Results from a weekend of quality fights

Oakland, California's Super Middleweight Champion of the World, Andre Ward

Andre Ward out-brawls Sakio Bika

On Saturday night, Oakland’s Andre Ward defended his WBA Super Middleweight belt by earning a unanimous 12-round decision over Sakio Bika in front of his hometown backers at the Oracle Arena on SHOWTIME.

The tournament’s top-seed won on all three judges’ scorecards, 118-110 twice and 120-108. Showtime’s play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson hit it right on the head calling Ward’s second defense of his world title a “dirty and nasty war, the likes of which he’s never seen before.” Ward remains undefeated at 23-0 (13 KOs) and Bika falls to 28-5-2 (19 KOs).


Even with all his dirty tactics, the 31-year-old Bika was never able to hurt Ward who is four years younger. Ward did suffer cuts under both of his eyes and said after the fight that each of his cuts was due to a head butt or an elbow. Referee Dan Stell was front and center to witness all of Bika’s shenanigans.

“I did what I had to do,” said Ward. “Bika’s and my styles clashed. There were head butts and elbows, but we found a way to win. Bika’s a tough and rugged fighter. I guess it’s not how you win but if you win.”

Bika was just thankful for the opportunity to compete and called Ward a great boxer and champion. “I can’t complain,” he said. “We both fought a great fight. I gave everything I had.”

Earlier on Showtime, the Froch vs. Abraham clash was showcased

By beating Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch now moves on to face Glen Johnson in the semi-finals of Showtime's Super Six Middleweight Tournament.

Carl Froch recaptured the WBC super middleweight world title earlier on Saturday with a unanimous decision victory over Arthur Abraham in the final Group Stage 3 fight of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Showtime.

The 33-year-old Froch (27-1, 20 KOs), of Nottingham, England, handed the Armenian-born Abraham (31-2, 25 KOs) of Berlin, Germany, his second straight loss. The judges score cards had Froch winning 120-108 twice and 119-109. Froch rebounded from his only career loss back in April to Mikkel Kessler.

With his tournament record now at 2-1, Froch earned two points with this win for a total of four and will now face Glen Johnson in the Semifinals.

As a result of his loss, Abraham now faces the tournament point leader Andre Ward.

Current Super Six standings:

Record          Fighter              Points
3-0               Andre Ward           6
2-1                Carl Froch              4
1-0, 1 KO   Glen Johnson*       3
1-2, 1 KO   Arthur Abraham    3

*Johnson wins the tiebreaker based on total scorecard points.

Saturday’s fights will re-air on Showtime2, Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. PT.

Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 37 KOs) retained his title with a ninth round TKO victory over interim champ Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs).

After Katsidis dropped Marquez in round three with a left hook, Marquez recovered and for the majority of the fight was in control of the close-in – “fight inside the telephone booth” so says wordsmith Larry Merchant. Even though both boxers were throwing hands non-stop right up until the eighth round, it was Marquez’s accuracy that started to prevail.  At 2:14 of round number nine referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to call an end to the bout after realizing Katsidis had no fight left. Even though it was Katsidis drawing Marquez into this brawling style, it was Marquez who obliged with the quicker, sharper hands.

On the undercard, WBC welterweight champ Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) was meeting local favorite, Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs) of the Espinoza Camp in Oxnard, CA.  After the feeling out process, Berto started having success with his hard jabs. Then suddenly he landed a combination of a glancing left followed by a fully extended overhand right that sent Hernandez to the canvas and La-la-land. Referee Russell Mora hung close and watched as Hernandez made a valiant effort to regain his feet and then appear as though he had all his faculties. Mora wasn’t convinced and stopped the fight at 2:07 of the first round.

All American Boy Jason Litzau pulls the upset of the weekend by defeating Celestino Caballero, the current WBA/IBF Super Bantamweight Champion.

In a junior lightweight bout, highly regarded WBA/IBF super bantamweight champ Celestino Caballero (34-3, 23 KOs) lost a ten round split decision to Jason Litzau (28-2, 21 KOs) over ten hard fought rounds. From all indications it appeared Caballero had not taken Litzau, a 13-1 underdog, seriously and seemed to be running on low octane fuel all fight long. As Caballero kept backing up he got tagged by Litzau’s right, enough to win the split decision 97-93, 96-94 on two cards, while Caballero prevailed on the third card 96-94.

Another shocker

Jr welterweight Walter Estrada (38-13-1) outpointed former undisputed lightweight champion Nate Campbell (33-7-1), earning a surprising split decision victory in their eight round affair.

Campbell wowed the crowd in the opening frame by staggering Estrada in the closing seconds. Then Estrada was docked a point in the third round for striking Campbell while holding. The pair then settled in and were content to trade body shots through the duration of the bout. At times Campbell seemed woozy, but fought on while matching Estrada’s efforts. Estrada brought the fight full circle in the final round by wobbling Campbell in similar fashion to how he was treated in the late stages of round one. The judges’ scores 77-74, 77-74 for Estrada and 76-75 for the loser, Campbell.

In a battle for the vacant WBA Fedelatin Jr. Middleweight title, Cuba’s Erislandy Lara (14-0-0, 9 KOs) continued to prove why he’s one of the fighters to watch heading into 2011. He wreaked havoc on Tim Connors (10-2-0) within the first round. Lara dropped Connors with a stiff jab about a minute in and then continued to land a barrage of punches to earn the early stoppage at 1:38.

Keith Thurman shakes hands with well-wishers after his victory. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Junior middleweight Keith Thurman only needed one punch to flatten Favio Medina at 2:34 of the fourth round. The victory moves Thurman to 15-0 with 14 wins by way of knockout. Medina drops to 23-3-3. You might be familiar with Thurman; he’s fought locally twice, beating Stalinn Lopez at Pechanga Resorts & Casino on July 23rd and Quandray Robertson at the Staples Center on September 18th. Both wins came by way of knockout.

South of the Border in Tijuana

WBA/WBO light flyweight champ Giovani Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs) moved up in weight to score an eighth round TKO victory over former champ Manuel “Chango” Vargas (28-7-1, 13 KOs) in a non-title clash at the Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana, Mexico. It was quite a battle as the two warriors traded blows throughout. Vargas was a bloody mess by the seventh round. The bout was finally stopped on the advice of the ring doctor at the start of the eighth round.

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