Fightful Boxing Newsletter (11/8/19): Canelo Beats Kovalev, Naoya Inoue Captures WBSS Trophy

Canelo Alvarez Takes Out Sergey Kovalev:

Canelo Alvarez added another big name to his resume with an impressive knockout win against Sergey Kovalev in Alvarez's light heavyweight debut on November 2.

Bellator 258: Archuleta vs. Pettis Results: Bantamweight Championship Bout & Anthony Johnson Debuts!

Now the question for Alvarez is what weight class will he fight next. Aside from the WBO light heavyweight title, Alvarez also holds the WBA “Super” middleweight title and the WBA “Regular” super middleweight title. In a post-fight interview, Alvarez said the plan all along was to probably go back to either middleweight or super middleweight, but will have to think about it after getting some rest.

The event was also marred by a horrible wait after the co-main event, roughly 90 minutes as DAZN wanted to wait until after UFC 244 had wrapped up. The idea of holding off until after the main event of UFC 244 was strictly a business decision to drive up subscription numbers. DAZN claims it worked with a surge in new subscriptions, but there's no real way to figure out whether or not it truly was the case.

With KSI vs. Logan Paul coming up on November 9, the amount of new subscribers (mainly from fans of both YouTubers) could potentially get the U.S. subscription count to close to one million if one were to assume that a majority of the 600,000 people that watched Alvarez fight Daniel Jacobs in May still retained their subscriptions up to this point.

Canelo vs. Kovalev Full Results:

