SAN DIEGO, Calif., Augsut 18, 2018 – Boxing is re-establishing its presence in Atlantic City after a four year absence, with a solid card for the second time in two weeks on Saturday. Fans along the Jersey Shore were treated to more knockout wins along the Boardwalk at the Ocean Resort Casino in Top Rank Boxing’s two main events.
American heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings of nearby Philadelphia (24-2, 14 KOs) advanced his cause by getting off the canvas in the fourth round to score a TKO win in the ninth round against Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko (41-4, 26 KOs) of Germany via Russia for the IBF International and NABO heavyweight titles.
Jennings got off to a solid start behind an excellent left jab, establishing distance against Dimitrenko, who outweighed Jennings 257 pounds to 225 pound at Friday’s weigh-in. But in moving to the right, he exposed his left side, and Dimitrenko took advantage of it with a solid right hand shot to the temple early in the fourth round. Bryant got off the canvas and did a good job of surviving the two minutes left in the round.
Through the next few rounds of the fight, Jennings changed his approach, fighting on the inside to try and avoid another big punch, while delivering body shots and the occasional upper cut. It was a smart approach and it got Jennings back on track in the fight.
Bryant backed off against behind the left jab, and started re-establishing control of the fight. He got Dimitrenko’s attention with several good punches in the eighth round, dropping him to the canvas twice in the eighth round. Dimitrenko survived, but not for long. As the ninth got underway, Jennings found the target with a superb right upper cut, and referee Allen Huggins waived off the fight without a count at 1:56 of the ninth round.
Dimitrenko deserved a count before being counted out
Dimitrenko deserved a full count and assessment by Huggins at the least before calling a halt to the fight. Referees generally get the benefit of the doubt in my book in making decisions to stop a fight early, but give Dimitrenko the count he deserved.
“What should I say? It was not amateur boxing, we are professionals,” said Dimitrenko after the fight. “I am 36, and he is 34. It was not correct. I stand up, and I was ready to continue the fight. We are not small “children, we are pro fighters.”
Dimitrenko says he’d like a rematch. “It was a very nice fight, and I hope we will continue the fight. People want to see the rematch, I hope we will get the rematch. In my opinion, I was in front. This is the heavyweight division. I was ready to continue the fight.”
Of getting off the canvas from his own knockdown to win, Jennings said, “It was one of those things when you prepare for a 12 round fight, especially in the heavyweight division. I was in good condition … I did what I had to do. I credit it to me being in shape.”
Bryant Jennings said the path to his win wasn’t unexpected to him. “A lot of the things that happen to me is just confirmation. I know it’s going to be a fight, he’s a big dude. He’s not as sweet as I thought he was,” laughed Jennings. “There were a lot of adjustments. It was a great fight. I don’t care what the outcome was.”
Jennings now wants the title shot he feels he has earned. “You can bring ‘em. I once said in the middle of camp – because we’ve been pushing it – we’re trying to stay in shape and stay good, I’ve just been working. I still want to progress. I’m still clliming up the ladder. I’m ready for the top. Styles make fights, and they can come try it.”
Jennings can’t make the same sort of mistake he did tonight against Dimitrenko with more elite talent, but he’s a worthy opponent for anyone in the top ten. Jennings is at a disadvantage against the much taller Wilders, Furys, and Joshuas of the division, but he’s earned the opportunity to try.
Hollywood Hart puts on a show with TKO win in three
Philadelphia native Jesse “Hollywood” Hart, (25-1, 21 KOs) delivered precisely the kind of performance he needed to work his way toward a title fight with a third round TKO at 52 seconds of round 3 over Mike Gavronski (24-e-1, 15 KOs). Hart is eager to score a rematch with WBC super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez.
“At the end of the day, I like my perofrmance. I think it was OK for the guy I was in there with. When you go up against a Philadelphia fighter, you’ve got to come with more than that,” declared Hart after the win. “I can’t give enough credit to Fred Jenkins, one of the best trainers in boxing,” said Hart, who Is also trained by his father, former middleweight contender Eugene “Cyclone” Hart.
“Gilberto, look at me if you’re watching. I dream about you at night! Let me redeem myself! Stop ducking like a coward and fight me!”
Shakur Stevenson wins in an uninspired performance
Newark, New Jersey native and 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs) scored a shutout unanimous decision win in his return to his home state for his first fight as a professional against Carlos Ruiz (16-5-2, 6 KOs) of Mexico. But it wasn’t a particularly impressive or inspiring fight, and in this Stevenson wasted the opportunity to add to his fan base heading the ESPN+ stream. Stevenson seems to lack the killer instinct of the great champions. Stevenson hurt Ruiz several times in the fight with plenty of time left in the round to finish him off. But he didn’t do it. needs some rounds, certainly. But he seems to lack the killer instinct of a champion. The young prospect needs to rack up some flashy victories, or the fans will grow bored with him.
On the undercard, Thomas LaManna (26-2-1, 9 KOs) of Atlantic City extended his five-bout unbeaten streak against Matthew Strode (25-7, 9 KOs) with a unanimous decision in his eight-round super welterweight bout. In contrast to Stevenson, this was a fun fight. Technical skills aside, these are the rough and tumble fights that put fans in the seats.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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