Third time’s the charm as Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton are finally scheduled to meet in the squared ring for the WBO belt on Saturday night.
Queensberry: Herring vs Frampton Predictions & Results
Finally, Carl Frampton can shoot his shot to become a three-weight world champion. Although the Belfast boy’s career is surely on the line if he is to lose to Jamel Herring, Frampton should have no regrets upon leaving the sport. The world title fight night five years ago in the Barclays Center, against Leo Santa Cruz, is an event that will leave Frampton’s name etched in the history books. That is without considering his victories over Scott Quigg, Nonito Donaire and Kiko Martinez. While Frampton is not the elite boxer that he was down at Bantamweight, he has still carried his heavy hands up to Super Featherweight.
Jamel Herring may not be a man with much reputation outside of the USA, but the ex-marine is a giant at the weight who has already overcome his fair share of experienced operators. Having already defended his WBO title three times, Herring’s best performance probably remains his ascension to world level after defeating Masayuki Ito over twelve rounds. At thirty-five and fighting in a young man’s division, there is also the suggestion that Herring could face a similar retirement conundrum if he is to drop his title to Frampton.
Sadly, the card lost a cracking bout between Zhankosh Turarov and Tyrone McKenna after Turarov withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Apart from a few prospect tune-ups on the undercard, there is yet another big step-up for Tursynbay Kulakhmet as he faces undefeated Venezuelan, Heber Rondon. With ten times his opponent’s wins, Rondon’s experience in the professional ranks is pitted against Kulakmet’s decorated amateur record that saw him win bronze at the World Championship and gold at the Asian Championship.
Super Featherweight (130)
WBO World Super Featherweight Title
Jamel Herring (22-2, 10KO) vs Carl Frampton (28-2, 16KO)
Ex-US Marine, Jamel Herring, is a physical monster at Super Featherweight. Standing at 5’10” and boasting a 72″ reach, Herring has the natural beating of his Northern Irish opponent. While size advantage is often played out, a five-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage are huge barriers for a manlet to try and close down. Moreover, Herring shouldn’t find himself fazed in his biggest career fight. Although the American lacks a star quality name on his record such as Frampton, Herring has handily beaten B-level opposition during his two-year reign as WBO world champion. Decisions over Masayuki Ito and Lamont Roach all proved Herring’s worth at the world level.
Super Featherweight is definitively Herring’s weight and it is expected that the American will pull every trick out of the book to bully the smaller imposter. I find it difficult to see Herring opting to clinch up Frampton and weigh on him for an easy twelve-round victory. Herring feels most comfortable when he boxes tall and moves his opponent around the ring with his ridiculously long straight shots. Frampton’s best work will likely come off of the ropes as Herring often overthinks his work and gets caught going through the motions. That isn’t to say that Frampton hasn’t the expertise to regularly work himself inside Herring’s long limbs, but the American is far more defensively compact in the centre of the ring. Better yet for Frampton, Herring looked a mess in his last outing against Jonathan Oquendo. A far cry from his jab-perfect performance against Lamont Roach, Herring was unable to gain respect from Oquendo and ended up wheeling on his back-foot for eight rounds. I understand the contradiction of the past couple of sentences (a. Herring will boss the mid-range and b. Herring looked awful last time out in the mid-range), but Herring’s legs didn’t look right from the start of the fight and I expect a composed, rejuvenated Herring on Saturday night.
The Jackal has not looked like the fringe-elite monster that he was in his prime, for a good few years now. The Belfast boy’s best performance in five years is still a dominant decision over Nonito Donaire, a victory at the time that seemed like clever match-making as the OAP was already on the way out. Donaire’s career resurgence, and giving Naoya Inoue hell for twelve rounds, have only served to frame Frampton’s relatively easy decision win as extremely impressive. The defeat to feather-duster, Space Raider head, Josh Warrington, led many to question just how much more is left in Frampton’s locker. Lost in the whirlwind flurries of the Leeds faithful, Frampton looked a couple steps off the pace all fight and was unable to commit to his powerful counter-punches. Having done little to silence the doubters with tame performances over tamer opposition (Tyler McCreary and Darren Traynor), Frampton and his brittle hands face a massive task. Frampton’s ring IQ has never been in doubt, though, and with Jamie Moore’s guidance, the Belfast Boy will surely have a plan to overcome the gigantic Herring. Frampton needs to fire off his jab, despite the reach disadvantage, in order to parry Herring’s Southpaw jab as well as softening up the open mid-rift of the American. When Herring commits, often to his favoured rear uppercut, Frampton has to slide laterally to maintain a comfortable distance and stay away from the clinch. All very basic advice, but incredibly hard to commit to over twelve rounds and against an opponent with a big gas tank.
