Light Heavyweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims
Full light heavyweight fight details from 1899 to July 2016 (plus heavy, cruiser and super middle) are available in this definitive companion book:
Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards
6 October 2018. Artur Beterbiev w co 4 Callum Johnson.
Venue: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Celestino Ruiz.
4 August 2018 Eleider Alvarez w rsc 7 Sergey Kovalev.
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: David Fields.
4 August 2018. Dmitry Bivol w pts 12 Isaac Chilemba.
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: David Franciosa.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 116-112.
19 May 2018. Adonis Stevenson drew 12 Badou Jack.
Venue: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Scorecards: 114-114, 114-114, 113-115.
3 March 2018. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 7 Igor Mikhalkin.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Willis.
3 March 2018. Dmitry Bivol w rsc 12 Sullivan Barrera.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Harvey Dock.
25 November 2017. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 2 Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Harvey Dock.
11 November 2017. Artur Beterbiev w rsc 12 Enrico Koelling.
Venue: Save Mart Arena, Fresno, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Lou Moret.
4 November 2017. Dmitry Bivol w co 1 Trent Broadhurst.
Venue: The Casino, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Howard Foster.
17 June 2017. Andre Ward w rsc 8 Sergey Kovalev.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
On 26 August, Nathan Cleverly lost his WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopped by Badou Jack inside five rounds at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Ward announced his retirement from boxing on 21 September. And, on 23 September, Badou Jack, the WBA ‘second tier’ title holder, sent back his belt rather than meet Dmitry Bivol, the ‘interim’ champion, in a contest to settle the WBA championship. On 11 October, the WBA stated that Bivol would now be recognised as their champion.
3 June 2017. Adonis Stevenson w rsc 2 Andrzej Fonfara.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada: Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when oustscoring Mehdi Amar over 12 rounds at the Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA on 17 March 2018.
19 November 2016. Andre Ward w pts 12 Sergey Kovalev.
Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 114-113. Ward came into the contest as the undefeated WBA/WBC super middleweight champion.
Dmitry Bivol made a successful defence of his WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping Robert Berridge inside four rounds at The Forum, Nizhny Tagil, Russia on 23 February 2017. He followed this up with a four-round stoppage win over Samuel Clarkson at the MGM National Harbour, Oxon Hill, Maryland, USA on 14 April 2017.
29 July 2016. Adonis Stevenson w co 4 Thomas Williams.
Venue: Videotron Centre, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: In a match-up between southpaws it was the 38-year-old champion who came out on top of Williams (174½), putting his younger rival down with a cracking left to the head in the opening session and serving notice on those who felt that his best days were behind him. Coming back strongly in the second, Williams showed he had plenty left in the tank when stunning Stevenson (173½) with some big lefts and rights to head and body even though he was forced to take another heavy left hand. Having regained control in the third, Stevenson had Williams down with a low blow in the fourth, something he was admonished for. Given time out, Williams threw himself at Stevenson, but when a clash of heads left him with a bad cut over the left eye his days were numbered. Chased to the ropes, when Williams was chinned by a crashing left he went to the floor face first to be counted out with just six seconds of the session remaining.
11 July 2016. Sergey Kovalev w pts 12 Isaac Chilemba.
Venue: DIVS Sports Palace, Ekaterinburg, Russia. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 117-110, 118-109, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Taken the distance for only the fourth time in 31 fights, the champion was not at his best in this one as Chilemba (174¾) moved away from the firing line and became a difficult target. It was only Chilemba's lack of power that allowed Kovalev (174½) to get away scot-free, but in the seventh he finally caught up with his Malawi-born opponent. Dropped by a heavy right to the head, although Chilemba made it to the end of the session he was now in survival mode. Having taken a bit of a beating in the eighth, Chilemba somehow managed to make it to the final bell despite looking likely to go at any time.
30 January 2016. Sergey Kovalev w rtd 7 Jean Pascal.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Impressing as the man to beat in the division, the champion successfully defended his three titles against Pascal (174¼), who was retired at the end of the seventh round following a severe beating. Using a solid left jab to the body to bring Pascal's defences down, as in their previous contest, Kovalev (174½) was merciless when banging in heavy right hands to the head and left hooks to the body. Put down in the first by a stiff left which was called a slip, Pascal was always prepared to throw heavy rights at Kovalev, but at the end of the third a big right sent him through the ropes for a count. Saved by the bell, Pascal continued to plug away, but after being given one more round by his corner at the start of the seventh and with his right eye swelling they had seen enough.
Juergen Braehmer successfully defended his WBA 'second tier' title when outpointing Eduard Gutknecht over 12 rounds at the Jahn Sports Forum, on 12 March.
Dmitry Bivol won the WBA 'interim' title when outscoring the holder, Felix Valera, over 12 rounds at the Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia on 21 May.
11 September 2015. Adonis Stevenson w rsc 3 Tommy Karpency.
Venue: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Hector Afu.
Fight Summary: After giving it his best shot in the opening session, in a battle of southpaws Karpency (174½) began to buckle under the weight of the champion's punches in the second, a left-right putting him down heavily for a 'nine' count. At the start of the third Stevenson (175) wasted no further time when he marched out with both hands before dropping Karpency with a cracking left, and after 21 seconds had elapsed the fight was over when the referee rescued the latter who was up at 'nine' but in no position to defend himself. Once again, Stevenson's Ring Championship Belt was at stake.
Stevenson forfeited The Ring Championship Belt at the end of November after failing to meet a top-five-rated opponent for over two years.
25 July 2015. Sergey Kovalev w co 3 Nadjib Mohammedi.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: Following a feeling-out opening round the champion stepped it up in the second, having Mohammedi (173) on the floor three times, once from a two fisted assault, then a shove before a trip made it a hat-trick. Although Mohammedi came out firing in the third he was soon being pushed back as Kovalev (174½) chased him down, and following a cracking right hand and a straight left he was sent to the floor where he was counted out at 2.38 of the session.
On 23 August, Felix Valera won the vacant WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Stanislav Kashtanov over 12 rounds at the Rixos Mriya Resort Hotel, Yalta, Russia.
The 'second tier' champion, Juergen Braehmer, successfully defended his title at the EnergieVerbund Arena, Dresden, Germany, by way of a seventh-round retirement win over Konni Konrad on 5 September.
4 April 2015. Adonis Stevenson w pts 12 Sakio Bika.
Venue: Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 115-111, 116-110, 115-110.
Fight Summary: Moving up a division and looking to upset Stevenson (174½), the tough challenger made life difficult for his southpaw opponent with his brawling tactics and ability to absorb heavy shots. Having pulled Stevenson to the floor in the fifth as he stumbled, despite being ruled a slip, Bika (174½) was officially dropped in the sixth by a cracker of a left to the head. Following that Bika visibly slowed as the accumulation of blows took their toll, and in the tenth he was dumped by a solid left to the jaw. The final two sessions saw Stevenson box his way through to the final bell without too much coming his way. Stevenson's Ring Championship Belt was also on the line.
14 March 2015. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 8 Jean Pascal.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Putting his three titles up for grabs Kovalev (174¼) was forced to fight hard against a determined Pascal (175), whose best form of attack was when countering the champion with crunching right hands over the top. Having been forced to take a count in the third after a battery of heavy blows had left him stuck between the ropes, Pascal came back with solid shots of his own in the fifth and sixth that forced Kovalev on the defensive. However, the seventh saw Kovalev back in control with the jab as Pascal tired from his exertions and in the eighth, with the latter all at sea, after a terrific right to the head had wobbled him the referee stopped the fight at 1.03 of the session.
Defending his WBA ‘second tier’ title, Juergen Braehmer forced Robin Krasniqi to retire at the end of the ninth round of their contest at the Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany on 21 March.
19 December 2014. Adonis Stevenson w co 5 Dmitry Sukhotsky.
Venue: Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Taking over from the start the WBC champion was soon forcing Sukhotsky (173½) back with the southpaw jab, and in the second round the latter was pushed down after a left to the head had hurt him. By the fifth there was little coming back from Sukhotsky as Stevenson (174½) loaded up, a straight left dropping him before he was floored twice more by vicious lefts. After the third knockdown, Sukhotsky was rescued by the referee with 18 seconds of the session remaining. Stevenson's Ring Championship Belt was also at risk in this one.
8 November 2014. Sergey Kovalev w pts 12 Bernard Hopkins.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: David Fields.
Scorecards: 120-107, 120-107, 120-106.
Fight Summary: Another unification battle saw Kovalev (174½), the WBO champion, take on the 49-year-old Hopkins (173½), the holder of the WBA and IBF titles. Into his stride quickly, Kovalev dropped Hopkins with an overarm right before going on to wrap up the rounds with his speed and power taking the play away from the latter. Although Hopkins had been hurt by cracking rights in several rounds he was still there at the start of the 12th, even wobbling Kovalev with a left hook prior to holding on to the final bell as punch after punch rained in on him.
Yet again, Juergen Braehmer successfully defended the WBA 'second tier' title when knocking out Pawel Glazewski inside a round at the EWE Arena, Oldenburg, Germany on 6 December.
2 August 2014. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 2 Blake Caparello.
Venue: Revel Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Sparkle Lee.
Fight Summary: With a big unification match in the offing against Bernard Hopkins, despite taking a count in the opening session when Caparello (174) caught him off balance with a southpaw left hander, the champion was never going lose this one. Having threatened with the right throughout the first round Kovalev (174) finally used it to drop Caparello with a body shot in the second, and following two more knockdowns the latter was rescued by the referee on the 1.47 mark.
