It was supposed to be a quiet weekend of boxing with little activity other than a super-lightweight dust up in the US and a Matchroom Boxing promotion in the unlikely setting of Milton Keynes, England involving a comebacking light-heavyweight prospect. It was expected to be threadbare compared to the previous weekend.
Well…what we got was a nailed on contender for fight of the year, if not fight of the decade in the US, and a severe ‘gut check’ for the comebacking light-heavyweight. Plus, a world title win for a fighting woman from Northampton, England.
The Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranychyk versus Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda fight in the Top Rank ‘bubble’ was quite simply sensational. Toe to toe from the opening bell, eight knockdowns and a devastating stoppage to end the fight after 2:50 of the fifth round. The victor Jose Zepeda (33-2, 26 KO’s) secured a mandatory position to fight again for the WBC super-lightweight title against Jose Ramirez (the other fighter holding the 140lb titles not held by Scotland’s Josh Taylor).
The US-based fighter with Mexican heritage said post-fight “Both of us are climbing up (the ladder) and somebody had to stay….I knew I was tough, I didn’t know how tough !”. Asked of his future prospects he replied “I would love to do it again (with Ramirez)“. A rematch is a natural or tilt at Taylor’s titles.
The Russian, Baranchyk (a former Taylor victim and IBF champion) achieved so much in defeat, but the suddenness and impact of the left hand that felled him and the ten minutes spent prostrate on the canvas after the fight does not bode well for his future career. Baranchyk drops to 20-2, 13 KO’s and will have to rebuild again. Catch the fight while you can on Youtube. Anyone watching won’t be disappointed.
Back in the UK things were a bit more serene but the Joshua Buatsi versus Marko Calic contest for the fringe WBA international light-heavyweight championship was a cracker. Shown live on Sky Sports late on a Sunday night Matchroom Boxing took a bit of a gamble but the fight was very competitive and excellent viewing.
The London-based Buatsi (13-0, 11 KO’s) after a well quoted 402 days out the ring prevailed in his first toe to toe contest after 2:09 of the seventh round. He came through difficult moments, with a strong performance from the Croatian-Calic who worked well off the jab, nailing the Brit with strong right hands and registering a nasty swelling under Buatsi’s left eye in the third round, temporarily affecting the latter’s composure.
Over six attritional completed rounds Buatsi eventually dominated working off a strong jab and focusing on sickening body shots to the 6 foot 3 Croat. Midway through the seventh Calic took a big right hand, dropping on one knee to take an eight count. On the resumption, clearly distressed, his corner waved the towel for the referee to finish the bout.
This marked Buatsi’s sixth defence of the ‘international’ title and post fight was fully aware of the competitiveness of the contest. “He told me his jaw was broken…he was tough, competitive…credit to him”. Asked on his future “I want to keep moving forward…if the eye goes down, I’m more than happy to come out December”.
The big fight out there is a domestic dust-up with fellow Londoner Anthony Yarde. Sunday’s fight will stand him in good stead for that challenge.
The Milton Keynes bill was also notable for the victorious Chantelle Cameron who gained the WBC women’s world super-lightweight title in a convincing win over Brazilian double-Olympian Adriana Arauju. The Northampton lass boxed superbly throughout in a shut out victory winning by 100-90 on all three scorecards. She jabbed and moved her way to victory but also leading with heavy shots to the body and head of her opponent. Post-fight, in the glow of victory she told Sky viewers “This means the world to me” and looked ahead to lucrative bouts “100%” in the women’s code. An excellent chief support and performance to cap a surprisingly stellar boxing weekend.