Heart, power and guts on display in Las Vegas
For almost 15 minutes, ranking contenders Jose Zepeda and Ivan Baranchyk went to war Saturday night at “the bubble” in Las Vegas, NV.
Each fighter scored multiple knockdowns until Zepeda emphatically ended things in round five.
The super aggressive Baranchyk came out attacking with left hooks in what would prove to be a rollercoaster of an opening round. Zepeda, a southpaw, looked surprised, but absorbed the blows and fired jabs. Until a minute to go in the round. A right-hand floored Zepeda for the second time in his career. Baranchyk repeated the feat near the end of the heat.
Zepeda, who’s scored 25 knockouts in his career, sent Baranchyk to the canvas with a wicked left in round two. He tried to end things but found himself on the canvas again—courtesy of a strong right from Baranchyk. He beat the count and returned fire.
In the early seconds of round three, Zepeda clobbered Baranchyk with a vicious left to the chin. Baranchyk collapsed on his right side. Somehow, he got up. He fought back on wobbly legs as Zepeda tattooed him with jabs. Baranchyk ripped Zepeda with a combination in round four. Zepeda came back with a wicked hook to the gut. Baranchyk landed an uppercut that Zepeda’s relatives might have felt. Zepeda took it and, a minute later, slammed the wild Baranchyk with a left that collapsed him. Baranchyk told referee Kenny Bayless he was OK.
Both fighters had been down three times entering round five. Zepeda, as determined as Baranchyk, connected with left hooks. Baranchyk loaded up and fired. A huge right sent Zepeda (33-2. 26 KOs) into the ropes in what was counted as a knockdown. He appeared ok and proved it as he clobbered Baranchyk (20-2, 13 KOs) with a brutal right and check left hook that bent Baranchyk in half-his leg beneath his prone body.
There was no way he was beating the count this time. Thankfully, after a tense five minutes on the mat, Baranchyk got to his feet. He was later transferred to a Las Vegas hospital.
The time was 2:50 seconds into round five
“That was a hard fight,” Zepeda. “It was a great fight.”
Talented Gabriel Flores Jr. (19-0, 6 KOs) flashed fast hands and feet over 10 rounds to win a wide 10-round decision over former ranked contender Ryan Kielczweski.
The scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Flores.
In the opening stanza, Flores Jr. scored points with numerous jabs and right hands. Kielczweski landed a right and wobbled Flores with a left hook. Perhaps the blow woke Flores up. He upped the ante the rest of the fight- his edge in speed was obvious.
Flores,20, ripped home some body shots in round three. Kielczweski,31, stalked but was basically ineffective. Flores went back to the belly in round four. Kielczweski (30-5, 11 KOs) finally landed a blow, but Flores was in control. Rounds five, six and seven were more of the same. Flores, bouncing and moving, landed triple jabs. He continued to mix up his shots consistently. Kielczweski connected with his own jab. Flores smiled and flashed a combination, pumicated by a serious uppercut.
Entering the 10th and final heat, Kielczweski needed a miracle. Flores had won almost every round. Kielczweski gave it the old the college try. He connected with a left and right. Flores moved away and drove Kielczweski back with what looked like a bolo punch. A check hook also connected.
“I need to stay in the pocket more,” said Flores.
Undefeated heavyweight Guido Vianello was luck to stay that way after six tough rounds with crafty Kingsley Ibeh. Vianello, a big favorite entering the bout, was staggered in round three and sustained an ugly cut over his left eye. Ibeh, ate some hard blows but appeared to have the edge.
Scores were 59-55 Ibeh, and 57-57 twice.