Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing series returned to Times’ Square Tuesday evening, as Noel Murphy battled battled Mikkel LesPierre in a battle of welterweight undefeateds. Earlier on in the card, Mykquan Williams, 9-0, faced off against Preston Wilson, 4-2-1, in a six round welterweight affair. There wasn’t much to tell as far as the fight went. Williams came out fast and furious and took his man out in the first. It was an impressive showing for the Connecticut native.
Next up was a heavyweight showdown between Kennan Hickman, 6-2-1, and Oleksandr Teslenko 11-0. Teslenko dominated the first of a scheduled eight rounds by employing his height and jab in classic European fashion (the heavyweight is originally from the Ukraine). A thunderous right early in the second sent Hickman to the mat. Hickman got up, but Teslenko immediately went to work on his body. Hickman turned his back on the action and the referee stopped the bout.
Jude Franklin, 6-0, and Floriano Pagliara, 16-7-2, were up next in a scheduled six round junior lightweight battle. Franklin was aggressive from the start, dropping his man within the first minute of the opening round. Pagliara survived the round, but Franklin was in complete control. Pagliara fought bravely in the second, but he was down and out by around the midpoint of the round.
It was time for the main event. Noel Murphy, 11-0, stepped into the ring to face fellow undefeated welterweight Mikkel LesPierre, 18-0-1, in a scheduled ten round throwdown. The first round between the two southpaws saw Murphy employing a successful body attack. LesPierre upped the attack in the second, though Murphy may have edged it with sharper punching.
LesPierre looked much crisper in the third and, with a crisp jab, solid footwork and body shorts of his own, appeared to edge the round. The fourth round could be seen as the beginning of the battle proper, as it was a close, exciting chapter of the bout. The fifth was close, though not as fast paced as the previous round. The lack of consistency from each man highlighted the fact that this was a battle of prospects rather than hardened vets.
Things remained exciting in the sixth, though LesPierre’s sharp punching may have given him the edge. It was a very difficult fight to judge. The seventh kept up the trend of close rounds, with LesPierre seeming to be the dominant fighter, only for Murphy to come on strong by round’s end. The eighth saw Murphy being more active while the ninth pitted Murphy’s aggression against LesPierre’s sharp, but perhaps infrequent, punches.
A headbutt stopped the action in the tenth, as LesPierre stepped across the ring in pain after the referee temporarily halted the bout. The fight resumed and ended with both men slugging. It was a quality fight for both prospects, showcasing both the strengths and weaknesses of each man. Each fighter showed potential, but Murphy needs to stop using his head as a weapon and LesPierre needs to be more active while in the ring.
LesPierre walked away with a UD win.