Monday’s Boxing Roundup

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 29, 2009

Andre Dirrell pops Derrick Findley with a solid right hook to the head. Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Andre Dirrell pops Derrick Findley with a solid right hook to the head. Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

NEW YORK — Andre Dirrell (18-0, 13 KOs) scored an impressive sixth-round TKO over Derrick Findley (13-3, 8 KOs) in the main event of another spectacular edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation” from the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma on Saturday.

Dirrell, ranked No.1 by the WBO in the super middleweight division, nearly knocked Findley out in the very first round. A left hook, followed by a barrage of hooks and uppercuts staggered Findley against the ropes.

Findley was conditioned well enough to absorb the punishment and recover, as Dirrell showed poise and patience by resetting his attack.

Dirrell boxed and hooked off his left jab very well. He used the ring, allowing Findley to walk into Dirrells’s punches. The fight was basically target practice for Dirrell because, Findley had nothing for him. At the end of the sixth round, Findley decided that he had enough and quit in his corner.

“I’ll fight any of the champions right now,” Dirrell said afterwards. “It doesn’t matter which one. I’m greedy. I want all the belts.”

Dirrell is the mandatory challenger to WBO 168-pound champion Karloy Balzsay. Both Dirrell and Balzsay are former Olympians and have an extensive amateur boxing background that consists of National Championships.

Balzay, a representative of Hungary, competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. Dirrell, however, won a bronze medal at the ’04 Athens Games. Both Dirrell and Balzsay never fought, but that could change by the end of the year.

Another option for Dirrell could be a shot at the winner of the upcoming WBC super middleweight title fight between newly crowned undefeated champ, Carl Froch vs. former world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. The two will meet on April 25, at the MGM Grand in Foxwoods. Showtime will televise.

Ronald Hearns KO’d

Yorkey defeats Hearns

Yorkey defeats Hearns

However, perhaps the biggest surprise this week was unbeaten middleweight prospect Ronald Hearns (21-1, 17 KOs), the son of the legendary Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, getting knocked out in the ninth round of an exciting fight by Harry Joe Yorgey (22-0-1, 10 KOs). Hearns-Yorgey was the co-featured attraction to Dirrell-Findley on ShoBox.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, but it’s just something that I have to write off as a learning experience,” Hearns said. “I was knocked down hard but I kept getting up. I never thought for a second that I wasn’t going to get him and that I was not without a chance. This is a very difficult moment, but I know I will bounce back. Give me two or three more fights and I would love to fight him again.”

Throughout his career, Hearns has been brought along very slowly after having only 10 amateur contests. He turned professional in April 2004 at the age of 25. Hearns, after 20 professional fights, amassed 10 first round KOs.

The fight against Yorgey was much different. Hearns was getting dominated by an winning against an undefeated, unknown opponent that has fought limited opposition primarily out of his native Pennsylvania. Yorgey can return home to Bridgeport, PA a hometown hero having beaten “The Chosen One.”

What made the victory so special for Yorgey was the fact that he was so anxious to fight on ShoBox.

“I waited and waited for a chance to fight on Showtime so when I got the call I said, ‘sure, let’s do it.’” Yorgey said. “I’m a TV fighter. My fights are always exciting. I knew after the fourth round when I froze him with a body shot that I had him. I can adapt to any fight. Tonight, I was the aggressor.”

Yorgey boxed and punched with Hearns from the opening bell. In the fourth, a straight-right to the chin, followed by a barrage of big punches staggered and floored Hearns on the canvas. Hearns returned to his feet to knock Yorgey down in the fourth as well.

In the fifth, Yorgey landed another well-timed right hand on Hearns’ chin. There was a delayed reaction before Hearns landed underneath the bottom rope.

In the ninth, Yorgey exploded with a series of punches highlighted by a left hook to the chi that wobbled Hearns awkwardly. Hearns was drilled to the mat for the third time and was counted out at the 2:59 second mark.

Yorgey attacks Hearns

Yorgey attacks Hearns

Edwin Valero, lightweights invade Pay-Per-View

Undefeated former WBA champion Edwin Valero will be featured on an HBO Pay-Per-View event entitled “Lightweight Lightening” The event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, April 4, at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

Valero (24-0, 24 KOs), seeking his second world title in as many weight divisions, battles Antonio Pitalua (46-3, 40 KOs) for the vacant WBC lightweight championship in the main event.

The co-featured attractions will have the ever-exciting Michael Katsidis (24-2, 20 KOs) against Jesus Chavez (44-4, 30 KOs) in a 10-round attraction. Vincento Escobedo (19-1, 12 KOs) meets Carlos Hernandez (43-7-1, 24 KOs) in another 10-round attraction.

Plus, former world champion Julio Diaz (36-4, 26 KOs) was supposed to have fought Joel Casamayor, but Casamayor pulled out following a back injury. Diaz will now face Reynaldo Reyes (30-4-2, 19 KOs). Reyes has TKO wins against former world champion Stevie Johnston and John Brown.

The asking price is $39.95.

