By: William Holmes
The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Showtime Championship Boxing telecast that featured two televised bouts. Showtime had showed earlier in the day a welterweight bout (via a Sky Sports feed from Sheffield, England) between Jo Jo Dan and Kell Brook in Sheffield, England in which Brook emerged victorious.
Jermell Charlo (25-0) and Vanes Martirosyan (35-1-1) opened up tonight’s broadcast in a junior middleweight bout.
Martirosyan and Charlo were former sparring partners, and it was evident throughout the fight that both boxers were very familiar with each other. Martirosyan was sharp with his jab in the first round and aggressive early on and put Charlo on the defensive.
Martirosyan focused his punches on the body in the early rounds and at one point in the second round, Charlo complained that one of the punches had landed low. Martirosyan had a good third round that featured hard left hooks to the body, but Charlo begain to open up at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth.
Charlo’s straight right hand began landing in the fourth round and his left hand was more active and accurate in the second half of the fight. Martirosyan slipped to the mat in the sixth round and Charlo’s nose was starting to trickle blood in the seventh round.
Most of the middle rounds were close, but Charlo seemed to be more in control and composed. An accidental clash of heads opened up a cut over Martirosyan’s left eye in the eighth round that forced a short stoppage to allow the ringside doctor to talk with Martirosyan.
Martirosyan could be heard clearly saying he couldn’t open his left eye and this his vision was blurry, but somewhat surprisingly, the ringside doctor gave Martirosyan the option to continue and Martirosyan decided to go on. Martirosyan came out aggressive after the break, but most of his power shots were slipped by the dodged by his opponent.
Charlo simply outlanded Martirosyan in the final two rounds and his victory was punctuated by a strong right cross in the final round.
The final scores were 97-93, 96-94, and 96-94 for Jermell Charlo.
The main event of the night was between Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8) and Garry Russell Jr. (24-1) for the WBC Featherweight Title.
Gonzalez was seven years older than Russell, but he had a significant height and reach advantage. Russell, a southpaw, was sharp and accurate with his jab in the first round and it looked like his hand speed would be too much for Gonzalez to handle.
Gonzalez was getting tagged repeatedly by Gary Russell’s jabs in the second round and he looked like he was already getting frustrated in the ring.
Russell’s lead left hand and jab were stopping Gonzalez in his tracks in a strong third round that ended with a counter left hand followed by a right hook by Russell that sent Gonzalez down to the mat and his mouthpiece out of his mouth. Gonzalez was able to survive the round, but he was badly rattled and might not have lasted much longer if there was more time left in the round.
Russell swarmed Gonzalez in the fourth round and sent Gonzalez down again after a flurry of hooks. Gonzalez was on wobbly legs when he got back to his feet but the referee allowed him to continue fighting. Russell wasted little time in knocking Gonzalez down again and the referee had no choice but to wave off the fight.
Garry Russell Jr. wins by TKO at 0:37 of round four.