Aussie wrap-up for June
Anthony Cocks rounds up June's action from 'down under', including a gallant world title tilt from ‘Shotgun’ Shannon O’Connell...
Super bantamweight ‘Shotgun’ Shannon O’Connell 15-5-1 (7) fought a terrific scrap against IBF 122lbs champion Marcela Acuna 46-6-1 (19) in front of the Argentinian's home crowd in Buenos Aires on 16 June over ten two-minute rounds.
O’Connell fought well, using her height and reach to keep Acuna on the outside and at the end of her punches. The bulldozing Acuna kept marching forward all night, often throwing wide shots that missed the mark by a wide margin. In the end the judges favoured the forward momentum of Acuna, awarding her the victory by scores of 97-93 and 99-91.
The fight was closely contested with a lot of rounds difficult to score. The local TV commentary team on TcY Sports thought it was a lot closer, giving Acuna the win 96-94.
“I thought 94-96 would have been a fair score,” said the 34-year-old mother of two from Slacks Creek in Brisbane. “I didn’t feel that I won the fight knowing it was in her backyard but it was definitely closer than what they had. A lot of people came up to me including the commentators saying how bad it was.”
O’Connell’s team tried to convince Acuna to bring the fight to Australia where it would have been added to the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight world title defence against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane (which we will feature in depth in July's Aussie wrap-up). But Team Acuna was adamant that the fight take place on their home turf of Argentina.
“Man, that was a hard decision,” said O’Connell. “It would have been a dream come true to have that fight on the Pac-Horn card and I’m sure the outcome would have been different as well. But they refused to come to Australia and I believed I could beat her even in her country and I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to fight the best in the world.”
In the same hemisphere but half a world away Tanzanian-born Aussie Omari ‘Lion Boy’ Kimweri 16-4 (6) lasted the 12-round distance in the Thai humidity against WBC minimumweight champ Wanheng Menayothin 47-0 (17) at the open air Provincial Stadium in Rayong province on 3 June.
The 34-year-old from Melbourne was effective in the early going but, as the rounds progressed, Wanheng got into his rhythm and was able to outbox the game challenger with his effective pressure.
Kimweri was unlucky to lose a point for an accidental headclash in the opening round that caused a cut on Wanheng's left eyelid. Neither boxer was hurt at any stage of the fight. Kimweri lost by scores of 117-110 and 118-109 twice.
Moonsri, who also goes by the name Chayaphol Moonsri, has now made seven successful defences of the green belt.
On the undercard 19-year-old Jeff Fenech protégé Brock Jarvis took his record to 9-0 (8) dominating and stopping Thai Nungsiam Sor Visetkit 2-2 in the first round.
The super bantamweight wrecking machine is only 18 months into his professional career and has only been taken the distance once, over six rounds on debut. Since then he has never been past the second round. Blackbook this kid - he promises to be one to watch!
Former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne 25-0 (22) stepped into the ring for the first time in 15 months to take on St Louis, Missouri trialhorse Matthew ‘Gator’ Greer 16-21 (13) over a scheduled six rounds at Club Punchbowl in Sydney, NSW on a Neutral Corner Promotions card on 2 June.
The 38-year-old Browne made short work of Greer, knocking him out in the second round. It was Browne’s first fight back since testing positive for ostarine, a banned performance enhancing drug, late last year.
With Browne still in the bad books with the WBA, he is hoping to position himself as a challenger to his trans-Tasman rival and WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
“A fight with Joseph Parker for the WBO title would be a great start, title contention wise, and I think it’d be a great fight with the Anzac [rivalry], there would be a lot of interest,” said Browne.
On the same card Australian-based Irishman TJ ‘The Power’ Doheny 17-0 (13) needed just 2:15 to bash Indonesian Espinos Sabu 16-13-2 (9) into submission in a super bantamweight contest. Referee Garry Dean saved Sabu from further punishment after being dropped twice in the opening round.
Doheny is a quiet achiever, moving up the world rankings without much fuss. He is already ranked WBA number five and IBF number four at 122-pounds.
Former world-ranked heavyweight Solomon Haumono 24-4-2 (21) travelled to Gdansk, Poland to take on former two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek 51-5 (30) over 10 rounds on 24 June, losing a wide decision by scores of 99-91 twice and 100-90.
Haumono is a former rugby league player who competed for a number of NRL clubs in Australia and the London Broncos in the UK’s Super League. At age 24 he turned to boxing to follow in the footsteps of his father Maile Haumono, an Australian heavyweight champion in the mid-70s.