Valero is a former undefeated WBA super featherweight champion and has an astonishing 100% knockout-victory percentage. Valero is immensely popular in his native Venezuela and Japan. Valero has never fought here in the United States and will have his hands full for his American debut.

Valero was banned from fighting in the U.S., as a result of an old head injury suffered in a motor cycle accident nearly nine years ago as reported by many news outlets. Valero was granted a license to fight in America by the state of Texas.

“I lived here in Los Angeles,” Valero said. “I enjoyed it; I was working here, fighting here, living here, but obviously when they pulled my license in 2004 I had to leave in 2005, first, Panama, Argentina and then I landed in Japan.”

“I was there for a few years with my promoter from Teiken Boxing, Mr. Honda. After a while, living there and raising my family and my kids, it wasn’t the ideal place that I wanted there for my family.”

Valero returned to the United States to live in Las Vegas while working under Kenny Adams before making the recent switch to Oscar De La Hoya’s former longtime trainer Robert Alcazar.

Moving up in weight having knocked out everyone he has fought including his first 18 opponents in one round, Valero began struggling to make the 130-pound weight limit and decided it was time to move up to 135. Valero will face a stern challenge from Pitalua.

“Yes it was costing me a lot of trouble; a lot of sacrifice to make 130 pounds,” Valero said. “We felt it was time to move up; that’s why we vacated the belt and moved up to 135 and gained a little bit of weight and I feel strong and I feel good here. Antonio Pitalua brings the perfect, perfect style for him to fall and get knocked out. He’s perfect for me; Antonio Pitalua is perfect.”

Valero believes that Pitalua is perfect because he’s aggressive and throws a lot of punches. That will undoubtedly open opportunities for Valero to land the big punch.

“I respect his words,” Pitalua said. “I respect what Valero says, but I repeat to you; I haven’t lost since 2000. I’ve been winning by knockouts since then. All his words; whatever he says, the wind takes him.”

“I don’t get damaged; I don’t get hurt from his words. We will see on April 4. He says I bring the perfect style, well you know what? He brings the perfect style for me too. And we’ll see who brings out the best of whom.”

Former Olympian meets former world champion

2004 U.S. Olympian Vincento Escobedo will take on former world champion Carlos Hernandez.

Escobedo, who last fought in September, stopped Dominic Salcido inside six rounds. Escobedo looks to extend his winning streak to eleven against a former world super featherweight champion.

“I’m really prepared,” Escobedo said. “I’ve been training very hard, with here at Nacho [Beristain] and sparring with top sparring partners…This is after a win and after a great win with Dominic Salcido and now I feel like I’m ready, to step up and fight one of these top lightweight fighters like Carlos Hernandez. So I’m definitely ready. And, April 4, we’ll be ready and prepared.”

Hernandez has shared the ring with the very best – Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Genaro Hernandez, Steve Forbes, Erik Morales, and Jesus Chavez to name a few. Hernandez has never been stopped in 51 professional contests.

However at 38, having lost 4 of his last 7 bouts having fought just once in the last 18 months, Hernandez could very well be “an opponent” for Escobedo.

“I mean, it’s not like I’m Escobedo’s age,” Hernandez said. “So to me, I’m pretty much backed into a corner and have to fight my way out of it. But Escobedo still has a future in boxing. So for me, it’s, of course, it’s really, it’s to do or die for me.”

Eddie Chambers brings it to Samuel Peter

Former undefeated heavyweight Eddie Chambers appears to have reestablished himself as a title contender.

Chambers (34-1, 18 KOs) positioned himself for an eventual world title shot after winning a 10-round majority decision over former WBC heavyweight champion, Samuel Peter (30-3, 23 KOs) at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Friday. The official judges at ringside scored the bout 99-91, 96-94 (Chambers), and 95-95 (even).

The victory was clearly the biggest of Chambers’ career, a once unbeaten title prospect. In 2007, Chambers entered an IBF title elimination tournament. He outpointed Calvin Brock in the semifinal, but dropped a 12-round decision to 2004 Russian Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin in the final last year.

While Povetkin will be granted a title shot in September, Chambers had to restructure his career. After winning his last three bouts, Chambers was quick to jump on the opportunity to box Peter, who weighed a career-high 265 pounds.

Peter’s conditioning was poor, as he appeared to be a one-punch fighter from the opening bell. Peter was off-balanced and out of range when attempting to land his over hand right.

Chambers boxed intelligently by jabbing, moving, and plodding his way toward a convincing win on points. Peter’s power was a non-factor, as Chambers was never in danger of getting clipped.

The loss to Chambers was detrimental for Peter’s career. Peter, recognized for his brute strength and knockout power, appears to be on a steady decline.

Peter survived three knockdowns in the early rounds of his October 2007 bout with Jameel McCline, which raised questions about his chin. In March 2008, Peter struggled with a slow, 40 year-old Oleg Maskaev before the bout was topped in the fifth round.

Maskaev was also coming off back surgery in defense of the WBC title. Seventh months later, Peter, in his only title defense against Vitali, lost it to a guy who hadn’t fought in four years.