Commentary

Karmazin digs deep to cut down Miranda

Originally Published: January 11, 2010
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Monday at Tokyo
Junior lightweight
Takashi Uchiyama TKO12 Juan Carlos Salgado
Wins a junior lightweight title
Records: Uchiyama, 14-0, 11 KOs; Salgado, 22-1-1, 16 KOs

Rafael's remark: In the first surprise of the new year, Japan's Uchiyama, 30, controlled the fight with Salgado before stopping him with 12 seconds left to go on a card staged on a Japanese national holiday, Coming of Age Day. Although Uchiyama does not have a lot of pro experience, he had scored some solid victories against the likes of Hero Bando and Nedal Hussein, so it was no shock to see him in the title bout. In fact, Uchiyama led on all three scorecards going into the last round, 107-102 on two of them and 106-103 on the third. Then in the last stanza, Uchiyama ripped the fading Salgado with a right hand that knocked him down. Salgado, 25, of Mexico, got to his feet and referee Raul Caiz Sr. allowed the bout to continue, but not for long. Uchiyama launched another attack and Caiz quickly intervened to save Salgado from more of a beating. It was sure a different story for Salgado than his last fight. In October, Salgado came to Japan and scored a major upset, perhaps the biggest of 2009, when he knocked out Japan-based Jorge Linares in the first round. Linares had been heralded by many as a sure-fire future superstar, but Salgado blew him out in just 93 seconds. My how fortunes change in just a few months.

Junior featherweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym W12 Satoshi Hosono
Retains a junior featherweight title
Scores: 117-113, 115-113, 114-114
Records: Kratingdaenggym, 40-1, 28 KOs; Hosono, 16-1, 12 KOs

Rafael's remark: Thailand's Poonsawat, 29, went to Japan and beat the local fighter via majority decision, always something tough to do when you're on the road in a competitive fight. Poonsawat looked in great shape, worked well inside and did enough during the back-and-forth bout to get the nod in his first defense. Poonsawat was coming off a brilliant performance in a third-round knockout of Bernard Dunne to win the belt in Dunne's home country of Ireland in September. So you have to give Poonsawat a lot of credit for his willingness to travel in for his second consecutive title bout. And you could understand if Poonsawat didn't want to go on the road, because his lone defeat in 2006 came in Germany via decision to Wladimir Sidorenko in a bantamweight title bout that two judges had close and the third had it a ridiculous shutout for Sidorenko. Poonsawat and Hosono, 26, who was coming off an excellent decision victory against countryman Hiroyuki Enoki in October, spent a good deal of the fight exchanging punches at close quarters. Although Hosono is the better puncher, Poonsawat was a little busier and a little more accurate, which helped him to the victory. Now a word about Poonsawat's belt: He holds the pathetic WBA's "regular" title. Make no mistake who the legitimate titleholder is -- that's Celestino Caballero, who has unified belts.

Saturday at Magdeburg, Germany
Super middleweight
Robert Stieglitz TKO5 Ruben Eduardo Acosta
Retains a super middleweight title
Records: Stieglitz, 37-2, 23 KOs; Acosta, 23-4-5, 7 KOs

Rafael's remark: The Russian-born, German-based Stieglitz, 28, was supposed to make his first title defense against Colombia's Edison Miranda, but Miranda withdrew from the bout on Dec. 28, citing flu-like symptoms and a nasal infection that his promoter said had him at barely 50 percent effectiveness. So on a few days' notice, Argentina's Acosta, 31, who had been training for another bout, took Stieglitz's camp up on the offer to fight. Stieglitz, who claimed the title in August with an 11th-round knockout of Karoly Balzsay in a minor upset, dominated the late substitute. He dropped Acosta with a left hook in the third round and again with a body blow in the fifth round that dumped Acosta to the seat of his pants in a corner. After Acosta survived the body punch, Stieglitz (who was fighting in his hometown) was all over him and Jose Hiram Rivera waived it off during the follow-up assault. Since Librado Andrade knocked him out in the eighth round in an HBO fight in March 2008, Stieglitz has won six in a row and a title in one of boxing's deepest divisions. Perhaps we could see a unification fight between Stieglitz and Lucian Bute, the two 168-pound titleholders not involved in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic?

Heavyweight
Denis Boytsov TKO2 Kevin Montiy
Records: Boytsov, 27-0, 22 KOs; Montiy, 17-7-1, 13 KOs

Rafael's remark: Boytsov, a 23-year-old Russian living in Germany, is right on the cusp of being a top-10 heavyweight, and he has looked very impressive in recent fights. His victory against journeyman Montiy was no exception. Boytsov thoroughly dominated him, dropping him in the second round before drilling him to the seat of his pants with a fight-ending left hook. Montiy, 34, fell to 0-4 with a no contest in his last five bouts. For Boytsov, who at 6-foot-1, 224 is a perhaps a tad undersized, it's time to take a step up in competition.

Friday at Glendale, Calif.
Middleweight
Roman Karmazin KO10 Dionisio Miranda
Title eliminator
Records: Karmazin, 40-3-1, 26 KOs; Miranda, 20-4-2, 18 KOs

Rafael's remark: What an excellent way to begin the 2010 season of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights." The undercard was woeful, but the main event made up for it as Karmazin and Miranda put on an exciting fight with a dramatic ending, which happened to be our very first knockout of the year candidate just eight days into 2010. Karmazin pulled this one out in style. At 37, Karmazin himself said this fight was make or break. Win, and he would continue his career, especially with the winner due a mandatory title shot against the winner of the Jan. 30 bout between German beltholder Sebastian Sylvester and Spain's Pablo Navascues. Lose, and Karmazin said he'd have to seriously consider retirement. It did not look good for the Russian-born, Los Angeles-based Karmazin for much of the fight. Karmazin, a former junior middleweight titleholder before losing his belt to Cory Spinks in 2006 via majority decision, was badly hurt by Colombia's Miranda, 27, in the third round. Had Miranda been a bit more skilled, he may have been able to finish Karmazin off there. In the ninth round, Karmazin, his legs shaky, was in big trouble again. This time, Miranda knocked him down with a big right hand, the one punch that gave him a chance to win. But Karmazin, a former member of the Soviet army who is trained by Freddie Roach, survived because of his big heart. Miranda, who was bleeding from a cut next to his left because of an accidental head butt, appeared in control in the 10th round. But that's when out of nowhere, Karmazin dropped Miranda with a series of blows to end the fight in a dramatic style. Miranda did not appear to be badly hurt by the shots, but was clearly out of gas, so referee James Jen-Kin called it off. Miranda dropped to 2-3 in his past five, including a second-round knockout to Giovanni Lorenzo two fights ago in another title eliminator.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.