Monday, September 25, 2023  |


Elijah Pierce defeats Mike Plania with one-punch KO in third round

Photo from Pierce's Faccebook
Fighters Network

Elijah Pierce made a statement to the rest of the junior featherweight division on Friday night in Atlanta, scoring a one-punch knockout win over fringe contender Mike Plania in the third round to improve his record to 18-2 (15 KOs).

Plania fought well during the first two rounds, initiating exchanges and attempting to connect with overhand right hands. The tactic worked in forcing the southpaw Pierce to fight off his back foot, looking to counter with left hands. Both stood in the pocket, producing solid exchanges between the two. 

Early during the third round, Pierce connected with a straight left cross to the chin, dropping Plania to the canvas. Plania struggled to get up as referee Ansel Stewart counted him out at 0:56. 

“I can adjust on the fly,” said Pierce after the fight. “I happened to do so. I did what my Dad (also trainer) told me to do so. I was told to go for it, change the pace and be more aggressive.

“I want a title shot. It’s all I’ve been wanting. I’ll take on Ra’eese Aleem next. (John Riel) Casimero, (unified titleholder Marlon) Tapales. I really want Tapales for those belts. He’s trying to get away and unify against (Naoya) Inoue. He needs to prove himself some more. He needs to give me that title shot. I’ll fight Inoue.”

Pierce, who resides in Midwest City, Oklahoma, has now won his last nine fights since losing to Sulaiman Segawa in September 2019. He is managed by Trifon Petrov and promoted by Tony Jeter.

Plania (28-3, 15 KOs), who resides in General Santos City in the Philippines, entered the Pierce fight ranked No. 9 by The Ring at 122 pounds. He had won his last two bouts since a decision loss to Aleem on September 4.

In the co-feature, welterweight prospect Oshae Jones of Toledo, Ohio, defeated Miranda Barber by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 80-72 for Jones, who improved to 4-0. 

Barber was game and stood in the pocket, but the more polished Jones outboxed her, connecting to the head and body. Jones sat down more on her punches during the second half of the fight, focusing her attack on Barber’s body.

Jones represented the United States at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, winning the bronze medal in the welterweight division. 

Barber, who resides in Boca Raton, Florida, falls to 3-5 (1 KO). 

In a clash of unbeaten junior lightweight prospects, Haven Brady Jr. (10-0, 4 KOs) defeated Andre Rodriguez by unanimous decision. 

All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Brady, who resides in nearby Albany and had a partisan crowd cheering him on during the fight. 

Brady was busier and more accurate on the inside, landing overhand right hands and uppercuts to the head of the taller Rodriguez. Brady fought well from distance during the second half of the fight.

Rodriguez, who resides in Phoenix, Arizona, falls to 9-1 (5 KOs).

Bantamweight Gabriel Muratalla of Fontana, California, defeated Puerto Rico’s Edwin Rodriguez by unanimous decision. Scores were 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55 for Muratalla, who improved to 10-0 (5 KOs). 

Muratalla was the more effective fighter throughout the fight, though Rodriguez was game and willing to stay in the pocket. Muratalla stunned Rodriguez midway through the sixth round, but was not able to drop him.

The 29-year-old Muratalla is the older brother of lightweight contender Raymond Muratalla. He is trained by Robert Garcia and is a preschool teacher.

In the opening bout of the DAZN card, junior lightweight Ricardo Lucio Galvan defeated Xavian Ramirez (4-1, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 39-37 for Galvan (5-0, 2 KOs), who is originally from Mexico City and now resides in Reno, Nevada.

The card was the debut of the Overtime Boxing series, which will run on four consecutive Fridays in August. Overtime is best known for its basketball league, featuring top high school and collegiate-age players.

Overtime Boxing includes bonuses for the winner of knockout victories in the opening and final rounds of each fight. Should the fight be declared a draw on the scorecards, a bonus round would take place to determine the winner. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]