A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at London
Anthony Joshua TKO11 Wladimir Klitschko -- Full recap
Retains a heavyweight title, wins a vacant title
Records: Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs); Klitschko (64-5, 54 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: For a change, a big fight more than lived up to the hype as Joshua and Klitschko gave us one of the most memorable heavyweight title fights in history. The fight of the year candidate had everything -- two-way action, knockdowns, blood and plenty of drama -- all set to the spectacular backdrop of Wembley Stadium filled with 90,000 fans, the British boxing record, for one of the great fight atmospheres ever. They came mostly to cheer on Joshua, 27, of England, who was making his third title defense but taking on by far his best opponent in Ukraine's Klitschko, the 41-year-old legend who was champion for 9½ years during a historic reign before losing the title to Tyson Fury 17 months ago.
In his first fight since the loss, Klitschko showed he still has something left and Joshua, Klitschko's former sparring partner, passed his sternest test.
The first four rounds were good but it went to another level in the fifth round when Joshua put his punches together for a knockdown but then was reeling by the end of the round as Klitschko took command. Then he dropped Joshua in the sixth round with a perfect right hand. He had Joshua in terrible trouble and had taken over the fight before Joshua came back late in the fight and dropped Klitschko twice more in the 11th and then teed off on him along the ropes until referee David Fields stopped it at 2 minutes, 25 seconds. There might be a rematch -- Klitschko has the contractual right -- but for now enjoy this one. Big fights get no better.
Scott Quigg W12 Viorel Simion -- Full recap
Featherweight - Title eliminator
Scores: 117-111 (twice), 115-113
Records: Quigg (33-1-2, 24 KOs); Simion (21-2, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Quigg, 28, a former junior featherweight titlist from England, put himself back in position to challenge for a world title with this solid and entertaining victory against Simion, 35, of Romania. Quigg was very aggressive, looked in fantastic condition and outworked the rugged Simion, who stayed with him throughout the scrappy fight but was done in by Quigg's work rate and heavier blows. By the end of the fight Simion's face was reddened and swelling. With the win, Quigg is positioned to face the winner of a mandatory fight between titleholder Lee Selby, who handed Simion his only other loss, and Jonathan Victor Barros.
Luke Campbell TKO9 Darleys Perez -- Full recap
Lightweight - Title eliminator
Records: Campbell (17-1, 14 KOs); Perez (33-3-2, 21 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Campbell, 29, who won a 2012 Olympic gold medal for Great Britain, looked sharp as he took apart former lightweight world titleholder Perez, 33, of Colombia, who was clearly behind when Perez, hampered by a left arm injury, quit in the ninth round. With the victory, Campbell earned a mandatory shot at world champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs), who was ringside. Perez was not eligible to earn the title shot because he failed to make the 135-pound limit for the bout.
Katie Taylor TKO7 Nina Meinke -- Full recap
Lightweight - Title eliminator
Records: Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs); Meinke (5-1, 2 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Taylor, the Irish Olympic star -- 2012 gold medal and 2016 appearance -- took on her toughest pro assignment so far in Meinke, a 24-year-old from Germany trained by former super middleweight titlist Sven Ottke, and passed the test with ease in an excellent performance. Taylor had her way with Meinke, nailing her with combinations, befuddling her with hand speed and hurting her with a variety of punches. An accidental head butt opened a cut over Meinke's left eye during the fifth round. As Taylor continued to hurt an increasingly unsteady Meinke the stoppage was inevitable. Finally, referee Howard John Foster stopped the fight 57 seconds into the seventh round with Meinke taking a beating.
