PBC on FOX results: Deontay Wilder strikes with venom in five
By Luis Cortes
Deontay Wilder, 38-0 (37), overcame a lethargic start to overcome the impressive challenge of late replacement Gerald Washington, 18-1-1 (12), who received this assignment just 25 days ago. Washington constantly put his name into the hat of challengers to Wilder’s WBC heavyweight crown in the past, so when he got the call, he insisted he was ready for the task and he proved, on this night, that was the case.
Washington took the first round by pressuring Wilder, putting the champion and everyone on notice that he was not intimidated by the “Bronze Bomber.” Despite being at a disadvantage in all areas, Washington’s aggression carried him through the opening two rounds. Although there was not much action, Washington was a new type of puzzle for Wilder, who looked a bit confused on how to approach the challenger.
Round three saw Washington throw some power body shots behind a long jab that continued to frustrate Wilder. One of the jabs cracked Wilder square in the face and pushed him back and off balance for a moment. Wilder still looked hesitant to throw anything meaningful for the remainder of the round. After three rounds, Wilder’s frustrations and Washington’s fearless approach meant a great start for the challenger.
Wilder was aware of the hole he was digging for himself and came out throwing more in round four. As Washington’s jab had Wilder thinking the champion could land a vicious left to the body that got Washington’s attention, this seemed to give the champion some confidence to build from for the remainder of the fight. Despite not landing much, Wilder finally started to warm up toward the end of round four and gave the impression he was establishing himself as the dictator in the ring.
Finally in round five, Wilder started the round looking more confident from the success he had in the previous round. He stood in tall with Washington, with his body language signifying that he was no longer going to let Washington push him back, regardless of the latter’s long jab. This shift in momentum was all it would take because, as Washington had his back close to the ropes, Wilder unleashed a bomb of a right hand behind a jab that connected across Washington’s face and down went the challenger.
Washington got up but was clearly hurt. Wilder moved in and landed a second right hand and a big left hook that forced Washington to stumble into the ropes. Wilder continued to throw bombs as referee Michael Griffin looked as if he were going to stop the fight. After the champion landed one final bomb of a left hook, Griffin stepped in and waved off the fight. With the stoppage coming at 1:45 seconds of the fifth round, Deontay Wilder retained his WBC championship for the fifth time. After the fight, Wilder stated that he was ready for any challenger, including a unification fight with the WBO champion Joseph Parker, who was in attendance.
Jarrett Hurd’s pressure busts Tony Harrison’s jaw in nine
In the co-main event, Tony Harrison, 24-2 (20), faced Jarrett Hurd, 20-0 (14), for the vacant IBF junior middleweight championship.
Round one was a classic feeling-out round by both fighters. Both circled and tried to find their range behind faints in order to establish their jabs. Harrison got the better of this situation in the round and landed the crisper jabs. At one point, Harrison got in a right hand. He was also able to spin Hurd while landing a quick check left hook to win the round.
Similar action would dictate the pace of the next couple rounds. As both fighters got into the groove of fighting, the story of this fight began to play itself out. Harrison was content on moving in a circle on the outside. Both men continued to try and gain the upper hand with their jabs. Harrison seemed to have a better understanding of range and was able to land some snapping punches as Hurd pressed forward behind his own jab.
With a quicker pace working itself into the fight, Harrison started to put punches together with two-punch combinations as he seemed to get timing on Hurd’s head movement. Although Harrison was clearly landing the cleaner shots, controlling the ring with his movement and avoiding most of Hurd’s heavy counter shots, Hurd established a quicker pace in round four that seemed to have Harrison a little uneasy toward the end of round five. While Harrison continued to take Hurd for a “walk,” his movement was noticeably less crisp. Despite being peppered, Hurd continued to apply pressure and ended the fifth with a hard uppercut that clearly stunned Harrison.
