GLENDALE, CALIF.-With the light heavyweight world champion sitting a mere 10 feet away, Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera put on a show and belted Karot Murat for a knockout win in the IBF title elimination bout on Saturday.
The undefeated Barrera (17-0, 12 Kos) delivered a dominant win over Germany’s Murat (27-3-1, 17 Kos) in front of world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. Both fighters perform under the Main Events banner.
“This was the opportunity I have been asking for. I knew I could do this,” said Sullivan.
Those watching the opening round saw two very tentative prizefighters unwilling to pull the trigger. Sullivan used his quickness to pierce Murat’s guard a few times but neither was lighting up excitement.
In between rounds Barrera’s trainer Abel Sanchez seemed to be imploring the Cuban fighter, or perhaps reminding him that the amateur days are over. This is the pro game and that means action.
Barrera opened up the artillery from the second round on. After each combination he moved slightly to one side with just enough angle to negate counters from Murat. It was a tactic Barrera would use throughout the fight.
You could see Kovalev watching intently from his front row seat.
In the third round Barrera connected solidly with a right to Murat’s jaw. It prompted the German-based fighter to test his jaw a few times with his hand and open and shut it a few times at the end of the round. Barrera’s timing was spot on.
Barrera seemed zeroed in to Murat’s movement and was tagging him more and more with little return fire. At the end of the fourth round a sharp right cross/left hook combination sent Murat careening to the floor as the bell rang. He made it to his feet and wobbled a bit back to his corner.
Barrera’s corner noticed Murat was not fully functional so when the fifth round bell rang the Cuban fighter was in assassination mode. Murat seemed unsteady and tried to avoid the onslaught but a four-punch combo from the Cuban fighter sent Murat tumbling down to the canvas. The referee Wayne Hedgepeth wisely stopped the fight 25 seconds into round six. Barrera won by knockout.
“Before the last round I knew I had him really hurt. I knew I was going to win,” Barrera said. “
The champion sitting nearby barely seemed concerned, but Barrera seemed content.
“I am ready for Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward, anyone,” said Barrera who now seems stamped as the number one contender in the IBF light heavyweight rankings.
Pedro Campa (19-0, 14 Kos) dominated Aaron Herrera (21-4-1, 12 Kos) over 10 rounds in a super welterweight bout to win by unanimous decision. Both fight out of Mexico.
Russia’s Arif Magomedov (17-0, 10 Kos) floored Mexico’s Jonathan Tavira twice before stopping him for good 55 seconds into the fifth round. Magomedov is the NABO middleweight titlist.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (11-0, 10 Kos) knocked out Mexico’s Pablo Mungia (21-10-1) at 1:10 of the second round.
Francisco Santana (23-4-1, 12 Kos) stopped Armen Ovsepyan (14-6) at 2:37 of the sixth round in a welterweight bout.
Aleksandr Besputin (1-0) won his pro debut with a knockout win at 2:59 of the second round over Mexico’s Fernando Palizo (4-2). The knockout seemed to come after the bell rang ending the round, but the referee allowed it.
Arnold Barboza (9-0, 3 Kos) dominated Rony Alvarado (9-6) and won by knockout at 1:23 of the sixth round in a welterweight contest.
Pedro Duran (13-0, 10 Kos) knocked out Victor Capaceta (4-10-3) at end of round two.
Madeyev Ashkeyev (1-0) won his pro debut by knockout of Tavorus Teague (2-7-2) at the end of round two.
Photo by Al Applerose