LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Feb. 22, 2020 – Prospects and aspiring champions on the WilderFury2 undercard had a golden opportunity to impress boxing fans Saturday. They became part of a record-setting gate total for a Las Vegas fight card, $17 million, which breaks the 1999 record set by Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson. See who delivered with our complete WilderFury2 undercard results report.
Co-main feature: Martin TKO6 over Washington
The night’s co-main events warmed up fans for the main event with an IBF heavyweight title eliminator between two Californians who know each other well. Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) scored a sixth-round TKO win over Gerald Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs).
Martin, who briefly held the IBF heavyweight title in 2016 after defeating Vyacheslav Glazkov by TKO until he lost to Anthony Joshua, and Washington engaged in more feeling out than fighting in the early rounds as the crowd filled in the MGM Grand Garden Arena to capacity.
But with the heavyweights, it only takes one good punch. For Martin, it was a beautifully placed overhand left to the head, dropping Washington hard to the canvas. Washington got to his feet, but referee Tony Weeks assessed by the count of five at 1:57 of the round. Washington was in no condition to continue and waved off the fight. Washington did not argue.
“I knew that I had him hurt a few times in the fight,” said Martin. “Every round I think I hurt him, but I just couldn’t finish him. I knew that I had to take my time in there. It took me some rounds to catch up with him, because he’s very quick on the retreat.
“This win means a lot. It shows that I’ve been working hard. The people can see it. I was never hurt at any point. This has just given me more confidence in myself. I can take the punches and give the punches,” said Martin.
“The referee did what he thought was right,” admitted Washington. “He’s a top notch ref so I won’t complain about the stoppage. He put me down and I got up, so I definitely wanted to get back to it.”
Washington started his pro boxing career at the age of 30 after playing college football at USC and serving in the U.S. Navy. Considering his background, he’s done well to get to this level of the heavyweight division. But he is a cautious fighter and not active enough
Martin has trained with Manny Robles for his recent fights and it’s been a fruitful partnership. Martin said earlier in the week, “It’s coming at a good time, we’re fighting for the eliminator to get me the number two spot and give me a chance to get that title once again.” Mission accomplished.
Emanuel Navarrete defends title for fifth time with KO11
WBO World Junior Bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico City (31-1, 27 KOs) mixed it up in his fifth title defense in a year against Jeo Santisima of the Philippines (19-3, 16 KOs), delivering an 11th round TKO victory.
“I’m very excited to be fighting on the world’s biggest stage in Las Vegas, Nevada,” said Navarrete after the bout. “It did take me a long time, because I was facing a very tough opponent.”
Santisima was a game opponent. Navarrete was content to take his time and let Santisima direct the action, using every opportunity presented for classic Mexican style counterpunching. Navarette buzzed Santisima hard at the end of the third round, and Santisima was fortunate the bell sounded so quickly.
But Navarrete is so skilled and adaptable, he is firmly in control no matter what his opponent presents to him. At times it appears to the casual observer he isn’t fighting that hard.
In the tenth round, Navarrete turned up the heat on Sentisima, as referee Russell Mora watched carefully. Navarrete stepped on the gas in the 11th round, catching Sentisima with a wicked left uppercut doing the major damage. The Filipino stayed on his feet, taking a dozen more shots until his corner threw in the towel to stop the fight at 2:20 of the round.
Sebastian Fundora remains undefeated
Sebastian Fundora of Coachella, California (14-0-1, 9 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Daniel Lewis of Sydney, Australia (6-1, 4 KOs) in the pay per view opening fight. Fundora, nicknamed the ‘Towering Inferno’ for his extraordinary 6-foot-5 inches frame at 154 pounds. Scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
Lewis put up a spirited defense, breaking Fundora’s nose at some point during the bout. The Australian prospect should have fared better with the judges on the wider cards.
“I think it was a fair decision and a good fight,” said Fundora. “There were a lot of hard punches. I knew he would be tough. When they told me I was fighting an Olympian, I knew it would be a tough fight. He probably had more experience than me, but we prepared the right way and got the win.
“I always want to use my height and my physical gifts, but it just depends on the fight,” added Fundora. “If the situation changes, we have to be ready to adapt. Whether we’re fighting on the inside or the outside, I always want to be the busier fighter. The more punches you throw, the more you’re going to land. It’s the way I like to fight.”
It was the type of fight Fundora needs at this stage of his career to develop his skills, but opening a big stakes pay per view isn’t the ideal situation in which to do it. Fundora needs several more fights like this out of the limelight before being exposed to a larger fan audience again.
Javier Molina scores victory over Amir Imam
Super lightweight Javier Molina of Norwalk, California (22-2, 9 KOs) kept his career ambitions on track with a solid unanimous decision win over Amir Imam of Albany, New York (22-2, 18 KOs) in the opening PPV fight. Scorecards were 78-74 X 2 and 79-73.
Molina, a 2008 US Olympian, struggled to fill his potential due to a series of injuries. Similarly, Imam’s career stalled due to poorly timed losses. The fight was as much of a ‘must-win’ as it gets for both, and Molina will now move forward toward the opportunities he’s wanted for a decade.
Ananyan gets upset victory over Matias
Subriel Matias of Puerto Rico (15-1, 15 KOs) and Petros Ananyan of Brooklyn via Russia (15-2-2, 7 KOs) laid plenty of leather on each other in the fight opening the televised broadcast. Matias was in control of the first six and a half rounds of the fight when Ananyan found the target in the seventh round, landing a series of repeated right hooks capped off with a left hook sending a wobbly Matias to bounce off the ropes. Referee Robert Byrd halted the action and administered a knockdown count due to the ropes holding Matias up.
Although Matias survived the round, the knockdown count was the difference in the fight for Ananyan, who won the upset unanimous decision with scores of 96-93 X 2 and 95-94.
Gabriel Flores Jr. pays tribute to Kobe Bryant
Gabriel Flores of Stockton, California (16-0, 6 KOs) went the distance to remain undefeated against Matt Conway of Pittsburgh (17-2, 7 KOs). Scorecards were 80-71 X 2 and 79-72. Flores wore Lakers purple and gold trunks in honor of Kobe Bryant’s memory and as a tribute to his family.
Early undercard results: MIlnecki Jr., Lowe, Romero win
Vito Milnecki Jr. of New Jersey (5-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with a solid unanimous decision over Corey Champion of Louisa, Virginia (1-3, 1 KO). Scores were 40-35 X2 and 40-34. Milnecki Jr., who is still just 17 years old, scored two knockdowns on the way to his victory. Milnecki had to get permission from his high school teachers to participate in Saturday’s card. He will be able to report to them when he returns to class it was worth it.
Issac Lowe of Great Britain (20-0-3, 6 KOs) won a messy fight with a unanimous decision against Alberto Guevara of Mazatlan, Mexico (27-6, 12 KOs). Referee Vic Drakulich deducted six points, three per fighter, for numerous fouls including lows and hitting on the break. The result was unusual scorecards of 96-87 X 2 and 95-88. Lowe is a stablemate of Tyson Fury.
Rolando Romero of Las Vegas (11-0, 10 KOs) kicked off the early action with a second-round TKO over Arturs Ahmetovs of Florida (5-1, 2 KOs). He’d promised another knockout Saturday, and he delivered. “When I say I’m going to do it, I’m ging to do it,” said Romero.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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