The Ringside Seats

A Monthly Look at the World of Combat Sports

Boxing Update, January

On January 20, Errol Spence Jr. defended his IBF Welterweight Title against Lamont Peterson in dominating fashion. Spence landed more strikes than Peterson even attempted on his way to a TKO victory in between the 7th and 8th rounds, when Peterson’s corner threw in the towel. To Peterson’s credit, he refused to quit. After being dropped in the 5th, Peterson seemed to realize the desperate condition he was in and went for broke, making a fight out of it even if the eventual result was never really in doubt. On the same card, Robert Easter Jr. defended his IBF Lightweight Title with a split decision victory over Javier Fortuna. Despite the closeness on the score cards, the fight was fairly lackluster.

Although the Cruiserweight division is lacking in starpower compared to other divisions in the sport, the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight unification tournament delivered two great bouts in the semifinals, setting up what should be a great final for the unification of all four major world titles in the division. In the first semifinal on January 27, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk defeated Latvia’s Mairis Briedis in a close, hard-hitting fight. It’s well worth checking out on Youtube. The second semifinal on February 3 may have been even better, with Russia’s Murat Gassiev stopping Cuba’s Yunier Dorticos in the 12th and final round in another great slugfest. Usyk and Gassiev are now set to square off in the final on May 11.

Japan’s Daigo Higa continued both his undefeated streak and consecutive KO streak, extending both to 15 straight with an impressively quick knockout of Mexico’s Moises Fuentes in the first round of their WBC Flyweight Title bout on February 4 in Japan.

Upcoming Boxing Matches

***Card and dates subject to change. Click on the matchup for preview. Television access listed where available. International match ups not shown on American television can often be found on YouTube soon after the completion of the fight.***

Bolded match ups are considered “must see.”

February 17
Super Middleweight (168 lb)
: (1) Chris Eubank Jr. (United Kingdom) vs. (3) George Groves (United Kingdom)

February 24
Super Middleweight (168 lb)
: (4) Callum Smith (United Kingdom) vs. (9) Juergen Braehmer (Germany)

February 24, HBO
Flyweight (112 lb)
: (1) Donnie Nietes (Philippines) vs. (3) Juan Carlos Reveco (Argentina)

February 24, HBO
Super Flyweight (115 lb)
: (1) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Thailand) vs. (5) Juan Francisco Estrada (Mexico)

February 28
Super Bantamweight (122 lb)
: (7) Daniel Roman (United States) vs. (10) Ryo Matsumoto (Japan)

March 1
Bantamweight (118 lb)
: (1) Luis Nery (Mexico) vs. (2) Shinsuke Yamanaka (Japan)

March 3, Showtime
Heavyweight (200+ lb)
: (3) Deontay Wilder (United States) vs. (4) Luis Ortiz (Cuba)

March 10, ESPN
Featherweight (126 lb)
: (6) Scott Quigg (United Kingdom) vs. (7) Oscar Valdez (Mexico)

March 31
Heavyweight (200+ lb)
: (1) Anthony Joshua (United Kingdom) vs. (7) Joseph Parker (New Zealand)

April 7, Showtime
Super Welterweight (154 lb)
: (1) Erislandy Lara (United States) vs. (3) Jarrett Hurd (United States)

April 14
Middleweight (160 lb)
: (5) Billy Joe Saunders (United Kingdom) vs. (9) Martin Murray (United Kingdom)

April 14, ESPN
Welterweight (147 lb)
: (1) [Super Lightweight] Terrence Crawford (United States) vs. (2) Jeff Horn (Australia)

April 21
Featherweight (126 lb)
: (1) Carl Frampton (United Kingdom) vs. (10) Nonito Donaire (Philippines)

May 5, HBO PPV
Middleweight (160 lb)
: (1) Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (Mexico) vs. (2) Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan)

May 11
Cruiserweight (200 lb)
: (1) Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine) vs. (3) Murat Gassiev (Russia)

May 19
Featherweight (126 lb)
: (5) Lee Selby (United Kingdom) vs. (8) Josh Warrington (United Kingdom)

May 19, Showtime
Light Heavyweight (175 lb)
: (1) Adonis Stevenson (Canada) vs. (3) Badou Jack (Sweden)

June 9, Showtime
Featherweight (126 lb)
: (1) Leo Santa Cruz (Mexico) vs. (4) Abner Mares (Mexico)