  • Canelo Alvarez defeated Sergey Kovalev by KO, round 11 to win the WBO Light Heavyweight title (Author’s Note I had Kovalev winning 96-94 at the time of the knockout, but you could realistically score 96-94 to either man): The fight opened up with Kovalev utilizing his jab to its fullest, keeping Alvarez away from his body and limiting his offense. Alvarez struggled mightily to get within range, but did manage to occasionally sneak in a body shot and hook to the chin. Despite Kovalev throwing the jab hundreds of times in the first half of the time, he failed to really hurt Alvarez with the jab that has secured him wins over Anthony Yarde and Eleider Alvarez. Starting with the second half of the fight, Alvarez started to break down Kovalev as the two fighters landed cleaner and better shots upstairs. But Alvarez ended everything late in the 11th round with a sudden burst of punches that immediately knocked Kovalev out. Alvarez scored a right and left hook to stagger Kovalev and the Mexican landed the final blow with a straight right to Kovalev’s chin, sending him to the ropes and forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight. Although Kovalev was by far the more active fighter, throwing 745 punches to Alvarez’s 345, Alvarez was more efficient and outlanded Kovalev 133 to 115. At the time of the knockout, Alvarez was up 96-94 on both Dave Moretti and Julie Lederman’s scorecards while Don Trella had the bout tied at 95-95. Fightful had Kovalev winning 96-94 on its scorecard
  • Ryan Garcia defeated Romero Duno by KO, round 1 to win the WBC Silver & NABO Lightweight titles: Garcia had a championship-level performance in Las Vegas. Starting off, Garcia started landing right hands while stepping back to keep Duno at bay. Duno had one real opportunity to land body shots and fight on the inside, landing four straight right hooks to Garcia's ribs. Garcia then unloaded strong jabs and then a 1-2 combination that ended with a right to the side of Duno's head, ultimately resulting in Garcia knocking him out. Garcia is now primed for a breakout 2020, but whether or not he'll get a title shot next will be an entirely different question.
  • Seniesa Estrada defeated Marlen Esparza by technical unanimous decision (90-81, 89-82, 88-83) to win the Interim WBA Female Flyweight title: This is a very rare fight where the women got to compete in three-minute rounds as opposed to the two minutes per round that women's boxing typically operates in. Estrada's left hook landed early and often for Esparza, but both women brought a ton of firepower and action throughout the fight. Although Esparza did manage to connect on plenty of shots, Estrada's left hand, jab work and ability to switch stances at times shined through in this bout. There was an accidental headbutt halfway through the fight that opened up a really nasty cut on Esparza's forehead and a lot of blood immediately poured out. Esparza continued fighting up until the ninth round concluded as the referee asked if she can continue and she said no. The fight then went to the scorecards after there was some confusion from the DAZN broadcast team as to whether or not the fight would go to the scorecards or if it was going to be ruled a TKO win for Estrada. This fight had been in the making for many months and the post-fight interviews for both women showed that the bad blood between them is far from over. Lots of action in this fight and has been the most entertaining one of the night up to this point.
  • Blair Cobbs defeated Carlos Ortiz by TKO, round 6 to retain the NABF Welterweight title: Cobbs, a noted pro wrestling fan, came out to Triple H's "The Game" theme song. Ortiz opened things up with a left hook nearly to the back of the head towards the end of the first round that dropped Cobbs. Cobbs bounced back and started breaking Ortiz down with body shots and the occasional hook upstairs. Cobbs then managed to hurt Ortiz and knocked him down in the sixth round and that ended up being enough for Cobbs to win. Ortiz wasn't able to continue fighting after he noted that he got hurt from Cobbs' body punches. Cobbs has talent and charisma, but he is still very unpolished and leaves himself wide open to get knocked down. Still, there is no denying that Cobbs, who moves to 13-0-1, is typically in entertaining, competitive fights.
  • Evan Holyfield defeated Nick Winstead by TKO, round 1: This was the pro debut of Evan, son of Evander Holyfield. Holyfield dropped Winstead in the opening seconds of the round after a furious combination of punches, but the referee immediately stopped at 16 seconds of the fight. Nothing to gauge from this fight, but at least Evan is 1-0 as a pro.
  • Bakhram Murtazaliev defeated Jorge Fortea by unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109, 118-110) to win an IBF Junior Middleweight title eliminator: Murtazaliev came into the fight as much as a 45-1 favorite to win the bout. Murtazaliev controlled the pace early and was the more aggressive puncher, but Fortea's counter punches did open up some spots where he nearly hurt Murtazaliev. It began in the second round with a left hook upstairs from Fortea and then another big hook in the sixth round. Fortea didn't create enough offense to even make this a competitive fight on the scorecards. Murzataliev is now the mandatory challenger to the IBF title being held by Julian Williams, but there is no telling on if the IBF will order that fight to happen at some point in 2020.
  • Tristan Kalkreuth defeated Twon Smith by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37): The intrigue of this fight is the fact that Kalkreuth is 17 years old while Smith is 32. Kalkreuth basically used his athleticism throughout the fight to outwork Smith, but Kalkreuth did show a good chin in the third round when he got hit hard by a right hook from Smith. The jury is still out on Kalkreuth's ceiling as a pro, but he's got plenty of years to continue developing.
  • Meiirim Nursultanov defeated Cristian Olivas by unanimous decision (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) to win the WBC-USNBC Middleweight title: This was a pretty one-sided affair that never really got into second gear. Nursultanov is an unbeaten Kazakhstan middleweight, but unlike Gennadiy Golovkin, he doesn't possess the same killer power. Nursultanov does make that up by controlling the pace of the action well and limiting Olivas' offense. It was unlikely that Nursultanov would beat Olivas inside the distance, given how tough Olivas is against similar types of competition. Nursultanov holding the WBC-USNBC title opens the door to him getting bigger fights for 2020, but he's nowhere near a world title shot, especially given how the division currently stands.
  • Bektemir Melikuziev defeated Clay Collard by TKO, round 4 in a non-TV match

Naoya Inoue Wins WBSS In Bantamweight Classic:

It wasn’t the one-sided beatdown by Naoya Inoue that many had predicted, but boxing fans and pundits got something better: a modern bantamweight classic between Inoue and Nonito Donaire.

In the main event of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight finals, Inoue faced arguably the toughest test of his career against Donaire, emerging victorious by unanimous decision to unify the WBA and IBF titles. Inoue got the win with scores of 116-111, 117-109 and 114-113.

To start, Inoue managed to score some clean left hooks on Donaire, but the veteran did not succumb to Inoue’s early offense like so many other fighters have in the past. Donaire scored his own big punch in the second round when he cornered Inoue and connected on a left hook that opened up a cut above Inoue’s right eye.

The cut didn’t deter Inoue for most of the next five rounds as the two fighters traded punches left and right. The eighth round saw the momentum swing entirely in Donaire’s favor when he landed a series of punches that opened up the cut above Inoue’s right eye even more, causing blood to scatter all over his face. Donaire then staggered Naoya Inoue with a big left hand in the ninth round, but Inoue smartly used his head movement to avoid any further trouble.

