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