By Ste Rowen
Yunier Dorticos v Dmitry Kudryashov
The main event of the evening in San Antonio came and went in brutal fashion as the Cuban ‘KO Doctor’ Yunier Dorticos administered a one punch knock down which sent Kudryashov’s hopes of winning the Muhammad Ali trophy into the fire.
The bell rang for the first round and straight away there seemed to be an air of confidence about Yunier Dorticos that his opponent, Dmitry Kudryashov was lacking. As the Russian Hammer was throwing he was leaving himself open to Dorticos’ jab, and lacking that power that he’s shown in his previous three fights.
As the Cuban began to land more cleanly in the second, Kudryashov looked like he’d rather be anywhere else than in that ring. Dorticos landed seven accurate 1,2 combinations in quick succession without meaningful reply. Kudryashov survived but with one minute seven seconds left on the clock, the Russian swung and missed, and Yunier pounced, firing as clean a right hand as you’ll see to the chin of Kurdryashov, sending the Russian Hammer to the canvas.
As Dmitry lifted his head, his eyes were rolling back and the victory was as conclusive as if Dorticos had knocked Kudryashov out for the night. To his credit, Kudryashov did try to get up but his legs were failing him and the ref waved it off.
Dorticos now 22-0-0 (21KOs) progresses to the semi finals of the World Boxing Super Series. There he awaits either IBF champion Murat Gassiev (24-0-0 17KOs) or former WBC champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KOs). Those two face off next month at the Prudential Center, Newark.
The semifinals are planned for January & February of next year leaving enough time for Yunier Dorticos to enjoy the praise ultimately coming his way for taking out one of the most feared punchers in a stacked Cruiserweight division.
“I knew that he was going to come at me and I waited and delivered the shot,” said Dorticos. “Once it landed I knew it was over. It is an honor to be competing in the World Boxing Super Series. To be able to go after the Muhammad Ali Trophy is a privilege and a pleasure. I want to prove to the world that I am the best cruiserweight in the world right now.”
Donaire v Hernandez
Nonito Donaire returned to form tonight with a 10-round decision win over Ruben Hernandez in a bout for the WBC Silver Featherweight title, which should see former world champion Donaire jump up the featherweight rankings and establish him as a front running contender for a world title shot in the 126lb division. Currently unranked by the WBC as a featherweight, expect to see Donaire drop into the top 10 in the coming weeks.
Bouncing back from his fourth pro career defeat at the hands of Jessie Magdaleno for the WBO Super Bantamweight title, multiple weight world champion Nonito showed his class from the first bell. Living up to his nickname, the Filipino Flash, Donaire fired off with precision, wasting few punches in the early rounds. His timing of combinations and alert movement setup the foundations for a clear points victory.
Ruben Hernandez, 22-2-1 coming into this fight, was outclassed from the start. His only two defeats before tonight came within four months of each other between late October 2015 and early February 2016 to fringe contender Rafael Rivera and highly regarded Randy Caballero however, despite his previous experience the Filipino proved why he still holds championship ambitions going forward.
In the latter rounds Donaire’s block and counter was the difference as Hernandez looked in hope more than expectation to find a weakness. One concern for Donaire however could be the lack of power. Despite landing the higher volume of single and combination punches, his Mexican opponent never seemed obviously deterred and as Nonito begins to step up in opponents again, his reliance on speed and precision could decide whether he keeps a seat at the highest table.
Hernandez showed a little bit of life in the later rounds especially when, with twenty seconds to go in the 10th he landed a huge right hook which certainly gave the Filipino Flash something to thinking about, enough at least for Donaire to start firing combinations back and scrapping until the final bell.
The difference in levels between the two fighters was clear from the start though and when the judges’ scorecards were read out it was no surprise that after 10 rounds, Donaire took home a clear unanimous decision – 100-90, 97-93, 99-91.
I boxed very well, which is something I haven’t done in a long time,” said Donaire. “I moved my legs well and maintained it throughout the whole fight. I’ve always been an aggressive boxer but this time I used my jab and combinations. I had the urge to just brawl and I felt like I hurt him. But ultimately I did a great job showing versatility in my game.”
Tapia v Kayode
A similar story can be told for the final bout of the undercard between Keith ‘Machine Gun’ Tapia and Lateef ‘Power’ Kayode. Keith Tapia, coming back from a unanimous points defeat to Andrew Tabiti was seemingly on a seek and destroy mission from the off but never quite got to destroy, though he did improve his record to 18-1-0.
Nigerian Kayode, 21-1-0 (2 No-contests) at the start of the night, may have been the more experienced man headed into the fight but it certainly didn’t effect Puerto Rican Tapia who dominated behind a brilliant double jab which kept Kayode guessing all night.
The first two rounds established Tapia’s motives as he went in search of the stoppage early, Kayode even motioning his opponent to keep coming forward within the first 30 seconds of the fight. The Nigerian swung and missed one round to the next, only beginning to land cleanly in the latter rounds as Tapia tired.
Rounds 1-5 were clear cut rounds for Tapia, though he was having difficulty landing the right hand. His double jab laid the groundwork but the right looked tame. In the sixth however, despite the fight slowing down from it’s earlier pace and Kayode starting to land more with the jab, Keith fired a lone straight right, landing clean on Kayode’s chin and sending him to the canvas.
In round 8 Tapia was really beginning to enjoy himself, using his jab to tap on his opponent’s guard, Kayode opening the door a few times to let Keith’s right-hand in. The final three rounds were arguably Kayode’s best but it’s still very difficult to commit to giving him a single 10-9 round, ‘Machine Gun’ Tapia was timing his attacks and finishing strong.
The scorecards were unanimous across the board, 100-89 from all three judges. Keith showed no signs of a man bouncing back from his first pro defeat and there’s no doubt if he continues to perform like he did tonight, more big nights await. A rematch with Andrew Tabiti
“I usually start warming up in the fourth or fifth round, but I started much faster tonight,” said Tapia. “I knew I had the advantage in speed and I took advantage of it. I haven’t been in the ring for a year, but my team got me ready and in great shape for this fight. My timing was the key to the fight. My trainer told me Kayode would drop his left hand and I’d be able to land my right hand, and that’s what I did.”
“I tried to stay on my game plan,” said Kayode. “He was very fast but he did not hurt me. I thought I deflected a lot of his shots. When I tried to attack him he started moving. I had to adjust my game plan. I didn’t see the punch that knocked me down. I heard the bell and then the punch was there. I think he started the punch before the bell rang.”