By: William Holmes
Tonight’s undercard for the Bernard Hopkins vs. Sergey Kovalev bout started on time at 5:15 p.m. at the famed Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The opening bout of the night was between Ryan Martin (8-0) and Martin Cardona (17-3) in the junior welterweight division. Martin outclassed Cardona from the opening bell and dominated the first round before knocking Cardona down in the second round with a body shot by the ropes. Cardona looked like he had enough and the referee waived off the fight quickly at 1:38 of the second round.
The next bout of the night was between Andrey Sirotkin (4-0) and Michael Mitchell (3-4-2) in the super middleweight division. Sirotkin, a southpaw, was slightly shorter than Mitchell but had the better technical boxing skills. He out boxed Mitchell and controlled the pace and range in the second round, and showed the ability to switch stances from southpaw to orthodox and gave his opponent several different looks.
Sirotkin connected with a clean left hook in the third round that left Mitchell wobbly legs, and he later followed it up with a combination that ended with a push that sent Mitchell to the mat. The referee ruled it a knockdown and Sirotkin blistered Mitchell with precise combinations throughout the remainder of the round, but Mitchell did survive.
Sirotkin was not aggressive in the fourth round despite the third round knockdown and Mitchell opened up the fifth round with a hard left hook, but Sirotkin was still deftly avoiding most of the punches of Mitchell and controlled the remainder of the bout. Sirotkin came close to stopping the bout in the sixth round and had Mitchell stunned, but he’ll have to be satisfied with a decision victory.
The judges scored it 60-53, 59-54, and 59-54 for Andrey Sirotkin.
Sullivan Barrera (13-0) and Rowland Bryant (18-3) was the next bout of the night in the light heavyweight division.
Sullivan Barrera was noticeably more ripped than the last time he fought. He opened up the bout with an accurate left hook and was going to the body and head of his opponent. Barrera hurt Bryant in the second round with a crisp straight right hand to the chin that appeared to have forced Bryant to touch the mat with his glove and shoot in for a low single leg wrestling takedown. The referee ruled it a knockdown, but Rowland was able to survive the second round.
Bryant was on the defensive for the third and fourth round and was mainly covering up.
Another straight right hand by Barrerra snapped Bryant’s head backwards and had him stunned. Rowland was clearly out of the fight as the fourth round ended and his corner wisely decided to stop the bout.
Sullivan Barrera remained undefeated with a TKO at the end of the fourth round.
Newly signed Golden Boy fighter and Philadelphia native Eric Hunter (18-3) met Daniel Ramirez (11-1) in the junior lightweight division.
Ramirez was significantly taller than Hunter, but Hunter was able to slip the punches of Ramirez early on and counter him effectively. His left hook was landing in the first round, and his left uppercut was doing damage in the second. Ramirez was knocked off balance in the second from a left hook upstairs, but he was able to stay on his feet.
Hunter was boxing while moving backwards in the third round but was able to effectively pick off the punches of Ramirez while landing counter shots. Ramirez had Hunter momentarily in trouble in the fourth round when he had him trapped by the corner but another counter left by Hunter stopped the attack by Ramirez. A low blow by Ramirez caused a momentary halt to the action at the end of the fourth round.
Ramirez focused his punches to the body of Hunter in the fifth round but was still getting hit with clean check left hooks by Hunter. Eric Hunter put more power behind his punches in the sixth round and sent Ramirez to the mat after a hard combination in the center of the ring that was ended with another left hook. Ramirez was able to get back to his feet but was met with a vicious and loud right hook that forced the referee to immediately step in and stop the fight.
It may have been an early stoppage but Eric Hunter was clearly on his way to a victory. Eric Hunter won by TKO at 1:23 of the sixth round.
Vyacheslav Glazkov (18-0-1) fought Darnell Wilson (25-17-3) in the next bout of the night in the heavyweight division. Darnell Wilson is coming off of an upset victory over the previously undefeated heavyweight David Rodriguez, but that was a bout in which Rodriguez faded badly as the fight progressed and was up on the cards before he was knocked out.
Glazkov came out strong in the first round by landing his left hook right cross combinations and showing decent head movement, while Wilson could do little but take Glazkov’s best punches and try in vain to punch Glazkov.
Glazkov continued to pick Wilson apart in the second and third rounds while Wilson was unable to land anything of note. Wilson was attempting to set traps, but did so unsuccessfully. He was momentarily stunned in the fifth round but his chin held up and he didn’t go down on the mat.
Wilson did have a decent sixth round when he landed a left hook out of nowhere and opened up a cut over Glazkov’s right eye, but Glazkov recovered well and went back to his jab straight right combination. Glazkov continued to pound Wilson in the second round who was unable to offer any kind of offensive attack.
The ringside doctor took a good look at Wilson before the start of the eighth round and advised that the bout be stopped. Vyacheslav Glazkov remains undefeated with a TKO victory at the end of the seventh round.
Nadjib Mohammedi (36-3) met Demetrius Walker (7-7-1) in a light heavyweight bout. Mohammedi’s management claimed he was next in line for the winner of Hopkins and Kovalev, but he doesn’t have the name power to draw such a big fight at this point in his career.
Walker was a southpaw and was very wild with his punches and missed by a wide margin.
Mohammedi was measured with his combinations and nearly knocked Walker out of the ring with a combination before knocking him down with a combination to the body. Walker got back to his feet but it was clear that he did not belong in the same ring as Mohammedi. Mohammedi knocked Walker down again with a combination near the ropes, though no punches appeared to land cleanly or hard. Walker stayed on the mat for the count of ten and didn’t even attempt to get back to his feet.
Nadjib Mohammedi won by knockout at 2:16 of the first round.
The final bout of the undercard was between Emil Gonzalez (11-8-1) and Vyacheslav Shabransky (10-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Gonazalez came into the ring looking very soft and flabby and Shabransky had him on the retreat with combinations early on in the first round. Gonzalez did nothing but cover up and try to block most of Shabransky’s punches and offered little to no offense.
Gonzalez offered no offense again in the second round and the crowd loudly booed his performance in the ring. He had a cut over his left eye from the first round that swelled up even worse in the second round and he maybe threw three total punches in the fight.
Gonzalez was unable to come out for the start of the third round giving Vyacheslav Shabransky the TKO victory.