by: Sean Crose
Phoenix, Arizona hosted an evening of championship boxing on ESPN Saturday night. The card opened with Isaac Dogboe demolishing Japan’s Hideonor Otake in the first round of their WBO super bantamweight championship. The 20-0 titlist, the son of Ghanan, royalty scored his 14th knockout. The end started less than two minutes into the first round, as a thunderous left sent Otake to the mat. The man rose gamely, but he simply didn’t have what it took to beat the ferocious rising star. Dogboe, a fighter with a likable personality to match his thunderous style, is fast becoming one of the more entertaining athletes in the sport.
Next up, the 15-7 Edna Kiss faced off against the 6-0 former Olympian, Mikaela Mayer. Mayer, tall, lean and hard hitting, had Kiss down within seconds. Kiss survived the round, but Mayer’s piston jab and powerful right were telling the tale. There was no knockdown in the second, but by the third Mayer was turning up the volume and clearly looking for an early finish to the scheduled six rounder. And the third was all there was to it. Kiss retired on her stool before the fourth.
It was time for the main event. Former IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza, 24-1, aimed to take the WBO world lightweight title from the 35-7-1 Ray Beltran. The first was close, but Pedraza seemed to control the tempo. Beltran spent the second stalking while Pedraza remained largely illusive. Beltran looked a bit more effective in the third, but still looked to come up a bit short. Beltran began to take over the tempo in the fourth, perhaps winning his first round of the fight. In the fifth, Beltran landed on his man hard while Pedraza appeared like he might be a bit flustered. By the middle of the fight, Beltran continued to work effectively.
The second half of the fight saw Pedraza reestablishing his jab in the 7th. The fight was becoming particularly hard to score in the 8th. Pedraza was zapping his man with jabs, but Beltran’s pressure and power were quite effective. The 9th saw Pedraza’s jab holding Beltran at bay. The 10th, on the other hand, was essentially even. Both men looked completely exhausted in the 11th. Beltran seemed to be edging it – until Pedraza dropped his man with a thunderous left. Beltran got up, but had clearly been rocked. The last round saw Pedraza’s jab effectively at work. In truth, the 37 year old Beltran had been looking up at the clock several times as the fight had wore on. The man’s age may have been starting to show. Pedraza ended the round with an explosive and effective flurry with Beltran on the ropes.
Pedraza walked out of the ring with the UD win and the WBO belt.