INGLEWOOD, Calif. — After twelve thrilling rounds of action, Danny Roman became the unified WBA and IBF junior featherweight titleholder after receiving a majority decision (113-113, 116-110 x2) over TJ Doheny on Friday night.
Streamed live on DAZN, the contest topped the undercard of a Matchroom Boxing card at The Forum that featured the rematch between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Juan Francisco Estrada.
After a slow opening round, Roman bailed himself out of a bad start near the end of the second round once a left hand clipped Doheny on the chin and dropped him for a knockdown. Doheny followed that up by maintaining his effective footwork to take the third, but the back-and-forth fighting that made this contest a great one started in the fourth round.
Roman (27-2, 10 KOs) prompted the entertaining action with a right hand and follow-up uppercut that stunned Doheny back to the ropes. It was the first time the Irish southpaw yielded, but only for a moment as he came forward to produce some great ebb and flow. Doheny walked back to his corner with a bloody nose and swollen right eye by the end of it, however, but it wouldn’t stop him from having his moment in the fight. In the sixth, Doheny (21-1, 15 KOs) badly hurt Roman with an accumulation of left and right hands that had the 28-year-old out of sorts. Roman failed to clinch in order to buy himself time, and he even ended up on the mat later on after scrambling attempt to do so, but referee Raul Caiz Jr. ruled it a slip.
“TJ connected with a good shot and I knew I shouldn’t exchange with him,” Roman said about that scary moment. “He’s a strong guy.”
Doheny, 32, may’ve emptied his tank in his follow-up for the remainder of the seventh, and after a round or two of being able to shake the cobwebs off, Roman went back to work as he reestablished his beautiful combination punching. In the ninth, an uppercut buckled Doheny again, but only to spark another thrilling back-and-forth that had the crowd on their feet. The 122-pounders were showing more than the world-class caliber of boxing they brought to the ring at this point — more so the heart it took to be willing to engage. Roman and Doheny seemed to be headed toward a wire-to-wire fight entering the championship rounds, but the hometown favorite separated himself in the eleventh with a hellacious body attack.
“Once I connected on two big body shots, I saw his conditioning going down and I jumped on it. I just kept it going,” said Roman.
Doheny spat up blood as Caiz yelled his ten-count, and after getting up in time, he somehow managed to survive the rest of the round with his movement around the ring.
“The body shots broke me down slowly,” Doheny said. “But I am an Irish fighter and we are warriors so we stick around until the end.”
Not discounting the two knockdowns, Roman’s body work was what ultimately won him this fight. Though Doheny went on to clearly win the final round, it wasn’t enough to make up for the the beating he took. With his right eye swollen, his nose bloodied, and his guts ripped to shreds, Doheny’s heart was the catalyst of what ended up being a memorable fight, but it was the Inglewood native who rejoiced in the ‘City of Champions.’
“First off, I want to congratulate Danny,” Doheny said. “Not just him but his whole team. He is a great fighter but even more than that, he is an absolute gentleman. So all the credit in the world to him. The plan was to become the unified champion but that didn’t happen. My second plan was to go to war and put on a show for Los Angeles and we did it.”
“Give me Rey Vargas,” Roman said about the WBC titleist from Mexico. ” I want the fight, we are two great champions. Let’s do it.”
Jessie Vargas forced a sixth round stoppage of Humberto Soto to conclude a captivating fight between a primed fighter and a wily veteran.The junior middleweight contest was scheduled for ten rounds.
Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs), who was making his debut at 154-pounds, had to go through some adversity early in the fight before getting his first knockout in three years. In the second, an accidental clash of heads caused a leaking cut near his left eye, and the smell of blood sparked belief in the 38-year-old from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Soto (69-10-2, 37 KOs) attacked Vargas throughout the fight with little care in the return fire, but it was a nuanced aggression fixated with traps and timing. In the fourth round, he caught Vargas with a flush right hand, which spurred a crowd that was heavily in favor for the balding Mexican.
“Honestly I was looking of the big shots, looking for body shots. But he is a crafty veteran and he proved that tonight,” Vargas recalled. “I just tried to dictate the pace but he was fighting in spurts and he would put together combos.”
Vargas, 29, was also fighting for the first time under the direction of Freddie Roach,
“I am ready for whatever is next,” said Vargas. “I am ready for anyone. I want a world championship. I will let Eddie find the right opponent. It feels great and it is credit to Freddie Roach and the great three month camp we had out here in Los Angeles.”
