At the Grand Sierra and Casino Theatre, in Reno, NV, Friday night over ESPN Top Rank in association with Let’s Get It on Promotions featured a vacant WBO Lightweight Title Fight. No it wasn’t “Sugar” Ray Leonard but “Sugar” Ray Beltran. It wasn’t Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns but Paulus “The Hitman” Moses in the main event!
Mexican born “Sugar” Ray Beltran, 35-7-1 (21), of Phoenix, AZ, defeated former WBA World Lightweight Champion Paulus “The Hitman” Moses, 40-4 (25), of Windhoek, Nambia, with a strong last five rounds to win the vacant WBO Lightweight Title.
In the first round Beltran landed a chopping right to the head of Moses three times in the first half of the round. Beltran landed a double left hook to the body and head of Moses. The body punch hurt Moses. Moses was mostly covering up with an occasional jab. In the second round the thin 39 year-old former champion, Moses, continues to stay in front of the 36 year-old Beltran to Beltran’s advantage. Moses landed several uppercuts to the chin of Moses. It was Moses who landed the final punch of the round a chipping right to the head of Beltran.
In the third round Moses is picking up his offense with left hooks and chopping rights. A right hand off a jab from Moses landed solidly to the chin of Beltran. Beltran got the final punch in a lead right to the head of Moses. Beltran going back to his corner had a cut outside of his left eye with blood coming down his cheek. In the fourth round Moses was landing a chopping right to the head of Beltran with consistency. Both boxers landed right hands to the chin of one another starting with Moses landing the first one. At the bell Beltran had Moses holding on with the referee Vic Drakulich having to separate them. Moses had a small cut on the outside of his left eye.
In the fifth round a right hand from Beltran to the head rocked Moses. In close Moses landed a right uppercut to the chin of Beltran. The cut on Beltran re-opened. It was a very close round. In the sixth round Beltran landed a double left hook that was countered by a stiff jab from Moses that pushed Beltran back several steps. Beltran was also cut outside the right eye. Moses landed a right to the chin rocking Beltran.
In the seventh round of a hard grueling fight Beltran continued landing left hooks with Moses lead rights to the head. Beltran’s cut outside the right eye was flowing from those rights from Moses. Beltran ended the round with a solid right of his own to the chin of Moses. In the eighth round Beltran landed a double left hook to the body followed by a right hand to the chin of Moses. Moses landed a lead right to the head followed by a right uppercut to the chin of Beltran. It was Beltran landing the last punch of the round a left hook to the head of Moses.
In the ninth round Moses landed a solid right to the chin of Beltran made Beltran’s legs go into a squat. Beltran comes back with a six punch combination to body and head of Moses. Beltran landed five punches without return from Moses up until the bell sounded. In the tenth round Beltran landed a solid lead right to the chin of Moses. Both fighters looked exhausted from a fury of punches. Beltran landed left hooks to the body hurting Moses.
In the eleventh round the blood was not stopped coming down from his left eye. Beltran landed half a dozen unanswered punches to head and body of Moses. Beltran landed a solid right to the side of Moses. The left eye of Beltran has swelling and blood coming down. The right eye had much swelling under it. In the twelfth and final round Beltran landed a five punch combination mostly to the body of Moses. Halfway through the round both fighters were exhausted. It was Moses mostly holding on.
Judge Erik Cheek had it 116-112, judge’s Don Trella and Bert A. Clements had it 117-111 as did this writer.
“I’m very emotional for my family. He was a very tough fighter. I had to use my jab often since he came in with his head,” said Beltran.
NABF Welterweight Champion Egidijas “Mean Machine” Kavaliaukas, 19-0 (16), of Lithuania/Oxnard, CA, stopped David “Ava” Avanesyan, 23-3-1 (11), of RUS/UK, at 1:55 of the sixth round in defense of his NABF title.
In the first round Avanesyan hands held high walked into a right from Kavaliaukas to the chin. It was a feeling out round for both fighters. Avanesyan landed a lead right to the chin of Kavaliaukas with just under a minute left in the round. In the second round Kavaliaukas landed a solid jab followed by a good right to the chin of Avanesyan. A counter right by Kavaliaukas to the chin got the attention of Avanesyan just prior to the bell.
