By Jason Pribila: Ivan Baranchyk was in “Beast Mode” from the opening bell against late replacement Petr Petrov in a battle of junior welterweights who fought in support of the Regis Prograis –Julius Indongo main event that aired live on Showtime live from South Dakota.
In the spirit of March Madness, Baranchyk wasted little time taking a 2-point lead on the scorecards when the first punch of the fight, a jab, sent Petrov to the canvas. Petrov was fine, but the flash knockdown was an early indication that perhaps stepping in as a late replacement wasn’t the best career decision he could have made.
Petrov would show that he was not only a good boxer, but also a fearless fighter. He tried to jump on Baranchyk early in round two by getting inside land landing a three punch combination. Baranchyk seemed to patiently wait for Petrov to finish, so that he could return his own flurry of punches. The strength of the fighters was evident as Baranchyk’s barrage resulted in the second knockdown of the fight.
The streak of 10-8 rounds ended in the third, but only due to a mistake by the referee. Baranchyk ended a combination with a Micky Ward-like left hook to the body that sent Petrov to a knee. The referee mistakenly ruled the Petrov went down because of Baranchyk leaning on him.
Petrov probably could have used an 8-count, but he instead rose and continued to fight hard.
When Danny Garcia upset Amir Khan it was because he was willing to throw when Khan threw. He was in the ring with a faster man, and his only way to land was to let his hands go at the same time as Khan. He had faith that he could eat a punch to throw a punch.
In this bout, Baranchyk would allow Petrov to throw and land so that he could unleash wild hooks and crosses. Even when Petrov would block a punch, he would be physically moved by the force.
When Baranchyk began the eighth round by landing another clean head shot, the referee had seen enough and waved off the bout at the 1:12 mark.
This was a great stoppage, as Petrov had taken enough punishment, and he was simply too small to land anything that would have kept Baranchyk off of him.
Baranchyk improves to 17-0, 11 KOs\, and he is set to be a big player in the wide open junior welterweight division.
With the loss, Petrov falls to 38-6-2, 18 KO.
In November, New Zealand heavyweight, Junior Fa made about as big of an impression one could make in 67 seconds. That was all the time he needed to dispatch Fred Lathan. On Friday night he seemed as if he was instructed to put in more rounds against Detroit’s Craig Lewis as the two kicked off the televised portion of the Special Edition of Showtime Championship Boxing.
Many claim that the reason why Americans no longer dominate the heavyweight division is because they have chosen to pursue playing power forward in the NBA. As with many of today’s top heavyweights both fighters were well over 6 foot tall. Lewis had actually began his athletic career on a basketball scholarship.
While Lewis was working on double-doubles, Fa was enjoying a decorated amateur career that included two wins over current titlist Joseph Parker.
In the early rounds this appeared to be a fight between a boxer and a basketball player. Fa was controlling the action from the outside and landing one-twos at nearly a 50% clip. Lewis, who took the fight on two weeks notice, looked gassed after three rounds.
Perhaps sensing Lewis was ready to go, Fa came out of his corner quickly and landed a big combination at the beginning of Round 4, but he failed to keep the pressure on and Lewis survived some anxious moments.
By the sixth round the high altitude had taken its toll on Fa, as well. We now had two tired fighters who were battling each other physically, as well as internally battling fatigue and mental toughness.
Action slowed down, and while each fighter landed an occasional power punch, neither was able to let their hands go.
Two of the three ringside judges turned in cards based on the action in the ring confirming Fa was victorious by a majority decision: 76-76, 78-74, 79-73.
We will look forward to Fa’s next fight to see if he is closer to the guy who blew out his opponent in one round, or the guy who was too winded himself to drop a guy who looked ready to fall over.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions and comments at email@example.com He may also be followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing.
In non-televised undercard action, undefeated heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe Morrison (14-0, 14 KOs), the son of former heavyweight world champion Tommy Morrison, stopped Oswaldo Ortega (3-8, 1 KO) with a third-round (1:18) technical knockout in his first fight in 15 months since suffering a hand injury.
Undefeated 2016 United States Olympian Charles Conwell (7-0, 5 KOs) earned a unanimous decision victory over Mexico’s Juan Jesus Rivera (28-20, 18 KOs). The six-round junior middleweight bout was scored 60-53 on all three judges’ scorecards.