Don’t Botha Danny! Williams loses again yet refuses to quit
By Michael J Jones
POOR Danny Williams just doesn’t seem to know when it’s time to call it a day. Some nineteen years from his professional debut and ten since he whipped the shadow of Mike Tyson, the 41 year old Brixton fighter was out again on December 29 in Budapest against a prospect named Zsolt Bogdan.
The former British and Commonwealth champion, who challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC belt a decade ago, once told this writer that he believed young fighters wanted to beat him as “the man who beat Mike Tyson” but there seems little any proud man could gain in beating Danny at this stage of his long career.
The former crowd pleaser is just 5-15 in the last five years with seven defeats occurring inside schedule. His only win in 2014 came against a fighter with a 1-31 record with one of his losses in a four-rounder to a boxer making his pro debut.
In Bogdan he faced a mature prospect of 35-years-old who raised his record to 8-0 (5) with a wide unanimous decision over the 6’3” Englishman. Danny looked in decent shape but his reflexes and timing are a thing of the past and he is an easy target for any half decent fighter as Bogdan is.
After his latest reverse, Williams tally now reads 46-25 (35) and it sadly appears he will continue his career into next year beginning with a showdown with Frans Botha on February 5.
The two badly-faded heavyweights meet in Bata, Equatorial Guinea over ten rounds. The South African “White Buffalo” is in no better physical condition than his February opponent. The 46 year old Botha has won just once in his last eight. The fight date in February comes close to the 25 year anniversary that the colourful Botha made his debut.
He is incorrectly often referred to as a former world heavyweight champion though he was stripped of his IBF crown shortly after out-scoring Axel Schulz when found to have been using steroids. He would then lose all three subsequent world title shots to Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko respectively.
Now 48-11-3 (29) Botha also had a famous fight with Mike Tyson back in 1999. The faded “Iron” Mike, returning from his “fight bite” boxing ban, struggled with Botha’s movement before levelling his tormentor in the fifth with a single right-hand.
Interestingly, both Williams and Botha were stopped by Polish contender Andrzej Wawrzyk early in 2014 in successive contests. Williams couldn’t see out a single round while Botha didn’t fare much better getting halted in five. Wawrzyk had been blasted out in three by Alexander Povetkin the previous year to highlight what level Williams and Botha have been reduced to.
In a boxing era when names appear to count more than substance, we are subjected to a fight which comes at least eight years over-due. Neither man should be able to compete but I guess if they want to continue its best they face each other rather than an Anthony Joshua-type wrecking ball.
For any British fight fan (myself included) who followed Danny Williams career through his famous bouts with Mark Potter, Michael Sprott and Tyson, we wish once more that one day, before it’s too late, Williams is saved from serious harm.
For the record, Bogdan won the (wait for it) Global Boxing Federation world heavyweight title with his win over Danny. Scores were 100-90 and 99-91 twice. Williams seemed in decent shape at 263¾lbs while his Hungarian foe was 20lbs lighter.
Inoue blasts out Narvaez and emerges as a new star of boxing
By Michael J Jones
Earlier today in Tokyo, Japanese youngster Naoya Inoue scored the best win of his short career when stopping the very experienced Argentine Omar Andres Narvaez in just two explosive rounds. The win sees the former WBC light-flyweight champion add the WBO World super-flyweight crown to his fast growing collection.
To put the win into context; Narvaez had never previously been stopped in 46 contests which includes his sole defeat to a near-prime Nonito Donaire up at bantamweight three years ago. The emphatic and conclusive victory occurred in Inoue’s eighth professional bout.
A pro for just two years, the Japanese puncher won the Japanese title in his fourth fight before dethroning in-form Mexican Adrian Hernandez in April of this year to become the WBC light-flyweight ruler. The 21 year old “Monster” defended once before making the audacious bid to dethrone the long-time champion Narvaez two weight divisions above his own.
Although “El Huracan” is now some 39-years-old, he has been a savvy and tough road warrior for many years now and at the very least he was expected to give the young Asian challenger a stern argument.
Inoue just walked right through him though.
The bout started with the more-experienced man tasting a looping right hand which dropped him. He arose poker-faced but was dropped soon after by a glancing left. With just a minute gone things didn’t look to good for Omar Andres but he admirably saw out the final two minutes of the round.
