By Derek Bonnett: After a week away from the boxing world, resting along the rocky coast of Maine with my family, I returned home with renewed vigor for my coverage of the sport. After hours of YouTubing, DVRing, BoxRecing, and catching up with SecondsOut news, I was reminded of just how strong boxing stock has remained through the first half of 2013. Without a marquee player in action over the last two weeks, the next echelon of competitors took center, well, maybe slightly off-center, stage. Most importantly, these lesser paid and under glorified practitioners of the Sweet Science come out strong and came up big. Three world champions successfully defended their titles for the first time, three top ten contenders scored the biggest wins of their rising careers, two former world champions kept active with resounding KO victories, and two long-time prospects scored career altering victories. Boxing’s health will always be gauged by the merit of its highest profile performers, but the reality of things is that the sport has always been sustained by the guys receiving little to no credit for the work they do for a lot less recompense.
On Saturday, July 13, at Energie Verbund Arena, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany, Robert Stieglitz won a ten round technical decision over Yuzo Kiyota in a WBO super middleweight title bout. Kiyota was deducted one point in round five. The judges scored the bout 100-89 and 99-90 twice. Stieglitz defended his title for the first time in his new reign since recapturing the belt from Arthur Abraham. He raised his ledger to 45-3 (25). Kiyota fell to 23-4-1 (21).
Stieglitz remained ranked number four among SecondsOut’s top rated 168-pounders.
Also on this date, at Salles des etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Khabib Allakhverdiev stopped Souleymane M’baye in eleven rounds of a WBA light welterweight title bout. The end came at the 2:27 mark. Allakhverdiev made the first defense of his title and raised his dossier to 19-0 (9). M’Baye, a former world champion, fell to 40-5-1 (22).
Allakhverdiev remained SecondsOut’s number sixth ranked junior welterweight.
Also on the card, Edwin Rodriguez scored an impressive first round KO of Dennis Grachev in a light heavyweight bout. Rodriguez floored Grachev twice before the end came at the 2:50 mark. Rodriguez remained unbeaten at 24-0 (16). Grachev crashed to 13-2-1 (8).
Rodriguez climbed from tenth to seventh in SecondsOut’s super middleweight rankings. Grachev, previously ranked tenth at light heavyweight, exited the rankings at SecondsOut. Tony Bellew replaced him at tenth at 175 pounds.
Also on this date, at Solaire Hotel Resort & Casino, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Merlito Sabillo stopped Jorle Estrada in nine rounds of a WBO minimumweight title bout. Sabillo dropped Estrada with a body shot. The end came at the 1:09 mark. Sabillo made his first defense of the title and raised his record to 23-0 (12). Estrada fell to 17-7 (6).
Sabillo held onto his number ten ranking among SecondsOut’s top strawweights.
Also on this date, at Craven Park Stadium, Hull, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, Kell Brook stopped Carson Jones in eight rounds welterweight rematch. Brook dropped Jones in the second and eighth rounds. The end came at the 1:07 mark. Brook raised his numbers to 30-0 (20). Jones fell to 35-10-3 (25).
Brook was bumped from eighth to seventh among SecondsOut’s top welterweights.
Also on this date, at Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood, California, USA, Takahiro Ao stopped Harry Paredes in two rounds of a super featherweight bout. Ao dropped Paredes twice in round two for yet another KO of the Year contender. The end came at 2:51 of the round. Ao raised his record to 24-3-1 (11). Paredes fell to 16-12 (10).
Ao remained ranked number nine among SecondsOut’s top super featherweights, but his progress with be monitored as this bout was schedule at lightweight.
On Friday, July 19, at King Ramesuan Provincial Stadium, Lop Buri Thailand, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai won by second round KO over Joan Imperial at the 2:15 mark in a non-title bout. Srisaket fought for the first time since claiming the WBC super flyweight belt from Yota Sato. He raised his ledger to 20-3-1 (19). Imperial fell to 9-3-5 (4).
Srisaket remained ranked number three among SecondsOut’s top 115-pounders.
Also on the card, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai won by first round KO over Chandech Sor Ratidech in 1:57. Rungvisai won for the fifth time in 2013 and raised his record to 28-5-1 (11). Ratidech lost his professional debut.
Rungvisai remained SecondsOut’s number sixth ranked bantamweight. While his activity is admirable, the Thai-boxer’s quality of opposition has been woeful since losing to Yota Sato in 2012.
On Saturday, July 20, at Domo de la Colosio, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Pedro Guevara won a wide unanimous twelve round decision over Mario Rodriguez in a junior flyweight rematch. The judges scored the bout 120-108, 119-110, and 118-110. Guevara raised his dossier to 20-1-1 (13). Rodriguez fell to 15-8-4 (11).
Guevara climbed from seventh to sixth in SecondsOut’s junior flyweight rankings. Moises Fuentes was pushed from sixth to seventh. Rodriguez was dropped from the SecondsOut strawweight rankings where he was ranked second due to the rise in weight. His progress will be watched if he returns to 105.
Also on this date, ay Centro de Convenciones Siglo XXI, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Carlos Buitrago won a unanimous twelve round decision over Julian Yedras. The three judges scoring saw the bout 118-110, 118-111, and 116-113. Buitrago raised his record to 27-0 (16). Yedras fell to 21-1 (13).