By Eric Armit

HIGHLIGHTS from the past week of action

Oscar Collazo retains his WBO minimumweight belt with a unanimous verdict over Gerardo Zapata.

Blair Cobbs floors and outpoints Adrien Broner and there are wins for Michael Hunter and Yuniel Dorticos.

Xander Zayas goes ten rounds for the first time, impressively winning over Patrick Teixeira, while Bruce Carrington and Delante Johnson register wins.

Patrice Volny, Osleys Iglesias and Movladdin Biyarslanov score inside-the-distance wins in Montreal.

Callum Walsh destroys Carlos Ortiz in two rounds.

Jonathan Gonzalez and Atif Oberlton score wins.

Thomas LaManna wins the vacant WBO Gold middleweight title as he stops Juan Abreu.

Who won the week?

Most Significant: Xander Zayas shows there are some exciting times ahead in his win over Patrick Teixeira.

Most entertaining: Ian Green and Roy Barringer fought a war, so that is my pick with an honourable mention to Patrice Volny vs. Steven Butler.

Fighter of the week: Xander Zayas, with honourable mention to Blair Cobbs.

Punch of the week: I go for the devastating right hook from Osleys Iglesias that finished Evgeny Shvedenko.

Upset of the week: In his first fight for almost two years, Blair Cobbs did not seem to constitute a threat to the returning Adrien Broner, but he scored a win. Only the doubts over Broner make it a mild upset in a week without many upsets

Prospect watch: Cuban middleweight Yoenli Napoles, 4-0, four by KO/TKO, showed impressive power.

Fight Card Observations

Rosette: Don King scheduling 94 rounds of boxing

Red Card: Michael Hunter and Cassius Chaney for putting on the sort of fight that could give even the heavyweights a bad name.

General Observations:

  • Michael Hunter should be paid by the pound of the weight he concedes. Against Cassius Chaney, it was 42 lbs; against Alek Ustinov, it was 66 lbs; and Martin Bakole, 43 lbs. The highest pay would have been for the fight with Ignacio Esparza, where he conceded 101 lbs!
  • There was a mention of a 5 v 5 between Bob Arum and Oscar de la Hoya. I am not sure if even Saudi Arabia has enough money to arrange that.
  • Since the controversy over Daniel Dubois’s below-the-belt punch to Oleksandr Usyk, most referees are being very careful. Instead of just waving in the general direction of the belt line, they are now firmly placing their hand above the line in their instructions so it is clear to both the fighter and the referee what is and is not a foul punch. They should also make it clear that any punch that lands behind the ear is a foul.


Xander Zayas steps up with win over Patrick Teixeira – New York, USA

An impressive showing from Zayas, who delivered an exciting and mature performance against the experienced Teixeira. If Teixeira was hoping to utilise his southpaw jab to work on the front foot, it was immediately obvious that would not work. 

Teixeira was cut over his left eye in a clash of heads. A frustrated Zayas was looking to end it before the final bell, and he chased Teixeira down, firing punches from both hands, but Teixeira made it to the final bell.

Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Zayas. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican dominated a live foe in the former WBO interim title holder and he showed burgeoning class in both offence and defence. He is No. 5 with the WBO and No. 7 with the WBC and was calling out Erickson Lubin and Josh Kelly, both of whom are ahead of him in the ratings.

Xander Zayas (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Bruce Carrington dominates De Gracia – New York, USA

Late substitute De Gracia provided Carrington with some useful rounds of action before succumbing in the eighth round. De Gracia was the aggressor at the start, with Carrington adjusting to the change of opponent and blunting De Gracia’s attacks with some clever defensive work behind a high guard. 

Carrington hunted De Gracia before landing a left hook to the head and then a short right hook that dumped him into the ropes, where he hung before sliding to the floor. 

He was up early, but Carrington pinned him against the ropes after the count and battered him with hooks and uppercuts until the referee stopped the fight. IBF title challenger Eduardo Ramirez is the only other fighter who has stopped De Gracia.

Cornflake Thomas LaManna has Abreu for breakfast – Atlantic City, USA

Thomas LaManna stopped Juan Carlos Abreu in the third round to win the vacant WBA Gold belt. LaManna used his longer reach to control the action over the first two rounds. He put Abreu down with an uppercut in the third, then floored Abreu twice more, bringing about the stoppage. 

LaManna was stopped in 80 seconds when he challenged Erislandy Lara for the secondary WBA middleweight title in 2021 but has now won eight on the bounce and is hoping this “Gold” title will land him another title shot. LaManna joins Jaron Ennis as only the second man to beat Abreu inside the distance.


Blair Cobbs serves Broner another loss – Florida, USA

Cobbs floored and outpointed a slow Broner. Cobbs launched an attack in the second, coming in behind his jab and scoring with rights. He then came forward and landed a shot to the head that sent Broner down. Broner climbed up, but the punch had knocked out Broner’s mouthguard and one of his teeth, and he scrambled around trying to pick up the tooth. The referee slowed the count and then put Broner’s mouthguard back in for him. 

