By: William Holmes
The Adrian Phillips ballroom in the legendary Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey was the site of tonight’s HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader. An entertaining and surprisingly competitive undercard preceded tonight’s televised card as Toka Kahn Clary and Matt Korobov were able to win despite being hurt early on in their bouts, and Philadelphia super middleweight Jesse Hart continued to devastate his opponents in quick fashion with a first round knockout.
The first televised bout of the night was between Lamar Russ (14-0) and Matthew Macklin (29-5) in the middleweight division. The venue was half filled at the start of this bout with plenty of good seats open and available.
Sergei Kovalev was in the corner of Lamar Russ at the introductions, but Russ did not fight as well as Kovalev. Macklin came out very aggressive in the first round against the taller Russ and was focusing on his body. Russ was able to land a few decent jabs, but Macklin was by far the more aggressive fighter.
The action began to slow down in the second round with Macklin mainly pressing the action. Macklin was throwing a jab that looked like a leaping jab and was showing decent head movement. Russ finally decided to become more aggressive in the fourth round but was being caught with punches to his head by Macklin.
Russ was far too inactive to score the win and he waited too long to try and press the action even when he clearly needed a knockout to win. The ninth round was the best round of the night and featured several good exchanges with Macklin getting the better of Russ.
Russ’s best round of the night was the tenth round but it was too little too late. The final scores were 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93 for Matthew Macklin.
After the fight promoter Lou Dibella was telling the media that Sturm and Macklin was the only fight that made sense now that Sturm holds the IBF Middleweight Title after defeating Darren Barker.
The next bout of the night was the highly anticipated super welterweight clash between James Kirkland (31-1) and Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (20-0). James Kirkland has reunited with trainer Anne Wolf for this bout.
Glen Tapia was the second man to walk into the ring and he was greeted by a very loud and raucous New Jersey crowd.
Many felt that this bout had the potential to deliver fireworks, it did more than that, and it’s a leading contender for fight of the year.
Tapia started off well and came right at Kirkland. He was doing well from the outside and tagging Kirkland with crisp combination. Kirkland continued to come forward and walk through Tapia’s punches and eventually trap Tapia by the ropes and landed some vicious combinations.
The action continued into the second round and Kirkland was doing well whenever he was able to get on the inside. This fight was a brawl and both fighters were landing hard blows and were throwing a ridiculous amount of punches. Kirkland stumbled Tapia in the second round with a hard straight left hand that Tapia was able to eventually shake off.
The crowd stayed on its feet in the third round as both fighters were showing an incredible amount of heart. Tapia hurt Kirkland in the third round and both were showing signs of the war on their face. Kirkland was getting the better of Tapia when he fought in tight while Tapia was getting the better of Kirkland when he was able to stay on the outside.
Kirkland really got the better of Tapia in the fourth round and had him badly, badly hurt. Kirkland landed punches at will while Tapai was throwing arm punches. Tapia was barely throwing any punches near the last half of the fourth round and looked to be in very bad shape. The ringside doctor checked on Tapia to see if he continued before the start of the fifth round and most in press row felt the fight should have been stopped.
Tapia came out throwing at the start of the fifth round since he was seconds away from having the fight stopped in the last round. He started off strong and momentarily stunned Kirkland with a solid left hook. Kirkland however was able to recover and again punished Tapia by the ropes.
At the start of the sixth round Tapia’s face was terribly bruised up. They started off the sixth by exchanging vicious combinations but Kirkland was getting the better of Tapia. He had Tapia trapped by the ropes again and was throwing everything he had at him. Referee Steve Smoger finally stepped in to stop the fight but not before Kirkland was able to land on last vicious hook that left Tapia a crumpled mess as he fell into the arms of Steve Smoger.
James Kirkland wins a war with a TKO at 0:38 of round six.
How action packed was this fight? At the time of the stoppage Kirkland had thrown 644 total punches while Tapia had thrown 437. Kirkland connected with 305 punches while Tapia connected with 132.
Afterwards Kirkland stated, “ I feel like a million bucks. It was a rough and down fight. I told everyone it would be this way One punch could turn the fight either way. He hit me with some good shots, I had to go through such hell in this camp with Anne but we are a team. We came in with a gameplan and stuck with it. Future plans? I’ll fight anybody.”
The main event of the night was between Joseph Agbeko (29-4) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0) for the WBA and WBO World Super Bantamweight Titles. Kirkland and Tapia delivered an exciting fight while Rigondeaux and Agbeko delivered the exact opposite, and absolute bore.
Agbeko attacked the body of Rigondeaux in the first round and did little to nothing after that. Rigondeaux feinted, moved, jabbed, and moved again. It was a typical Rigondeaux performance in where he barely got hit and seemed
to toy with his opponent.
People began to leave the arena in the middle of Rigondeaux’s bout as it offered very little excitement. Agbeko wasn’t doing much to try and apply the pressure or even win the fight, he basically just stood there and moved his head in an effort to avoid Rigondeaux’s jabs and quick left crosses.
There was nothing exciting to report in this fight. Rigondeaux wins by decision with scores of 120-108 on all three scorecards.
Undercard Quick Results:
Egor Mekhontsev (1-0) defeated Peter Cajigas (0-3-1) by TKO at 2:35 of the first round in the light heavyweight division.
Julian Rodriguez (2-0) defeated Ryan Picou (0-2) by decision with scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Jesse Hart (11-0) defeated Tyrell Hendrix (10-3-2-1) by KO at 1:20 of the first round in the super middleweight division.
Toka Khan Clary (9-0) defeated Ramsey Lunda (8-1) by decision with scores of 57-55 on all three scorecards in the super featherweight division.
Matt Korobov (22-0) defeated Derek Edwards (25-3-1) by TKO at 0:28 of round nine.