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Charly Suarez scores come-from-behind TKO, stops Paul Fleming in 12

Photo by Ryan Songalia
Fighters Network

Charly Suarez pulled a victory out of the fire in the twelfth round on Wednesday, stopping Paul Fleming in a battle of unbeaten former Olympians at Kevin Betts Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

All three judges from Australia had the local fighter Fleming up big – the scores at the time of stoppage were 106-103, 107-102 and 108-101 – but the Filipino contender rendered the cards moot when he finished the fight himself. Suarez (15-0, 9 knockouts) of San Isidro, Philippines found the bailout punch he was looking for with a minute left in the fight, dropping Fleming (28-1-1, 18 KOs) with a left hook that had him all but finished.

Fleming rose up on unsteady legs and was battered once he was back on his feet, with referee Pat O’Connor waiving off the bout at the 1:58 mark.

The win legitimizes Suarez, 34, as a contender in the 130-pound weight class, and earns him regional titles with the IBF, WBC and WBA, which should boost his rankings with the sanctioning bodies.

Suarez, a 2016 Olympian, turned professional in 2019 and has made up for his late start in the pros, fighting five times in 2022 against solid competition. The Fleming fight is his second straight fight abroad, having stopped Indonesian Defry Palulu in two rounds last December in Vietnam.

Fleming, also 34, was a 2008 Olympian for Australia. The tough southpaw had seen his activity slow in recent years after sitting out all of 2019 and then fighting just once a year since 2020.

Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].