Pound4Pound, Boxing News


  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.

Calgarys Steve Claggett (25-6-2 17 KOs) came out determined to take control of the fight, pressuring Montreals Ives Ulysse (18-1, 9 KOs) 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 rematch.

Oscar Negrete (18-2-1, 7 KOs) versus Joshua Franco (15-1-1, 7 KOs) was a classic rematch between Negrete the puncher, brawler against Franco, the boxer, and ring technician. The battle for Negretes 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 didnt 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 KOs) maintained his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title with a unanimous decision over Japan born, Mexican resident, Shoki Sakai (23-10-2, 13 KOs).

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. Im 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 KOs). 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, 4KOs) out of Coachella, CA, faced his toughest opponent to date in Roberta Pucheta (10-16-1, 6 KOs) 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 Pucheta.

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 KOs) out of Washington, DC stopped his Mexican opponent, Yardley Cruz (25-14, 15 KOs) and earned a knockout when the referee stopped the fight at 1:45 of the second round.

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 (4KOs) was just beginning to get into a rhythm when his opponent Andrew Rodgers 4-7-1( 2 KOs) 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.


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