LAS VEGAS, Nevada, January 19, 2019 – Marcus Browne had Badou Jack’s number from the opening bell of their light heavyweight title fight, having his way with Jack through 12 strong rounds to win a unanimous decision. Browne wins the WBA interim and WBC silver titles, putting him in line as a mandatory challenger for the world champions, Dmitry Bivol and Alex Gvozdyk. Scores were 119-108 (Don Trella), 117-110 (Erik Cheek) and 116-111 (Max DeLuca).
Jack has a reputation as a slow starter, but at some point he gets into gear. Saturday, it nevre happened. Browne got off to an excellent start, throwing more punches and working good angles in the ring. When Jack started to warm up, Browne began to clinch, to the point referee Tony Weeks gave him a stern warning in round 5. With a minute left, Warren buzzed Jack hard, and it was Jack clinching as Browne had his best round of the fight.
Headbutt seals Badou Jack’s fate
Where Jack often has a surge of activity and takes over a fight, it didn’t happen. Jack got a little help in the seventh round when Weeks finally docked Browne a point for holding. But it left Jack with a serious cut to the head from a head butt, far too big a price to pay for the 10-8 round.
Jack was in big trouble and needed to throw caution aside and go for the knockout. But it wasn’t his night. Warren knew he was comfortably ahead, and his relaxed attitude let him see Jack coming and fend him off with warning shots. Blood was pouring down Jack’s face, and it must have been imparing his ability to deliver a precise strike. At 1:53 of the 11th round, referee Tony Weeks asked the ringside physician to look at Jack’s worsening cut. Weeks himself was covered in Jack’s blood. The fight was allowed to continue, and the crowd cheered as Jack soldiered on. But the outcome was inevitable. Immediately after the scores were read, Jack left the ring to be taken to a local hospital to repair the vicious gash he suffered.
Later, Jack admitted it wasn’t his night. “I was flat. I don’t know what it was, but no excuses. Credit to Marcus Browne he boxed well. I would love the rematch. Now I have to rest, get the head fixed and hopefully get that chance in the future.”
“He was a really tough competitor,” said Browne. “I had to stick to the game plan. He thought he was going to take me to deep water and drown me, but I was in shape … I just used my athletic ability and did what I do best, and that’s box the hell out of people.”
Asked whether he thought Jack’s chances of coming back were dashed by the head butt, Browne said, “He couldn’t find me before that (head butt). He couldn’t find me. I was just too sharp, too slick, too anything. He was coming with his head all night. He kept coming with his head.”
Browne then turned his attention to one of his mandatory challengers, calling out to WBC world champion Alex Gvozdyk and his trainer. “Teddy Atlas, you think you have the best light heavyweight? (Oleksandr) Gvozdyk, let’s go. Like I said, I’m from Staten Island. Teddy (Atlas) is from Staten Island. He thinks he has the best light heavyweight? Gary Stark has the best light heavyweight. Let’s go.”
It was Browne’s best performance as a professional. But it needs to be put into perspective. If WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol or Gvozdyk were watching, neither of them is likely to be horribly concerned about Browne as their mandatory challenger.
Olympic deja vu: Nordine Oubaali defeats Rau’shee Warren
Former champion and U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati hoped to avenge his Olympic loss against Nordine Oubaali of France. But it was not to be. Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs) defeated Warren (16-3, 4 KOs)for the second time with a solid performance, winning the WBC bantamweight title. It was a unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards. Steve Weisfeld had it 117-111, Julie Lederman 116-112 and Richard Ocasio 115-113. At ringside, HOF referee and judge Joe Cortez also had it 115-113 for Ringside Seat.
An elated Oubaali said, ““This was my dream. I made my dream come true, my American dream. I want to thank all the people of America and France who supported me.
“I put on the pressure. I had the speed,” continued Oubaali. “He is a very good boxer – he’s slick, and he’s smart. This is a very big night to win my first world championship.”
It might have been Warren’s most entertaining fight as a pro. Oubaali and Warren fought competitively in the early rounds, and it seemed Warren would be able to control Oubaali by forcing him back. But Oubaali decided Warren couldn’t hurt him, and he was right. He began putting pressure on Warren, working harder, pulling away and winning rounds. In many of those rounds, Warren was letting them slip away to Oubaali by not letting his hands go.
Oubaali landed 156 of 662 total punches (24 percent) to 97 of 527 (18 percent) for Warren. Oubaali landed double the total number of power punches, 126 to 60.
“I felt like I was doing pretty good in the beginning of the fight but after the fifth or sixth I let off the gas. I was using my jab and wanted to finish it with my left hand. The judges saw it the way it was,” admitted Warren after the fight. “He wanted it more. You could tell. He had his foot on the gas.”
