This Week In Boxing: July 14–15

By a c

Golden Boy

Miguel Berchelt defends against Takashi Miura in what promises to be a blood bath, and Omar Figueroa returns after a long layoff against Robert Guerrero.

The weekly fight previews are back for good this time. The format has changed, but what remains is a weekly guide to brief you on all of the upcoming fights.

Friday July 14, 2017

From Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Oklahoma
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM EDT, 3:00 AM BST
TV: Showtime (US)

Ivan Baranchyk 16–0 (10 KOs) vs Keenan Smith 11–0 (5 KOs)

8 rounds
super lightweight division

“I always look forward to ShoBox. I love the commentators and they have the most consistent matchmaking in the sport. They are known for matching prospects tough, and this card is no exception.

Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk has become must-see TV. His last fight against Abel Ramos was a Fight of the Year candidate. The 24 year old Baranchyk is native of Belarus, but he has made his home at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. He returns to the venue for his 6th time to face yet another undefeated foe in Keenan Smith. Expect action for as long as the fight lasts. “— John Cudney

Antoine Douglas 21–1–1 (15 KOs) vs Bruno Sandoval 19–2–1 (15 KOs)

10 rounds
middleweight division

“Antoine Douglas was the type of prospect that harcore fans love. The young Douglas made numerous appearances on ShoBox and, while he was matched tough each time out, he made visible improvements to his game in every fight. In early 2016 he was supposed to face Sam Soliman in what was to be his graduation bout, with the winner set to earn an opportunity at the WBO belt.

Not long before the event Soliman was replaced by “Mini Mike Tyson” Avtandil Khurtsidze, who has now been revealed to be an organized crime figure. Khurtsidze went on to give Douglas a thorough and dispiriting beating in what looked like a fight between a man and a boy. Douglas has won twice since then, and this is first major appearance on his road to redemption. I’ll be rooting for him.”— JC

Kenneth Sims Jr 12–0 (4 KOs) vs Rolando Chinea 14–1–1 (6 KOs)

8 rounds
super lightweight division

Kenneth Sims Jr may be unknown, but in boxing circles he’s known as a very talented young fighter capable of pushing the elite of the boxing world in order to get ready for mega fights. Recently he was in Floyd Mayweather’s camp helping him to prepare for Andre Berto. Before that he was in Manny Pacquiao’s camp helping him get ready for Floyd Mayweather.

Sims’s time is now. He’s 23 and with the experience of working alongside two generational talents, he should be ready to ascend toward greater things.

From Belasco Theater, Los Angeles, California
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM EDT, 3:00 AM BST
TV: Estrella TV (US)

Roger Gutierrez 15–0–1 (12 KOs) vs Rene Alvarado 25–8 (17 KOs)

8 rounds
super featherweight division

The LA Fight Club cards have done a good job building up young fighters on the Golden Boy brand and this is an interesting fight. Alvarado, despite having 8 losses, is very crafty. Gutierrez is only 22 and has faced what is frankly poor competition to date. This is a ripe opportunity for Alvarado to score an upset over a young up-and-coming fighter and earn yet another world title opportunity.

Saturday July 15, 2017

From Chonburi, Thailand

🏅Knockout CP Freshmart 15–0 (7 KOs) vs Rey Loreto 23–13 (15 KOs)

12 rounds
WBA world minimumweight title

Here’s the reality of this fight. Knockout CP Freshmart (who is currently using another name, but this one is too good to give up) will likely run through Loreto. Loreto, as his record indicates, is a journeyman who does not do well against guys like Freshmart. But… why is he in this position?

There’s a simple explanation. The Philippines has an unnatural knack at creating journeymen who are plain old spoilers. They go around the world and wait for some unsuspecting champion to give them a shot. Then they knock them out brutally. Loreto’s done it before and there’s a chance he’ll do it again.

Let’s not forget that Freshmart, while putting knockout in his name, is not a puncher. If he’s not ready to grind for 12 rounds, he’ll see himself get stopped.

From Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom
Time: 10:30 AM PDT, 1:30 PM EDT, 6:30 PM BST
TV: ITV Box Office (UK)

Chris Eubank Jr 24–1 (19 KOs) vs Arthur Abraham 46–5 (30 KOs)

12 rounds
super middleweight division

While this fight is supposed to create answers for a questions like ‘is Arthur Abraham shot?’ and ‘is Chris Eubank Jr any good?’, that won’t be the case. The real answer we’re looking for is whether or not Gilberto Ramirez is any good. He demolished an Arthur Abraham who we thought was still close to his prime.

Should the naturally smaller Eubank Jr steamroll Abraham, we’ll know that Ramirez still needs a proper test before being considered elite.

🏅Lee Selby 24–1 (9 KOs) vs Jonathan Victor Barros 41–4–1 (22 KOs)

12 rounds
IBF world featherweight title

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Selby truly tested and there is always a logical explanation for that. Injury is usually the go-to answers, but when it comes to Lee Selby there is more to it. Given Selby’s recent performances, it’s plausible that he’s been back at the drawing board trying to rework and refine some of his skills.

He’s looked beatable since making his American debut and with the murderers row currently sitting at 126, there’s no reason to rush him into a big unification fight.

Kid Galahad 22–0 (13 KOs) vs Jose Cayetano 21–5 (10 KOs)

12 rounds
featherweight division

At one point in time, Galahad was poised to be a big part of the British invasion on the world boxing scene… but his brother spiked his drink with performance enhancing drugs that led to a dirty test and subsequent ban from boxing. So, it’s back to square one for Galahad who once looked very promising.

The trust has been broken with him and it’ll be interesting to see how long the world comes back around on him.

