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Stiverne stops Arreola in all-out war!

Ringside by Felipe Leon & Miguel Maravilla
Photos by “Big” Joe Miranda

Once heavyweight Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) landed that devastating right hand early in the sixth round, you could hear a pin drop inside the beautiful Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California.  Most of the 3,992 in attendance found it hard to believe their warrior Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (35-4, 31KOs) was struggling to get to his feet.  Another knockdown and then a barrage of punches forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the contest making the Haiti-born Stiverne the first crowned heavyweight world champion from the tiny Caribbean island as he captured the vacant WBC title. 

The historic bout was broadcast live in a special edition of ESPN “Friday Night Fights” and presented by Don King Productions and Goossen Tutor.

The championship bout was a rematch of their April 2013 encounter where the 35-year-old Stiverne shattered Arreola’s nose with a right hand early in the contest.  Arreola, 33, kept fighting and made it to the end but only to lose a majority decision.  In that fight Stiverne defended his WBC Silver heavyweight title.  When the champion Vitali Klitschko decided to leave the belt to pursue a political career in his native Ukraine, the full fledged title was left for grabs between the #1 ranked Stiverne and the #2 ranked Arreola.

After a first round of competitive study, Arreola began to take control in the second as he was able to walk down Stiverne into the ropes and unleash a series of hooks to the head and body.  The pro-Arreola crowd cheered at every landed punch by the Mexican-American warrior of which they were many in the first three rounds.  However Stiverne was able to fight well off the ropes, catching Arreola in between punches with uppercuts and left hooks as Arreola left his head up in the air.

Despite Arreola being the aggressor in the second round, the action only happened when Stiverne wanted to as he let himself be trapped against the ropes or in the corner which allowed Arreola go to work while Stiverne kept his guard up.  Arreola landed a telling right near the end of the second followed by a left hook that hurt Stiverne.

Arreola hurt Stiverne again in the last minute of the third with another hard right hand that sent Stiverne reeling with Arreola fast on his tracks.  Arreola closed the round well with another heavy attack with Stiverne against the ropes.

A quick attack from Arreola in the first half of the fourth where he landed a hard left hook to the head, the pace slowed in the fourth which benefitted Stiverne as he was able to score power punches from the outside that he set up with his jab coming from the hip.  Into the fifth Stiverne was still letting himself get trapped against the ropes but the difference was that he was not staying as long and allowing Arreola to do much work.  Instead, Stiverne would land a series of punches and then quick get off the ropes.

After a slow start to the sixth, Stiverne created enough room to land a quick sweeping right hand from the hip over a lazy jab from Arreola that landed destructively on the temple.  Arreola crumbled to the canvas like a house of cards hit by a hard gust of win.  Arreola took a knee during the eight count of the referee.  Arreola wobbly reached his feet and convinced referee Reiss that he could continue.  When action resumed, Arreola was met by a blood hungry Stiverne who battered him with left and right hooks to the head.  Arreola crashed against the ropes.  Although he reached his feet at the count of eight, he was visibly hurt.  Reiss gave him another chance but it was futile as Stiverne finished him off with a set of punches that prompted the ref to step in to protect the fearless Arreola. 

The official time was 2:02 of the sixth. 

It was one of the most action-packed heavyweight championship fights in recent years.

“The plan was to let him get comfortable and then crack him,” Stiverne said after the fight.  “I was patient and letting him get comfortable.  It was the same right hand that I dropped him with in the first fight.  I did my homework.”

Arreola also commented after the fight, “I am devastated.  I am here to win.  He has a tremendous right hand.  I felt I was winning the fight.  He just got me with the same right hand.  After that it was all she wrote.”

Arreola, who mentioned a hurt left hand in the fourth, was ahead on two of the cards with scores of 48-47 while the third had Stiverne up 48-47.---Felipe Leon

Imam Decisions Ugas

Super lightweight prospect Amir Iman of Davie, FL and 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas of Miami went the distance in a scheduled eight rounder.

A right hand by Imam caught Ugas early in round one however the Cuban returned the favor in the closing seconds connecting with his right hand that staggered his opponent. In round two, Imam came out sticking and moving while popping the jab as Ugas pressed the action. Continuing to box in round three, Imam flicked the jab as Ugas worked his way inside with power shots.  Once again in the closing seconds, Ugas got the better of Imam connecting with a right hand.  Round four saw Imam boxing away as Ugas continued to move forward aggressively.  During the closing seconds of the round, Imam connected with a flush right hand that staggered Ugas to the corner as he was saved by the bell.

