UNDERCARD AC­TION

Matt Christie sees Wel­born give it ev­ery­thing he’s got against Hurd

Boxing News - - Contents -

Brits in ac­tion sup­port­ing spec­tac­u­lar Wilder-fury show in Los An­ge­les

IN the end, the fairy­tale was in the tak­ing part for Ja­son Wel­born, one of the un­like­li­est world ti­tle chal­lengers in re­cent years. The like­able Tivi­dale man gave his all against WBA and IBF su­per-wel­ter­weight cham­pion Jar­rett Hurd be­fore an ex­quis­ite and ef­fort­less right hand sank into his stom­ach in the fourth round and ended mat­ters.

The Bri­tish cham­pion started at pace and threw punches with gusto. A case could be made for him win­ning the open­ing round such was his su­pe­rior out­put. But as early as the sec­ond, the warn­ing signs were shin­ing red – just like the Mid­lan­der’s ribcage. When in close, Hurd was con­tent to let his chal­lenger hurl at full pelt, seem­ingly safe in the knowl­edge that when he re­turned the favour, the game would be up.

Into the fourth and Wel­born went for broke. Hurd cov­ered on the ropes, most of his punches hit his gloves but, sud­denly, some got through. Prov­ing some­thing of a nui­sance to the Ac­co­keek, Mary­land man, he upped his out­put. Wel­born roared his ri­val on. Hurd granted the re­quest and de­liv­ered the sear­ing fin­isher. Ref­eree Dr Lou Moret fin­ished his count at 1-55.

Ar­guably the most im­pres­sive per­for­mance on the undercard came from Lon­doner, Joe Joyce. The heavy­weight prospect – now trained by Abel Sanchez – ex­hib­ited all his ex­ten­sive ed­u­ca­tion in style against former star­let,

Joe Hanks.

The end came at just 2-25 of the first round. Joyce con­nected with a huge right hand and watched as Hanks tot­ter­ered drunk­enly in his own cor­ner. Joyce, some­what sport­ingly, waited for Hanks to re­gain his bal­ance. With the stand­ing eight-count the English­man was wait­ing for not com­ing, he walked in and wal­loped Hanks with a left hook.

“The Fu­ture” top­pled back­wards, ref­eree Jerry Cantu dis­pensed with the count, and it took sev­eral min­utes be­fore he was able to stand up.

Also at heavy­weight was Cuba’s Luis Or­tiz slowly bat­ter­ing the pluck out of

Travis Kauff­man. The un­der­dog had crit­i­cised Or­tiz, or more specif­i­cally box­ing com­mis­sion­ers, for fail­ing mul­ti­ple drug tests in the past and be­ing al­lowed to re­turn. But it was south­paw Or­tiz dish­ing out the pun­ish­ment in Los An­ge­les.

Or­tiz dropped Kauff­man in a heap in the sixth from an un­sighted left hand and scaled a cor­ner post to cel­e­brate, only to be greeted by his ri­val stand­ing when he turned.

A right decked Read­ing, PA’S Kauff­man again in the eighth and any time after that it should have been stopped, such was the im­pos­si­bil­ity of an upset. An­other knock­down fol­lowed in the 10th and fi­nal ses­sion, this time from a left hook, be­fore yet more pun­ish­ment even­tu­ally per­suaded ref­eree Thomas Tay­lor to end things at 1-58.

Philadel­phia’s Ju­lian Wil­liams tested the re­solve of Fran­cisco Javier Cas­tro in the open­ing round of their su­per-wel­ter­weight bout and found the Mex­i­can want­ing. A left hook rocked him back and Wil­liams, mul­ti­ple lev­els above his op­po­nent, picked holes in his ri­val’s de­fence with ease.

A se­ries of left hands, sprayed high and low, hit the tar­get mid­way through the sec­ond round. Cas­tro fell to the can­vas only to coura­geously re­gain his foot­ing.

The in­evitable fol­lowed within 30 sec­onds when a left hook again smashed into Cas­tro. He stayed up­right but his senses had gone. Ref­eree Ray Corona

stepped in to end the mis­match at 2-40 of round two.

Open­ing pro­ceed­ings in front of a smat­ter­ing of fans was More­cambe’s

Isaac Lowe, Tyson Fury’s cousin, who im­pres­sively stopped Ar­gentina’s Lu­cas

Rafael Baez at 1-59 of the fifth round. With more than a hint of the fam­ily swag, Lowe bossed the ac­tion early on. A Lowe right hand landed flush with lit­tle ef­fect in the fourth and sug­gested Baez might last the full 10-round course. When a left decked the South Amer­i­can in the next ses­sion such con­jec­ture was ex­posed. Baez made it to his feet, but an­other left sent him down again.

Ref­eree Tay­lor res­cued Baez to hand Lowe the WBC In­ter­na­tional feath­er­weight strap.

There was also a vic­tory for the Wilder fam­ily when Deon­tay’s lit­tle brother, cruis­er­weight Marsel­los Wilder, de­feated Bak­ers­field, Cal­i­for­nia’s David

Damore via four-round points de­ci­sion. Wilder dis­played all the reck­less aban­don of his big bro, and plenty of his ef­fec­tive­ness, when a huge right sent Damore down and al­most out at the end of the sec­ond. But he beat ref­eree Corona’s count.

Damore had some suc­cess of his own. A right scuffed Wilder’s tem­ple to briefly wob­ble the favourite and at the fi­nal bell Damore raised his arms.

It fooled no one of course. Wilder de­served the 40-35 scores handed in by all three judges.

Former IBF feather and su­per­feath­er­weight ti­tlist Robert Guer­rero re­turned at the age of 35, and 18 months out of ac­tion, with a two-round blitz­ing of the over­matched Adam Mate.

The Hun­gar­ian went down from a left to the body at the end of the first, be­fore two sep­a­rate left hooks to the head caused an­other two knock­downs in the next ses­sion to cur­tail the dread­fully matched af­fair. Ref­eree Mr Corona halted the con­test at 2-25. Light-fly­weight prospect Jessie

Ro­driguez (San An­to­nio) bossed his six-rounder against fel­low Texan Jo­sue

Mo­rales (Hous­ton) from the start. A sweep­ing right hand to the body mo­men­tar­ily halted Mo­rales from com­ing for­ward in round two, be­fore a left hook – de­liv­ered after sneak­ing in­side per­fectly – had him in brief trou­ble in the fourth. After six rounds of the Ger­ard White-of­fi­ci­ated bout, all three judges notched 60-54 for the un­beaten Ro­driguez.

Two un­seen bouts oc­curred after the main event, and dur­ing the Wilder­fury press con­fer­ence. Mex­ico’s Car­los

Li­cona won the va­cant IBF strawweight ti­tle via 12-round split de­ci­sion (115113 twice and 113-115) over Filipino

Mark An­thony Bar­riga, be­fore L.A heavy­weight gate­keeper Chris Arre­ola closed the show with vic­tory over Hous­ton’s Mau­renzo Smith. The Texan re­tired on his stool after six.

THE VER­DICT Hurd beats brave Wel­born to set up show­down with Jer­mell Charlo in 2019.

Pho­tos: ES­THER LIN/SHOW­TIME

JUST TOO GOOD: Hurd bides his time be­fore go­ing on the at­tack

HEAVY HANDS: The bearded Kauff­man takes a hefty whack as he tries to land one of his own

DE­MO­LI­TION MAN: Joyce dis­torts the fea­tures of Hanks

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