There’s Boxing Day action at the Shrine Exposition Centre in Los Angeles, as Premier Boxing Champions conclude their 2020 with a night of action.
Top of the bill is David Morrell Jr (3-0, KO2), and the Cuban amateur starlet, now based in Minneapolis, is already an interim WBA Super Middleweight champion in just three professional outings.
He defends that spurious title here against Lockport, Illinois based Mike ‘Imagine Me’ Gavronski (26-3-1, KO17).
As an amateur, Morrell was a 2016 World Youth champion, and also won the Cuban National Championships in 2017, compiling a 130-2 record in the unpaid code.
The 22-year-old southpaw turned over in August last year, knocking out Yendris Rodriguez Valdez in just over a minute.
Morrell knocked out Quinton Rankin in two rounds just three months later which set up a shot at the interim belt with Lennox Allen the opposition in August this year.
Morrell dominated against the previously unbeaten Guyanese, winning nearly every round in a wide points victory.
Gavronski shouldn’t be the man to pose Morrell problems here, and he shares a common opponent with David in the aforementioned Quinton Rankin, and Gavronski took a close win on the cards over ten in June 2017.
His last loss came in August 2018, stopped in three by Jesse Hart, and he has only fought twice since.
He was last seen in September of last year, knocking out Tommy Hughes in six to win the WBC Continental Americas title.
Prediction: At 34 and a gatekeeper at best, Gavronski is a heavy underdog to upset Morrell here.
The Cuban is another off the silky smooth amateur conveyor belt, and looks destined for big things soon enough.
Morell should measure his man in the first couple of rounds, before letting his hands go for a stoppage win in around four.
A familiar face heads the undercard, as James Kirkland (34-2, KO30) sees scheduled ten round action.
36-year-old Kirkland was a massive prospect once upon a time, but saw that reputation ruined by Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida in April 2011, down three times in a first round stoppage defeat.
He did rebound with five straight wins to set up a meeting with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2015, but the Mexican was at his scintillating best, knocking Kirkland out in three.
Where ‘Mandingo Warrior’ Kirkland went for over four years is unknown, and he resurfaced in August 2019, stopping Colby Courter in a round. His last contest was three months later, knocking out Jas Phipps in two.
Time isn’t on the Texan’s side, and he faces Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel (21-4-2, KO21).
The 26-year-old has only been stopped once in four defeats, an early stoppage loss to big punching Jaime Munguia in February 2017, and has only fought outside of his homeland once, in his last contest, a ten round split draw with Hugo Centeno Junior in December 2019.
Prediction: Kirkland won’t want to hang around here, and will need to continue to make statements if he is to force his way into any discussions at Middleweight.
The Mexican wins early every time he gets his hand raised, so the knockout is all he can really hope for.
The pick is for Kirkland to score another inside schedule win here by grinding down Montiel in the first half.
A ten rounder at Welterweight sees the unbeaten Jesus Alejandro Ramos (13-0, KO12), from Arizona, take on Philadelphia’s Naim Nelson (13-4, KO1).
Nelson has lost four of his last six contests, but has only lost once early, due to injury. He can take Ramos rounds here, but I still fancy Ramos, with a dozen knockouts in 13 contests, to take him out after the halfway mark.