Omar Narvaez looked great for a 42-year-old against Nikolai Potapov. The former champion was too fast and too sharp for his 27-year-old counterpart, retiring Potapov after the seventh round. The win put Narvaez in a number one contender position against IBF 118 champion Zolani Tete.
Former two-time title challenger Felix Alvarado earned his right to vie for another world title as he thrashed Teeraphong Utaida in three rounds. Alvarado imposed to skill and strength from the opening bell, pushing and bullying Utaida along the ropes. To the viewers, it wasn’t a matter of if Alvarado was going to win, it was a matter of when. In the third round, Alvarado put together a combination that dropped and stopped Utaida. With the win, Alvarado is now the mandatory to IBF champion Donnie Nietes, boxing’s longest reigning champion. The undercard also featured former WBA 105 champion Byron Rojas, who beat Eddy Castro in three rounds. He has now won five fights in a row since dropping his title to Knockout CP Freshmart.
Brooklyn, New York
In an excellent bout, IBF 154 champion Jarrett Hurd retained his title against former WBA champ Austin Trout. Hurd had to overcome a fast start from Trout. By the sixth round, Hurd’s pressure and grit began changing tide as he was able to land against the brave Trout with more regularity. Exerting all of energy keeping Hurd off him and with his eye beginning to swell shut, Trout’s corner stopped the fight at the end of round 10. Trout who surged after sixth round was winning on all the judges’ scorecards with tallies of 97-93 and 96-94 twice. After the fight Hurd expressed interest unifying the 154 with the two other champions that fought on the card. He’ll also eventually be mandated by the IBF organization to face his number one contender in Cedric Vitu, who’s management team will surely pull the funds to try to secure the bout in Vitu’s native France.
WBC 154 champion Jermell Charlo beat former blue-chip amateur Erickson Lubin via a sensational knockout in the first round. While he didn’t dismantle world-beaters in leadup to contention, Lubin, given his decorated amateur background, athleticism and passing the eye test, looked like the type of fighter who could seamlessly transition from prospect to world champion. They were however questions about his chin and punch resistance. Gatekeeper Norberto Gonzalez dropped Lubin in the first round of their encounter back in 2014. The original thought was it served as a learning experience that would help Lubin in the development process. Turns out the chin issues translated in the world class level as well. After boxing evenly in throughout the opening frame, Lubin was hit with a Charlo right jab, anticipating a right hook he dipped his stance and was a sitting duck to Charlo’s straight left-hand attack. A pinpoint left to the temple did Lubin in, stumbling to the ground and failed to meet the referee ten count.
In the last bout of the card, WBA 154 champion Erislandy Lara comprehensively out boxed 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha over 12 rounds. Lara, utilizing his effective movement and mixing up his right jab and straight left from the southpaw stance, set the pace early on as Gausha could not establish a rhythm to get in the fight. The highlight of the fight being in the fourth round is Lara dropping Gausha with a right hook and short left uppercut combination. Lara was awarded the unanimous decision victory with scorecards of 116-111, 117-110, 117-110. In the post-fight interview, Lara also expressed interest in facing the other 154 champions and unifying the division. There’s also settling the mandatory against Argentinian boxer-puncher Carlos Castano.
Los Angeles, California
In his second fight of the year, WBA 126 champ Leo Santa Cruz overwhelmed Chris Avalos with the accumulation of punches and the fight was stopped in the eighth round. Avalos took a hellacious beating throughout the fight.
In his second fight with renowned trainer Robert Garcia, Abner Mares produced his second consecutive win as he beat Andres Gutierrez via technical decision in the tenth round. Mares comprehensively beat Gutierrez throughout the course of the fight. Gutierrez suffered a cut in the second round from a Mares punch which worsened in the eighth due to an accidental clash of heads. In the tenth, the cut was ruled too bad for the fight to proceed and the referee called a halt to the action. Mares was awarded the technical decision victory with scorecards of 100-90, 99-91, 99-91.
On the undercard, 2016 Lithuanian Olympian and welterweight prospect on the rise Eimantas Stanionis saw the final bell for the first time in his early career as he decisioned Todd Manuel over the course of eight rounds. 2016 Mexican Olympian Misael Rodriguez pitched a six-round shutout against Cesar Hernandez.
London, United Kingdom
In the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series, WBA 168 champion George Groves beat Jamie Cox via fourth round knockout. This fight helped set up the semi-finals matchup of the tournament against Chris Eubank Jr.