-- A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Birmingham, Ala.
Deontay Wilder TKO8 Chris Arreola
Retains a heavyweight title
Records: Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs); Arreola (36-5-1, 31 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Wilder, one of boxing's most destructive punchers, did big damage to Arreola with his power but also to himself. Making his fourth title defense, and doing so in front of a hometown crowd of 11,974 at Legacy Arena, Wilder not only busted Arreola up, knocked him down in the fourth round and nearly stopped him in the final seconds of the round, but he hits so hard that he also broke his right hand for at least the third time.
In addition, Wilder, 30, of Tuscaloosa, suffered a probable tear to his right biceps, injuries that will each likely require surgery and keep him out of the ring for the rest of 2016, which is a real shame.
Despite the injuries, Wilder showed a big heart to fight after the fourth round only with his left arm of use. But he continued to take it to Arreola, 35, of Riverside, California, with hooks and jabs in a thoroughly one-sided pounding. Arreola, trailing badly on all three scorecards, had a cut over his right eye and his left eye had been swollen closed, and trainer Henry Ramirez did the right thing by throwing in the towel to let referee Jack Reiss know the fight was over.
Arreola, now 0-3 in heavyweight title fights with each loss by knockout, is all done at this point. He dropped to 2-3-1 with a no decision (because of a failed drug test) in his last six fights and is unlikely to realize his dream of becoming the first fighter of Mexican heritage to win a heavyweight world title. He was lucky to even get this chance, admitting beforehand that he didn't deserve the title shot. He took the bout on somewhat short notice only after Wilder's mandatory defense on May 21 in Moscow was canceled following Alexander Povetkin's positive drug test for the banned substance meldonium.
Even with the bad right hand for half of the fight, Wilder was still in total control. According to CompuBox punch statistics, he landed 152 of 346 punches (44 percent) while the slow Arreola connected with just 52 of 188 (28 percent).
Felix Diaz W10 Sammy Vasquez
Scores: 96-94, 95-94 (twice)
Records: Diaz (18-1, 8 KOs); Vasquez (21-1, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: At least the right guy won. When the entertaining fight was over, it seemed quite clear that Diaz had done more than enough to win. But when the scores were read it was 96-94 in favor of Diaz and two 95-95 scorecards, meaning a majority draw. That seemed like insanity and it was. It turned out the cards had been added incorrectly and after several anxious moments they were re-tabulated and read again, this time with Diaz getting the close unanimous decision. But even those scores were poor because Diaz, 30, a 2008 Dominican Olympic gold medalist from the Dominican Republic, had taken it to Vasquez, 30, of Monessen, Pennsylvania, throughout the fight. Simply, he dominated. Many at ringside gave Vasquez only one or two rounds.
The crazy part about Diaz, coming off a very questionable decision loss to former junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson in October, being forced to eke out the win was that had referee Keith Hughes not made a somewhat weak call to take a point from Vasquez when he had his mouthpiece knocked out in the final few seconds of the fight it would have been scored a draw. But Diaz dominated and even Vasquez, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a member of the U.S. National Guard, admitted that Diaz deserved to win.
Although Diaz was clearly the smaller man, he got inside on Vasquez with no problem and took it to the fellow southpaw round after round. Diaz controlled the pace and distance and basically did as he pleased. He landed lots of clean combinations and forced Vasquez to hold and back up regularly. He even had Vasquez wobbly and in trouble in the fifth round. He also cut Vasquez over the right eye in the 10th round (possibly on an accidental head butt). Despite the atrocious scoring, at least Diaz was not robbed and should go on to a bigger fight in a hot weight class. And even in a loss, Vasquez, as entertaining as anyone, fought his rear end off and should also not be dismissed off this defeat.
Both fighters also deserve credit for their willingness to fight on short notice. Vasquez was due to face former welterweight world titleholder Luis Collazo, but he pulled out after suffering a torn calf muscle in training two weeks before the fight, so Diaz, training for a lower-profile Premier Boxing Champions bout on July 12, was switched to the card to face Vasquez.