Going into the championship rounds, trainer Hunter told Warren “We’ve come this far. I’m telling you, if you let that man leave with the title, you gonna feel pain like you’ve never felt before.” Warren has struggled to fulfill the promise he showed as a younger fighter coming out of the Olympics. Warren vowed before the fight he would have his revenge. Instead, he will now have to live with Hunter’s words and the results.
Nevertheless, Warren says his career is far from over. “I’m not done. I’m still going to come back for it. Every fight that I lost has always been a world title fight. I’m still up in the main brackets.”
Ruiz throws shutout over Guevara
Featherweight Hugo Ruiz of Mexico (37-4, 31 KOs) ended up with a different dance partner than he originally anticipated in the opening televised fight, but it didn’t matter. Ruiz scored a knockdown of Alberto Guevara of Mexico (27-3, 12 KOs) in the first round with a left hook and right upper cut combination. He went on to dominate their 10-round bout. Ruiz won by unanimous decision with scores of 100-89 and 99-90 X 2. Ruiz was scheduled to fight Jhack Tepora of the Philippines, but he came in 5.5 pounds over the 126 pound limit. Promoters were aware of Tepora’s issues with weight earlier in the week, and put Guevara on standby. Guervara has fought significant opponents including Leo Santa Cruz and Shinsuke Yamanaka earlier in his career.
“I trained for the southpaw and then I had to fight a right hander at the last minute,” said Ruiz. Despite his easy victory, Ruiz was tough on his performance. “The other guy was a puncher and this guy is a boxer. It made it difficult for me to fight him because it wasn’t what I trained for. It was very difficult when there is one fighter that you are prepared to fight in the ring and it doesn’t turn out that way. It was supposed to be a title fight. I was so disappointed and my mind wasn’t totally in it,” added Ruiz.
Despite the lopsided scores, Guevera made Ruiz work in every round for the win, but Ruiz was busier and far more accurate than Guevara. Ruiz landed 94 of 517 punches (18 percent), against 62 of 207 (30 percent) for Guevara. Still, he got off the deck in the first round to end the fight on his feet, and that’s a moral victory.
Undercard results for international fight lineup
Jonathan Steele of Dallas (9-2-1, 6 KOs) and Jayar Inson of the Philippines (18-2, 12 KOs) battled toe to toe in their eight-round welterweight bout, with the underdog Steele coming out on top in a split decision. Scores were 78-73 and 77-74 for Steele, 77-74 for Inson.
Both fighters had good moments scoring against each other. Steele started out stronger than expected, and kept Inson honest with power shots to head and body. Inson’s Filipino fans encouraged him and he stood and delivered his own punishment to Steele. But it was the Texan who delivered a more diverse array of body and head shots and who had control for longer portions of the rounds he won in a close, entertaining fight.
George Kambosos Jr. of Sydney, Australia (16-0, 9 KOs) remained unbeaten, having no trouble handling Rey Perez of the Philippines (24-11, 8 KOs). Judges scored it a shutout on all three cards, 80-72. Kambosos was confident behind a lightning fast jab and kept Perez alert with power shots to the body and head through eight rounds. The lightweight Kambosos has been a key sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao’s last three bouts, and is trained by Justin Fortune, Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach.
Desmond Jarmon of Cincinnati (8-0, 4 KOs) had a better night than his fellow Ohio native Adrien Broner, winning his super featherweight bout against Canton Miller of St. Louis (3-2-1, 1 KO) by majority decision. Judge Robert Hoyle had it even at 57-57; Adelaide Byrd (59-55) and Glenn Trowbridge (58-56) give it to Jarmon. Jarmon was in control early and buzzed Miller in rounds four and five, but Miller kept himself in the fight and landed his own shots in the final round to make it entertaining for fans.
Destyne Butler of Chicago (5-0 3 KOs) remained undefeated in his welterweight bout against David Payne of Los Angeles (3-2-1, 1 KO). All three judges had a shutout in four rounds, 40-36. The tall, lanky Butler worked over a spirited effort by Payne with a busy jab and lots of ring movement.
Cruiserweight Viddal Riley of London, England (2-0, 2 KO) started his first professional knockout streak with a first round stoppage of Mitchell Spangler of Sacramento, California (0-1). Riley knocked Spangler down with his first landed punch, a pretty overhand right. Spangler beat the count, but Riley closed in and sent him to the canvas again. Referee Robert Byrd waved off any count at the official time of 33 seconds. Riley should be fun to watch.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer 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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