Eric Ar­mit rounds up some Amer­i­can ac­tion

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IR­ISH mid­dleweight hope Ja­son Quigley (159 1/2lbs) recorded a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory over ex­pe­ri­enced Mex­i­can

Freddy Her­nan­dez

(159 1/2lbs) on a Golden Boy Pro­mo­tions show at the Fan­tasy Springs Casino in In­dio, Cal­i­for­nia on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 18.

When­ever Quigley stayed on the out­side and boxed he was in con­trol, but too of­ten dur­ing the sec­ond half of the fight he let him­self get dragged into a brawl. He was cut in a clash of heads in the fourth and by a punch in the sev­enth, and Her­nan­dez suf­fered a bad gash when heads col­lided in that round. It was not one of Cal­i­for­nia-based Quigley’s best nights.

Judges Ale­jan­dro Rochin and Zac Young both scored it 98-92, while Ed­ward Her­nan­dez Snr tal­lied 99-91, all for Quigley, 15-0 (11). Her­nan­dez falls to 34-10 (22). The ref­eree was Lou Moret.

On Satur­day Oc­to­ber 20 at the CFE Arena in Or­lando, the third quar­ter-fi­nal of the WBSS ban­tamweight tour­na­ment saw Puerto Ri­can Em­manuel Ro­driguez (118lbs) hold off a strong fin­ish from Aus­tralia’s Ja­son Moloney (117 3/4lbs) to earn a split de­ci­sion and re­tain his IBF ti­tle for the first time.

Ro­driguez was quicker and more ac­cu­rate with his punches over the early rounds. From the sixth, Moloney upped his pace and fo­cused on the body more. The snap seemed to go out of the tir­ing Ro­driguez’s shots, and Moloney chased him down over the last four frames. He looked to have won them all, but the judges de­cided that the early lead Ro­driguez had built up was enough to give him a nar­row win.

Alex Levin and Al­fredo Polanco both scored it 115-113 for Ro­driguez, while Hol­ger Wie­mann had Moloney in front 115-113. Ro­driguez, 19-0 (12), goes on to meet Naoya Inoue in the semi-fi­nal. Moloney, 17-1 (14), an­nounced his ar­rival on the world scene with a ster­ling per­for­mance in a crack­ing con­test. The ref­eree was Leszek Jankowiak.

On the same Sauer­land show, Mi­amibased Cuban Yu­nier Dor­ti­cos (199 3/4lbs) ad­vanced to the fi­nal four of the WBSS cruis­er­weight com­pe­ti­tion with a hard-fought unan­i­mous ver­dict tri­umph over Ma­teusz Master­nak (198 3/4lbs).

The harder-punch­ing Dor­ti­cos found gaps in Master­nak’s de­fence early on, and by the third round Master­nak was cut around both eyes. The tough Pole did not buckle, how­ever, and came into the fight in the mid­dle ses­sions. Dor­ti­cos’ power punches gave him the edge over the ninth and 10th, and de­spite a big ef­fort from Master­nak in the clos­ing two rounds, it was not enough to swing the re­sult his way.

Jeremy Hayes and Ig­na­cio Robles both saw it 115-113, while Fred Fluty marked 116-112, all in favour of for­mer WBA belt-holder Dor­ti­cos, who will face An­drew Tabiti in the semi-fi­nal. Dor­ti­cos im­proves to 23-1 (21). Master­nak drops to 41-5 (28). Telis As­si­me­nios was the ref­eree.

Also on Oc­to­ber 20, Dal­las’ Rob Brant (158 1/4lbs) sprang a ma­jor up­set as he eas­ily out­pointed Tokyo’s Ry­ota Mu­rata (159 1/4lbs) to win the sec­ondary WBA mid­dleweight bauble in­side Las Ve­gas’ Park The­ater (Top Rank/teiken/greg Co­hen). Brant boxed a clever fight on the back foot, spear­ing the ad­vanc­ing Mu­rata with jabs and scor­ing with straight rights and hooks to the body. Mu­rata was just too slow, whereas Brant set a siz­zling pace and fired out rapid com­bi­na­tions. Mu­rata did just enough to keep the bout close over the first six rounds, but then Brant swept the last six ses­sions for a wide unan­i­mous de­ci­sion win – 119-109 twice (Eric Cheek and Burt A. Cle­ments) and (118-110) Tim Cheatham. Brant, 24-1 (16), was a to­tally dif­fer­ent fighter from the one who froze against Juer­gen Braehmer in the WBSS su­per-mid­dleweight tour­na­ment last year. Mu­rata, 14-2 (11), mean­while, was a huge dis­ap­point­ment. Vik Drakulich of­fi­ci­ated.

On the un­der­card, Belfast feath­er­weight prospect Michael Con­lan (126 1/4lbs) halted Ital­ian

Ni­cola Cipol­letta (125 1/4lbs) in seven rounds (set for eight). Af­ter be­ing on the re­ceiv­ing end of some fierce body punches, Cipol­letta quickly went into his shell and was tak­ing heavy pun­ish­ment when ref­eree Rus­sell Mora stopped the fight at 1-55. Con­lan, 9-0 (6), de­serves bet­ter tests than Cipol­letta, 14-7-2 (4).

THE VER­DICT Quigley con­tin­ues to learn, two more WBSS semi-fi­nal­ists are con­firmed and Brant shocks Mu­rata.


BRAWL: Quigley [right] is in con­trol when he keeps Her­nan­dez at range


CLEVER: Brant boxes well on the back foot


NAR­ROW WIN: Ro­driguez has to hold off Moloney [right] to re­tain

MA­JOR UP­SET: Mu­rata is a huge dis­ap­point­ment, as Brant cel­e­brates [be­low]

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