Inoue wasn’t about to let his chance slip though as he immediately resumed his predatory stalking of his prey in the second. Narvaez seemed to accept he wasn’t going to keep the younger man off him and started popping out counter-punches. One notable left hand-right hook thudded into Naoya’s face but he barely blinked and resumed his menacing attack.
A left hand counter of the former light-fly champion dropped the aging titlist for the third time. Again he bravely got up to face more punishment and for a few seconds he kept out of trouble. In the dying seconds of the round though a good one-two from the orthodox Inoue was followed by a thudding body shot which took all of the remaining fight out of the long-time champion.
The official time was 3:01 though it seemed a shade sooner than that.
With the stunning victory, the new champion is now 8-0 (7) and a two-weight world champion. He has achieved much in a short space of time with many now acknowledging him as the rightful “Fighter of the year”. Today the “Monster” lived up to his nick-name and one can only dream of his future potential which ever path he takes.
For the beaten Narvaez, who was also a long-time WBO champion as a flyweight before his current reign, surely only retirement now looms though he can content himself that he lost to a special fighter who must surely now be on the verge of a pound-for-pound ranking after a whirlwind year.
Final thought: do we finally have a man who can test a certain Mr Gonzalez? Maybe.
Former 160lb dangerman continues unlikely heavyweight campaign
By Michael J Jones
APRIL 2011 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, undefeated puncher James Kirkland returns to the ring from a stint in jail to take on the unknown, light-hitting Nobuhiro Ishida over eight rounds. Ishida is a former interim WBA holder at 154lbs and has only once previously fought outside of his home country of Japan. Kirkland has been destroying all in his path and is expected to do precisely the same against his supposedly mis-matched opponent.
Just under a minute into the fight, the taller Japanese fighter lands a short left hand which floors the Texan to the shock of the crowd. At 1:52 of the opening session the fight is waved over after a third trip to the canvas as the jubilant Ishida scores arguably the upset of the year.
While Kirkland regrouped and has gone on to win all five bouts since his lone reverse, the three-and-a half years since that shocker has been somewhat different for Nobuhiro Ishida…
On December 27th in his home city of Osaka, Japan, the now 39 year old Ishida engaged in his latest fight in his new chosen weight division. Having turned pro as a Junior middleweight (after being an amateur flyweight), the 6’1” Ishida is now a full heavyweight where he scored win number 27 with a stoppage of Japanese trier Kotatsu Takehara.
After suffering defeats following his blast out of Kirkland to the likes of Paul Williams and current middleweight king Gennady Golovkin, Ishida took the decision to pile on some 40lbs to make a comeback in the highest division where he has now won three and lost one since his heavyweight debut earlier this year.
Against the heavier Takehara, the former 154 pounder carried the extra weight well at 203lbs and still has the same tenacious and busy style. His plodding opponent gave it a go but, after shipping some decent punches (and a few head clashes), was soon marking up.
At just 10-10-3, it’s safe to say Takehara was probably a little out of his limited depth but he tried his best and caught the favourite with a few good shots here and there. At the end of the fourth, the tiring and bloody Takehara survived another inspection from the ringside doctor. Knowing he was close to being halted, he opened up for the last twenty seconds as the two men ended the fight toe-to-toe.
The badly cut bruiser was then pulled out as Ishida moves to 27-10-2 (11) with his third bout of 2014. The victor’s only defeat in his new division was to the Japanese heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto who won a close decision in April.
A return match with the eleven-years-younger Fujimoto, who also holds wins over decent opposition in Chauncy Welliver and Peter Okhello, with the Japanese title on the line must surely now be the goal for Ishida who turns 40 next year.
Knowledgeable fight fans will have sympathy with Ishida in his near 15 year fight career. Between his unanimous decision win over Venezuelan Marco Antonio Avendano in 2009 to become the WBA interim holder and his 2012 points loss to Paul “The Punisher” Williams he would see bouts with Daniel Santos, Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto all fail to materialise.
Instead he would face Williams after almost a year’s inactivity, travel to Russia to lose to Dmitry Pirog before facing then WBA and IBO ruler Golovkin in Monte Carlo to suffer his only knock-out loss as a pro.