In the fifth, Imam again connected with a thudding right hand as Ugas followed him around the ring.  Imam continue to fight with more poise in round six as Ugas began to throw wide punches. Imam frustrated Ugas as he circled the ring countering in round seven.   The Cuban maintained his aggressive technique although Imam seemed to be breaking him down late in the round.  Ugas pressed the action as he sensed the urgency during the eighth and final round however Imam boxed away countering en route to the decision.

All three judges scored in favor of Imam as he goes to 12-0 with 10 KOs.  Ugas slips to 15-3 with 7 KOs.---Miguel Maravilla

Ramos and Ghvamichava Battle to a Draw

A brawl broke out in the first walkout bout after the main event when Abel Ramos (9-0-2, 5 KOs) of Phoenix, AZ and Levan Ghvamichava (11-1-1, 8KOs) of Russia, in a six round junior welterweight bout. 

It was all action from the opening bell on as Ramos scored tight and quick combinations to the head and body while Ghvamichava connected with the heavier and more telling shots as he pressured his opponent around the ring.

A cut suffered early in the second round over the right eye of Ramos bothered him for the rest of the contest as the blood made his face a mask of red.  By the third the fight fell into a pattern where Ghavamichava pushed forward with hard punches to the head, mostly overhand rights, while Ramos stayed in the pocket long enough to score quick combinations to the torso and face of the Russian.

Ramos turned up the heat a bit in the fourth and landed a hard hook to the body that stopped Ghvamichava in his tracks for a split second.  They exchanged heavy leather in the fifth and sixth round with Ghvamichava scoring the harder punches. 

At the end, veteran judge Fritz Werner saw it for Ramos with a score of 59-55 while Pat Russell and Tony Crebs had it an even 57-57 for the majority draw.---Felipe Leon

Cojanu TKOs Ray!

Romanian heavyweight - now based in Van Nuys - Razvan Cojanu stopped Rodricka Ray of Memphis, TN in the fifth.  The taller Cojanu stalked Ray in round one while tagging him with solid power punches.  The Romanian continue to back Ray to the ropes while working on the inside.  Conjanu landing some impressive uppercuts as Ray clinched.  In round three, Ray had his moment as he backed Cojanu with heavy punches while working him on the inside. Both fighters continually clinched in round four although they exchanged punches during the tie-up. Cojanu dropped Ray with a right hand to the body in round five.  Cojanu continued his attack when action resumed but Ray had no answer to the unrelenting pounding of the Romanian warrior.  The ref stopped the fight at 2:51.

Cojanu advances to 10-1 with 4 KOs as Ray plummets to 5-7-1 with 2 KOs.---Miguel Maravilla

Molina pounds Williamson!

Heavyweights Eric Molina of Raymondville, Texas and veteran DaVarryl Williamson of Washington D.C. squared off in a scheduled ten round bout. The action was slow in the opening round as Molina and Williamson sized each other.  Later in the round Molina threw a looping right that nearly connected with his opponent's head. Round two saw Molina again throw the looping right hand and again missing Williamson.  Suddenly in round three, the looping right hand of Molina landed huge as Williamson was rocked.  Molina continued to throw and land thudding looping right hands in the fourth round.  Molina pressed the action as he backed Williamson to the ropes.  Then in round five, a heavy overhand right connected in round five that left Williamson defenseless.  The referee stopped the fight at 2:39 of the round.

Molina improves to 21-2 with 14 KOs with the TKO win as Williamson drops to 27-8 with 23 KOs.---Miguel Maravilla

Barrios Remains Undefeated

In a good action featherweight scrap, Mario Barrios (4-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated with a hard earned unanimous decision over Jaxel Marrero (1-3-1) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.  The much taller Barrios of Radine, Wisconsin, struggled to create distance to unfurl his long arm for straight punches as Marrero was able to keep pushing despite giving up at least six inches in height.

Flores Returns!

In the opening bout, cruiserweight B.J. Flores of Chandler, AZ returned after a 18-month layoff with a quick knockout of Adam Collins of Portsmouth, OH. A one-two combination dropped Collins as referee Ray Corona reached a ten count at 1:58 of the first round.

The luckless 38-year old Collins had previously been knocked out five times in the first round and two times in the second.

Flores goes to 29-1-1 with 18 KOs as Collins slumps to 12-10, 8 KOs.---Miguel Maravilla

"Sweet Hands" Stops Davidson in 47 seconds!

Caleb "Sweet Hands" Plant (1-0, 1 KO) of Ashland City, TN needed all of forty-seven seconds to make his pro debut a good one as he landed a hard straight right hand to the face of Travis Davidson (2-3, 2 KOs) to send him bouncing against the ropes. Davidson of Richmond, VA, didn't even attempt to beat the count and the referee didn't even bother to administer the count. The bout was scheduled for four rounds in the middleweight division.---Felipe Leon

Bonus photos

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