24 May 2014. Adonis Stevenson w pts 12 Andrzej Fonfara.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Frank Garza.
Scorecards: 116-109, 115-110, 115-110.
Fight Summary: Dropped in the first round by a solid southpaw left to the head, Fonfara (174½) got up and fought his way back strongly in the face of the champion's attacks. Winning the fourth by dint of his jab and left hook, Fonfara showed that he had not come to be swept away by Stevenson (173½) despite being subjected to solid blows to the body, one of which dropped him in the fifth. Continuing to show his mettle, Fonfara hurt the tiring Stevenson with a body shot before driving on into the ninth where he floored the champion with a left-right. However, it was Stevenson who quickly regrouped to win the last three sessions as Fonfara faded, having given it his best. As well as his WBC title, Stevenson's Ring Championship Belt was also at stake in this one.
19 April 2014. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Beibut Shumenov.
Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Earl Brown.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 113-114.
Fight Summary: This was a unification fight between the IBF's 49-year-old Hopkins (172½) and Shumenov (174½), the WBA champion, and it was the former who came out on top by a split decision, two of the judges scoring it as a five round margin of victory with the other judge favouring the Kazakh. Although Shumenov was always dangerous, Hopkins used the jab superbly well and closed his man down when he had to, giving him no room to get his punches off. All three judges gave Shumenov the ninth and tenth rounds as he finally got his right hand going as Hopkins tired, but in the 11th he was dumped by a heavy right. It was all Hopkins in the final session, Shumenov stating after the fight that while his opponent was a great champion he had got his tactics wrong.
Juergen Braehmer retained his WBA 'second tier' title when outpointing Roberto Feliciano Bolonti over 12 rounds at the Sport & Congress Centre, Schwerin, Germany on 7 June.
29 March 2014. Sergey Kovalev w co 7 Cedric Agnew.
Venue: The Ballroom, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Fight Summary: On 26 straight, and having beaten Yusaf Mack to get the opportunity, Agnew (174½) tried to confuse the champion when coming out for the opening session as a southpaw. It may have confused Kovalev (174½) momentarily, but before too long he was hunting Agnew down, dropping him with a left hook near the end of the second. Although suffering a cut right eye in the fourth and another one under the left eye in the sixth Kovalev was still in total control, and towards the end of the sixth he floored Agnew with a hard right to the body. Not wasting much time in the seventh Kovalev launched himself at Agnew, a left to the ribs seeing the latter counted out on one knee after 58 seconds of the session.
14 December 2013. Beibut Shumenov w rsc 3 Tamas Kovacs.
Venue: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.
Fight Summary: Coming back to the ring after 18 months away from boxing due to injury and a self-promotion scheme that failed to produce a fight, Shumenov (175) patiently moved in after his challenger before dropping him with a left hook towards the end of the first. Having floored Kovacs (174½) again in the second, Shumenov chased after his man in the third, finally blasting him to the floor with a crashing right hand to the jaw. At this point the referee, who had seen enough, immediately stopped the contest with five seconds of the session remaining.
The same day, at the Jahn Sports Forum, Neubrandenburg, Germany, Juergen Braehmer won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Marcus Oliveira over 12 rounds. On 5 April 2014, Braehmer followed this up with a successful defence when forcing Enzo Maccarinelli to retire at the end of the fifth at the Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany.
30 November 2013. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 2 Ismayl Sillakh.
Venue: The Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marlon Wright.
Fight Summary: Having boxed reasonably well in the opening session, the challenger was blasted out of the fight just 56 seconds into the second after Kovalev (174¾) had unleashed his heavy armoury. Initially dropped by a right to the head Sillakh (174½) took the 'eight' count before being allowed back into the action, and following a tremendous left-right combination he crashed down under the ropes to be rescued by the referee.
30 November 2013. Adonis Stevenson w rsc 6 Tony Bellew.
Venue: The Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Putting up a good fight Bellew (175) held the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt at bay for the opening five rounds when making him miss before moving but was unable to mount any real offensive. Pursuing Bellew hard in the sixth Stevenson (174½) finally caught up with his man, a terrific southpaw straight left to the head dropping the game Englishman. Although up quickly Bellew was unable to get going, and after taking several solid lefts without return the referee pulled him out on the 1.50 mark.
26 October 2013. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Karo Murat.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 119-108, 119-108, 117-110.
Fight Summary: Happy to take on his mandatory challenger, Hopkins (172½) once again showed that he still had what it takes when outmanoeuvring the tough Murat (174). There was no doubt that Murat, who was docked a point for hitting on the break in the seventh, came to fight, but he was up against a master craftsman in Hopkins. Cut around the left eye in the eighth, Murat continued his march without great success as Hopkins cruised through the last session to win by a good margin on all three cards.
28 September 2013. Adonis Stevenson w rtd 7 Tavoris Cloud.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Making the first defence of his WBC title and The Ring Championship Belt, Stevenson (173¾) proved that he could also box as well as punch when defeating Cloud (174½). Cut over the left eye in the first Cloud was up against it from the start as Stevenson moved in with heavy southpaw blows, and after feeling the effects of a heavy straight left in the opener he looked to fight on the outside rather than taking too many risks. Stevenson's clever movement made life even more difficult for Cloud, who took a beating in virtually every round before being retired by his corner at the end of the seventh after he had been further gashed.
17 August 2013. Sergey Kovalev w rsc 4 Nathan Cleverly.
Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.
Fight Summary: Kovalev (173½), who had only gone the distance twice in 22 contests and had recently finished off Gabriel Campillo inside three rounds, was quite rightly seen as a dangerous opponent for the champion, and so it proved. Under pressure throughout, the Welshman stated afterwards that every punch that landed had felt like a hammer blow. Although Cleverly (174) got through the opening two rounds, when Kovalev, cut by the right eye, opened up with lefts and rights in the third he was dropped twice and very nearly did not see out the session, slumping onto his stool at the bell. Having been allowed out for the fourth the referee made a timely intervention just 20 seconds later when Cleverly was taking heavy punishment and unable to defend himself.
8 June 2013. Adonis Stevenson w rsc 1 Chad Dawson.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Seen as a huge shock by many, the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt was halted inside 1.16 of the opening round by a rampant, hard-hitting Stevenson (174¼). Meeting a fellow southpaw, Dawson (173½) was expected to be too experienced for the Haiti-born puncher, but he was given little time to find his feet before hitting the floor. Both men started cautiously, feeling each other out, before Stevenson smashed home a tremendous overarm left that dropped Dawson heavily. Although getting up at the count of 'seven' it was clear to the referee that Dawson could not continue and the fight was stopped.
20 April 2013. Nathan Cleverly w pts 12 Robin Krasniqi.
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Scorecards: 115-112, 118-109, 118-111.
Fight Summary: Once again the champion put on an excellent display of boxing, his left jab and combinations to head and body being too much for Krasniqi (173) to handle. Pushing on to a shut-out points win, Cleverly (174) occasionally got caught by heavy rights as Krasniqi tried to get into the fight, but they made no real impression on the Welshman who continued at his own pace.
9 March 2013. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Tavoris Cloud.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Brown.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Coming back at 48 years of age to win another version of the world title was truly remarkable, but that is what Hopkins (174½) did when outsmarting the champion. It was Cloud (173¾) who made the better start, hurting his man with left hooks in the second, but over the next few rounds it was fairly even as Hopkins countered the champion's aggression. Cut over the left eye in the sixth from an accidental butt Cloud went after Hopkins, but the latter moved adroitly to avert any danger. From the ninth Hopkins took over, tying Cloud up and more often than not beating him to the punch with solid jabs and right hands.
11 November 2012. Nathan Cleverly w rsc 8 Shawn Hawk.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Crebs.
Fight Summary: Originally due to defend his title against Ryan Coyne, when the latter pulled out a week before due to a legal dispute with Don King, South Dakota's Hawk (173¾) was substituted. Winning the first six rounds emphatically, his speed of foot and hand making it a tough night's work for Hawk, Cleverly (174½) had his man down twice in the seventh before finishing the contest in the eighth. Setting about Hawk from the bell to start the session and swiftly moving up through the gears the referee finally rescued the outgunned American on the 1.53 mark after he had taken a battery of heavy lefts and rights and was not fighting back.
2 June 2012. Beibut Shumenov w pts 12 Enrique Ornelas.
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Despite having been out of the ring for nearly a year, the champion started fast when throwing solid rights over the jab. Although Ornelas (174½) gamely stuck to his task every time he had a success of sorts Shumenov (174½) would come roaring back to take the play away from him. For round after round Shumenov dominated the action as he walked to a shut-out points win. Following the fight Shumenov's camp stated that their man had damaged his right forearm in sparring ten days earlier, an injury that forced him to hold back at times.
28 April 2012. Chad Dawson w pts 12 Bernard Hopkins.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In a return match between Hopkins (173½), the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt, and Dawson (174½) that was ordered following the disappointing end to their previous affair the latter made sure he stuck to task in hand this time round, and in doing so won the fight. However, it was still very tactical. In the main it was Dawson picking up points from the outside with the southpaw jab and generally trying to do enough to win the rounds. Cut in the fourth on the left eye from what was ruled to be an accidental head butt, Dawson moved up a gear in the fifth while keeping himself out of trouble as best he could. As the rounds progressed, with Hopkins conserving energy it was a poor fight for the fans, but for Dawson it was a badly needed win even if one of the judges had them level at the finish.
