Scorecard: Hasegawa, Kyowa, Klitschko retain titles

Dan Rafael recaps recent notable boxing results from around the world.

Originally Published: November 13, 2006
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of recent notable boxing results from around the world:

Monday at Tokyo
Bantamweight
Hozumi Hasegawa W12 Genaro Garcia
Retains a bantamweight title.
Scores: 114-110, 114-109 (twice)
Records: Hasegawa, 21-2; Garcia, 35-5
Rafael's remark: Hasegawa made the third defense of his belt with a solid victory against a worthy challenger. The bout originally had been scheduled for July, but was postponed because Hasegawa suffered a rib injury. It was worth the wait for Hasegawa as he scored two knockdowns, on a left uppercut in the fourth round and on a right hand in the eighth. Mexico's Garcia owns a knockout win against Rafael Marquez and is the best of the bantamweight title holders. He opened a cut over Hasegawa's right eye when he accidentally head-butted him in the eighth round.
Strawweight
Eagle Kyowa W12 Lorenzo Trejo
Retains a strawweight title.
Scores: 114-113, 113-112 (twice)
Records: Kyowa, 17-1; Trejo, 28-15
Rafael's remark: Kyowa, a Thailand native based in Japan, knocked Trejo, of Mexico, down in the third round, but survived two trips to the mat in the sixth round to preserve his title. Kyowa was making the third defense of his second title reign and is coming off a stirring decision victory against Rodel Mayol in May.

Saturday at New York
Heavyweight
Wladimir Klitschko TKO7 Calvin Brock
Retans a heavyweight title.
Records: Klitschko, 47-3, 42 KOs; Brock, 29-1
Rafael's remark: It might not have been Klitschko's greatest performance, but when he finally got going and unleashed his awesome right hand, he ended the fight in spectacular fashion. It was just the way fans want to see their heavyweights end fights -- with a big knockout.

Making the first defense of the belt he won by knocking out Chris Byrd in April, Klitschko dropped America's top contender face-first to the canvas, and that was all she wrote. Even though Brock showed a big heart to get to his feet, he was in no condition to continue and referee Wayne Kelley wisely stopped the fight.

Brock has nothing to be ashamed of. He was competitive with Klitschko throughout the fight, and we have no doubt that he will be back in an important fight before too long.

The fight began somewhat slowly and took a bit of time to heat up but, overall, this was an excellent night for boxing. There was no controversy. No bad scoring. We had Muhammad Ali in the house during the undercard to watch his daughter, Laila Ali, fight. We saw a solid heavyweight title fight between two determined fighters and respectful sportsmen. And we had 14,260 vocal and excited fans packing the famed Madison Square Garden.

In the wake of the putrid heavyweight title bout last week between Shannon Briggs and Sergei Liakhovich and Floyd Mayweather's boring whitewash of Carlos Baldomir, Klitschko-Brock sure qualified as an entertaining fight.

If Klitschko can keep winning with this sort of knockout, he will eventually break through. He is clearly the best of the four present title holders, the others being Nikolai Valuev, Oleg Maskaev and Briggs, who showed up at the postfight press conference to call Klitschko out.

Klitschko is such a respectful and decent person that he let Briggs have his say at the news conference while making light of the whole thing. You've got to respect Klitschko because he doesn't try to con us like all these other so-called champions do. He is the first champion we've ever heard say that he won't feel like a true champion until he beats the another champion. He wants a unified title. So do we. If the fights can be made, Klitschko, still only 30, just might be the man to do it.

Super middleweight
Laila Ali TKO4 Shelley Burton
Retains women's super middleweight title.
Records: Ali, 23-0, 20 KOs; Burton, 8-3-1
Rafael's remark: Ali made easy work of her overmatched opponent, who turned her back when she got nailed in the nose in the fourth round.

Ali, who showed no rust after an 11-month layoff, did her damage with her father, Muhammad Ali, watching from ringside. It was quite an electric moment to hear the crowd of 14,260 chanting "Ali! Ali! Ali!" when he took his seat at ringside before the fight at Madison Square Garden, site of his legendary 1971 battle with Joe Frazier.

