SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 16, 2020 – Boxing starts its second week of action with Tuesday night fights from The Bubble in Las Vegas. Boxing Twitter is working its way back into shape, and so are the fighters whether ambitious prospects or determined journeymen. Sure, you could grouse about the matchups, but please. Boxing is back, and that’s good enough.
The main event delivered the first post-pandemic upset, as Mike Plania of the Philippines (24-1, 12 KOs) upset Joshua Greer Jr. of Chicago (22-2-1, 12 KOs) in a terrific ten-round majority decision win. Scores were Moretti 97-91, 96-92, and 94-94.
Plania, a former sparring partner of John Riel Casimero and native of General Santos City, the hometown of Manny Pacquiao, didn’t need to hear the scores, dropping to his knees in tears at the final bell.
Plania got everyone’s attention including Greer early in the fight with a wide left hook to the head 1:15 into round one, dropping Greer hard on his seat. Give Greer credit, he got to his feet, didn’t panic, and steadied himself to finish the round. He settled down, then started raising his work rate. But Plania’s whipping left hook carried enough speed to mess up Greer’s plans and give him something to worry about.
The same left hook landed again in the sixth round. Two knockdowns in a ten-round right put Greer in the position of needing a knockout to win. The WBO’s number one contender didn’t give up. In the eighth round, Greer got on the inside and pressed Plania, stepping up his work rate. It was a smart move, but it was too little too late for Greer.
Through more tears, Plania thanked his team. “This is going to change my life,” he said. “God is great!”
Plania outlanded Greer, landing 119 of 451 punches (26 percent) to 96 of 426 for Greer (23 percent). Plania landed 99 power punches to 77 for Greer.
Plania has shown his resilience and determination in prior bouts. He wasn’t in Las Vegas just for a paycheck. He says he will now wait for his manager to determine his next opponent. Plania would be smart to get back in the ring as soon as possible and keep his momentum going. Greer will need to gather himself and figure out how to get his career back on track.
Escape from Las Vegas: Santillan survives the determined DeMarco
Welterweight Giovani Santillan of San Diego (26-0, 15 KOs) was a bit more fortunate than Greer. He got the test he needed from veteran Antonio DeMarco (33-9-1, 24 KOs) of nearby Lakeside, California in the night’s opening bout. Although DeMarco was the aggressor for much of the ten-round fight, judges gave the nod to Santillan by majority decision. Scores were 96-94 X 2 (Steve Weisfeld and Tim Cheatham and 95-95 (Dave Moretti).
DeMarco was loose and confident in the ring, digging to Santillan with body shots. Santillan was at his best working behind an active jab. His combination punching caught the judges’ eye and it was enough.
“It’s about that, me learning about myself and what I’ve got to work on,” said Santillan. “I haven’t fought someone at this level, a world champion who’s been in with high-level contenders before. I have a lot to gain from this.”
Santillan said most of the body punches DeMarco threw didn’t land cleanly. But he said it tells him he’s got to work on this skill. “If I’m going to stand in there I need to be active enough, I need to listen to my corner.” Santillan promised he’ll “keep working hard, study this fight, study all my past fights, and any holes I see in my game, I’ve got to work on.” Santillan can chalk up the performance to a little rustiness perhaps. He isn’t quite ready for a title fight but he’s self-aware enough to know he’s got some work to do.
Undercard results: Sekhniashvilli, Momimov, Perez all winners
Nikoloz Sekhniashvili of Georgia (6-0, 5 KOs) won a near shutout on the scorecards in six rounds over Isiah Jones of Detroit (8-2, 3 KOs). Scores were 60-54 X 2 and 59-55. Cutman Stitch Duran told “The Experience” after the fight he reminded him of the Ukrainian cruiserweight unified champion turned heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk.
Bobirzhan Mominov of Kazakhstan (11-0, 8 KOs) dealt the damage to local Las Vegas product Cameron Krael (17-16-3, 4 KOs). Scores were 58-55 X 2 and 57-56. Never mind his record, Krael is a tough gatekeeper with plenty of determination. But Mominov has the power, accuracy, and pop of fellow Eastern European stars like his fellow Karaganda native Gennadiy Golovkin – to the point he’s been a sparring partner of Golovkin foe Canelo Alvarez.
Mominov threw 200 plus more punches and landed 100 more punches than Krael, a wide margin in a six-round bout. He gave away a point for a silly rabbit punch with a minute left in the fight. He will hear about it from trainer Joel Diaz.
Puerto Rican-born heavyweight Hector Perez (7-2, 3 KOs) handled Juan Torres of Cypress, Texas (5-3-1, 2 KOs) with ease in six rounds. Scores were 60-54, and 59-55 X 2.
Back to The Bubble on Thursday for action featuring Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) in a ten-round super lightweight fight. See you Thursday, Boxing Twitter.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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