By John DiSanto at ringside
Photos: Darryl Cobb Jr.
In a thrilling middleweight fight, Maciej Sulecki, Warsaw, 28-1, 11 KOs, won by unanimous decision over Gabriel Rosado, North Philly, 24-12-1, 14 KOs, in their 10 rounder on Friday night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The fight was a punch out, with Sulecki knocking Rosado down in rounds one and eight, and Rosado returning the favor twice in the ninth. Both fighters landed freely during the bout. Sulecki had an edge as the bout progressed, but Rosado stayed in the fight and capitalized when Sulecki began to wear down. Had the ninth round lasted a bit longer, Rosado might have pulled an upset, but Sulecki was saved by the bell. Rosado jumped right on Sulecki in the final round, but could not finish him. All three judges scored the fight for Sulecki, 95-93 and 95-91 twice. My tally favored Sulecki 93-92. With the victory, Sulecki claimed the vacant WBO international middleweight title belt.
In a scheduled 10-round women’s lightweight world title unification bout, Katie Taylor, Bray, Ireland, 13-0, 6 KOs, dominated Rose Volante, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 14-1, 8 KOs, to remain undefeated. She dropped Volante with a right in the opening round, won each subsequent round, and finally stopped the over-matched Brazilian at 1:40 of round nine. There were no more knockdowns, but the steady stream of punishment forced referee Benjy Esteves to intervene. The win sent Taylor home with three of the four world title belts (WBA, WBO, IBF).
Number one-ranked WBC lightweight contender, Luke Campbell, 20-2, 16 KOs, Hull, England, stopped Adrian Young, of Sinaloa, Mexico, 26-6-2, 20 KOs, at 1:37 of round five. Campbell knocked Young down in round four, cutting his left eye in the process. A round later the southpaw landed a series of hard lefts that staggered Young across the ring and prompted referee Eric Dali to step in.
Camden, NJ, featherweight southpaw Raymond Ford, 1-0, won his professional debut by unanimous decision over Wilmington, DE’s Weusi Johnson, 3-11. Ford scored a knockdown with an overhand left in round-one, and won by three scores of 39-36.
In an 8-round welterweight fight, 2016 Gold Medalist from Kazakhstan, Daniyar Yeleussinov, 6-0, 3 KOs, beat Silverio Ortiz, of Mexico, 37-24, 18 KOs, by unanimous decision. Yeleussinov put Ortiz down with a flurry in round seven, but an extra punch landed while Ortiz was down. So, ref Benjy Esteves took a point from Yeleussinov. After eight, all three official scores favored Yeleussinov, 79-70 and 79-71 twice.
In an intense cross-town battle of Philadelphia lightweights, North Philly’s Avery Sparrow, 10-1, 3 KOs, 1 NC, edged South Philly’s Hank Lundy, 29-8-1, 14 KOs, in a 10-round battle. Sparrow scored two knockdowns in round two and built a solid lead over the first half. However, Lundy rallied down the stretch to tighten the score against a tiring Sparrow. The fight itself was an exciting two-way contest. Both landed hard shots that wobbled the other, and launched many vicious exchanges, but it was the two early knockdowns that kept Sparrow ahead on my card, 95-93. The official judges had it 94-94, and 96-92 & 95-93 for Sparrow. I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch one bit.
As the early crowd trickled into the Liacouras Center in North Philly, super middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard, 20-0, 13 KOs, halted Mexican Victor Fonseca, 17-10-1, 14 KOs, in round five. Ballard dominated most of the action, and finally wilted Fonseca with an extended body attack in the fifth. There were no knockdowns, but referee Eric Dali stepped in at the 2:11 mark.