Thursday, March 30, 2023  |


Cameron Krael demolishes Michael Ogundo; Layla McCarter wins 20th straight

Cameron Krael wins by first round knockout at the MGM Grand. Photo by Ryan Songalia
Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS — It was one fighter who is way better than his record blowing away a guy who is just as limited as his record suggests.

Cameron Krael made his case as one of the best fighters in the sport with an even record with a dominant first round knockout of Michael Ogundo in their ten-round scheduled welterweight fight.

The first knockdown came as a result of an uppercut, and though Ogundo beat the count he was on unsteady legs. The following knockdowns were caused by right hands to the jaw, sending Ogundo (15-11, 12 knockouts) to his third straight loss and Krael (15-13-3, 4 KOs) to his seventh win in his last nine fights. The time of stoppage was 2:03.

It’s not often that two fighters with double digit losses headline at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but it was a bucket item checked off for the 25-year-old Krael.

“It’s my dream to fight here at the MGM ever since I was little,” said Krael, a Filipino-American from Hawaii who earned a deal with Mayweather Promotions after beating one of their unbeaten fighters, Maurice Lee, in 2016.

Krael had hoped to go a few rounds and savor the moment but said he’d take the win either way.

“My next step, I want to fight a better opponent and we can go from there. I want to make it to the top. I want to get a strap,” said Krael.

Someone who knows a few things about getting straps is Layla McCarter, the women’s boxing trailblazer who rang up her 20th straight win with a unanimous decision over Argentina’s Yamila Reynoso (11-6-3, 8 KOs) by the scores of 98-91 on two cards and 99-90.

McCarter, who has held belts in five different weight classes, used her jab to control the range against Reynoso, who at 22 is 17 years the junior of McCarter. Reynoso started to get to McCarter in rounds four and five, landing overhand rights and pushing McCarter to the ropes.

McCarter (43-13-5, 11 KOs) found her rhythm again in the sixth and started walking Reynoso into right hands and doubling up her hook to the head and body. Referee Tony Weeks deducted a point from Reynoso for rabbit punching in the tenth round but the penalty proved inconsequential.

Despite living in Las Vegas, McCarter had never previously fought at the MGM Grand. After crossing that off her bucket list, and having fought in seven different countries since turning pro in 1998, McCarter still hopes to fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires.

Richardson Hitchins overcame his first knockdown to outpoint a determined Tre’Sean Wiggins by unanimous decision. Scores were 77-74 on two cards and 78-72 on the third.

Hitchins (7-0, 3 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. was ruled down when he was caught by a punch at the end of the seventh round in the red corner. Hitchins complained that it was a slip but the scoring edge gave Wiggins (10-4-1, 6 KOs) a lifeline in a fight where he was nearly stopped in the fourth round.

“He didn’t drop me. I didn’t get hit. I turned around and dropped on my own, I do that shit in the gym all the time,” said Hitchins, who represented Haiti in the 2016 Olympics. “I just know in a real fight you can’t be playing around like that.”

Hitchins was the flashier throughout and repeatedly found a way to land his straight right on his southpaw opponent.

Hitchins says that he had a few fights fall out recently and had hoped to be 10-0 by this point. He wants to get back in the ring as soon as possible, saying he’d be ready to go on March 2 for the Erislandy Lara-Brian Castano card at Barclays Center, where all his previous fights had been.

“My problem is just staying active. I talked to [Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe] and I told him I want to be right back in the ring, and I believe he’s gonna make it happen,” said Hitchins.

The upset of the night came in the form of Pedro Antonio Rodriguez (15-23-3, 6 KOs) pulling off a split decision over the previously unbeaten Dylan Price (7-1, 5 KOs) of the TMT camp. Price, 20, had the decided edge in speed and flash, but the 31-year-old found Price’s chin midway through the first and sent him down once in the round and nearly finished him by the end.

Price of Sickerville, N.J. had a strong bounce back round in the second, boxing and countering well while switching stances. Rodriguez of Durango, Mexico caught up to him again in the third, and had Price out on his feet at the final bell.

The scores were 57-56 and 58-55 for Rodriguez, and 57-56 for Price.

Lanell Bellows (18-4-2, 11 KOs), another fighter under the Mayweather Promotions banner, also suffered a defeat, getting dropped twice by Travis Reeves (17-3-2, 7 KOs) before losing a unanimous decision in the first fight of the night by the scores of 97-91 on two cards and 95-94 on the third.

Also representing The Money Team, Andres Cortes (10-0, 6 KOs) stopped Eder Amaro Fajardo (9-7, 4 KOs) after the third in a junior lightweight fight scheduled for eight rounds.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].