Weekend Wrap: Wilder Makes a Statement Increasing His Knockout Streak to 29

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On the non televised portion of the card, prospect Gary Russell Jr. (23-0 13KOs) took on Juan Ruiz (23-13 7KOs) in a 10 round contest.  Russell began the fight using a fast jab pressing forward but not using his left hand too much. He has had many hand injuries in the past and seemed hesitant to throw it. Russell did a good job cutting of the ring in rounds two and three but was missing the power to keep Ruiz back.  In the middle rounds Russell a southpaw, started to open up with the straight left and work the body. Coming out in round six, Ruiz not bothered by the power of Russell began to walk him down. Russell used his speed and punching output to still win all the rounds up until this point. In the later rounds, Ruiz tried to make it an inside fight and smother Russell’s punches. At this point, Russell became more of a matador circling and avoiding Ruiz’ pressure. Russell dominated for most of the fight but Ruiz was never in trouble, Russell won a unanimous decision with all three judges in agreement on the scores, 100-90.

 

The opening fight for the ShoBox broadcast was a Junior Middleweight contest between Jermall Charlo (15-0 11K0s) and Antwone Smith (23-4-1 12KOs). Charlo came out in the first round confident. Although they had some exchanges both seemed to be feeling each other out. Charlo had a stiff jab and seemed fluid in his combinations. After a series of jabs, Charlo threw an overhand right clipping Smith knocking him down. Smith stood up on wobbly legs and the referee called a stop to the action with 38 seconds left in the second round. 

 

The Co-Feature of the night was a battle of undefeated fighters Francisco Vargas (17-0-1 12KOs) vs. Brandon Bennett (15-1 7KOs). Bennett came out throwing mostly jabs in the first and Vargas tentative feeling him out. After backing Bennett to the ropes Vargas let off a decent combinations hitting Bennett clean. Coming out in the second, Bennett circled showing good foot movement. Vargas showed good body work in the round and also threw an overhand right that Bennett took well. Bennett may have one the first round but Vargas took the second. In the Third Vargas was walking Bennett down. Vargas confidently pressed the action feeling like he could make it an early night and get Bennett out of there.

 

There were good exchanges to start the fourth round and often they fought on the inside. Bennett was a bit more aggressive in this round but did a lot of holding in the fight. Vargas in the fifth started to bleed from his left eye due to a clash of heads. Towards the end of the fifth Vargas hit Bennett with a good right hand but he still could not get Bennett out of there.  In the middle rounds Vargas was walking Bennett down using a good variety of punches to keep Bennett guessing. Bennett tried to remain active to keep Vargas off him but it did little to stale the onslaught.  Bennett used a lot of footwork in this fight, and in the ninth round Vargas was clearly the fighter with more stamina and was still the more aggressive fighter. In the final round Vargas threw a good left hook but Bennett’s chin still held up. Bennett was a tough fighter and refused to give up but Vargas controlled most of the fight and was awarded the unanimous decision victory.

 

Headlining the night of fights rising Heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder (29-0 29KOs) took on veteran Siarhei Liakovich (25-6 16KOs). Starting the round Liakovich used his jab to find his range while Wilder remained patient. Both seemed to be boxing well but midway through the round, Wilder hit Liakovich with a hard left hook follow by a overhand right knocking Liakovich out in a devastating fashion. With this win Wilder increases his knockout streak to 29.