From The Forum, Inglewood, California
Time: 6:50 PM PDT, 9:50 EDT, 2:50 AM BST
TV: HBO (US) BoxNation (UK)

🏅Miguel Berchelt 31–1 (28 KOs) vs Takashi Miura 31–3–2 (24 KOs)

12 rounds
WBC world super featherweight title

This fight needs very little previewing. This is all you need to know: 🔥💯🙏👊

But for a little more:

“It is fascinating that the division which holds one of boxing’s most skillful tacticians in Vasyl Lomachenko also contains two absolute warriors capable of putting on a Fight of the Year contender every time they step through the ropes. While some may think Miura has little chance here (having lost to Vargas who was dominated by Berchelt), that loss was to a much fresher Vargas who was inches away from defeat. Miura will put up a fantastic fight and in this exciting bout.” — Rajeev Lewis

🏅Jezreel Corrales 21–1 (8 KOs) vs Robinson Castellanos 24–12 (14 KOs)

12 rounds
WBA super world super featherweight title

Jezreel Corrales momentarily found himself being discussed amongst the better titleholders in the sport. He did, after all, violently dispose of a long reigning kingpin of a division in Takashi Uchiyama. Naturally, the sentiment was this guy is poised for greatness.

But a rematch saw Corrales morph into a much different fighter. He was hesitant and at times figured out by a slow and visibly aged Uchiyama. While it could be chalked up as a last great stand by a once dominant champion, the likelihood is that Corrales’s destruction of Uchiyama was a flash in the pan. Corrales should win a decision here over Castellanos who is riding high after stopping Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Joe Smith Jr 23–1 (19 KOs) vs Sullivan Barrera 19–1 (14 KOs)

10 rounds
light heavyweight division

“You may know Sullivan Barrera as Andre Ward’s welcoming party to the light heavyweight division. Barrera was thoroughly outboxed and dropped in the fight, but that was to the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Barrera is still a skilled fighter with refined abilities. Joe Smith Jr. may be coming off two consecutive massive upsets last year, but he remains a fighter who has shown very little in the way of elite skills outside of his punching power and aggression. Though part of me regrets already talking down the real life Rocky, Smith’s streak will likely end here.” — Rajeev Lewis

From Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Time: 5:00 PM PDT, 8:00 PM EDT, 1:00 AM BST
TV: Fox (US) Fox Sports 1 (US)

Omar Figueroa 26–0–1 (18 KOs) vs Robert Guerrero 33–5–1 (18 KOs)

10 rounds
welterweight division

This fight is such a wildcard. All signs indicate that Robert Guerrero is finished as a fighter capable of competing at a high level. He lost to a guy who was a literal cab driver and prior to that hadn’t looked good in a fight since he fouled his way to victory over Andre Berto.

But he’s facing a kid who hasn’t fought in years. Figueroa has been plagued with hand injuries and hasn’t exactly dominated an opponent who wasn’t asking for it with sloppy defense.

“I was surprised by this pairing when this fight was first announced, but this is the type of matchup that gets better the more you think about it. Omar Figueroa was once a golden boy, but he gradually fell off the map following an absolute war against Nihito Arakawa in 2013.

Since then he ballooned up in weight and fought two way-too-close fights against Ricky Burns and Antonio DeMarco. If we are to trust Figueroa, this fight will mark his serious return to the sport. Meanwhile, Robert Guerrero has been on a sharp decline since fighting Floyd Mayweather. He put on respectable-ish performances in defeat against Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, but he has fought down to his level of opposition (against terrible opposition) in his other recent bouts. Luckily for fans, this should almost certainly be an action fight between two guys who don’t know how to avoid punches. Expect a brawl.” — John Cudney

Marcus Browne 19–0 (14 KOs) vs Sean Monaghan 28–0 (17 KOs)

10 rounds
light heavyweight title

“This is an interesting pairing between two local fighters, with Marcus Browne hailing from Staten Island and Seanie Monaghan being a native son of Long Island. The undefeated Marcus Browne was a 2012 Olympian who has looked sensational at times but has stumbled when the lights have been brightest.

He won a debatable decision against Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic last year on an NBC primetime card and he destroyed Thomas Williams Jr earlier this year in a win that lost a lot of its luster due to the sloppiness of the bout. If all goes to plan, this should be a breakout performance against the old and crude Monaghan. I believe in Browne’s potential, so I will be watching this one very closely.” — John Cudney

Artur Szpilka 20–2 (15 KOs) vs Adam Kownacki 15–0 (12 KOs)

10 rounds
heavyweight division

“A treat for Polish fans as they can watch two of their countrymen square off. While Szpilka showed he’s a class below the top fighters in his two losses and Kownacki seems to be picked to get Szpilka back on track, with a heavyweight division that has broken free of the Klitschko clinch what these men are fighting for is a chance at a better payday. There’s three current champions, a handful of legitimate contenders and live bodies will be needed to keep those fighters active. That’s what is on the line in this bout.” — Fred Garvin

“Adam Kownacki has been a fixture of Barclays shows for the last few years. Fans of that venue have grown used to cries of “Babyface!” from his partisan Polish fans. Szpilka is much more proven on the world level and he also drew a respectable Polish fan base when he fought Deontay Wilder here in 2016. This fight is being heavily promoted in Polish neighborhoods around NYC, so don’t be surprised if many in Nassau Coliseum treat this as the main event. I’m expecting a very solid heavyweight bout with great atmosphere in the room. I’m not sure where the winner goes from here, but that’s not going to prevent me from enjoying the fight.”— John Cudney

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This Week In Boxing: July 14–15 was originally published in sundaypuncher on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.