25 February 2012. Nathan Cleverly w pts 12 Tommy Karpency.
Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Defending the title in front of his home fans Cleverly (174) marched to a shut-out points win over Karpency (172½), who appeared happy to remain behind a tight guard as the champion loaded up on him. It was almost the same every round, as Cleverly looked to land punches wherever there was an opening, Karpency proving his toughness and durability as the blows rained in. It was only in the 11th that the southpaw challenger took up the gauntlet but, following some heavy shots from the Welshman finding their mark, he went back into his shell.
18 February 2012. Tavoris Cloud w pts 12 Gabriel Campillo.
Venue: American Bank Centre, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Scorecards: 116-110, 114-112, 111-115.
Fight Summary: Yet again Campillo (173½) felt hard done by when losing a decision in a world title fight, even though he suffered two knockdowns in the opening session when floored firstly by a hard right and then by a left uppercut. Surprisingly, the southpaw challenger came back strongly in the second when sending in good blows from the outside, and although Cloud (175) tried to close him down he had little success. A cut over the left eye in the fourth did not aid Cloud much, especially when Campillo drove forward with both hands. Coming into the last three sessions realising his title was at risk Cloud picked up the action, and after hurting Campillo with a solid right to the head in the 11th the latter was forced to give ground in the final session.
15 October 2011. Nathan Cleverly w pts 12 Tony Bellew.
Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Richie Davies.
Scorecards: 117-112, 116-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Cleverly (174¼) was forced to fight all the way as Bellew (175) gave it everything and more. It started with Bellew being warned for headwork, but once the contest got going it was a corker with the latter's aggression pitted against Cleverly's better boxing. A Cleverly left hook that went low in the fourth produced another warning while Bellew was given a rest. With the pace catching up with him, Cleverly boxed more at range from the eighth onwards as Bellew continued to storm forward while looking for a punch that would finish it. There was never a great deal in it, but it was Cleverly's more correct punching that gave him the win.
15 October 2011. Bernard Hopkins tdraw 2 Chad Dawson.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Pat Russell.
Fight Summary: Dawson (174¼) made a fair start against the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt, working behind a southpaw right jab, as Hopkins (173½) seemed happy to move around the ring while eyeing his man up. Having upped the pace in the second, Dawson was pushed to the floor unintentionally before Hopkins charged in and ended up on the floor with an injury to his left elbow after what appeared to be a shove from the former. With Hopkins still grounded, at 2.48 of the session the referee stopped the fight and Dawson was announced as the winner and new champion by a stoppage. That was after the referee stated that no foul had been committed. A few days later the WBC overturned the decision, claiming that it was a push by Dawson that caused a separation of the collar bone and shoulder blade and that the result should be seen as a technical draw.
29 July 2011. Beibut Shumenov w rsc 9 Danny Santiago.
Venue: South Point Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Although competitive early on, the challenger began losing every round on the cards as Shumenov (175) picked up the pace after a slow start. Shaken up by a hard right to the head towards the end of the fifth, when Santiago (173) was saved by the bell it was a sign of things to come. With Santiago's face badly swollen the sixth, seventh and eighth saw him shipping plenty of punches as Shumenov warmed to the task, and in the ninth he was pulled out by the referee after 46 seconds following a tremendous barrage of blows with nothing coming back.
25 June 2011. Tavoris Cloud w rsc 8 Yusaf Mack.
Venue: Family Arena, St Charles, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.
Fight Summary: Ultimately, Cloud (175) proved too strong for his challenger, who despite giving him problems in the opening three rounds with his movement and speed was eventually ground down. Battered by left hooks to head and body in the fourth, Mack (174¼) was forced to fight Cloud's fight from thereon and even won the seventh before coming under the cosh in the eighth. Hurt by a left hook Mack was then dropped by heavy body shots, and although getting to his feet the referee rescued him at 2.57 of the session.
21 May 2011. Nathan Cleverly w rsc 4 Aleksy Kuziemski.
Venue: O2 Arena, Millwall, London, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Fight Summary: With Cleverly (174¾) defending the title that was handed to him after Juergen Braehmer was stripped, the Welshman was far too good for his last-minute opponent. Coming out fast, he was soon hitting Kuziemski (174¾) with every punch in the book as he looked for an early finish. Despite being caught wide open in the third by a left hook the unperturbed Cleverly kept up the assault, and with Kuziemski carrying a cut on the right eye, his face badly swollen, the referee called the fight off at 1.27 of the fourth.
21 May 2011. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Jean Pascal.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-114, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Having drawn with the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt at the start of the year the 46-year-old Hopkins (175) got the rematch he badly wanted, and this time around stayed on his feet to edge it on all three cards in another close fight. At the same time he broke George Foreman's record as the oldest man to win a world title by 192 days. There was never much between them other than the former world middleweight title holder's class and excellent defensive ability, Pascal (175) always giving it his best despite being outmanoeuvred by the wily old fox. Hurt in the third by a big right to the head, Pascal regrouped and came right back at Hopkins for round after round without a great deal of success. Realising he was down on the cards Pascal came on like a train in the last two sessions, winning them despite being badly hurt in the 11th. However, it was not enough.
8 January 2011. Beibut Shumenov w co 6 William Joppy.
Venue: Ice Sports Palace, Shymkent, Kazakhstan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Nabijon Ismanov.
Fight Summary: Fighting on home turf the champion took on the 38-year-old Joppy (174½), who had come in at five days’ notice after Juergen Braehmer pulled out. Having prepared for three months to fight a southpaw, Shumenov (175) adjusted fairly quickly when winning the opening four rounds before taking Joppy out in the sixth. It was clear that Joppy was not going to last much longer after being dropped by a heavy right to the head in the fifth, and just 15 seconds into the sixth a left hook to the body saw him floored and counted out.
18 December 2010. Jean Pascal drew 12 Bernard Hopkins.
Venue: Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 113-113, 114-114, 112-114.
Fight Summary: After taking a pounding early on, being knocked down in the first by a right to the head and again in the third by a couple of cracking left hooks, Hopkins (174¾) boxed his way back into the fight when giving the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt all kinds of problems. At the age of 45 Hopkins showed all his mettle and class, even having Pascal (174¾) on the back foot on occasion as he clawed his way back when winning the last three rounds. With two judges making it a draw and another giving it to Hopkins by two rounds there were calls for a return.
17 December 2010. Tavoris Cloud w pts 12 Fulgencio Zuniga.
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Telis Assimenios.
Scorecards: 118-108, 117-109, 117-109.
Fight Summary: Despite his punches not disturbing the champion too much, Zuniga (174) gave a courageous display when staying on the front foot while taking plenty in return. Being cut above the left eye early in the fight did not unduly concern Cloud (175) as he set about the Colombian with vigour, dropping his man in the fifth with a hard right to the head and again in the final session following a left-right to the jaw. The sixth and seventh were Zuniga's best rounds when outworking Cloud.
14 August 2010. Jean Pascal w tdec 11 Chad Dawson.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 106-103, 108-101, 106-103.
Fight Summary: In a contest that also attracted the vacant Ring Championship Belt, Pascal (174¼) successfully defended his WBC title against his southpaw challenger by means of a technical decision. Showing great speed, Pascal won the opening three rounds before Dawson (174¼) got going in the fourth with good combinations and a solid jab. At the end of the eighth Pascal was in front, having hurt Dawson on a couple of occasions with heavy hooks, but the latter came back strongly in the ninth as he looked for a stoppage. The next two sessions saw Dawson landing the heavier blows, but when Pascal came in low in the 11th and heads came together the former came off worse, his right eye spouting blood. Although deducted a point for an accidental head butt, it was Pascal who was ahead on the cards after the doctor declared that Dawson was unfit to carry on at 2.07 of the session.
7 August 2010. Tavoris Cloud w pts 12 Glen Johnson.
Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: If Cloud (174½) ever thought that Johnson (173) might have seen better days, in what his first defence, he was mistaken after a big overarm right in the second round settled him down. Although Johnson won the second and third sessions, Cloud came back strongly, especially when hurting the challenger in the fifth with a left hook on the head that had him on wobbly legs. All three judges had Johnson winning the ninth before Cloud came back strongly in the 11th and 12th. In the main, Johnson boxed behind the jab while looking for openings to get the right-hand across, as Cloud produced the heavier blows that would ultimately gain him the unanimous decision.
23 July 2010. Beibut Shumenov w pts 12 Vyacheslav Uzelkov.
Venue: Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Lemoore, California, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Scorecards: 117-109, 116-108, 118-108.
Fight Summary: Making a bright start Uzelkov (172) dropped Shumenov (175) with a cracking left hook in the opener, but was himself smashed down at the end of the third after the champion connected with a heavy right to the head. With both men affected by the heat it was Shumenov, cut over the right eye in the fourth, who produced the better boxing and lasted the pace well to win virtually every round thereafter.
24 April 2010. Juergen Braehmer w rsc 5 Mariano Nicolas Plotinsky.
Venue: Alsterdorfer Sports Hall, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Paul Thomas.
Fight Summary: Not taking a backward step the challenger tore into Braehmer (174½) from the opening bell, but was soon up against it as solid southpaw left counters found their mark. Although Plotinsky (174¼) was on the floor from a left hook in the second it did not count on the cards as the referee had already called 'break'. Repeatedly countered or tied up in close, Plotinsky was out of ideas in the fifth, and having taken some heavy blows and sent staggering by a left hook the referee rescued him at 2.36 of the session.