What followed for the last three rounds was Inoue not only taking control of the fight, but also scoring his first knockdown of the fight. At the end of the 10th round, Inoue landed a pair of right hands to Donaire’s chin and later dropped him in the 11th round with a huge left hook to the body. The crowd at the Saitama Super Arena was on its feet by the end of the fight, praising the 12-round battle both pugilists went through.

Inoue dropped Donaire with this body shot in Round 1️⃣1️⃣, but Donaire picked himself up.

The heart of a WARRIOR for the Filipino Flash pic.twitter.com/U9lolqvAO6

— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) November 7, 2019

More than anything, the fight ended up being a passing of the torch of sorts in more ways than one. Donaire, who has held world titles in various weight classes throughout his Hall of Fame career, and Inoue shared a special moment after the fight when Inoue went to his opponent’s corner and exchanged some positive words in a moment of sportsmanship. In addition, the Muhammad Ali Trophy was handed to Inoue by Japanese legend Masahiko “Fighting Harada,” often recognized by many as one of, if not the greatest Japanese boxer in history.

The fight concluded Inoue's incredible run through the World Boxing Super Series field. Before facing Donaire, Donaire had only fought for less than six minutes by scoring quick knockouts over Juan Carlos Payano and Emmanuel Rodriguez in the tournament quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

As for Inoue’s own future, he’ll likely be heading stateside as he has signed a multi-fight deal with Top Rank Boxing and is expected to fight in the United States in 2020.

Fightful Boxing Rankings:

The Fightful Boxing Rankings are compiled by lead boxing writer Carlos Toro.

Pound-for-pound

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  4. Terence Crawford
  5. Oleksandr Usyk
  6. Juan Francisco Estrada
  7. Artur Beterbiev
  8. Gennadiy Golovkin
  9. Errol Spence Jr.
  10. Kosei Tanaka

Heavyweight

  1. Tyson Fury
  2. Deontay Wilder
  3. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  4. Anthony Joshua
  5. Dillian Whyte
  6. Luis Ortiz
  7. Kubrat Pulev
  8. Oscar Rivas
  9. Adam Kownacki
  10. Michael Hunter

Cruiserweight

  1. Beibut Shumenov
  2. Mairis Briedis
  3. Yuniel Dorticos
  4. Krzysztof Glowacki
  5. Kevin Lerena
  6. Ilunga Makabu
  7. Firat Arslan
  8. Marco Huck
  9. Lawrence Okolie
  10. Thabiso Mchunu

Light heavyweight

  1. Artur Beterbiev
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Dmitry Bivol
  4. Gilberto Ramirez
  5. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  6. Sergey Kovalev
  7. Jean Pascal
  8. Eleider Alvarez
  9. Marcus Browne
  10. Badou Jack
  11. Jesse Hart

Super middleweight

  1. Callum Smith
  2. Caleb Plant
  3. David Benavidez
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. John Ryder
  6. Anthony Dirrell
  7. Chris Eubank Jr.
  8. Avni Yildirim
  9. Caleb Truax
  10. Vladimir Shishkin

Middleweight

  1. Canelo Alvarez
  2. Gennadiy Golovkin
  3. Demetrius Andrade
  4. Daniel Jacobs
  5. Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  6. Jermall Charlo
  7. Ryota Murata
  8. Matt Korobov
  9. Kamil Szeremeta
  10. Jeff Horn

Junior middleweight

  1. Julian Williams
  2. Jarrett Hurd
  3. Tony Harrison
  4. Erislandy Lara
  5. Brian Castano
  6. Jermell Charlo
  7. Jaime Munguia
  8. Liam Smith
  9. Kell Brook
  10. Michel Soro

Welterweight

  1. Terrence Crawford
  2. Errol Spence Jr.
  3. Manny Pacquiao
  4. Shawn Porter
  5. Danny Garcia
  6. Keith Thurman
  7. Mikey Garcia
  8. Sergey Lipinets
  9. David Avanesyan
  10. Yordenis Ugas

The rest of the rankings are in the next page.