As we approached the middle portion of the fight, the action picked up. Hurd tried to capitalize on his best moment of the fight, at the end of round five, but Harrison landed his own hard shots. A series of hard rights close to one of the neutral corners punctuated the round for Harrison. Round seven was the best for Hurd, who clearly noticed his pressure had forced Harrison’s movement into a neutral gear. Hurd rifled off a combination on the inside, toward the two-minute mark of the round, which took its toll on Harrison. For the final minute, Harrison tried to avoid any hard shots from Hurd without any of his own offense.
Hurd landed a thudding hard right hand that clearly stunned Harrison in round eight. As the fight continued to move on, the tail end of the fight asked the question whether Harrison, who won every round in the first half of the fight, would be able to cross the finish line.
Our answer would come in round nine. In this round, Hurd’s continuous pressure would pay off, as he blasted Harrison with a overhand right. A gassed Harrison tried to spin away from the ropes with his hands down. Harrison was dropped and banged his head against the canvas. He rose to his feet and tried to tell referee Jim Korb that he was OK but, as his bloody mouthpiece was spit out, the fight was called at 2:24 of round nine. While Harrison was clearly ahead on the cards, his shaky chin and stamina has been the downfall in his two defeats. To Hurd’s credit, he stuck to the plan of giving up rounds, in order to apply pressure, that would, in the end, be too much for Harrison to handle.
Dominic Breazeale outguns game Izuagbe Ugonoh in five
Dominic Breazeale, 18-1 (16), and Izuagbe Ugonoh, 17-1 (14), faced off in FOX’s opening bout. Both heavyweights came into the fight with similar records yet starkly different professional experiences. Breazeale, who has fought the better competition, came into the fight after being stopped in brutal fashion by IBF titlist Anthony Joshua in his most recent fight. As for Ugonoh, this was his first fight in the United States.
Ugonoh moved well on his toes behind a stiff jab, that allowed him to crack Breazeale with two hard, straight rights upstairs. His jab also enabled him to land hard two-punch combinations to the body that forced Breazeale to retaliate.
Ugonoh came out looking more relaxed to start round two. While he continued his movement, he started to walk around the ring instead of bouncing on his toes. Body work consisting of lead right hands with a follow up left hook was the key to yet another round.
Breazeale, who clearly lost the first two rounds, decided that, in round three, he would have to make it a fight. Ugonoh retaliated with power shots of his own, which lead to brutal exchanges to the body and heads of both fighters. A sneaky right hand to the top of Ugonoh’s head resulted with him being dropped to the canvas, face down, for the first time in his career. At first, it looked like the fight was over but, to his credit, Ugonoh beat the count. Still hurt, Ugonoh tried to move away but was caught on the ropes again. Ugonoh walked Breazeale to the center of the ring and, off the break, landed a right hand bomb that seriously hurt Breazeale.
As Breazeale held, both men tumbled to the canvas in what should have been ruled a knockdown, since Breazeale fell as a result of the hard right hand. With both fighters ready to resume the action, Ugonoh landed a second right, at distance, that had Breazeale almost out on his feet. Breazeale landed his own right hand, to end the round, that hurt Ugonoh, as the bell rang to close the hellacious round.
Ugonoh seemed to relent during the first part of round four, in order to continue his recuperation process. Breazeale continued to press forward behind his jab but, halfway through the round, Ugonoh recovered and started to land body shots again. Breazeale was so concerned with the body shots, that he fell for Ugonoh looking at his body and anticipated a body shot but instead was crushed by an overhand right. Breazeale dropped to the canvas and, this time, it was ruled a knockdown. Breazeale got up but Ugonoh looked winded and moved, instead of attacking. At the end of the round, Ugonoh got on his toes and landed yet another booming overhand right as the bell rang out.
Round five started with Breazeale actually looking the fresher of the two fighters. Experience began to show as he turned the tables on Ugonoh by feinting to the body and landing his own powerful overhand right. A second one dropped Ugonoh for the second time in the fight. Beating the count, Ugonoh was allowed to continue, although that decision was fool’s gold, as Breazeale landed two quick shots that dropped Ugonoh for the third and final time. This time referee Jeff Dodson waved the fight off at 50 seconds of round five.