DeMarco stops Adjaho in nine
In the co-featured bout to the Joseph Agbeko-Vic Darchinyan bantamweight title fight, lightweight standout Antonio DeMarco knocked out Anges Adjaho in the ninth round of a scheduled 12-round WBC title elimination bout.
The bout began as a careful chess match but heated up by the middle rounds and featured exciting exchanges in the late rounds. Both fighters were staggered in a wild eighth round. However, the fight ended somewhat controversially.
DeMarco (22-1-1, 16 knockouts) hurt Adjaho (17-1, 9 KOs) with a straight left that prompted the native of Benin, Africa to turn away from the action and take a knee. However, DeMarco, in quick pursuit, landed another left to the back of Adjaho’s head just as his knee was touching the canvas.
Adjaho immediately complained to referee Tellus Assemenios and then laid face down on the canvas as Asseminios counted him out. As soon as the fight was waved off, Adjaho protested, apparently unaware that he was being counted out.
He told Showtime’s Jim Gray that DeMarco’s punch opened a cut over his eye, which promoted him to take a knee (presumably to allow for the referee or a ringside physician could examine the cut). Adjaho said he was hit in the neck while he was on one knee (which is presumably why he complained and then flattened himself on the canvas).
However, while a punch to the back of the head or neck is a foul (especially if it occurs while a combatant is down), a boxer cannot call a “time out” during a round.
Asseminios told Gray that he didn’t think Adjaho’s knee was on the canvas when he was hit by DeMarco and replays appeared to support his call.
“He was hurt with the first punch,” DeMarco told Gray (through interpreter Felix DeJesus), “and then he took the knee and I didn’t want to hit him (while he was down). He just didn’t want to fight anymore.”
The official verdict of the bout: DeMarco winner by knockout at 2:59 of ninth round. The bout was up for grabs at the time of the stoppage. Each fighter was up by two points on one judge’s scorecard, while the third judge had the bout even, 85-85.
With the victory, DeMarco, a 23-year-old southpaw from Tijuana, earned the WBC's mandatory challenger status, which puts him in line to face dynamic-punching 135-pound beltholder Edwin Valero.
On the non-televised (in the U.S.) portion of the Don King/Gary Shaw co-promotion former cruiserweight beltholder Steve Cunningham (22-2, 11 KOs) outboxed fellow former titleholder Wayne Braithwaite (23-4, 19 KOs) to a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-110, and 117-111) . The 12-round bout was an IBF cruiserweight title eliminator.