A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Hermosillo, Mexico
Luis "El Nica" Concepcion TKO10 David Sanchez
Wins an interim junior bantamweight title
Records: Concepcion (33-4, 24 KOs); Sanchez (28-3-2, 22 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Concepcion, 29, of Panama, went to Sanchez's hometown and not only pulled the upset, but also did so in very impressive fashion as he battered the 23-year-old to take his interim belt in an all-out slugfest, albeit one that was fairly one-sided.
Sanchez, who struggled badly to make the 115-pound weight limit, got off to a terrible start and never got much better. Forty seconds into the fight, Concepcion cracked Sanchez with a clean right hand down the middle to drop him flat on his back. Sanchez got up quickly but took a beating for the rest of the round and suffered a cut over his left eye that bled down his face.
It seemed Concepcion couldn't miss with his right hand. He also nailed Sanchez with a lot of uppercuts. Although Sanchez got in his share of clean shots, Concepcion, who had predicted a knockout in the lead-up to the fight, was like a man possessed. Midway through the 10th round, with Sanchez's face a bloody mess because of the cut and a possible broken nose, Concepcion landed a huge left-right combination to knock him down hard. Sanchez is as brave as they come and got to his feet, but he was in terrible shape. Concepcion continued to hammer him for the rest of the round. With Sanchez on his stool after the 10th round and his face covered in blood, his corner threw in the towel and referee Hubert Earle waved the fight over.
It was a big win for Concepcion, who previously held an interim flyweight belt in 2009 and 2010 and lost two flyweight world title fights to Hernan "Tyson" Marquez by knockout. It was a strong bounce-back victory from his previous fight in April, when Concepcion lost a unanimous decision by a wide margin to challenging junior bantamweight titleholder Carlos Cuadras. Concepcion now finds himself as the mandatory challenger for full titleholder Kohei Kono of Japan.
Sanchez, who was making his second defense of the interim belt, ended his 18-fight winning streak, which had been going since an eight-round split decision loss in 2010. This will be hard loss to bounce back from, given how much punishment he took.
Also on the card, junior lightweight Julio Barraza (13-0, 9 KOs) dished out a beating to game Mexican countryman Adrian "Chinito" Young (22-2-2, 18 KOs), whose right eye was swollen closed during the second half of the fight, to win a unanimous decision on scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-95.
Saturday at Liverpool, England
Stephen Smith TKO6 Devis Boschiero
Junior lightweight - Title eliminator
Records: Smith (23-1, 13 KOs); Boschiero (37-4-1, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Fighting in his hometown, the 30-year-old Smith scored his most significant victory and looked good doing it as he knocked out Boschiero, 34, of Italy, to become the mandatory challenger for 130-pound world titleholder Jose Pedraza.
Smith scored five total knockdowns in a dominant performance against Boschiero, the former European junior lightweight champion, who was bidding to get a crack at a world title for the second time. In 2011, Boschiero traveled to Tokyo and lost a split decision to Takahiro Ao for a 130-pound belt.
Smith seized control of the fight for good just a minute into the second round when he decked Boschiero for the first time with a clean right hand to the jaw. Boschiero was shaky when the fight continued and was down moments later following a furious Smith attack that sent him into the ropes, which held him up, causing referee Marcus McDonnell to properly rule a knockdown. Smith's right eye was basically swollen shut in the fourth round, and when he was backed into a corner and under heavy fire from Smith, he took a knee for the third knockdown. Boschiero was fighting strictly on heart when Smith knocked him down with a brutal left hook to the body that folded him in half. Amazingly, Boschiero beat the count and continued the fight without his mouthpiece, which had come out on the previous knockdown. Smith continued to attack and dropped him for the fifth and final time moments later with another left hook to the body as McDonnell waved the fight off without a count at 2 minutes, 45 seconds.
Saturday at Studio City, Calif.
Jose Felix Jr. W10 Marcos Jimenez
Scores: 96-93, 95-94 (twice)
Records: Felix Jr. (31-1-1, 24 KOs); Jimenez (20-6, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Felix, 23, of Mexico, got off to a rocky start when Jimenez, 31, of the Dominican Republic, knocked him down with a flush jab midway through the first round of their "Solo Boxeo Tecate" main event on UniMas. Felix, however, appeared more embarrassed than hurt by the knockdown and came back strong. Thirty seconds later, Felix connected with a left hand and a right that knocked Jimenez down. Jimenez scrambled to his feet, but he was legitimately hurt. Felix was all over him following the knockdown, but Jimenez made it out of the round. He and Felix put on a crowd-pleasing fight that was very close and competitive. Jimenez nailed Felix with a left hand below the belt during the sixth round, and Felix fell to the mat. Referee Tom Taylor, who had previously warned Jimenez for straying low with his punches, took away a point, which was huge. Without that deduction, the fight would have been a draw.
