Harrison, Khytrov, Lubin and Plant notch wins on ESPN2

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It was a showcase of knockouts from Al Haymon-represented prospects on ESPN2’s latest edition of “Friday Night Fights” at the MGM Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nev. It was a good sign of forthcoming action, should this card be a precursor to Haymon’s inaugural episode of “Premier Boxing Champions” tonight on NBC.


Headlining the event was a product of of Detroit’s Kronk Gym, Tony Harrison, who made mince meat of Antwone Smith, forcing referee Robert Byrd to call a halt to the contest early in the second round. Harrison wasted no time in his first nationally-televised card, let alone a main event, attacking Smith with a snapping jab. Following the jab with an accurate right hand, Harrison landed one perfectly with half-a-minute to go in the first round, sending his opponent to the canvas. With Smith hurt, Harrison relentlessly attacked his opponent with fluid combinations to the head and managed to drop Smith a second time in sync with the bell ending the round. Smith wouldn’t last much longer and while ESPN2 announcers Teddy Atlas and Todd Grisham were predicting a possible stoppage, Harrison landed a final right hand that buckled Smith badly. He didn’t fall to the canvas but it was clear he was beaten and that’s when Byrd rightfully waved his hands to cut the fight short.


Harrison, 20-0 (17), gets his ninth knockout in a row but wasn’t able to get the valuable experience he and his team may have hoped for. Of those nine fights, he has only accumulated 15 rounds of boxing. Smith, 23-6-1 (12), suffers his second knockout in a row under two rounds of action.



Khytrov goes  through Melendez


Ievgen Khytrov was landing at will for straight eight rounds and at the advice of opponent Jorge Melendez’s corner, referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the bout. The stoppage came 40 seconds into that eighth round while Melendez stopped to take a knee after suffering a brutal body shot from Khytrov. It seemed like only a matter of time for Khytrov to land his knockout punch, as he was teeing off on Melendez at will. Known for being the aggressor, Khytrov found a home for a thundering overhand right that was consistently preceded with a jab. It took a few rounds for Melendez to find any sort of rhythm but toward the end of the second round, he started to land some shots Khytrov’s body to keep his head afloat. Although he would consistently keep Khytrov at a distance with his attack to the body, Melendez almost got himself knocked out toward the end of the sixth after one of those big right hands connected. Ultimately he was saved by the bell but nonetheless, the result of a stoppage was destined to happen as it certainly did in the eighth.


At 26, Khytrov, 9-0 (9), is yet another shining light for Ukrainian boxing as the middleweight prospect keeps his record perfect along with a knockout streak to match. Coming off a nine-month layoff, Melendez, 28-5-1 (26), showed grit but couldn’t find a way to elude the wrath of a hungry young fighter.



Council gets “The Hammer”


After Kenneth Council suffered his third knockdown in the first round, referee Russell Mora waved off the bout, giving Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin the TKO victory. Council came after Lubin with a vengeance as soon as the opening bell sounded but 30 seconds later, a short right hook from Lubin sent Council to the canvas. Struggling to find his feet, Council survived only to get knocked down again while stuck in a corner another half-minute later. In perfect sequence of time, a final right hand landed on Council’s temple and sent him falling to his back. Mora immediately waved his hands before even starting a third count, rightfully stopped the contest.


A highly-regarded amateur fighter, Lubin, 10-0 (7), continues to fight often and in impressive fashion at only 19 years old. The 154-pound prospect already has his second win of 2015. Council, 8-1 (6), suffered his first loss but was clearly never in the ring with a boxer like Lubin beforehand.



Henry gets Plant-ed


It didn’t take long for Caleb Hunter Plant to stop Daniel Henry in the first round but it could have ended sooner had referee Jay Nady seen an opening. After dropping Henry within the first minute with a left hook, Plant smelled blood and had his opponent reeling. Henry was befuddled, seemingly forgetting he was in a boxing ring as he turned his back to Plant while heading for a corner. Nady failed to step in and stop the bout while Plant kept punching and eventually brutally knocking out a confused opponent. Nady waved the fight off shortly afterward.


Henry, 2-3-3, was badly outclassed and, as a result, made a trip to the hospital after the bout. Plant, 6-0 (5), looked strong but there are likely plenty of other 22-year old middleweight prospects who would have looked impressive against a guy like Henry.


You can reach Michael Baca II at michael.baca@ucnlive.com, follow him at twitter.com/wotbboxing and visit him at his blog, writeonthebutton.squarespace.com.



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