Nearly every month of the 2023 boxing calendar has had something of a theme. For November, that theme was the opportunity to see some of boxing's brightest young superstars in action, with Shakur Stevenson, David Benavidez and Ryan Garcia all stepping into the ring.
While all three young stars picked up victories, they produced results of varying quality. Benavidez impressed with a drubbing of Demetrius Andrade to score a sixth-round stoppage. Garcia struggled at times with Oscar Duarte but got the knockout in Round 8. And Stevenson won the vacant WBC lightweight title with a decision over Edwin De Los Santos in one of the worst fights of the year, with the most punches landed in a round being nine for Stevenson in Round 9 and neither man landed more than six in any other round.
Can't get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.
There was plenty of action beyond those big headline-grabbing fights, however. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the action you may have missed in November.
Joe Cordina def. Edward Vazquez via majority decision -- Nov. 4
IBF super featherweight champion Cordina entered the fight as a heavy betting favorite, anywhere between -1100 and -1600. Vazquez didn't care about the odds, however, and gave Cordina all he could handle across 12 rounds. Vazquez walked Cordina down regularly throughout the fight, doing good work along the ropes while being defensively responsible.
In the end, Cordina was able to make more of a statement in more rounds, edging out a close decision. One official scorecard read 114-114 even, which was a fair score, but it was edged out by two 116-112 cards in Cordina's favor as he held onto his title. Vazquez was upset with the decision and both men traded words after the fight, though Cordina seemed interested in pursuing unification opportunities rather than discuss the possibility of a rematch.
The featured undercard bout on the card had a shocking result as Adrian Curiel uncorked a huge right hand that put Sivenathi Nontshinga down and out in the second round. Curiel was a +620 underdog and only had four knockouts in 23 wins coming into the bout but landed a perfect shot to capture the IBF junior flyweight title and hand Nontshinga the first loss of his career.
Nick Ball def. Isaac Dogboe via unanimous decision -- Nov. 18
Ball and Dogboe were meeting with a shot at the WBC featherweight title on the line. This fight saw two similar fighters, short and strong and willing to use those attributes to muscle opponents around. Ball was more effective at employing that style in the fight, shoving Dogboe around the ring and using sharp boxing to score points and pile up rounds.
The final scores read 116-111, 118-109 and 119-108, all in Ball's favor. Promoter Frank Warren made it clear he intends to get Ball his title shot in the United Kingdom but that it may be two fights away for him. The belt is currently held by Rey Vargas, who most recently moved up to 130 pounds for a loss to O'Shaquie Foster.
Diego Pacheco def. Marcelo Coceres via KO -- Nov. 18
At just 22 years old, Pacheco has a bright future ahead of him. Part of building up a young fighter is putting them in the ring with increasingly stiff tests, something Coceres certainly provided. Starting in the fourth round, Coceres really started to amp up his attack and found increasing success, especially with his left hook.
Pacheco got back on his game starting in Round 8 and began to land increasingly more impactful shots. This continued into Round 9 and a flurry of hooks and uppercuts that dropped Coceres to the canvas. Coceres appeared able to continue but instead chose to take the count as he'd absorbed enough damage from the young contender.
Subriel Matias def. Shohjahon Ergashev via TKO -- Nov. 25
Ergashev had a hot start to his challenge for Matias' IBF super lightweight title on the undercard of Benavidez vs. Andrade, moving quickly and landing heavy shots on the champion. Matias showed a fantastic chin, never seeming bothered by the early power attack from Ergashev before turning the action around beginning in the third round.
Once Matias got in gear, he fully grabbed control of the fight. Forced to be on the defensive, Ergashev was clearly less comfortable and the fight was quickly slipping away. After the fifth round, Ergashev told his corner he'd suffered a leg injury and quit the bout just two seconds into Round 6. The injury brought a sudden halt to the bout but the stoppage seemed a formality in the coming rounds anyway as Matias continues to prove himself a force at 140 pounds, which is a division not lacking in big-name fighters.