We were pleased to see that HBO elected to air highlights of Laila's fight and of Muhammad acknowledging the fans. But although Laila was ticked off that HBO wouldn't show her fight in full or live, we can't blame the network for its decision when we all knew the fight was a brutal mismatch going in.

Although we definitely wouldn't encourage HBO to regularly televise women's boxing -- there is just not enough talent or interest to merit that -- we do think HBO should take a serious look at a one-time trip to women's boxing by trying to facilitate the one meaningful fight out there, Ali vs. Ann Wolfe. They've talked about fighting for years, and it is a legitimate fight between the two best female fighters in the world. Relative to a major men's fight, Ali-Wolfe would not cost crazy money and it would be a ratings bonanza with the proper buildup and marketing that HBO is so superb at doing. It is a fight worthy of the big HBO stage. Let's hope HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg can recognize that.

Junior lightweight
Manuel Medina W12 Kevin Kelley
Title eliminator.
Scores: 115-113 (twice); 114-114
Records: Medina, 67-15; Kelley, 59-8-2
Rafael's remark: Medina, who turned pro at age 14 in Mexico, is now 35 and has been left for dead more times than Jason of "Friday the 13th" fame. You just cannot get rid of this guy. He's won a featherweight title five times, but when he moved up to junior lightweight and got knocked out by Cassius Baloyi in a title eliminator in May, we thought surely that was finally the end.

Not quite.

The putrid IBF approved him to be in a second consecutive eliminator (despite coming off a clear loss) and he took advantage in Kelley's hometown. Medina boxed and moved and eked out the majority decision against a fellow faded former featherweight champ. Kelley, 39, didn't fight badly, but he certainly didn't look as good as he did when he upset Carlos Hernandez on Sept. 28. We wish both guys would retire. With Medina, that probably won't happen because the victory paved his way to another title shot, this one with newly crowned junior lightweight titlist Malcolm Klassen of South Africa

Middleweight
Andy Lee W6 Dennis Sharpe
Scores: 60-54 (three times)
Records: Lee, 6-0; Sharpe, 17-3-3
Rafael's remark: Lee had an easy night with Sharpe as he spent six rounds jabbing his head off. The 2004 Irish Olympian was in total command, much to the delight of trainer Emanuel Steward. He's got himself a gem of a prospect in Lee, whom we've liked from Day 1. One quibble, though: We'd like to see him be a little more aggressive and show us some more power.

Friday at San Antonio
Heavyweight
Evander Holyfield W12 Fres Oquendo
Scores: 116-111, 114-113 (twice)
Records: Holyfield, 40-8-2; Oquendo, 26-4
Rafael's remark: Yes, we made the mistake of staying up until after 1 a.m. to finish watching this garbage on pay-per-view, but at least we had good company at the Manhattan home of Showtime's Steve Farhood, who was quite the host.

Holyfield, 44, the long-faded former four-time heavyweight titlist, looked like he might turn back time for a moment when he dropped Oquendo with an overhand right in the first round. But it wasn't to be. He and the petrified Oquendo spent the rest of the fight doing as little as possible. At least Holyfield was trying to be aggressive, although he is so old and slow now that he could put together only a few decent combinations in the whole fight.

The sad thing is that by winning, Holyfield will continue his delusional quest to again become undisputed heavyweight champion with the help of promoter Murad Muhammad, who is looking to squeeze the last nickel out of a shot fighter with a big name. That name, however, doesn't seem to translate into big money anymore. The crowd at the Alamodome was pitiful and we can only imagine how poor the pay-per-view numbers will be. Here's a bet: They'll be bad enough that they won't be released officially.

Oquendo was pathetic. He spent the whole fight backing up against a guy who was there to be destroyed. Although the fight was very close -- mainly because neither guy did anything -- Oquendo had no right to be upset with the decision. When he stormed out of the ring without doing a TV interview in disgust over the decision, all we could think of is this: "That's the most aggressive move he's made all night." As bad as Oquendo was, his corner was worse. Although trainer Freddie Roach was saying all the right things, Oquendo's dopey brother Henry hurt his brother's chances by constantly yelling over the calm voice of Roach. Put Oquendo in the column with John Ruiz as a heavyweight we'd rather not ever watch again.