On 11 December, at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, England, Nathan Cleverly outpointed Nadjib Mohammedi over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title.
Just days before making a defence against Cleverly, Braehmer pulled out stating an injury as the reason for his withdrawal, and the Welshman was installed as the champion on 19 May 2011. The contest had already been postponed earlier in the year to allow Braehmer time to deal with a number of legal issues.
29 January 2010. Beibut Shumenov w pts 12 Gabriel Campillo.
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 111-117.
Fight Summary: As far as many were concerned, including Boxing News and The Ring magazine, Campillo (175) was robbed of his title, especially when he landed 320 punches to Shumenov's 219 and appeared to be a good winner in all eyes bar two of the judges. Starting slowly, the 6'2" southpaw champion did not get going until the third round of this return bout, showing good defensive skills, an accurate jab and solid countering. Cut over the left eye in the fifth, Campillo upped the rate in the seventh as Shumenov (174½) tired, and in the ninth he let loose with punch after punch getting home. Happy to see out the tenth, Campillo came back strongly in the last two sessions, only to be denied the verdict. Although a protest was filed on behalf of Campillo immediately after the fight, in March the WBA rejected any claims for a third meeting between the pair.
19 December 2009. Juergen Braehmer w pts 12 Dmitry Sukhotsky.
Venue: Sport & Congress Centre, Schwerin, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence of the title that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Zsolt Erdei, Braehmer (175) had a difficult night against the largely unknown Sukhotsky (172¾). Controlling the action for the opening seven rounds, the southpaw champion found Sukhotsky a different proposition for the next three sessions as he began to tire. After scoring well in the eighth, Sukhotsky battered away at Braehmer in the ninth before really working the latter over in the tenth. Suffering a bad cut over the right eye and being subjected to a rare old pounding without firing back, it was only when Sukhotsky ran out of fuel that Braehmer came back to take the 11th and 12th, and the verdict.
11 December 2009. Jean Pascal w pts 12 Adrian Diaconu.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Meeting the man he took the title from in a rematch, Pascal (174) was forced to deal with a right shoulder that became dislocated on two separate occasions during the contest. Both men started well, Pascal boxing at distance with Diaconu (174¾) looking to get close. After hurting the challenger in the third with a corking left hook, Pascal dislocated his right shoulder for the first time when going for a finish and was then on the end of some hurtful blows as he retreated. Losing the next couple of sessions when only using his left, Pascal somehow kept in the fight before coming back hard in the eighth and ninth. Having Diaconu under severe pressure in the tenth, and looking to finish it, Pascal was then forced to back off when the shoulder popped out again. The last two rounds saw Pascal keep up the attack despite the pain as Diaconu, his right eye badly swollen, failed to take advantage of the champion's injury woes.
25 September 2009. Jean Pascal w rsc 10 Silvio Branco.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Gerry Bolen.
Fight Summary: After making a quiet start in the opener Pascal (175) was up to speed by the fourth, his hand-speed being too much for Branco (174¼) to deal with, the latter eventually going down from what seemed to be a less than hard blow to the back of the head. Given a standing 'eight' count despite the referee not signifying a knockdown, Branco continued throwing long punches prior to being dropped in the seventh after being caught by a heavy overarm right. By this time Branco was complaining about being hit by rabbit punches, and in the ninth he suffered what seemed to be another knockdown that was not registered. However, in the tenth it was all over for Branco as he was floored twice before the corner threw the towel in and the referee enforced the stoppage.
At the XL Centre, Hartford, Connecticut, USA on 7 November, Chad Dawson outpointed Glen Johnson over 12 rounds to win the WBC ‘interim’ title.
28 August 2009. Tavoris Cloud w pts 12 Clinton Woods.
Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Telis Assimenios.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: In a contest to decide the vacant title after Chad Dawson handed in his belt, it was the unbeaten Cloud (174), a man with 19 wins, 18 of them inside the distance, who triumphed over the former champion, Woods (173½). The Englishman had stood up well to heavy-handed blows for the opening five rounds, being still in the fight, but from the sixth through to the tenth he was given a hard time as Cloud upped the pace and landed some hurtful blows. Although Woods, both eyes swollen, came back gamely in the last two it had been Cloud's fight.
15 August 2009. Gabriel Campillo w pts 12 Beibut Shumenov.
Venue: Daulet Sports Complex, Astana, Kazakhstan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 114-113, 115-111, 113-113.
Fight Summary: The southpaw champion wasted little time in making the first defence of his new title, the unbeaten Shumenov (174) being a dangerous opponent for him on enemy turf. Regardless of having had just eight contests, Shumenov had beaten two former world champions and was the WBA's number one contender. After five rounds Shumenov was ahead, his power punching proving troublesome for Campillo (174¾), but the latter came back well in the next three rounds before running into a left hook that decked him in the ninth. Despite that seeming to be it for Campillo, the latter surprised the crowd by taking the last three sessions and putting Shumenov down in the last with a left to the body to make sure of the win.
20 June 2009. Gabriel Campillo w pts 12 Hugo Hernan Garay.
Venue: Freedom Club Stadium, Sunchales, Santa Fe, Argentina. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 115-114, 114-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Not expected to cause the champion a problem, Campillo 174¼) threw a spanner in the works when edging the majority decision. Despite Garay (175) going well for several rounds the weight-making problems he had been suffering in the lead-up to the fight eventually caught up with him in round five, when Campillo came on strong behind the southpaw jab. By the end of the 11th Garay was exhausted however, by rallying strongly in the 12th, he made one last despairing effort to retain his title, but the judges decided otherwise.
19 June 2009. Jean Pascal w pts 12 Adrian Diaconu.
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Garza.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-111, 115-112.
Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Chad Dawson, the champion's reign turned out to be a short one after Pascal (174¼) took the unanimous points verdict. Making a strong start when showing excellent speed, his left jab and right cross working well, Pascal floored Diaconu (173¼) with a cracking left hook in the fifth. Although being hurt and forced to take more heavy blows prior to the end of the session, Diaconu came back well in the sixth and seventh before Pascal took over again. However, in the 11th an overarm right had the challenger all at sea, but despite battering him until the bell Diaconu was unable to find a finish, Pascal closing out the final session with a boxing lesson.
9 May 2009. Chad Dawson w pts 12 Antonio Tarver.
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Contested in front of a small audience, Dawson (175) won the battle of the two southpaws just as he had done in their previous meeting. As before, Dawson got away well, firing in combinations and concentrating on the body, before Tarver (172) found any kind of rhythm in the third. Having taken a few solid shots in the eighth, Dawson came right back in the ninth when he stunned Tarver with a batch of solid combinations, and although the latter never stopped trying the champion cruised through the remaining sessions to retain his title.
On 27 May, Dawson relinquished the IBF title to negotiate a rematch against Glen Johnson for the WBC ‘interim’ title and Tavoris Cloud was matched against Clinton Woods to find a successor. Both men had won eliminating contests, Cloud beating Julio Cesar Gonzalez (w rsc 10 at the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois on 8 August 2008) and Woods defeating Elvir Muriqi (w pts 12 at the France Hotel, St Helier, Jersey, England on 14 February).
22 November 2008. Hugo Hernan Garay w pts 12 Juergen Braehmer.
Venue: Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 118-110, 117-112, 116-115.
Fight Summary: Taking the opening two sessions with a fast start, even though the champion lost the next two as Braehmer (174¼) opened up with solid southpaw punches the latter failed to make it stick. By the sixth it was clear that Garay (175) was the stronger of the two, when firing back with volleys of blows every time he was put under pressure. Coming into the final round, having lost the last four, Braehmer landed with two heavy lefts as he looked to make a late comeback, but when Garay took them without flinching the game was up.
18 November 2008. Joe Calzaghe w pts 12 Roy Jones.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Hubert Earle.
Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 118-109.
Fight Summary: Despite being floored for 'six' by a wide right hand in the opening session the southpaw holder of The Ring Championship Belt got up to beat the once great Jones (174½) in some style, his all-round work-rate taking him to the front and keeping him there. It took Calzaghe (174½) a while to read Jones' right hand and left hook combinations, but once he had he was on his way. Being cut on the left eye in the sixth further hindered Jones' chances. However, by this time Calzaghe's speed of foot and hands were making life extremely difficult for Jones, who despite landing some pretty meaty punches found that they had no effect on the champion.
When Calzaghe announced his retirement on 5 February 2009, The Ring Championship Belt was made available for the next outstanding candidate.
11 October 2008. Chad Dawson w pts 12 Antonio Tarver.
Venue: Palms Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 118-109, 117-110, 117-110.
Fight Summary: Having given up his WBC Championship Belt in order to challenge Tarver (174), Dawson (174) completely dominated the champion in what was a battle of southpaws. Winning just three rounds, the third, sixth and 11th, Tarver lost all chances of victory when a right to the head in the 12th saw him given an 'eight' count after his hand touched the floor. Expected to have trouble with Tarver's punch power, Dawson surprised many when standing up to anything thrown at him. After the fight Tarver admitted that it was not so much Dawson's speed that won it but his high work-rate.
3 July 2008. Hugo Hernan Garay w pts 12 Yuriy Barashian.
Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Scorecards: 118-111, 120-108, 118-110.
