Sunday, May 28, 2023  |


Katie Taylor outfights Victoria Bustos to unify lightweight belts, Daniyar Yeleussinov wins debut

Photo by Ed Diller / DiBella Entertainment
Fighters Network

NEW YORK — In her biggest pro fight to date, Katie Taylor proved a class above her opponent. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Bray, Ireland successfully unified her WBA lightweight title with the IBF belt previously held by Victoria Bustos with a one-sided unanimous decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.,

The scores were 99-91 on two cards and 98-92 on the third, making Taylor (9-0, 4 knockouts) a unified champion just 17 months after she had turned pro. Bustos (18-5, 0 KOs) of Rosario, Argentina had held the IBF belt since 2013.

Taylor animated the crowd by walking out to the Cranberries song “Zombie”, and showcased her top shelf speed and aggression by consistently beating Bustos to the punch over the first two rounds. Taylor controlled the action for the first six rounds nearly unchallenged before Bustos came alive in the last third, standing her ground and landing in return, but nearly as frequently as did Taylor.

The final three rounds at times were comparable to the Christy Martin-Deirdre Gogarty epic from 1996 as they took turns forehead-to-forehead rocking each other’s heads back, proving a worthy appetizer to the Danny Jacobs-Maciej Sulecki main event later in the night which is televised by HBO.

The fight was the second in Brooklyn for the 31-year-old Taylor, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and now lives and trains in Connecticut. Bustos, 29, was fighting outside of Argentina for the first time.

Yeleussinov blasts Kidd in pro debut

Daniyar Yeleussinov, the welterweight gold medalist at the 2016 Olympics, had a successful transition to the pro game, scoring a third round knockout of Noah Kidd (3-1, 1 KO) in his debut. The time of stoppage was 2:52.

Yeleussinov, who is also promoted by Matchroom, felt his opponent out in the first two rounds before dropping him hard with a counter left midway through the third round. Kidd rose up but was put back down from body punches shortly after. Yeleussinov, 27, of Berezino, Kazakhstan had also won gold at the 2013 World Championships and will make his training base in Florida.

Shohjahon Ergashev (12-0, ) was extended the distance for the first time as a professional, banging away at a durable Zhimin Wang to a unanimous decision win by scores of 100-90 on two cards and 99-91 on the third. The junior welterweight Ergashev, a 26-year-old southpaw from Uzbekistan, landed at will in the first round on Wang (10-3, 3 KOs) of Wuhan, China, and looked on the verge of an early stoppage before Wang found a way to steer clear of Ergashev’s heavy left hand.

Wang showed why he had survived the distance with Ivan Baranchyk, absorbing clean shots from Ergashev, who used his right hand mostly just to set up the left and didn’t bring the right hook behind it very often.

Ergashev was booed after the final bell, likely due more to a moment earlier in the fight when he retreated to a neutral corner to goad Wang into opening than because of his style of fighting.

Local favorite Julian Sosa (12-0-1, 4 KOs) overcame a determined challenge from Larry Ventus (9-12-1, 4 KOs), using his uppercut to knock his head back several times in his unanimous decision win. Sosa, who resides nearby in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, started out quick and looked on his way to a knockout win but slowed down in the middle portions as Ventus made a fight out of it.

The early portion of the undercard was highlighted by a pair of upsets as Lawrence Gleeson (6-1, 2KOs) and Dimash Niyazov (13-1-3, 6 KOs) suffered their first defeats as pros.

Niyazov, a 29-year-old lightweight from Kazakhstan now fighting out of Brooklyn, was dropped twice before losing a six-round unanimous decision to Mexico’s Angel Sarinana (8-7-2, 3 KOs). Gleeson’s bout against Nikolay Buzolin (6-3-1, 2 KOs) ended at 1:12 of the sixth and final round when a right hand dropped the Irishman and the fight was waived off without a count by referee Eddie Claudio.