By Matt Casavant and Dave Spencer
Photos: Herby Whyne
Challenger Adonis Stevenson (21-1, 17 KOs) scored a one-punch knockout in the very first round to dethrone WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Belle Center in Montreal, Canada. A left hand dropped Dawson and he got up wobbly prompting the referee to wave it off after 76 seconds. After the fight, the new champion called out Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward.
After the fight, referee Michael Griffin said he wanted to give Dawson every chance he could to continue. “He didn’t respond, he didn’t have his legs.”
Unbeaten former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Darley Perez (28-1, 19 KOs) to claim the vacant WBA interim lightweight title. Gamboa scored a flash knockdown in round one and that was pretty much the end of the highlights. Scores were 116-111, 116-111, 115-112. Gamboa has now won WBA interim belts in three weight divisions.
Middleweight David Lemieux (29-2 28KO) scored his 28th stoppage in 29 wins with a first round destruction over an over-matched Robert Swierzbinski (11-2 3KO) of Poland. A glancing left hand ended things officially with Lemieux scoring the third of three knockdowns at 2:21 of the opening round. It was the powerful middleweight’s 25th stoppage in the first two rounds. A debilitating body shot scored the first knockdown and had the visiting fighter swaying like a palm tree in a tropical storm afterwards, retreating for cover and tasting the canvas twice more with wave after wave of power shots.
Puerto Rican Jr.Lightweight prospect Jose Pedraza (13-0, 9KOs) adds to his undefeated record by scoring a 7th round TKO (corner stoppage) over his opponent, Sergio Villanueva (25-3-2, 13KOs). Pedraza was able to systematically breakdown Villanueva landing multiple combinations and punishing body blows. The first few rounds provided good back and forth action as both fighters landed punches at close range. However, a tactical change by Pedraza who elected to switch to the southpaw stance in the 4th round proved to be wise decision as Villanueva was unable to defend the left to the body. The 24 year old, dropped Villanueva in the 5th round and although the Mexican fighter demonstrated courage in getting up he ultimately was outgunned. Multiple knockdowns to the body in round 7 forced Villanueva’s corner to throw in the towel in order to prevent their fighter from sustaining further damage. Official time of the stoppage was 2:59 of round 7.
In an entertaining tilt between two Quebec junior middleweights, Sebastien Bouchard (7-0 2KO) won a 58-56, 59-55, 59-55 decision over Francesco Cotroni (7-2 4KO). It was the 26 year-old Bouchard who was the aggressor throughout the contest, but while he was able to score with some good right hands, Cotroni proved to be an elusive target for much of the contest.
Dider Bence improved to (9-0, 3KOs), defeating previously undefeated Eric Barrak (7-1,6KOs) in convincing one-sided fashion, scoring multiple knockdowns en route to a 5th round TKO victory. The local heavyweight showdown had seen its fair share of bad blood between the two leading into tonight, but Barrak failed to deliver on his promise to KO Bence as he was thoroughly dominated in all aspects. Bence came out focused and sharp, content to out box and out jab the tentative Barrak early. Bence took control emphatically in the 3rd round scoring a powerful jab-right hand combination that floored his opponent. The 4th round proved to be more of the same as a winded Barrak was unable to land anything of note to keep Bence’s attack at bay. In the 5th round Barrak most likely sensing the fight slip away, landed an intentional headbutt that resulted in a one point penalty. The 25 year old Bence kept his composure and landed a powerful hook-right hand combination later in the same round that ended Barrak’s night. Time of the stoppage was 1:55 of round 5.
Two-time Olympian Artur Beterbiev was impressive in his pro debut as the light-heavyweight scored three knockdowns on his way to a TKO victory at 2:21 of the second round over Christian Cruz (12-12-1 10KO). The Russian born fighter was impressive in both style and execution of a fan friendly arsenal of punches that never gave Cruz a chance to go anywhere but down. The Sacramento fighter found himself on the canvas to end the first thanks to a solid right hand and was right back there to start the second. After seeing there man go down too easily thanks to what was more of a shove, Cruz’s corner stepped in and stopped the fight.