Predicted Result: Frampton Decision
Both men’s performances last time out has left this WBO world title fight very much a 50/50. Sure, Herring has a whopping five-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage. Yet, as we saw against Jonathan Oquendo, the ex-Marine was unable to gain the respect of Oquendo and therefore left wheeling off his back-foot for most of the ugly eight rounds they shared. Herring looked off on the night, however, with jelly legs similar to that of Alexander Povetkin just last week, and perhaps can be scratched down to a one-off. Unfortunately for Frampton, the Belfast man has certainly regressed since his peak against Leo Santa Cruz. Still, Frampton is a wonderful technician in regards to distance management. While Herring’s jab is expected to give Frampton hell for twelve rounds, the classy Southpaw may quickly become frustrated when Frampton regularly fires his own jab to parry the American’s. Lamont Roach and Jonathan Oquendo both found success in blocking Herring’s straight shots (and thus natural size advantage), by leaving their jab extended and serving as a barrier. Moreover, Frampton has a clear avenue to the body, as well as the skill to punish Herring if he clinches in a similarly lazy manner as to the Oquendo fight. Neither man is in their prime, Frampton is well out of his comfortable weight class, Frampton also has suspect hands, yet the Belfast man has almost always won the battle over distance management and that is the biggest factor in this David vs Goliath.
Result: Herring def. Frampton // TKO Round 6 1:40
Super Flyweight (115)
vacant WBO International Super Flyweight Title
Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23KO) vs Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16KO)
Three years out after winning the WBO World Super Flyweight title, Nietes returns on a rampage back for his belt. While the world title isn’t on the line on Saturday night, Nietes has been forced to climb the organisational rankings once again. The career Flyweight/Super Flyweight seemingly has been avoided for almost all of his career, with many attributing the failure to secure career fights due to promotional issues. Regardless, the long-reigning Filipino champion is fighting the hands of Father Time if he wishes to make big waves in the smaller divisions.
At thirty-eight and with undoubted ring-rust, Nietes may be a far cry from his fights against Juan Carlos Reveco and Kazuto Ioka. Regardless, Nietes is a heavy-handed 100lber who sits down on his counter-shots after slipping incoming damage with his spritely footwork. Throwing clubbing four-punch combinations, Nietes breaks opponents down over the rounds and continues to pepper the body. Owing to his granite chin, and relative lack of power punchers in the weight class, Nietes can win his battle of rock-em-sock-em due to his tight guard, power differential and commital to extended combinations.
Pablo Carrillo shouldn’t prove too tough a challenge for Nietes if he hasn’t ring-rusted too hard over three years. While Carrillo has bags of experience on the road against decent operators, he has regularly been shown up against solid opposition. Preferring to fight in the phone booth, Carrillo will play into Nietes’ strongest game and struggle to keep up with the pace that the Filipino sets.
Predicted Result: Nietes Decision
If not for the three-year layoff and potential ring-rust, Donnie Nietes in the later rounds would surely be the call. Pablo Carrillo is the ideal comeback opponent for Nietes, as his preferred style of phone-booth fighting plays directly into Nietes’ clubbing four-punch combinations and tight inside work. While the long-reigning Filipino champion is fighting the hands of Father Time as he looks to make late-career waves in the smaller divisions, Carrillo shouldn’t prove much of a threat.
Result: Nietes def. Carrillo // Decision (unanimous – 96-95, 98-92, 99-91)
Rest of the Card
Super Welterweight (154)
WBC International Super Welterweight Title
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1KO) vs Heber Rondon (20-0, 13KO)
Jamie-Moore trained, Tursynbay Kulakhmet, is a decorated Kazakh amateur that has been hyped up as the next GGG. A former medallist at the World and Asian Championships, Kulakhmet has so far looked impeccable in the professionals. Ignoring the usual buffet of journeymen, Kulakhmet has instead jumped straight into undefeated opposition and succeeded. Last time out, Macaulay McGowan tried his best to make the fight ugly, but Kulakhmet destroyed his man at a mid-range. With lightning-fast feet, Kulakhmet consistently lunged into range to pepper McGowan and then escaping before McGowan had time to process a counter. While Kulakhmet won’t be able to punish elite opponents with his hands low and delivering six/seven punch combinations, there is no doubt that Kulakhmet is capable of sitting behind his jab when necessary.
