Smith Jr. shocks Fonfara; Warren and Lubin win

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Andrzej Fonfara TBV 2 PBCCHICAGO — Light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. caused quite a stir in the boxing world Saturday night by scoring a sensational first-round stoppage win over local favorite Andrzej Fonfara at the UIC Pavilion, presented by Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.

Neither fighter even had much time to warm up before Smith caught Fonfara with a devastating overhand right that dropped him. Fonfara beat the count, but remained on very unsteady legs.

A huge left hook scored a second knockdown for Smith and crumpled Fonfara into the corner. He was in no shape to beat the count, let alone continue, and referee Hector Afu halted the the contest just 2:32 into round one.

“Now everybody knows who I am. This is the best thing that could have happened,” Smith said. “I’ll talk to my promoter but I’m hoping for another big fight to get myself to a world title.”

“He is a heavy puncher,” Fonfara said. “He hit me with a great punch. It happens.”

In a rematch of two highly skilled bantamweight southpaws, Rau’Shee Warren achieved revenge and snatched the WBA world title from Juan Carlos Payano. Their first fight ended with a disputed split decision victory for Payano.

Stylistically, the sequel settled into a similar pattern as the first fight. Payano threw more and mostly came forward, while Warren landed the crisper shots at a higher percentage.

In the fourth round, Warren hurt Payano with a flurry and then turned up the pressure for the remainder of the round, but couldn’t drop Payano.

In the fifth, both fighters had their moments as Payano landed a flush left uppercut, but Warren kept stinging Payano with flurries and straight counter lefts.

Warren poured it on on the 11th round — perhaps sensing the fight was close — and after a fairly even 12th, the judges deemed he had done enough for the majority decision win with scores of 115-113 twice and 114-114.

“We wanted to make (Payano) miss and make him pay,” Warren said. “I definitely made him miss a lot. He was just staying busy. I bobbed and weaved. I pressed him enough to where I could take over. Barry Hunter told me I had to take the last round and I got him cut.”

In the other co-feature, super welterweight Erickson Lubin made quick work of 25-year-old contender Daniel Sandoval. A big straight right by Lubin badly hurt Sandoval, and after another series of blows against the ropes referee Mark Nelson had seen enough and waved it off.

The official result was a technical knockout win for Lubin at the 2:36 mark of round three. His record now stands at 15-0 with 11 knockouts.

“I’m looking at going higher in the rankings,” Lubin said. “My team knows I’ll fight everybody. They have to stop me from fighting people cause I’ll say yes to anyone. I just want a title and I’ll do anything to get there.”

Other undercard results:

Middleweight
Maciej Sulecki def. Hugo Centeno Jr. TKO10

Super lightweight
Ramiro Carrillo def. Jorge Luis Munguia UD6

Welterweight
Jose Felix Quezada def. Cameron Krael MD6

Super featherweight
Josh Hernandez def. Eric Gotay KO1

Lightweight
Katonya Fisher def. Jessica McCaskill SD4