By: Sean Crose
The Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio hosted an ESPN/Top Rank card on Saturday night featuring former world titlist Charles Martin and local up and comer Jared Anderson in a scheduled 10 round heavyweight throwdown. It promised to be a good test for the rising Anderson and a do-or-die career moment for ex-champion Martin. First up, however, the undefeated 15-0 heavyweight Raphael Akenjiore battled the 16-0 Arslanbek Makhmudov in a scheduled 10 rounder.
Makhmudov was all over his opponent from the get to, dropping Akenjiore twice in the first. To his credit, Akenjiore was able to survive the opening chapter. Still, an explosive uppercut rattled Akenjiore in the second. A few moments later, the man was down again. Akenjiore got back to his feet once more, but in what was basically a humanitarian action, the referee stopped the fight.
Next up, the 8-0 lightweight Abdullah Mason threw down with the 20-4 Alex de Oliveira in a scheduled 6 rounder. Mason got to work right away in the opening round, firing crisp shots from behind a southpaw jab. De Oliveira was aggressive in the second, but Mason was able to hurt, then drop his man in the final moments of the round. The referee wisely and immediately stopped the fight. Needless to say, it was time for the main event.
The 14-0 Anderson was considerably smaller than the 29-3-1 Martin, who spent the first trying to maintain range. Anderson spent the second in George Patton mode, relentlessly moving forward. By the final minute of the round, Martin had been tagged hard several times. Things were rather slow in the third. It was clear Martin hoped to frustrate, then eventually get the better of his man. Still, in the final seconds of the round, Martin was sent to the mat. He quickly got up, but Anderson’s point had been made.
Martin continued to be able to land on Marin in the fourth. He also showed some sound defensive skills in avoiding Martin’s notable power. Strong as those skills had been previously, they didn’t keep Anderson from getting rocked in the fifth. Martin proceeded to unload on his man. Anderson got through the round, but things had definitely taken a turn for the unexpected. To his credit, Anderson had a better sixth, thanks to his jab. Still, Martin was still able to land well on several occasions.
Both men had their moments in the seventh, but Anderson did a better job in the chapter. This was one of the those fights where a knockout could occur at any minute, or both men could run out of gas in the later rounds. The eighth was similar to earlier rounds in that Anderson would fire more effectively, but Martin was still able to tag his opponent on occasion. Anderson put his punches together well in the ninth. Martin, however, caught Anderson hard and clean in the final moment of the round
Yet by the tenth, it was obvious that Martin was all out of ideas. He had certainly had his moments, but the fight ultimately belonged to hometown hero Anderson, who ended up winning by the judge’s scores of 98-91, 99-90, and 99-90.
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