Melbourne middleweight Michael ‘Pretty Boy’ Zerafa 22-2 (13) finished his first fight for the year with a stunning left hook knockout of New Zealand-based Argentinian Tomas Reynoso 10 -2-1 (3) in the sixth round of their scheduled eight rounder at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Victoria on a Team Ellis promoted card on June 17.
The fight was never in danger of going the distance with Reynoso down twice before the knockout. When the fight ending punch came, Reynoso was out cold before he even hit the canvas. Referee Malcolm Bulner didn’t bother to administer a count.
The 25-year-old Zerafa has been spending time in the United States recently, getting in quality sparring at the world famous Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and the results showed against Reynoso.
Zerafa’s only two losses have been against world class level boxers Peter Quillin at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut in 2015 and Arif Magomedov at Luzhniki in Moscow, Russia in 2014.
WBA number nine super bantamweight Jason Moloney 13-0 (11) put on a classy display of power boxing to stop Emanuel Armendariz 12-3-2 (5) in the fifth round of their ten-round contest at the Melbourne Park function Centre in Melbourne, Victoria on 3 June.
The 21-year-old Mexican had his moments but as the rounds progressed Moloney’s accuracy and firepower began to chip away at Armendariz’s resolve.
“We had only seen a small amount of footage but we knew that he was an aggressive, walk-up style of fighter who was definitely coming over here to win and that’s exactly what we got,” said the 26-year-old Moloney. “He put up a hell of a fight and showed a ton of heart.”
Early in the fifth round Moloney stunned Armendariz with a left hook and the follow-up fusillade drove him back into the ropes where only the bottom strand was holding him up. Referee Tony Marretta waved the fight off at 0:53 of the round. The fight was Moloney’s fourth defence of his WBA Oceania title.
Twin brother Andrew ‘Lil Bull’ Moloney 13-0 (8) showed off his deadly accuracy against lanky Mexican Aramis Solis 16-5 (9) in the third defence of his WBA Oceania 118-pound title on the same card, winning by KO in round three.
The WBA number 11 bantamweight was methodical in his attack. The shorter Moloney controlled the distance and dictated the pace of the fight, initiating engagement and getting the better of the exchanges. Clearly the stronger fighter, he raked the 31-year-old visitor’s body with hard left rips and punished him with power shots to the head.
A left rip just before the bell to end the third round dropped Solis hard in his own corner and he was unable to beat the count.
“The left rip is my favourite punch and we have worked on it a lot during training camp,” Moloney said after the fight. “I can generate a lot of power in the shot and when it lands properly I’m pretty confident my opponent won’t be getting back up.”
It was the third time in his last four fights that Moloney has finished his opponent with a body shot.
Super middleweight Jayde ‘J-Mitch’ Mitchell 14-1 (8) from Rye on the Mornington Peninsula was forced to run a mini-marathon in pursuit of Hungarian survivor Istvan Zeller 37-16 (11).
In three previous trips to Australia, Zeller was stopped by Michael Zerafa (TKO5) and Zac Dunn (TKO3) and lost a wide decision to Bilal Akkawy (UD10). Against Mitchell he didn’t fare any better, getting dropped in the third and stopped by KO at 2:22 of the fifth.
In other recent action Kiwi Nikolas ‘The Greek’ Charalampous 14-1 (6) defeated Queenslander Aaron Russell 10-3 (4) by ten round unanimous decision in a cruiserweight clash at the Mansfield Tavern in Mansfield, Queensland on an Ace Boxing Promotions card on Saturday 10 June. Scores were 98-92 twice and 98-93.
On the same card middleweight Adrian Rodriguez 6-0-1 (5) had too much firepower for Salar King 5-7 (3), stopping him in the eighth and final round of their bout for the vacant Queensland state title. Referee Jeff Frazier saved King from further punishment after the second knockdown. Rodriguez was comfortably ahead 70-63 on all three cards when the fight was stopped.
Undefeated welterweight prospect Liam Paro 7-0 (4) scored his fourth successive stoppage with a fourth-round KO of veteran Alex AhTong 9-39-5 (5) in a scheduled six-round bout. Paro, a slick, quick-handed southpaw, has been working with Jeff Horn ahead of his highly publicised bout against Manny Pacquiao.
At the Sydney Entertainment Centre Darragh Foley 12-2 (8) made the third defence of his WBA Oceania 140-pound title with a fifth-round technical decision over Jeffrey Arienza 16-6-1 (10) of the Philippines on 23 June after an accidental headclash sent the fight to the scorecards. Scores were 40-36, 39-37 and 37-39.