Welterweight
Golden Johnson TKO11 Oscar Diaz
Records: Johnson, 25-7-3, 18 KOs; Diaz, 25-2
Rafael's remark: In this match between Texas fighters, the fading veteran Johnson was supposed to serve as a stepping-stone for the younger Diaz, who was fighting in his hometown. However, it didn't turn out quite that way as Johnson laid a bad beating on Diaz.

Johnson, now being trained by retired former champion James Leija, survived nearly being knocked out in the seventh round to destroy Diaz, who might never be the same. Diaz suffered a horrific cut over his right eye in the second round, had massive swelling over his left eye and had an injured hand. But instead of stopping the fight in about the eighth or ninth round, when it was clear that Diaz was done, referee Ruben Carrion did nothing and, shamefully, neither did Diaz's experienced corner of Lou Duva and Tommy Brooks.

Instead, they all let the brave Diaz, who would never quit, take a shellacking until it was stopped way too late, in the 11th round. Diaz took a severe beating for no reason, and Duva, Brooks and Carrion should be ashamed of themselves. Shame, shame, shame.

Junior bantamweights
Jose Navarro W10 Gabriel Elizondo
Scores: 97-93 (twice) Navarro, 96-64 Elizondo
Records: Navarro, 25-2; Elizondo, 22-2
Rafael's remark: Navarro, a 2000 U.S. Olympian, edged hometown favorite Elizondo on a split decision in a bloody, good scrap between hungry young fighters. Navarro, who edged Elizondo at the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials, won his second in a row since dropping his second close decision in a world title fight in Japan. If Navarro keeps fighting the way he did against Elizondo, eventually he'll get another chance.

Friday at Hartlepool, England
Junior featherweight
Steve Molitor KO5 Michael Hunter
Wins a vacant junior featherweight title.
Records: Molitor, 23-0; Hunter, 26-1-1
Rafael's remark: Molitor and Hunter were fighting for one of the many horribly tainted IBF titles. This 122-pound belt is about as rancid as it gets, given that it was stripped from legitimate world champion Israel Vazquez because he wouldn't fight Molitor, a bogus mandatory challenger with few credentials.

That said, Molitor, from Canada, picked up a worthy credential by stopping the very solid Hunter in his hometown. Molitor scored a knockdown in the fourth round and then knocked him down for good with a left hand in the fifth.

Friday at Cicero, Ill.
Featherweight
Martin Honorio W12 Rogers Mtagwa
Scores: 115-112, 114-113 Honorio, 114-113 Mtagwa
Records: Honorio, 23-3-1; Mtagwa, 22-11-2
Rafael's remark: The Telefutura main event was probably the best fight of the weekend, a good, old-fashioned brawl that could have gone either way. Honorio and Mtagwa won't be mistaken for world championship material, but both always have made good fights and given their all. This violent collision was no different. Honorio edged Mtagwa by doing just a little more in the final few rounds.

Before signing to fight Honorio, Mtagwa had been on the short list of opponents to face prospect Jason Litzau on HBO's Dec. 16 "Boxing After Dark" undercard. However, HBO refused to approve Mtagwa in one of the many head-scratching recent decisions it has made in programming the series. In retrospect, HBO's poor decision probably did Litzau's handlers a favor.

Junior lightweight
Vicente Escobedo KO5 Ramon Guevara
Records: Escobedo, 11-1, 10 KOs; Guevara, 7-10
Rafael's remark: Golden Boy continues to bring Escobedo, a 2004 U.S. Olympian with a lot of promise, back slowly from his first career defeat, an eight-round split-decision loss to Daniel Jimenez in April. Jimenez was a big step up for Escobedo, but since then he's fought twice and been matched pretty softly. Guevara didn't pose much danger. Escobedo took care of him pretty easily, finally dropping him for the count with a left hook to the top of the head in the fifth round.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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