By Dave Spencer at ringside
It may have been less spectacular and lacked some of the drama of past Bell Centre wins, but Lucian Bute (31-1 24KO) got back into the win column with a 115-113, 118-110, 116-112 unanimous decision win over Denis Grachev (12-1-1 8KO), handing the Russian fighter his first defeat and capturing the NABF light-heavyweight title in front of deafening crowd of 10,122 Montreal fight fans. Grachev proved to be a tough customer all the way through, especially in last round where the hometown fighter dominating landing clean shots throughout the three minute stanza bringing the fans to their feet. Grachev though didn’t bend and certainly had moments of his own during the 12 rounds, albeit not enough of them.
Former world title challenger Allan Green got up off the canvas in the 4th round to score a TKO victory at 3:00 of the 7th when Renan St-Juste was unable to continue due to severely swollen right eye. Green who weighed in three pounds over the contracted weight of 175 was simply too big and too skilled for St-Juste who only recently moved up to super-middleweight. St-Juste had Green down with a pair of left hands but the experience of Green had him tying up his opponent missing over the 30 seconds of the round. Green recovered nicely and was dominant a round later willing St-Juste into the ropes and scoring with bot hands and some nice uppercuts on the inside.St-Juste had his man hurt and almost down again halfway through the round but the experience of Green once again payed off as he was able to tie up.
Welterweight Mikael Zewski scored a counter right hand between the eyes of opponent Cesar Chavez(20-3 9KO) and had himself an early night with KO victory at :37 of the opening round. Chavez stayed down longer than he fought and the Top Rank promoted Zewski of nearby Trois Rivieres moves to 17-0 with 13th knockout victory.
In a highly entertaining slugfest of bantamweights, former world champion Rodrigo Guerrero (18-4-1 12KO) scored a TKO victory over Sebastien Gauthier at (21-4 13KO) at 2:31 of the 8th round. The pair traded punches all night but it was a single left hook to the body that had the Montreal fighter bouncing back two steps before immediately taking a knee. Guerrero kept the pressure on and with Gauthier with reduced mobility and his opponent on the attack, the bout was called.
The bad blood from the weigh-in carried into the fight as Francy Ntetu (8-0 2KO) came into the ring an angry fighter and it hurt the Saguenay fighter over the course of the first two rounds in his battle with Schiller Hyppolite (5-1 2KO). He loaded up and missed wildly with punches as Hyppolite was able to control the action, often mocking his increasingly frustrated opponent. That all changed in the third when a wayward right found its mark and put Hyppolite down to the canvas and helped Ntetu walk away with a 57-56, 56-57, 57-56 split decision victory. Hyppolite was fortunate to make it out of the round, almost going down a second time as he reached out to the ropes for support. It did manage to put the pair on even footing the rest of the way with Hyppolite landed some good single blows but not controlling the action like he did in the early going.
A second round knockdown was the difference as Sebastien Bouchard (4-0 2KO) scored a 38-37 decision on all three scorecards over Glissandy Mejia (3-1 2KO) in junior-middleweight action. Both fighters walked into the ring with identical records of 3-0 and clearly did not like each other based on actions at yesterday weigh-in. Meija who will never be nick-named ‘lightning’ but had forward plodding style that worked for him in the early going as Bouchard simply wasn’t busy enough. Meija won the first and was on his way to winning the second when he walked face first into a solid right. Bouchard followed up nicely with several more rights until Mejia slumped down on the canvas to end the round. Both boxers took there turns standing still with their hands hands down over the last two rounds giving the other ample opportunity, but the knockdown was all that separated the two.
Heavyweight Bogdan Dinu (8-0 5KO) of Romania remained undefeated with a 4th round TKO of Eric Martel (7-3 4KO). After a good 3rd where he moved away from Dinu’s heavy right hand and let his own hands go, Martel began getting caught in the 4th as he lay on the ropes. A right hand hurt him and had him hanging on and Dinu jumped on the opportunity and unleashed a barrage with the local fighter putting up the ear-muuffs. When a right hand made its way around the guard, Martel began to slump down to the canvas. Pretty much the time his knee touched the canvas, the fight was called by referee Marlon Wright, at 2:52 of the fourth round.
Lightweight Michael Gadbois (8-0 3KO) got action underway at the Bell Centre in Montreal with a majority decision over trial horse Pedro Navarrete (28-17-3 17KO) of Mexico. Some good action in the final round as the pair stood in the centre of the ring and traded punches after Gadbois controlled the early going with some good movement and well placed body blows, close fight but Gadbois did enough to score a 39-37, 38-38,39-37 decision.
The Bute v. Grachev fight can be seen on WealthTV nationally on Verizon FiOS TV channel 169 and 669 in HD, AT&T U-Verse TV channels 470 and 1470 in HD, along with over 100 cable systems across the country as well as on line viewing on numerous connected devices and via WealthTV.com.