Junior welterweight

  1. Regis Prograis
  2. Jose Ramirez
  3. Josh Taylor
  4. Ivan Baranchyk
  5. Maurice Hooker
  6. Kiryl Relikh
  7. Jack Catterall
  8. Jono Carroll
  9. Viktor Postol
  10. Jose Zepeda

Lightweight

  1. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  2. Teofimo Lopez
  3. Richard Commey
  4. Robert Easter Jr.
  5. Devin Haney
  6. Luke Campbell
  7. Anthony Crolla
  8. Rances Barthelemy
  9. Zaur Abdullaev
  10. Javier Fortuna

Super featherweight

  1. Gervonta Davis
  2. Miguel Berchelt
  3. Tevin Farmer
  4. Andrew Cancio
  5. Jamel Herring
  6. Joseph Diaz Jr.
  7. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov

  8. Alberto Machado

  9. Miguel Roman
  10. Masayuki Ito

Featherweight

  1. Leo Santa Cruz
  2. Josh Warrington
  3. Gary Russell Jr.
  4. Shakur Stevenson
  5. Carl Frampton
  6. Can Xu
  7. Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  8. Joet Gonzalez
  9. Jessie Magdaleno
  10. Jhack Tepora

Super bantamweight

  1. Daniel Roman
  2. Emanuel Navarrete
  3. Rey Vargas
  4. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  5. Ryan Burnett
  6. Brandon Figueroa
  7. Isaac Dogboe
  8. TJ Doheny​​​​​​
  9. Ryosuke Iwasa
  10. Stephen Fulton

Bantamweight

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Luis Nery
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Zolani Tete
  5. Nordine Oubaali
  6. John Riel Casimero
  7. Emmanuel Rodriguez
  8. Juan Carlos Payano
  9. Richard Espinoza
  10. Jason Moloney

Super Flyweight

  1. Juan Francisco Estrada
  2. Roman Gonzalez
  3. Donnie Nietes
  4. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  5. Jerwin Ancajas
  6. Kal Yafai
  7. Kazuto Ioka
  8. Aston Palicte
  9. Carlos Cuadras
  10. Andrew Moloney

Flyweight

  1. Kosei Tanaka
  2. Artem Dalakian
  3. Moruti Mthalane
  4. Julio Cesar Martinez
  5. Charlie Edwards
  6. Ryoichi Taguchi
  7. Daigo Higa
  8. Cristofer Rosales
  9. Junto Nakatani
  10. Wulan Tuolehazi

Light flyweight/Minimumweight

  1. Wanheng Menayothin
  2. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  3. Ken Shiro
  4. Elwin Soto
  5. Carlos Canizales
  6. Pedro Taduran
  7. Hekkie Budler
  8. Wilfredo Mendez
  9. Felix Alvarado
  10. Knockout CP Freshmart

Two More Fighters Test Positive For Clenbuterol:

The subject of tainted cow meat in Mexico has once again reared its ugly as two more boxers failed drug tests.

WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas and top flyweight contender Julio Cesar Martinez tested positive for minute trace amounts of Clenbuterol, per an announcement from the sanctioning body. The WBC ruled both fighters did not deliberately take any illegal drugs and that the positive tests came from eating contaminated meat, common in Mexico.

The trace amounts of the banned substance inside the two boxers were ruled to have been so insignificant that it wouldn’t have been considered performance-enhancing and as a result of consuming tainted meat. Tainted meat in Mexico has been known to contain Clenbuterol.

This isn’t the first time a world champion had tested positive for Clenbuterol. Back in 2018, Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance on multiple tests, starting with one in February. Like in the cases of Vargas and Martinez, Alvarez’s team alleged that the positive test came as a result of Alvarez inadvertently consuming tainted meat in Mexico.

Alvarez had been temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission until a hearing on April and could have faced a one-year suspension for the positive tests. The suspension was reduced to six months as Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions, the company who promotes Alvarez, cooperated with the commission throughout the investigation. The suspension handed to Alvarez was retroactive to the date of the first test.

In light of these recent positive tests, the WBC has established a new protocol and standards in handling Clenbuterol cases:

The WBC is happy to acknowledge the new standard set by WADA with a higher threshold with regards to Clenbuterol.

