‘Superman’ defeats ‘The Scorpion’; Beterbiev stops Campillo
Adonis “Superman” Stevenson successfully defended his lineal light heavyweight titles (WBC and THE RING) for the fifth time against Sakio Bika after earning a unanimous decision victory (115-111, 116-110, 115-110) on what was “Premier Boxing Champions'” debut on CBS Saturday afternoon. The bout was the main event of a GYM Promotions card held at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Fighting in front of a sold-out crowd in his home country, Stevenson was draped in his red cape and Superman-themed music as he made his way to the ring. Once in there, he was the aggressor and started to paw a right jab in order to bait Bika into his powerful left hand coming from his southpaw stance. It kept Bika wary to start and also kept him fighting off his back foot for much of the fight.
After the first couple rounds, Bika started to get more comfortable and showed he was the more experienced fighter by using clinching tactics in order to disrupt any rhythm Stevenson had to start. Well-known for his unorthodox style of fighting, Bika would land some shots inside but they weren’t Kryptonite for Stevenson. In the fifth round, Stevenson caught Bika with a big left hand. Hobbled for a moment, Bika went to that clinch but slipped and pulled his opponent down to the canvas with him. Although it looked like it was due to the punch, referee Michael Griffin did not rule it a knockdown.
Griffin did however rule a knockdown of Bika after he walked into another left hand in the following round and although it did look like a clean one in real time, the replay showed Bika slipped on the canvas. Nonetheless, the referee’s ruling is what the judges must score by. Bika survived the round and just as you thought Stevenson would take advantage of all the momentum he gained, he looked to have tired out just a bit in the seventh and eighth rounds. That was when Bika started to time his right hand nicely, countering his opponent, who looked to have been in a conditioning lull.
Stevenson did get a second wind in the ninth and continued to dictate the pace of the fight like he did in its first half. This time, he focused more on the body, peppering Bika from all angles to both sides. Withstanding the hard body punches, Bika left a window straight down the middle and Stevenson took advantage of it. A straight left hand filled that void and landed perfectly on Bika’s chin. It dropped him immediately and was the best punch out of many that Stevenson landed in the entire fight.
Bika showed why he has always been a tough opponent throughout his entire career and didn’t give up despite being behind on seemingly everyone’s scorecards in the championship rounds. He even had late success by landing his biggest right hands of night in the final round. Stevenson, however, took them well and showed no signs of being hurt. In fact, he even showboated his way to victory by shuffling his feet and gesturing his left hand to the crowd.
Stevenson, 26-1 (21), fought well and figured out the puzzle of an opponent who has fought elite fighters in the past and has yet to be stopped. The post-fight interview wasn’t anything to refer to as CBS reporter Brent Stover failed to even mention or ask what’s ahead for Stevenson (we all already know the mandatory challenger the WBC has already ruled for Stevenson to unify his title against is three-belt titlist Sergey Kovalev). Bika, 32-7-3 (21), survived but wasn’t slick enough to avoid Stevenson’s powerful left hand. His first fight at 175 pounds ends in defeat and he hasn’t won in his past three outings.
In the co-feature of the CBS telecast, Russian light heavyweight prospect Artur Beterbiev knocked Gabriel Campillo out in the fourth round to stay undefeated and provide more evidence for his highly-regarded power punching.
It took under a minute for Campillo to feel the wrath of Beterbiev’s power. A right hand dropped Campillo in the first minute of the bout and it foreshadowed what was yet to come. He never seemed to get his legs back but survived the opening round. For the next two rounds, Beterbiev was able to dictate the pace with his jab although he was the shorter fighter with a three-inch disadvantage in reach.
Every shot Beterbiev threw after that jab came with bad intentions. Thirty seconds into the fourth round, a right hand snapped Campillo’s head backward; his arms went to his sides and he was seemingly out on his feet against the ropes. As he was slowly folding down to the canvas, a short left hook finished the job and referee Marlon B. Wright immediately waved off the contest. Beterbiev looked to have taken a bit off that final punch knowing he had his fighter hurt and after it landed, he gracefully went to his neutral corner, not even looking back at his opponent.
Beterbiev, 8-0 (8), was impressive against his best opponent to date. He is quickly rising up everyone’s ranks regardless of having only eight professional fights but his opponent on Saturday was the first southpaw he faced in his career so far. Campillo, 25-7-1 (12), seems to be at the end of his rope after putting together a nice career, which includes being a former world titleholder in the light heavyweight division as late as five years ago.