HBO PPV Undercard Results: Gradovich Pounds Dib, Ruiz, Verdejo, and Shiming Victorious
By: William Holmes
Macau, China was the host to Top Rank’s latest pay per view offering featuring a main event between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon “Bam Bam Rios. This event started in the morning in China in order to show this event to the American audience on pay per view live.
The venue looked packed for the start of the first televised fight.
The first bout of the night was between Felix Verdejo (8-0) and Thainland fighter Petchsamuthr Muanaaymukdahan (8-1-0) in the lightweight division. Verdejo was wearing a free Oscar Lopez Rivera t-shirt at the introduction.
Muanaaymukdahan was the first man to throw a combination but he was unable to land any punches. Verdejo connects with the first combination he threw, a left hook followed by a jab. From that point on Verdejo dominated the fight.
He was simply quicker and more accurate than Muanaaymukdahan. Verdejo was landing nearly everything he threw, but Muanaaymukdahan had an iron chin and continued to come forward. Muanaaymukdahan was strangely sticking his tongue out during the fight but he was getting taking a lot of punishment.
Muanaaymukdahan did not land any punches of significance but at times acted like he was winning after each round. Muanaaymukdahan did lost a point in the sixth round for excessive low blows, though the referee probably could have stopped the fight at any point from the fourth round on.
The final scores were 60-53, 60-53, and 60-53 for Felix Verdejo. .
China’s great boxing hope Zou Shiming (2-0) took in Juan Toscano (4-0) in the flyweight division. Shiming has not looked like a two time Olympic gold medalist in his first two professional fights but he looked greatly improved tonight.
His punches were sharp, crisp, and accurate. More importantly he did not throw looping wide inaccurate punches and showed some good head movement. By the third round Toscano had a bad cut underneath his right eye and the referee called over the ring side doctor to take a look at it. Shiming continued to apply pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and his punches were visibly affecting Toscano By the fifth round Shiming landed 144 punches to Toscano’s 46.
Shiming continued to pound on Toscano in the last round and Toscano was staggering from corner to corner inside the ring. The bout should have been stopped by either the corner or referee but inexplicably it wasn’t.
Shiming won the decision with scores of 60-54, 60-54, and 60-52.
The next match was between Andy Ruiz (20-0) and Tor Hamer (21-2) in the heavyweight division. Ruiz looked like the much bigger man inside the ring. Both fighters came out throwing bombs early on in the first round, but it was Hamer who was landing the better punches. Ruiz at one point in the first round had to hold on after taking a good two punch combination.
Hamer continued to beat on Ruiz in the second round and he was able to stay on the outside well. Ruiz seemed to have a hard time getting past the jab of Hamer and getting in his range. Hamer landed a vicious left hook right cross combination in the second round but Ruiz took the punches well.
Ruiz began to land some hard punches in the third round and hurt Hamer with a left hook right hook combination. Ruiz at one point calmly spat out blood in the third round and continued to push forward. He connected with a thudding body head combination near the end of the third round.
Hamer did not come out for the start of the fourth round and surprisingly quit on his stool. Andy Ruiz won by TKO at the start of the fourth round.
The last fight on the undercard was the rematch between Evgeny Gradovich (17-0) and Billy Dib (36-2) for the IBF Featherweight Title.
The last time they fought Gradovich was able to win by applying constant pressure and wearing Dib down. That was the same strategy he employed in this fight. Dib was connecting with his jab early on in the first round and may have stolen it, but Gradovich was able to pick back up the pressure in the second round and began landing some solid body shots.
From the third round on Gradovich began to pulverize Billy Dib. His punches appeared to land with more ferocity than last time and Dib was unable to avoid them. He kept the fight in tight and fought his type of fight.
Billy Dib was really feeling the effects of Gradovich’s pressure in the fifth round and spit it out at the start of the round. Gradovich was able to hurt Dib with two right crosses near the end of the fifth round. He was also able to score a knockdown in the sixth round with a right cross to Dib’s chin.
By the seventh and eighth rounds the only thing you were wondering was when will the referee stop the fight?
Dib was hurt in both rounds and even switched to southpaw in the eighth round to try to turn the tide. He was unsuccessful. Gradovich landed another brutal combination in the ninth round that forced the referee to stop the bout.