The boxing weekend got off to an early start on Thursday night, with WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka stopping challenger Diego Ricardo Santillan in Round 7 in Osaka. The win allowed Yamanaka to maintain his perfect record.
Friday night in Tijuana, undefeated super flyweight Ivan Morales puts his 27-0 record on the line against Ruben Montoya. Two more undefeated prospects will be in action that night in New England, as Friday Night Fights broadcasts from the Mohegan Sun Casino. In the co-main event, undefeated super featherweight Ryan Kielczewski faces Danny Acquino. In the main event, undeated light middleweight Tony Harrison takes on Pablo Munguia.
The 154-pound weight class is always stacked with talent, but the 24-year-old Harrison is another fighter worth keeping an eye on. The Detroit native has a Kronk Gym pedigree and the classic Kronk style. He’s a tall, lean fighter with big power, having stopped 17 of 20 opponents in his career.
On Saturday, at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, Derry Matthews will face Tony Luis for the interim WBA lightweight belt. Matthews is a long-time veteran of the British domestic scene and Luis is coming off from an impressive win over previously unbeaten Karl Dargan.
At the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. returns to action against light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara. I was honestly surprised, and impressed, to see Chavez Jr. take a fight with such a legitimately tough and experienced fighter like Fonfara. Fonfara went the distance with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, scoring a late knockdown and giving the lineal champion nearly all he could handle. He has a stoppage victory over former belt holder Gabriel Campillo.
This will be an outstanding test to see just how serious the legend’s son truly is about a career as a professional boxer, because if he comes into this fight looking like he did against middleweight Bryan Vera in his last two fights, Fonfara will expose him. Even if Chavez Jr. prepared better than he has in his entire career, victory is no sure thing against Fonfara.
It’s a shame that fight is being broadcast on Showtime opposite of HBO’s outstanding twin-venue bill. Chavez Jr. vs. Fonfara should be a very good fight, but I would pass on it in a second to watch Terence Crawford vs. Thomas Dulorme and Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov.
Crawford was 2014’s Fight of the Year and is moving up to 140 to contend for a world title in his second division. Dulorme is a solid contender and has his own dreams of stardom to motivate him.
There is an outstanding chance that Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov will yield 2015’s Fight of the Year. Matthysse is a brilliant offensive fighter and Provodnikov is possibly the strongest pound-for-pound fighter is the sport. Matthysse is the irresistible force and Provodnikov is the immovable object. I attended the star-studded final press conference for this fight today at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, where excitement was high. I’ll be back on this site Monday with a report from press row.