STARS AND STRIPES
Eric Armit rounds up some American action
IRISH middleweight hope Jason Quigley (159 1/2lbs) recorded a unanimous decision victory over experienced Mexican
(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]