Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Oct 19, 2018

What: Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant, Middleweights

When: Oct. 20
How to Watch: ESPN+ 10:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because Rob Brant wants to use Ryota Murata to become the next American who might not be well known here but is “huge in Japan.”

Ryota Murata is the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist at middleweight, and a 14-1 professional prizefighter. His only loss was a controversial split decision to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, a loss he later avenged with a seventh round TKO victory. Rob Brant has also only ever lost once, a decision to German veteran Juergen Braehmer. Although he never competed in the Olympics, he did have an accomplished amateur career which including winning the 2010 National Golden Gloves Title.

Ryota Murata is far more revered in Japan than Rob Brant is in the United States, however Brant did get some media attention for his ferocious one-punch knockout of Decarlo Perez. Also, this fight will take place in Las Vegas, which should help Brant as far as being the crowd favorite.

Ryota Murata is the big star in Japan, the Olympic gold medalist, and the fighter who would make the most money with a victory. However, Rob Brant would like to become a star in his own right and knows the fastest way to get there is to make sure the nation of Japan sees what he can do, by showcasing what he can do to their golden boy.

What: Demetrius Andrade vs. Walter Kautondokwa, Middleweights

When: Oct. 20
How to Watch: DAZN 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see if Demetrius Andrade can handle a quick switch from facing a slick British boxer to a brutal African puncher.

Demetrius Andrade was supposed to be facing Billy Joe Saunders this weekend. But after Saunders tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, Andrade was forced to face a replacement opponent; enter largely unknown Namibian knockout artist Walter Kautondokwa.

The main issue for Demetrius Andrade is that for months he has been training for a bout with a slick boxer he would have to chase for twelve rounds (Saunders has only stopped 12 of 26 opponents). Now, within a few weeks he has had to completely alter his approach as instead of facing the slick boxer, he’s facing a guy that’s knocked out 16 of his 17 opponents. This should concern him.

For his part. Kautondokwa isn’t shying away from the moment. While most fighters will give a tepid answer about how are going to do their best against such a talented opponent, Kautondokwa is openly talking about knocking out Andrade, telling The Sporting News “I've earned my spot as the number two challenger in the division. I fear no man. Demetrius is a great fighter, but I know that I can knockout any 160-pounder in the world, and that includes Andrade."

Demetrius Andrade went from facing a cocky British boxer to a murderous African puncher over the course of a few weeks. Will he be ready for the new challenge? On Saturday, we’ll see.

What: Tevin Farmer vs. James Tennyson, Junior Lightweights

When: Oct. 20
How to Watch: DAZN 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see who comes out on top in a battle of persistent fighters who became champions because they just wouldn’t quit.

While most fighters will tell they will never give up, and that they will never stop fighting until they become champion, that’s not really true. Very few champions experience humiliating losses early in their careers and force themselves to keep fighting, convinced they will one day become something great, despite what those early losses lead the world to think of them.

And yet, that’s what we have with Tevin Farmer’s fight against James Tennyson. See, Tevin Farmer is the IBF Super featherweight champion but early on in his career he was an absolute nobody. Farmer lost his debut fight and was 4-3-1 after his first eight fights as a professional. But Farmer persisted, and now has not lost a fight since 2013. James Tennyson, on the other hand, lost to a fighter named Pavel Senkovs in his ninth professional fight. Pavel Senkovs has a career record of 4 wins and 68 losses. Seriously, he’s 4-68. And Senkovs didn’t just beat him, he stopped him in the second round. But like Farmer, rather than quit the sport in shame, Tennyson rebounded and eventually won the WBA International Super Featherweight title.

Farmer-Tennyson will not just be a fight, it will be a testament to what happens when guys refuse to give up, no matter how embarrassing their failures. And, no matter who wins the fight, if you’re not in the best place in your life right now, you’ll have a guy to cheer for.

What: Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney, Bantamweights

When: Oct. 20
How to Watch: DAZN 7 p.m.
Why You Should Care: To see if Emmanuel Rodriguez’s life experiences are too much for Jason Moloney to handle.

Emmanuel Rodriguez was a highly touted Puerto Rican amateur boxer with his sights set on going to the Olympics. But, after he was involved in a car fire prank gone wrong that left him with second degree burns on over 66% of his body, his boxing future looked bleak. But rather than give up on boxing, he continued to train while his body was still wrapped in bandages and although he could not become an Olympian, he has become the IBF Bantamweight champion and a professional prizefighter with an 18-0 record.

Jason Moloney is one half of a pair of Australian twins who are convinced they can both become world champions. Jason is 17-0 with 14 knockouts, but this will be his first fight outside of Australia (the fight takes place in Orlando Florida, where presumably the Puerto Rican fighter will be the crowd favorite). This first brush with hostility makes the fight especially interesting.

Emmanuel Rodriguez has fought in three different countries and survived getting lit on fire and burned on over two thirds of his body. Jason Moloney is an Australian media darling who has made his money in front of adoring home crowds. Both Moloneys were not great boxers early on after starting the sport to get in shape for Aussie rules football season, but persevered and became very good professionals. The question is if this life experience is enough, or if Emmanuel Rodriguez has been through too much in life, and Jason Moloney too little, to make this fight competitive.

What: Yunier Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak, Cruiserweights

When: Oct. 20
How to Watch: DAZN 7 p.m.
Why You Should Care: To See if “The KO Doctor” hands out another sleeping pill subscription, or if a gritty Polish veteran can make one last run at glory.

Yunier Dorticos is a huge puncher. He’s such a huge puncher that he’s knocked out 21 of 23 opponents, and one unlucky trainer holding pads for him. “The KO Doctor” has only lost once, a dramatic final-round stoppage at the hands of Murat Gassiev, and is dying to get further in the second WBSS cruiserweight tournament than he did in the first.

But first, Dorticos must get by Poland’s Mateusz Masternak. Masternak has been around for a while and has held various titles, that were never real championship belts. His career has resurged lately, having won his last five fights after losing three of seven, making this likely the last chance he will have in his career to compete at such a high level.

The winner of this fight faces Mayweather Promotion’s Andrew Tabiti in the next round of the WBSS tournament. Tabiti will either be fighting a horrific Cuban puncher fresh off another knockout, or a gritty Polish veteran looking for one final run at glory. On Saturday, we’ll see which it is.


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