Last weekend’s toughest fight was with my computer

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The fight card out of the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA featured two title bouts.

In a bid for the NABF Welterweight belt, Ray Robinson (23-3-1, 12 KO’s) slipped between the ropes to face reigning and defending champion Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KO’s).

I realize that both the given and surname of the champ look like Scrabble’s worst tile-draws…and I had to turn off the auto-correct on my laptop because it kept offering “edging,” “Edgar,”  “Kavanaugh,” and “Calaveras County.”

… both the given and surname of the champ
look like Scrabble’s worst tile-draws…

So “Kavaliauskas” will hereinafter be “EK.”

He’s been plowing through the lesser talent of the weight class and came to this match sporting a streak of seven consecutive knockouts, while southpaw Robinson slid in on a KO loss to Yordenis Ugas.

Fists were flying early as they tried to establish dominance.

Robinson was much busier but EK landed more, yet neither stood out.

The bout went the distance and the scorecards perfectly reflected the dynamics with a majority draw.

***

In the main event from Pennsylvania, undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk defended his WBC World Light Heavyweight title for the first time.

Standing across the ring was Doudou Ngumbu. And those two names caused the “spell-check alert” to freeze my computer, completely.

Gvozdyk’s last fight (June 2018) ended tragically when his opponent Adonis Stevenson was knocked out in Round 11, taken to the hospital in critical condition, and was placed in a medically induced coma.

Since that time Stevenson has moved to a rehabilitation facility. He is now walking, talking, and eating a regular, solid diet. Stevenson has also begun making transitional, weekend-stays at his home.

This must have weighed heavily on Gvozdyk’s mind, coming into this match.

Ngumbu was 1 & 1 in his last two-bouts. He lost a unanimous decision in December 2017 and won a majority decision in May 2018.

Ngumbu and Gvozdyk were both wary in the opening frame. There was a good deal of posturing, feinting, and measuring. But not a lot of punching. However, Gvozdyk did land a straight right to the temple that lit up the “tilt sign” in Ngumbu’s eyes.

The action was faster in the following rounds, and they both put additional leather in the air. Gvozdyk was more efficient overall with the number (and percentage) of punches landed.

For a second consecutive week, there was an unprecedented occurrence.

Last week it was a timekeeping error. On Saturday it was the complete disregard of a rule.

In the first minute in Round 5, while moving laterally, Ngumbu came up lame.

There had been no contact, and there was no obstruction…yet the referee called “time” and gave Ngumbu five minutes.

Not so.

By definition, that was a TKO. The fighter was unable to continue due to injury.

Absent a foul, obstruction, or equipment failure of the physical ring (i.e. rip in the canvas, rope coming free, etc.) having caused the injury, it is a Technical Knockout if a fighter cannot continue.

It took them two full minutes to figure that out. Fortunately they got it right.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KO’s) retained his title and remains undefeated. 

***

That same night, from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, Liam Smith (27-2-1, 15 KO’s) cut through Sam Eggington (24-6, 15 KO’s) like a hot knife slicing warm butter.

Stronger and more skilled, Smith pressed Eggington to the ropes, trapped him in the corners, and whaled away.

Eggington continued to throw and land, but there was no power behind his punch…and he was getting scuffed up pretty badly.

Smith’s hands were like meat-seeking missiles. He kept launching them, and they kept finding the target.

By Round 5 Eggington’s nose was bleeding, he had a cut over his left eye, and his right eye was swollen shut.

The referee saw the danger and wisely stepped in to call a halt to the contest.

Good call, ref.

Liam Smith turns in an impressive performance and takes home the vacant WBO World Super Welterweight title.

God Bless and don’t be lame.

Mark Felicetti should never make fun of another person’s name. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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