NEW YORK CITY – Former WBO middleweight titleholder Andy Lee defeated Keandre Leatherwood by an eight-round unanimous decision on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs undercard at Madison Square Garden. The official scores at ringside 80-72, 78-74, 79-73.
It was not as explosive a performance as the last time Lee fought in The Garden when he fought off the ropes to land a highlight-reel one-punch knockout of John Jackson in the fifth round to come from behind to win the bout.
Lee (34-3, 1, 24 knockouts), who traveled to New York from Limerick, Ireland to fight the day after St. Patt’s Day, did not have to rally from behind to win this bout but did he did contend with a fair share of ring rust having been out of action for 15 months following a majority decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders in December 2015, where Lee lost his title.
The 32-year-old Lee said prior to the bout that a victory tonight should propel him back to the top of the heap in the middleweight division. It was Lee’s opponent, the 28-year-old Leatherwood (19-3-1, 12 KOs), who saw his confidence build after the first round as Lee made himself out to be easily hittable by simply not moving his head nor his feet. It was Leatherwood’s sharp counters that made Lee look ordinary in the early rounds.
Lee had his best round of the bout in round six as he finally pushed the action forward and landed the more meaningful blows. Leatherwood was content to just hang in the bout rather to get caught in a risky exchange with a counter puncher such as Lee.
Leatherwood, a Tennessee native, came into tonight’s bout having won seven of last eight bouts and saw his five bout win streak snapped.
Matt McKinney (4-2-2, 1 KOs) upset Scottish heavyweight prospect Jay Carrigan McFarlane (2-1, 2 KOs) by a four-round majority decision. The official scores at ringside were 39-37 (twice). One judge saw it even at 38-38.
Carrigan-McFarlane came into the bout weighing 241.4 pounds seemed a step slower as both men slugged it out. McKinney, a native of Tijuana, landed the cleaner blows as Carrigan-McFarlane left himself open and did not do enough to sway the judges in to giving him enough rounds to win.
McKinney seemed to run out of gas in the third round, but Carrigan-McFarlane could not capitalize save for a few one-punch-at-a-time moments. Carrigan-McFarlane, who sparred with heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte in preparation for his U.S. debut seemed to get lost in the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
In the opening bout of the evening Ukrainian welterweight prospect Serhii Bohachuk (3-0, 3 KOs) stopped Yasmani Pedroso (1-2, 1 KO) with a third round TKO victory. The official time of the stoppage was 2:28.
The 21-year-old tall and lanky Bohachuk, who goes by the nickname “El Flaco” set up a perfectly placed right hook to the side of Pedroso’s head to drop the Cuban for the first knockdown of the bout. Pedroso beat the count but his head was not clear yet as Bohachuk applied the pressure and landed a counter left hook to wide-open Pedroso’s chin. As soon as Pedroso went down referee Ron Lipton called the bout off. Bohachuk dominated the first and second rounds as well with a stiff jab and terrific foot movement.
The 6-foot tall Bohachuk appeared in the World Series of Boxing when he defeated 2012 Olympic gold medal winner and 2008 bronze medalist from Cuba Roniel Iglesias in a stunning upset. Bohachul now trains in Big Bear, California with Abel Sanchez. Bohachuk began his professional career this past February and has already fought three times this year.
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