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Weekend Recap: Kovalev-Yarde, Estrada, Tanaka and More

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  • Weekend Recap: Kovalev-Yarde, Estrada, Tanaka and More

    Click image for larger version  Name:	kovalev.PNG Views:	1 Size:	439.3 KB ID:	14372

    By Arne K. Lang

    Prior to Saturday’s fight with Sergey Kovalev in Russia, the British challenger, Anthony Yarde, hadn’t been extended beyond the seventh round. But yet the general feeling was that if one of the boxers were to fade down the stretch, it would be Kovalev, 36, who has had stamina issues in the past.

    Yarde had Kovalev hurt in the eighth round, but then fatigue set in. The punch that ended his night in round 11 left him flat on his back, but it wasn’t a particularly hard punch. At that point, Yarde was so exhausted that a feather could have knocked him over.

    Yarde has the physique of a body-builder. Old-time trainers discouraged boxers from performing exercises such as lifting weights on the theory that a man with bulging muscles needs more oxygen to perform a strenuous task, depleting stamina. Moreover, there was the risk of becoming muscle-bound, losing flexibility.

    Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Mike Weaver had an Adonis physique but outlasted defending heavyweight title-holder Big John Tate, knocking Tate unconscious in the 15th round of a fight he was losing badly. Evander Holyfield’s impressive physique never held him back. However, an old-time trainer, eye-balling Yarde’s bulging pecs, would have thought him unsuited for a grueling fight.

    - - - -

    Juan Francisco Estrada’s name appears on many of the pound-for-pound lists. On Saturday, fighting in his hometown of Hermosillio, the WBC super flyweight champion solidified that placement, notwithstanding the fact that he was matched soft.

    Estrada (40-3, 27 KOs) knocked down Dewayne Beamon twice in the second round and then systematically wore him down en route to a ninth-round stoppage. The fight was the headline attraction of a nine-bout card that aired on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in other parts of the world.

    Two British fighters, Liverpool’s Liam “Beefy” Smith, a former 154-pound world title holder, and Dublin’s Jono Carroll, padded their records against Mexican journeymen on the undercard. Smith, carrying a career-high 159 ¾ pounds, improved to 28-2-1 with a seventh-round stoppage of Mario Alberto Lozano. The light-hitting but high-volume Carroll advanced to 17-1-1 with a unanimous decision over Eleazer Valenzuela.

    Two fast-rising fighters from Eastern Europe, both former Olympians, blew away their opponents in other preliminary matches. Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov, a junior welterweight, needed only 30 seconds to dismiss Darlys Perez, putting Perez on Queer Street with a sweeping left hook. Perez, a 35-year-old Columbian, is 2-4-1 since fighting Anthony Crolla to a disputed draw in Manchester, England, with all four losses coming inside the distance, but in theory he represented a big step up in class for Giyasov.

    Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic had no trouble with paunchy Mario Heredia. His third-round knockout advanced his record to 9-0 (7 KOs), identical to that of Giyasov. Eddie Hearn has indicated that Hrgovic may fight again as soon as October and may then appear against a name opponent on the undercard of Joshua-Ruiz II in Saudi Arabia.

    -----

    Fighting in Edinburg, Texas, 15 miles from his hometown of Weslaco on the Mexican border, 22-year-old super bantamweight Brandon Figueroa won his 20th straight without a defeat with a fourth-round stoppage of Argentina’s 38-year-old Javier Chacon who didn’t offer much in the way of resistance. Brandon is the younger brother of welterweight Omar Figueroa Jr who recently incurred his first defeat, losing a 12-round decision to Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.

    Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton, who is expected to be Brandon Figueroa’s next opponent, appeared on the undercard and improved to 17-0 (8 KOs) with a sixth-round stoppage of Isaac Avelar. Avelar went down from a delayed reaction to a body punch and indicated by his body language that he did not wish to continue.

    Also, junior welterweight Darwin Price who was recently featured on these pages scored a smashing second-round knockout of Aaron Herrera. Price knocked Herrera down with a crisp tight hand. Herrera beat the count but was on spaghetti legs and the referee waved it off.

    -----

    Only ten pounds separates the four lowest weight classes, so if a boxer won world title belts at 105 and 115, plus two other belts between these bookends, we wouldn’t be awed. However, this isn’t meant to denigrate Kosei Tanaka, the undefeated (14-0) fighter from Nagoya, Japan, who successfully defended his 112-pound belt on Saturday and has his eyes on pursuing another world title belt at 115, which would be number four if he can pull it off.

    Tanaka’s latest victim was Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez who had several good moments before being dismantled in a bout that was stopped in the seventh round. It was a good action fight, which is invariably the case whenever Tanaka steps through the ropes. His match last September with Tokyo’s Sho Kimura was a sensational slugfest.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel
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