Fight Summary: In a contest for the vacant title after Danny Green had announced his retirement, Garay (174¾), who was making his third attempt at a version of the world championship, overcame Barashian (175) by a wide margin on the cards. Throwing punches from head to body, Garay outworked his hard-hitting southpaw opponent in all rounds except the ninth and tenth. It was in the latter session that Barashian staggered Garay with a big left hook, but unable to follow it up his chance had gone.
26 April 2008. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 DeAndrey Abron.
Venue: Freiberger Arena, Dresden, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Scorecards: 119-109, 119-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Making his tenth defence Erdei (173¼) was far too good for Abron (173), who won just one round, the third, at most. Whether it was on the inside or at distance, Erdei was the boss. It was clear early on that the taller Abron, whose right eye was badly swollen at the finish, did not have the skill or the tools to beat Erdei, but despite that the latter was content to waltz his way to the unanimous points win.
Due to defend his WBO title against Yuriy Barashian at the Borderland Hall, Magdeburg, Germany, on 10 January 2009, Erdei went ahead with the contest despite the Armenian coming in over the weight, winning on points over 12 rounds.
At the SYMA Sport & Leisure Centre, Budapest, Hungary, on 22 August 2009, Juergen Braehmer stopped Aleksy Kuziemski in the 11th round to win the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title. Braehmer was handed full title status on 13 November 2009, eight days before Erdei, who had relinquished on that date, challenged Giacobbe Fragomeni for the WBC cruiser title.
19 April 2008. Joe Calzaghe w pts 12 Bernard Hopkins.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 115-112, 116-111, 113-114.
Fight Summary: Moving up from super middle to take on the holder of The Ring Championship Belt, the unbeaten Calzaghe (173) yet again proved to be a master of his craft when winning the split decision after being knocked down by a left-right for 'three' in the opening session. Although Hopkins (173) landed the heavier shots, Calzaghe did the better work, his southpaw right bemusing the champion at times. In the tenth Hopkins complained of being hit low when going down, and made sure that he got a good rest before resuming. Following the win, Calzaghe was looking forward to making a match with Roy Jones.
12 April 2008. Chad Dawson w pts 12 Glen Johnson.
Venue: St Petersburg Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: With the challenger starting as he meant to carry on when failing to give ground and advancing throughout with the left jab, it was Dawson (173¾) who was deemed to have delivered the better scoring shots by the judges. While several of the rounds were close and difficult to score, Dawson threw solid southpaw blows that landed cleanly, whereas Johnson (172½) was happy to mix it up, the two best punches of the fight coming from him in the third and tenth when he almost had the champion over. Once again it was a contest where Johnson, with some validity, would state that he was unlucky.
On 19 April, at the Tineretului Park Arena, Bucharest, Romania, Adrian Diaconu outpointed Chris Henry over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title.
Rather than be forced into a defence against Diaconu, Dawson handed in his belt on 11 July to challenge Antonio Tarver for the IBF title. The Romanian was then upgraded to full championship status.
12 April 2008. Antonio Tarver w pts 12 Clinton Woods.
Venue: St Petersburg Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.
Scorecards: 119-109, 117-111, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Getting off to a slow start when dropping the opening three rounds, having taken several big left uppercuts in the process from the 39-year-old Tarver (173¾), the champion came back to win the fourth before the fight ran away from him. From there on it was clear that the southpaw Tarver just had too much for the hardy Woods (175), who just could not get going, and was happy to counter with heavy blows whenever the latter came forward. There were no knockdowns, but Woods finished the fight with plenty of facial damage.
16 December 2007. Danny Green w pts 12 Stipe Drews.
Venue: Challenge Stadium, Mount Claremont, Perth, Australia. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Takeshi Shimakawa.
Scorecards: 118-111, 118-110, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Always looking to go forward against the negative southpaw champion, Green (174½) fully deserved the win with solid right hooks and left hands guiding the way. For a champion, Drews (174½) displayed little ambition, preferring to stay on the outside after feeling the weight in Green's punches. Drews even resorted to throwing Green to the floor as early as the third, and continually clutched his rival when under attack in a one-sided contest that was devoid of two-way action.
Having fulfilled his lifetime ambition of winning a title, Green announced on 25 March 2008 that he was hanging up his gloves with immediate effect to concentrate on his family and to preserve his health. Following that, the WBA matched Hugo Hernan Garay, the WBA FEDELATIN (Latin American Boxing Federation) champion, and Yuriy Barashian, the former European champion, to contest the vacant title.
24 November 2007. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Tito Mendoza.
Venue: Freiberger Arena, Dresden, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 111-117.
Fight Summary: In what was a difficult defence, Erdei (173½), who was badly hurt in the fourth when a Mendoza (174) left hook nearly took him out, struggled to contain his rival. Erdei had made a reasonable start, but after the fourth he was up against it as Mendoza walked through his jab, throwing hurtful right hands and uppercuts. According to one report, Erdei had problems with his stamina and was lucky to get the split decision as he had clearly lost the last four rounds when wilting under pressure. With two judges scoring 117-111, one for and one against Erdei, it did not give a fair reflection of the contest.
29 September 2007. Clinton Woods w pts 12 Julio Cesar Gonzalez.
Venue: Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Dave Parris.
Scorecards: 115-113, 117-111, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Giving a great display of boxing against the tough Gonzalez (173½) in a return match, the champion once again had a hard night's work. With both men relatively even after four rounds, it was Gonzalez who took the next two sessions as he tore into Woods (174½) with both hands to head and body before the latter got his jab going, backed up by solid hooks. In the 11th Woods almost took Gonzalez out with some fierce blows from both hands that left the Argentine badly cut on the right eye, but was then forced to protect his lead in the 12th as the latter went for broke. Woods also finished with a cut right eye.
29 September 2007. Chad Dawson w rsc 4 Epifanio Mendoza.
Venue: Arco Arena, Sacramento, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Fight Summary: Coming in at 12 days’ notice after Adrian Diaconu pulled out with an injured wrist, Mendoza (175) found himself outclassed by the hard-hitting southpaw champion. It was never going to be easy for him, and so it proved. By the second round Mendoza was already reduced to throwing single head punches, and towards the end of the session he was battered to the ropes by a steady stream of solid lefts and rights. Having finished the third taking a beating, Mendoza was finally rescued in the fourth by the referee on the 2.30 mark as Dawson (172¾) belted him with heavy rights to the body without return.
21 July 2007. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Ronald Wright.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Happy to defend his prestigious Ring Championship Belt, Hopkins (167) proved to be too clever for the southpaw Wright (167), who ultimately found himself bullied by the battle-hardened champion. Despite being cut over the left eye in the third, Wright had his best rounds in the fourth and fifth with left crosses finding their mark. By the sixth, however, Wright was beginning to tire as Hopkins leaned on him and started to work the body. The final session saw Hopkins unload, a heavy right almost smashing Wright down, but the latter kept going to hear the bell.
16 June 2007. Zsolt Erdei w rsc 11 George Blades.
Venue: SYMA Sports & Leisure Centre, Budapest, Hungary. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: Although Blades (174¼) went on the offensive from the opening bell he was soon pulled up short after the champion started to bring solid straight lefts into play. From the third onwards it was one-way traffic as Erdei (172) picked up the pace to go further and further ahead. In the 11th when it was clear that Blades, who was under the cosh, was so far behind on the cards and had little chance winning the referee halted the contest at 2.27 of the session.
9 June 2007. Chad Dawson w rsc 6 Jesus Ruiz.
Venue: Connecticut Convention Centre, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Johnny Callas.
Fight Summary: The southpaw champion, making his first defence, was far too good for Ruiz (174¾), who had his nose broken in the fourth after being clubbed by left hands before being forced to take solid shots to both head and body in the fifth. Clearly one-sided, by the sixth, Dawson (174) waded into Ruiz with some big punches to force an intervention by the referee at 2.00 of the session when the latter was unable to fight back and was on his way down.
28 April 2007. Stipe Drews w pts 12 Silvio Branco.
Venue: Konig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 116-113, 116-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Fabrice Tiozzo, for several rounds the 40-year-old Branco (174¼) was picked off by southpaw jabs as Drews (174¼) made his way into the fight. In the fifth, however, Branco began to find his distance with right hooks to the head getting through, and in the seventh a body blow doubled Drews up. Having turned away from Branco, who was cut over the left eye, the Croat was given a slightly fortunate break by the referee when allowed to box on. Putting that behind him, Drews got back to his boxing in the eighth and closed out strongly to take the unanimous decision.
3 February 2007. Chad Dawson w pts 12 Tomasz Adamek.
Venue: Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jorge Alonso.
Scorecards: 117-109, 118-108, 116-110.
Fight Summary: Making his play right from the opening bell, Dawson (175) took to the periphery of the ring with southpaw rights and left crosses keeping the cumbersome champion at bay for much of the time. Hurt in the fifth and sixth from heavy right hands, Adamek (174), also cut under the left eye, suffered more misery when he was dropped by a left to the body in the eighth. Although the unbeaten Adamek came back strongly in the tenth, flooring Dawson with a short right to the jaw, he took a lot out of himself in that session when trying to bring the contest to a conclusion and was badly hurt by a solid left in the 11th. Dawson then made sure of the win by staying out of trouble in the 12th.
27 January 2007. Zsolt Erdei w rsc 8 Danny Santiago.
Venue: Castle Guard Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Having dropped Santiago (174½) in the second round with a cracking left hook, the champion further tightened his grip on the fight with the use of solid jabs and combinations. His excellent defence also meant that the hard-working Santiago rarely found a way through. In the seventh Erdei (173) began to open up, and the following session saw him drop Santiago for 'seven' with a three-punch combination before badly staggering the latter enough for the referee to make a timely intervention on the 1.56 mark.