This is a confirmation of the innocence of fighters like Saul Canelo Alvarez and Francisco Vargas who once were in the middle of controversy, when Clean Boxing Program tests performed by VADA found Clenbuterol in their examination.

The WBC has received additional report from VADA in which 2 Mexican fighters showed atypical findings of Clenbuterol, which are well below the new WADA standard and all fighters will receive proper nutrition education from the WBC Clean Boxing Program and Weight Management Program.

WBC champion Rey Vargas and WBC challenger Julio Cesar Martinez are at no fault with regards to their VADA atypical finding.

Effective on June 1, 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) established a new threshold in relation with the detection of Clenbuterol. WADA’s new standard intends to ensure that results management entities address and resolve positive anti-doping tests emanating from the consumption of contaminated meat products in a fair manner for the athlete. That will prevent athletes from being penalized for an anti-doping rule violation as a result of consuming contaminated meat.

WADA’s List of Prohibited List include Clenbuterol because it promotes muscle growth through anabolic properties. However, scientific studies have shown to WADA’s satisfaction that athletes can test positive for low levels of Clenbuterol after consuming contaminated meat. That finding has led to WADA reviewing their recommended results management rules governing adverse findings for Clenbuterol.

The WBC has been at the forefront of handling Clenbuterol cases consistently with the new WADA standard. In the Clenbuterol positive cases detected since the WBC implemented the WBC Clean Boxing Program the athletes have been allowed to provide documentation and evidence that shows whether the athlete unknowingly consumed meat contaminated with Clenbuterol in or from these high-risk countries.

The levels of Clenbuterol and related substances found in WBC CBP cases to date (e.g., Canelo Alvarez, Francisco Vargas and Luis Nery) have been significantly lower than the new WADA standard. Even before the new WADA standard, the WBC has consistently treated those cases accordingly, thus, after an extensive investigation, the WBC did not penalize the affected athletes.

News And Notes From Around The World:

- Jermell Charlo will get his chance to re-capture the WBC junior middleweight title when he takes on Tony Harrison in a title rematch. The rematch between Harrison and Charlo for the WBC title is set for December 21 televised on FOX from the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. The fight will take place nearly one year to the day Harrison defeated Charlo by unanimous decision in New York. No undercard info was announced for the rest of the show. The fight was originally set to take place on June 23 in Las Vegas, but Harrison suffered an inner and outer ankle sprain with torn ligaments in his right ankle weeks before the fight. The injuries prevented him from training for 10 weeks, leaving Charlo to take on Jorge Cota. Charlo ended up knocking out Cota in the third round.

- Top Rank Boxing announced that former WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez will face Michael Seals on January 18, 2020 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on ESPN+. The fight will be for the vacant WBC Continental Americas title and winner could eventually put himself in a position to challenge for Artur Beterbiev's WBC and IBF world titles. Alvarez was set to have a comeback fight this past summer to bounce back from his title loss against Sergey Kovalev back in February, but he suffered a torn ligament in his foot during training camp.

- This fight announcement is perhaps one of the most bizarre of this year. Queensberry Promotions announced that Daniel Dubois will fight Kyotaro Fujimoto for the WBC Silver and WBO International heavyweight titles on December 21 at the Copper Box Arena in London.

- A year after Matchroom Boxing announced it would be expanding further into the European market by going to Italy, the company is now heading to Spain. Matchroom Boxing, OPI Since 82 (the company that worked with Matchroom to help launch Matchroom Boxing Italy) and DAZN have revealed details on the new venture in Spain. The new company will officially launch on December 12 with its first show taking place at the Palau Olimpic Vall D'Hebron in Barcelona. The card will be streamed on DAZN in a similar manner to Matchroom Boxing Italy's shows.

As for the fights taking place on the card, these are the confirmed bouts for the maiden show for Matchroom Boxing Spain.

- Sandor Martin vs. Joe Hughes: EBU European welterweight title

- David Avanesyan vs. Jose Del Rio: EBU European welterweight title

- Jonathan Alonzo vs. Samuel Gonzalez

- Samuel Molina vs. Ivan Tomas: Spanish lightweight title

Back on November 8, 2018, Matchroom Boxing Italy was created with the aim of the company expanding onto the Italian boxing market. Matchroom Boxing Italy has done several shows that were streamed on DAZN since then featuring top Italian boxing talents.

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