ESPN+ results: Jose Uzcategui easily decisions Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna
Jose Uzcategui earned a wide unanimous decision (98-92, 100-90 twice) win over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna on Saturday night, in a stay-busy, non-title, light heavyweight bout. The fight headlined a Top Rank card held at the Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California, and was streamed live on ESPN+.
“I just played around and got some rounds,” Uzcategui said after the 10-rounder. “Now that I didn’t get the knockout, maybe the other (super middleweight) champions will have the guts to fight me.”
Recently elevated from his interim status to become the fully recognized IBF super middleweight titleholder, Uzcategui, 28-2 (23), could often be seen waving to the crowd just before each following round would begin. Frankly those moments alone told the story of an ultimately mismatched affair. Maderna, 26-5 (16), just stood there and took much of the harrowing combinations thrown by the Venezuelan-born fighter from Tijuana, Mexico, and, whenever he did land a shot, he rarely had the foresight to follow it up. There wasn’t much to worry about for Uzcategui, who marked up the Argentinean pretty well by the end but wasn’t able to conjure any drama in either a knockdown or knockout. Maderna, 31, seemed to hurt his hand in the seventh, to make matters worse, but Uzcategui took it in stride and passed up a risky proposition in trying to finish him to keep his momentum alive.
Uzcategui was originally scheduled to make the first defense of his IBF super middleweight title against mandatory opponent – and No.1 contender – Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant, who had to bow out due to injury.
In his sixth attempt at defending his IBF junior bantamweight title, Jerwin Ancajas retained the belt after a close, competitive fight with Alejandro Santiago that ended in a split draw. The Filipino may have been lucky to get that result.
All three judges at ringside saw a different fight. One favored the champion (116-112); one saw the challenger run away with it (118-111) and the third (114-114) scored what was ultimately a fair result after a hotly-contested bout.
“It was a good, entertaining fight,” Ancajas said afterward. “My timing was a little off. He was a little awkward. I felt like I pressed the fight and did enough to win.”
“Everyone saw the fight and everyone saw that I won the fight clearly,” Santiago said in his rebuttal.
Ancajas, 30-1-2 (20), had issues with the herky-jerky style of Santiago, whose ample footwork, in and out of the pocket, made him tough to time but the other problem Ancajas had throughout the 12 rounds was hand speed that was comparable to his own. As is his wont, Ancajas, 26, started off as the aggressor but it didn’t take long for Santiago to have moments in the early rounds. In fact, in virtually every round of the fight, Santiago would catch Ancajas with an overhand right, undoubtedly his most reliable weapon. Sometimes Ancajas would block it with a glove but, more often than not, it would land clean and break Ancajas out of throwing what would normally be a fluid combination from his southpaw stance.
Santiago, 16-2-5 (7), showed he was just as quick in the fourth round, when the two started trading more but, once Ancajas used a jab to keep him at bay in the middle rounds, the 22-year-old Mexican entered his most frustrating stretch of the fight. Through rounds seven and eight, Ancajas started clearly winning rounds after several preceding stanzas that could’ve gone either way but, more importantly, there was finally rhythm shown from the “Pretty Boy,” who is on an American venture to try and become the next “Pac-Man.” Santiago eventually got out of his rut by simply taking more chances and outsmarting the jittery southpaw with direct, no-nonsense counterpunching. That plan was working in the beginning and it stayed true in the later rounds, in which more razor-thin rounds ended what could’ve easily been a big upset, had the scores gone his way.
“I still want all the champions at 115,” Ancajas said after his biggest scare as a titleholder. “Nothing has changed.”
Making his promotional debut with Top Rank, Joshua Greer Jr. made a statement with his third round knockout of Giovanni Delgado. The junior featherweight contest was scheduled for eight rounds.
