Kovalev Ward undercard results: Gvozdyk, Stevens, Shields win; Hooker and Perez draw

Kovalev Ward undercard results: Gvozdyk, Stevens, Shields win; Hooker and Perez draw



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Results from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the undercard fights on the Kovalev vs. Ward card produced several solid results if few surprises.

Claressa Shields won a unanimous decision in her professional debut Saturday against Franchon Crews. Photo: Main Events

SAN DIEGO, November 19, 2016 – Fans awaiting the pound for pound showdown between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward enjoyed a few appetizers provided by the undercard bouts before the main event.

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-3, 16 KOs) of Dallas was supposed to have a coming out party in the co-main event against Darleys Perez (33-2-3, 21 KOs) of Colombia, but the tough Perez had other ideas. Perez systematically clicked off round after round against Hooker, who could never get his motor started. Each fighter got a 97-93 card, with judge Glen Trowbridge scoring it 95-95 for a draw, to the disappointment of everyone in the arena.

Hooker dedicated his fight tonight to his idol, the late two time light welterweight champion Aaron Pryor, who had memorable fights with Alexis Arguello. Pryor died on October 9 at age 60.

Ukrainian light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk had a solid performance against a perennially tough opponent, Isaac Chilemba of South Africa. Photo: HBO Boxing
Ukrainian light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk had a solid performance against a perennially tough opponent, Isaac Chilemba of South Africa. Photo: HBO Boxing

Ukrainian light heavyweight rising star Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) had a solid performance against a perennially tough opponent, stopping Isaac Chilemba of South Africa (24-5-2, 10 KOs). Chilemba took Sergey Kovalev the distance in their 12-round tune-up fight in July. But after eight rounds, trainer Roy Jones Jr. stopped the bout when Chilemba reported he had injured and perhaps broken his hand. “I am devastated. If I hadn’t hurt my right arm in the third round … I was in an incredible amount of pain,” said Chilemba.

Although there weren’t a lot of sparks in the fight and no moment that made fans jump to their feet, Gvozdyk is making his case for a fight down the road with the elite of a division filled with quality talent including Kovalev and Andre Ward.  Gvodyk threw over 100 more punches than Chilemba, and landed 77 power punches to 49 for Chilemba through eight rounds.

Curtis Stevens had to go the distance to defeat James De La Rosa Saturday in Las Vegas. Photo: HBO Boxing
Curtis Stevens had to go the distance to defeat James De La Rosa Saturday in Las Vegas. Photo: HBO Boxing

Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (29-5, 22 KOs) needed a strong performance following his knockout win in May to get back into the middleweight division mix. It seemed he would when he came out strong at the opening bell against James De La Rosa of Texas (23-5, 13 KOs). Stevens, now being trained by Sergey Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson, scored a knockdown in the first round. De La Rosa suffered a cut in the second round but to his credit kept on coming.

Stevens kept up the pace for a few more rounds, but halfway through the fight, Stevens appeared to lose a little steam. It was later reported he hurt his left hand. Stevens was deducted a point in the eighth round for a low blow. De La Rosa won several rounds, but it wasn’t enough. Judges scored it 98-90 and 96-92 twice.

Stevens was the busier fighter based mainly on the first half of the fight. Stevens landed 32 percent of his total punches (148 of 457), De La Rosa only 18 percent (123 of 672). Stevens landed 45 percent of his power punches (117 of 259), De La Rosa only 31 percent (57 of 183).

“I give myself a C-minus,” said Stevens. Could have thrown my jab a little more … He’s got a hard ass head. But I am glad I got the win.”

Stevens seems headed toward a bout with Canadian middleweight David Lemieux, also a winner on the Canelo vs. Khan undercard and who’s won another bout since then. The pair said in May they’d enjoy a fight together. Stevens will need to bring more ammunition to a fight with Lemieux; let’s see it happen.

Claressa Shields wins a unanimous decision in her professional debut on the big stage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, Communities Digital News
Claressa Shields wins a unanimous decision in her professional debut on the big stage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, Communities Digital News

Two time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan (1-0) faced a determined opponent in her professional debut, former amateur rival, Franchon Crews of Baltimore, also making her pro debut (0-1). Crews came out strong and proved she wouldn’t be a pushover for Shields. The pair battled through their four round fight. Shields appeared nervous in the early rounds, but settled down and landed a strong right hook at the end of the third round and again in the fourth. Shields won in a shutout on all four cards, although Crews deserved the first round.

It’s not what I wanted but to be called on, last minute, for a fight of this magnitude, I am proud of myself. We will fight again in the future,” said Shields. The small but engaged crowd showed their appreciation for the effort made by both women.

To the displeasure of his booing fans who didn’t see it this close, featherweight Tyler McCreary of Toledo (12-0, 6 KOs) defeated Vincent Jennings of Grand Rapids, Michigan (5-3-1, 4 KOs) in a majority decision across six rounds. Judge Glenn Feldman scored it 57-57, Eric Cheek had it 59-55 and Steve Morrow had it 58-56.

Middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev of Russia (7-0, 5 KOs) knocked down Botirsher Obidov of Uzbekistan (6-1-1, 2 KOs) three times enroute to a second round stoppage. Photo: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev of Russia (7-0, 5 KOs) knocked down Botirsher Obidov of Uzbekistan (6-1-1, 2 KOs) three times enroute to a second round stoppage. Photo: David Spagnolo, Main Events

Middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev of Russia (7-0, 5 KOs) knocked down Botirsher Obidov of Uzbekistan (6-1-1, 2 KOs) three times enroute to a second round stoppage.

Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov of Kazakhstan (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Henry Beckford of New York (4-5, 1 KO) in his professional debut. Photo: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov of Kazakhstan (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Henry Beckford of New York (4-5, 1 KO) in his professional debut. Photo: David Spagnolo, Main Events

Also winning on the undercard:

Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov of Kazakhstan (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Henry Beckford of New York (4-5, 1 KO) in his professional debut.

Junior welterweight Sonny Fredrickson of Toledo, Ohio (15-0, 9 KOs) remained undefeated in a solid effort over Gabriel Duluc of Boston (11-2, 2 KOs). Judges had it 78-74 (x2) and 77-75.

Heavyweight Darmani Rock of Philadelphia (6-0, 4 KOs) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision (40-36 X2 and 40-35) over Brice Ritani-Coe of San Pedro, California (4-5-1, 3 KOs).

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

Copyright © 2016 by Falcon Valley Group

 

 

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