Heber Rondon has never fought outside of Venezuela, worse yet, Rondon has only ever defeated one man with a winning record. For Christ’s sake, after beating Bryan Medina in a WBA paper-belt fight, Rondon went on to secure a two-round tune-up against a 0-7 fighter. There is almost no tape online for me to review Rondon, which is never a good sign, and as such, it is hard to put on a finger on the thirty-four-year olds talent.
Predicted Result: Kulakhmet TKO Round 5
Heber Rondon is in the running for the flimsiest record in boxing today. His fearsome 20-0 record pales under investigation after it surfaces that the Venezuelan has only ever fought one fighter with a winning record, and seven of his twenty victories are against debutants (with most never fighting again). Decorated amateur, Tursynbay Kulakhmet, is a raw talent but an athletic freak with liquid footwork. There’s the chance that Rondon is half-decent, he did secure a freak victory over the undefeated Bryan Medina, but without any tape to review, it is far easier to side with the proven Kazakh.
Result: Kulakhmet def. Rondon // KO Round 1 1:12
Super Lightweight (140)
WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight Title
Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17KO) vs Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6KO)
Faizan Anwar (5-0, 4KO) vs Evgenii Vazem (9-13, 4KO)
Nineteen-year-old, Faizan Anwar, is a rare boxing gem hailing from Calcutta that found huge success in India’s somewhat messy amateur scene. So far undefeated in the professionals, Anwar is a heavy-handed Welterweight that is still growing into his body. Anwar is a busy fighter, throwing volume from the opening round and showing a preference for body shots. Perhaps down to match-making, Anwar hasn’t had much trouble controlling the range/pace of fights, but there is a clear weakness on the inside. With many years of development ahead of him, though, it would be harsh to criticise a young prospect so early in their career.
Russian journeyman, Evgenii Vazem, was once a 7-5 fighter with a few victories over undefeated fighters. To then drop eight out of his next nine fights, Vazem’s role as a journeyman has never been clearer. Already booked for an eight-rounder a fortnight after Saturday night’s proceedings, Vazem will surely do the bare minimum to give Anwar his rounds.
Predicted Result: Anwar TKO Round 5
Indian teen sensation, Faizan Anwar, is still very green in his young professional career, and Evgenii Vazem offers decent enough rounds for a prospect. Vazem has almost no footwork to speak of, but he keeps a decent high guard that Anwar will have to unravel. Anwar’s volume and desire to finish fights within the distance, however, suggests this could be a stoppage over a hearty but limited opponent.
Result: Anwar def. Vazem // Decision (unanimous – 60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
Keyshawn Davis (1-0, 1KO) vs Richman Ashelley (10-1, 9KO)
Yet another decorated amateur, young professional prospect on the card, Keyshawn Davis is a twenty-two year old American looking to make a splash at Lightweight. Having secured silvers at the World Championships and Pan-American Games a couple of years ago, Davis made a successful move to the professionals with a second-round stoppage over Lester Brown. Calmly pressing Brown towards the ropes with footwork alone, from there Davis was able to pile on the pressure and break Brown’s will. Davis desperately needs to probe with his jab more, however, as he usually only uses his lead hand to peel the guard.
Ghanaian, Richman Ashelley, is a heavy-hitting unknown African that could potentially prove a banana slip for Davis. Although Richman’s victories have all come from Ghana, and against weak opposition at that, he has proven his power to finish almost all within the distance. Reviewing the surprisingly long amount of Richman’s tape online, he clearly possesses heavy hands but that is about it. Curling up behind a high guard and cementing his feet when approached by his opponents, there are clear holes in Ashelley’s guard that Davis is far too talented not to exploit.
Predicted Result: Davis TKO Round 5
Decorated amateur, Keyshawn Davis, is far too technically sound to drop the ball against the heavy-handed Ghanaian unknown, Richman Ashelley. Sure, Davis desperately needs to throw his jab more, but Ashelley has clear defensive weaknesses that Davis will be able to exploit without it. Curling up behind a high guard and cementing his feet when approached by the tame opponents he has faced, Richman’s power won’t be able to be uncaged backed against the ropes.
Result: Davis def. Ashelley // TKO (retired) Round 4 3:00
Queensberry: Herring vs Frampton
2021 Boxing Season
Takeaway comments: Should have tied up his career after Warrington, but thanks for some wonderful nights Carl Frampton.
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