October was a strange month for boxing. In a year packed with highly-anticipated clashes between elite boxers, the bulk of the attention in the sport this past month was dominated by “crossover boxing.”
From the Misfits Boxing card, capped with Logan Paul vs. Dillon Danis and KSI vs. Tommy Fury in disappointing bouts, to former UFC champion Francis Ngannou nearly upsetting WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, the public’s attention was focused on nontraditional clashes.
Still, there were plenty of important and interesting bouts in the boxing sphere that may have flown under your radar. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at what you may have missed in October.
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Pablo Cesar Cano def. Zachary Ochoa (Oct. 4)
ProBox has produced some fun fights in 2023. This event continued that trend with a headliner between veteran Pablo Cesar Cano and Zachary Ochoa. Cano is a longtime veteran with fights against legends such as Erik Morales, Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley Sr. on his resume. Still fighting in 2023, Cano faced Ochoa in a bout that featured some major swings in momentum.
With Cano sporting a cut on his eyebrow, Ochoa seemed to have grabbed the momentum of the fight only to be caught by a blistering shot from Cano that dropped him to the canvas midway through Round 6. While Ochoa beat the court, the referee was forced to jump in for the stoppage.
You can watch the full show on YouTube and the featured undercard bout between Jose Nunez and Omar Salcido is definitely worth a watch as well.
Leigh Wood def. Josh Warrington (Oct. 7)
Rallying for dramatic knockout wins in fights you’re losing handily is not a path to longterm success, but it’s working out well for Leigh Wood lately. The Englishman stepped into the ring against Josh Warrington as the favorite to retain his WBA featherweight title.
Things didn’t go smoothly for Wood, however, as Warrington looked to be the sharper fighter and was much more efficient in his offensive output. With Warrington seemingly on his way to a clear decision win, Wood struck with a series of hooks that dropped Warrington to the canvas. Warrington beat the count but the referee determined he was not fit to continue, giving Wood the TKO victory.
The win was reminiscent of Wood’s dramatic Knockout of the Year winner against Michael Conlan in 2022. Wood and promoter Eddie Hearn said the fight would be Wood’s last at featherweight and are now targeting his dream of a fight at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground in 2024, with Warrington saying he’d be happy to be the opponent in a rematch.
Gilberto Ramirez def. Joe Smith Jr. (Oct. 7)
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez started his career 44-0 and received criticism for having a “protected record” from facing lower-tier opposition. In November 2022, Ramirez finally took the step up to elite competition and was humbled in a loss to Dmitry Bivol for the WBA light heavyweight title.
Ramirez got back on track with a dominant win over Smith in his cruiserweight debut. Smith’s standard plodding approach was easy for Ramirez to handle and Ramirez was able to clearly win nearly every round in arguably the best showing of his career against a former WBO light heavyweight champion, rebounding well from his loss to Bivol. The official scorecards all read 98-92 for Ramirez.
Janibek Alimkhanuly def. Vincenzo Gualtieri (Oct. 14)
Janibek Alimkhanuly doesn’t grab many headlines, but he’s been efficient in his career, steadily moving up through the ranks and emerging as a force in a thin middleweight division. Alimkhanuly became WBO champion in 2022 and successfully defended the belt twice before taking on IBF champ Gualtieri, who won the vacant title over the summer with a win over Esquiva Falcao.
The fight played out as expected, with Alimkhanuly being the better tactician, the quicker fighter and the man with more power. After dominating the fight, Alimkhanuly poured on the power shots to score a stoppage in Round 6, unifying two of the four world titles at middleweight.
After the fight, Alimkhanuly made it clear he wants to become undisputed at 160 pounds in the near future, saying, “We would like to add the other two belts to this collection. We hope our promoter Top Rank can organize that.”
Tim Tszyu def. Brian Mendoza (Oct. 14)
Ready to kick off the next chapter of his career, Tszyu put his WBO junior middleweight title on the line against Brian Mendoza in what Tszyu said would be his final fight in his native Australia. Tszyu held the secondary WBO title before being elevated to full champion status when Jermell Charlo moved up in weight to face undisputed super middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in September.
Tszyu got off to a slow start, allowing Mendoza to pick up some early rounds. Once Tszyu flipped the switch, he fully took over the fight, battering Mendoza with big power shots. To Mendoza’s credit, he never went down and never stopped trying to fight back, winning over the crowd with an impressive display of heart. Tszyu had to settle for a decision win, taking the fight on scores of 116-111, 116-112, and 117-11.
Tszyu turned his attention to Charlo after the fight, calling for a shot to prove who the man is at 154 pounds.
Jack Catterall def. Jorge Linares (Oct. 21)
It’s hard not to wonder “What if?” when it comes to Catterall. In February 2022, Catterall was robbed of a deserved win over Josh Taylor that would have made him undisputed super lightweight champion and set him up for massive fights. Instead, he went on to fight Darragh Foley and Jorge Linares.
Linares was not particularly competitive in the fight, relying on veteran craftiness to survive 12 rounds and lose on the scorecards by scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111, which were all closer than deserved. Catterall boxed well and stunned Linares several times, picking up a solid win and moving closer to potentially securing another championship opportunity, which most fighters would have already landed after a showing like he put on against Taylor.
Amanda Serrano def. Danila Ramos (Oct. 27)
In a history-making bout, undisputed featherweight champion Amanda Serrano put three of her four world titles on the line against Danila Ramos. The fight was the first modern women’s boxing match scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds, bucking boxing’s conventional thinking that women need special rules that deeply cut into the length of their fights compared to men. The WBC remained stubborn about the whole situation, refusing to sanction the fight and holding firm to their antiquated thinking.
Ultimately, the fight played out as expected, with Serrano dominating the action from bell to bell. Ramos fought bravely and never stopped trying to come forward, but without enough power to slow Serrano, the champ was able to carry every round to win every round on the official scorecards.
O’Shaquie Foster def. Eduardo Hernandez (Oct. 28)
October closed with a good bit of drama as O’Shaquie Foster rallied to stop Eduardo Hernandez and retain the WBC featherweight title. Hernandez got off to a hot start, pressuring forward and breaking down Foster’s defense as Foster tried to take a more technical boxing approach.
With Hernandez clearly and deservedly ahead on two of the three official scorecards, the drama ratcheted up in Round 11, a furious back-and-forth round that stands as one of the best rounds of 2023. Ultimately, Hernandez was too badly hurt and fatigued heading into Round 12, allowing Foster to pour on the offense and score two knockdowns before the referee stopped the bout with just 22 seconds remaining in the final round.