By Jeff Zimmerman and David Finger at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
In a fight featuring one of boxing’s hottest young prospects, New York’s Teofimo Lopez, 134.8, dominated gritty contender Diego Magdaleno, 134.7, in a fight for the NABF, NABA and USBA lightweight titles. Magdaleno, who twice competed for the world title, was widely considered Lopez’s toughest foe to date but for the first three rounds Lopez dominated him so thoroughly that ringsiders began to wonder if he was ready for Vasyl Lomachenko right now. By the second round Lopez appeared supremely confident as he boxed with aggression. A two punch combination to the face seemed to open a cut on the nose of Magdaleno and by the end of the round Lopez had Magdaleno covering up in the corner as the New Yorker unloaded on him. Magdaleno spun out but it was clear to everyone at ringside that the Las Vegas native was hurt.
However Lopez seemed to ease up in round four. Throwing less combinations, Lopez instead seemed to be looking for that one big punch that would end things. Lopez continued to fight on cruise control in round five and although he easily won the round it appeared that the fight might end up going the distance. But he found his second wind in round six, dropping Magdaleno with a picture perfect left hook in the final thirty seconds of the round. Magdaleno rose on wobbly legs but gamely tried to fight out of trouble. Lopez continued to tee off on Magdaleno in round seven as Magdaleno tried to bluff his opponent by waving Lopez in. Lopez was not fooled however and he threw a pair of hard left hands that sent Magaleno to the canvas in a heap. The fight was waved off at 1:08 of the seventh round, establishing Teofimo Lopez as arguably the most exciting prospect in the sport of boxing. With the win Lopez improves to 12-0, 10 KOs while Magdaleno falls to 31-3, 13 KOs.
In the fifth fight of the night boxing fans in Texas we treated to a first taste of what may very well be one of boxing’s next superstars and undefeated Janibek Alimkhanuly, 162, of Kazakhstan dominated the seasoned Steven Martinez, 160.4, of the Bronx. Martinez came into the fight with a reputation as something of a borderline contender, having lost close decision to then undefeated Terrell Gausha in 2016 and then another decision to then undefeated Christopher Pearson in 2014. Although Martinez had come up short when he stepped in with top level opponents in the past he had never been stopped and always gave a solid performance. But against the talented southpaw from Almaty Martinez was dominated from the opening bell. Alimkhanuly cruised in round one and continued to box beautifully in the second, teeing off on the New Yorker in the closing seconds of the round. The Kazak wisely incorporated the body attack in round three and dropped Martinez to a knee with a perfectly times counterpunch in the opening minute of the round. By round four Alimkhanuly began to toy with Martinez, trapping him on the ropes before stepping back to wave his opponent in. A vicious left uppercut snapped the head of Martinez back in the closing minute of round four and the Kazak continued to dominate at the start of round five. Seconds into the round another left uppercut snapped the head of the New Yorker back, prompting his corner to throw in the towel. Referee Neal Young waved the fight off at 0:21 of the fifth round. With the win Alimkhanuly improved to 5-0, 2 KOs while Martinez slips to 18-5, 13 KOs.
Welterweight Enriko Gogokhiia (10-0, 5 KOs) dropped Vitor Freitas (15-4, 9 KOs) twice and went on to score a 3rd round TKO in a scheduled 6 to remain undefeated. In the 1st round, Gogokhiia landed a single left hand to the body that send Freitas across the ring and on the canvas. Freitas quickly recovered, but in the 3rd round after five consecutive right jabs by Gogokhiia, another left hand landed on the belt of Freitas and put him down again. Freitas tried to get up but quickly went back down to his knee and the fight was halted by referee Neal Young. The official time was 2:04 of round 3
New Mexico’s undefeated world ranked contender Jason Sanchez, 125.4, had his first taste of the big stage as he stepped in the ring with Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Mexico’s Daniel Olea, 125.5, in the third fight of the night. Sanchez boxed well early on but the aggression he showed in Panama City in his last fight quickly emerged when he rattled Olea with a well times overhand right that sent the Mexican back into the corner a minute into the fight. Olea covered up and quickly moved out of the corner but he was unable to keep the Albuquerque native off of him. Sanchez turned into a hunter, stalking his prey, and showed a dazzling array of punches as he mixed up heavy punches upstairs with a solid body attack that had the Mexican doubling over at times. In round two Jason boxed well early on and continued his effective counterpunching as Olea tried to lunge in with looping punches. Although Sanchez did lose his mouthpiece in the second round he maintained complete control of the fight and timed a picture perfect overhand right that sent Olea crashing to the canvas. Although Olea rose on wobbly legs referee Gregorio Alvarez waved the fight off at 1:35 of round two. With the win Sanchez improves to 14-0, 7 KOs while Olea drops to 13-7-2, 5 KOs.
Super welterweights Ismail Iliev (11-1-1, 3 KOs) and Pat Day (17-2-1, 6 KO) put on an entertaining back and forth scrap over 10 rounds at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Iliev was the aggressor early on stalking Day across the ring and using a quick jab that kept the taller Day at bay. By the 3rd round, both guys were exchanging in the center of the ring as Day, mostly counter punching, began to land his right hand and left hook. From the 4th round through the rest of the fight, it was much of the same, as Iliev threw multiple punches while Day countered occasionally with a big blow to slow down Iliev temporarily. The judges preferred the heavier punches from Day as he won the unanimous decision 98-92, 96-94, 97-93. Day claimed the vacant IBF Intercontinental title and took the WBC Continental Americas belt held by Iliev.
In the opening fight of the night in Frisco, Texas undefeated junior middleweight prospect Bakhram Murtazaliev, 153.6, of Chelyabinsk Russia scored a workmanlike ninth round stoppage over New Haven Connecticut’s Elvin Ayala, 154, in a fight scheduled for ten rounds. Murtazaliev was making the first defense of his WBC USNBC title and looked all the part of a world class contender early on as he came out swinging at the bell. However Ayala, to his credit, seemed eager to trade bombs with the young prospect. Although Ayala didn’t fare well in round one with the strategy he nonetheless kept throwing hard punches of his own, landing just enough to keep the Russian honest. A picture perfect counterpunch sent Ayala to a knee, prompting referee Neal Young to call a knockdown, and although Ayala seemed to be altering his strategy to one of survival in round three he nonetheless dug deep and was even able to land a right hand of his own in round four that seemed to rattle the Russian. For the next three rounds the fight seemed to settle into a pattern, with the Russian stalking the Conneticut native but not seriously hurting him, but that all change in round eight when a hard left hook badly rattled Ayala in closing minute of the round. Murtazaliev smelled blood and upped the pressure in round nine, landing a hard overhand right that hurt Ayala before dropping him a second time with a combination upstairs. Murtazaliev unloaded on the helpless Ayala, prompting referee Neal Young to jump in at 2:05 of the round. With the win Murtazaliev improves to 15-0, 12 KOs while Ayala slips to 29-13-1, 13 KOs.