By Francisco Salazar and Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
The grudge match between IBO cruiserweight world champion Antonio Tarver and unbeaten Lateef Kayode ended in a 12 round split decision draw at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Kayode was the more active fighter early on in the fight, landing straight right hands to the head. Tarver finally got going in the fourth round, throwing and landing consistently with left hands to the head. Both had their moments in the middle rounds, but Tarver was able to stun Kayode in the ninth round with a right-left combination to the head. During the championship rounds, Tarver stalked Kayode around the ring, but did not throw enough punches as Kayode looked to counter. Each fighter won the fight on a judge’s scorecard 115-113, but the third judge scored the bout 114-114. Fightnews.com scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Kayode. Tarver, from Tampa, FL, goes to 29-6-1, 20 KOs. Kayode, from Hollywood, CA by way of Lagos, Nigeria, goes to 18-0-1, 14 KOs. Despite the draw, Tarver retains his world title belt.
Middleweight Peter Quillin won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over former undisputed world champion Winky Wright. Both had their moments in the first four rounds of the fight. Quillin used effective hand speed, but Wright was able to counter well. Quillin dropped Wright in the fifth round with a right hand to the head. Wright got up and was able to do well in the sixth and seventh rounds. However, Quillin hurt Wright with an uppercut to the head, forcing him to cover up until the end of the round. Wright had his moments in the round, but Quillin finished strong in the 10th. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Quillin, 98-91, 98-91, and 97-92. Fightnews.com scored the bout 96-93 in favor of Quillin, (27-0, 20 KOs) who hails from New York City. Wright, who hails from St. Petersburg, FL, falls to 51-6-1, 25 KOs. It was Wright’s first fight in over three years.
Junior middleweight world title holder Austin Trout won a workmanlike 12 round unanimous decision over Delvin Rodriguez. The bout did not live up to the pre-fight hype as both looked to counter one another during the first half of the fight. Trout began to let his hands go more in the second half of the fight, connecting to the head and body of Rodriguez. Trout looked tired in the last two rounds and was not able to keep up with Trout. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Trout, 117-111, 118-110, and an unbelievable 120-108. Fightnews.com scored the bout 116-112 in favor of Trout, who successfully defended his WBA 154-pound title. Trout, from Las Cruces, NM, goes to 25-0, 14 KOs, while Rodriguez, from Danbury, CT, falls to 26-6-3, 14 KOs.
Unbeaten bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz impressively won a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over IBF #1 contender Vusi Malinga to win the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Santa Cruz threw and connected with a high volume of effective punches over the southpaw Malinga. During the middle rounds, Santa Cruz began to aggressively attack the body. He hurt Malinga with a left hook to the body in the seventh round and a right to the stomach in the eighth. Malinga hung in there, but had no answer for Santa Cruz, who tried to drop Malinga in the final moments of the 12th round. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Santa Cruz, 120-108, 120-108, and 119-109. Santa Cruz, from Rosemead, CA, improves to 20-0-1, 11 KOs. Malinga, from Johannesburg, South Africa, drops to 20-4, 12 KOs.
In a battle of top super middleweights, Sakio Bika stopped Dyah Ali in the 10th and final round. It was all Bika from the opening bell, as he pressed the action throughout the fight. Bika, who had Kevin Cunningham in his corner, kept landing repeated right hands to the head. It did not help Davis that he had his left hand down to his waist, making it easy for Bika to land those right hands. Bika stunned Davis in the seventh round and went for the kill in the 10th. Davis landed a good right hand to the head, but Bika came back to wobble Davis with a left, then a right hand to the head. Davis wobbled across the ring to a corner, where Bika followed up with a barrage of punches, prompting referee Thomas Taylor to stop the bout at 1:40. Bika, from Sydney, Australia by way of Cameroon, improves to 30-5-2, 21 KOs. Davis, from Coconut Creek, FL, drops to 21-3-1, 9 KOs.
Unbeaten lightweight contender Sharif Bogere knocked out Manuel Leyva in the second round of a scheduled 10 round bout. Bogere came out more aggressively than in previous fights. Because of this, he was able to drop the southpaw Leyva with a left hook to the head in the first round. Leyva stood up and fought back, but Bogere was too quick for him during most exchanges. In the opening moments of the second round, Leyva was dropped by Bogere, courtesy of a right hand to the head. Rather than hold on, Leyva’s corner yelled at him to fight back. Leyva fought back the best he could, but on wobbly legs. Bogere loaded up on his punches, countering to the head. When Leyva was unable to protect himself from a barrage of punches, referee Zac Young stopped the bout at 38 seconds. Bogere, from Las Vegas, NV by way of Uganda, improves to 23-0, 15 KOs. Leyva, from Downey, CA, drops to 21-6, 12 KOs.
Junior welterweight Omar Figueroa remained unbeaten with a vicious first round knockout over Tyler Ziolkowski in a scheduled six round bout. Although Ziolkowski was game, he was not prepared for a hard left hook by Figueroa that landed to the stomach. Ziolkowski dropped to his knees in pain while referee Thomas Taylor counted him out at 2:00. Figueroa, from Weslaco, TX, goes to 17-0-1, 14 KOs. Ziolkowski, from St. Joseph, MO, drops to 14-16, 8 KOs. Figueroa is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Super welterweight Juan Reynoso had a successful professional debut, winning a four round unanimous decision over Beau Hamilton. Reynoso was the stronger and more effective. As Hamilton pressed the action, Reynoso easily countered to the head with hooks and crosses. Although he was outgunned, Hamilton pressed forward, landing one punch, but receiving two or three from Reynoso. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Reynoso, 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37. Hamilton, from Montague, CA, drops to 0-2.