Erickson Lubin W8 Ivan Montero
Scores: 80-72 (three times)
Records: Lubin (16-0, 11 KOs); Montero (20-2, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Lubin, 20, of Orlando, Florida, is one of boxing's best prospects and this is the kind of fight that probably will help him in the long run of his career. Although he won easily and was never in any danger he seemed a tad frustrated because he could not knock out of Mexico's Montero, who took a lot of punches but simply was not intent on going the distance. Lubin, a southpaw, had the advantage in every conceivable category and put in a workmanlike effort but one thing very impressive about him is that he is such a formidable body puncher at such a young age. He tenderized Montero's body throughout the fight and even when referee Flynn Gerald warned him for straying low in the fourth round he remained committed to the body attack. He had Montero in a bit of trouble late in the seventh round but could not get him off his feet.
"I'm definitely not upset with my performance. The referee was letting him get away with a lot of clinching and head butting," Lubin said. "All in all I'm happy with my performance. I'm still undefeated. I'm going to keep stepping up in these fights and upgrading my competition. "Hell, I wanted to knock him out. But the ref wasn't really calling him for holding or even warning him for holding, so that he wouldn't hold as much and head butt as much. He was tough. I give it to him. He came to fight. Some guys come in there to survive. That was definitely the type of fighter he was. He was in there to survive. He didn't want to go home with a knockout loss."
Montero gave Lubin credit. "I was happy to go the distance and I agree with the decision," he said. "He definitely won, but I thought I put on a good fight. He didn't do that much damage to me. I was honored to get this fight and the opportunity to fight on national television. I hope the fans enjoyed my style of fighting. I look forward to getting back in the ring soon."
Sergio Frias KO2 Vic Darchinyan
Scores: 80-72 (three times)
Records: Frias (18-6-2, 8 KOs); Darchinyan (42-9-1, 31 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: For many years, Darchinyan, a former flyweight and junior bantamweight titlist from Armenia and based in Australia, was one of boxing's best fighters and a guy who always gave the fans a show. He scored knockouts, talked a big game, fought numerous top opponents and always came to fight hard. But now the 40-year-old southpaw is a sad shell of what he once was and it was never more on display than watching the quite ordinary Frias, 25, of Mexico, put him to sleep with one huge right hand to the chin.
As usual, Darchinyan stalked Frias. He moved forward the entire fight while Frias fought often with his back against the ropes looking to counter. In the second round, as Darchinyan came in, Frias unleashed a right hand that caught Darchinyan flush on the chin and knocked him senseless as referee Keith Hughes immediately stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 14 seconds. Darchinyan, knocked out in four of his last seven fights, is done and he should retire before he gets badly hurt.
Also, welterweight Jamal James (20-0, 9 KOs), 27, of Minneapolis, survived a first-round knockdown and won a split decision against Wale Omotoso (26-3, 21 KOs), 31, a Nigeria native fighting out of Oxnard, California. Scores were 97-92 and 96-94 for James and 96-93 for Omotoso.
Saturday at Los Reyes, Mexico
Miguel Berchelt KO4 Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo
Retains an interim junior lightweight title
Records: Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs); Piriyapinyo (61-3, 41 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Berchelt, 24, of Mexico, was supposed to challenge then-junior lightweight world titlist Roman "Rocky" Martinez in a mandatory fight earlier this year. But when Martinez withdrew claiming a hand injury, Berchelt was permitted to face George Jupp for the vacant interim belt. Berchelt stopped Jupp in the sixth round in March and made his first defense against Piriyapinyo, 31, of Thailand.
Berchelt was dominant against Piriyapinyo, who three losses each came in a world or interim title fight in the only three bouts he has ever had away from Thailand. In 2012, he lost a decision to then-featherweight titlist Chris John in Singapore and in 2014 he lost a decision to then-featherweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko in Macau, China.
After the loss to Lomachenko, Piriyapinyo won nine fights in a row, a streak Berchelt put a big stop to. Late in the high-action fourth round, Berchelt landed a left hook that dropped Piriyapinyo to his knees. He beat the count but was down again on his knees moments later when Berchelt swarmed him and unloaded. Piriyapinyo wore a look of resignation on his face as referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. counted him out at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Saturday at Cardiff, Wales
Guillermo Rigondeaux TKO2 James "Jazza" Dickens
Retains a junior featherweight title
Records: Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs); Dickens (22-2, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Rigondeaux, 35, was scheduled to fight Dickens, 25, the reigning British junior featherweight champion, in a nontitle bout on March 12 in Dickens' hometown of Liverpool, England, but the fight was canceled when Rigondeaux did not secure a visa in time. Since the cancellation, Rigondeaux had his world title returned to him (he had been a so-called titleholder "in recess") after a long layoff and was making his first defense.
