By Jeff Zimmerman ringside
Photos by Robert Hughes
Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (12-0, 9KO) put in a workmanlike performance to win a fairly easy unanimous decision against former middleweight contender Randy Griffin (25-4, 13KO) for the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) light heavyweight title at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. The card was promoted by the Real Estate Council in Dallas led by Steve Crosson.
Bektemirov hurt Griffin in the 1st round with an upper cut and tried to finish him off banging him all over the ring, but could not put him away. Griffin was also hurt in the 3rd, 6th and 7th round by Bektemirov solid left hooks but was able to remain on his feet and finish the fight.
Griffin, now 36, fought Felix Sturm twice for the WBA world middleweight title back in 2007, 2008 going 0-1-1, but even with experience on his side, Griffin was outgunned by the young Russian, now based in Texas, with more power. Bektemirov looked like he was going to make it an early night when he caught Griffin with a left handed uppercut that sent him across the ring and onto the ropes. Griffin, the savvy veteran, was able to hold on and survive the opening round.
Griffin was never seriously hurt the rest of the fight and started to win some rounds late by putting together some nice combinations, but they did little damage to Bektemirov who continued to move forward.
The scores read 117-111 and 118-110 twice for Bektemirov who remains undefeated with the win.
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In an entertaining back and forth battle, Lanardo Tyner (29-8-2, 18KO) earned a hard fought 12th round TKO victory against Tyrese Hendrix (21-4-1, 9KO) for the WBC US welterweight championship.
Tyner dropped Hendrix with powerful head and body shots in the 7th and 4 more times in the 12th before Referee Laurence Cole waived it off at 2:30 of the final round.
Hendrix had his moments as well landing some crisp shots to the head and body of Tyner, but it would only seem to energize Tyner who constantly got inside to do most of his damage.
Tyner had won the title previously against Charles Hatley of Dallas and remains the champion with the win.
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In a back and forth 4 round cruiserweight battle, Ladell Williams (2-0-1, 2KO) and Curtis Howell (3-4-1, 2KO) fought to a majority draw – 40-36 for Williams and 38-38 twice.
Both fighters had their moments, with Williams landing to the body and Howell with uppercuts and combos to the head, however neither fighter was hurt and the fight went to the scorecards.
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Undefeated Super Middleweight Jas Phipps (4-0, 1KO) did just enough to win a split decision over the previously undefeated Jeffery Spencer (3-1, 1KO). Referee Neil Young had to constantly break them up for holding.
The scores read 39-37 twice for Phipps and the other 39-37 for Spencer.
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The Real Estate Council celebrated their 25th anniversary of FightNight, and as always, it was a first class affair. The honored guests were none other than former rivals and now great friends Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. Also in attendance was Hall of Famer Curtis Cokes and two time World Champion Paulie Ayala and ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr who shared the duty with local sports radio personality Mark Elfenbein. A handful of former Dallas Cowboys were also in the crowd.