It was a big weekend in boxing around the globe and action started off in Moscow on Friday night, when WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev defended his belt with a unanimous decision over Youri Kayembre Kalenga. Cruiserweight is a division that could very much use some unification bouts and I’d love to see a rematch between Lebedev and WBO champion Marco Huck, who holds a close decision victory over the Russian.
Also on Friday night, the ESPN Boxcino tournament semi-finals took place at the Sands Casino in Bethleham, Pennsylvania. In the heavyweight bracket, Andrey Fedesov can back from an early knockdown to stop Lenroy Thomas with a body punch in Round 3. Fedesov will face Donovan Denis, who knocked out the 6’8” Romanian, Razvan Cojanu. Fedesov showed dangerous holes in his defense, but I still have to view him as the definite favorite to win the tournament against Denis.
In the junior middleweight tournament, last year’s middleweight runner up, Brandon Adams, again looked impressive with a Round 7 TKO of Vito Gasparyan. John Thompson showed heart in grinding out a split decision over Stanyslav Skorakhod. Thompson and Adams should add up to a competitive final bout, but I’d be surprised to see Adams lose.
In Sinaloa, WBC light flyweight champion Pedro Guevara jumped all over previously unbeaten Richard Clavoras, stopping him in the first round. Guevara is definitely a fighter to keep an eye on in the lower weight classes.
The big card of the weekend took place Saturday night in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center, as Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Championship series broadcast another card live on NBC prime time. Former WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin failed to make the 160-pound limit for his fight with current WBO champion Andy Lee. In a non-title fight, Lee showed once more than he is a gritty fighter who can handle adversity and fight his way out of a hole. After sustaining two early knockdowns from Quillin, Lee made some smart adjustments, recorded a knockdown of his own, and took control of the last part of the fight to force a split-decision draw.
In a 143-pound catchweight bout, WBC and WBA light welterweight champion Danny Garcia earned a majority decision over IBF belt holder Lamont Peterson. I’ve already seen this result hotly debated on social media. Peterson came on strong in the last part of the fight and bruised up Garcia’s face badly, but his lack of offensive activity in the first half of the fight allowed Garcia to build a steep lead on the scorecards.
On the undercard at the Barclays Center, 2012 Olympians Errol Spence and Marcus Browne both recorded stoppage victories to remain unbeaten in their young careers.