The Week That Was (July 8-14, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on July 15, 2013
The Week That Was (July 8-14, 2013)
Avalos’ stock saw a spike Friday night as he set himself up for another meaningful fight.

Over the hotly contested 10 rounds of action Avalos averaged more than 100 punches a round, compared with just 50 for Francisco…

Texas Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

The Hitman decisions Francisco to capture WBO/NABO title

California native Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (21-2, 16 KOs) recorded the most significant victory of his career when he earned a 10-round unanimous decision over former WBA super flyweight champion Drian Francisco (24-2, 19 KOs). The judges scored the bout in Avalos’ favor 97-93 twice and 96-94 in this ESPN2 Friday Night Fight main event.

Prior to the loss, the Filipino-born Francisco was 4-0 with 3 knockouts in the bantamweight division, since losing his WBA flyweight title in May of 2011. The man nicknamed the Hitman because of his of his ability to stretch out opponents had previously made for some highlight reel television knockouts, albeit against weak opposition. When previously faced with stiff competition, he came up short losing to current IBF champion Jonathan Romero and former prospect Christopher Martin.

For a heavy-handed fighter Avalos’ workrate was pretty insane. Over the hotly contested 10 rounds of action he averaged more than 100 punches a round, compared with just 50 for Francisco. The former champ got off to a fast start as he had surprising success landing a lead uppercut that he seemed to throw from as far away as Reno. Francisco has a tricky but effective style that is somewhat reminiscent of a broke man’s version of Emmanuel “The Drunken Master” Burton. However, as the fight went on Francisco’s punches got wilder, whereas Avalos’ shots started to find a home. By the middle of the fight, Avalos was cutting off the ring better, as he trapped Francisco against the ropes and unloaded his vast offensive arsenal. Francisco was clearly tiring by the latter rounds as he lost the snap that his punches had earlier and he allowed the younger Avalos to control the action. 

Francisco is a pretty skilled and experienced guy who will prove to be a tough out for anyone he faces. Legitimate title fights are sanctioned for 12 rounds, but this bout was scheduled for 10 so that tells you just how important the WBO/NABO title is. Nonetheless, Avalos’ stock certainly saw a spike with the victory as he set himself up for another meaningful fight.

Glen Tapia impresses with grueling victory over Han

Glen Tapia (19-0, 11 KOs) and Abraham Han (19-1, 12 KOs) stole the show when they put on one of the bloodiest and best fights on FNF this year. The contest was called to a halt between the eighth and ninth rounds when Han’s trainer told veteran referee Jay Nady that his charge couldn’t take any more punishment. With the win, Passaic, New Jersey native Tapia remained undefeated and notched the best victory of his career.

“I always wanted to be in a war,” Tapia would say after he escaped the fight relatively unscathed, though his opponent Han wasn’t nearly as fortunate. As early as the second round the El Paso native’s face was as red as Superman’s boots. Tapia came out and set a blistering pace in the first round, as he appeared intent on recording his third career first round knockout. By the fourth round, both guys were exchanging hard leather and an accidental head clash opened a nasty cut on Han’s head. Tapia used his jab to set up crisp power punches but Han displayed a Holyfield-esque chin, which helped him withstand the onslaught. Han’s left hooks to Tapia’s head and body allowed him to get back into the fight. Though it was clear that Tapia was the more seasoned prospect, Han showed that he’s one tough son of a you know what. A left to Tapia’s midsection in the fifth round clearly hurt the Jersey kid and even temporarily slowed down his output. When the two fought on the inside it was a good give and take, but once there was some distance between the two it was obvious Tapia was the superior boxer. A huge right hand to the top of Han’s head sent him reeling into the second rope for the only knockdown of the fight. As Tapia continued to land his shots he further opened the cut on Han’s head causing more and blood to start gushing. What seemed like a thousand-punch combination by Tapia in the eighth round was a signal that the end was near. Following the round with Han bleeding profusely from his head as well as from a cut over his right ear, his corner requested a stoppage.

