By Derek Gionta, ringside: The Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward light heavyweight unification bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas featured six off-TV undercard bouts.
Claressa Shields made her pro debut a successful one, while Darmani Rock, a pair of Toledo natives, and two of Robert Garcia’s middleweights rounded out the undercard.
Philadelphia heavyweight Darmani "Rock Solid" Rock, 6-0 (4), out boxed San Pedro, California’s Brice Ritani-Coe, 4-5-1 (3) over four lopsided rounds.
Rock landed at will for the most part, while Ritani-Coe could only show his chin and will as his main weapons.
Scores were 40-36 x 2 and 40-35.
Two-time US Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, of Flint, Michigan made her anticipated professional debut at super middleweight, defeating Baltimore’s Franchon "The Heavy Hitting Diva" Crews, 0-1 by a four round unanimous decision.
Shields landed the bigger punches throughout and landed some bombs in the final round, looking for the knockout she expected to get.
Crews managed to make it through but was swept clean on the scorecards 40-36.
Shields commented after the fight, "It’s not what I wanted but to be called on, last minute, for a fight of this magnitude...I am proud of myself. We will fight again in the future."
A six round featherweight affair between Tyler "Golden Child" McCreary, 12-0 (6), of Toledo and Vincent "Pooh Bear" Jennings, 5-3-1 (4), of Grand Rapids drew boos from the crowd throughout the fight.
McCreary was the more skilled of the two, but neither landed anything significant enough to make any of the rounds obvious in their favor. The two went at it pretty good in the final round, showing some urgency to pull off the win.
In the end it was McCreay my majority decision, 57-57, 59-55, 58-56, which drew more boos from the growing crowd in attendance. Secondsout scored the fight 58-56 for McCreary.
Toledo junior welterweight Sonny "Pretty Boi" Fredrickson, 15-0 (9), earned a hard fought eight round unanimous decision over Gabriel Duluc, 11-2 (2), of Boston.
The fight looked to be even after four rounds with Fredrickson appearing as the better boxer and Duluc putting on pressure consistently.
By the midpoint of the fight, Duluc had a cut over his left eye and the fight went back to Fredrickson’s favor for the duration. He continued landing power punches to the head and body of Duluc with less response from the
Boston native down the stretch.
The judges scored it 78-74 x 2 and 77-75. Secondsout scored the fight 78-74.
In the second bout of the night another Robert Garcia pupil took the stage, impressing the early arena crowd.
Bakhram Murtazaliev, 7-0 (5), of Grozny, Russia scored a second round technical knockout over Botirsher Obidov, 6-1-1 (2), of Uzbekistan after his third recorded knockdown of the round.
The opening round was competitive as both fighters let their hands go, putting a quick halt to the "feeling out" stage. Murtazaliev looked to be on balance after his offensive attack more so than his opponent.
An accidental head butt in the beginning of the second round caused a cut over the left eye of Murtazaliev. Moments later he scored his first knockdown with a left hook to the head of Obidov. He followed up with two more knockdowns shortly after, the later of the two with a big right hand to the head. Referee Vic Drakulich rightfully stopped the fight with eight seconds left in the round.
The two middleweights were scheduled for eight rounds.
In the opening bout of the evening, middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov, 1-0, of Kazakhstan, pounded out a six round unanimous decision over Hempstead, NY native Henry Beckford, 4-6 (1).
Nursultanov, trained by Robert Garcia, put his punches together well on his southpaw opponent. Beckford was game enough to survive rounds and put together some offense, but not enough to steal any rounds on the judges’ scorecards. A clean sweep of 60-54 scores across the board were obvious.
November 19, 2016