Felix won his fifth straight fight since a decision loss to Bryan Vasquez for an interim junior lightweight title in April 2014, and in doing so kept his dreams of a shot at a world title on track. Jimenez, who fought well, was in the ring for the first time in 18 months but lost his second bout in a row, having dropped a 10-round decision to Anthony Peterson in March 2014.
Saturday at Kempton Park, South Africa
Hekkie Budler W12 Simphiwe Khonco
Retains a strawweight title
Scores: 117-111, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Budler (29-1, 9 KOs); Khonco (15-5, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Budler, 27, of South Africa, made his fourth title defense against his countryman Khonco, and it was far from easy. Budler, who has the superb nickname of "The Hexecutioner," suffered a cut over his left eye in the second round and it bled throughout the bout. Khonco, who ended his nine-fight winning streak that started in 2010, applied pressure against Budler round after round in the fan-friendly bout. Budler, who said it was the toughest fight of his eight-year professional career, eked out some closed rounds with his precision punches, hurt Khonco in the seventh round and did what he usually does -- closed strong in the late rounds against a tiring opponent.
Saturday at Necochea, Argentina
Jorge Sebastian Heiland KO6 Claudio Abalos
Records: Heiland (26-4-2, 14 KOs); Abalos (29-14-3, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Heiland, a 28-year-old southpaw from Argentina, won his fifth fight in a row and his first since a brutal 10th-round knockout of longtime contender and former title challenger Matthew Macklin 10 months ago, his career-best win. Heiland, whose name has come up as a possible challenger to middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (before his Oct. 17 unification bout with David Lemieux was set), squared off with 35-year-old countryman Abalos, whose five-fight winning streak came to a violent end.
In the sixth round, Heiland connected with a wild overhand right that caught Abalos, who was throwing a punch at the same time, on top of the head. Abalos went down hard on his back. He struggled to get to his feet and staggered badly into the ropes before he righted himself. However, referee Hernan Guajardo did not like how Abalos responded and made a good call by waving off the fight 35 seconds into the round.
Saturday at Ecatepec, Mexico
Carlos Molina KO3 Manuel Garcia
Records: Molina (23-6-2, 7 KOs); Garcia (13-11-2, 5 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In September 2013, Molina outpointed Ishe Smith to win a junior middleweight world title, but then everything fell apart. A few days before a defense against Jermall Charlo in March 2014, Molina was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a sex offender from a case that dated to when he was a teenager. While Molina, who is from Mexico but lived for many years in Chicago, was in custody, authorities discovered that he was in the United States illegally and he was eventually deported to Mexico. Finally, thirteen months after winning the belt, he faced mandatory challenger Cornelius "K9" Bundrage in Mexico in October 2014 and lost a decision and the 154-pound belt.
Molina, 32, was supposed to have his first fight since that loss on Aug. 15 in Montreal on the Lucian Bute-Andrea Di Luisa undercard, but Molina had issues with his visa and the fight was canceled. So he found himself in this hastily arranged bout against Mexico's 29-year-old Garcia, a late substitute. Despite all the drama in Molina's life in recent years, there was little in the fight as he plowed through the slower Garcia to stop him at 2 minutes, 26 seconds into the third round and send him to 2-8 with a no contest in his last 11 bouts since 2009.
Friday at Winter Park, Florida
Jamal James W10 Juan Carlos Abreu
Scores: 97-91, 96-92 (twice)
Records: James (18-0, 9 KOs); Abreu (18-2-1, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: James and Abreu were scheduled to meet in the Premier Boxing Champions co-feature of the second card on Bounce TV but wound up in the main event after middleweight Caleb Truax (25-2-2, 15 KOs) was on Wednesday forced out of the headliner against Fernando Guerrero (27-3, 17 KOs) because of an issue with his medical tests.
Jamal, 27, of Minneapolis, and the Dominican Republic's Abreu, 28, were up to the task as they put on an entertaining fight as part of an overall fun card.
James and Abreu both got off the deck after knockdowns. Abreu was credited with a knockdown 30 seconds into the fourth round, but it was questionable. He landed a right hand behind James' head and James went down, but referee Telis Assimenios probably should have ruled it a foul and not counted it for a knockdown. In the sixth round, James returned the favor, scoring a legitimate knockdown with 30 seconds left as Abreu went down under heavy pressure, including a right hand. They both had some big moments down the stretch in a spirited finish, but it was James who got the nod.
"I adapted my style and started boxing more as the fight went on. Eventually I was able to time it right for when he came at me so I could strike first," James said. "He caught me with a right in the fourth that dropped me, but I didn't feel too buzzed. Hopefully, a win like this pushes me even further. I wanted to show my skills, but he was a formidable fighter. This was a great step-up fight for me to show people I'm not just a paper fighter."
