Hampered by the twin detriments of bad weather and a card consisting of foreseeably one-sided fights, Friday’s Top Rank show at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion played to a sea of empty seats. Perhaps 4,000 were in attendance when Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan stepped into the ring for his second professional fight. Conlan had no difficulty disposing of Tijuana’s Alfredo Chanez. A body shot collapsed Chanez late in the third round. Although he beat the count, his body language suggested that he didn’t want any more and the referee obliged him by calling it off. Conlan is now off to Brisbane where he will appear on the undercard of the Pacquaio-Horn fight on July 2.
Conlan’s fight was the de facto main event, but the show also included a 10-round bout for former world title challenger Mike Alvarado and 8-round affairs for up-and-comers Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Alex Saucedo.
The 36-year-old Alvarado, fighting as a welterweight on the comeback trail, was matched super-soft against North Carolina’s Matthew Strode. He finished Strode in the second frame, improving to 37-4.
Kavaliauskas, a decorated amateur in his native Lithuania, improved to 17-0 (13) with a sixth round stoppage of Mexico’s Daniel Echevarria. Competing in the 154-pound division, Kavaliauskas fights out of Oxnard, California, and is managed by Egis Klimas who also handles Vasyl Lomachenko and Sergey Kovalev.
Saucedo, a welterweight, knocked Wilberth Lopez to the canvas with a right hand counter in the opening frame, but the lanky, battle-tested Lopez managed to last the distance. Trained by Abel Sanchez, Saucedo has some wealthy backers, notably filmmaker Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg. He’s undefeated in 25 pro fights, but none of those fights were scheduled for more than eight rounds. It’s time for Top Rank to elevate his profile by pushing him into a 10-round fight against a dangerous opponent.
Also, Joseph Adorno, an 18-year-old super featherweight from Allentown, Pennsylvania, blasted out Gino De La Paz in the opening round. It was the fourth straight win for Adorno, all by knockout. He bears watching.
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Kanat Islam, who represented Kazakhstan in the 2008 Olympics despite having been born in China, and then moved to the Dominican Republic where he had his early pro fights, improved to 24-0 with a workmanlike 12-round unanimous decision over stubborn Norberto Gonzalez. More was expected of Kanat, a super welterweight, whose 35-year-old Mexican opponent has now lost eight of his last 13.
Andrew Selby, the younger brother of reigning IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby, came off the deck in the opening round to win a 12-round unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s Cristofer Rosales (23-3). A flyweight, Selby (9-0) was Wales most decorated amateur boxer, scoring two wins over Michael Conlan, among other achievements. After the fight, in a conversation with a TV reporter, Selby said, “I really don’t like boxing. If I did like it, can you imagine how good I would be?”
Also, Lancashire’s Matty Askin won the vacant BBBofC cruiserweight title with a sixth round stoppage of previously undefeated Welshman, Craig Kennedy, who was 16-0 going in. Askin, who improved to 23-3-1 (15) is quite the spoiler. His triumph in Cardiff was his third straight over an undefeated opponent.
Photo credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank
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