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13 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz

Beltran KO's Ao But Fails On The Scales/Ponomarev Claims NABF Title

By Marc Livitz at ringside in Las Vegas, NV: Raymundo Beltran scored an impressive and throughly dominating second round TKO win over Takahiro Ao on Friday evening at the Chelsea Theatre inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The contest was originally scheduled for the vacant WBO lightweight title, however Beltran came in almost a half pound over the lightweight limit of 135 yesterday, so only Ao could have won the title with a win.


"Sugar" Ray Beltran has long been touted as a fan’s fighter with scores of heart and determination in the ring. The two exchanged jabs early, however this was for just for a brief moment. Ray Beltran turned on the attack and went to the head of Takahiro throughout much of the opening round. Southpaw Ao tried to slow the pace as the second was underway but his opponent from Hollywood, CA by way of Sinaloa, MX would have none of it. A hard, crushing right to the head of the man from Ichihara, Japan sent him back first to the canvas. Takahiro rose to his knees and beat the count at eight.


He had in no way recovered and Beltran went in for the pugilistic kill. Successive head shots forced Ao to various points of the ring. Shot after shot, almost exclusively to the head landed and referee Tony Weeks, ever watchful rightfully and wisely jumped in to halt the contest at the 1:29 mark of round two. "Sugar" Ray Beltran wins via second round TKO, however his setback on the scales on Friday meant the win came without the title, so the WBO lightweight title will remain vacant. He improved his record to (30-7-1, 18 KO’s), while Takahiro Ao fell to (27-4-1, 12 KO’s).


Co-Main Event Report - Ponomarev Tops Zewski, Wins NABF Title


In a battle of unbeaten fighters, Konstantin Ponomarev fought his way to a sound unanimous decision win over Mikael Zewski for the NABF welterweight title in the evening’s co-main event.


In the opening round, the two orthodox contestants threw their fare share of jabs, yet it was the champion Zewski (26-1, 20 KO’s) who put on extra pressure by way of his trailing right hand. Mikael doubled up the jab and connected at times with right hooks as well. Ponomarev (28-0, 13 KO’s) looked to work the body and caught Zewski up top just before the closing bell. Konstantin picked up the pace a bit in the second. The Russian fighter was warned about shots to the back of Mikael’s head by referee Jay Nady.


He easily converted his jabs into hooks throughout the third period. Zewski’s face was showing signs of reddening. The pattern continued through much of the fourth. Mikael was backpedalling a lot and his eastern European foe was glad to give chase. A hard overhand right put Zewski against the ropes but the Canadian boxer fought his way out and he caught Ponomarev with a clean hook to the head to close the fifth. With one half of the bout now in the bag, Konstantin appeared to be in the lead.


Shots were exchanged in the center of the ring to start round six. A clash of heads later on briefly halted the action. Rounds seven and eight moved much the same way. Ponomarev started to use ring. All of it. It was as if he could sense Zewski’s growing sense of desperation and used his jab a bit more sparingly. Mikael’s face was in a serious state of swelling by this point. Konstantin continued his jab in round nine while Mikael sought to land the occasional answer. There would be one last chance for either man to close the show as the bout would at least have the chance to go the full ten.


For whatever reason and seemingly ahead in the bout, Ponomarev waited until round ten to really let the leather fly. Zewski’s left eye was close to being swollen shut. He was forced into a corner as his Russian adversary pounded away. He wisely clinched to escape the punches. The bell sounded to end the contest. On the surface, Konstantin Ponomarev would be taking Zewki’s NABF welterweight crown and would also be handing him his first professional defeat.


The three judges agreed and their scorecards were tallied as read as follows: Robert Hoyle: 99-91, Patricia Morse Jarman: 97-93 and Ricardo Ocasio: 98-92.


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May 1, 2015


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