SAN DIEGO, October 1, 2016 – American boxing fans may get the impression it’s a dark month with no major bouts scheduled in the U.S. until November.
But boxing is far from quiet if fans follow big bouts around the world. The weekend was full of action packed events.
Starting in New Zealand, rising heavyweight Kiwi star Joseph Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) scored a knockout decision over Alexander Dimitrenko of Russia (38-3, 24 KOs). Parker had already dropped Dimitrenko once in the first round and twice in the second round before making it stick at 1:38 of the third round.
The controversy arose when Parker landed the final punch in a series of sharp right hands when Dimitrenko’s knee was already on the canvas. The final punch went to Dimitrenko’s ribs, and he rolled around the ring seemingly in agony and unable to get up as referee Marlon Wright counted Dimitrenko out.
See the knockout from the perspective of Parker’s corner here.
Was there a little bit of football flopping going on? Not to hear it from Dimitrenko after the fight, who was angry about the dirty play and said he would protest the outcome.
Whether it was a foul or not hardly matters, Dimitrenko was in serious trouble in the fight and was on his way to losing. The charismatic Parker could now be in line for a super fight with British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who is in theory his mandatory challenger.
Parker now lives and trains in Las Vegas. If you haven’t seen him yet, count on seeing Parker as he begins working to win over American fans. The timing couldn’t be better for the 24 year old with the heavyweight division suddenly up for grabs (which we’ll discuss in another column).
Nathan Cleverly takes a title back home to Wales
Progressing across time zones, Nathan Cleverly of Wales (UK) (30-3, 16 KOs) became a two-time champion, winning the regular WBA light heavyweight title from Juergen Braehmer of Germany (48-3, 35 KOs) when Braehmer retired after the sixth round due to injury.
Cleverly is the first Welsh fighter to lose and regain a world title in the same division, and only the third British boxer to defeat a German champion on German soil, which is notoriously difficult.
Cleverly and Braehmer both fought aggressively, standing right in front of each other in the center of the ring and throwing punches at a high rate. Cleverly was the busier man, but Braehmer was the more accurate. According to CompuBox, Braehmer had a 200 to194 edge in total punches landed, and 172 to 142 in power punches before the stoppage, at a higher connect percentage.
But perhaps the volume was Braehmer’s downfall. Without indicating any problems in the ring, before the seventh round his corner decided to stop the bout, reportedly due to a dislocated elbow.
“I’m very grateful to be world champion the second time … I needed this belt back in my life, I dedicated to it, and now I’m a second time world champion,” said an elated Cleverly after the fight. “I’m very grateful to Juergen Braehmer for giving me the shot at a title … It’s time for a new champion.” Would Cleverly grant Braehmer a rematch given the circumstances? There is a rematch clause; Cleverly said if Braehmer wants it he’ll consider it.
Cecilia Braekhus strikes a blow for women’s professional boxing
In Norway, the number one pound-for-pound women’s professional boxer fought for the first time in her career in front of her hometown fans, and put on a show they won’t forget. Cecilia Braekhus (29-0-0, 8 KOs) scored a second round TKO in a rematch with Anne Sophie Mathis (27-4-1, 23 KOs) in the main event at the sold out Oslo Spektrum.
Braekhus, the welterweight champion with five title belts, had worked tirelessly to convince the Norwegian government to lift its 35-year ban on professional boxing (which is in effect for both men and women). Braekhus has fought in four other European nations but never at home until today. Braekus won a tough decision over Mathis in their first bout, but this time it was not close; Braekus was in control and wasn’t going to let Mathis get any rhythm going.
The 27 year old fought in the main event in front of a sold-out arena of 10,000 fans with the famous ring announcer Michael Buffer doing the honors. She recently made a change in promoter and trainer, now training under Johnathon Banks for K2 Promotions, the same trainer and promoter as former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. Among her previous victims is current UFC star Holly Holm. How about a rematch on American soil, ladies? Perhaps someday a bout between Braekhus and her trainer’s neighbor in Flint, Claressa Shields! Make it so!
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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