By Derek Bonnett: At Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA, four young contenders put their rising status on the line against mostly improved opposition. Deontay Wilder made his step-up in class look easy as did Jermall Charlo. Francisco Vargas had to put in the rounds, but advanced his credentials in his division. Gary Russell Jr. remained perfect, but has fans at their wits end desiring him to take on a world class opponent. The card was aired by SHOBox.
In the main event, Deontay Wilder provided fans with an exhibition in power as he blew out the usually durable Siarhei Liakhovich at 1:43 of round one. A right hand rocked the former WBO heavyweight champion and a second put him down. The referee called a halt without a count after seeing Liakhovich’s reaction to Wilder’s power. Wilder kept his perfect record intact at 29-0 (29).Liakhovich crashed to 25-6 (16).
In the fight of the night, Francisco Vargas, 28, put on a strong performance in defeating the game Brandon Bennett in a ten round super featherweight bout. The three judges favored the Mexican fighter by margins of 99-91, 99-90, and 98-92. Vargas remained unbeaten at 17-0-1 (13). Bennett tasted defeat for the first time in moving to 16-1 (7).