By Sean Wippert ringside in Las Vegas: The main event of the evening at the Treasure Island and Casino pitted a pair of very talented lightweight fighters in their quest for championship dreams. Two time Cuban champion Angelo “The Cuban Cobra” Santana stood at the ready as faced off against dangerous Uzbekistani phenom Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov. The two men stood ready to decide the fate of the WBA lightweight title.
Mamadjonov opened the bout with a hard overhand right that nearly ended the fight as fast as it began. The haymaker shot seemed to come from nowhere and had bad intentions written all over it. While it may not have connected, the message was clear. He came to fight and could care less about anything his opponent’s #3 WBA ranking or previous reins as Cuban Champion.
Both men quickly went to work on one another, trading shot early and often. Mamadjonov took the fight to his opponent, unloading an abusive jab attack. Santana responded with several hard shots that found their mark stalling Mamadjonov’s drive forward.
By the third round the Uzbekistani fighter had begun to bulldoze his way through Santana’s defense. Mamadjonov’s punch output increased immensely as well as the foot speed. He began not just attacking in bunches, but from numerous angles. Although able to take the damage, it was noticeable that that Santana was having trouble to the rampant offensive output.
Things only got harder for Santana as fight entered the middle rounds. He was still landing the cleaner combinations, but they were now becoming overshadowed by Mamadjonov’s incessant flurries of shots. The barrages seemed to smother Santana, pushing him to levels of visible frustration. Every shot thrown countered by three to four in return with authority.
By the eighth round Mamadjonov’s body of work started to pay dividends. Santana had slowed and seemed less and less able to counter what was hitting him. Near the end of the round a trio of left hooks found their mark, dropping Santana to his knees. It was a slow move to the canvas and one that showed the pain they had inflicted on him. He returned to his feet and barely survived the round.
In the ninth Mamadjonov seemed to smell blood. He pounced on Santana with incredible ferocity in the opening seconds, finally catching him with an overhand left. This led to a series of body shots that sent him to floor once again. The crushing hits were enough for referee Kenny Bayless. He stopped the fight at the 0:51 mark of the ninth round.
With the dominating victory Mamadjonov improves to 12-1 with now 8 knockouts and takes home the WBA lightweight international title. The painful defeat awards Santana his first professional defeat as he falls to 14-1 with 11 knockouts.
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April 11, 2013