Full ringside report: Tim Bradley retires Brandon Rios
In what a masterful performance, Timothy Bradley dominated Brandon Rios for nine rounds until he stopped him with 11 seconds remaining in the stanza for the TKO victory. The fight was the main event of a Top Rank Promotions card held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas and broadcast on HBO Saturday night.
A body shot ultimately put an end to Rios, who struggled to make the 147-pound limit one day prior and tipped the scales at a reported 170 pounds on fight night. A perfect shot to the solar plexus folded Rios to the canvas toward the end of the ninth and after withstanding referee Tony Weeks’ 10-count, he found himself on the floor again seconds later. This time, Weeks waved his arms without a count. With the victory, Bradley successfully defended his WBO welterweight title for the first time in his second reign.
Bradley won every single round in the eyes of all three official ringside judges until the stoppage and he credited the success to new trainer Teddy Atlas. “I did exactly what Teddy told me to do,” said Bradley after the win. Although Bradley was his same aggressive self, he moved in and out of the pocket perfectly in the early rounds and peppered Rios with shots that garnered no retaliation. In the third, he started going after the body as Atlas instructed, “Take a piece every round. Don’t get greedy; you’ll break him down,” said Atlas post-fight. He continued, “Be like a piranha. Finish him with the body work.”
After a fifth round in which Bradley fought a perfect round, it was clear who was running away with the fight and the ending was the cherry on top for the “Desert Storm.” Bradley, 33-1-1 (13), shocked everyone by knocking out Rios, something he hasn’t done since 2011 when he stopped Joel Casamayor. The 32-year-old out of Palm Springs, Calif., looked rejuvenated with his new trainer by his side and looks forward to the future as he announced that Atlas will be in his corner in his next fight.
Rios, 33-3-1 (24), looked sluggish all night, and after getting stopped for the first time in his career, he made sure it was his last in a surprising decision. “I had a wonderful career. I think it’s time to hang up the gloves,” said “Bam Bam” in the post-fight press conference. The 29-year-old admitted his body didn’t react the way he wanted and the former world lightweight champion put together a nice career that offered guaranteed action up until his final act.
In the HBO co-feature, Vasyl Lomachenko successfully defended his WBO featherweight title for the third time after stopping Romulo Koasicha in the 10th round.
It was an exhibition of brilliant footwork and combination punching by the Ukrainian, who was comfortable enough to parade around his opponent by the third round and gesture to the crowd with his off hand. Lomachenko was slated as more than a 100-1 favorite against Koasicha and, for that reason alone, the 5,106 in the arena seemingly grew tired of the one-sided outclassing by the fifth round when Lomachenko started to toy with him.
Koasicha, 25-5 (15), didn’t have an answer for the blazing speed in which Lomachenko threw his combinations. They came in abundance, sometimes up to 10 in a row and all the Mexican out of San Luis Potosi could do was shell up. Lomachenko also shuffled quick feet that always put himself in position to land a punch from a peculiar angle. The crowd started to grow restless as the 10th round approached, barely patient enough for nine more minutes of competition-less “action.”
In the decisive round, Lomachenko finally put the dagger into his opponent. It was a left hook to the liver and when it landed with about 30 seconds remaining in the round, Koasicha dropped to a knee. Referee Robert Byrd counted to 10; Koasicha was still on bended knee and the crowd finally got what it clamored for. “I was having fun in there. If I wanted to stop him earlier, I would have,” Lomachenko said after the win. The 27-year-old also had his family in from Ukraine to see him fight professionally for the first time. “I want to unify the titles,” he said on what’s next for his career. A decorated amateur and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Lomachenko, 5-1 (3), is certainly ready for anyone in the 126-pound class and he made another case as to why many fans and pundits think he’s already the best in the division.
Making his United States debut, Japan’s Ryota Murata earned a unanimous decision over Gunnar Jackson with scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 from the judges at ringside. Murata, 8-0 (5), warded off his pesky opponent with a steady jab in the early rounds before unleashing his power shots. Once he found his distance, he landed some solid right crosses but Jackson tied up Murata, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to step in whenever it seemed like he was about to get into trouble. That was the best defensive tactic for Jackson, 22-7-3 (8), who has never been stopped before. Murata, who won a gold medal for Japan in the 2012 London Olympics, had a successful American debut on paper but didn’t deliver the punishing knockout Yanks crave.
Colombian featherweight Miguel Marriaga, scored a shut-out unanimous decision over Guillermo Avila with all three judges at ringside scoring it 80-72 in the eight-round contest. Marriaga consistently stuck out his jab before finding a place to throw his heavy-handed right crosses to Avila’s head. In the third, Marriaga trapped his Mexican counterpart in a corner and unleashed some big shots that snapped his head back. Avila, 15-5 (12), was stunned by Marriaga’s power but was never in serious trouble of getting knocked down or out. Yet, his offense didn’t nearly compare to his outstanding chin. Marriaga, 21-1 (18), gets a victory after failing to beat Nicholas Walters this past June for a vacant featherweight title.
Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed earned a TKO victory over Rondale Hubbert after referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the bout in the seventh round. Reed picked Hubbert apart for much of the fight with fluid combinations to the body and head. Hubbert withstood the punishment well to start but couldn’t return the favor, thanks to Reed’s lateral movement. Hubbert, 10-4-1 (6), started to break down in the fifth after a left to the body from Reed made him wince in agony. Early in the fateful seventh, Reed landed another body shot that forced Hubbert’s glove to hit the canvas for the knockdown. Just moments later, Reed trapped him in a corner and, without any return fire, Bayless rightfully stepped in. Reed, 17-0 (10), gets his fifth win of 2015 and four of them came within the distance. The 22-year-old southpaw from Waldorf, Md., looked impressive, yet again, and is just waiting for an opportunity to contend for a title in the deep junior welterweight division.
In the opening bout of the Top Rank Promotions card, Egidijus “The Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas landed one flush right hand to drop and stop Jake Giuriceo two minutes into the first round. Guiriceo, 17-5-1 (4), beat the referee Russell Mora’s 10-count but his shaky legs indicated he wasn’t all there and Mora recognized that by waving off the contest. Kavaliauskas, 10-0 (9), is a two-time Olympian from Lithuania who trains out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif. The welterweight prospect looked ripped and if his nickname is any indication of his personality in the ring, Kavaliauskas could be a force to be reckoned with.