Article courtesy of Rocco Lucente
The main event featured a crossroads fight between seasoned veteran Bryant Jennings & up and coming Heavyweight Oscar Rivas. A slow start on the part of both fighters developed into a fight where Rivas came forward attacking and Jennings was constantly backing up, trying to avoid the Rivas punches. Jennings approach was to try and use his reach to outbox Rivas, a strategy which didn’t seem to work well early. The power disparity between the two fighters was immediately apparent, not just from physical appearance but also by how the fight unfolded. Both landed sparingly, but Rivas was the only one landing hard throughout the early portion.
Jennings began to turn the fight around in the middle rounds, taking advantage of Rivas’s lack of experience in going deep into fights. As Rivas slowed in the middle portion, Jennings largely maintained his pace, taking most of the middle rounds. The stamina difference was as apparent in the middle rounds as the strength disparity was at the start. Rivas caught a second wind in round 9 and rallied, creating a situation where the scorecards could’ve gone either way.
Then, the 12th round came.
The 12th round saw Rivas chase down Jennings, knock him down and stop him in an absolutely vicious technical knockout. It was a brutally one sided finish to what was a very close fight. The stoppage came at the 0:54 mark of the 12th and final round, and sets Rivas up as a dangerous heavyweight contender going forward. His performance wasn’t perfect, he did fade a bit in the middle rounds, but what everyone will remember from this fight was the violent way it ended. Rivas improves to 26-0 (18 KO) and will no doubt be looking for the big bames of the heavyweight division going forward.
The co-feature bout of the evening saw US Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson taking on Filipino fighter Jessie Cris Rosales in a 10 round featherweight matchup. Stevenson immediately put his elite boxing skills on display, landing vicious power shots to the head and body in the process. Stevenson was almost certainly the most skilled boxer on the card, and he displayed nearly every tool required in an elite boxer as a mere 21 year old.
Stevenson knocked Rosales out with a vicious straight left at the 1:29 mark of the 3rd round, a punch which had Rosales wobbling as he got up, leaving Charlie Fitch with no choice but to stop the contest. The only word which can properly describe the knockout is spectacular. Stevenson gave the fans every reason to look at him as one of the elite prospects in the sport, and called out Josh Warrington after the fight. That fight would be the type of war that boxing fans deserve to see. Stevenson improves to 10-0 (6 KO) on his career.
Robson Conceicao, a Brazilian Olympic gold medalist competing in the Super Featherweight division, fought Hector Ambriz, a 23 year old Mexican fighter. Conceicao displayed his supreme boxing skills throughout the contest, but did not do much to answer questions the questions which have come up about his punching power. Despite landing clean punches in bunches all night, Conceicao neither managed to drop nor even stun Ambriz during the fight. Conceicao won 80-72 on all three scorecards for a clean sweep, but he almost created as many questions about his future against the elite of the sport as he answered tonight. With his high volume style, Conceicao will struggle to succeed at an elite level if he cannot increase his punching power. He improves to 11-0 (5 KO) in his career.
Next up was the return of Jason Sosa, who is still trying to recover from back to back losses to Lomanchenko & Rigondeaux, taking on the 17-18-2 Moises Delgadillo. Sosa controlled round one, but Delgadillo had a strong comeback in round two, winning the round and even scoring a knockdown with a gorgeous left hook. As much as this was expected to be a walkover fight for Sosa, everyone in the arena was shocked. The early rounds would prove to be a war, with both guys going toe to toe and exchanging monstrous shots in what were very close rounds. Through 5 rounds this reporter had the fight even.
Sosa took control back in the 7th round, scoring an early knockdown and dominating the duration of the round. The control he seized during that exchange would prove to carry him to a Unanimous Decision victory, with the scorecards reading 97-91, 97-91, 96-92. This writer scored it a little closer at 95-93. Sosa improves to 22-3-4, but this cannot help but feel like a setback, having been knocked down and fought so closely by a fighter with more losses than wins. His next fight will be yet another rebuilding fight, as he tries to climb back to the top levels of the sport.
The third fight of the night featured the debut of Indian Olympian Vikas Krishan taking on Steven Andrade in a Junior Middleweight fight. Krishan outclassed Andrade from the outset, dominating round one, dropping him with a body shot and forcing referee Benji Esteves to stop the fight with a flurry of shots at the 2:31 mark of the 2nd round. Krishan displayed superb skills in the ring, using movement and angles to dominate a far less classy opponent. With his first victory, Krishan is 1-0 (1 KO) after his debut.
In the second fight of the night, a super lightweight bout between Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and Ricardo Garcia, Gaibnazarov got off to a very fast start, dominating rounds one and two. He knocked Garcia down with a right hook in the third round, and it seemed only a matter of time at that point. Finally, Garcia quit on his stool at the end of the 4th round to secure the victory for Gaibnazarov. It was the first stoppage loss of Garcia’s career. The Uzbeki gold medalist improves to 7-0 (4 KO) in his budding career.
The card kicked off with a scheduled 8 round fight between unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Carlos Adames and Juan Ruiz. Adames started slowly, but he rallied in the third round, dropping Ruiz with a strong left-right hook combination to the body to knock him out at the 1:57 mark of the round. The early action made you wonder why Adames is a highly regarded prospect, but the ending made clear why that is. Adames improves to 16-0 (13 KOs) on his career.