Greer, a native of Chicago, Illinois, got the result he sought in the third round, once landing a perfectly-placed uppercut to the chin of his Mexican foe and landing consecutive rights, to force a stoppage by referee Dan Stell. Delgado, 16-8 (9), a seasoned vet from Mexico City, was seemingly out on his feet before the fight was rightfully waved off. He didn’t offer much of a threat from the fiery contender, who possessed the quicker hands to easily dictate the preceedings. The only time Delgado landed a clean shot – a right hand in the second – Greer shrugged it off and smiled on the inside before letting his hands go again. Greer, 18-1-1 (10), showed great body work early on to eventually find his way upstairs and threw every shot with bad intentions. The style matches the preconceived motive of the 24-year old, who carries a pillow to the ring for his doomed opponents. Starting his biggest promotional push to date, Greer showed why he got signed and what great fights he can present, once given a shot.
Genesis Servania beat Carlos Carlson via third round knockout after dropping his rival with a big right hand that led to a count out by referee Marcos Rosales. The featherweight contest was scheduled for eight.
In the only knockdown of a very good action fight, Carlson was still feeling the extent of the right hand that caught him flush on the chin and he waited on bended knee as Rosales counted. The problem was, Carlson, 23-5 (14), may have misjudged where Rosales was in his count and got up just at the count of 10, which was deemed too late. Carlson argued with Rosales immediately afterward but there was good evidence that Servania may have fried some circuits to cause that mistake. Servania, 32-1 (15), a 27-year-old contender from Bacolod, Philippines, was more than happy to partake in a firefight with the Mexican and, although he was absorbing plenty of right hands, it made things easier for his power to come to the fore. Unquestionably Servania was landing the bigger shots in the action fight, until its abrupt ending and he has now stopped his third straight opponent after challenging for a featherweight title last year in his only defeat to Oscar Valdez.
On the comeback trail, former junior featherweight titleholder Rico “Suavecito” Ramos easily outworked Daniel Olea to earn a shut-out unanimous decision (80-71, across the board) win.
Ramos, 30-5 (14), scored a knockdown in the first round with a perfect left uppercut that caught his Mexican foe off guard. Making his American debut, Olea, 13-6-2 (5), found himself in a rough spot early on against a former world titleholder at 122 pounds but managed to tough it out and last. Several times throughout, Olea would find a right hand that would rock Ramos but the 31-year-old paid it back in return. Uppercuts on the inside and lead left hooks were easy for Ramos all night but Olea kept proving how tough he really was, as he stayed on his feet and kept trying to find the big right hand that would’ve ended a comeback and started a new story.
Askhut Ualikhanov had to work for his fourth professional win, at welterweight, but managed to outduel an overweight but game opponent in Angel Hernandez and receive a unanimous decision (58-56 twice, 59-55) after six entertaining rounds.
Ualikhanov, 4-1 (2), a 27-year-old Kazakh import fighting out of Oxnard, California, had to deal with an unafraid opponent willing to maul him into a firefight. Hernandez weighed in five pounds more than his foe at Thursday’s weigh-in and successfully baited Ualikhanov into one in the opening round, landing a few uppercuts on the inside to make things interesting. Hernandez, 13-11-2 (8), received just as much as he got, however, and, once Ualikhanov started to move around and fight off his back foot in the third, his only dimension was taken away. Ualikhanov started to put combinations together in the third and his hand speed proved to be an advantage, as Hernandez tired out by round four. Somehow Hernandez mustered enough energy to land an uppercut or two in the fifth and keep Ualikhanov on his toes with sheer effort, to finish the fight.
In the opening bout of the Top Rank card, “Johnny 2 Guns” Janibek Alimkhanuly enjoyed a successful American debut by pitching a shut-out unanimous decision (60-54 on all three scorecards) over Carlos Galvan after six rounds.
A super middleweight southpaw prospect from Almaty, Kazakhstan, Alimkhanuly, 3-0 (1), displayed a calculated attack in the first half of the fight and took full control, once stepping on the gas pedal. Using his movement, while pumping a strong jab to the body and head, Janibek established his range before shooting a straight left hand in the third, which prompted a downhill invasion on his Colombian counterpart. Galvan, 16-8-1 (15), was aggressive, until then, but once Alimkhanuly started landing that left more often, the 27-year-old wasn’t thrilled about the idea of exchanging. Alimkhanuly, 25, who’s trained by Buddy McGirt, went on to walk Galvan down the rest of the way – almost scoring a knockdown in the final round with that left – and showed everyone that there’s more than one dynamic in Johnny 2 Guns’ style.