By: Sean Crose
Matchroom Boxing provided an interesting Thursday night card at Miami’s Meridian at Island Gardens featuring WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0) going up against the largely unknown Luke Keeler (17-2-1). First up, however, WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1) faced Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0) in a scheduled 12 round affair.
The first round was close, with each man landing effectively. Things remained close in the second, though Akhmadaliev’s thudding punches were more impressive than Roman’s shots. The third saw Akhmadaliev asserting his superior ring generalship. Still, the defending champion Roman was keeping things close. Roman looked better in the fourth, landing well to the body behind an impressive jab. Akhmadaliev got to his man with some strong shots at the end of the fifth. The fighters traded throughout the sixth, but it was the challenger who was landing more effectively.
The seventh round showcased just what a chess match the fight was. Both fighters positioned themselves and fired smartly. Roman looked to be a bit more active in the eighth. Things remained high octane in the ninth. Akhmadaliev landed furiously in the tenth. By the end of the eleventh the fight seemed as if it might be too close to call. Despite a furious last few seconds, Roman dominated the twelfth. Akhmadaliev won a split decision and the WBA and IBF titles.
The next fight featured the 30-4-1 Tevin Farmer defending his IBF super featherweight title against the 30-1-0 Joseph Diaz. The first round was close and fairly fast paced. Diaz received a considerable cut above the left eye early in the second.
Despite the cut – which was ruled as being unintentional – Diaz fought gamely in the third. Diaz was effectively active in the fourth. Things were close in the fifth. They remained close in the sixth, though Diaz was the more active of the two fighters.
Taking a cue from his corner, Farmer took the fight to Diaz in the seventh. Both fighters exchanged in the eighth, though Diaz appeared to get the better of it. The ninth saw Diaz continuing to chop away at Farmer. The broadcast team of DAZN, which was streaming the card live, spoke of Farmer not looking like his usual self. They were right.
The defending champion continued to appear sluggish in the tenth. Diaz made sure it was an up close, grinding affair in the eleventh. Farmer tried to bring it to Diaz in the twelfth, but didn’t do so consistently. Diaz won a well deserved unanimous decision as well as the IBF belt.
The following fight featured two YouTubers, Jake Paul and Gib, in a scheduled six round battle. Paul dropped his man three times in the first before the ref stopped the fight.
It was time for the main event. Andrade literally knocked his man down with the first solid punch. Keeler was able to get up and make it through the round, but it was quite a start for Andrade. A thunderous left put Keeler down again in the second. It looked like the fight might be over, but Keeler was once again able to get up and finish the round. Keeler managed to stay on his feet throughout the third. He managed to stay on his feet through the fourth, as well, though he certainly wasn’t in the fight. By the fifth the fight seemed silly. Keeler wasn’t putting up any kind of effective fight. The sixth saw more of the same.
Andrade simply teed off on his man in the seventh. He continued to tee off in the eighth. Andrade unloaded in the ninth, and the referee wisely stopped the fight.