7 October 2006. Tomasz Adamek w pts 12 Paul Briggs.
Venue: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tim Adams.
Scorecards: 114-112, 115-111, 113-113.
Fight Summary: Looking to gain revenge for the narrow verdict that went against him in their previous contest, a Briggs (175) left hook had the champion down in the opening session for the first time in his career. However, Adamek (174) came back strongly to whistle off the next two rounds before being put under pressure again as Briggs let both hands go in the fourth and fifth. Having dropped Briggs in the ninth with a low blow Adamek was deducted a point while Briggs took a short rest. Although Briggs took the tenth with heavy punches finding the mark, it was Adamek who took the 11th and 12th with solid left jabs and rights through the middle.
2 September 2006. Clinton Woods w pts 12 Glen Johnson.
Venue: Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Howard Foster.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 113-115.
Fight Summary: There was never much in this one, the champion ultimately taking a split decision. Despite being the taller man, Woods (175) was often forced to take solid jabs from Johnson (172) as well as hard body blows when the latter forced his way inside. Johnson's plan to slow Woods down was clear enough, but the challenger's camp had ignored the undoubted spirit and toughness of the Englishman, who finished like a train to impress the judges.
29 July 2006. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Thomas Ulrich.
Venue: Konig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 120-108.
Fight Summary: In a battle of stablemates, with the champion controlling the action throughout, Ulrich (174¼) finished the contest with cuts and bruises to the left-hand side of his face after taking stiff jabs for round after round. The superior technician, Erdei (172¼) did enough to win most of the sessions without getting out of first gear, while Ulrich threw many punches that missed the target. There were no knockdowns.
10 June 2006. Bernard Hopkins w pts 12 Antonio Tarver.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 118-109.
Fight Summary: With Tarver's Ring Championship Belt at stake, the 41-year-old Hopkins (174) stepped up from middleweight after two losing fights against Jermain Taylor to administer a lesson in boxing skills as his southpaw opponent continually floundered. Dropped in the fifth by a right, Tarver (174) tried to turn things his way in the eighth before tiring as Hopkins dug to the body. Although Tarver, his right eye swelling fast, made a big effort in the 11th he was a spent force in the final session as Hopkins breezed to the unanimous points verdict.
13 May 2006. Clinton Woods w rsc 6 Jason DeLisle.
Venue: Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Dave Parris.
Fight Summary: During their previous contest, a non-title affair, Woods (174½) had to climb off the floor to secure a win, but this time there were no such problems as he outboxed the challenger from start to finish. Using lefts and rights to keep DeLisle (172½) at bay, Woods nearly got the job done in the second when the Australian reeled away from some solid blows. Sticking to his boxing Woods bided his time before he finally pounced in the sixth. Following a terrific right uppercut, Woods took his man to the ropes and after unleashing a whole range of punches another big uppercut dropped DeLisle so heavily that the referee immediately called it off at 1.55 of the session.
6 May 2006. Zsolt Erdei w rsc 10 Paul Murdoch.
Venue: Castle Guard Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Fight Summary: Defending his title successfully for the fifth time, the clever Erdei (172¾) took over from the opening bell with solid combinations, battering Murdoch (172½) throughout. The Australian was always game, but was unable to test Erdei. In the eighth round Murdoch was sent crashing following three left hooks to the head, and although he got to his feet and made it through the ninth he was shipping punishment when the referee rescued him after 19 seconds of the tenth.
22 October 2005. Zsolt Erdei w rsc 12 Mehdi Sahnoune.
Venue: Fire Mountains Arena, Halle, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: Making the contest from the opening bell, the challenger, a former WBA champion, forced Erdei (174¼) to pull out all the stops in order to hang on to his title. With every round closely contested and solid blows delivered by both men, coming into the final session there was little to choose between them, even though Erdei had been up against it in the fifth, sixth and ninth. In the 12th Erdei finally began to hurt Sahnoune (175), and after driving the latter into a corner and battering him with both hands the referee stopped the fight with just 43 seconds remaining on the clock. Afterwards, Erdei claimed that a rib injury had held him back.
15 October 2005. Tomasz Adamek w co 6 Thomas Ulrich.
Venue: Multipurpose Hall, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Fight Summary: Setting off at a fast pace the challenger was always in the fight right up until the sixth round. Ulrich (174¾) certainly made Adamek (174¾) work hard even though he was cut over the left eye as early as the second round. With both men throwing quality punches from both hands the fight was exciting as Ulrich continually came forward before tiring towards the end of the fifth. Picking it up in the sixth Adamek began to work on Ulrich’s damaged eye, and after slipping inside an overarm right he smashed in a right-hand counter of his own that landed flush on the jaw. Crashing to the floor, Ulrich was counted out at 1.57 of the session.
1 October 2005. Antonio Tarver w pts 12 Roy Jones.
Venue: St Petersburg Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Despite not being the fighter of old, plus the fact that his legs occasionally let him down, Jones (173) made the southpaw champion pull out all the stops in order to retain his title. There was never much between them other than Tarver (175) doing that little bit more, and in the 11th a right hook to the jaw had Jones in big trouble before he fought back to make it to the bell. Following the contest, while there were many calls for the 36-year-old Jones to quit they fell on deaf ears.
9 September 2005. Clinton Woods w pts 12 Julio Cesar Gonzalez.
Venue: Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mickey Vann.
Scorecards: 117-111, 118-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Working off the left jab the champion took the first four rounds due to his better boxing before Gonzalez (175) came back with a few blows of his own to take the play away from him in the fifth. Although Woods (174¾) came back strongly it had become a tough battle as Gonzalez sensed that he could win, but by the ninth he was being outworked and was tiring fast. The last three sessions all belonged to Woods as he picked his punches, raised a swelling on Gonzalez’s left eye and remained in the driving seat until the final bell.
18 June 2005. Antonio Tarver w pts 12 Glen Johnson.
Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Bill Clancy.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Gaining his revenge, Tarver (173) used his three-inch-reach advantage to better effect this time round as he repeatedly backed the champion up. It was hardly surprising that both men were tiring in the middle rounds, but by then Johnson (173½) was feeling it more than Tarver. With Johnson’s left eye swelling fast, despite giving it one final effort, it was Tarver who produced the better work in the closing stages to warrant the unanimous verdict.
21 May 2005. Tomasz Adamek w pts 12 Paul Briggs.
Venue: United Centre, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tim Adams.
Scorecards: 117-113, 115-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the title vacated by Antonio Tarver, Adamek (175) started the better of the pair when taking the opening four rounds, banging in right hands. Briggs (175) had been severely handicapped when gashed over the left eye after heads came together in the second. It remained close though as Briggs hit back with solid right hands of his own, and damage to Adamek’s right eye as well as a broken nose was not helping his cause by the middle rounds. In the eighth Briggs almost had Adamek over from several vicious rights to the head before being pegged back by jabs, and in the final two rounds the latter mixed it up with the Australian to make sure of the verdict.
4 March 2005. Clinton Woods w rsc 5 Rico Hoye.
Venue: Magna Centre, Rotherham, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Fight Summary: In taking on the dangerous, heavy-handed American in a battle for the vacant title Woods (174) showed he was really up for it by first outboxing his rival and then outpunching him. While Hoye (174¼), who had spent ten years in prison for a gangland killing, tried to blast his way to victory the Sheffield man kept his defences together despite taking a number of low blows which saw his rival deducted two points. In the fifth Woods eventually upped the pace when correctly believing his time had come, and was driving Hoye before him without reply when the referee called it off with just one second of the round remaining.
26 February 2005. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Hugo Hernan Garay.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 110-118, 116-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Following on from their earlier hard-fought contest this one was even closer at the finish, with the American judge giving it to the tough Argentine challenger by ten rounds to two. Very aggressive, Garay (175) again started fast as he went for the body, and continuing to press throughout with his greater strength being dominant, it was not until the third that Erdei (173) began to get his boxing together. Although Erdei landed the better quality it was Garay, often slinging punches in, who came on strongly in the last three rounds when making what turned out to be a vain effort to swing the fight his way.
26 February 2005. Fabrice Tiozzo w rsc 6 Dariusz Michalczewski.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Fight Summary: Looking ring rusty, the former WBO champion lost the opening three rounds as Tiozzo (174¼) quickly got down to work with solid blows from both hands going in. His attacks on the body were also softening up Michalczewski (175). Although Michalczewski came back to take the fourth round he was soon running out of ideas before being dropped in round six and then stopped at 2.05 of the session when under terrific pressure from lefts and rights to the head.
On 27 July 2006, Silvio Branco won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Manny Siaca over 12 rounds at the Vigorelli Velodrome, Milan, Italy. Branco was installed as the champion on 21 October 2006 after Tiozzo, who had been due to defend against Hugo Hernan Garay, announced his retirement from the ring on 19 October 2006.
18 December 2004. Glen Johnson w pts 12 Antonio Tarver.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: The Ring. Referee: Pat Russell.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 112-116.
Fight Summary: Billed for The Ring Championship Belt, even though they said it could not get any better for the 35-year-old Johnson it did. Although the southpaw champion was always looking to unload, with there never being much between them it was Johnson (174¼) who took the verdict, his work-rate being a key factor. Afterwards, Tarver (175) blamed his lack of finishing power on an injury to his left hand early on, while Johnson said that it was his sound defence which enabled his inspired victory.
