By: William Holmes
Premier Boxing Champions Series was broadcast tonight from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alambam as WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder defended his title against Johann Duhaupas.
The first televised fight of the night was between US Olympian Dominic Breazeale (15-0) and Fred Kassi (18-3-1) in the heavyweight division.
Breazeale has the height, reach, and age advantage and it showed in the ring. However, Kassi did look to be in excellent shape and he was considered by many to be the toughest test of Breazeale’s young career.
Breazeale used his jab in the first round to try and find his range while Kassi switched to orthodox to southpaw stance constantly but failed to find his range in the first. Breazeale likely won the first round based on activity and a stinging three punch combination.
Kassi opened up the second round with a two punch combination and a straight left to the body. Breazeale had difficulty landing clean punches to the head of Kassi but was landing to the body. Kassi ended the second round with a check left hook followed by a two punch combination.
Breazeale’s corner pleaded with him to keep the fight on the outside before the third round but Breazeale’s was unable to find his target in the third. Kassi’s head movement had Breazeale punching air in the third.
Kassi opened up the fourth round with a clean straight left hand and was landing the cleaner shots. Breazeale had his moments in the fourth and fifth, but Kassi was landing the cleaner counter punches.
Breazeale’s punches looked to be losing it’s snap in the sixth round and Kassi had a strong seventh with hard hooks to the head and body, but Breazeale was pressing the action and pushing forward.
There was a quick stoppage in the eighth round to allow the referee to check the mouth piece of Kassi, and it could have been a sign of him tiring as his activity wasn’t great in the eighth and ninth rounds while Breazeale was landing hard body shots.
Most observers felt the fight was close in the tenth and final round and it was Breazeale who closed out the fight strong by landing combinations at the end and constant pressure throughout.
It was a close fight that could have gone either way, but the judges scored it in Breazeale favor by a wide margin with scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 100-90.
The main event was between Deontay Wilder (34-0) and Johann Duhaupas (32-2) for the WBC World Heavyweight Title.
Wilder was greeted to a loud ovation from the crowd as he entered the ring.
Most people expected Wilder to easily walk through Duhaupas and stop him early, and Duhaupas looked like he was prepared to fight defensively for the whole night as he came out with a high, tight guard but applied pressure. Wilder was sharp with his jab in the first and had Duhaupas cut on the bridge of his nose.
Wilder’s punches were moving Duhaupas even when they were blocked and Wilder was landing hard two punch combinations in the second round. Duhaupas was able to land an occasional jab and had Wilder’s right eye swollen, but Duhaupas was consistently taking hard shots from the champion.
Wilder staggered Duhaupas in the fourth round with a right hook and staggered Duhaupas again with a two punch combination. Wilder discovered his right uppercut in the fifth round and it became a punch he landed whenever Duhaupas was in tight on his chest.
The referee warned Duhaupas he may stop the fight if he doesn’t show him something before the start of the sixth, but he was throwing just enough to convince the referee to allow it to continue. Wilder’s whipping punches continued through the seventh, eighth, and ninth rounds, but Wilder did appear to tire or step off the gas pedal in the ninth.
Wilder had Duhaupas staggered badly near the end of the tenth round when he unleashed a devastating combination that had Duhaupas wobbly and holding on but he somehow survived the round.
Duhaupas was a punching bag in the second half of the fight and the referee finally stopped it in the eleventh round after Wilder landed another hard combination to the head of Duhaupas.
It took longer than expected, but Wilder got the TKO victory at 0:55 of the eleventh round.