Ulysse Evens The Score With Claggett
By Albert Castillo
Photos: William Trillo
In the main event of Golden Boy Boxing at Fantasy
Springs Casino and Resort in Indio, California it was
Calgary vs. Montreal in a Canadian warrior match up that
was a rematch from 2017.
Calgary’s Steve Claggett (25-6-2 17 KO’s) came out
determined to take control of the fight, pressuring
Montreal’s Ives Ulysse (18-1, 9 KO’s) with quick
combinations. Although Claggett pressed the fight all
night Ulysse was able to counter beautifully, often
catching Claggett with his guard down.
The fight was extremely close and every time one fighter
would get the edge the other fighter would turn the
tables with a counter right hand or left hook. Both
fighters rained a ton of thudding punches on the other.
However, it was Ulysse that landed the heavier blows and
that is what the judges saw scoring it all in favor of
Ulysse 96-94, 97-93,97-93. The fans displayed their
pleasure by giving the fighters a standing ovation.
“I feel happy and relieved,” said Yves Ulysse Jr. “I was
looking for this relief after my first loss, and now I
have it. We still have to work hard for a world title
shot, but it is definitely in my future.”
“I thought I won the fight,” said Steve Claggett. “I
pushed the pace and hurt him twice. He also ran a few
rounds. Not to discredit him, but the aggressor and
effective puncher should win the rounds. I would love a
Oscar Negrete (18-2-1, 7 KO’s) versus Joshua Franco
(15-1-1, 7 KO’s) was a classic rematch between Negrete
the puncher, brawler against Franco, the boxer, and ring
technician. The battle for Negrete’s NABF Bantamweight
Title and the vacant International Bantamweight Title
was as close as it gets.
The battle was hard to score as each fighter with
completely different styles scored in their own ways.
Negrete landed the big overhand rights and sweeping
lefts while Franco was sharp and crisp with rhythmic
combinations that often found the mark.
One judge scored the bout 98-92 for Negrete. Another
judge had it 96-94 Franco. However, it was the third
judge that made it a split decision win for Franco when
he scored the bout 98-93. Franco walks away with both
belts and is the new NABF Bantamweight Champion and the
WBA International Bantamweight Champion.
“It was a close fight, it was a good fight. I came out
with the victory today,” Franco said after the fight. “I
know I won. The judges just didn’t see it the way I see
it. But I know I won the fight,” Negrete said. “I won
the fight clearer than last time.”
Top welterweight contender Alexis Rocha (13-0, 8 KO’s)
maintained his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight
Title with a unanimous decision over Japan born, Mexican
resident, Shoki Sakai (23-10-2, 13 KO’s).
In this technical match up Rocha patiently waited for
his spots to pick apart Sakai. Sakai also got in his
licks and was never rocked although he got tagged many
times. Sakai is one tough hombre as he has never been
knocked out. His chin stood the test in this
championship bout as Rocha connected on several hooks
and right hands.
In the tenth round Rocha scored the best punch of the
night with a big right hook that caught the jaw of
Sakai. Tough Sakai wasn't moved.
However, in the end judges correctly had it all for
Rocha, 99-91, 97-93, 97- 93. “ I could have done
better.” Said Alexis Rocha. ‘I need to go back to the
gym and work on my fundamentals. I’m coming off from a
long layoff, so I need to get back in the gym and stay
busy with more fights.”
Houston Texas’ Flyweight Marlen Esparza (6-0, 1 KO)
captured NABO Flyweight Title with a unanimous decision
over Ecuadorian lady fighter Jhosep Vizcaino (9-9, 3
KO’s). Esparza proved to be the aggressor and attacked
Vizcaino all night.
She worked the body and the head connecting with a
variety of shots. Vizcaino made a gallant effort but was
light hitting without much movement. Judges scored the
fight 80-72, 80-72, 80-72 all for Esparza.
Hometown favorite Anthony Reyes (6-0, 4KO’s) out of
Coachella, CA, faced his toughest opponent to date in
Roberta Pucheta (10-16-1, 6 KO’s) of Mexico City,
Mexico. Although judges had Reyes pitching a shutout on
all scorecards to earn a unanimous decision 40-36 the
fight was very close.
In the second round Pucheta clearly dropped Reyes to one
knee with a wild right hand. Referee Corona missed the
action and called it a slip. However, Reyes demonstrated
that he is a real warrior as he let it all hang out in
the last round connecting on many punches that jarred
This round put a punctuation mark on the fight for
Reyes. Reyes is hot prospect with much success ahead.
On the undercard welterweight Mike Reed (24-2 13 KO’s)
out of Washington, DC stopped his Mexican opponent,
Yardley Cruz (25-14, 15 KO’s) and earned a knockout when
the referee stopped the fight at 1:45 of the second
I have no idea what was going on with Cruz. He stood as
if he had a bullseye target on his face and refused to
fight back. Reed zeroed in on the bullseye with every
punch. Rights and lefts hammered the face of Cruz until
the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight.
In the opening bout of the evening hot prospect out of
Tamaulipas, Mexico, Raul Curiel 6-0 (4KO’s) was just
beginning to get into a rhythm when his opponent Andrew
Rodgers 4-7-1( 2 KO’s) slipped near the edge of the ring
and twisted his knee.
He was not able to continue and his corner stopped the
fight at the end of the second round giving Curiel his
6th win and 4th by knockout.