It’s finally here! But before the two biggest combat sports personalities face off, the undercard presented seven fights to whet our appetites.
Savannah Marshall vs Sydney LeBlanc
Marshall made her professional debut against the more experienced Sydney LeBlanc. Marshall outpointed LeBlanc to capture her very first victory, igniting a little hype at a potential clash with Claressa Shields in the future.
Marcos Hernandez vs Kevin Newman
California’s Marcos Hernandez breezed his way to victory, outclassing the favourite, Kevin “The Second Coming” Newman, for all six rounds, securing the unanimous decision.
Juan Heraldez vs Jose Borrego
Juan Heraldez turned in a great show of hand speed and combinations in this fight, landing consistently more than Jose Borrego. Borrego rallied in the ninth round, however, as a clean left uppercut took Heraldez off his feet. Heraldez returned to his corner with wobbly legs but recovered by the tenth to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Yordenis Ugas vs Thomas Dulorme
In a hotly contested fight, Ugas dominated the early rounds, being the longer fighter and landing counterpunches at will. Dulorme was knocked down twice in the second round. This first coming off a brutal right uppercut and the second off a sharp right hook. Dulorme changed things up in the middle rounds, attempting to swarm Ugas and dig to the body. In doing so, however, he landed multiple low blows, resulting in two point deductions. But the game plan paid off in the seventh round as Dulorme landed a clean left hook to the temple of Ugas, sending him to the mat. At the end of the bell, it just wasn’t quite enough to recover the lost points and Ugas claimed the unanimous decision victory.
Andrew Tabiti vs Steve Cunningham
Tabiti was clearly the superior technician in this fight, landing stiff shots from the outside while avoiding Cunningham’s wild, lurching swings. Tabiti’s training with the Mayweathers was clear, right down to the pivots and the Philly Shell. Cunningham’s only success was up close and in the clinch but he never managed to get into a consistent rhythm. Tabiti cruised to a unanimous decision victory, remaining undefeated.
Badou Jack vs Nathan Cleverly – For the WBA (Regular) Light Heavyweight Title
Cleverly began the first round looking to establish the jab but began turtling up whenever Jack stepped in. By the end of the round, Jack had set up his own bullet-like jab, showing greater hand speed than his counterpart. As Jack poured on combo after combo, it became clear that Cleverly had no answer for the onslaught. The fourth round saw a deep cut open on Cleverly’s face and Jack’s flurries became relentless. Coming on strong in the fifth, Jack pinned a bloodied and battered Cleverly to the ropes, prompting Tony Weeks to put a stop to the contest. Jack claims the WBA title at 2:50 of the fifth round by way of TKO.
Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca – For the IBF Super-Featherweight World Championship (Fonseca only)
The fight started with both men tentative. Fonseca seemed to have trouble figuring out Davis’ unorthodox style. The second round saw Davis land some of his fiery trademark uppercuts but Fonseca seemed unfazed. Davis took a page out of Roy Jones Jr’s book in the third, putting both hands behind his back and inviting his opponent in. Fonseca was game, however, and landed a quick flurry that set Davis back on his heels. Fonseca landed a strong right hand in the seventh as Davis got caught in the ropes.
Davis came into the eighth round looking to prove his mettle, landing a solid left hook as Fonseca stepped in. As the two fighters exchanged in the pocket, Fonseca was felled by a looping left hook that seemed to hit him on the back of his head. Crumpled in the corner, he failed to answer the bell and Davis claimed the victory by way of knockout. Fonseca was clear in his desire for a rematch but only time will tell if that comes into fruition.
Now that the undercard is over, there’s only one thing left to do. Watch as the biggest spectacle in recent combat sports history takes off. See you at the final bell!
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