Batyrzhan Jukembayev survives a scare to outpoint Hugo Roldan in Florida
Junior welterweight contender Batyrzhan Jukembayev overcame a knockdown and an awkward style to come out victorious.
Jukembayev rallied late to defeat Hugo Alberto Roldan by split decision Wednesday night at the Whitesands (also known as the ProBox TV) Events Center in Plant City, Florida. One judge scored the bout 97-92 for Roldan, while the other two judges scored the bout 96-93 and 95-94 for Jukembayev, who improved to 21-1, 16 knockouts.
Roldan dropped Jukembayev moments into the first round. Replays showed Jukembayev lost his footing, but Roldan did throw and land a punch, grazing Jukembayev’s head.
During most of the first half of the fight, Roldan utilized his awkward style to move in and out, connecting with lead and counter left hands to the head of Jukembayev.
As the fight entered into the second half, Jukembayev, who is originally from Kazakhstan and now resides in Montreal, Canada, took initiative. Jukembayev began closing the distance between the two fighters, connecting with hooks and crosses as Roldan looked to counter.
Jukembayev stalked Roldan during the last three rounds of the fight. Roldan likely cost himself the fight during these rounds by not fighting back, choosing to stay away from Jukembayev, and rarely fighting back up until the final bell.
The 32-year-old Jukembayev has now won his last three bouts since losing to Subriel Matias in May 2021. Matias would go on to win the IBF world title belt at 140 pounds.
Roldan, who resides in La Banda, Argentina, falls to 22-2-1, 7 KOs. The 30-year-old has lost two of his last three fights, with the other defeat coming at the hands of Joseph Adorno on September 9 of last year.
In the co-feature, light heavyweight Kareem Hackett notched an impressive decision victory over Clay Waterman. Scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91 for Hackett, who improved to 12-0, 6 KOs.
The Hackett and Waterman fight might have been a clash of unbeaten prospects, but Hackett demonstrated superior boxing skills and ring generalship throughout much of the fight.
The southpaw Hackett was the more-effective fighter, outboxing Waterman from distance. Hackett varied his offense well, whether going to the body first, then the head, or vice versa. Waterman did rally during the middle rounds, but few of his punches found their mark.
Hackett took initiative during the seventh and eighth rounds, splitting the guard or landing punches and combinations, flush to the face of Waterman. A combination in round 8 hurt Waterman, but Hackett was not able to follow up as Waterman grappled or fought back.
Hackett could have pressed the action during the last two rounds of the fight, but was content to outbox Waterman from distance and secure the decision victory.
In an interview with The Ring on Tuesday, Hackett credits sparring the likes of stablemate Gilberto Ramirez, along Dmitry Bivol and David Benavidez.
Waterman, who resides in Logan City, Australia, falls to 11-1, 8 KOs.
In the opening bout of the card that streamed live on ProBox TV, junior middleweight Ismael Villarreal of The Bronx, New York dropped John David Martinez three times en route to a knockout win in round two.
Villarreal was coming off a split decision loss to Andreal Holmes, Jr. in his previous fight on February 17. The 26-year-old improved to 13-1, 9 KOs.
Martinez, who resides in Miami, Florida, drops to 19-3, 16 KOs. The 34-year-old had won his previous eight fights.
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]