Rigondeaux, essentially banned from the American networks because his fights are usually such dreadful snoozefests, had to once again go overseas to get a fight, this one against Dickens in a blatant mismatch. And as it turned out, it was just that. Rigondeaux, the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist based in Miami after defecting, outboxed the overmatched Dickens in the first round. The second round was more of the same -- a lot of feinting, jabbing, missing and staring except for one clean left hand that Rigondeaux landed about 35 seconds into the round. Dickens, whose seven-fight winning streak ended, finished the round but then the fight was stopped because that punch broke his jaw.
Terry Flanagan W12 Mzonke Fana
Retains a lightweight title
Scores: 120-106 (three times)
Records: Flanagan (31-0, 12 KOs); Fana (38-10, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In a mismatch from the moment the fight was conceived, Flanagan, a 27-year-old southpaw from England, easily routed Fana to retain his 130-pound belt for the third time. South Africa's Fana, 42, is a former two-time junior lightweight titlist but years past his best days are way behind him and it showed as Flanagan won with ease in a bout moved to this card at the last minute. It was originally scheduled to take place July 9 but switched to this show when the heavyweight title rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko was postponed after Fury suffered an ankle injury.
It was easy work as Flanagan dropped Fana to his knees with a left hand to the temple 15 seconds into the second round and cruised against an awkward Fana. If there was any doubt of Flanagan's expected dominance, he put the icing on the victory by scoring another knockdown on a right hand midway through the final round. It would be nice to see Flanagan matched with a serious opponent. A unification fight with the winner of the fight between countryman Anthony Crolla and former titlist Jorge Linares, who fight Sept. 24, would fit the bill.
Saturday at Berlin
Giovanni De Carolis D12 Tyron Zeuge
Retains a super middleweight title
Scores: 114-114 (twice), 115-114 Zeuge
Records: De Carolis (24-6-1, 12 KOs); Zeuge (18-0-1, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: De Carolis, 31, of Italy, won a secondary 168-pound belt on Jan. 9 in Germany when he knocked out Vincent Feigenbutz in the 11th round in a rematch of a close decision loss to him in October. He made his first defense against Zeugue and kept the belt via close draw. The result ruined Zeuge's bid to make history as the youngest German fighter to win a world title. Had he won, he would have broken the record by eight days. Graciano Rocchigiani was 24 years and 73 days when he knocked out Vincent Boulware in the eighth round to also win a super middleweight world title in 1988.
De Carlolis and Zeuge, who is trained by reigning light heavyweight titlist Juergen Braehmer, put on a spirited, fan-friendly fight, but one De Carolis did just enough to pull out. Zeuge was aggressive as he usually is and De Carolis, although more defensive-minded, showed spurts of offense and targeted the body.
Zeuge's chances of winning were diminished in the 10th round when he injured his left shoulder and left him a one-armed fighter in the late rounds. He showed grit to make it to the final bell but De Carolis, knowing he did not have much to worry about in the final two rounds, poured on the offense and closed strong. Although a rematch is possible, De Carolis could wind up making a defense against former two-time super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham, Zeuge's stablemate who won on the undercard.
Arthur Abraham TKO8 Tim-Robin Lihaug
Records: Abraham (45-5, 30 KOs); Lihaug (15-2, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: On April 9, Abraham, 36, of Germany, lost a shutout decision and his 168-pound world title to Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez in Las Vegas. It was perhaps the single worst performance of Abraham's long and distinguished career, during which he won a middleweight world title and twice won super middleweight belts. The loss seemed to spell the end for him, but Abraham still believes he has something left and wants another shot at a title, so he made his return against Norway's 23-year-old Lihaug, who considers Abraham his boxing idol.
His idol or not, Abraham showed little mercy in a dominant win. He rocked Lihaug throughout the fight before sending him to the canvas in the eighth round with two right hands and a left. Lihaug rose quickly but he was in rough shape. Abraham was all over him in a follow-up attack, forcing referee Mikael Hook to wave off the fight at 1 minute, 9 seconds, just as Lihaug's corner was throwing in the towel. It was an easy win for Abraham, but it remains to be seen if he is still good enough to compete at the top of the division.