Said Abreu: "I'm very disappointed in my performance. He's a good fighter. I knew that, but I was surprised he was able to hurt me with his punches. I didn't fight the way I wanted to. In the first round, I got head-butted and I never really recovered. I was buzzed the whole fight after that, and when he hit me, it hurt me more than it normally would."
Erickson Lubin TKO6 Orlando Lora
Records: Lubin (12-0, 9 KOs); Lora (31-6-2, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Lubin, 19, of Orlando, Florida, is a tremendous prospect and moving along nicely as a pro. He was a star amateur before signing a professional contract with Mike Tyson's now-defunct promotional company on his 18th birthday, angering USA Boxing officials who viewed him as a lock for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. He had no problems with Lora, 34, of Mexico, a very experienced veteran with losses to such notable opponents as Paulie Malignaggi, Keith Thurman, Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams.
Lubin did as he pleased. He had a superb body attack that slowed Lora down. In the final seconds of the sixth round, Lubin landed a vicious combination that drove Lora into the ropes, and referee Frank Santore Jr. credited him with a knockdown because the ropes kept Lora upright.
Lubin continued to pound on Lora, knocking his mouthpiece out in the sixth round and finishing him with a series of power punches that rocked him badly, forcing Santore to intervene at 1 minute, 58 seconds, just as Lora's corner was throwing in the towel to surrender.
"I kept telling myself that if [Lora] throws two punches, then I'm going to throw four," Lubin said. "If he threw four, I'd throw eight. I wanted to double his effort and show that I have more will than him. I didn't want this fight to go this distance. I wanted to make a statement on TV so I could start stepping up my competition. I'm working towards a title shot."
Lora had no complaints about the finish.
"He hit me so hard to the body I couldn't breathe and my legs went numb," Lora said. "The stoppage was right. I would have loved to finish the 10 rounds, but my corner knew I wasn't going to go much longer."
"Silky" Wilky Campfort TKO2 Ronaldo Montes
Records: Campfort (21-1, 12 KOs); Montes (16-3, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Campfort, 30, a native of Haiti living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Montes, 28, of Colombia, turned in an exciting two-round shootout that packed a ton of action into a brief fight. Montes got on top early with a first-round knockdown when he floored Campfort with a straight left hand midway through the round. It was the first time Campfort had been down in his six-year professional career. There was good back-and-forth action for the rest of the round. Early in the second round, Campfort caught Montes with an overhand right hand that knocked him to his knees. Montes was OK, and the pair continued to trade blows recklessly. With a minute to go in the round, Campfort connected with a right hand to knock Montes down for the second time. They continued to trade, but Campfort was very accurate with his shots. He drove Montes into the ropes with a left hand and then rained punches on him until a big left hook caught Montes clean on the jaw and sent him to the mat again. At that point, referee Telis Assimenios waved the fight off without a count at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. Montes, who was fighting in the United States for the first time, dropped his third fight in a row. Campfort won his 20th fight in a row since losing a majority decision in a four-round bout in his second pro fight.
"I've always been a slow starter. At the start of the first round, I wasn't listening to my corner and [Montes] caught me off guard," Campfort said. "But I got up and showed people what I came here to do." Said Montes: "I got overconfident. My plan was to box him, but when I dropped him, I went in for the kill and got caught up in a brawl. That was not my plan. I was going to outbox him. It's my fault."
Friday at Los Angeles
Marvin Quintero KO5 Jeffrey Fontanez
Records: Quintero (28-6, 24 KOs); Fontanez (16-2, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: The vastly more experienced Quintero, a 28-year-old southpaw from Mexico, put that history to good use against Fontanez, 23, of Puerto Rico, in the main event of Golden Boy's "LA Fight Club" series. Quintero -- who has faced several quality opponents, including then-lightweight world titleholder Miguel Vazquez, to whom he lost a split decision when challenging for the title in October 2012 -- used a strong left cross throughout the fight to take it to Fontanez.
In the fourth round, Quintero went on the attack and forced Fontanez into the ropes. Midway through the fifth round, he caught Fontanez with a huge left hand that dropped Fontanez hard along the ropes. Fontanez barely beat the count. Quintero was all over him and dropped him for a second time with another left hand a few seconds later. Fontanez beat the count again but was on shaky legs, and as Quintero battered him around the ring again, Fontanez's corner threw in the towel and referee Jack Reiss called off the fight at 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
"It is very satisfying to have gotten a big win in the name of my country and add a win for Mexico against Puerto Rico," Quintero said. "I feel proud of the work I have put in. My left hand was a big weapon for me."
Said a disappointed Fontanez: "I knew I was ahead on the cards, but he threw a lucky left in the fifth round that I couldn't recover from. It was just a lucky shot but I have respect for him [as a fighter]."