Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Dawson-Tarver II undercard results

Fighters Network

Ismayl Sillakh (right) found a home for his sharp right hand in the chin of David Whittom during his six-round bout on the undercard of the Chad Dawson-Antonio Tarver rematch on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The rangy light heavyweight prospect stopped Whittom in the sixth round. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

LAS VEGAS — Chad Dawson is the man at light heavyweight right now, but a future player in the 175-pound division might be Ismayl Sillakh, who looked impressive on the undercard of Dawson’s rematch victory over Antonio Tarver at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Saturday.

Sillakh, a skilled boxer-puncher with a frame like Bob Foster, stopped rugged journeyman David Whittom in the final round of their six-round bout.

Sillakh (8-0, seven knockouts) dominated the first four rounds using his jab to set up accurate power shots to the body and head of Whittom (10-9-1, six KOs), a game and durable fighter from Canada who went the distance with undefeated beltholder Adrian Diacanu just last month.

Sillakh, a former amateur standout from Ukraine now based in Southern California, nailed Whittom with three- and four-punch combinations and then used his legs and superior reflexes to avoid getting caught in return — that is, until the fifth round.

Whittom threw caution to the wind in the fifth round and landed a flush right cross that wobbled Sillakh and forced him to a corner, where the 30-year-old veteran tried to impose his will on the 24-year-old prospect.

However, Sillakh covered up well, kept his composure and fired back with straight one-two combinations that backed Whittom off into the center of the ring where he was able to tee off on his antagonist before the bell.

Sillakh appeared fatigued at the beginning of the sixth round as he gave ground to an advancing Whittom, but the rangy 6-foot-3 boxer was able to land hard right hands as he backed away from his foe. The right crosses set up a series of left hooks near the end of the round that froze Whittom for an uppercut that sent the Canadian to the canvas, where referee Joe Cortez wisely waved the bout off at 2:25 of the round.

In other undercard action, lightweight prospect Jose Guzman (8-0, five KOs) outhustled and outmaneuvered the always game Jose Alfredo Lugo (10-8-1, five KOs) en route to a six-round majority decision.

Guzman, the younger brother of former two-division titleholder Joan Guzman, won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57.

When the Queens, N.Y.-based Dominican boxed Lugo in the center of the ring, he outclassed the gutsy native of Los Mochis, Mexico. However, when Guzman willingly went to the ropes, as he did often during the second half of the bout, he was open for Lugo’s relentless body attack even though his savvy upper body movement spared his head from damage.

Heavyweight prospect Bowie Tupou (17-0, 13 KOs) preserved his perfect record with an easy third-round stoppage of Chris Koval (24-6, 18 KOs). Tupou, a Las Vegas-based native of Tonga, tenderized Koval’s already soft mid-section with a brutal body attack in rounds two and three before he blasted the game-but-outgunned Youngstown, Ohio native 15 seconds into the third.

Junior welterweight prospect Said El-Harrack (5-0, two KOs) stopped Hugo Correa (8-3, four KOs) in the first round of their scheduled four rounder.

Featherweight prospect Melissa Hernandez (10-1-2, three KOs) outpointed veteran Jeri Sitzes (14-9-1, six KOs) in an entertaining six rounder.

Hernandez, a cocky, but ring savvy boxer from the Bronx, took the early rounds with her lateral movement and counter punching, but Sitzes, an experienced fighter from Springfield, Mo., pressured the mobile boxer over the second half of the bout, landing her share of hard straight shots.

In another female bout, debuting Anna Donatella Hultin of Sweden stopped Jasica Rojo (0-2) in the final round of their four rounder. Rojo, of Phoenix, Ariz., appeared to be ahead on points at the time of the stoppage.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]