BoxNation pundit Steve Lillis witnessed some incredible action on the Channel of Champions over the bank holiday weekend. Here he has his say on the fights; the lessons learnt; and what lies ahead for each of the athletes.
SHOHJAHON ERGASHEV W KO 4 ABDIEL RAMIREZ
Uzbek super-lightweight Ergashev, who has now stopped 15 of his 17 victims, blew away Ramirez in what was ultimately a mismatch despite the Mexican's then 24-3-1 record. Ergashev would have learnt little, but his handlers were being safe after his close call against Mykal Fox in his previous BoxNation outing.
VERDICT: Promoter Dmitry Salita boasts that Ergashev is one of boxing’s biggest hitters and a step up in class is needed next time out.
VLADMIR SHISHKIN W TKO 8 DEANDRE WARE
Photo: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME
Russian Shishkin got his sixth inside the distance win in nine pro fights on his US debut, beating a solid opponent who has been in form. Unbeaten Shishkin was always on the offensive and was never troubled before the American’s corner decided their man should be saved for another day.
VERDICT: Shishkin is already world ranked by the WBC and WBA and expect another step up next time with the road leading to a world super-middleweight title assault in 2020.
ARNOLD KHEGAI W UD 8 VLADIMIR TIKHONOV
Photo: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME
Super-bantamweight Khegai put on a dominant display to shut out Russian opponent Tikhonov. Khegai looks decent, but didn’t have to extend himself against an opponent whose now 17-2 record is flattering. Khegai deserves some sympathy as it can be hard going against an opponent who was content on lasting the eight rounds and little else.
VERDICT: Although unbeaten in 17 fights, Philadelphia based Ukrainian Khegai still has a lot of development before stepping up, but featuring on Shobox’s cards will boost his profile and sharpen his tools.
JOHN RIEL CASIMERO W KO 10 CESAR RAMIREZ
Photo: Alvin S. Go
Casimero easily retained his WBO interim bantamweight title dropping Mexican Ramirez four times. The slaughter finally ended in round ten booking Casimero a showdown with Zolani Tete. Although Casimero looked the smaller man he hit far too hard for a brave, but ultimately outgunned opponent in Ramirez.
VERDICT: Casimero v WBO champion Zolani Tete is boxing porn and has Fight of the Year potential.
CHARLY SUAREZ W TKO 1 VIRGIL PUTON
2016 Olympian Suarez surely expected a tougher test against Puton who is 17-3-2, but took him apart in the opening session. Suarez landed at will to the body and when he forced Puton on to the ropes, the Filipino fell through them and showed little desire in taking much more punishment.
VERDICT: Time is not on his side. Suarez is 31 and needs rounds, which Puton was expected to do. It’ll be an unlikely feat if he makes it to elite level.
CRIZTIAN PITT LAURENTE W KO 1 CHRISTIAN GABAYERON
World Amateur youth bronze medallist Laurente took just 32 seconds to chalk up his third straight KO win. The southpaw lightweight who is already looking a serious prospect landed a spiteful body shot and Gabayeron never looked like beating the count.
VERDICT: Laurente is just 19 and has time on his side so look for his unbeaten streak to continue for at least 18 months before he’s tested. He needs better opponents in Gabayeron moving forward.