By David Robinett and Miguel Maravilla at ringside
WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9 KOs) continued to bolster his credentials as a potential future challenger to the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev winner with an easy four-round TKO of former light heavyweight title challenger Cedric Agnew (29-3, 15 KOs) in a scheduled ten-round non-title bout on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Bivol quickly established his superiority in the opening round, landing at will on Agnew. A left hook, straight right hand combination, followed by a flurry late in the round dropped Agnew, who got off the canvas but retreated into the corner and covered up into a defensive shell, which bought him enough time to survive the round. It just delayed the inevitable though, as Bivol stalked and pressed Agnew through two and a half more rounds before Agnew indicated to referee Russell Mora that he no longer wished to continue after taking a flurry of punches in the fourth round. Official time was 1:27 of the fourth round. Bivol is the mandatory challenger to WBA Light Heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly, with Andre Ward holding “super champion” status in the same division prior to the main event.
Undefeated Luis Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) retained his USBA middleweight belt with a stoppage victory over Arif Magomedov (18-2, 11 KOs) at 1:16 of round five in a scheduled ten-round bout. Magomedov appeared to have the advantage early behind a consistent left jab and lead left hands. Arias though had repeated success with his right hand, particularly to the body, and seemed to be landing with greater frequency as the bout progressed. The end came shortly after a pair of right hooks by Arias seconds apart knocked Magomedov down in round five. The first right hook did most of the damage, causing Magomedov to wobble badly, with the follow-up right hook putting him down. Magomedov got off the canvas but was in trouble again soon after, prompting both his corner and referee Robert Byrd to move in to stop the fight almost simultaneously.
Super middleweight Junior Younan (12-0, 9 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York made quick work of Zoltan Sera (28-13, 19 KOs) from Hungary in a scheduled six round bout. Off to a fast start, Younan cornered Sera and unloaded a barrage sending him to the canvas as referee Russell Mora waved off the bout at 1:39.
Vaughn Alexander (10-0, 7 KOs), older brother of former multiple division champion Devon Alexander and another fighter on the evening’s card returning after a lengthy incarceration, remained undefeated after his opponent Fabiano Pena (16-8-1, 13 KOs) retired at the end of round four in a scheduled eight-round middleweight bout, citing a rib injury. Alexander, who returned to the ring last October after a 12-year layoff, began the fight at a measured pace, and continued to fight judiciously, using his jab and firing off two and three-punch combinations while Pena offered little in return. Alexander landed several hard shots to the body, which likely led to Pena’s injury. Despite the anti-climactic ending, it was a good showing by Alexander, who appeared to handle the step up in competition with relative ease.
Tramaine Williams (11-0, 4 KOs) continued to rebuild his career with a third consecutive win after more than a year and a half off due to legal troubles, earning a questionably early stoppage over former contender Christopher Martin (30-9-3, 10 KOs) at 1:44 of the second round in a scheduled eight-round junior featherweight bout. The 5’4” Williams, who goes by the moniker “Mighty Midget,” proved that size does not matter, at least in this bout, as he repeatedly pounded the taller Martin with left hands before dropping him with a two-handed flurry in the opening stanza. Williams continued to land left hands on Martin in round two, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to jump in and stop the fight to the surprise of everyone in attendance, particularly Martin, who vehemently protested to no avail. Martin did not appear hurt and it was too early in the fight to worry about accumulation, but the quick stoppage probably had no effect on the ultimate outcome of the fight.
Amateur standout John Bauza (7-0, 4 KOs) easily dispatched overmatched Brando Sanudo (5-5, 2 KOs) after Sanudo’s corner motioned to referee Kenny Bayless to stop the bout at 1:14 of the second round in a scheduled four-round junior welterweight bout. Bauza, a former USA Boxing National Team member, punctuated an opening round flurry with a right hook to the body that dropped Sanudo just before the bell. Bauza finished Sanudo off early in round two with a left, right combination that dropped Sanudo for the second time and prompted Sanudo’s corner to rescue their fighter from further punishment.
Bakhram Murtazaliev (9-0, 7 KOs) made quick work of Alex Sandro Duarte (6-1, 4 KOs), scoring a pair of right hand knockdowns before referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop the mismatch at 1:33 in the first round of a scheduled six-round middleweight bout.
In a rare opening undercard bout between undefeated prospects, professional kickboxing star Enriko Gogokhia remained perfect with a unanimous decision victory over Jonathan Steele by scores of 60-54, 59-55, 59-55 in a six-round welterweight contest at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gogokhia (5-0, 2KOs), who started boxing professionally just last year, used his long, rangy jab and straight hands to control the action. Steele (7-1, 5 KOs), a former United States Marine, had a little success when he took the fight to Gogokhia, particularly to the body, but every time he’d start to pressure Gogokhia he’d eat a succession of straight left and right hands as Gogokhia would easily beat him back and reassert control.