Kudos to Top Rank for matching these two fan friendly, undefeated prospects against each other. It was a tough setback for Han, who undeniably learned a lot in the loss and could emerge a better fighter because of it. Tapia, who is under the tutelage of Pat Lynch, manager of the late Hall of Famer Arturo Gatti, is a “warrior” as he called himself, but if he’s going to reach the top of the sport he’s going to have to limit the number of wars he’s in. Top Rank has confirmed that he will headline a September 28th card in Atlantic City.

Salles des etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Rodriguez crushes Grachev to win the Million Dollar Super 4 Tournament

The undefeated Dominican native Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs) unexpectedly blasted out the durable Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KOs) in the first round to win the biggest purse of his career, $600,000. Not a bad payday for less than three minutes of work for Rodriguez, who now fights out of Worchester, Mass.

After being announced by Michael Buffer, Rodriguez wasted no time in attacking the Russian-born Grachev. Grachev is best known for going twelve rounds with former world champion Lucian Bute and for handing Zsolt Erdei his first loss in 34 fights. The super middleweight contender Rodriguez apparently didn’t care about Grachev’s resume as he knocked down the man nicknamed “Drago’s Son” three times before the referee waved off the contest. Before stopping Grachev Rodriguez had only recorded one knockout in his previous six fights.

The loss was the most significant of Grachev’s career, as he wasn’t competitive for one second of this fight. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. Aside from the nice monetary reward, the victory cements Rodriguez’s place as one of the top 168-pound contenders in the world. We’ll see him in a title fight very soon.

Energie Verbund-Arena, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany

Stieglitz retains his WBO title in humdrum affair

Recently crowned WBO titleholder Robert Stieglitz (45-3, 25 KOs) retained his belt with a 10 round technical decision win over the unknown Yuzo Kiyota (23-3-1, 21 KOs).

One of the best moments of the fights came in the fifth round when Kiyota almost literally lifted Stieglitz off the ground and body slammed him to canvas, WWF style. Stieglitz was clearly irritated by the move as he violently attacked his opponent in an attempt to secure a knockout. He was unsuccessful so fans were forced to endure another five rounds of non-action. Kiyota had knocked out 75% of the men he faced but he never hurt or even stunned Stieglitz. Apparently he left his power in Japan where he recorded those 21 KOs.

This wasn’t a mandatory defense for the Russian native who fights out of Germany so he was free to fight who he wanted, but he almost certainly could’ve chosen someone better than Kiyota. Kiyota didn’t have one notable opponent on his record and just three fights prior to this he was in the ring with a fighter who was 1-2-1. Stieglitz avenged a loss to Arthur Abraham in his last fight to win the title and hopefully he’ll face a more worthy foe at middleweight in his next defense.

Craven Park Stadium, Hull, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Brook beats Jones convincingly this time

One of the most popular active fighters from the UK, Kell “The Special One” Brook (30-0, 20 KOs) stopped fringe contender Carson Jones (35-10, 25 KOs) in eight rounds to remain undefeated.

Brook and Jones fought almost exactly a year ago in a fight in which the Yorkshire native looked far from special. He was awarded a majority decision in a fight many observers believe Jones did more than enough to win. Brook claimed that he wasn’t 100 percent for that fight and vowed that this time around he would “get rid of Carson Jones…inside the distance.” In front of a packed house of adoring fans chanting his name, that’s exactly what he did.

Brook was scheduled to fight IBF titleholder Devon Alexander twice this year, however both fights were called off due to injuries to both parties. Brook remains the number one contender according to the IBF, but he said that he will once again fight at home, this time against a “big name,” before pursuing a title shot. I for one have a hard time believing he will be back in action in just two months, but we shall see.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Drian Francisco vs. Chris Avalos

Glen Tapia versus Abraham Han

2013-07-13 Edwin Rodriguez vs Denis Grachev

Robert Stieglitz vs Yuzo Kiyota

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  1. raxman 03:21pm, 07/16/2013

    so where is the GGG like hype for rodriguez? Golovkin doesn’t have anyone close to the quality of Grachev on his resume. where is the circle jerk for La Bomba?
    anyway thanks again for the updates Teron. your update is one of my favourite weekly columns.

  2. bk don 04:19am, 07/16/2013

    No problem bro! The summer months are obviously slow but there are some intriguing fights taking place.

  3. kid vegas 06:46pm, 07/15/2013

    Thanks, Teron. Been traveling so this is a nice catch-up for me.