(Photo © German Villasenor)
In front of a lively crowd at USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Bermane Stiverne repeated his first victory over Chris Arreola (in April of last year), this time knocking the Mexican-American out at 2.02 of the sixth round, winning the vacant WBC heavyweight title.
Both fighters engaged in heated words at Thursday’s press conference and the bad blood continued at Friday’s weigh-in with a lengthy stare-down. Both fighters weighed just over half-a-stone (under four pounds) lighter than in their first encounter.
The fight started with Arreola pressing the action and Stiverne blocking much of what came his way. By the middle of the first round, the Canadian-based Haitian landed some of his own and rocked Arreola by late in the round. Both fighters had their moments in the second.
Arreola threatened to run through Stiverne in the third frame, winning the round on aggression. A hurt Stiverne walked back to his corner at the conclusion of the round on weary legs. Arreola carried the fourth round, walking forward and being more active, landing more punches.
The fifth saw both fighters have their moments before midway through the sixth round, Stiverne landed a looping right hand that spun Arreola’s head, depositing him to the canvas. Though he rose, Arreola was clearly hurt. Stiverne then unloaded on his opponent, again dropping him. Full credit to the always-brave Arreola who again picked himself up and while the fight could easily have been stopped by referee Jack Reiss, it was allowed to continue. Stiverne poured on the punishment before the fight was finally stopped with Arreola in no position to continue.
At the time of the stoppage, Arreola was ahead on two of the scorecards at 48-47 while the third judge saw Stiverne leading 48-47.
With the win Stiverne rises to 24-1-1 (20) while Arreola dips to 36-4 (31).
Afterward, Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez said Arreola had hurt his left hand. Arreola said he was disappointed and hoped to be in action again soon and Stiverne was too overcome with emotion to speak at the time.
Abel Ramos, 9-0-2 (5), and Levan Ghvamichava, 11-1-1 (8), battled to an exciting eight-round draw. Ramos was cut early but ultimately the fight ended in a majority draw with scores of 59-55 and 57-57, twice.
In a meeting of fringe heavyweight contenders, Eric Molina, 21-2 (15), stopped DaVarryl Williamson, 27-8 (23), in the fifth round having previously hurt the former two-time Olympic alternate and world title challenger in rounds three and four.
In an exciting, junior welterweight match-up, Amir Imam, 14-0 (12), outpointed Yordenis Ugas, 15-3 (7), over eight rounds. The 23-year-old Florida resident was rocked in the opening round by his Cuban counterpart but seemed to control much of the action, winning a competitive fight by surprisingly wide scores of 79-73, 78-74 twice).
Eighteen-year-old featherweight Mario Barrios, 4-0 (1), stayed unbeaten in a four-round shutout over Jaxel Marrero, 1-3-1.
Las Vegas-based Romanian heavyweight Razvan Cojanu, 10-1 (5), scored a fifth round stoppage over Rodricka Ray, 5-7-1 (2), at 2.51 of the round. Much of the action had been scrappy up until Cojanu dropped Ray midway through the round before pinning him to the ropes, landing several shots before the fight was stopped by referee Ray Corona.
Former amateur light heavyweight standout Caleb Plant made a successful start to his pro career at middleweight, easily dispatching Travis Davidson, 2-3 (2), at 47 seconds of the first round.
In cruiserweight action, B.J. Flores, 29-1-1 (19) ended a 19-month hiatus, stopping overmatched Adam Collins, 12-10 (8), at 1.58 of the opening round with a two-punch combination.
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