By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions had their inaugural show on Tru TV as lightweight contender Ray Beltran was supposed to challenge Takahiro Ao for the vacant WBO Lightweight title, but he failed to make weight and it became a non title bout. The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas was the host site for this show: it seats a capacity of 2500 and is a perfect venue for boxing.
The first televised bout of the night was between two undefeated prospects, Russian welterweight Konstantin Ponomarev (27-0) and Mikael Zewski (26-0).
Ponomarev is trained by Abel Sanchez and Zewski is trained by Jean Zewski.
Both fighters fought out of an orthodox stance and had a similar height and build. They were exchanging jabs in the first and both were landing, but Zewski was able to land his lead left hook several times and likely won the first.
The second round was a good technical round and close to score. Zewski was landing his lead left hook again in the early part of the round, but Ponomarev was able to land a straight right hand on Zewski when he was slightly off balance and he went to one knee. The referee ruled it a slip though it could have been called a knockdown. Ponomarev ended the second round strong with a good right uppercut on Zewski.
Zewski showed good head movement in the first half of the third round, but Ponomarev’s right hand was finding its home in the second half of the round and he landed it repeatedly. Momentum had swung in Ponomarev’s favor by the end of the third.
The fighters exchanged jabs in the first half of the fourth round and Ponomarev seemed to have a little heavier jab. Zewski missed a few bombs in the fourth, but ended it with a good jab, jab, cross combination. Zewski was on the offensive in the fifth round and was moving forward behind his double jab. His left hook was landing again in the fifth and he ended the fifth with an emphatic left hook.
Ponomarev began throwing lead right uppercuts in the sixth but he was not having much success. Zewski was able to get the crowd’s attention with a strong right hook to the temple of Ponomarev, but Ponomarev was able to recover quite quickly from that shot.
By the seventh round, the face of Zewski was starting to look marked up and Ponomarev connected with two good right hands around the high guard of Zewski. Ponomarev looked like the fresher fighter of the two by the eighth round and was actually moving Zewski around the ring and controlling the tempo of the fight.
Ponomarev was more accurate with his combinations in the ninth round and by this time both of Zewski’s eyes were swelling up badly. Zewski must have believed he was behind on the scorecards in the tenth round, because he fought aggressively in the last round but was taking hard right hands as the fight came to an end.
The judges scored it 99-91, 97-93, and 98-92 for Konstantin Ponomarev.
The main event of the night was between Ray Beltran (29-7-1) and Takahiro Ao (27-3-1) in the lightweight division. Ao was going for his third world title in a third weight class.
Beltran was clearly the bigger man in the ring and he looked like he was a good two weight classes bigger than Ao. Ao, a southpaw, was short with his punches in the first round but was able to land a few straight left hands. Ao was head-butted by Beltran in the middle of the first and
Beltran controlled the remainder of the first round after that. He was able to tag Ao with his straight right hands and get Ao to unwisely exchange with him by the ropes.
At the start of the second round, Beltran was using his size to get in tight on Ao and land digging hooks to the body along withh a left uppercut.
Beltran later followed that up with a crushing right hook that sent Ao to the mat. Ao got back to his feet at the count of eight, but Beltran immediately jumped on Ao and began to throw bombs and was battering Ao from corner to corner. Ao was getting punished by the ropes before the referee jumped in an decided to stop the bout.
Ray Beltran wins by TKO at 1:29 of the second round.
Undercard Quick Results:
Egor Mekhontsev (9-0) defeated Hakim Zoulikha (21-6) by decision in the light heavyweight division with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards.
Alfonso Olvera (3-1) defeated Abraham Lopez (0-1) in the welterweight division with scores of 38-38, 39-37, and 40-36.