The Weekend That Was

Thanks to our friends at FightFan.com, we offer a run-down of the weekend’s fight results. First up, Saturday night saw the Battle of Puerto Rico, when former champion Juan Manuel Lopez (35-5) returned to action after a two year hiatus to stop Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. (24-7-1) in the 11th round of an entertaining match. The two countrymen were at odds all week with tempers boiling and things were finally settled in violent fashion at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan.

Vazquez was sharper in the early going but ‘Juanma’ came on in the second half of the bout. Each fighter had moments late in the bout as the went toe-to-toe but Lopez had the last word when he decked Vazquez in the eleventh. The bout was immediately waived off giving Lopez the TKO win. Controversy ensued in the aftermath as Lopez got into it with Vazquez’s cornerman immediately after the stoppage. Bizarre.

Lopez and Vazquez go to war.
Lopez and Vazquez go to war.

Meanwhile, on Friday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Alberta’s Cam O’Connell picked up another victory headlining King John Promotions’ “High Stakes Havoc 3” card, when he stopped Abraham Gomez in round four. O’Connell started strong and used a consistent body attack to wear his man down. A series of telling right hands also found the mark and in the fourth Gomez decided he’d taken enough punishment and elected to retire. The win moved O’Connell to 13-0-1 as a pro and he now sets his sights on fighting for a Canadian title.

Other winners on the Winnipeg card included Oleksandr Teslenko, Jessie Wilcox, Justin Hocko, Devin Tomko; all remain undefeated. Note: Undefeated Ryan Ford‘s slated match against Juadiel Zepeda (12-14-1) was scrapped at the last minute when Zepeda decided he had better things to do.

Also on Friday night, hundreds of boxing fans packed into Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino & Inn to take in Teofista Boxing Series 20, a seven bout pro card that featured the return of undefeated Canadian lightweight Logan ‘Cotton’ McGuinness as well as the Canadian debut of Las Vegas-based welterweight Ahmad Cheikho.

In the semi-main event of the evening, Ontario’s McGuinness (24-0-1) looked sharp in his return after an 18 month layoff, forcing opponent Noel Meija Rincon (18-10-1) to retire on his stool following the second round.

Logan's return.
Logan’s return.

In the main event, Las Vegas-based welterweight Ahmad Cheikho (17-6-2) proved to be too much for Sacramento, California’s Rogelio Castaneda Jr. (26-23-3), stopping the veteran in round two after scoring two knockdowns.

Local fan favourite Devin Reti (5-0) won a competitive four round shutout victory over Vancouver’s Achillies Estremadura (0-1). Reti was able to control the action for much of the bout. Estremadura, a seasoned MMA fighter making his pro boxing debut, gave a good account of himself throughout.

Another local fighter, Dustin Sutley (5-2, 5 KOs) was knocked out in round two by Mexican opponent Jesus Olivares (2-2, 1 KO). Olivares proved early on that he could handle Sutley’s power and deliver heavy shots of his own. Sutley was dropped by a brutal bodyshot mid-way through the second, but showed tremendous heart in rising to his feet to beat the count and doing his best to come back strong. Olivares wouldn’t budge, however, and followed up with a violent barrage of punches that knocked Sutley around the ring and eventually dropped him face first to the canvas where he was unable to beat the count.

Mexico’s Oscar Barajas (14-3) earned a six round split decision victory over Calgary’s Roxie Lam (7-2). Barajas was able to get off first and more often, while Lam seemed content to wait before firing back. The bout produced some good back and forth action, but in the end Barajas’ cleaner punching and higher work-rate won over two of the judges. Official scores were 60-54 and 59-55 for Barajas, while the third judge had it 58-56 for Lam.

Heavyweight Mladen Miljas (2-0) scored a first round knockout over Mexico’s Adrian Garcia (1-2) at the end of round one. The 6’6″ Mississagua-based fighter scored two knockdowns in the bout, with the referee waving off the contest in the closing seconds of the opening round.

Calgary cruiserweight Dan Cannon won his pro debut with a four-round unanimous decision victory over Vancouver’s John Dubois (0-4). Dubois suffered a deep cut over his left eye in round one that bled profusely throughout the contest, although the cut didn’t deter him from giving his all.

Meanwhile, down in Sydney, Australia, Bilal Akkawy (14-0-1) made a major statement in the super middleweight division as he forced the experienced Kerry Hope to retire after round seven. Hope was viewed by some as too experienced for Akkawy, but the younger man battered his opponent in the final round, breaking Hope’s jaw. It was a terrific action fight that confirmed Akkawy as one to watch at 168.

Akkawy: on the rise.
Akkawy: on the rise.

“I know I was the underdog,”said Akkawy. “But I was pacing myself and wasn’t expecting an early knockout. He came out fast but I stayed calm and relaxed, picked my shots and broke him down.”

In Kazakhstan, Kanat Islam improved to 22-0 and took home a minor WBA super welterweight strap with a 12 round unanimous decision over Ghana’s Patrick Allotey (34-3). And in Mexico, veteran Christian Mijares (55-8-2) decisioned Japan’s Shohei Kawashima (14-1-2). Mijares is on a six fight win streak since dropping a decision to Leo Santa Cruz in 2013.

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