Linear light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson took his time in his Showtime-televised main event against Russian challenger Dmitriy Sukhotskiy, but he eventually delivered on his promise of a sensational knockout.
The capacity crowd inside the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, was expecting fireworks from the start on Friday, but Sukhotskiy’s awkward defensive posture and lack of offense did not leave too many openings for the Haitian-born, Montreal-based champion. Stevenson scored a knockdown in the second round, but the lack of action for the next two frames left his hometown fans uneasy.
Midway through the fifth round, a sizzling straight left hand floored Sukhotskiy. He beat the count but was quickly knocked to the canvas moments later by a flurry. The challenger beat the count again, but he was clearly shaken. From there, “Superman” was all over his prey, throwing caution to the wind and gunning for the stoppage.
Sukhotskiy (22-3, 16 KOs) tried to fire back, only to be met by ferocious left hand. The punch flattened Sukhotskiy, who fell flat on his back, completely out cold. Referee Michael Griffin never bothered to count, signaling the end at 2:42 of round five. The highlight-reel knockout allowed Stevenson to retain his WBC and Ring Magazine light heavyweight crowns.
Afterward, all eyes were immediately fixed on the future. Stevenson was scheduled to fight former undisputed king Bernard Hopkins and former champion Jean Pascal earlier this year, but both fights fell through. His latest win puts him in line to face Sergey Kovalev, but Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs) said he did not care who he fights next.
“I’m the man so they have to come to me,” he said. “It doesn’t matter [who is next]. My job is to get in there and knock everybody out.”
Local fighter Kevin Bizier’s lone loss entering his co-main event bout had come against the man with whom he was set to lock horns: Jo Jo Dan. The two welterweights electrified the boxing world in 2013, when they fought to an exhilarating split decision. Bizier has had revenge on his mind ever since.
Though their rematch was not as scintillating as their first encounter, Bizier and Dan fought 12 grueling and often exciting rounds. Again the decision was split. Bizier scored a knockdown of his rival in the seventh round with a perfect short right hand off the left hook, but the Romanian-born Montreal fighter was able to storm back. Dan eventually seized control of the bout when Bizier seemed to fatigue, and the latter stages of the fight were where he stole the show.
Several times near the end of the fight the two tore into each other with vicious toe-to-toe action, but Dan (34-2, 18 KOs) seemingly always landed the harder, more telling blows. Those closer rounds were won by his more effective punching, and he was awarded the split nod. Two judges had it in his favor 114-113 and 115-112, while another had it 114-113 for Bizier (23-2, 16 KOs).
Super middleweight Andre Dirrell outworked the tough Derek Edwards for 12 rounds, though the bout was not what many would consider aesthetically pleasing.
Edwards (27-4-1, 14 KOs) was confounded by Dirrell’s southpaw stance and pesky right jab throughout the match and had tremendous difficulty getting on the inside. Dirrell repeatedly kept the shorter Winston-Salem, N.C., fighter at bay with the jab and popped him with his counter left hand when he had the chance. Edwards rarely was able to get off any punches and instead resorted to clinching. Even though his corner was screaming at him to let his hands go, Edwards seemed stuck in slow motion as Dirrell picked him apart round after round.
Dirrell easily won the lopsided unanimous decision, though he was rocked by a desperate left hook in the 12th. The official scores were 119-109, 120-108 and 119-107.
Surging Russian light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev scored another stoppage and has now racked up seven consecutive knockouts to start his pro career. Jeff Page Jr. started off well with a clean knockdown of Beterbiev in the first round, but once the second began, it was all downhill for the American.
Beterbiev, who now lives and trains in Montreal, swarmed his foe immediately in the second and scored a knockdown. Page (15-1, 10 KOs) was not hurt by the flurry, but when a straight right hand floored him a minute later, the fight was all but over. Beterbiev (7-0, 7 KOs) unloaded a furious assault until Page was felled for the third time, as referee Jean-Guy Brousseau waived it off at 2:21 of the second frame.
In preliminary action, former Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton (1-0) won his pro debut with a unanimous four-round decision over Sophyan Haoud (3-3-1, 1 KO) in a junior middleweight bout, earning tallies of 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37; and super bantamweight Vislan Dalkhaev won his professional debut via unanimous four-round decision over Csaba Toth (13-35-1, 8 KOs), picking up 40-35, 40-35 and 40-34 marks from the judges.
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