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24 NOVEMBER 2014

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Abril Wins Ugly Battle Against Bogere; Russell Dominates Gusev

Las Vegas: The last time lightweight Richar Abril (then known as Richard Abril) fought in Las Vegas, he was the victim of what the overwhelming majority of boxing fans felt was the worst decision of 2012: he dropped a controversial split decision to Brandon Rios in April. In fact, all three of Abril’s career losses have come via split decision.

 

Considering how badly he was jobbed by Nevada’s Finest last year, coupled with the fact that he was set to fight a local fighter on the verge of stardom in the eyes of some, it was logical to think Abril stood no chance of winning a close fight that went to the scorecards.

 


 

In the end, the three ringside judges had it right on Saturday night inside The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and it was Abril who walked out of the ring with his hand raised, a victor in a fight that went the distance.

Abril appeared to be fighting two men inside the ring during the Showtime-televised main event at times: opponent Sharif Bogere and referee Russell Mora. Bogere was relentless throughout most of the encounter, but his lack of true polish created a mauling, dirty, sloppy fight for twelve full rounds. A fighter with a history of crude clinching and leading with his head during roughhousing on the inside, Bogere grabbed, grappled and mugged Abril from the start. The tactics proved worthwhile early on as it prevented his Cuban-American counterpart from finding a rhythm for several rounds.

To add to Abril’s discomfort, Mora continuously warned “El Tigre” for repeatedly holding, though it appeared as though Bogere who was initiating most of the clinches. Abril was not without fault; he routinely held down on Bogere’s head and he shoved his forearm in his Ugandan opponent’s throat whenever he could. However, Mora rarely warned Bogere of clinching and leading with his head, even after a borderline blatant head butt early in the sixth that opened a deep laceration above Abril’s right eye.


Abril fought as best he could, but Bogere’s relentless pressure and awkward aggression gave him fits and to make matters worse, Mora deducted a point from Abril in the eighth for continuous holding. It was after the infraction, however, that Abril altered his approach and got into a groove, one that Bogere had few answers for.

 

Abril engaged on the inside less and less and opted to try and pick Bogere apart while the Las Vegas-based fighter charged in. Abril routinely popped Bogere with his right hand. Whether it was a short uppercut on the inside, a long straight one from the outside or a counter cross during an exchange, Abril’s offense was slowly breaking Bogere down bit by bit.

 

Bogere never stopped coming forward, but after Abril tattooed him round after round with one to three-punch combos, Bogere’s punches had less mustard on them and his flurries were less effective.

 

Abril kept his new approach going strong into the championship rounds and it appeared as though he was ahead on points entering the twelfth. If Bogere needed a knockout to win the fight in the last round before it started, he certainly needed one after Mora finally took a point from him after another egregious head butt early in the frame.

 

In the end, Abril’s subtle gameplan tweak was enough for him to turn the tides heavily in his favor and he wound up being awarded a unanimous decision win via tallies of 115-111 and 116-110 (twice).  SecondsOut.com also saw it 116-110 for Abril, who improved to 18-3-1 with 8 KOs. Bogere lost for the first time as a pro; he now stands at 23-1 with 15 KOs.

 

In the co-feature, unbeaten featherweight sensation Gary Russell, Jr. was simply too much for opponent Vyacheslav Gusev to handle as he won a lopsided unanimous ten round decision. The DC-area boxer electrified and dazzled his foe with blinding speed and blistering combos from the start and it was obvious early on that Gusev was in way over his head.

 

Russell did whatever he wanted inside the ring and scored a knockdown with a textbook counter right cross in the third. Russell threw multiple-punch combos whenever he felt like it and jabbed Gusev’s face the entire time.

 

However, Russell was not able to close out the show in spectacular fashion and his three-fight knockout streak came to an end because the Russian was about as tough as they come. That, coupled with the fact that Russell injured his left hand midway through the fight, allowed for a more challenging outing than most previously expected.

 

Still, even with only one hand to dole out the punishment, Russell won every minute of every round and was awarded a shutout nod; every judge saw it 100-89, as did SecondsOut.com.

 

Russell (22-0, 13 KOs) is due to increase his level of opposition, as most are expecting him to do in his next outing. There’s no word yet on the extent of his injury, but Russell did call out Juan Manuel Lopez after his triumph. Gusev dropped to 20-3 with 5 KOs.

 

Also on the card:

Jorge Melendez scored a fourth round knockout over Ryan Davis; Thomas Williams Jr. stopped Kevin Engle in the third; Jeffrey Fontanez won a unanimous six round decision over Daniel Attah; Samuel Vasquez scored a second round TKO over Leandro Damian Albornoz; and Luis Arias knocked out Arsenio Terrazas in the first round.

 



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