By Dave Spencer at ringside
Welterweight contender Jo Jo Dan did exactly what you want in a tune-up fight, win, stay healthy, get some rounds and win impressively. The #2 (IBF) ranked contender did all that has positioned himself for a final elimination fight later this summer for the mandatory spot within the organization. The Romanian born Dan (33-2 18KO) worked the body of Polish opponent Lukasz Janik (11-6-1 5KO) and finally ended things with a crunching right hand that paid almost immediate dividends in the 5th round, the official time of :43 seconds.
The Montreal card presented by Eye Of the Tiger featured Dan and six other bouts in what has been a whirlwind week of boxing in the city that will see three separate cards culminating Saturday with Stevenson-Fonfara.
“i tried a couple of times with the left uppercut but it didn’t quite work, the body shot was the key to win the fight,” said the 32 year-old southpaw who is also ranked top-ten by the WBC and WBA.
Dan wasted no time in following up the debilitating body blow with flurry that had referee Steve St. Germain jumping in and rescuing the visiting fighter. “I think it was good for a tune-up,” Dan told Fightnews afterwards. “I took things very seriously, I worked hard in the ring and training so things would be easy for me tonight. The jab and body shots were the key to win tonight.”
With the victory, Dan inches that much closer to a tile shot between the winner of title holder Shawn Porter and current mandatory Kell Brook. Dan has been mandated by the IBF to fight an elimination fight with the next highest ranked contender, a list that includes former champions Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander at #4 and #5, and also fellow Montreal fighters Kevin Bizier and Antonin Decarie at #8 and #11. Dan already has a split decision win over Bizier dating back to last December.
“Whatever my promoter (Lou DiBella) wants to give me for my next fight, I hope it’s something good, I know I’m going to be ready 100%.”
The main event of the evening featured fast rising super-middleweight Schiller Hyppolite (11-1 8KO) taking care of business with a first round knockout of veteran Rafael Sosa Pintos (46-10 18KO). A perfectly placed left hook to the body put Pintos horizontal and in obvious pain as referee Michael Griffin counted to ten. It goes down as the 6th consecutive stoppage for Hyppolite who continues to impress trainer Jean-Francois Bergeron. “He’s matured and is working really hard,” said Bergeron. “I’m very happy for him, he’s really earned this and since last September has really made significant progress.”
The performance also impressed promoter Camille Estephan who didn’t hesitate in putting the exciting fighter who got an early birthday present and turned 28 shortly after the contest. “He’s the best super-middleweight in Canada,” boasted a happy Estephan.
In other action, lightweight Mick Gadbois (11-0-2 3KO) remained undefeated as banged away at the body of Polish opponent Jacek Wylezol (9-2 5KO) and scored a 79-73, 78-74, 77-75 decision. Gadbois was relentless in the early going as the big thudding shots were heard throughout the ballroom as the fighter moved forward, banging the drum the whole time. Gadbois forced the pace of the fight and returned two or more for every shot he received from his Polish opponent. The pace slowed over the final couple of rounds with the work rate declining for Gadbois and Wylezol looking to time the hometown fighter coming in, but not having enough on his shots to do any significant damage.
Junior-middleweight Steven Butler had huge fan support as he won his second fight in as many tries, besting Roody Rene (0-2), scoring a knockdown just as the contest ended. Scores were 40-35, 40-35 and 39-36.
Super-lightweight Ayaz Hussain made a successful debut with a pair of knockdowns and a TKO victory at 2:22 of the opening round while Mitch Louis-Charles bested a tough and determined Gary Kopas 40-36, 40-36, 39-37.
In the only other bout of the evening, Francy Ntetu who holds a split-decision win over the card’s headliner Schiller Hyppolite hammered away at a tough but outgunned Bartlomiej Grafka (9-10-1). Ntetu found a home for his right hand and landed some bombs along the way, including a series of four successive power shots in the second that closed up the left eye of Grafka who proved to be much tougher than his record might have suggested. Final scores read 6-54, 60-54, 59-55.