Anthony Sims Jr. was given a rough fight from Vaughn Alexander over the course of 10 rounds but did enough to earn a unanimous decision (98-92 x2, 96-94) win and remain unbeaten.
Sims (19-0, 17 KOs) used his boxing skill to out-jab Alexander in the early going, but that safe space created by that punch wouldn’t last. Alexander (14-3, 9 KOs) made the fight as rough as he could — landing several low blows and rabbit punches throughout — but after a few warnings from referee Ray Corona, the St. Louis, Missouri, native began to land effective punches. In the waning seconds of the fourth, a temple shot with a right hand caught Sims’ attention and after another rugged fifth, the two stared each other down before going to their corners, which signaled the competitive affair that it was.
Fighting out of nearby Compton, Sims, 24, was forced to go away from his graceful boxing display once it was established solely on the inside in the middle rounds. The two traded but not nearly with enough urgency or volume to be an entertaining affair. Sims’ defense may’ve been the catalyst to his success in the eyes of the judges as the contest dragged it’s feet toward the tenth, and although it wasn’t pretty, there was certainly plenty to learn for the 168-pound prospect looking to become a contender.
Diego Pacheco blasted out Guillermo Maldonado in the first round to earn a knockout win in what was his debut in the United States. The middleweight contest was scheduled for four rounds.
Pacheco (3-0, 2 KOs), who’s from South Central Los Angeles, didn’t have a hard time landing his right hand. The 6-foot 4-inch 18-year-old landed it consecutively to bop his foe around the ring for much of the 1:46 seconds that the fight lasted, but it was a left hook that dropped Maldonado (1-1) to the mat for the fight’s only knockdown. Referee Jerry Cantu waved it off immediately.
Shakhram “Wonder Boy” Giyasov received a wide unanimous decision (99-91 x2, 97-93) over Emanuel Taylor to win a WBA junior welterweight trinket after ten close rounds.
In what was a well-matched affair, Taylor made things interesting quickly in the first round when consecutive left hooks to the chin hurt Giyasov badly. It seemed like a mental lapse for the prospect from Uzbekistan, who had his hands down in the moment and for much of the fight for that matter, but Giyasov followed that up with a sustained body attack that ended up winning him this fight but not without a good fight.
Giyasov (8-0, 6 KOs) was a showman in the ring, even though it was at times to his own detriment, but he brought the fight to Taylor over the course of 12 rounds — both landing and throwing more than the gatekeeper from Ridgeley, Maryland. Taylor (20-6, 14 KOs) blocked many of those shots with his gloves, but for the majority of the fight, he remained behind his guard as Giyasov threw many combinations. In the fourth round, another moment happened where Taylor seemed to buzz Giyasov on the chin, and from the midway point of the contest to the end, there was nothing other than a close fight happening.
In the eyes of the judges on this night, however, Giyasov was getting the benefit of any doubt because of his activity. Taylor, who hadn’t fought in nearly two years — that being knockout defeat to Lucas Matthysse — knew he had to do more in the final round. Taylor accomplished that with one of his better span of three minutes in the final round, but it was all for naught in the end.
Austin “Ammo Williams forced a first-round stoppage of Joel Guevara to win his professional debut. The middleweight contest was scheduled for four rounds.
Williams (1-0, KO), a 22-year-old southpaw fighting out of Houston, Texas, had his opponent reeling within the first minute of the fight. After establishing a jab, Williams unleashed a straight left hand to the head that had Guevara desperately going backward for breathing room. Williams followed-up his attack with multiple body and head shots that made things worse for the 31-year old, forcing Guevara to a knee for a knockdown midway through the first round. Guevara (3-5-1, 2 KOs), who was riding a three loss losing streak entering this fight, bottled up behind his guard from then on and referee Ray Corona waved it off at the 2:06 mark with Williams throwing and landing at will.
In the opening bout of the Matchroom Boing card, Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev stopped Carlos Carlson at the 2:51 mark of the third round. The featherweight contest was scheduled for eight rounds.
Referee Jerry Cantu immediately waved his count after Carlson (23-6, 14 KOs) was dropped the first and only time. California state rules result as a KO. Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5 KOs), a 24-year-old Uzbek training out of Indio, California, remains unbeaten in what was his first fight of 2019. Akhmadaliev maintains his No. 1 junior featherweight ranking within the WBA.
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