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Taylor Stops Cayo in a Thriller


By Daniel Kravetz

The fight was a stark contrast of styles—Victor Cayo’s rangy, flashy combos versus Emmanuel Taylor’s short economical punches—and it evolved into a thrilling, back-and-forth affair.  In the end, it was Taylor who prevailed. “The Tranzforma” stopped Cayo in the eighth round of the ESPN “Friday Night Fights” bout via a series of crushing right hands, earning the biggest win of his burgeoning career.

Taylor entered the ring sporting a starry headband and impressive fu-manchu; the clean-cut Cayo casually bounced on his toes in the opposite corner.  As they greeted each other upon the opening bell, Cayo continued bouncing with his hands low while Taylor planted and held a high guard.  Cayo began throwing quick combos that glanced off of Taylor’s gloved and shoulders, while the Maryland native patiently stalked and threw sparing shots, some of which reached Cayo’s chin.


Taylor continued to find success in the second, fending off Cayo’s array of swipes and mixing in a few tough punches of his own.  At the end of the round, Taylor sequences a series of crosses that rocked Cayo, who managed to stand up to the onslaught that followed just long enough to hear the bell.  Taylor continued to get the better of the Dominican in the third, ending the round with a substantial hook and follow-up combination that once again sent Cayo into a shell in the corner.  Taylor looked to finish the bout with one flying left hook, but whiffed and fell, allowing Cayo to escape once more.

Yet Cayo began to turn the tables in the fourth, increasingly finding holes in Taylor’s defense of his midsection, then moving his hooks upstairs and landing to the head as well.  In the fifth, Cayo put one of those left hooks on the button and dropped Taylor.  Energized, Cayo continued to land the left hook to both head and body.


The pace continued in the sixth, as Cayo continued mixing his punches and Taylor worked to regain respect.  Midway through the round, Taylor landed a staggering left hook and volleyed again, while Cayo came back with more body work.  In the seventh, the low-tier attack finally started to take its toll on Taylor, who began wincing as Cayo landed a number hooks and crosses to each side of the ribcage.  Both fighters turned the heat on at the end of the frame, exchange a long series of punches.


Both fighters had landed many meaningful power punches through the riveting bout, but it was a Taylor jab that began the end.  Cayo was hurt by the straight punch, and Taylor jumped on his opponent, landing one cross after another and eventually sending Cayo to the canvas in a heap.  Cayo beat the count, but this time he could not escape the powerful crosses that Taylor continued to put on his chin.  Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. halted the bout at 1:11 of the eighth round.


The stoppage was the fourth that Cayo has been on the wrong side of in his last eleven fights.  His record dropped to 31-4 with 22 Kos.  Taylor, who had put himself on the map with a stoppage of Raymond Serrano just six weeks ago, further established himself as a contender as a fighter to be watched at the 140 and 147 pound classes.  His record now stands at 17 and 1 with 12 KOs.


Co-Feature:  Abdusalamov Fells Bisbal


The five-rounds between loose-guarded, power-punching heavyweights Magomed Abdusalamov and Victor Bisbal were more than anticipated, but the conclusion followed the script: the Russian Abdusalamov landed a violent left cross that toppled Bisbal 1:12 into the fifth frame, giving him the victory and extending his perfect and KO-filled record to 17-0 (17 KOs).  The game Bisbal, of Puerto Rico, fell to 21-2 with 15 KOs.


At 6’4”, Bisbal bore an imposing presence as he entered the ring, though that presence was somewhat compromised when he removed his robe and unveiled a heavy, jiggly upper body.  Abdusalamov, who entered via a stoic procession of Slavic comrades, boasted the more muscular physique, supporting his reputation of in-ring brutality.


It was the looser-framed Bisbal, however, who dominated the first two rounds, working the body and then graduating to a series of slow right crosses and left uppercuts to the boxy, stationary jaw of Abdusalamov.  The Russian nonetheless showed faster and heavier hands, even as they barely hit his target.  At the end of the second, Abdusalamov withstood a series of authoritative crosses and ended the round with a heavy and compensatory right hook, a sign of things to come.


In the third, Abdusalamov began putting his southpaw cross and right hook together and landing heavy blows from both sides.  Bisbal fought back and made it an entertaining scrap, but he quickly began to lose ground, although he did land a big cross of his own to conclude the stanza. 


The two fighters continued to trade big sluggish punches in the fourth, and as they tired they began to give the impression of two bears fighting underwater.  Then Abdusalamov made his first true dent midway through the round, landing a hammer of a left cross that left Bisbal wobbly.  He landed about six crosses of similar magnitude over the course of the round, and the writing was on the wall.


When Abdusalamov landed the decisive left hand midway through the fifth, Bisbal began a slow, treelike descent, and Abdusalamov punctuated it with another left for good measure.  When Bisbal rose, he staggered badly, and referee Randy Neumann made the easy call of waving the bout off, saving Bisbal from what would have been a brutal denouement.

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