Where is Jirov Headed after TKO victory?

08.11.03 - MY TWO CENTS WORTH: By Kent Appel @ringside - A funny thing happened on the way from the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona this past Thursday night following Vissilily Jirov’s sixth round TKO victory over Joseph Kiwanuka, in a bout that headlined a Goossen Tutor promotion that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Network Sunday night fights, the dog ate my report!

Borrowing from that old schoolboy cliché where the student blames his dog for the boy himself not doing his homework, I suffered a very real setback that can happen when dealing with computers and the Internet. I went to a twenty-four hour office supply store that offers Internet service to do my report of the fight card and after two hours of typing and looking up records of fighters and going through my notes jotted down during the fight card, there was a system error and I lost my entire report, hence this later entry on the same subject. The moral of the story is, always save your work, no matter what! Luckily there was another report done by fellow Eastside Boxing writer Elias Navarro about the same card so my misfortune didn't cause a problem for Eastside Boxing.

I had just spent an enjoyable two days at the hotel where most of the people involved with the boxing card were staying and also at the pre-fight press conference and weigh in rubbing elbows with the likes of IBF cruiserweight champion James Toney, who by the way strongly suggested that I shave my head bald, like he does because he felt my hair is getting too long and shaggy, as well as former world champions Cornelius Boza Edwards and Gabriel Ruelas, who both gave me great diet and training tips to help me trim down my now ample midsection, and also of course, Jirov, Kiwanuka and other members of the fight card. I was there for a reason, to do a report for Eastside Boxing. But instead of doing my standard fight report now a day and a half later, I am offering my general commentary on the card and Jirov’s place in the cruiserweight and/or heavyweight division.

Jirov fought very well at 199 pounds against Kiwanuka. He moved around the ring smoothly and he put his combinations together much better than he did in his previous bout in which he scored a TKO win over Ernest Mateen, a bout I also attended. He also showed improved defense by using better head movement to avoid punches as he continually moved in and stalked his opponent looking for openings and finding them by throwing multiple hard combinations to the head and body of Kiwanuka. In addition to his improved movement and defense, Jirov relied more on his right jab to set up his combinations against Kiwanuka than he did against Mateen.

There was one thing lacking in Jirov’s performance. I noticed that even though Jirov won every round of the fight leading up to the cut that ended the fight after the sixth round, Kiwanuka, who was game in his efforts but outgunned by Jirov’s constant offense, had a few fleeting moments, particularly in the third round when he was effective in the in-fighting. At those times he scored well with the right uppercut and the right hand lead, punches Jirov had some difficulty avoiding. It was surprising that Jirov actually fought better at a slight distance than he did on the inside, which is his specialty. I realize this is boxing and even the best fighters are going to get hit sometimes and maybe I am being picky, but Jirov looked hittable by right hand leads and right uppercuts, something a more formidable opponent than he was facing Thursday night could exploit. Overall, I give Jirov an excellent A- for his efforts against Kiwanuka.

So what direction does Jirov’s career take now? Jirov is the best Cruiserweight fighter in the world at this time bar none with the only exception being current IBF champion James Toney, who Jirov lost his title to in a fight that will probably be a candidate for fight of the year for the year 2003. A lot of it hinges on whether or not Toney fights again at the Cruiserweight level after Toney’s foray into the heavyweight ranks, which includes an upcoming fight against Jameel McCline. It is also possible that Jirov and Toney could meet at the heavyweight level because as I stated earlier, Jirov moved well at 199 pounds.

The focus of the pre-fight press conference for the Jirov verses Kiwanuka fight was definitely whether or not there would be a rematch between Jirov and Toney. n fact, Jirov asked Toney, who was in attendance, “How about it James?“ Toney replied, “I should make you wait just like you did me, but I am a gentleman and I like to hand out monthly beatings.“ Jirov could try to regain one or all of the major Cruiserweight titles should Toney vacate his Cruiserweight title but it is obvious he wants another crack at Toney, the man who handed him his only professional loss no matter what weight class the fight may be in.

In the co- feature bout between former super bantamweight champion Willie Jorrin and Christian Favela, the judges gave Favela the win by a majority decision. Two judges voted for Favela while the third judge scored the fight a draw.

I saw the fight by the score of 96 to 94 for Jorrin on the basis of his winning the early rounds with a strong body attack and use of the right hand lead. Favela came on strong in the later rounds and I had the fight even going into the tenth and final round, which I thought Jorrin won to pull off the victory. The judges decision was a fair decision though because a lot of the rounds were close. Jorrin had the ever so slight edge because he landed the harder punches throughout the fight even if Favela did out land him in punch numbers.

Sometimes the four round preliminary fights are the most action packed fights of any given fight card and such was the case Thursday night in a heavyweight fight between former national golden gloves champion Malcolm Tann and Willie Chapman. Both fighters showed a lot of heart and determination in a pitched battle that resulted in a split decision upset victory for Chapman, handing Tann his first professional loss. After a slow first round in which Chapman had a slight edge, the deciding blow in the fight was a knockdown scored by Chapman on Tann in the second round from a tremendous overhand right. Tann fought back hard in the third and fourth rounds and he almost handed Chapman a knockdown of this own in the last round but Chapman weathered the storm to gain the win.

Also on the card, in a four round super flyweight fight, Joaquin Canderlario won a unanimous decision over Danny Lerma and in a women's lightweight contest, Blanca Luna and Jessica Mohs fought to a four round draw.

Special thanks goes out to Malcolm Tann who I talked to in the hotel lobby late at night after my initial report was lost. I was in a bad mood and he and I started laughing and joking about who knows what and he helped me get out of my bad mood about my lost report. Tann is a fine young man who got out of his own mood after his tough loss to help put me in a better mood. I hope I helped him do the same. This is especially commendable as anything he does in the boxing world is much more important than anything I have ever done or ever will do because he is doing it and all I do is write about it.

This has been MY TWO CENTS WORTH. If you want to give your "two cents worth," feel free to drop me an E mail at or make a comment in the comments section.

Article posted on 08.11.2003

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