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Ivan Baranchyk vs. Jose Zepeda on July 7 on ESPN in Las Vegas

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By Kenneth Friedman: Former IBF light welterweight champion Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs) will be facing Jose Zepeda (31-2, 25 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight at 140 pounds on July 7 in a Top Rank card on ESPN in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is a classic boxer [Zepeda] vs. puncher [Baranchyk] type match-up, and it should be fun to watch while it lasts. Zepeda looked amazing in his fights against Jose Ramirez, Jose Pedraza, and Abner Lopez.

His technical skills are second to none. What Zepeda lacks is the stamina, which could prove a problem for him given the pressure that Baranchyk will be putting on him. With this being a 10-round fight, there’s less of a chance that Zepeda will gas out.

ESPN is reporting that Baranchyk vs. Zepeda fight is taking place on the seventh of July. Baranchyk-Zepeda is a good fight, and arguably superior, then WBC/WBO 140-pound champion Jose Ramirez’s twice-postponed title defense 36-year-old WBC mandatory Viktor Postol.

Former WBC champion Postol has done little to rate a title shot after losing to Josh Taylor in 2018 and Terence Crawford in 2016.

At least with the Baranchyk vs. Zepeda fight, it’s a match that is a 50-50 affair. A

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Zepeda will have skills advantage

This is a winnable fight for the 31-year-old Zepeda if he can use his boxing skills to hinder the attack of the always aggressive Baranchyk. Last year, the 27-year-old Zepeda was arguably robbed in losing a controversial 12 round majority decision in February 2019 to WBO 140-pound champion Jose Ramirez in Fresno, California.

Two of the judges gave it to the hometown fighter Ramirez, but a lot of fans saw Zepeda winning. Boxing News 24 had Zepeda winning eight rounds to four. As the B-side fighter, Zepeda would have needed to dominate Ramirez in that setting.

Zepeda did make Ramirez look bad, but the judges didn’t reflect that. It would have been interesting to see how this same fighter would have been scored had it taken place at a neutral venue rather than in Ramirez’s backyard.

In Zepeda’s last fight, he defeated former two-division world champion Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision last September in Las Vegas, Nevada. What’s interesting about that fight is Zepeda did a better job of beating Pedraza than Vasiliy Lomachenko had the previous year in 2018.

Lomachenko took a lot of hard shots from Pedraza in winning a 12 round unanimous decision. At the end of the fight, Lomachenko’s face was severely bruised and swollen from the many shots that the ‘Sniper’ Pedraza landed in the match.

Baranchyk vs. Zepeda will likely be held behind closed doors. That’ll make it interesting to see how these two fighters react without the roar of the crowd. Baranchyk could be impacted without the fans cheering for him, as he’s a fighter that thrives on noise from the crowd.

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Baranchyk recently beaten by Taylor

The 27-year-old Baranchyk lost his IBF 140-lb title to Josh Taylor by a competitive 12 round unanimous decision in May 2019 in the semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. It was a good fight, but ultimately Baranchyk blew his chances of winning the battle by getting dropped twice in round six by Taylor.

Although Baranchyk did come back in the later rounds to fight effectively, he couldn’t make up for his bad start in the first half of the contest.

In Baranchyk’s last fight, he stopped 39-year-old Gabriel Bracero (25-4-1, 6 KOs) in the fourth round last October at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bracero is a decent second-tier fighter, but he’s no longer world-class at his age and with his inactivity.

It’s important for Baranchyk not to get too sloppy in there with Zepeda, as he’ll get picked apart if he fights with his normal reckless abandon.

 

 


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