In his last appearance on ShoBox: The New Generation, Angelo Santana looked impressive as he disassembled Juan Garcia in five rounds last November. It was so exciting that Showtime producer Gordon Hall, who is at the helm of the prospect-based series, sought out Santana for a return bout on the program.
Though Santana was in another exciting bout on Friday, it wasn’t the kind the Cuban standout and his promoter Don King were hoping for when they went in against Uzbeki spoiler Bahodir Mamadjonov, who scored an upset ninth-round stoppage.
Santana was supposed to fight for an interim alphabet title Friday night at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. When Carlos Cardenas fell out, that plan was scrapped, and Santana was set to go 12 with Bahodir Mamadjonov, who makes a living making fighters look bad against him.
Santana (14-1, 11 KOs) struggled the same way other young fighters have with Mamadjonov. He was the aggressor from the opening bell, but Mamadjonov (12-1, 7 KOs) was able to set him up for counter opportunities while moving backwards.
Santana fought a come-forward banger in Garcia, but he had to deal with a more defensive posture Friday. After a tough opening round, Santana was able to put Mamadjonov on the canvas with a right hand. Mamadjonov became more defensive, but when Santana landed clean, he hurt the Uzbeki southpaw.
Santana showed a certain amount of cockiness and brashness, playing to the crowd at times. Mamadjonov saw fit to just outbox the Cuban, sometimes even pushing him back with his counters.
The fight turned in the middle rounds as Mamadjonov was able to land at a higher rate and started moving his hands at a higher rate. In the eighth round, Mamadjonov dropped Santana with a flurry of brutal shots that were punctuated by a body shot. The bell saved Santana, but it wouldn’t save him for long.
Santana would get drilled early in the ninth, visiting the canvas a second time. He would make it to his feet, and go into an exchange with Mamadjonov, losing the exchange and taking another trip to the canvas.
Bernard Hopkins’ satisfaction of eliminating the last Don King fighter after beating Tavoris Cloud earlier this year can now be eliminated, as that belongs to Bahodir Mamadjonov.
Iman scores highlight-reel KO of Bryan
They said that Amir Iman had some real power in his right hand, but his highlight-reel knockout of Jeremy Bryan in the televised opener was something to behold.
Bryan (16-3, 7 KOs), a vaunted amateur, was unsurprisingly competitive with Iman early on. The two exchanged at a rapid pace, and stylistically, it was a good fight. Iman was getting there quicker, and showed flashes of his power early on as he landed his right hand.
It was at the midway point of the second round that Iman (9-0, 8 KOs) got full extension on a right hand that Bryan never saw, as it came right behind a stiff jab that landed first. Bryan got hit with the right full force, and was out before his head bounced off the canvas. Time of stoppage was 2:13 of the second.
In a semi-important light heavyweight bout, Marcus Oliveira (25-0-1, 20 KOs), of Lawrence, Kan., scored an 11th-round technical knockout of fellow unbeaten Ryan Coyne (21-1, 9 KOs), of St. Louis, Mo.
Coyne held his own in the early going and was the busier fighter. Oliveira came on in the middle rounds and started landing power shots on a wide open Coyne with regularity, slowly breaking him down. Coyne was hurt in the sixth round and cut from a headbutt in the seventh before being put on the canvas twice in the 11th. After the second knockdown, referee Jay Nady immediately stopped the bout at 1:15 of the round. Scores were 99-91 twice and 98-92 for Oliveira at the time of stoppage.
In an upset, Marcus Willis (13-2-2, 3 KOs) of Fort Myers, Fla., scored an eight-round majority decision victory over former top prospect James De La Rosa (21-2, 12 KOs) of San Benito, Texas. Willis largely outworked De La Rosa, even hurting him in the seventh round. The scores were 76-76, 78-74, 77-75 in favor of Willis.
Undefeated heavyweight prospect Trevor Bryan (7-0, 5 KOs) of Albany, New York, passed his toughest test as a young professional, decisioning the always game Alvaro Morales (6-13-6) of Hermosillo, Mexico.