marshall as well. Fontijn’s aggression is unmatched in her weight class, and no one can keep her off, it is simply about trying to contain it in spurts, outboxing her is impossible, her will is too strong.
Rogelio Romero – With a good chunk of talent, Mexican citizenship, and fighting at the light heavyweight division, Romero will be on your television screen sooner than you can blink.
Delante Johnson – Tiger Johnson, nicknamed Tiger, because of a birthmark that looked like a tiger on his body, is going to be a very good pro, who put together two incredible wins early on that are easy to overlook in hindsight.
Mourad Aliev – My dark horse of the tournament was DQ’ed against Frazer Clarke, and now will enter the pros with a chip-on-his-shoulder, and could be one of the better pros from the super heavyweight class.
Pro Boxing Starts Here ——————
Maestre Gifted Interim World Title, Fox Screwed
We should be talking about Myke Fox taking a fight on essentially a little over a week’s notice to face two-time Olympian Gabriel Maestre, and beating him, to win is first form of a world title, and beating his second decorated amateur of his career, Fox had beaten 2016 Rio Gold Medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov signed Top Rank Inc as well. Instead, in a fight Maestre clearly lost, he was given a gift decision that makes boxing look like a joke.
The welterweight bout for the WBA interim welterweight title, whatever that means, saw Fox drop Maestre in the second round and outbox him. Marcos Villegas, the official scorer for FOX, gave Maestre just one round on his card!
Maestre had gloves that had the laces tampered with, and came to the ring without markings on his gloves, had to rewrap his gloves in the ring, along with Maestre’s constant kidney shots, and dirty tactics, and was only topped off by terrible scorecards of the judges to make it a holy-trinity.
This is what ruins the sport, and even more so, Maestre is a Venezuelan fighter and the WBA is an organization with its home location based out of you guessed it Caracas, Venezuela. No one who saw this could feel good about the verdict as the crowd heavily booed Maestre, who didn’t win the interim world title, he was gifted it.
Please don’t view this as a loss for Myke Fox since he fought the fight of his life.
Collazo-Eimantas Stanionis No-Contest
In an awkward and fitting main event ending after the terrible co-main event screw job, Luis Collazo and Eimantas Stanionis fought to a no-decision, as Collazo was cut by an accidently head clash. Stanionis is a likable fighter, who is being built up on the FOX platform, and is improving each and every fight out.
Obviously, Stanionis is not a defensive wizard, but he is being moved correctly and was winning the fight, and looked like a guy that in a few years will fight for a world title. I hope Stanionis can return shortly, and not lose this training camp he put in.
Lucas Santamaria Beats Devon Alexander
Lucas Santamaria extended Devon Alexander’s losing streak to three-fights, and Alexander hasn’t won a fight since 2017. Santamaria is a talented volume puncher, who if you allow him to get busy will outwork anyone.
The former world champion Devon Alexander, who trained with Mike Stafford in Ohio for this fight needs to have a long conversation with himself about what he wants from the sport anymore.
Michael Conlan Beats TJ Doheny
Michael Conlan’s takeover of boxing as touted after his Rio Olympics bout went viral has no ushered the revolution most had hoped for, but his win over former junior featherweight world champion TJ Doheny for the WBA interim featherweight title has Conlan on the verge of a world title shot.
The major issue with Michael Conlan’s pro-career is he is more so focused on volume than power, and by doing so has a style that might not appeal to all fans. The twelve-round, unanimous decision win with the scores of 116-111, 116-111, and 119-108 in favor of Conlan, somewhat confirms that, but like the old adage says, winning fixes everything.
The bout saw Conland, who looked to be in the best shape of his career on the scale box from the outside and rise to the moment. Conlan hurt Doheny in the fifth round as the 2012 bronze medalist looked well on his way to a marquee stoppage. That being said, Doheny after being hurt became more effective, and as rounds six, seven, and eight seemed clearly Doheny’s based on pressure and stopping Conlan’s jab.
The bout was a blood-and-guts war between two world-level Irish fighters, and now with Conlan having a major win on his ledger, could he be looking at a world title shot in the next? – I think so. Especially if Emanuel Navarrete moves up to super-featherweight.
Bantamweight Lee McGregor, a training partner of Josh Taylor faced a ton of adversity early, as Vincent Legrand, gave him all he could until McGregor got the fourth-round KO. McGregor had an active jab that he landed far too often was scoring points against McGregor who was coming forward with a high guard looking to land body shots. Legrand comfortably won all three of the rounds prior and dropped McGregor in the second round. The big takeaway is – a southpaw could give McGregor issues.
In the fourth round, McGregor landed to the body, and it changed the fight. As he stopped Legrand in that same round. McGregor showed a lot of heart in this bout. Some British titles were on the line, as McGregor made his first defense of those that he held.
In a super lightweight bout for some form of a WBO regional title, Tyrone McKenna got off the canvas to beat former Top Rank Inc. fighter, Jose Felix Jr.
The scores were wide and didn’t truly reflect the competitive nature of the bout.
Felix was dropped early in the fight, on a punch that looked to be pulling his head down. Not to be outdone, Felix dropped McKenna in the third round with a shot to the body.
McKenna seemed in control for most of the fight, but was cut, and had to do a lot to do a little. It was no-stop action, and probably the ceiling for both fighters at this point.