In the third round Avanesyan landed a lead right hand over a jab by Kavaliaukas. Avanesyan landed a lead right to the chin of Kavaliaukas and was pushed to the canvas. A left hook from Kavaliaukas to the cop of the head of Avanesyan made his leg’s quiver. In the fourth round Avanesyan hit with a reaching right to the chin of Kavaliaukas but was countered by a Kavaliaukas left hook to the chin. It was the closest round so far in the first four rounds.
In the fifth round Avanesyan landed a rare left hook to the body of Kavaliaukas. Then repeated it shortly afterwards. Avanesyan switched to southpaw and back several times in the round with little success. In the sixth round a hard lead overhand right from Kavaliaukas to the chin of Avanesyan rocked him. Kavaliaukas hurt Avanesyan with a right to the head and landed some twenty unanswered punches before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the onslaught as Avanesyan was slumping to the canvas as the referee grabbed him before he hit the canvas.
“I hurt him in the third round and knew the knockout would come. I want to fight Terrance Crawford in the future. I know he will beat Jeff Horn,” said Kavaliaukas. Where Kavaliaukas trains at Robert Garcia’s Gym in Oxnard, CA, Garcia calls Kavaliaukas the hardest puncher he has ever worked with.
Welterweight Alexander Besputin, 9-0 (7), RUS/Oxnard, CA, stopped southpaw “King” Wes Tucker, 14-3 (8), of Toledo, OH, at the end of 5 rounds in a scheduled 8 rounds.
Featherweight southpaw and 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist 20 year-old Shakur Stevenson, 5-0 (2), formerly of Newark, NJ, now out of Alexandria, VA, won every round over Juan Tapia, 8-2 (3), of Brownsville, TX, in his first 8 round bout.
In the first round Stevenson was using an effective right jab against the smaller Tapia who was trying to “bait” Stevenson in so he could counter with a right of his own. In the second round Stevenson trying to “throw” Tapia off of him from continuous holding was warned by referee Jay Nady. Stevenson came right back with a nice combination to the head of Tapia. Tapia was trying to make it a street fight but isn’t scoring any points by doing so.
In the third round Tapia tried using a peek-a-boo defense with both hands held high. Stevenson continued to pick him apart with his jab. Stevenson landed a pair of lead left’s to the face of Tapia. Stevenson landed four punches without return putting Tapia against the ropes. He ended the round with a right hook to the chin of Tapia. In the fourth round Stevenson landed a five punch combination before Tapia returned a missed left hook. Stevenson landed a solid lead overhand left to the chin of Tapia. Tapia got inside landing a combination to the head of Stevenson.
In the fifth round Stevenson landed a rare right uppercut to the chin of Tapia. Stevenson continued to have his way with Tapia giving him a boxing lesson. Just prior to the bell Stevenson landed a lead left to the chin of Tapia. In the sixth round Tapia missed with a lead right and was countered by a left to the shin by Stevenson. A good body shot right hook by Stevenson had Tapia backing up several steps after that.
In the seventh round Tapia landed a left hook to the head of Stevenson countering a Stevenson jab. Stevenson’s jab finally drew blood from the mouth of Tapia. For the first time in his fifth fight Stevenson was entering his first eight rounder. Stevenson landed a solid right hook to the chin of Tapia. A counter left by Stevenson on the chin of Tapia got his attention. Stevenson landed a three punch combination to the chin of Tapia. Tapia continued to come forward and got hit with a lead left from Stevenson to the chin. In the final ten seconds Stevenson landed a three punch combination to the head of Tapia. It was a shut out by Stevenson. Andre Ward is co-manager of Stevenson. “First I want to thank God almighty for this win,” said Stevenson.
All three judges and this writer had it 80-72 for the winner.
Heavyweight Bryant “By-By” Jennings, 22-2 (13), of Philadelphia, PA, stopped Akhror “Aha” Moralimov, 16-4 (13), of UZB/Houston, TX, at 1:12 of the third round. He scored two knockdowns in the first, one in the second and two in the third forcing referee Jay Nady to call a halt in a scheduled 8 rounds.
2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Robson Conceicao, 6-0 (4), of Bahia, Brazil, defeated Ignacio “El Alcran” Holguin, Jr., 5-1-1 (5), of San Antonio, TX, over 6 rounds. Scores were 60-52 twice and 60-54.