Two Predictable Outcomes and One Big Surprise on the March 5 Showtime Tripleheader

March 5 Showtime Tripleheader – Super welterweight Julian Williams and middleweight Tony Harrison continued their upward climbs on Saturday, March 5, at the Sands Events Center in Bethlehem, PA, but previously undefeated middleweight Antoine Douglas had no answer for veteran Avtandil Khurtsidze who swarmed over him from the opening bell and ultimately forged the upset, chopping Douglas down in the 10th frame. The three fights were televised on Showtime under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.

The match between the 25-year-old Williams, from nearby Philadelphia, and Italian import Marcello Matano was framed as an IBF eliminator. Williams looked sharp, repeatedly beating Matano to the punch while elevating his ledger to 22-0-1 (14). Matano was on his feet but eating a lot of leather when the referee called a halt in the seventh round.

Up next for Julian Williams, barring unforeseen circumstances, is a match with undefeated (23-0) Jarmall Charlo, the reigning IBF World super welterweight titlist. It was the first stateside appearance for Matano (now 16-2) who owns a minor IBF belt that wasn’t at stake.

The well-traveled Tony Harrison, who was originally managed and trained by the late, great Emanuel Steward, scored a sixth round TKO over southpaw Fernando Guerrero. The 6’1” Harrison, a third-generation prizefighter (his grandfather was Henry Hank, a leading middleweight contender in the late 1950s and early 1960s) dominated from the start, knocking Guerrero to the canvas in the second round and scoring another knockdown in the sixth before the referee intervened.

Harrison improved to 23-1 (18). He has his sights set on a rematch with Willie Nelson. They met last July in Tampa. Harrison was ahead on two of the scorecards through eight completed rounds when he got careless and paid the price. The 29-year-old Guerrero, from Salisbury, Maryland by way of the Dominican Republic, declines to 28-4.

March 5 Showtime Tripleheader

The most entertaining bout on the TV portion of the card was the Mutt-and-Jeff pairing between Khurtsidze and Antoine Douglas. Eight inches shorter and 13 years older, Khurtsidze, from Brooklyn by way of Georgia in the former Soviet Union, scored his ninth straight win, advancing his ledger to 32-2-2 (21).

Khurtsidze knocked Douglas down in the third frame. Douglas rallied, but Khurtsidze regained the momentum with a smashing left hook in Round 7. The end came in round 10 when Douglas, who entered the contest with a 19-0-1 record, was being hammered on the ropes.

In bouts of note on the off-TV portion of the card, middleweight Levgen Khytrov scored a 10-round decision over Kenneth McNeil and heavyweight Joey Dawejko managed only a draw in an 8-round contest with Ytalo Perea.

Khytrov, who represented his native Ukraine in the 2012 Olympics, is now 13-0 (11 KOs). McNeil, from Birmingham, Alabama, suffered his second loss in 11 tries. Dawejko, who had scored first round knockouts in six of his previous seven fights, was 16-4-2 going in against Perea, a native of Ecuador, who brought a 6-2-1 record.


Check out this interview with Julian Williams at The Boxing Channel

Comment on this article


-brownsugar :

Switching back and forth between HBO and Showtime was a challenge but it was worth it. The fights didn't have as high a priority as the Vargas / Ali matchup but they were no less intertaining. Especially Douglas vs Khurtsidze,.. Douglas has a heart warming backstory, reunited with his previously crack addicted mother through his success in the ring. The kid even became an honor student in high school.......After watching four of his previous fights I thought he had some potential, but he was somewhat on the "limited" side. His opponent, The old battle wagon who is at least 5 years past his prime hasn't looked as good since he almost walked down Hassan NDam in previously failed title shot, .... it should have been easy work for a young prospect with the right tools... and the proper conditioning. Khurtsidze reminded my of one of those mythical dwarves from the Lord of the Rings, charging in with his battlesaxe, chipping away relentlessly. I think Douglas' corner did him a disservice by allowing him to stay in the fight until the 10th round. I think even Steve Smoger would have stopped the fight after watching him get pummelled for a minute and a half along the ropes. I dont know if the kid will ever come back from this defeat. Its probably time for Guererro to find a new past time when a fighter of Harris's ability can dispose of him so easily. And its time to step Justin Williams up to the big leagues. Over all a good week of fights, I watched both cards twice.

-ArneK. :

Always appreciate your insights Brownsugar. TSS correspondent Bernard Fernandez was at the Bethlehem fight card and his article will be posted shortly. He calls Douglas-Khurtsidze the most fan-friendly fight of the year. The promoters didn't do Douglas any favors when they chose the grizzled vet from the Soviet bloc to replace his original opponent, Sam Soloman, but fans tuning in on TV got a good show.

-brownsugar :

Ain't that the truth, but was almost as fan friendly as Cruz-Martinez.