Bantamweight

5 Best Fights to Watch This Weekend (Oct. 19-21)

Boxing, unlike any other major sport, is a challenge to keep up with.

It’s rare when a boxer takes months touring and promoting their upcoming bout. Rogue promoters and their stable of fighters often fall in and out of relationships with cable networks and streaming services. And most memorable battles come and go far away from mainstream television.

For help navigating the sport’s sporadic schedule, look no further.

Here are the top five boxing matches to watch in the third weekend of October.

 

Honorable mention: Francisco Rodriguez vs. Tyson Marquez

How to watch: Televisa Deportes

Rodriguez (28-4-1, 20 KO) was in his early 20s when he challenged Donnie Nietes for light flyweight supremacy in 2015. He was a year removed from becoming the premier strawweight on the planet after a barnburner against Tatsunari Takayama. Still 25, the Mexican warfighter has since moved up to 115 pounds and is undefeated since 2016, winning nine in a row.

The 30-year-old Marquez (43-9-2, 30 KO) also has a long history of action fights—namely his tussles with Luis Concepcion. Despite coming off a loss, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore when the former flyweight champion is in the ring, especially against no less a brawler than himself.

5. Kid Galahad vs. Toka Kahn Clary

How to watch: DAZN

Galahad’s (24-0, 15 KO) brash mouth and days as a super bantamweight prospect was already a lot to live up to. But following a two-year drug suspension and a title eliminator against a talented opponent, the 28-year-old Sheffield man is in for the fight of his life. Now campaigning in the featherweight division, his last two trips to the ring saw him stop veterans Irving Berry and Jose Cayetano inside the distance. It was Galahad’s punching prowess that helped narrowly escape defeat in 2013 in a fight he was losing against Jazza Dickens for the British title.

Kahn Clary (25-1, 17 KO) is 26 and supremely athletic. This year, his talent attracted esteemed trainer Freddie Roach to take over the reigns of his career. Since a giant upset at the hands of Jhon Gemino two years ago, Clary has gone virtually untouched. He’s won six fights in a row and continually demonstrated fine counterpunching and parrying technique.

4. Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant

How to watch: ESPN+

The lone loss of Murata’s (14-1, 11 KO) career shouldn’t be held against him. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist’s split-decision defeat to Hassan N’Dam was one of the worst verdicts of 2017—even earning one judge a suspension. Murata, 32, corrected the call later that year in a rematch. With the WBA belt on the line, he won every round until N’Dam couldn’t make it out of the corner ahead of the eighth period. This year, Murata made his first official title defense, returning to his native Japan, and knocking out European champion Emanuele Blandamura.

Brant (23-1, 16 KO) made the jump to 168 pounds as a participant in the inaugural World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament. In the opening round, the 28-year-old American was outmatched by longtime light heavyweight Juergen Braehmer. Turning professional in 2012, Brant remains undefeated at 160 pounds, where he made a successful return to the division in Match with a first-round KO over the unheralded Colby Courter.

3. Yunior Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak

How to watch: DAZN

Dorticos (22-1, 21 KO) was a big player in the first cruiserweight Super Series, losing a blood-and-guts war with eventual runner-up Murat Gassiev. Now in the second installment, Dorticos is the No. 2 seed. The 32-year-old Cuban is as sharp of a puncher as anybody in the division. He already holds TKO victories over bruisers Dmitry Kudryashov and Youri Kalenga and now takes on another quality fighter in Masternak.

Masternak (41-4, 28 KO), a 31-year-old Polish boxer, isn’t the exciting banger most of his cruiserweight counterparts are. But he presents any fighter a challenge with his calculated approach. He’s won five consecutive fights since settling for a questionable decision to Tony Bellew. Masternak’s two other points losses were even more controversial. One of which he avenged in April opposite the aforementioned Kalenga.

2. Tevin Farmer vs. James Tennyson

How to watch: DAZN

Four early losses in his career couldn’t stop Farmer (26-4-1, 5 KO) from finally winning a world title this year. The 28-year-old Philadelphia native is undefeated since 2013 and his upcoming match with Tennyson marks the third defense of Farmer’s IBF super featherweight title. He earned the strap two months ago over the Australian Billy Dib, cruising to a decision victory in enemy territory.

The 25-year-old Tennyson (22-2, 18 KO) fights out of Belfast in search for his first championship. Currently recognized as the UK’s premier super featherweight, he proved his mettle at the European level, punching in a TKO over Martin Joseph Ward for the Commonwealth and EBU crowns. In 2016, Tennyson was on the wrong end of a stoppage against featherweight Ryan Walsh but the Northern Irish puncher is riding a five-fight KO streak since climbing to the 130-pound ranks.

1. Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney

How to watch: DAZN

Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KO) won the IBF bantamweight title after traveling to the UK from Puerto Rico. The 26-year-old boxer-puncher outclassed former world champion Paul Butler, dropping the Englishman in the first round and buzzing him repeatedly with sharp combinations. Rodriguez has never tasted defeat and helps make up an ensemble cast competing in the latest WBSS tournament, this one at the weight limit of 118 pounds.

Moloney (17-0, 14 KO), 27, is one half of a highly touted pair of fighting brothers out of Australia. Though heavier in fighting trim than his brother Andrew, who competes in the super flyweight class, both are capable of throwing every punch in the book. Jason Moloney’s latest trip to the ring saw him put all his tools together to outlast the warmongering Kohei Kono. After defeating a former titleholder like Kono, Moloney is ready for the sport’s biggest stage.

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