By Derek Bonnett
In a glorious night of boxing brought to fans by NBC and the Mohegan Sun, fans were treated to an action packed card which seemed to turn off the Earth’s gravitational pull for some fighters. Gabriel Campillo met Sergey Kovalev in a crossroads light heavyweight bout. For Campillo, a win over Kovalev was necessary in order for him to maintain his standing among the top fighters in the division in lieu of myriad close, controversial calls that did not go his way. Kovalev, on the other hand, needed the win to prove he belonged among the serious contenders and to add a credible, world-class win to his resume. Only one fighter could get his way. Also on the card, a trio of New England boxers ranging from prospect to former world title challenger met in separate bouts supporting NBC’s Campillo-Kovalev card on January 19.
Russia’s Kovalev, 29, jumped out to an early lead as Campillo remained immobile in his punch zone. Kovalev’s straight punches landed effectively while Campillo did not focus too much on defense. The first round easily went to the Russian fighter based on activity and effective punching. Campillo, 34, found his range better in round two and mounted more of an offense, but he threw mostly arm punches while Kovalev still piled on the punches in straight one-two combos in succession. The third round saw the end of the Spanish fighter’s immediate future as a title contender. Kovalev dropped Campillo along the ropes with a series of hooks to the head. The second knockdown came moments later following a barrage of straight shots from Kovalev. Campillo sat down for the last time upon a third follow up barrage. The referee waved the contest at the 1:30 mark of the third round.
Kovalev raised his numbers to 20-0-1 (16). Campillo dropped to 21-5-1 (7).
In the main supporting bout, New Haven, CT’s Elvin Ayala took on Curtis Stevens in a ten round middleweight NABF title bout. The night ended briefly for Ayala as Stevens jumped on him from the get go to drop him twice. The first knockdown came via a perfect counter left hook. Ayala was allowed to continue unwisely and a second knockdown followed soon after under a barrage of punches. This time no count was given and the end was called at the 1:10 mark.
Stevens raised his dossier to 23-3 (17) and carried home the NABF middleweight title. Ayala fell to 26-6-1 (12).
On the untelevised portion of the card, East Hartford, Connecticut’s Joey “Chip” Perez took on Jason Sosa in a six round super featherweight bout. Sosa, of Camden, New Jersey, controlled the opening frame behind his jab while Perez struggled to get a punch off. Sosa moved his punches to the body and steadily grew in confidence. A right hook dropped Perez in the final seconds of the first round. A more desperate Perez traded with Sosa in the second, but remained pinned to the ropes for the majority of the three minutes. Sosa missed with numerous blows toward the end of the round to make things a lot closer than the previous stanza. The two traded on near even terms over the third round as Perez began landing with greater frequency, but Sosa remained composed in spite of getting rocked with a right hook late in the third. Just as a barn-burner seemed imminent, Sosa dropped Perez again with the right hand. This time the Connecticut native rose on unsteady legs and the bout was waved off at the 2:10 mark of the fourth round.
Sosa raised his young record to 8-1-3 (4). Perez fell to 10-2 (3).
Providence, Rhode Island favorite Vladine Biosse met experienced veteran Marcus Upshaw in an eight round super middleweight affair. Biosse controlled the lanky Upshaw over the first three minutes with effective aggression. Upshaw took things in over the first frame and attempted to set up a counter attack, but only found his grove in the closing minute as the round passed him by. Biosse made the most of Upshaw’s exposed body by moving his punches down at the end of each exchange. Even when it missed, the jab and and follow-up right set up his body attack well. Action in the second round mirrored the first as Biosse was too quick with his lead shots to allow Upshaw capture any advantage with his long reach. Biosse dug his way into Upshaw’s torso any time they came together for an exchange in the pocket. Biosse’s athleticism carried his advantage through the third round, but Upshaw’s patience paid off late in the round as he began to land with a chopping right hand along the ropes. It was not enough to win the round, but it forced Biosse to keep his distance in the fourth. Biosse allowed the distance to grow between him and his opponent which allowed Upshaw to utilize his reach. A sturdy uppercut shook Biosse in the closing minute and forced him to hold the remainder of the round. A quick one-two caught Biosse at the end up Upshaw’s punches to score a knockdown early in the fifth. Biosse rose, but a look of discouragement crept upon his face. A livelier Biosse opened the sixth round by quickly closing the distance and resuming control. Midway through the round, Upshaw opened up the gap again and punished Biosse with long right hands. Biosse was forced to hold as his knees buckled during one exchange. Biosse’s right eye swelled on the far outside corner by the start of the eighth. A vicious straight dropped Biosse for a second time late in the round. Biosse rose on shaky legs and was immediately swarmed prompting the referee to intervene at the 2:25 mark.
Upshaw raised his ledger to 15-8-1 (7). Biosse dropped to 14-2-1 (7).
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