Jose Uzcategui stops Andre Dirrell to undo disqualification loss
Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui, 27-2 (23), claimed the IBF interim super middleweight title in a one-sided victory over Andre Dirrell, 26-3 (16), on Saturday night, at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York. The fight was the main support bout to the Showtime main event between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz which turned out to be a surprise classic brawl.
The Uzcategui-Dirrell rematch was a highly anticipated affair after their last bout, that was nothing if not controversial in its conclusion.
The two fighters met last May in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in a bout that ended at the end of eight rounds. However on Saturday night, the results were much more definitive.
Last May, Dirrell and Uzcategui waged a closer fight that saw both boxers executing their game plans and finding success at different times throughout the fight. Near the end of round eight, Uzcategui landed a punch off of a three-punch combination, with the final shot landing while the bell tolled to end the round. It wasn’t an intentionally late punch but many in the Dirrell camp and, more importantly, referee Bill Clancy disagreed.
In the end, Uzcategui was disqualified.
After the bout, things really escalated, as Dirrell’s assistant trainer (and uncle) Leon Lawson Jr. walked over to Uzcategui and shockingly landed a hard punch to his jaw, adding more disruption. The assault, on TV, in front of a live viewing audience, led to Lawson’s eventual arrest on assault charges.
So heading into last Saturday evening’s bout, Uzcategui was very determined to prove he was indeed the fighter who should have left Maryland with the title, after the first bout.
Throughout camp, Uzcategui had claimed he “couldn’t leave it up to the judges” and felt he “had to get a stoppage to ensure a win” on Saturday night. And that is exactly what he did.
From the opening bell, Uzcategui took the fight to Dirrell, who seemed to be struggling to execute any real offensive momentum to keep an aggressive and focused Uzcategui off him. Dirrell worked off a jab and tried to box Uzcategui but the El Vigia, Venezuela-born Bolivita was simply not going to be denied on this night.
After a spirited eighth frame that saw both fighters land hooks to the head and body, Dirrell’s corner opted not to send its fighter out for the ninth round, due to a potential arm injury.
Jose Uzcategui was now – and controversy free – the victor.
After the bout. UCNLive.com caught up with Uzcategui adviser Sean Gibbons, who was thrilled with his charge’s performance. “Obviously, I am very happy with the outcome but I knew this was coming. Jose had a great camp and he was very focused, and determined coming into this fight, to clear up that wrong decision from last time”, said Gibbons. “He should have had the belt the last time they fought but I knew, going into this fight, that there was no way he was going to be leaving the ring without the belt.”
In a division that boasts champions like David Benavidez (WBC), George Groves (WBA), Caleb Truax (IBF) and Gilberto Ramirez (WBO), there is no shortage of big names for Uzcategui to look forward to facing.
And now that Bolivita has his foot in the door, he is right in the mix for some outstanding championship opportunities. “There are some great fighters at 168,” said Gibbons. “There are some fighters in this division, which would make for an outstanding match-up for Jose. And he wants to fight the very best. He wants to show he is the best fighter at 168-pounds, in the world, and is looking forward to taking on the very best in his division.”