25 September 2004. Glen Johnson w co 9 Roy Jones.
Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Bill Clancy.
Fight Summary: Coming back from his bad defeat at the hands of Antonio Tarver, Jones (175) was a long way short of being the fastest man around. Badly hurt in the fifth, although Jones sucked it up it was clear at that stage that he could not hurt Johnson (174), who walked through the punches to get his own off. Coming into the ninth Johnson was ahead on all three judges’ cards, but there were no signs of what was to come. The contest came to a sudden conclusion after 48 seconds of the session when Jones was caught by a smashing right over the top, followed by a left hook, and was counted out. Badly shaken, Jones was treated at ringside before being taken to hospital suffering concussion.
Further to Johnson vacating the IBF title on 8 November in favour of a prestigious fight against Tarver, Clinton Woods and Rico Hoye were matched to find a new champion. Both men had won eliminating bouts - Woods beating Jason DeLisle (w rsc 12 at the Octagon Centre, Sheffield, England on 24 October) and Hoye winning over Richard Hall (w co 4 Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on 15 May) and Montell Griffin (w pts 12 at the Kewadin Casino, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan on 16 September).
11 September 2004. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Alejandro Lakatos.
Venue: Ice Hockey Stadium, Budapest, Hungary. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joachim Jacobsen.
Scorecards: 116-112, 118-109, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Although the champion had Lakatos (174¼) in some difficulty early on when scoring with solid counters and won the opening five rounds, he began to tire in the middle stages. Fighting sparingly Erdei (174) did enough to influence the judges with last-minute bursts in every session, but after Lakatos was finally docked a point for going low in the seventh it was an uphill battle for him.
15 May 2004. Antonio Tarver w rsc 2 Roy Jones.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: With both men up for their return, Jones (174) boxed well to take the opening session, but coming in to the second it was clear that the southpaw challenger was relishing the battle ahead. Staying in the middle of the ring Tarver (175) was happy for Jones to come to him, and despite the two-belt champion being caught by the left a couple of times he failed to spot the warning signs. Having landed a solid right to the head before following up with a left hook, Jones was dropped heavily by an overarm left counter to the jaw. After just about making it to his feet before the count reached ‘ten’ Jones stumbled over yet again. Although getting to his feet for the second time he was stopped on the 1.41 mark when the referee rightly stated that he was unable to defend himself.
Having collected The Ring Championship Belt on winning, Tarver forfeited the WBC title on 8 November in favour of taking on the dangerous Glen Johnson in a fight that would be recognised by The Ring as being for the world title.
To find a new champion the WBC decided that Tomasz Adamek, unbeaten in 28 contests, should meet Paul Briggs, who had won two eliminators, against Jesus Ruiz (w pts 12 at the Panthers World of Entertainment, Penrith, NSW, Australia on 7 March) and Stipe Drews (w pts 12 at the State Sports Centre, Homebush Bay, Sydney, Australia on 15 August).
8 May 2004. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Hugo Hernan Garay.
Venue: Westphalia Hall, Dortmund, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Rivera.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In what was a difficult defence Erdei (173¾) just about deserved the win over the tough Garay (174¾), who started fast when attacking the body. Several times Garay was warned by the referee to keep his punches up, but it failed to deter him as he looked to slow Erdei down. Although Erdei always came back with good jabs and accurate counters he was happy to see the fight out after Garay came on strongly to take the last two rounds in an aggressive fashion.
20 March 2004. Fabrice Tiozzo w pts 12 Silvio Branco.
Venue: Sports Palace, Lyon, France. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rudy Battle.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 113-113.
Fight Summary: Despite making a slow start the champion picked it up in the second round to win the next three sessions and, although being outboxed in the fifth and sixth as Tiozzo (175) hit back, he saved his best work for the eighth. Dropped by left-right combinations to the head, Tiozzo was then hit twice while in a kneeling position without the referee taking any action. He then had to endure a tough ninth round before taking the fight to Branco (173¾). It was in the 11th that Tiozzo, who had dropped down a division, made sure of victory when twice sending Branco slipping to the floor prior to flooring him with a right to the head.
After Roy Jones signed up to meet Antonio Tarver for the WBC title on 15 May the WBA announced that they had appointed Jones as their ‘super’ champion, which would have left Tiozzo as the ‘second tier’ champion. However, when that decision was later rescinded, possibly in the wake of the Graciano Rocchigiani legal stand against the WBC, Tiozzo remained the champion.
6 February 2004. Glen Johnson w pts 12 Clinton Woods.
Venue: Ponds Forge Leisure Centre, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Dave Parris.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Following on from their previous fight it was again closely contested, but this time around Johnson (174½) ensured that he won enough rounds on the judges’ scorecards to land the vacant title in his 35th year. Although Woods (174) had the longer reach and worked the jab well at times Johnson always replied quickly, and it was he who landed the heavier shots. Both men were all-in at the final bell, in what again had been a hard battle despite a lack of knockdowns and injuries.
17 January 2004. Zsolt Erdei w pts 12 Julio Cesar Gonzalez.
Venue: DM Arena, Karlsruhe, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: John Coyle.
Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Putting his title up for the first time Gonzalez (172½) was comprehensively outboxed by the former world amateur champion, who settled quickly and was soon blocking and countering accurately. Despite being outreached, with Erdei (172) getting his left jab working well he was already pulling away by the third round as Gonzalez rumbled forward. It was the same pattern from thereon in, and even though Erdei hurt Gonzalez badly in the final session he failed to follow up, being content to box his way to the bell.
8 November 2003. Roy Jones w pts 12 Antonio Tarver.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Coming into the fight as a four-weight world champion and having recently relinquished the WBA heavyweight title, Jones (175) dropped down a couple of divisions to take on Tarver (175), the WBC champion. Although it was clearly a difficult match-up for Jones, after a tough fight against the dangerous southpaw he successfully retained The Ring Championship Belt and won back his WBC title at the same time. The contest was a difficult one to score as Jones would send in single shots while Tarver threw punches in clusters. And when one looked at the way the judges saw the action it was clear that they were seeing it differently in most rounds. Jones, who finished the fight with damage to his left eye and tiring badly, probably won the last two sessions, but as far as Tarver was concerned he should have been the winner.
7 November 2003. Glen Johnson drew 12 Clinton Woods.
Venue: Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Scorecards: 116-112, 113-115, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In a match that was originally intended to be an eliminator it assumed full title status at the end of October 2003 when Antonio Tarver opted to return his belt ahead of a WBC title showdown with Roy Jones on 8 November. Although Johnson (173¾) appeared to win handily it was more to do with him clearly winning rounds on the judges’ cards with plenty to spare, whereas Woods (174) marginally edged or nicked his winning rounds. Contested under the ‘ten-point must’ system, because there were no knockdowns all winning rounds were scored 10-9. Johnson looked to be the better craftsman of the two, but Woods, who damaged his left hand, certainly warranted a rematch for his dogged persistence.
18 October 2003. Julio Cesar Gonzalez w pts 12 Dariusz Michalczewski.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 113-115.
Fight Summary: Unbeaten in 48 fights and with 23 successful defences behind him Michalczewski (174¼) came into the contest with Gonzalez (174¼) as a hot favourite to retain his title and move level with the legendary Rocky Marciano on 49 straight. Unfortunately for Michalczewski (174¼) the Mexican had not read the script, and after being cut over the left eye by a head butt in the second round and attacked with body shots and long jabs at every opportunity the fight gradually slipped away from him. Although Michalczewski came on strongly in the latter stages, having Gonzalez desperately hanging on in the final session, he was unable to find the punches needed to turn things around.
10 October 2003. Silvio Branco w rsc 11 Mehdi Sahnoune.
Venue: Sports Palace, Marseilles, France. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Perez.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence Sahnoune (175) made a reasonable start before the 37-year-old Branco (175) got his left jab going well to take control of the contest. Badly hurt in the fourth Sahnoune battled on before a badly swollen right eye made it even more difficult for him. Coming out for the 11th, way down on the scorecards, Sahnoune was dropped by a big right to the head as Branco went for the finish, and at 2.15 of the session the referee stopped what had become an unequal contest.
26 April 2003. Antonio Tarver w pts 12 Montell Griffin.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Scorecards: 120-106, 120-106, 120-106.
Fight Summary: On top from the start Tarver (175) won the vacant WBC and IBF titles by a wide margin in what was a messy affair against a man who was outreached by seven inches. Having slipped over earlier, the 5’7” Griffin (175) was dropped by a cracking southpaw left cross in the first round, and finding it too difficult to reach Tarver he was forced to take a battering. Way behind with cuts on both eyes Griffin was smashed to the floor in the 12th by a big left to the head before getting up and making it to the final bell.
When Tarver forfeited the IBF title on 31 October on going ahead with his WBC defence against Roy Jones, the Clinton Woods versus Glen Johnson IBF final eliminator was given full championship status.
29 March 2003. Dariusz Michalczewski w co 9 Derrick Harmon.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Fight Summary: Starting slowly as usual Michalczewski (174½) conceded the opening three sessions as his awkward challenger used his southpaw jab and low stance to confuse him. Persevering, Michalczewski gradually got his left jab working, and by the sixth round he was in control as Harmon (175) began to feel the pace. Holding more and more Harmon was still making life difficult for Michalczewski, but in the ninth a solid left to the body that was followed by several heavy shots saw him drop on one knee to be counted out on the 1.08 mark.