Saturday at Las Vegas
Claudio Marrero KO1 Carlos Zambrano
Wins an interim featherweight title
Records: Marrero (22-1, 16 KOs); Zambrano (26-1, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In a fight initially planned for February but delayed until April, Marrero simply destroyed Zambrano with the only real punch of this brief fight, which headlined a Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox Sports 1. Marrero and Zambrano spent the first minute-plus of the fight just moving around, jabbing and feeling each other out. Then Marrero connected with a straight left to Zambrano's chin and he went down. Zambrano got to his knees but referee Vic Drakulich counted him out at 1 minute, 30 seconds. Marrero, a 28-year-old southpaw from the Dominican Republic, won his eighth fight in a row since dropping a competitive decision to former world titleholder Jesus Cuellar in 2013. The 32-year-old Zambrano, of Peru, who won an interim belt in March 2015, was making his first defense in his first fight signing with Mayweather Promotions. Marrero won a belt but he is the third-tier titleholder in the WBA, which also crowns "super" titlist Leo Santa Cruz and "regular" titleholder Abner Mares.
Saturday at Chihuahua, Mexico
Omar Chavez TKO2 Ramon Alvarez
Records: Chavez (36-3-1, 24 KOs); Alvarez (24-6-2, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: On Saturday, Mexican stars Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will square off in a much-anticipated showdown on Cinco de Mayo weekend. One week before that, their brothers set the table in a rematch of Ramon Alvarez's unanimous 10-round decision win against Omar Chavez in September 2014. In the sequel, however, Chavez, 27, exacted violent revenge by knocking out the 30-year-old Alvarez. Chavez, who won his fourth fight in a row, caught Alvarez with a hard right hand to the head that badly shook him in the second round and then continued to blast away. Chavez landed another nine punches in a row with nothing coming in return, which forced referee Ricardo Monjares to step in and stop the fight at 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
Saturday at Cebu City, Philippines
Donnie Nietes W12 Komgrich Nantapech
Wins a vacant flyweight title
Scores: 117-111 (twice), 115-113
Records: Nietes (40-1-4, 22 KOs); Nantapech (22-4, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Nietes, 34, a former strawweight and junior flyweight world titleholder and already one of the most decorated boxers in Philippines history, added to his growing legacy by winning a world title in his third weight division. He is the third fighter from the Philippines to win world titles in at least three weight classes, joining all-time great Manny Pacquiao (8) and Nonito Donaire (4). Nietes, however, did not have an easy time turning back a tough opponent in Nantapech, 27, of Thailand, whose 15-fight winning streak came to an end. The more skillful Nietes maintained control of the fight and outboxed Nantapech, but the challenger never stopped pressuring Nietes and made him work awfully hard for the victory.
Friday at Burbank, Calif.
Casey Ramos W10 Miguel Beltran
Scores: 97-93, 96-94 (twice)
Records: Ramos (24-1, 6 KOs); Beltran (31-6, 21 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In November, Ramos, 27, of Austin, suffered his first loss in a ninth-round technical decision to fellow prospect Andy Vences. Making his return in the main event of Top Rank's "Solo Boxeo" card on UniMas, Ramos bounced back from the defeat in a bruising fight with Beltran, 27, of Mexico, who dropped his second decision in a row. Ramos suffered a cut over his right eye in the fifth round and Beltran was cut by an accidental clash of head in the ninth round of the tough fight filled with exciting exchanges, particular in the second half of the fight.
Friday at Sofia, Bulgaria
Kubrat Pulev W12 Kevin Johnson
Scores: 120-108 (twice), 119-109
Records: Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs); Johnson (30-8-1, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Fighting in his hometown, Pulev, 35, won his fifth fight in a row since suffering a gargantuan fifth-round knockout loss to then-heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in the 2014 knockout of the year. Pulev, who looms as one of the mandatory challengers for unified titleholder Anthony Joshua, rolled past Johnson, a 37-year-old journeyman from Asbury Park, New Jersey, in a fight in which Johnson had a bit of success early but was not winning any rounds. Later in the fight, Johnson planted himself on the ropes and barely moved or threw punches while Pulev landed shots and won easily. Johnson, who lost a one-sided decision to then-world titleholder Vitali Klitschko in 2009, dropped to 2-7 in his last nine.