Arslanbek Makhmudov stops Michael Wallisch in one; Femke Hermans derails Mary Spencer
Rising heavyweight Arslanbek Makhumdov stopped a fairly unwilling Michael Wallisch at the end of the first round at Centre Gervais Auto, in Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada, on Friday night.
Makhmudov, 33, who was his unusual, imposing self throughout the introduction, got straight to business when the bell to begin the contest started, charging out at the German. Makhmudov (16-0, 15 knockouts) dropped Wallisch (23-6, 16 KOs) on three occasions, though he did have a point deducted for hitting Wallisch on the back of the head. Though Wallisch made it out of the round, he retired claiming a shoulder injury.
It wasn’t a good effort from Wallisch, who barely threw a punch in anger and didn’t appear to be particularly hurt going down under Makhmudov’s pressure, as opposed to a certain punch.
We didn’t learn anything new about Mahmudov during tonight’s performance but he goes forward and can look for bigger challenges in 2023. Enticing someone to face him will be difficult as he is a dangerous fighter and not that well-known.
In chief support, Femke Hermans (14-4, 5 KOs) upset a lot of plans by defeating local favorite Mary Spencer (7-1, 5 KOs) in junior middleweight action.
Spencer, who was a three-time world amateur champion, had largely run through her opponents to date, scoring five first-round knockouts, and looked like a world champion-in-waiting. However the former WBO 168-pound titlist Hermans never got the memo. Hermans boxed a disciplined first round, held her ground and wasn’t intimated as others had been previously.
In the early stages of the second round, Hermans landed a big shot that hurt Spencer and saw her teeter forward, grabbing Hermans and falling to the canvas. Instead of being scored a knockdown, it was erroneously ruled a slip by referee Steve St. Germain. The Canadian didn’t have her feet under her and was visibly shaken up, though got through the round.
From there on, Hermans’ confidence grew and she boxed expertly, notably using excellent head and lateral movement to give Spencer fits. Hermans, who has lost to Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall, countered, often pulled back in straight lines and was caught again. Hermans fought excellently and Spencer struggled to get a foothold in the fight.
Entering the final round, it was felt at ringside that Spencer needed a knockout to win. She was fatigued and unable to find that big punch that eluded her all night long.
When the scorecards were read, it was no surprise that Hermans was awarded the unanimous decision by the scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94.
The win breathed new life into the 32-year-old Belgian’s career, while it’s back to the drawing board for Spencer, who also suffered a broken nose.
Steven Butler (32-3-1, 26 KOs) maintained his win streak by edging past the difficult Joshua Conley (17-5-1, 11 KOs) to successfully defend his NABF middleweight title for the second time via 10-round unanimous decision. Butler, 27, won the vacant NABF title in June with a comprehensive display against Brandon Brewer (UD 10) and showed his vaunted power against Mark DeLuca (TKO 2) in September.
On this occasion, an early night wasn’t in the cards. The California native Conley employed impressive defensive discipline, countered and, at times, made the action ugly.
To Butler’s credit, he didn’t get frustrated and continued to try to make a fight, winning on the scorecards with a little too wide 99-91 and a more realistic 97-93 and 96-94.
Touted junior lightweight prospect Thomas Chabot (8-0, 7 KOs) had to deal with severe adversity before edging past Jonathan Baranda (4-3-1) by hard-fought six-round decision. Chabot scored a flash knockdown in the opening round despite Baranda’s protests.
Although Chabot was extended past the third round for the first time in his career, he appeared en route to winning the fight. However, early in the fifth round, his Mexican opponent landed a heavy shot that dropped Chabot heavily. Chabot gathered himself and had to dig down deep and, through he was dropped a second time, found it within himself to recover. Late in the round, he was firing back and had the Mexican covering up.
At the conclusion of the fight, it looked like anyone’s win. Chabot was awarded a razor-thin six-round unanimous decision by the scores of 57-54 and 56-55 twice.
Big-punching middleweight Alexandre Gaumont (6-0, 4 KOs) showcased his power by dropping late substitute Pablo Fernandez (9-12, 3 KOs) in each of the first two rounds before stopping the Mexican journeyman at 1:45 of the third round.
Luis Santana (8-0, 2 KOs) won a six-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Jonathan Hernandez (4-1-2, 1 KO) at lightweight. Santana’s superior skill set was very much in evidence as he boxed his way to a shut-out with 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Junior lightweight Leila Beaudoin (8-0, 1 KO) successfully opened the show with a dominant six-round unanimous decision over Iceland’s Valgerdur Gudstensdottir (5-4, 1 KO). The 26-year-old, who also works as a nurse, won on the scorecards, 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
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