Rob Brant Turns it on Late to Finish Khasan Baysangurov
Fighting in his home state of Minnesota, Rob Brant was cruising towards a decision victory over Khasan Baysangurov. He had dropped the undefeated Russian in the second round and was ahead by a comfortable margin on the scorecards. Brant had a victory in the bag, but when the ESPN broadcasting crew began to discuss how closing the show on his cable showcase would help Brant’s star power immensely, Brant turned it on, landing a flurry of hard punches that dropped Baysangurov. The Russian challenger would get up, only to see the referee stop the fight after he ate another flurry and stumbled around the ring.
With the loss, Baysangurov moved to 17-1, but at only 21 years old it’s still very possible he can bounce back and become a future contender. For Brant, he retained his WBA “regular” title and became the mandatory challenger for Canelo Alvarez’s legitimate WBA middleweight belt. Although Brant called out the Mexican superstar after the fight, that bout is unlikely due to promotional issues as well as the fact that Brant’s still not that big a star. A more likely fight that is being discussed is for Brant to go to Australia and fight Jeff Horn. Horn is a decent name because of his decision win over Manny Pacquiao, and though the fight would be in Australia, Brant’s natural middleweight size would probably make him the favorite.
Joshua Greer Survives Knockdown to Knock Out Giovanni Escaner
Joshua Greer survived a third-round knockdown, although it wasn’t much of a knockdown and may have landed after the bell, to get off the canvas and ultimately stop Giovanni Escaner in the eighth round with a body shot. That right hand to the body put an end to a competitive bout that had Greer’s fans and cornermen nervous about how much he was struggling against his Filipino opponent.
Greer, who goes by the nickname “Don’t Blink” but has recently begun calling himself “Mr. ESPN” has a unique shtick where he brings out a custom pillow to taunt the opponent he has just knocked out. While there was a question whether a body shot knockout warranted the pillow, seeing how Escaner was conscious the entire time and even threw a left hook before the delayed reaction from Greer’s punch set in, Joshua Greer isn’t here for your semantics, so he immediately brought out the pillow and held it above his head in celebration.
Shohjahon Ergashev Beats but Can’t Stop Mykal Fox
Shohjahon Ergashev versus Mykal Fox was supposed to be a classic boxer-puncher matchup, with the six foot four inch Fox playing the slick boxer role, and the 5-foot-10 Uzbeki turned Kronk fighter looking to add another KO victim to his impressive resume. Unfortunately, instead we just got a bad fight.
Ergashev, who had stopped fourteen of his fifteen opponents before the bout, would ultimately win a unanimous 96-94, 98-92, 98-92 decision. But while he’ll never fight a 6-foot-4, 140-pound fighter again, in an ugly bout that featured lots of holding and not many clean punches, Ergashev did not leave Showtime fans begging to see him again.
However, fans will probably want to see the UK’s Thomas Ward again. Ward won a unanimous 98-91, 99-90, 100-89 decision over Jesse Hernandez to move to 26-0, and although he has only stopped four of his 26 opponents, he did show a nice bit of power when he dropped Hernandez in the fourth round with a left hook on the chin. It was a nice U.S. debut for Ward, who should get a bigger fight soon.
Santa Cruz Decisions Rivera, Wants Unification or Frampton
Leo Santa Cruz was just a little bit too good for Rafael Rivera, and it seemed that every round he showed it. Santa Cruz, fighting for his father who is going through a battle with cancer, timed Rivera with uppercuts and left hooks to the body, while a game Rivera never stopped coming forward. In the end, and after a thrilling Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots back-and-forth to end the fight, Santa Cruz retained his title with a unanimous 119-109, 119-109, 119-109 decision victory.
What’s next for Santa Cruz is an interesting proposition. Santa Cruz mentioned fighting Carl “The Jackal” Frampton for a third time, but Frampton lost his last fight to Josh Warrington and was talking about retiring after the bout, so fans would much rather see him unify the titles against Gary Russell Jr. or move up to 130 and face Gervonta Davis. Let’s hope he goes that route instead.
Omar Figueroa Looks Bad, But Wins Against John Molina Jr.
After a 19-month layoff, Omar Figueroa Jr. knew he was going to miss the 140-pound weight limit, so negotiated with John Molina Jr. to hold the fight at 146 pounds. Then, he was put through the ringer in a grueling back and forth battle which saw John Molina land several big punches on his chin. But Figueroa hung tough and would go on to win a controversial but unanimous 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 decision.
Many people thought the fight was closer than that, and some thought Molina deserved the victory. Molina deserves credit for doing so well and should have known it was unlikely he could win a tight decision against Figueroa, who has a far higher ceiling than him, both as a fighter and a draw. Despite his “Karate Kid” inspired trunks, everybody knows that as a fighter Molina was never the best… around. He deserves credit for a game effort.
As for Figueroa, he obviously could have looked better, and really needs to stop coming in overweight, but coming off a nineteen-month layoff a win is a win for the 29-year-old from Texas. Forbes is calling for him to fight Adrien Broner, which would be interesting both for the trash talk and what a loss would mean for their respective careers. Now 28-0-1 as a professional, hopefully Figueroa can make weight and improve on his performance against whomever comes next.
« Previous Leo Santa Cruz Decisions Rafael Rivera, Retains WBA Featherweight Title Next Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap »