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21 APRIL 2018

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Brook and Dirrell Win First Titles/Figueroa Affirms Championship Heart

All pics Esther Lin/Showtime
All pics Esther Lin/Showtime

By Derek Bonnett


The StubHub Center just might be shaping in Showtime’s go to venue as it hosted a world championship triple header with serious division-shaping ramifications. Three world titles were put on the line last night in Carson, CA, USA. Omar Figueroa put his WBC lightweight title on the line against Daniel Estrada in the championship opener. That was followed by Sakio Bika’s rematch with Anthony Dirrell for the WBC super middleweight belt. In the main event, Shawn Porter sought to make his second defense of the IBF welterweight championship in a clash with unbeaten Kell Brook.


In the main event, Kell Brook produced the effort of the night as he captured a majority decision to lift the IBF welterweight champions. Vowing to bring the belt back to Sheffield, Brook made good on his promise and produced a dominant showing that was far too close on one judge’s scorecard. After an ambiguous first round, which saw Brook landing crisper, better educated punches and Porter swarming with a whirlwind of volume punches, Brook set the tone for the contest. The Englishman easily countered the champion with straight punches taking advantage of the height differential and keeping Porter off his chest as much as possible. Porter appeared too wild for the impressively composed Brook, who sustained a cut late in the second from an accidental clash of heads. The cut proved inconsequential as the challenger began showing success with the right hand as a punctuation make for his crisp combination. After four rounds, Brook led 40-37 on my SecondsOut scorecard.


Some of the round were close, but the fight became a matter of discerning which fighter was more effective: the less active fighter landing sharp counters or the busier fighter throwing many power shots with little accuracy. Brook’s jab became stronger as the fight progressed into the fifth and soon because the punch which dictated most of the action. Porter charged his way in and mauled sloppily in the trenches before the two fighters would tie up. Porter suffered a cut over his right eye in round six, which was also deemed to have resulted after a clash of heads. Porter’s best work came to the body of the challenger, but Brook took this assault well and never allowed the champion to punish him there other than in round seven. Porter held more frequently after that round and Brook began to dominate with sharp one-twos. After eight rounds, Brook compiled a SecondsOut unofficial score of 79-74.


The final third of the bout unfolded in similar fashion as the mid-rounds. Mid-way through the ninth, Brook landed a huge left hook and then put Porter back on his heels with a stiff jab. The challengers counter punches still dominated the action. Porter was mildly stunned by a reaching left hook, which caught him right on the button in the tenth. The eleventh saw continued success with the left hook from Brook. Porter summoned a nice right cross and bounced it off Brook’s chin, but it just was not enough to win the round. Brook finished the fight keeping the same composure he had throughout and was awarded the title by scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 116-112. SecondsOut scored the fight 119-110 for Brook.


Sheffield’s Brook, 28, captured his first world championship in the professional ranks and lifted his ledger to 33- (22). Porter dipped to 24-1-1 (15).




In the second bout of the night, Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell put on an ugly twelve round affair, which prompted heavy involvement from referee Jack Reiss from the start. Bika retained the WBC super middleweight title with a draw in their first encounter after he was able to take advantage of a waning Dirrell in the second half of the fight. The rematch saw Dirrell keeping a steadier pace, but the action was replete with mauling, pushing, and other rough tactics.


Dirrell, more the victim of rough tactics in the first fight, fouled Bika on even terms in the rematch, but also found time for the more accurate punches. The jab was Dirrell’s best weapon, but he did not get it pumping until the third round. Bika landed some hard winging shots, but it was Dirrell’s punches which carried the greater impact throughout the fight. Bika was penalized one point for a low-blow in the eighth. After twelve rounds, Dirrell took the title by scores of 114-113, 116-111, and 117-110. SecondsOut unofficially scored the contest also for Dirrell by a margin of 117-113.


Dirrell, 29, became the second cancer survivor in a two-week period to claim a world boxing champion. The WBC super middleweight belt is Dirrell’s first and he improved his record to 27-0-1 (22). Bika fell to 32-6-3 (21).


In the best action bout of the night, Omar Figueroa scored an impressive ninth round TKO over Daniel Estrada to retain the WBC lightweight title for the second time. In the most competitive bout of the night, Estrada used his range to jump out to an early lead. Estrada could not keep control of the contest as Figueroa’s championship will began to dictate the action and move the fight more to the inside where the champion put his power advantage to good use. Figueroa was cut by an accidental head clash in round eight. The gash was massive and merited a stoppage to go to the scorecards, which at the time seemed like a risky venture as the fight was still hotly contested. The action was allowed to continue for one more round and Figueroa responded with champion-like heroics to immediately dropped Estrada in the ninth with a huge overhand right. Estrada was flattened by the punch and his demise unraveled from there. The official time of the stoppage was 1:00.


Figueroa,24, tallied his second title defense of the WBC lightweight strap, but promised he would be moving to 140 pounds. His record now stands at 24-0-1 (18). Estrada crashed to 32-3-1 (24).


For further boxing discussion, contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook. Be sure to LIKE on Facebook.

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