Outside the ring, Ishida has helped hundreds of children through his continued help with orphanages. He didn’t turn pro until he was 25 because of his advanced education in social welfare and work with orphans. Legend has it that living with abandoned and isolated children is what motivated the big-hearted fighter to finally pursue his pro boxing career after a break from competitive boxing.
Relive Ishida’s stunning victory over Kirkland-
Taver tells Haymon to get David Haye for Vegas clash
TAMPA (Dec. 18, 2014) - All five-time world champion Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) wants for Christmas is a signed contract to fight former two-division world champion David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs), ideally, during the first-quarter of 2015.
Tarver had been sending direct tweets for the past six months to Haye, who hasn't fought in more than two years, without receiving a response. Coming off last week's impressive seventh-round knockout of veteran Johnathan Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs), Tarver has taken off the proverbial gloves and he is now publically calling out Haye, who insists, once again, that he is coming out of retirement.
"In a perfect world I will be fighting Haye early next year," Tarver said. "He keeps insisting that he's the second-biggest name in the heavyweight division I need him to be my set-up guy to beat in order for me to get a world title shot against Wladimir Klitschko. Haye has one-punch knockout ability and he's aggressive. Once I beat him, though, I want Klitschko. I will come to England and knockout Haye, knock him out cold. I'm 46 and I don't want to go through 12 guys like (Chris) Arreola, (Eddie) Chambers or (Steve) Cunningham to get Klitschko. He's waiting for me to lose so he doesn't have to fight me. I'm calling out Haye to get Klitschko. He talks a lot but the boxing world will see if Haye's serious about fighting again. Tarver vs. Haye is a huge fight in London.
"I'm a star and I want to get paid. None of these cats know how to really promote a fight like Antonio Tarver. I'd prefer to fight Haye in Las Vegas but I'll come to England to KO his ass! I have the most powerful adviser in boxing, Al Haymon, and I've told him I want Haye next. If Haye announces he's coming out of retirement to fight somebody else, I'll be at that press conference to embarrass him, the same way I had to get my (Roy) Jones (Jr.) fight. I'm a throw-back fighter who can make a pay-per-view bonanza fighting Klitschko and the way to get that fight is by knocking out Haye. I doubt he'll fight me because he knows he can't beat me. I want David Haye in the UK!
"No heavyweight can outbox me. They will have to knock me out to beat me and nobody's ever done that. I will become the oldest world heavyweight champion in boxing history to cement my legacy. I'm coming for Klitschko after I KO Haye. I'm going to shoot a real-life Rocky movie with me chopping down Klitschko."
Tarver also had some terse words for critics who complained during and after his recent fight that Banks was a weak opponent and their fight was a snoozer until the final round.
"I hit him with a quick 1-2 and then he wouldn't stand in front of me because he felt my speed and power early," Tarver explained. "He didn't want to get hit with my counter-punches. I wish he had opened up and fought but he didn't exchange blows. Boxing is the art of self-defense but I don't see fighters today using their heads. Boxing is chess not checkers. I can box but, when I pick that lock like I did in the seventh round, I can knockout any heavyweight in the world. I don't think I was hit with one good punch. My reflexes and timing, even at 46, are second to none."
Tarver initially suffered a now-fully-healed fractured thumb to his left hand, closer to the wrist, postponing the original September 29th fight date versus Banks. Tarver remained in the gym and put in the proper time and effort to stop Banks.
"We created tough sparring sessions to prepare him for Banks," Tarver's head trainer Orlando Cuellar commented. "We knew Banks was dangerous and that he could crack. We just kept training and Antonio had to overcome a lot of physical obstacles during camp. He just kept going. He tried to do the impossible and did it. He showed a lot of movement, the ability to explode, and tremendous ring generalship. He sure didn't look 46 the way he cracked Banks. And he'll be 50-percent better in his next fight.
"Antonio showed his dedication to improve in the gym. We had a good game plan but he had to do everything he worked on in the fight. His timing was good and he won every round. Banks came out planning to jump on Antonio but he tasted his power in the first 30 seconds and he then didn't want any part of it. He honestly exceeded what I expected and I didn't realize how good a finisher he is."
