Rob Brant Cruises To Stoppage Victory In ESPN Main Event
By: Sean Crose
ESPN and Top Rank Boxing presented a Friday evening card live from Minnesota’s Grand Casino. The main event featured WBA “Regular” Middleweight champ Rob Brant, 24-1, making his first title defense against 17-0 Ukranian Khasan Baysangurov. First off, however, Chicago’s 19-1-1 bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr battled the 19-3 Giovanni Escaner of the Philippians. The scheduled10 round contest was for a stepping-stone belt, the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantamweight Title. Escabar started well. Greer picked up steam in the middle rounds, however. Although Escabar was able to drop his man at (or after) the bell ending the 3’d, Greer put is man down – and out – at the end of the eighth with a perfect body blow. It was a story of one fighter riding out some tough moments and working steadily until he found a moment of his own.
Next up, the 9-0 2016 American Olympian Mikaela Mayer faced the 13-1-1 Yareli Larios of Mexico in a scheduled 8 rounder for the NABF Female Super Featherweight Title. Meyer, the champion, employed sound footwork, but the aggressive Larios was able to apply pressure effectively, employ effective aggression and find her mark early on. By the mid rounds, Mayer was better able to assert herself, though Larios was still arguably the more active fighter. As the fight went into the later rounds, Mayer’s skill set was starting to tell the tale over Lario’s fighting spirit. By the end of the 7th Larios was taking such a beating that the bout could have been stopped. Meyer ended up dominating the 8th and final round, leading to a UD win.
It was time for the main event. Brant moved in for the kill right at the opening bell. The local fighter went on to completely dominate the round. A Brant right dropped Baysangurov in the second. The Ukranian, however, beat the count. Baysangurov was certainly game, but his lack of head movement clearly made him an easier target than he should have been. WIth that being said, the third was a much better round for the challenger than the first two had been. The fourth was fairly close, but Brant’s activity gave him the edge. By the fifth it was clear that it was to be a high octane affair essentially throughout.
The midpoint of the fight showed that although Barsangurov had his moments, Brant was having the better night, dominating the tempo with greater frequency and landing more effectively than his foe. Brant continued to land and move well as the fight progressed into the later rounds. Heading into the championship rounds, it looked as if Brant simply had to do what he had been doing up until that point in the fight – be active and dictate the tempo. After a brutal attack in the 11th, the bloody Baysangurov hit the mat again. He got up bravely, but Brant moved right in again and the referee wisely stopped the fight.
Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Rob Brant vs. Khasan Baysangurov
By: Sean Crose
WBA “Regular” Middleweight Champion Rob Brant, 24-1, will defend his title against the 17-0 Khasan Baysangurov at Minnesota’s Grand Casino on Friday night, headlining a card to be aired lived as part of ESPNs Top Rank Boxing programming. A native of Minnesota himself, Brant will be making his first defense in front of what is essentially a local audience. Brant won his title by besting then-titlist Ryoto Murata last October in Last Vegas. The undefeated Baysangurov will be making his first attempt at a major title. Brant is clearly the Ukrainian fighter’s biggest test to date.
Without doubt, he may have his hands full. For Brant will be making his 12th appearance at the Grand Casino on Friday. Considering the fact that Baysangurov has only knocked out roughly 40% of his opponents (scoring just two stoppages in the six fights he has engaged in during the past two years) he may not be able to rely on a knockout. The Brant-Baysangurov match is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Chicago’s 19-1-1-Joshua Greer Jr will be on the card, as well. The bantamweight will be facing the 19-3 Giovanni Escaner in a scheduled 10 round contest for a stepping-stone belt, the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantamweight Title. Escaner, who hails from the Philippians, hasn’t lost since 2014. The only loss on Greer Jr’s record came courtesy of a majority decision being handed to Stephen Fulton in 2015. The man stopped all four of his opponents in 2018, along with three of his four opponents in 2017. This will be Escaner’s fight bout in the US. All of his previous 17 fights have occurred in the Ukraine, Russia, and Azerbaijan respectively.
The first match on the televised card will feature the 9-0 2016 American Olympian Mikaela Meyer, as the Colorado native faces the 13-1-1 Yareli Larios of Mexico in the second defense of her NABF Female Super Featherweight Title, which she won via unanimous decision over Vanessa Bradford last October in Omaha, Nebrasksa.
The televised portion of the card will begin at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, while the preliminaries will be aired live on ESPNs streaming service, ESPN+ starting at 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time. A total of twelve fights are scheduled to go down on the card, which his being presented by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, which has a lucrative broadcast deal with ESPN.
WBSS Preview: Juergen Braehmer v Rob Brant
By: Ste Rowen
After seven consecutive weeks of tournament boxing, the eighth and final World Boxing Super Series quarter final takes place in the German city of Scherwin on Friday. Former WBO and WBA ‘Regular’ Light Heavyweight Champion Juergen Braehmer (48-3-0 35KOs) faces undefeated prospect Rob ‘Bravo’ Brant (22-0-0 15KOs) for a place in the semi-finals of the Super Middleweight WBSS and the right to face Callum Smith.
Braehmer hasn’t fought at the 168lb limit since September 2007. Ten years and twenty consecutive bouts fighting as a light heavyweight. In his most recent outing Braehmer lost his WBA ‘Regular’ title to Nathan Cleverly over twelve months ago, when in the sixth round Juergen withdrew due to a dislocated elbow and the fight was called a TKO victory for Cleverly. Before then Braehmer was on a seventeen-fight win streak, which most notably included a stoppage win over Enzo Maccarinelli and two unanimous decision victories over Edward Gutknecht. However, despite his 51 bouts Braehmer is a boxer without a landmark win. He’s never fought outside of Germany and even when fighting at super middleweight he failed to get into the mix with the divisions biggest names at the time such as Jeff Lacey, Mikkel Kessler and Joe Calzaghe.
Despite that, the southpaw has found his way into the tournament as a seeded fighter and so far in both the Cruiserweight and the Super Middleweight draws, all of the seeded fighters have won their bouts.
As Braehmer comes down, Rob Brant is coming up. The current holder of the WBA-NABA Middleweight title has made his career fighting at the 160lb limit. The heaviest he’s fought at is just over 166lb back in 2014 when he stopped Mickey Scarborough in Minnesota. ‘Bravo’ had been quietly going about his business, steadily building the foundations for a title push at middleweight when the opportunity came around to fight in the Super Series.
The only American across the whole tournament also has to contend with the fact that this will be his first twelve round bout. He’s fought in five ten round fights, with only one of those going the distance when Brant scored a majority decision over Louis Rose, 13-2-1 at the time.
Although a relative unknown, Brant’s aggressive, come forward style should make him a fan favourite, but only as long as he can deploy his game plan. His opponent’s awkward, southpaw style and perhaps overlooked power could stifle ‘Bravo’, especially if the fight makes it into the championship rounds, a place the American hasn’t experienced yet as a pro.
The tournament has lacked for coverage in the US but Brant could be the beacon that lights the way for America in the series, much like recently retired and fellow American, Andre Ward did in the Super 6 almost eight years ago.
As mentioned above, whoever emerges the victor on Friday night will face Liverpudlian, Callum Smith in the semi-finals and beyond that, a place in the final to face the winner of George Groves v Chris Eubank Jr. Full steam ahead for the World Boxing Super Series hype train.