14 September 2002. Dariusz Michalczewski w rsc 10 Richard Hall.
Venue: Volkswagen Hall, Braunschweig, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rudy Battle.
Fight Summary: Hall (175), who had previously lost to the champion in dubious circumstances, made a very fast start. Cut over the left eye after a clash of heads in the opening round, and cut on the bridge of the nose in the second, Michalczewski (175) looked a sorry sight before getting his left jab to open up his southpaw opponent in the fourth. Despite his left eye swelling up, with Michalczewski gradually getting on top it was Hall who was now under pressure. However, when Michalczewski, who later admitted that he could not see out of his left eye at that point, went after Hall at the start of the tenth, following several hard unanswered punches the referee stepped in to rescue the latter at 1.12 of the session. As before, Hall had a lot to be unhappy about.
7 September 2002. Roy Jones w rsc 6 Clinton Woods.
Venue: Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Outboxed and outpunched in the opening two rounds Woods (174) went after Jones (174¾), who was defending four championship belts, only to receive more problems to deal with when badly hurt by a body shot on the bell. The fourth and fifth sessions saw Jones show-boating his skills before going to work with a vengeance in the sixth. Woods, now carrying a cut over his left eye, had very little left at that stage, and after being badly hurt by a big right to the head he was rescued by the referee on the 1.29 mark.
Jones forfeited the IBF title on 2 December, having decided to take on John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title on 1 March 2003.
Meanwhile, the WBA ‘second tier’ champion, Bruno Girard, was stopped by his fellow countryman, Mehdi Sahnoune, in the seventh at the Sports Palace, Marseilles, France on 8 March 2003, and following the announcement that Jones had relinquished the WBC and WBA 'super' titles on 15 April 2003, having won the WBA heavyweight crown on 1 March 2003, Sahnoune automatically took over full recognition as the WBA light heavyweight champion. Further to that, it was announced that Antonio Tarver and Montell Griffin would contest the vacant WBC and IBF titles.
20 April 2002. Dariusz Michalczewski w co 2 Joey DeGrandis.
Venue: Stoczniowiec Arena, Gdansk, Poland. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joachim Jacobsen.
Fight Summary: Although the challenger gave it a real go in the opening session, sending in overarm rights in a bid to catch Michalczewski (175) cold, once the latter got his left jab to work the end was never far away. Despite winning six fights in a row, DeGrandis (175) was soon on the back foot in the second after feeling the power of Michalczewski’s jab. It came as no surprise when he was set up by a right hook before being counted out at 1.58 of the session following a terrific left uppercut that smashed him to the floor.
2 February 2002. Roy Jones w co 7 Glen Kelly.
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Max Parker Jnr.
Fight Summary: Kelly (174½), who was never in with a chance at any stage of the contest, was eventually counted out at 1.55 of the seventh round after being dropped by a right to the head. Prior to that Jones (172) had hurt his challenger badly in the second, knocked him down with a cracking left hook to the head in the third, and almost had him over again in both the fourth and fifth sessions before dropping him with a left to the body in the sixth. Apart from his other three titles, Jones was also defending The Ring Championship Belt he had been awarded in November 2001
At the Marcel Cerdan Sports Palace, Levallois-Perret, France, on 23 May, Bruno Girard defended the WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Thomas Hansvoll over 12 rounds. He then defended it when outscoring Lou Del Valle over 12 rounds at the Cordoba Arena, Palavas les Flots, France on 13 July.
15 December 2001. Dariusz Michalczewski w rsc 11 Richard Hall.
Venue: Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Fight Summary: After starting slowly as usual, Michalczewski (174½) eventually shook Hall (173½) up in the fourth with a series of solid combinations. He also got his left jab to work effectively. At that stage of the fight the southpaw challenger was throwing more punches than Michalczewski, but once his right eye had begun to swell up in the seventh his days were numbered despite him not being subdued. Even though the referee was continually looking at Hall’s damage, putting him under extra pressure, he appeared to be getting stronger. However, the fight came to an end at 1.50 of the 11th after the referee decided that it was too dangerous to let Hall carry on, despite the doctor not having advised him to take that action, as well as the boxer begging for more time. That was the final straw for Hall who earlier had witnessed the referee allowing his opponent to walk away for a break following a long right hook to the kidney area, even though the official had not called a foul punch. It was all largely academic though, as at the time of the stoppage all three judges had Michalczewski ahead by scores of 98-93, 97-93, 97-93.
28 July 2001. Roy Jones w pts 12 Julio Cesar Gonzalez.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Scorecards: 119-106, 118-107, 119-106.
Fight Summary: Dropped in the opening round by a left hook counter Gonzalez (174¼) did his utmost to get into the fight when on his feet again, but with someone as fast as Jones (173) in front of him he had great difficulty in landing solidly. Although Gonzalez won the second round on the judges’ cards it was more to do with the champion’s lack of effort, and in the fifth another cracking left hook had him down again. For the remainder of the contest Gonzalez proved his toughness when shipping all manner of blows to head and body, but to his credit he took all that Jones could throw at him to stay on to the final bell.
As the WBA was now recognising Jones as their ‘super’ champion, Bruno Girard and Lou Del Valle met to decide who should be their ‘second tier’ kingpin. However, with the fight ending in a split 12-round draw at the Prado Seaside Park, Marseilles, France on 4 August the so-called title remained vacant. Later, on 22 December, at The Zenith, Orleans, France, Girard finally landed the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Robert Koon in the 11th round. Girard was a former undefeated WBA super middleweight champion.
5 May 2001. Dariusz Michalczewski w co 9 Alejandro Lakatos.
Venue: Volkswagen Hall, Braunschweig, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.
Fight Summary: Once again Michalczewski (175) failed to start well enough when conceding the opening three rounds to a challenger who was not considered to be in his class. The situation changed in the fourth when Michalczewski pulled himself together, and by the bell Lakatos (174½) had been slowed up by body shots and was carrying a swollen right eye. With Michalczewski’s left jab working well by the sixth he eventually dropped Lakatos with a combination of blows for the mandatory ‘eight’ in the ninth before a left hook to the jaw saw the latter counted out at 1.35 of the round.
24 February 2001. Roy Jones w rtd 10 Derrick Harmon.
Venue: Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.
Fight Summary: With the durable southpaw challenger failing to win a round, by the sixth the contest had become extremely one-sided after he had run out of ideas. Although Harmon (175) continued to go forward whenever he could it was little more than a sparring session for Jones (174), who was picking his punches effortlessly, and at the end of the tenth it was all over. Going back to his corner, when it was clear that Harmon had problems communicating, having sustained damage to his right eardrum, he was retired.
16 December 2000. Dariusz Michalczewski w rsc 7 Ka-Dy King.
Venue: Gruga Hall, Essen, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Having overcome an injured back and nose suffered in training, along with personal problems, with the champion not being at his best in this one King (175) made good in the opening three sessions. Showing a distinct lack of defence, Michalczewski (175), who took far too many punches needlessly, suffered a cut right eye in the second round following a head clash. In the fourth Michalczewski finally got going, with heavy rights and lefts finding the target, and in the seventh the tiring King was rescued by the referee on the 28-second mark. With King in real trouble after shipping heavy rights and lefts to the temple it was a timely stoppage.
9 September 2000. Roy Jones w rtd 10 Eric Harding.
Venue: The Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Johnny Femia.
Fight Summary: Clearly frustrated by his southpaw challenger, who came to the ring in safety-first mode, Jones (173½) failed to deliver in the early rounds, especially in the second and third as he looked to be countered. However, Jones’ tremendous speed took him to the front from thereon in and apart from the eighth when Harding (173¾) caught him with some solid shots to the head he remained on top. Although Jones won the tenth he was still not at his best against the awkward Harding, but it was still a surprise when the latter decided to retire during the interval, naming a torn muscle in his left arm as the reason for not continuing.
13 May 2000. Roy Jones w rsc 11 Richard Hall.
Venue: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Fight Summary: Never winning a round and shipping far more punches than a fighter should take the southpaw challenger fought an uphill battle from the opening bell as Jones (173½) went into overdrive at times. Down twice in the first from heavy combinations, Hall (174½) bravely stayed with it despite being hurt in virtually every round and unable to live with Jones’ speed. Still there in the 11th, Hall, his face a bloody mess, was finally rescued by the referee at 1.41 of the session after being bombarded and left helpless on the ropes.
15 April 2000. Dariusz Michalczewski w rtd 9 Graciano Rocchigiani.
Venue: Preussag Arena, Hannover, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rudy Battle.
Fight Summary: Although the southpaw challenger took the second round on all three judges’ cards that was the last one he would win; Michalczewski (175) setting the pace and staying on top despite having to absorb several heavy punches. Rocchigiani (175) never stopped trying, forcing Michalczewski to work, but he fell further and further behind before being dropped for the first time in his career following a left hook to the body in the ninth. With Rocchigiani in real trouble, continually protecting his rib cage, he was retired on his stool during the interval.
15 January 2000. Roy Jones w pts 12 David Telesco.
Venue: Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-106.
Fight Summary: While not winning a round on the cards, being on the receiving end throughout, the challenger made it to the final bell mainly due to the fact that Jones (175), who had hurt his left hand prior to the fight, was forced to use it sparingly. That did not stop Jones from using his right, however, and Telesco (175) was forced to show how tough he was when taking many heavy shots to the head without ever looking likely to go down. Telesco finished the fight with damage to both eyes, but for Jones it was little more than a sparring session.