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Rivas and Romero draw, Cañizales survives Matellon in KO to Drugs double card in Argentina – Full report

Mayerlin Rivas (right) lands a hard right on Nazarena Romero - Photo by Nelson Quispe - Boxeo de Primera
Fighters Network

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina.- A new edition of the WBA-sponsored “KO to Drugs” boxing events took place at the local Casino Buenos Aires, with ten fights spread across two days of action taking place in an outdoor venue on the casino’s parking lot.

In the main event of Saturday’s card, reigning WBA junior featherweight titlist Mayerlin Rivas got to keep her belt after a spirited but frustrating fifth-round technical draw against local credit Nazarena “Capricho” Romero. In a fight that featured plenty of clean action during the early going, Romero was starting to surge when she also started to charge head-first against the champ during her attacks, causing a number of small injuries in both of their heads. A more damaging clash of heads occurred barely a minute into the fifth episode, and upon consultation with the ringside physician the referee Robert Laine deemed Romero unfit to continue. The scorecards were 44-50 from Gloria Martinez Rizzo, 48-46 for Guillermo Perez Pineda and 47-47 for Ignacio Robles.

Mayerlin Rivas (left) and Nazarena Romero (right) fight to a draw in Buenos Aires – Photo by Nelson Quispe – Boxeo de Primera

Earlier in the night, local credit Matias Romero survived the onslaught of Mexico’s Rene Tellez Giron during ten entertaining rounds to claim a majority decision win in his favor. In another early crossroads bout, former Argentine amateur standout Ramon Quiroga scored a mild upset against the unbeaten Afolabi Shittu. It took Quiroga a few rounds to figure out Shittu’s range and mobility, but once he did he frustrated his Nigerian opponent and found his own range to cement a solid victory by unanimous decision.

In what was considered the main event of the night, unbeaten heavyweight Ivan Dychko improved to 13-0 (12 KOs) with a second-round, cuts-induced stoppage of local trialhorse Ariel Bracamonte (now 12-11, 6 KOs). A belt declaring Kazakhstan’s Dychko as champion of the Caribbean Boxing Federation was presented to him after beating his Argentine opponent. Maybe you have questions. We do to.

Ariel Bracamonte (left) and Ivan Dychko (right) – Photo by Nelson Quispe – Boxeo de Primera

Earlier on, one of the best fighters of the entire night saw action when unbeaten featherweight prospect Dominique Francis improved to 14-0 (9 KOs) with a win over local credit Braian Arguello (now 6-3, 3 KOs) in a fight in which they both traded knockdowns but with Francis scoring an otherwise dominating win by scores of 95-91, 96-90 and 94-92. Both fighters were deducted one point apiece for rabbit punches and other offenses.

Dominique Francis (right) lands a punch on Braian Arguello – Photo by Nelson Quispe – Boxeo de Primera

On the Friday card, former champ Carlos Cañizales survived a bloody affair to edge Cuba´s Daniel Matellon on a technical decision after eight rounds. Both fighters led with their heads from the early going, with Venezuela’s Cañizales receiving a ghastly cut above his right eyebrow very early in the fight. Blood poured from the cut as the fight progressed, and the action became vicious and highly emotional, with Matellon losing two points for intentional headbutts in the sixth and eighth rounds.

Finally, the fight was stopped and went to the scorecards at the end of the eighth round, with Cañizales winning by 77-73 (twice) and 76-74 in the remaining card. Cañizales improved to 26-1-1 (19 KOs) and is now 4-0 since his upset loss against Esteban Bermudez two years ago, while Matellon loses his unbeaten status by returning home with a record of 13-1-2 (7 KOs).

Carlos Cañizales (left) fights through a gruesome injury to defeat Daniel Matellon (left) – Photo by Nelson Quispe – Boxeo de Primera

Earlier in the night, Argentina’s most outstanding prospect and former Olympian Francisco “Bebu” Veron survived a spirited challenge from Russia’s Timur Kerefov over ten rounds in an intriguing clash between unbeaten prospects.

As the stronger but more unpolished fighter of the pair, Kerefov put Veron on notice early in the night with punishing one-twos and an all-out attack from bell to bell. It took all of Veron’s superb set of resources to hold Kerefov at bay and then mount a significant attack to land the split decision win by scorecards of 96-94 (one a piece) and a ridiculous 100-90 in Veron’s favor. In all, split decisions and hard-to-explain draws were the norm throughout both soirees.

Francisco Veron (left) lands an uppercut on Timur Kerefov (right) – Photo by Nelson Quispe – Boxeo de Primera

In two entertaining undercard bouts, Omar Diaz outhustled and outmuscled formerly unbeaten young gun Robert Daniels, scoring a surprising stoppage in five rounds. Even though Daniels visited the canvas on two occasions, he was very much in the fight and dominating a few passages of it when Diaz mounted a vicious attack that convinced Daniels’ corner to throw in the towel.

Earlier on, local credit Sol Cudos escaped with a draw against battle-hardened Colombian veteran Olga Julio over 10 entertaining rounds.

Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for, and many other magazines, websites, newspapers and outlets since 1993. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He has won two first-place awards in the BWAA’s annual writing contest, and he is the moderator of The Ring’s Women’s Ratings Panel. He served as copy editor for the second era of The Ring en Español (2018-2020) and is currently a writer and editor for