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Jonas Sultan wins a classic over Carlos Caraballo

Fighters Network

NEW YORK – Jonas Sultan looks like a large clenched fist. There’s not a piece of the Filipino bantamweight that’s not rock hard.

On Saturday night, southpaw Carlos Caraballo received a good idea of what it was to hit a fist with a fist, when Sultan edged out a unanimous 10-round decision to win the vacant WBO Intercontinental bantamweight belt by 94-93 scores from The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Sultan (18-5, 11 knockouts) knocked down the previously undefeated Caraballo (14-1, 14 KOs) four times, once in the second, third, sixth and ninth rounds.

“This is boxing. This is war,” Sultan said. “And I came to win tonight. Caraballo is a tough man, but I wanted this one.”

The first time Sultan knocked down Caraballo came from a barrage of shots in the second, but it was a right uppercut to the head that felled Caraballo.

Caraballo had a good crowd behind him, but nothing, it seemed, was going to steer him away from the charging Sultan.

Another right to the head dropped Caraballo a second time at the outset of the third. Again, Caraballo came right back and tried to engage Sultan. By the end of the second, Caraballo had Sultan teetering.

In final seconds of the fourth, Caraballo had Sultan backing up again. The sway of the fight appeared to be going in Caraballo’s direction. Sultan was wobbly, having trouble with Caraballo’s jab, and being open to straight lefts to the face.

Caraballo and Sultan spent the fifth back on even ground. Sultan appeared to get his legs underneath him. In the sixth, Sultan snuck a short, counter right hand that dropped Caraballo a third time. Caraballo landed a few big left hooks that caught Sultan’s attention, and may have been enough to win the round.

In the eighth, the two stood toe-to-toe, with Caraballo appearing to get the better of the exchanges. One time, it seemed, Caraballo landed a left hook, followed by a right to the body that had Sultan backing up.

In the ninth, Sultan knocked down Caraballo for a fourth time with a combination left hook to the jaw and short right uppercut.

They battled back-and-forth again, though Caraballo had lost some zip on his punches, no doubt from the fatigue stemming from the constant pressure Sultan was putting on him.

By the end, everyone was in awe, with many at ringside talking about the brawl as a Fight of the Year candidate.

On the undercard, junior featherweight Carlos Jackson (18-1, 11 KOs) edged out Jonathan Guzman (24-2, 23 KOs) by eight-round split-decision. Guzman used his jab well to disrupt Jackson. Over eight rounds, Guzman landed 54 jabs to Jackson’s 31. Jackson landed 48 power punches to Guzman’s 39, which spelled the difference.

Junior welterweights Dakota Linger (12-5-3, 8 KOs) and Mathew Gonzalez (12-0-1, 8 KOs) fought to a six-round majority decision draw. In the final two rounds, Linger upped his activity, landing 28 more power shots than Gonzalez.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 30: Dakota Linger (L) and Mathew Gonzalez (R) exchange punches during their fight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2021 in New York City.(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Alejandro Martinez was carrying a modest two-fight winning streak into his bout against popular 38-year-old local Pablo Valdez. The pair put on a nice show in a scheduled six-round welterweight scrap. Valdez (5-0, 4 KOs) remained undefeated with a dubious 6-round majority decision. Martinez (2-2-1, 2 KOs) saw his two-fight streak end.

Welterweight Jahi Tucker (5-0, 3 KOs) stopped Jorge Rodrigo Sosa (3-3, 3 KOs) at 2:18 of the second round of a scheduled six-round bout.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 30: Marc Misiura (L) and Kasir Goldston (R) exchange punches during their fight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2021 in New York City.(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In a junior welterweight bout, Kasir Goldston (4-0, 1 KO) won a four-round unanimous decision over Marc Misiura (2-2, 1 KO). Junior lightweight Ray Cuadrado (2-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated with a unanimous four-round decision over Michael Land (1-4-1, 1 KO).

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.