Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
Syllakh wins the big one
IOWA CITY, IOWA—Ismal Syllakh and Yordanis Despaigne fought over 600 amateur fights before turning pro and now they prepared to take a major step against each other. Despite the paucity of professional fights, both fighters understood that a win could mean a top ten ranking.
Over the first round, both fighters boxed and looked for advantages. Syllakh looked smooth as he jabbed and connected with occasional rights, whereas Despaigne used his jab to interrupt Syllakh rhythm but he ended the round with wild punches that missed their target.
Syllakh smoothness dominated the second round as he moved to the side while keeping Despaigne off balanced. Despaigne went after Syllakh but he missed those shots just as he did at the end of the first round. With less thirty seconds left, a jab blinded Despaigne before a Syllakh right sent him down.
At the start of the third round, Syllakh continued his assault as a combination open up a cuts over both of Despaigne’s eyes. Syllakh nailed Despaigne with solid shots from every possible angle and Despaigne looked like one more punch from being stopped.
Despaigne came out in the fourth round with desperation as with both eyes cut and pressured his opponent as he was able to get close Syllakh without getting nailed with heavy shots, shots that opened up cuts in the third round. In the opening minutes of the fifth round, Despaigne forced Syllakh on the rope but over the last minute, Syllakh opened up with solid combinations. Despaigne managed to survive the early pounding to at least make a fight of it going into the second half of the fight.
In the sixth round, Syllakh boxed and stayed one step ahead of Despaigne as he regained the momentum and he continued his superior boxing skills in the seventh round as he reopened up the cuts over Despaigne with right hands followed by accurate jab.
Despaigne continued his pursuit of the elusive Syllakh but he failed to catch his prey as Syllakh simply continued to move out of harms way and he sustained this throughout the ninth round. Syllakh ended the ninth round with a flurry that shook Despaigne and Despaigne now had to knock out his opponent to win the tenth round as he began the round as he did the previous, he chased Syllakh but his punches were hitting air as Syllakh simply avoided the heavy blows.
Syllakh won an impressive victory as he showed boxing skills and pop in his punch as he beat a worthy opponent. This was a bout between two undefeated prospects but on this night it was Syllakh as he showed that he is ready to move out of the prospect status to contender status.
In the first preliminary fight featured the veteran Freddie Norwood, a former featherweight champion against Ray Narh. Narh advantage laid in having 7 inch reach over his opponent, whereas Norwood spent his career mostly as a counter puncher. Norwood changed his style to fight on the inside and did manage to get inside in the opening round but found himself often tied up.
Narh did not use his jab effectively beginning in the second round and like in the first round, allowed Norwood to tie him up but Norwood continued to be ineffectual inside. Over the third and fourth round, Narh activity seemed to be giving him the advantage as he started to jab more effectively and occasionally nailed his smaller opponent with solid right hands.
In the fifth round, Narh added uppercuts to his arsenal and he started to hit Norwood body. In the sixth round, Norwood did very little as Narh jabbed, jabbed, jabbed as he kept Norwood at bay.
The seventh round told the story of the fight as Narh reach and quicker hands allowed him to score almost at will but the experience of Norwood allowed him to avoid a few of Narh shots and occasionally popping a left hand from his southpaw position.
In the eighth round, Narh pushed the action more as he landed an effective upper cut that forced Norwood to hang on and spent most of round pumping his jab before let loose his right accurately.
In the ninth round, Norwood twisted Narh into the rope and snapped a shot behind Narh head, a shot that cost him a two point deduction. This showed desperation from a veteran who simply had nothing left but experience and guile to fight with. Narh coasted in the tenth round as he won an easy victory on all three cards as he moved his mark 25-1 whereas Norwood simply showed that at 41, the time has come to hang up the gloves.