Saturday at Lancaster, Calif.
Casey Ramos TKO5 Hardy Paredes
Records: Ramos (23-0, 6 KOs); Paredes (18-14, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In Top Rank's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" main event on UniMas, Ramos, a 26-year-old prospect from Austin, Texas, suffered a second-round knockdown when Paredes, 33, of Chile, caught him around the neck with a right hand. But Ramos rallied by dropping Paredes in a weird sequence in the third round. After what appeared to be an accidental head clash, Paredes turned away and walked toward the ropes as he held his jaw, but Ramos chased after him and drilled him with a right hand to knock him down. In the fifth round, Ramos was pounding Paredes when he appeared to wave to referee Tom Taylor that he was done and Taylor jumped in and stopped the fight at 58 seconds.
Friday at Tunica, Miss.
Sergey Lipinets TKO7 Walter Castillo
Records: Lipinets (10-0, 8 KOs); Castillo (26-4-1, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Lipinets, a 27-year-old former kickboxer from Kazakhstan who fights out of Valley Village, California, got off to a slow start but finished strong in a good performance in the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card on ESPN. Lipinets fought through a deep cut over his left eye to stop Castillo, 27, of Nicaragua.
Lipinets, trained by Buddy McGirt, said before the fight that he wanted to score a spectacular knockout so it would make the top 10 plays on SportsCenter. But while he didn't get that done, he still fought with crowd-pleasing aggression. In the third round, a left hand bloodied Castillo's mouth. Castillo, however, had his moments, especially when he opened up on offense to drive Lipinets back toward the ropes in the fourth round. A Castillo punch opened a gash over Lipinets left eye. Lipinets, despite blood dropping down his face, continued to break Castillo down. In the seventh round, he got him on the ropes and began to tee off on Castillo, forcing referee Bill Clancy to step in at 2 minutes, 45 seconds. At the time of the stoppage, Lipinets led on one scorecard but was even on the other two.
Lipinets landed 123 of 340 punches (37 percent) and Castillo connected on 79 of 351 (23 percent), according to CompuBox punch statistics.
"We knew Walter Castillo was a very tough guy coming in," Lipinets said. "No one ever stopped him. No one ever even hurt him in the ring before and he was in with some solid guys. I knew he could take a punch and punch back. To be honest though, I was surprised by how good of a fighter he was. The cut bugged me for a while and I was closing my eye a bit, but I'm a warrior and I know how to take care of myself when I'm trouble.
"I have only 10 fights and I just beat a guy that good. I think I did OK. This fight just took me to a completely different level in boxing. I guarantee that other guys with 20, 25 fights won't be able to stay in the ring with me.
Castillo said he did not agree with the stoppage. "They stopped it too early. I was still fighting," he said. "I was fine. I was not hurt. I don't know why they stopped it. I was waiting him out and about to open up. I am a veteran. If I was hurt, I would have taken a knee. How do you stop a fight without a knockdown? I had him fighting scared with the cut. He was fighting desperate and that was his last try. I'm very upset. I was able to fight. It was a good fight and that ruined it. I don't mind losing but not like that. Let me go down swinging."
Tugstsogt Nyambayar TKO1 Rafael Vazquez
Records: Nyambayar (6-0, 6 KOs); Vazquez (16-3, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Nyambayar, a 24-year-old 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Mongolia and now living in Los Angeles, plowed through Vazquez, 38, a Puerto Rico native fighting out of Brooklyn, New York. Nyambayar, who is trained by Joe Goossen, scored three knockdowns. He dropped Vazquez 30 seconds into the fight with a right hand and with another right hand 30 seconds later. Nyambayar ended matters when he connected with a left to the body and a series of punishing rights to the head that drove him to the canvas again as referee Keith Hughes called it off at 1 minute, 24 seconds.
"I didn't know I was going to be able to put that kind of a performance," Nyambayar said. "I have 100 percent of my energy left. I don't know exactly how much power I actually have. I'm very happy with the result, but I expected to win. I came in very confident. I thought it would go three or four rounds, but the opportunity to end it earlier appeared and I took it. Whoever comes my way, I'm ready. I'm on the road to be world champion and no one can stop me."