Saturday, October 20, 2018

Top Rank on ESPN+ Presents Murata vs. Brant Recap

Top Rank Boxing emanated from the Park Theater located within the lush confines of the Park MGM Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stacked, nine fight, card was headlined by two title fights-Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant for the WBA World Middleweight Title and Antonio DeMarco vs. Maxim Dadashev for the NABF Super Lightweight Title. In case you missed the action on ESPN+, here’s a recap of all the action!

Noah LaCoste (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. David Kaminsky (2-0, 1 KO)
Four Rounds, Middleweights
Decision: David Kaminsky via TKO in round 2

Adam Lopez (10-1, 4 KOs) vs. Hector Ambriz (12-7-2, 6 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Adam Lopez via TKO in round 8

Joseph Adorno (9-0, 9 KOs) vs. Kevin Cruz (8-0, 5 KOs)
Six Rounds, Lightweights
Decision: Joseph Adorno via UD

Vladimir Nikitin (1-0, 0 KOs) vs. Clay Burns (5-4-2, 4 KOs)
Six Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Vladimir Nikitin via UD (59-55, 59-55, 59-55)

Nicola Cipolletta (14-6-2, 4 KOs) vs. Michael Conlan (8-0, 5 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Michael Conlan via TKO in round 7

This bout featured 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Michael Conlan, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Conlan proved to be every bit the Olympic caliber athlete for the duration of the fight as he simply outclassed Cipolletta. Conlan continuously cut off the ring and the little offense that Cipolletta attempted to mount was reciprocated with Conlan’s vicious counter-punching ability. The referee finally called a stop to the action in round seven as Conlan had Cipolletta against the ropes mounting a devastating assault to his body-as he had done for the majority of the fight. In a brief, albeit unnecessary, display of showmanship, Cipolletta decided to do some push-ups in the middle of the ring followed by a short shadow boxing display…perhaps he should have used this excess energy to put forth some offense.

Guido Pitto (25-5-2, 8 KOs) vs. Esquiva Falcao (21-0, 15 KOs)
Ten Rounds, Middleweights
Decision: Esquiva Falcao via UD (100-90, 100-90, 100-90)

This contest pitted Esquiva Falcao, who won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, for his home country of Brazil against Guido Pitto, a veteran of 32 professional fights. The pace of this fight was quite pedestrian for the first eight rounds as the fighters held an extended feeling out process with each other. Rounds nine and ten finally saw the fighters exchange some effective combos with a slight edge on the side of Falcao. Apparently the few flashes of action displayed by Falcao in the final rounds were enough for the judges to warrant a unanimous decision for him.

NABF Super Lightweight Title
Antonio DeMarco (33-6-1, 24 KOs) vs. Maxim Dadashev (11-0, 10 KOs)
Ten Rounds, Super Lightweights
Decision: Maxim Dadashev via UD (97-93, 96-94, 98-92)

The co-feature of this card pitted Maxim Dadashev (11-0, 10 KOs), as he made the first defense of his NABF Super Lightweight Title, against ring veteran Antonio DeMarco (33-6-1, 24 KOs). This contest marked Dadashev’s first title defense since he earned the then vacant title by way of a tenth round TKO of Darleys Perez back in June. DeMarco entered this bout on a two fight win streak-a unanimous decision over Luis Solis in February 2017 and a first round knockout of Eddie Ramirez in October 2017. It should be noted, however, that DeMarco was on the wrong side of three consecutive unanimous decisions prior to those victories albeit in the form of top level contenders that included Omar Figueroa Jr. and Jessie Vargas. 

Antonio DeMarco looked hungry for this fight and was the aggressor for the first eight rounds as Dadashev seemed uncomfortable in the ring with the southpaw. DeMarco displayed some signs of fatigue in the final two rounds as Dadashev capitalized by finally landing some power punches that DeMarco had no answer for. This appeared to be an extremely close fight where a split decision would have been plausible. Surprisingly, and much to the chagrin of the clearly pro-DeMarco crowd, Dadashev was awarded the unanimous decision to retain his title.

WBA World Middleweight Title
Rob Brant (23-1, 16 KOs) vs. Ryota Murata (14-1, 11 KOs)
Twelve Rounds, Middleweights
Decision: Rob Brant via UD (118-110, 119-109, 119-109)

The main event of the evening featured 2012 gold medalist Ryota Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) as he made the second defense of his WBA World Middleweight title against Rob Brant (23-1, 16KOs). Murata earned the title in October 2017 when he was victorious over Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, a rematch of their May 2017 encounter which N’Dam N’Jikam took by split decision. Murata’s opponent, Rob Brant, entered the fight on the heels of a first round knockout of Colby Courter back in March of this year prior to which he suffered the only setback of his career-a unanimous decision loss to Juergen Braehmer in October 2017.

The first two rounds of this fight saw Rob Brant attempt to maintain a frenetic pace like he consumed a case of Red Bull in the locker room. Brant without a doubt threw a significantly greater number of punches than Murata as he attempted to establish the jab but Murata’s guard stood up well to this flurry. In rounds three and four we witnessed Brant slow his tempo down as Murata began to land crisp combos that Brant was unable to guard against. As we entered round five, arguably the best of the encounter, both fighters stood toe to toe landing several head-snapping power punches that showed each combatant to have a cast iron chin. Rounds six through ten were more evenly contested as Brant’s feverish pace slowed slightly, however, the championship rounds seemed to be the final nails in the coffin of Murata’s title reign. Brant repeatedly broke through Murata’s guard as he landed several stiff rights with sniper-like precision. The judges obviously appreciated how busy Brant was, or even at times only appeared to be when he could not break through Murata’s guard, as he won a rather lopsided unanimous decision to become the new WBA Middleweight Champion.

Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Wilberth Lopez (23-9, 15 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Super Lightweights
Decision: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov via TKO in round 2

Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, winner of the 2016 gold medal for his native Uzbekistan, squared off with Tucson, Arizona’s own Wilberth Lopez in the final bout of the evening after the ESPN+ broadcast concluded. Gaibnazarov was simply too much for Lopez to handle as he wouldn’t allow him any breathing room repeatedly cornering him. The bout came to it’s rapid conclusion as the referee stepped in to save Lopez from any additional abuse in round two.

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