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Undercard ResultsHeavyweight contender Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KOs) took his time in systematically breaking down Brazil’s Raphael Zumbano and stopped him in the eighth. Molina, from Rio Grande Valley, TX, rocked Zumbano (32-9-1, 25 KOs) a few times in the latter half of the contest and after pounding away on his foe midway through the final round, referee Russell Mora finally had seen enough and intervened. The official time of the TKO was 1:38 of the eighth frame.
Cruiserweight contender Vyacheslav Shabranskyy continued his unbeaten surge as a pro with a dominating stoppage of journeyman Garrett Wilson after nine rounds. The former Ukrainian amateur star floored the Philadelphian with a beautiful right uppercut/left hook combo at the end of the second and then felled his foe again the eighth with a straight right hand. Wilson was getting pounded on in the ninth but he continued to fight back, albeit with a suspected broken jaw. Between rounds nine and ten, though, referee Jay Nady intelligently called off the fight, allowing Shabranskyy to improve to 12- with 10 KOs. Wilson dropped to 13-9-1 with 7 KOs.
Four-time amateur champion Cesar Quinonez had a sensational professional debut as he tore apart opponent Joan Valenzuela, stopping him at 2:13 of the second round. Quinonez was the much quicker and more accurate of the two super lightweights and once he had Valenzuela backing up from a right hand, he swarmed him until Russell Mora stopped it.
Unbeaten contender Amir Imam had a much tougher time than expected with Fidel Maldonado Jr., but he still got the expected result: a knockout. The Fort Lauderdale fighter floored Maldonado with a perfectly-time straight right hand just as the bell sounded to end the second. The Albuquerque representative survived the round and stormed back in the third by dropping Imam with a left hand. Imam stormed back with two knockdowns later in the same stanza and then finished his foe with a crippling left hook late in the fifth. When Maldonado got up, he was too wobbly for referee Robert Byrd’s liking, who stopped the fight. The official time of the TKO came at 2:59 of the fifth, allowing Imam to improve to 16-0 with 14 KOs. Maldonado dipped to 19-3 with 16 KOs.
WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz has been regarded as one of the brightest young stars for the future of boxing. After watching him brawl with tough opponent Jesus Ruiz for seven-plus rounds, it seems like a matter of time before the Los Angeles-based Mexican slugger is a household name.
Santa Cruz fought just like he always does: coming forward and throwing dozens upon dozens of punches. Luckily for those in attendance, Ruiz obliged and tried his best to match “Teremoto” punch-for-punch. Santa Cruz had to fight through a laceration around his right eye but after a few rounds of wearing down his opponent, his punches began to land perfectly and almost every time he threw them.
Late in the seventh, Santa Cruz rocked Ruiz (32-6-5, 21 KOs) with a flurry of shots and once the eighth frame began, the unbeaten champ was all over him like a swarm of wasps. Ruiz, from Sonora, Mexico, bravely fought back, but he ate too many punches and referee Kenny Bayless eventually had no choice but to step in and stop it. The official time of the TKO came just 29 seconds into the eighth, allowing Santa Cruz (29-0-1, 17 KOs) to keep his title.
Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder
Round 1Wilder starts off with a few stiff left jabs to find his range. Stiverne is looking to get inside but the long reach of his opponent is giving him issues early. Wilder backs away slowly as he rifles his jab out there. The crowd begins to chant “USA! USA!” as Wilder continues to snap Stiverne’s head back with the jab. Stiverne lands a loopy overhand right with 25 seconds left but the “Bronze Bomber” shrugs it off. Shortly thereafter, Wilder cracks his opponent with a right hand that seems to buckle Stiverne’s legs. Wilder throws a few more hard shots but the bell ends the fun. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 2Wilder goes right back to the jab early. Stiverne still can’t find his way inside the long reach of the American. Left/right by Wilder gets Stiverne’s attention. Again. Wilder starts to open up but backs off with the jab when the champ gets close. Stiverne bobs and weaves inside but eats a right hand. He’s rocked and Wilder opens up a flurry. The bell rings but Deontay is still throwing as Tony weeks steps in to break it up. Stiverne is rocked badly and as he goes down, he performs a great double-leg takedown. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 3Wilder resumes his dominance early with the jab. Stiverne is already looking frustrated as he walks forward, eating left hands. Two minutes in and Wilder is backing away, jabbing Stiverne whenever he wants. The Haitian has minimal head movement and simply cannot get inside yet. With ten seconds left, Stiverne tries desperately to land wild hooks to the body but Wilder simply backs away with his tongue out, mocking him with every whiff. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 4Much of the same; Wilder with the telephone pole jab and Stiverne not able to get inside. Bermane finally lands a few decent shots to the body as he opens his attack more. Wilder gets a little lazy and is tagged by a left hook, but it’s a glancing one. Stiverne is stalking his challenger down but Wilder’s jab is on point. Hard right uppercut to the gut by Wilder with 45 seconds left. Wilder is laughing and talking some trash as he toys with the champ from the outside. Stiverne throws a wild flurry just before the bell but he misses with every punch; he is frustrated as he walks back to his corner. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 5Wilder starts off the fifth with eight straight hard left jabs. Stiverne lands a decent right hand along the ropes but Deontay takes it well. Stiverne continues to walk forward as he eats jab after jab. A right hand rocks Stiverne and Wilder is all over him. Stiverne fights back and it’s a wild slugfest, though nothing crushing lands between either man. Bermane is still a bit wobbly as he fends off the taller Alabama native off. With 15 seconds left, the chaos subsides and Wilder finishes the round with jab building a nest on the Las Vegas fighter’s cheek. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 6Wilder continues right where he left off with the jab. Bermane is able to land a decent left hand that seems to have shaken Wilder, but the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist plays it off as though he slipped. Stiverne nails him again with a left hand and like before, Wilder laughs it off. With less than a minute in the round, Stiverne misses with a fight-ending left hook but a foot or so; Wilder mocks him. Stiverne blocks a left/right and proceeds to jaw at his rival just before the bell. This was Stiverne’s best round by far. 10-9 Stiverne.
Round 7Wilder cracks him with a few jabs but Stiverne returns the favor with two wild left hooks that miss. Bermane is finally much more aggressive with his punching and is beginning to walk his man down. Stiverne is badly rocked by a right hand. He stumbles across the ring into the ropes where Wilder unloads a furious assault. Stiverne fights back and withstands the onslaught. They catch their breath but Wilder again nails him with a right hand. Stiverne fights back and forces Wilder back across the ring. Bermane goes for the KO blow but he stumbles halfway through the shot and falls into the ropes. Big round for Wilder. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 8Stiverne lands a glancing left hook early in the round but Wilder takes it well. Wilder goes back to the jab, landing several in the first half of the contest. Stiverne simply walks right at him, looking for an opening. The Haitian digs two vicious uppercuts to the body late. Not much action as Wilder is backing away while flicking his jab out there. Close round. 10-9 Stiverne.
Round 9Wilder continues to peck away with jab after jab while Stiverne just walks forward. Bermane cracks his challenger with two jabs, but doesn’t follow them up with anything. The Haitian throws two wild left hooks but they both miss. Wilder gets back on his horse and jabs away. Very dull round. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 10Stiverne is statuesque as usual as he stares at Wilder jabbing through his guard. The boo birds are finally out, tired of the lack of action. “The Bronze Bomber” lands a few right hands but they are mostly blocked. Stiverne looks to jab his way inside but backs off when he gets too close. With about 20 seconds left, they stand forehead-to-forehead and dig moderate flurries onto each other in an attempt to rescue the fight from the doldrums. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 11Wilder throws about 15 flicking jabs as Stiverne bobs his head to avoid them. Stiverne is a little more active this round as he targets the taller challenger’s body. Wilder, back to the jab, walls away from the champ. Stiverne follows after him and tries to land some more to the body but he’s too far away. The crowd is booing violently at the end of the round because of the lack of action. 10-9 Wilder.
Round 12Stiverne comes out a bit more aggressive – desperate maybe? – as he likely needs a knockout to retain his title. Wilder is calm as he jabs away, per the norm. Stiverne is stalking his foe down, but he still can’t get past the jab. They tie up in a neutral corner and do very little. Wilder now is smothering the smaller Stiverne, likely trying to ride out the fight to ensure his victory. Stiverne can’t get his hands free to unload a miracle shot with ten seconds left. They separate and Wilder jabs away until the bell ends the “fight.” 10-9 Wilder (118-110 Wilder).
The Official ResultDeontay Wilder def. Bermane Stiverne via Decision (Unanimous) [118-109, 119-108, 120-107] R12
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