Thursday, May 26, 2022

Boxing results, highlights, roundup: Tim Tszyu rallies for impressive win; Josh Warrington stops Kiko Martinez

With another busy Saturday for boxing in the books, it’s time to look back at all the action that went down in the ring. The day saw two world titles change hands, a rising prospect facing true adversity and a stunning upset.

The day began early for boxing fans, with Josh Warrington battling Kiko Martinez in England. Once the U.K. action was done, attention shifted to cards anchored by Tim Tszyu vs. Terrell Gausha in Minneapolis and Jeremiah Nakathila vs. Miguel Berchelt in Las Vegas. It was enough action to keep boxing fans occupied for nearly the entire day.

Let’s take a look at all the action from what turned out to be another wild day in the world of pugilism.

Josh Warrington blitzes Kiko Martinez to win featherweight belt

Coming into his first defense of the IBF featherweight title, Kiko Martinez knew he’d be facing not only Josh Warrington but a wildly pro-Warrington crowd for the DAZN-streamed card in Leeds, England. What he may not have expected, however, was Warrington coming out in the first round with a completely overwhelming attack. From the jump, Warrington was a whirlwind of punches along with liberal use of his shoulders and head. In the first round, a clash of heads opened a cut above Martinez’s eye. Martinez was clearly bothered and complained to the referee, who told him to keep fighting but moments later, Warrington dropped Martinez to the canvas with a right hand. Martinez never stopped trying to battle his way back into the fight, but Warrington was too determined and was able to get the stoppage in the seventh round.

With the win, Warrington is now a two-time champion, regaining the title he’d never lost in the ring, instead vacating the belt early last year. The fight also marks the end of a fun story of Martinez’s unlikely late-career return to world champion status. He likely feels a bit hard done by after suffering cuts over both eyes and on his forehead from the fight’s rough tactics, but with this being the second time he’s lost to Warrington, he’s likely not getting an immediate rematch.

Another world title changed hands on the undercard, with Ebanie Bridges outworking longtime champion Maria Cecilia Roman to win the IBF bantamweight championship. Bridges showed much of what has made her an intriguing rising star in the sport. Bridges has been marketed hard and is fully aware of her marketability being, in part, based on her looks, with things like weighing in for this fight while wearing revealing lingerie. But once the bell rings, Bridges is a legit fighter, throwing with speed and power while being willing to take a punch to land a punch. All those skills were on display against Roman as Bridges pressured to dominate early in the fight and then struggled against a surging Roman down the home stretch. Ultimately, Bridges took the fight by wide scorecards and won a world title in her second career attempt, just nine fights into her pro career.

Tim Tszyu survives a scare to win close decision

Over on Showtime, Tszyu’s first fight in the United States almost ended in disaster. Tszyu was caught clean by a Terrell Gausha right hand counter in the first round and found himself on the canvas. Tszyu was able to get off the deck but it was very quick proof of why so many thought Gausha was an extremely appropriate opponent for the young star.

Tszyu was able to get his offense back on track and eventually began to bully Gausha into the ropes to go to work with his trademark body punches. Tszyu never again found himself in the same level of trouble as the first round and completely took over the fight by the middle rounds. The final scorecards read 114-113, 115-112, and 116-111, which were all a bit closer than the fight actually seemed to be as there was little doubt Tszyu was firmly in control of nearly every round.

Jeremiah Nakathila dominates, stops Miguel Berchelt

The most shocking result of the weekend came in the last fight, with Jeremiah Nakathila completely dominating Miguel Berchelt in the main event on ESPN. Berchelt was coming off a brutal knockout loss to Oscar Valdez in his most recent outing and Nakathila clearly believed Berchelt’s chin was a major liability. With that in mind, Nakathila wasted little time in going right at the bigger-name fighter, blasting him repeatedly with hard power shots before scoring a knockdown in the third round.

Nakathila never took his foot off the gas and repeatedly had Berchelt hurt in a fight that was quickly entering into dangerous territory. Berchelt never gave up trying to get back into the fight, showing the spirit that has made him such an entertaining fighter in his career but the referee had to call off the fight after the sixth round to save him any further damage.

It was a nice redemption moment for Nakathila, whose previous shot at a big fight was a bout with Shakur Stevenson that saw him outlanded 114 to 28. He certainly did more than land three punches per round this outing. Sadly, it could be the end of the road for Berchelt, who has had a long and successful career, including a long run with the WBC super featherweight title, but he has now taken heaps of damage in two consecutive fights.

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