The luxurious Casino de Monte Carlo was the setting for a seven-bout card promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions. Two world title fights were on the program, which played to a select audience, but much of the interest centered on a 12-round heavyweight contest between Dereck Chisora and Agit Kabayel. A 25-year-old German, Kabayel was defending his European title. Chisora had once held the same belt.
Chisora figured that the match would be a steppingstone to a rematch with rival Dillian Whyte. His undefeated opponent had other ideas. When the smoke cleared, Chisora was on the wrong end of a majority decision. The scores were 115-113, 115-114, and 114-114. Kabayel improved to 17-0.
The conventional wisdom was that the battle-tested Chisora was just too experienced for the relatively unknown Kabayel, a former kickboxer. The Zimbabwe-born Brit, now 27-8, had been in with the likes of Tyson Fury and Vitali Klitschko, extending both the 12-round distance.
Seventeen pounds lighter than Chisora at 237 ½ pounds, Kabayel was lighter on his feet. Chisora slowed down in the middle rounds, but got a second wind, albeit too little, too late. The final round was action-packed which couldn’t be said about many of the rounds that preceded it.
Chisora vs. Kabayel preceded the main event, a match for the WBA world light heavyweight title vacated by Badou Jack who relinquished the belt rather than acquiesce to the WBA’s mandate that he make his first defense against Dmitry Bivol.
That may have been a wise decision. Based on his showing tonight, Bivol, now 12-0 (10) as a pro and reportedly 268-15 as an amateur, is a beast. He hit Trent Broadhurst with a punch that didn’t look particularly hard milliseconds before the bell ending the first round, and it was lights out for the overmatched Broadhurst (20-2), an Australian who entered the match on a 13-fight winning streak.
The first meeting between Jamie McDonnell and Liborio Solis, on Nov. 12 here last year, ended in controversy. McDonnell won a unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 115-113), but many felt that Solis was robbed and the WBA concurred, ordering a rematch. Tonight’s encounter wasn’t controversial, but unsatisfactory. An accidental clash of heads in the third round opened a wicked gash over McDonnell’s left eye and the referee waived the fight off on the advice of the ring physician.
It goes into the books as the seventh successful defense of the WBA world bantamweight title for McDonnell, a scrawny Yorkshireman, who indicated after the fight that he plans to move up a weight class. The 35-year-old Solis, a hard-luck Venezuelan, seemingly can’t catch a break. The bout had the makings of an entertaining fight before the premature stoppage.
In a WBA featherweight eliminator, Scott Quigg routed Oleg Yefimovych who took a great deal of punishment before the referee stopped the contest in the sixth round.
Quigg, 34-1-2 (25), hit too hard for the 36-year-old Ukrainian who was making his first start outside his home country with the exception of an early fight in Uzbekistan.
It was a strong performance by the former WBA world super bantamweight champion who has been working out in Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in Los Angeles. The lone blemish on his record came via split decision in a highly anticipated match vs. then unbeaten Carl Frampton, a bout in which Quigg suffered a broken jaw in round four. He hopes to fight the winner of Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares, but that bout hasn’t yet been signed.
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