Golovkin makes short work of Martirosyan with 2nd round KO

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Gennady Golovkin won his 20th consecutive middleweight title defense with a second-round knockout of Vanes Martirosyan on Saturday night.

Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) tied Bernard Hopkins’ record for middleweight title defenses by sending Martirosyan down at 1:53 of the second round.

After being tagged with a strong three-punch combination from Martirosyan (36-4-1) late in the first round, Golovkin responded with a devastating charge in the second. He started the onslaught with a short left and pounced on the damaged Martirosyan, finally dropping him with two powerful lefts.

The fight was arranged at the last minute after Golovkin’s rematch with Canelo Alavarez fell apart. Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a draw last September and were set to meet again in Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo before Alvarez was suspended for six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission in April after failing a March drug test.

With the lucrative fight against Alvarez scuttled until this fall at the earliest, Golovkin was eventually able to put together a replacement bout in Southern California, where he built up a strong following with a series of title defenses at StubHub Center and the Forum. Despite short notice and a modest card, promotors expected Golovkin to draw a record-crowd for boxing at StubHub Center of more than 9,000.

Golovkin said he would take on all comers, including Alvarez.

“I want everyone,” Golovkin said. “I have a lot of belts. I challenge anyone to come and take my belts. I don’t care who. Let’s clean out the division.”

In the first women’s fight on HBO in the cable network’s 45-year history of broadcasting boxing, undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (33-0) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win over Kali Reis (13-7-1).

Braekhus won 97-92, 96-93 and 96-93 on the three scorecards despite being knocked down to one knee by a hard right from Reis in the seventh round. Reis nearly dropped Braekhus again in the eighth with another hard right, and the crowd booed when the result was announced after Reis’ late charge.

UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg attended the fight and confirmed her interest in boxing against Braekhus.

Tyson, 54, to return for exhibition match against Jones Jr.

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CARSON, Calif. — Mike Tyson is coming back to boxing at age 54.

The former heavyweight champion will meet four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition match on Sept. 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he won the title in 1986 at age 20 and for a time was the most feared fighter in boxing. But his career became littered with distractions and he hasn’t boxed since 2005 after losing his second straight fight.

He has occasionally teased a return with workout videos and it’s finally scheduled to happen.

Jones, 51, won titles in the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight before moving up to win the heavyweight title in 2003, becoming the first former middleweight champion to do so in 106 years.

The event will air on pay-per-view and the social media music platform Triller. Further matches on the card and musical entertainment will be announced in the coming weeks.

Boxer Errol Spence in ICU after Ferrari crash in Dallas

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DALLAS — Welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence crashed a speeding Ferrari in Dallas early Thursday and was badly injured but is expected to survive, police said.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m., when Spence’s Ferrari crossed a median into oncoming traffic and flipped over several times, police said.

Spence was taken to a hospital, where he was placed in the intensive care unit. Police said they’re still investigating the cause of the crash, but they noted that the Ferrari was speeding at the time.

Last month, the former U.S. Olympian added the WBC welterweight title to his IBF strap with a thrilling split-decision victory over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.

With his rangy athleticism and virtuosic skill, Spence (26-0) has captured fans with a series of crisp victories in recent years. He won the IBF title in 2017 by stopping Kell Brook in England, and he defended it three times, culminating in a one-sided thrashing of undersized Mikey Garcia in March.

His bout with the veteran brawler Porter (30-3-1) was Spence’s biggest test yet, and he emerged victorious from a fight that featured several wild exchanges of punches and had the Staples Center crowd of 16,702 on its feet throughout the 12th round, roaring for both fighters when they embraced after the final bell.