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Sunday, May 20, 2018

LA Matadors Continue Their Success in New World Series of Boxing

If you live in the Los Angeles, Memphis, or Miami areas, I highly recommend you check out your local World Series of Boxing team. Sunday night was the first time I saw a World Series event, and it was a blast. The LA Matadors hosted the Miami Gallos in their new home — Avalon Hollywood — a former nightclub turned boxing ring, for five fights between the teams.

Several big names in the boxing world were on hand to take in the evening, including Evander Holyfield, Paulie Malignaggi, Rashad Holloway, and Vanes Martirosyan. The packed house witness four fights as one was scratched, and the Matadors swept Miami 4-0 to earn three points in the standings.

The World Series of Boxing is an international league featuring four franchises in three different global conferences — one in America, Europe, and Asia. The American teams include LA, Miami, Memphis, and Mexico City, and the fighters are paid a salary. Though the boxers are paid, they are still eligible to compete in the Olympics, which is the goal for most of the fighters. The league combines elements of amateurism (ability compete in Olympics) and professionalism (no head gear, 10-point must system for scoring) in its rules, and it can be seen televised on Versus. The league is owned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and IMG, which has a 25% stake in the company.

As for the results on Sunday, Rau’Shee Warren (pictured) won a unanimous decision over Luis Miguel Diaz, only losing one round on the judges’ collective cards. Eric Fowler beat Leonid Malkov in a split decision that could have gone either way. Slava Shabranskij narrowly escaped Kenneth Egan, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist who seemed to get jobbed in the split decision. The last fight of the evening featured heavyweights David Imoesiri and Craig Lewis, and Imoesiri won by unanimous decision.

If there was one fighter who stood out over everyone, it was Warren. “Baby Pit,” as he’s nicknamed, has incredible speed and quickness and was elusive in the ring. His power was good for a bantamweight, and he completed outclassed the more ineffective Diaz. Baby Pit started working the body late in the fight, but he got lazy with his defense and allowed himself to get hit more than he should have. He told me his goal is to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which would mark his third Olympics. Make sure you remember the name Rau’Shee Warren, because you will be hearing from him for a long time.

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