Monday, August 15, 2022  |


Acosta shocks Antillon with ninth-round KO


Miguel Acosta (right) landed his right cross more often than Urbano Antillon was able to land his left hook during their clash for an interim lightweight belt on Saturday. Acosta won the bout by knocking out Antillon out with a right uppercut in the ninth round. Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank

What began as a frustrating night for Urbano Antillon ended in disaster as the lightweight contender suffered his first pro loss when unheralded Miguel Acosta knocked him out in the ninth round of their WBA interim title bout in Tepic, Mexico on Saturday.

Antillon (26-1, 19 knockouts) had trouble dealing with Acsota’s lateral movement and accurate right hands over the first half of the bout, but the hardnosed Southern Californian began cutting the ring off on the speedy Venezuelan in rounds seven and eight.

However, just when it appeared that Antillon might be turning the tide against a seemingly tiring Acosta, who repeatedly slipped to the canvas in rounds seven and eight, the unknown boxer from Caracas landed a beautiful right uppercut that blasted the Mexican-born fighter to the canvas. A glazed-over Antillon struggled to his feet at referee Russell Mora’s count of nine but the veteran official deemed the 26-year-old lightweight unable to continue and waved the bout off at 1:47 of the ninth round.

“He caught me with a punch I never seen,” said Antillon, who was the THE RING’s No. 10-rated lightweight coming into Saturday’s fight. “Everything was fine until that (happened). I thought I was coming on. Maybe he was ahead by a few points, but I thought I was starting to get to him.”

Two of the official judges had the bout even after eight rounds and one judge had Acosta (26-3-2, 20 KOs) up by one point, according to the commentators of Top Rank’s “Latin Fury 10” pay-per-view broadcast that was shown in the U.S.

The 31-year-old veteran, who found Antillon’s head to be an open target for his right uppercut and cross throughout the fight, was gracious in victory and said he was willing to grant the 26-year-old pressure fighter an immediate rematch.

If a return match does occur, Antillon will have to work on a few things before facing Acosta again.

For starters he’ll need to learn how to move his head, or at least defend against uppercuts. He will also need to work on cutting of the ring better and working the body once he gets in close. The few times Antillon nailed Acosta’s body in Saturday’s fight the Venezuelan seemed to react adversely.

It’s no secret that Antillon has trouble with stick-and-move specialists. The best way to take away a fleet-footed boxer’s legs is by investing to the body early in the fight.

And Antillon will need to work on letting his hands go more, especially in combination. He has above average power that is usually delivered with crisp punches, but too often (especially against Acosta) he only throws one shot at a time while in pursuit of his opponent.

That will need to change if Antillon hopes to not only best Acosta in a rematch, but one day compete with the top fighters of the lightweight division.

During a media workout last week, Antillon told boxing writers that he wanted to fight WBC lightweight titleholder Edwin Valero, an undefeated KO artist from Venezuela.

Antillon was thinking about the wrong Venezuelan.

For now, he should forget about the puncher and keep his mind on the slick boxer, and should they fight again, his eye on the slick boxer’s right uppercut.

In the co-featured bout of the Top Rank-promoted card, Giovani Segura made the first defense of his WBA 108-pound title with a sixth-round technical stoppage of very late substitute Juanito Rubillar.

After a slow start, Segura (21-1-1, 17 KOs) used his heavy hands to wear down Rubillar by stunning the 65-fight veteran with uppercuts and by beating on his 32-year-old body until someone from the Filipino’s corner or entourage tossed a towel into the ring, prompting referee Luis Pablon to wave the bout off at 2:04 of the sixth round.

Prior to the stoppage, Rubillar, a tough former title challenger in two divisions, looked pretty good for a guy who took the fight on two days notice and spent more than 20 hours flying from the Philippines to Mexico.

In the first round, Rubillar looked the sharper of the two southpaws as he landed lead lefts to Segura’s exposed face.

However, Segura began imposing his youth and physical strength on Rubillar beginning in the second round. Rubillar, who twice went the 12-round distance with a prime Jorge Arce, was able to take Segura’s power without collapsing but it was evident that he didn’t have the stamina to keep up with or defend against the 27-year-old slugger.

Whoever tossed the white towel into the ring did the right thing.

The opening pay-per-view bout of the broadcast featured 20-year-old Mexican junior bantamweight prospect Hernan Marquez, who extended his undefeated record by scoring a lop-sided 10-round decision over former title challenger Juan Esquer.

Marquez (23-0, 16 KOs) is nicknamed “Tyson” because of his punching power, but the baby faced southpaw didn’t win by fighting like the former heavyweight champ. Marquez controlled the always game Esquer by working his jab, stepping around his aggressive foe, picking his shots and delivering them from different angles.

Despite winning by scores of 100-91, 99-91, and 98-92, Marquez’s victory was no walk in the park. Esquer (24-6-1, 18 KOs) pressed Marquez in every round, always looking to tenderize the prospect’s midsection with body shots. The 22-year-old veteran rocked Marquez at the end of the seventh round and buzzed him again in the final seconds of the eighth, but the up-and-comer remained composed and the more accurate puncher to the final bell.

Former heavyweight titleholder Samuel Peter finally notched one in the win column after losing his last two fights (to Vitali Klitschko and Eddie Chambers) in his first bout under the Top Rank banner, an un-televised third-round stoppage of Marcus Mcgee.

An in-shape 235-pound Peter (31-3, 24 KOs) pummeled McGee (22-17, 11 KOs) until the referee waved the bout off with the hapless journeyman on his back from one of his many trips to the canvas.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]