When the action restarted, Cobbs had Broner against the ropes and was throwing plenty of punches but not loading up on them, so there was quantity but no power. 

The corner told Broner at the start of the ninth that he needed a knockout. He drove home some hefty hooks, putting Cobbs under pressure, but was just too slow to find the punch he needed. Cobbs just danced through most of the tenth with Broner again losing his mouthguard. Broner moved faster than he had at any other time in the fight but could not pin Cobbs down until he landed two right hooks on the bell. 

Scores of 96-93 twice and 97-91 were all for Cobbs, with 97-91 looking about right. First fight for Cobbs, 34, since outpointing Maurice Hooker in August 2022, and he will be hoping this win will get him some high-profile fights. 

This was Broner’s first fight for a year and only his third since losing to Manny Pacquiao (see below) in January 2019. He was slow in both offence and defence, and on paper, Cobbs should not have been a threat, but on this showing, Broner will struggle to make any impact.

Michael Hunter too strong for poor Cassius Chaney – Florida, USA

Hunter won every round over Chaney in a dreadful heavyweight fight. Hunter was finding Chaney’s body an easy target for his jabs in the first but did not really open up despite Chaney showing no sign of being a threat. Hunter mixed his punches more in the second, but the slow Chaney did not really show anything. Despite Chaney being 42lbs heavier, Hunter was able to muscle him to the ropes and work with body punches. 

Hunter stepped up his pace at the end, looking for a stoppage, but just could not put Chaney away and won by scores of 100-90 on all the judges’ cards.

Oscar Collazo survives rocky moment to outlast Gerardo Zapata – New York, USA

Collazo had a rocky moment in the second but won this one by a large margin on the cards. Although Collazo dominated the first two minutes and there was no knockdown one of the judges scored the round 10-8 for Zapata. 

Zapata had some success with body punches over the middle round, but Collazo was winning the rounds, and it really became just a case of whether Zapata could last the distance as Collazo was hounding him around the ring, pelting him with blistering combinations. Zapata made it to the bell, but Collazo won with scores of 119-109 on two cards and 117-110 on the third. 

Collazo was making the third defence of the WBO title. Nicaraguan Zapata was way out of his depth and had no claim to deserving a title shot, and, apart from those brief seconds at the end of the second round, was outclassed.

Glanton mauls Egorov in Moscow – Russia

Brandon Glanton won every round before battering an exhausted Aleksei Egorov to defeat in the eleventh round. Glanton was jabbing well from the start using faster hands to pierce Egorov’s guard with his jab then moving in under Egorov’s jab to score with hooks to the body. Egorov could not get past Glanton’s jab and Glanton was busier and quicker. Egorov was too slow to be a threat at distance and Glanton was working on the Russian’s body inside with Egorov just holding to stem Glanton’s punches. 

Glanton drove Egorov around the ring in the eleventh with hooks and uppercuts. Glanton was driving Egorov along the ropes in the eleventh until a clash of heads saw Glanton turn away, pawing at his forehead. 

The action stopped but neither fighter was cut and as Glanton again went to work on Egorov with body punches under which Egorov dropped to one knee with his head bowed and he shook his head as the referee counted out the ten. Glanton, 34, won the vacant WBA International title.

Irish eyes are smiling on Callum Walsh – Santa Ynez, USA

Walsh blew away Carlos Ortiz in two rounds in a clash of southpaws. Walsh made the perfect start flooring Ortiz with a right hook in the first. Ortiz tried to stand and trade in the second but was down early in the round. 

Walsh is a deadly finisher, and after the count, he fired a quick combination of a right to the body and a left to the head. Ortiz was stunned, and a straight left to the chin sent him crashing to the floor, stopping the fight. 

Ninth win for the outstanding 23-year-old Irish prospect who was defending the WBC Continental Americas title. Walsh is a real dangerman. He has speed and power. Ortiz, 39, no sort of test, was having only his fourth fight in almost five years.


Vicious Volny beats Butler in domestic grudge match – Montreal, Canada

Patrice Volny battered Steven Butler to defeat in nine rounds. Butler kept walking through Volny’s punches but in the ninth a series of uppercuts had Butler stumbling and the referee stopped the fight over strong protests from Butler (seen below, left, losing to Alimkhanuly).

Iglesias ices Shvedenko in scary fashion – Montreal, Canada

Cuban southpaw Iglesias scored a brutal and concerning KO of Evgeny Shvedenko in the first round. Iglesias was stalking Shvedenko and shook him with a left hook. He then followed with a devastating short right hook to the temple. Shvedenko went down on his back with his body twitching and his legs and arms shaking wildly in the air. 

The referee immediately waved the fight off. Iglesias, 26, was making the second defence of the IBO belt and got his tenth win by KO/TKO. He is a real threat in this division. 

US-based Russian Shvedenko, a former WBC International and Russian champion, had drawn with world-rated Pavel Silyagin in September. He recovered enough to leave the ring on his feet.


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