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South Florida Prospect Report Cards

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By Brad Marchetti: Boxing is back in a big way in the sunshine state with a deep pool of talent stemming out of the South Florida region. Heavyweight Raphael Akpejiori, 12-0, 12 KO’s, leads the pack as a potential heavyweight title challenger with a blend of size, power, and A+ support system but Akpejiori isn’t the only blue-chip act in town. This reporter decided to pull out his grade book and hand out report cards to the plethora of local South Florida prospects throwing bombs out of the 305.

(Photo Credit: Joe Wise)

Raphael Akpejiori

Weight Class: Heavyweight
Record: 12-0 12 KO’s
From: Nigeria
Fights out of: Miami, FL
Trainer: Glen Johnson (54-21-2, 37 KO’s 1993-2015)
Ht. 6’8″
Wt. 245-250
Age: 30
Reach: 83″
Stance: Right-Handed
Style: Boxer/Puncher
Rounds Fought: 16
Best Punch: Straight Right
Last Fight: KO1 Steven Lyons

Akpejiori is a 747 sized heavyweight contender with big power, especially in his straight right. In his last bout, the Nigerian bomber looked sharp knocking out his 12th opponent in a row. The former defensive end from the University of Miami called out the likes of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, 30-0, 21 KO’s, and top-5 British bomber Dillian Whyte, 28-2, 19 KO’s after the victory. The towering Akpejiori stalked the 6′ 223 1/2 Lb. Lyons, 5-7-1, 2 KO’s, from the opening bell with a telephone pole jab that had the stocky Louisiana native on the run. Lyons, made glancing contact early with a few haymakers but “Hurricane” Akpejiori weathered the storm. The beginning of the end for Lyons, 32, started a minute into the opening frame with a left hook to the forehead wobbling the “Lion King” along the ropes. The punch seemed to demoralize the overmatched Lyons who turned more into the cowardly lion after absorbing the thunderous power of Akpejiori. A few thudding right-hand body shots had Lyons grimacing in pain as the bell ended for round one. Lyons corner threw in the towel after the opening frame, wise choice. Akpejiori co-pilot Johnson would be best served to get his charge some rounds against a durable veteran before stepping up against the far more experienced Fury or Whyte. Akpejiori has knocked out all of his opponents within two rounds so his true stamina is still unknown. This grade is incomplete but “Hurricane” has some upside.

Raphael Akpejiori Report Card

Power: A-
Speed: C+
Boxing Ability: B
Stamina: ?
Defense: B
Quality Of Opposition: C-
Experience: C-
Overall: Incomplete

Ermal Hadribeaj

Weight Class: Jr. Middleweight
Record: 9-0-1 5 KO’s
From: Albania
Fights Out Of: Miami Beach, FL
Trainer: Donato Demartiis (2-1, 1 KO 2009-2010 Heavyweight)
Stance: Southpaw
Style: Pressure Fighter
Best Punch: Uppercut
Ht. 5’9″
Wt. 154
Age: 27
Reach: ?
Rounds Fought: 42
Last Fight: KO4 Javier Garcia

In his last bout, Hadribeaj had a tougher than expected tussle with awkward Puerto Rican brawler Javier Garcia, 8-20-1, 3 KO’s but was able to do enough to keep his undefeated record intact. Garcia, 38, waded forward with lunging swings that had some effectiveness early as Hadribeaj, 27, tried to counter the wide shots. “The Sniper” Hadribeaj was off-target smothering most of his punches unable to find an effective punching range. The undefeated Hadribeaj was finally able to put some leather on the tiring old veteran around the 3rd frame and by the end of the 4th, a gassed-out Garcia retired on his stool. Hadribeaj has some tools but is a work in progress that has a long way to go before stepping up in class.

Ermal Hadribeaj Report Card

Power: C+
Speed: B
Boxing Ability: C
Stamina: ?
Defense: B-
Quality Of Opposition: D
Experience: D+
Overall: C+

Serik Musadilov

Weight Class: Cruiserweight
Record: 10-0 9 KO’s
From: Kazakhstan
Fights Out Of: Miami, FL
Trainer: Chico Rivas
Stance: Right-Handed
Style: Brawler
Best Punch: Overhand Right
Ht. 5’9″
Wt. 200
Age: 27
Reach: ?
Rounds Fought: 22
Last Fight: UD8 Lamont Capers

Laura Ching’s M&R Boxing Cruiserweight Serik Musadilov, had to gut out a tougher than expected win against New York veteran Lamont Capers, 10-15, 2 KO’s last time out of the gate but remains a deadly puncher. The Kazakhstan prospect Musadilov, 200, had never been past 3 rounds and acted as if his game plan was to land one bomb on the Capers, 198, and go home. After 3 rounds of off-target haymakers the big “Panda” Musadilov, 26, was out of bamboo sticks. The 6′ Capers swept this reporter’s scorecard in the last three frames with an effective jab that kept the spent Serik at bay and clinching for a 76-76 Draw. Final scores read 78-74, 77-75 x2 all for Musadilov. The “Panda” can punch like a mule but until he learns how to set up those bombs and improve his endurance, he will have a tough time beating a contender.

Serik Musadilov Report Card

Power: A
Speed: C
Boxing Ability: C-
Stamina: D
Defense: B-
Quality Of Opposition: D+
Experience: C
Overall: B-

Frank Diaz

Weight Class: Jr. Lightweight
Record: 8-0 8 KO’s
From: Cuba
Fights Out Of: Miami, FL
Trainer: Jorge Rubio
Stance: Southpaw
Style: Aggressive Boxer/Puncher
Best Punch: Right Hook
Ht. 5’7″
Wt. 130
Age: 20
Reach: ?
Rounds Fought: 15
Last Fight: KO1 Philip Adyaka

The 20-year old prospect Diaz blasted out Philip Adyaka, 7-15, 4 KO’s, from Uganda in his last outing, his 7th knockout in two rounds or less. Adyaka’s record is a bit deceiving with the combined record of his last six opponents 41-0. Tough occupation. “Franky” Diaz is an aggressive southpaw that thinks body first with blinding combinations. When Diaz damages foes he has the ability to finish with a killer instinct and that makes for exciting theater. With youth, athleticism and quick hands Diaz is a prospect improving with experience. Diaz needs to be put in with a tough customer where his stamina can be truly evaluated to fill out his report card.

Frank Diaz Report Card

Power: B
Speed: B+
Boxing Ability: B
Stamina: ?
Defense: B
Quality Of Opposition: D
Experience: C
Overall: Incomplete

Other South Florida Boxing Prospects

Cuban Bronze Medallist Joahnys Argilagos, 8-0, 4 KO’s, is a potential force at bantamweight with a combination of explosiveness and precise counterpunching. Southpaw Honduran Harold Calderon, 25-0, 17 KO’s, is in the mix for a big fight with a crowd-pleasing style that puts rear ends in the seats. Speedy featherweight Daniel Bailey, 7-0, 4 KO’s, throws punches with bad intentions and could hit the next level. Glen Johnson trained Jr. Lightweight Malik Lewis, 4-0, 3 KO’s, is a banger that has only improved under Johnson’s tutelage. Chico Rivas trained Kazakhstan lightweight Nikolay Shvab, 7-0, 3 KO’s, does a pretty good Vasyl Lomachencko impression with clever footwork and fast punches from a southpaw stance. Last but not least Filipino Jr. Lightweight Mark Bernaldez, 23-4, 17 KO’s, is an exciting veteran in the mold of Nonito Donaire that could be in line for a title shot in the near future.

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