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Funeka-Guzman II on March 27th

Ali Funeka Joan GuzmanBy Jim Dower: On March 27th, top lightweight contenders Ali Funeka (30-2-3, 25 KO’s) and Joan Guzman (29-0-1, 17 KO’s) will face each other in a rematch for the vacant International Boxing Federation lightweight bout at a still to be determined location. The two fighters met three months ago in November in a fight that ended in a controversial 12 round majority draw at the Pepsi Coliseum, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The final scores for the fight were 114-114, 116-112 for Funeka, and 114-114. However, many boxing fans felt that Funeka did more than enough to win the fight based on his much better work rate in the 2nd half of the fight.

But a draw isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities for the fight, because Guzman was the dominating fighter in the first five rounds of the bout, landing the much harder shots and controlling most of the action. Funeka took over the fight from the 6th round until the 11th, and clearly got the better of Guzman during those six rounds, even breaking Guzman’s nose.

With blood pouring down Guzman’s face from cuts and a broken nose, he rallied in the 12th round and appeared to win the final round to get the draw on two of the judges’ scorecards. To be sure, Funeka looked very impressive in rounds six through eleven, but he blew it by giving away the first five rounds and doing zero in the twelfth and final round.

Funeka, 6’1”, an exceptionally tall fighter for a lightweight, is currently ranked number #3 IBF, WBA, and WBO. Guzman, 33, is ranked at number #4 by the IBF. If their second fight is anywhere near as interesting as their first bout last year, this should be quite an interesting fight to see. Funeka, like last time, will be sporting a six inch height advantage over the 5’7” Guzman.


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