By Alexey Sukachev
Salle des etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco - It wasn't a walk in the park, what is presently expected as a must for Gennady Golovkin, but the Kazakh middleweight wrecking ball did his job perfectly, when he needed to, and stopped tough Ghanaian opponent Osumanu Adama (22-4, 16 KOs) to retain his WBA and IBO titles with a seventh round TKO.
WBA #12 Adama was picked as a "gap opponent" by K2 Promotions after other, more lucrative deals weren't struck for one reason or another. The African boxer came in with a solid record but mostly against subpar opposition. His best win was against a faded version of former IBF light middleweight champion Roman Karmazin, which earned him a shot at the reigning IBF middleweight titleholder Daniel Geale - a fight he has lost by a unanimous decision. Golovkin, on the other hand, has been red hot for almost six years, stopping all of his opponents during that span (including nine title defenses).
However, Adama started confidently, taking his time to adjust to a heavy-handed opponent. Golovkin was in control but there was nothing dangerous for the Ghanaian in the first until the closing seconds, when a hard right hand by the champion put Adama down. The African got up and continued fighting. He did it fairly well, despite losing the second round but allowing Golovkin to land too many body punches.
However, in the fourth, Adama began to stand his ground and to offer hard resistance to the Kazakhstani. Golovkin ate several telling right bombs but dished out greater damage. In the fifth, however, Adama suddenly turned aggressive and landed several big shots again, then suddenly connected with a terrific left hand to the body to force the Kazakh bomber to feel some pain. It wasn't until the final 30 seconds before Golovkin finally started throwing damaging combos to even things up.
In the sixth, Golovkin continued to avoid dangerous shots with upper body movement and added hard right hands and left haymakers. Finally, Adama was down again after another huge shot by the champion. The Ghanaian was down for a third time early into the seventh in the center of the ring when he was clipped by a hard left jab. It was all over but Adama was not away of the inevitable. Golovkin forced him to realize the end in a hard way, landing a solid counter left hook to wobble the challenger once again. Referee Luis Pabon immediately stepped in at 1:20 to wave the fight off.
The Triple G made the tenth defense of his WBA middleweight title and the seventh defense of his IBO belt. He is now 29-0, with 26 KOs.
We say "It's time to call it a day" for fighters who are ready to hang'em up. But this phrase can be equally addressed to referees, who don't work by the highest standards of pugilism, even if they followed them in their glorious past. A bad sample of refereeing by the lowest standards has been arguably offered tonight by Hall-of-Fame South African Stanley Christodoulou, who did a poor job (in eyes of this reporter) in calming nerves of once-defeated fighters Maxim Bursak of Ukraine and Jarrod Fletcher from the Down Under in their WBA International middleweight contest, which resulted in a unanimous decision for WBA #4 Fletcher. Official scores were 115-111, 115-111 and 114-112 - for the Australian. BoxingScene had it a draw 113-113, with two questionable point deductions in favor of Fletcher.
It's to be understood the fight was never easy for refereeing. Both contestants tried to land a couple of punches, then to hug and clinch one another. European champion Bursak (WBO #5, WBA #6, WBC #10 and IBF #11), 29, wasn't sharp and looked ordinary in his activities but Fletcher, 30 and 2008 Beijing Olympian, didn't look at his best either. He was better with his footwork but he moved mostly laterally or backwards, while the Ukrainian was an aggressor. The fight was very dirty. Provoking his foe was the Australian but Bursak easily followed the pre-planned path by hitting at the break (tightly) and at the back of the head of Fletcher. The first point deduction came after the single rabbit punch following another circle of Fletcher in the second round.
The fight was very heated in the first half, with nerves playing a major role in process. However, Bursak was on the receiving end of Christodolou's attention. Aside of a point deduction he was warned numerous time for holding and the dangerous use of his head (some of the warnings looked unnecessary). He was also strictly warned by the referee at the end of the fourth, when he landed a punch seconds after the bell , in what seemed to be borderline legit, as the Ukrainian started throwing that punch before the actual bell. However, Fletcher simulated some heavy damage even though the blow didn't look that big. He also unitized some dirty tricks himself, hitting at the back of the head, turning his back on Bursak, holding and working dangerously with his head, but Christodoulou failed to deduct points from his.
It's to be rightfully noted that the Australian was also getting edge in fistic exchanges, showing poise and desire - specifically in the midst of the fight. "The Tiger" Bursak, on the other hand, didn't listen to his coach and was extremely straightforward in his approach. Still Fletcher felt the power of his punches and was cut over his left eye and on the nose, but Bursak just didn't pick his punches together into valuable combinations to trouble Fletcher even more. He was also deducted a second questionable point in the eleventh for holding down Fletcher's head.
All in all, it wasn't the best day for the Ukrainian fighter, who goes down to 29-2-1, with 12 KOs. Fletcher, now the WBA International 160lb champion, is now 18-1, with 10 KOs, after a solid performance against one of the best European fighters.
Another big bubble has been blown away and another glorified trialhorse was exposed at Salle des Etoiles in Monaco, as South Africa-based Congolese stopped the cruiserweight version of Butterbean, named Ruben Angel Mino, in two freaky rounds.
WBA #2 and WBO #11 Makabu, 26, was coming off a banner year in 2013 with 4 big wins in the same number of fights, including three against previously undefeated fighters. Mino, 39, was also undefeated, picking up an extremely padded record of 20-0, with 20 KOs, against totally nondescript opposition. Amazingly, Makabu was overly cautious against his funny opponent ("El Hombre de Piedra") early on - possibly being confused with his "world-class" record - and the Argentinean lasted the first. In the second, the Cogolese started punching, and soon had Mino down with a big right hand. The Argentinean was up at six but was soon put down again (this time for good) with a counter left hand by Makabu, who is now 16-1, with 15 KOs. Official time of stoppage was 1:53.
In a major shocker, unheralded Filipino journeyman Rey Loreto, who has been wandering around .500 mark throughout his entire career, amazingly knocked out former IBF/IBO minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi out cold in three rounds to seize a vacant IBO light flyweight title.
Joyi, who lost his IBF regalia a year and a half ago to Mario Rodriguez with the seventh-round kayo after two and a half years of reign, stopped another Pinoy fighter Benezer Alolod in his latest outing. Alolod was also the last fighter to defeat Loreto (in a rematch), and that was in March 2013. It was one of the lowest points of Loreto's career, and it has been the only way up for the 23-year battler since.
Joyi, 31, started fast, using his sharp jab to control the distance and landed overhand right hands to show Loreto who was the boss. He was also solid in the second, adding hard left hands to the body, up until the end of the round, when suddenly, out of nowhere, Loreto landed a major right uppercut, followed with a left hook to stun Joyi. He landed several more unanswered punches, pinning Joyi to the ropes, before the bell saved the South African. Joyi survived the second but was in bad shape. Loreto immediately continued swinging and finally found a path for another left bomb, which had Joyi down and out at 0:46 of the third.
IBF #6, WBC #7 and WBA #10 South African goes down to 24-3, with 17 KOs, with his career being in question after his crushing loss and going just 2-3 in his recent fights. Loreto, a proud winner of the IBO belt, is now 18-13, with 10 KOs. Joyi is his second consecutive defeated former champion - the Filipino also won over Pornsawan Porpramook in his most recent fight.
Young welterweight gun Roman Belaev improved to 13-0, 10 KOs, and acquired his third international title with a convincing win over well-travelled Irish Dean Byrne (17-3-1, 6 KOs) over twelve rounds.