MMA Update, January

Stipe Miocic may have solidified his spot as the greatest MMA heavyweight of all time, grinding his way to a decision victory over Frances Ngannou at UFC 220 on January 20. Ngannou’s shots contained his typical amount of frightening power but he could never quite connect with one good enough to hurt Miocic. By the start of the third, conditioning came into play and Miocic began taking an exhausted Ngannou to the ground, repeatedly riding him and forcing him to exert even more energy to get back to his feet. Once Ngannou did make it back to his feet he appeared to be moving in quicksand, with Miocic easily dodging Ngannou’s strikes. Ngannou may still be one the top heavyweights in the world, but his stamina is going to need major work before making another run at Miocic.

On the same card, Daniel Cormier defeated Volkan Oezdemir by second-round TKO. Cormier outclassed Oezdemir, who isn’t quite ready to challenge someone on Cormier’s level. Cormier’s victory now sets up a huge heavyweight title bout with Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7. Cormier, who has previously fought at heavyweight, will be making a run at his second UFC strap.

Bellator held their own show that night, headlined by Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s heavyweight grand prix quarter final bout. To the surprise of no one, that bout failed to deliver as Sonnen won an insomnia curing bout over a seemingly unmotivated Rampage. In what should have been the headliner, Rory MacDonald captured the Bellator Welterweight Title from Douglas Lima in a fight more notable for the huge hematoma which developed on MacDonald’s shin than anything else during the decidedly average bout.

Upcoming MMA Matchups

***Card and dates subject to change. Click on the matchup for preview.***

February 10, UFC 221 (PPV)
Middleweight (185 lb)
: (3) Luke Rockhold (United States) vs. (4) Yoel Romero (Cuba)

February 24, UFC on FOX 28 (FOX)
Women’s Strawweight (115 lb)
: (3) Jessica Andrade (Brazil) vs. (6) Tecia Torres (United States)
Women’s Bantamweight (135 lb): (8) Sara McMann (United States) vs. (10) Marion Reneau (United States)

April 7, UFC 223 (PPV)
Lightweight (155 lb)
: (2) Tony Ferguson (United States) vs. (3) Khabib Nurmagomedov (Russia)
Women’s Strawweight (115 lb): (1) Rose Namajunas (United States) vs. (2) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Poland)
Women’s Strawweight (115 lb): (5) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (Poland) vs. (10) Felice Herrig (United States)
Flyweight (125 lb): (5) Ray Borg (United States) vs. (9) Brandon Moreno (Mexico)

April 14, UFC on FOX 29 (FOX)
Lightweight (155 lb)
: (7) Justin Gaethje (United States) vs. (8) Dustin Poirier (United States)
Flyweight (125 lb): (7) Wilson Reis (Brazil) vs. (10) John Moraga (United States)

July 7, UFC 226 (PPV)
Heavyweight (205+ lb)
: (1) Stipe Miocic (United States) vs. (1) [Light Heavyweight] Daniel Cormier (United States)


Ongoing Fight of the Year Rankings (MMA/Kickboxing)

***Rankings based on excitement, competitiveness, technical skill, and activity, but not necessarily in that order. “Short” bouts or quick finishes may also rank but will place lower, depending on how impressive the finish is. I won’t rank anything that I don’t believe to be worth watching, so average or lackluster fights will not place. This is not meant to be comprehensive; I will only be ranking those fights which I have seen. The rankings may also change throughout the year based on reevaluations or second viewings.***

Bolded fights are “must watch.” Italicized fights are considered “highly recommended.”

1 Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho (UFC on FOX 27)
2 Shane Burgos vs. Calvin Kattar (UFC 220)
3 Michael Johnson vs. Darren Elkins (UFC Fight Night 124)
4 Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith (UFC Fight Night 125)

5 Doo Ho Choi vs. Jeremy Stephens (UFC Fight Night 124)
6 Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir (UFC 220)
7 Gian Villante vs. Francimar Barroso (UFC 220)
8 Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja (UFC 220)
9 Michael Prazeres vs. Desmond Green (UFC Fight Night 125)
10 Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font (UFC 220)
11 Derek Brunson vs. Ronaldo Souza (UFC on FOX 27)
12 Gregor Gillespie vs. Jordan Rinaldi (UFC on FOX 27)

Written by Mark

A gentleman and a scholar.