Derek Gionta was ringside and filed this report
Claressa "T-Rex" Shields earned world titles in a third weight division, making history as the first boxer to do so in only ten fights as a professional Friday night at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City.
Shields dominated Ivana Habazin, 20-4, (7), of Croatia, over ten one-sided rounds in front of a solid crowd in the Showtime main event.
Shields, now 10-0, of Flint, Michigan, captures the WBO and WBC 154 lb. titles adding to her collection at 160 and 168 lbs.
After a quiet opening round, Shields picked up the pace and picked her shots to Hazabins torso and finished with good power shots to the head.
Habazin did all she could to survive after taking a knee in the sixth round after eating a few more power punches.
Much of the same continued as Shields could not finish Habazin inside of ten rounds.
Final scores were 100-90, 100-89, and 99-89.
Shields continued some trash talk towards Habazin after the fight and has recently discussed the possibility of stepping into the cage in pursuit of bigger challenges. She’s taken some harsh criticism lately for those comparing her to some of the best male boxers in the world and low KO ratio.
The former two-time gold medalist and now four-time, three division world champion will continue her path and look to take on bigger challenges whether it be in a boxing ring or the unfamiliar scene of the cage.
Philadelphia welterweight Jaron "Boots" Ennis, 25-0 (23), made a splash in the Showtime Co-feature bout of the night by dismantling Kazakhstan’s Bakhtiyar Eyubov, 14-2-1 (12), in the fourth round of a scheduled ten.
Ennis came out firing early on, landing from his Orthodox and southpaw stance, dropping Eyubov twice in the first round.
The Kazakhstan welterweight hung in tough the next two rounds but took continued punishment before referee Earl Brown finally stopped it at the :34 mark of the fourth.
Ennis, trained by his father Bozy, has been off to a great start and, in my opinion, was the best looking fighter on the card. Big things are to come for this young man who is only in his early 20’s.
In the first Showtime-televised bout of the evening, the TV viewers and fans were given what was the obvious fight of the night.
Elin Cederroos, 8-0, (4), of Sweden earned the WBA and IBF Super Middleweight titles over NY’s Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa, 12-2 (7), in a highly competitive and entertaining ten rounds that came down to one point on the judges’ cards.
Espinosa, the crowd favorite, landed clean in the opening round as she got off to a nice start. The tide quickly turned as Cederroos dropped Espinosa in the second and beginning to make separation in the right using her height and straight punches.
The next few rounds were much of the same, as the back and forth action leaned in Cederroos’ favor as she continually found the mark with her right hand.
Espinosa picked up the pace and got back to landing her right hand in consistent fashion, drawing an ovation from the Pro-Espinosa crowd. She found herself in a tough ninth round as Cederroos controlled the action.
As the final round approached both fighters knew it could come down to the last few moments. Espinosa fought with urgency with blood streaming down the nose of Cederroos she took advantage of the moment.
Many at press level felt Cederroos was ahead clearly on the cards but the judges differed with 95-94 scores across the board for Cederroos.
Maxboxing scored the fight 95-94 for Cederroos.
After the fight both fighters showed their professionalism and respect for one another after Jimmy Lennon Jr announced the scores. Espinosa felt she did enough to win while Cederroos was happy with her performance and felt she controlled the fight.
Espinosa promoter Lou DiBella had this to say afterward: "That was one of the greatest female fights I’ve ever seen. I thought Alicia pulled it off but what a fight. I’ll watch this one on TV tomorrow as a fan."
Cederroos was questioned as to whether she would like a fight with Shields but declined to comment on that match up.
Russian heavyweight Apti Davtaev, 19-0-1 (18), scored a knockout over West Virginia native Keith Barr, 20-13-1 (8), in the third round of a scheduled six in the final undercard fight of the night.
Davtaev, a Kronk Gym fighter trained by Sugar Hill, dropped Barr in the second and third round with big right hands before the fight was finally stopped at the :38 second mark of the third. Davtaev called out fellow heavyweight Trevor Bryan after the fight.
The second bout of the night was a fairly competitive welterweight scrap between Detroit prospect Jacob Bonas, 5-0-1 (2), and Christian Rivera, 1-1-1, of Highwood Illinois.
Bonas controlled the opening round for the most part before getting caught with a big right hand that sent him a few steps back and down on the cards after one round.
The ensuing rounds Bonas, trained by Javan Hill, picked up the pace and landed combinations to the head and body of Rivera. Rivera answered with very little offensively but showed a big heart as he made it to the final bell.
Scores were 39-37 across the board.
In the opening bout of the night Detroit’s Joseph Bonas, 7-0 (6), stopped Steubenville, Ohio’s Glenn Mitchell, 3-5 (3), in the second round of a scheduled four. Bonas landed some good over hand rights in the opening round as he slowly stepped towards his taller opponent. Mitchell fought off the ropes and used his jab and right hand to keep Bonas at bay. In round two, Mitchell started off better than the first, landing a clean right hand with his back on the ropes. Bonas continued to press forward and connected with a hard-left hook to the head – stopping Mitchell in his tracks. His follow up onslaught promoted the rightful referee to call it off at the 1:55 mark of the round.
Bonas, trained by Hill, looks to remain busy and 2020 and make up for some lost time. The recently signed Salita Promotions fighter came in at 152 lbs., while Mitchell, typically a 130-135 lbs boxer came in three lbs. under the contract weight of 149 lbs. Bonas is the bother of Jacob who are both with Salita’s promotion.