If Santa Claus delivers a contract for him to fight Haye, he may as well give Tarver another display case, as well, to store the world heavyweight title belt Antonio plans to capture in 2015.
Heavyweight hope Ruiz Jr faces former world champion this Saturday
By Michael J Jones
This Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona, heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz Jr faces former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich over ten rounds. On paper it is his toughest test to date after a laboured 2014 consisting of just two outings.
The 23-0 (17) long-time prospect must surely be ready for the bigger names of the division after nearly six years in the pro ranks. Liakhovich is a decent test at this stage though isn't in the best of form judging by the last half a decade. Heavyweight star Deontay Wilder handed him his last defeat over a year ago, the “White Wolf” not lasting out the opening session at the lethal fists of the “Bronze Bomber”. Liakhovich's sole win since came against the 5-11 Carl Davis ten months ago.
The burly Ruiz Jr turned pro way back in March 2009 after a stellar amateur career. Often ridiculed in boxing circles because of his heavy-set appearance, “Destroyer” turned pro weighing just under 300lbs but slowly reduced his poundage through his career getting down to around 250.
The 6'2” Mexican heavyweight really stepped up his competition in 2013 with four solid victories including thumping stoppage victories over the 21-0 Joe Hanks and former Prizefighter winner Tor Hamer (both in China).
This year, in comparison, has been fairly uneventful for the Jeff Grmoja-trained Ruiz Jr. Reportedly, the big-hitting contender pulled out of two fight dates citing “family reasons”. His two brief ring appearances have been impressive however.
Grizzled veteran Manuel Quezada had gone the full route with both Chris Arreola and Steve Cunningham but couldn't last even two rounds with the 25 year old puncher in their May meeting.
Five months later, Ruiz Jr would then take on Kenny Lamos in California. Lamos was an average-looking 12-8-2 but had come close to beating former champion James Toney in a recent meeting so was useful. Andy took one good early uppercut but came straight back with a sustained barrage to halt Lamos in the first.
One thing to note is Ruiz's weight for that one; at 272¾lbs it was his heaviest since he first started in the pro ranks.
Two months from the Lamos wipe-out the California-based prospect must surely be looking for another eye-catching knock-out to finish the year with.
He is most definitely the favourite over Saturday's opponent Liakhovich who has gone a disappointing 3-4 in the eight long years since becoming champion.
Liakhovich turned pro way back in 1998 (when Ruiz was just nine years old incidently) and is now 38. Sergei only lost one bout in his first eight years as a heavyweight pro. With decent wins over the likes of Ron Guerrero and Dominik Guinn banked, Sergei would receive a WBO shot at reigning champion Lamon Brewster on April 2006.
The Cleveland bout would produce an unexpected thriller. Brewster, the massive favourite going in, would suffer an eye injury early on in the contest and Liakhovich would take full advantage The fired-up challenger would eventually come off the canvas to win a unanimous decision by scores of 117-110, 115-112 and 115-113.
The new champion would make his first defence seven months later but, after building up a clear lead on all score-cards, Shannon Briggs would drop him twice to win with one second remaining in the fight (Briggs being the last world heavyweight champion from the USA).
It's been a sad career since for poor Liakhovich riddled with inactivity and defeat. Though Wilder blasted him out, the 6'4” Sergei would last much later against another prospect in Bryant Jennings the year before that. Any heavyweight is dangerous if they connect but the 26-6 (16) “White Wolf”, who's fangs aren't quite as sharp as a few years ago, looks up against it on Saturday.
Though he may appear stocky, Ruiz Jr has fast hands and can put together beautiful combination punches off the jab. He also seems to have a sturdy chin which has come through a few 'chin checks' along the way.
If one was being critical we could question how effective Ruiz Jr would be late on in a hard fight carrying that access weight...but it's doubtful Liakhovich will be the man to provide such answers.
Expect the Belarus veteran to last a little longer than the first but still be taken out with clinical efficiency by the third stanza.
The bout takes place at the Celebrity Theater, Phoenix, Arizona and features a full supporting under-card. Although Ruiz Jr currently holds the NABF and WBO Inter-Continental belts, as we went to press, neither would be on the line on Saturday.
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