By: William Holmes
Tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights card features two matchups with four undefeated fighters, so at least two boxers will be experiencing the first loss of their career. Ismayl Sillakh (17-0) took on Denis Grachev (11-0-1) in the light heavyweight division while Yuandale Evans (16-0) took on Javier Fortuna (18-0) in the junior lightweight division. All of tonight’s bouts were broadcast from Austin, Texas.
The first matchup of the night was between the undefeated Yuandale Evans and Javier Fortuna, with Evans making a return appearance on Friday Night Fights. Both Fortuna and Evans were southpaws, however Fortuna showed early he had dynamite in his left hand. Fortuna blasted Evans with a hard overhand left and followed it up with a two punch combination knocking Evans to the floor hard. Evans slowly got back up to his feet and beat the count, but Fortuna followed it up and blasted Evans again knocking him down to the canvas. The referee didn’t even need to count this time as he called the fight off. Javier Fortuna remains undefeated with an impressive first round TKO at 2:02.
The next televised bout was a swing bout between John Montes (1-1) and Randy Fuentes (1-0-1) in the junior welterweight division. Fuentes was a southpaw and Montes fought in an orthodox stance. Montes appeared to get knocked down in the first round, but the referee ruled it a slip. The rest of the bout was action packed, as both fighters seemed to realize that it is a gift to be featured on ESPN so soon in their career, and they traded blows recklessly. Fuentes however landed the crisper shots, and was able to successfully slip most of the punches of Montes. The official scores were 40-36, 40-35, and 39-36 for Randy Fuentes.
The main event was between Ismayl Sillakh and Denis Grachev in the light heavyweight division. Ismayl Sillakh towered over his opponent and attempted to establish his jab early on in the fight. Sillakh also had the obvious speed advantage on Grachev. Grachev had no answer for the reach of Sillakh, and was decked by Sillakh with a straight right hand in the third round. By the fifth round some in the crowd began to boo the action in the ring. Grachev was able to tag Sillakh with an overhand right in the seventh round that stunned his opponent, but he was unable to follow it up effectively. Sillakh continued to dance on the outside and peppered Gravhev with jabs and quick two punch combinations in the eighth round; however Sillakh momentarily dropped his guard and got tagged with a solid right hand from Grachev. Sillakh backed into the corner and ate several hard shots from Grachev and he fell down from the assault of Grachev.
Huge upset victory for Denis Grachev as he was a 11:1 underdog coming into the fight. The referee probably could have let Ismayl Sillakh continue to fight or at least count him out, but the referee quickly called the fight off.
Denis Grachev wins by TKO at 2:18 of round 8.