A fight well worth watching
DAZN Fight Club II
Kid Galahad vs. Jazza Dickens
In a fairly decent domestic bout, Kid Galahad won the vacant IBF featherweight world title in a rematch against a man he had stopped eight years prior in Jazza Dickens, as history would repeat itself.
The beginning of the bout was uneventful with Dickens suffering a small cut above the left eye, being the biggest thing of note.
Galahad’s jab was used as weapon to the cut all night long as the story of the fight was Dickens had the heart of a warrior, but Galahad had the skill of a champion.
By the ninth round, Dickens was bleeding badly on his face. In the tenth, Galahad lost a point for stepping on Dickens’ shoes which was weird, and basically a terrible decision by the ref. The bout was stopped in the eleventh as Dickens’ corner had seen enough.
Dickens made it one round longer than the first time the two met.
Dillian Whyte was not on my radar as a power broker, but two fighters he is heavily involved with at the heavyweight division, Alen Babic, and Fabio Wardley both received KO wins in separate bouts. Babic seems like he will be a funny charchter who the internet will love recorded a fifth-round KO, and Fabio Wardley had a one-round KO that saw the ring walks be longer than the bout.
Popular and attractive women’s bantamweight Ebanie Bridges got a third round stoppage win over Bec Connolly. Connolly had an upside down record that couldn’t help, but frown, but Bridges looks good at the weigh-in, brings in fans, and appears to be improving. After the fight, she called out the woman who beat her, WBA bantamweight champ Shannon Courtenay.
21-year-old Aqib Fiaz picked up an eight-round decision on the undercard. Insiders have high hopes for Fiaz.
Sacramento Club Show
In an upset crowd favorite, David Melgoza (6-1, 2 KOs) lost to Elias Diaz (11-0, 6 KOs) via a majority decision. Diaz had amateur experience facing the likes of Raynell Williams back in 2013, and had been building his record in Mexico got the biggest win on foreign soil. The scores were 76-76, 80-72, and 78-74 in favor of Diaz.
In a fan-friendly bout between two undefeated fighters Joeshon James (4-0, 3 KOs), the brother of national champion Sativa James, got a four-round decision over Christian Duran (1-1, 1 KO).
Mark Salgado (1-0, 1 KO) made a successful pro debut stopping Cmaje Ramseur (1-1) in the fourth round and saw Salgado drop Ramseur in round one. Salgado, who trains at Dreamland Boxing in San Jose, Ca, heavily invested in this camp along with training and spent time around Leo Santa Cruz in L.A., and finished camp out with Robert Guerrero in Las Vegas, as well as Olympic lightweight alternate Charlie Sheehy of Brisbane, California. This was an impressive pro debut. The stoppage was at 1:20 of the fourth round, Ramseur was stopped standing.
2019 Olympic Trials contest and recent signee of Split-T Management Kevin Montano (1-0, 1 KO) made an impressive pro debut as he forced veteran of the Northern California club scene Tyler Marshall’s (1-8, 1 KO) corner to throw the towel at 1:41 seconds of the second round. Montano’s pressure was far too much for Marshall. Montano should get signed by a major promoter in the near future with his pedigree.
Popular Sacramento fighter Will Villa (5-0), who is trained by former world title contender Brandon Gonzales, at a gym named after Gonzales’ ring name, Flawless Boxing in Sacramento, picked up a four-round decision over undefeated Jorge Soto Aguilar (1-1, 1KO). Villa dropped Aguilar in round one.
In the opening bout, David Minter (3-1, 3 KOs), the brother of national champion boxer Amy Minter, picked up a second-round knockout of Matthew Reed (1-2, 1 KO). The time was 0:41.
Moore Wins Regional Title in Mexico
Winter Haven Boxing has a new regional champion as the six-foot-six-inch southpaw heavyweight Brandon Moore won the WBC USNBC Silver heavyweight title in Mexico. Moore was a standout at the Olympic Trials in 2019.
Holler, Valle Bros
In a mild-shocker and a rough one for those who have seen how hard Logan Holler has trained in the gym, Chevelle Hallback won a unanimous decision over her on Saturday night. Holler is a woman competing in the middleweight division, is known as someone who works overtime in the gym.
Both Valle Brothers, Marques and Dominic, picked wins on this card as well.
MMA Results in 500 Words Or Less
In a smaller-scale UFC show, nestled between two blockbuster PPVs this summer, UFC 265, featured an interim heavyweight title, that seemingly didn’t need to happen, but was put on the top of the bill to sell tickets, or make the event seem much bigger than it was as Ciryl Gane knocked out Houston’s own, Derrick Lewis in the main event of a card put on in Houston, Texas.
The win now will see Gane, a French fighter, trained by Fernand Lopez, current UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou’s former coach, as Ngannou after leaving Cameroon moved France. The bout will serve as good talking point in the lead-up, but Gane lacks the dynamic movements to get you excited about the bout, unless you hear he is winning the fight on the night of the bout. In short, this was a good win for Gane, but he is still a healthy underdog to the current UFC heavyweight champion.
In the co-main event former featherweight world champion Jose Aldo defeated Pedro Munhoz, emerging and exciting Vicente Luque got a first-round submission of Michael Chisea in the lightweight division, women’s strawweight Tecia Torres got the last laugh against fight week rival Angela Hill getting a three-round decision over her. In undercard action, lightweight Rafael Fiziev decisioned UFC veteran Bobby Green, and Jessica Penne got a first-round submission over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.