By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada
Nicholson Poulard (19-3 9KO) did what others couldn’t Friday night as the NABA light heavyweight champion turned an early knockdown into an early night against Anton Sjomkin (13-7-1). Poulard knocked Estonian fighter down to end the first round and then finished things at 1:24 of the third where the stand-up European fighter was over-whelmed by a left-right combination and stayed on his knee rubbing his eye as the count reached ten. The three previous fights at this second gala presented by Eye of the Tiger at the Holiday Inn Ballroom in the western suburbs of Montreal also saw early knockdowns but then go the distance in one-sided affairs.
“It was a good fight, the guy was tough at the beginning, but I took my time and finished it. I did my job, I was in shape. He was awkward and just had to let my punch go, that’s it.” The fight had the makings of an ugly awkward one in the very early going as both fighters were warned for infractions that included low blows and pushing. But it was Poulard who was able to put his mark on the round as he cornered his opponent and wobbled his opponent with a right hand to the temple before knocking him back onto his with a left. The bell helped the visiting fighter in the first but the power differential between the two fighters was evident would manifest itself with the KO victory just over a round later.
An enthusiastic crowd got what they wanted with the main event with the knockout but were teased in previous fights that saw early knockdowns but were then one-sided affairs until the final scorecards. Lightweight Ghislain Maduma (10-0 6KO) went ten for the first time as he flattened Pedro Navarrete (28-16-3 17KO) with a counter right hand in the second and was forced to chase the Mexican opponent the rest of the way scoring a 100-89 victory from all three judges. Navarette has been a trial horse for many in Canada and faced off against Pier Olivier Cote, Logan McGuinness and Arash Usmannee going the distance each time. “I was able to put him down with a counter,” Maduma told Fightnews after the fight, “After he went down he just was there to survive and the chance to counter wasn’t there.” Maduma was able to land a a pair of solid left hooks in the fifth but even then Navarette had the track shoes on and skirted well to left to take some sting off the big blows. It was a solid effort from the fighter who is looking towards a North American title shot in upcoming months.
Welterweight Ahmad Cheikho (8-4-2 5KO) made it to the scorecards for a second straight time and scored a 80-71, 80-71, 78-73 victory. The fight was prototypical for Chiekho who scored a knockdown early and was struggled in the last two rounds. A crunching counter left put Christopher Legendre (9-5 2KO) put fighter down early in the second but the French fighter bounced right back up to show he was okay and then back down to one knee to take advantage of the eight count being administered. Cheikho laboured a bit in the final two rounds but it was a gutsy effort for the fighter who went eight complete for the first time and who suffered multiple cuts along the way including one to his left eye early and along the hairline late in the fight. More sustained body work to break down Legendre would have been optimum for Cheikho who constantly switched between orthodox and southpaw stances, but did still controlled the action. When rocked momentarily in the seventh, Cheikho managed to right the ship and outbox and fire back against Legendre who didn’t possess the power to do damage when given the opportunity.
Baha Laham (10-0-1 4KO) scored pair of knockdowns in the first round with left hooks to the body and stayed undefeated against Argentine fighter Jose Saez (21-14-6 11KO) with a 80-70, 80-70, 79-71 victory. An audible “aaargh” came from Saez as he sunk down to his knees early against the ropes in the opening round. Saez did a good job to get up but found himself hearing another eight later in the round as Laham found the same spot that found his opponent doing a deep knee bend in what was ruled a knockdown. Laham was guilty of trying to target the same spot for much of the fight but Saez did a good job protecting the area as bent down low and shielded the spot. Laham did well to score an uppercut and following up with a left hook at the end of the second but under utilized the attack strategy to break down Saez. As a result, Saez was allowed to recover and was able to get himself back into the fight to some degree. The pair went to-to-toe for the final twenty seconds of round for and Laham was all to hittable for a contest he was dominating early. Saez played possum a bit in the sixth as he looked to be hurt, but when given a chance to throw a right hand counter, delivered an agonizingly slow and wide effort easily avoided by Laham. Saez was a more active fighter over the last two with Laham labouring a bit, but the hometown fighter had little trouble making it eight full rounds for the first time.
Schiller Hyppolite (5-0 2KO) rode a piston like jab for the duration and dominated his six round tilt with Ruslans Pojonisevs (13-22-1 10KO) winning every round (60-54 x3) keeping the light-heavyweight undefeated.
Junior-middleweight Mian Hussain made his pro debut a short one with a KO victory at :41 of the opening round over winless Jose Luis Bataglia (0-4). Carlos Martinez (5-13 3KO) was glad to hear the final bell as the bloodied and tired Mexican was dominated by lightweight Chris Plaitis (2-0) over the course of 4 rounds by scores of 40-36,40-36, 40-34.