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A Night of American Heavyweights!
It was a night of young American Heavyweight including Deontay Wilder defending his version of the Heavyweight title against French Johann Duhaupas, former Olympian Dominic Breazeale fighting veteran Fred Kassi and undefeated Charles Martin challenging Mexican veteran Vicente Sandez.
Breazeale fought cautiously in the first round but at the beginning of the second round, Breazeale unleashed some vicious body shots but in one of those exchanges, Kassi countered effectively and over the second half of the bout; Kassi managed to land some solid head shots over his much taller opponent.
Breazeale spent the third round jabbing and Kassi did very little but in the fourth round, Kassi landed a few solid combinations while Breazeale landed two big rights in the middle of the roundand added body shots.
Throughout the fifth and sixth round, Kassi landed combinations as he moved in and out while Breazeale couldn’t find a rhythm. Breazeale landed two right hands over the first minute of the seventh round but Kassi found ways to land effective combinations of his own. Breazeale used his power as he landed body shots followed by head shots. Kassi slowed down his own assault in the eighth round due to the body shots..
The ninth round saw a back and forth battle as both fighters landed solid shots with Kassi landed quick shots and Breazeale landed powerful body shots. Breazeale was behind on punches connected going into the last round but it was a close bout. The NBC judges had it 5 round to 4 going into the last round but NBC announcers BJ Flores and Sugar Ray Leonard had Kassi with the advantage.
Breazeale pushed the last round as he wanted to make a statement but Kassi proved not an easy fighter to hit. I had Breazeale winning the last round and winning the bout 96 to 94 but it couldn’t easily had gone the other direction as several rounds were close. (NBC unofficial judge and BJ Flores had it 95-95.)The judges had it 97-93, 98-92 and 100-90 in favor of Breazeale but while one could make the case that Breazeale won but there is no way that he won more than six rounds. Breazeale faced a tough veteran but Kassi was able to shoot combinations despite Breazeale imposing reach. Breazeale looked slow and there is no doubt that Breazeale needs to continue to work on basic skills and while he has the power to win a title; he still needs learn the techniques and tactics.
Deontay Wilder defended his title in front of his fellow Alabama while French fighter Johann Duhaupas fought in his biggest fight. Wilder landed effective jabs over the first three minutes of the round as Duhaupas fought with his hands up and tried to walk Wilder down. This continued into the second round as Wilder jabbed effectively and Duhaupas took what Wilder gave him, the body.
Halfway through the third round, Wilder landed a straight left and straight right that stunned the French fighter and over the last half of the round Wilder landed solid combinations that Duhaupas took. The best punch of the fourth round was a double left hook to Duhaupas’ body by Wilder.
Over the second half of the fifth round, Wilder landed upper cuts that hurt Duhaupas and opened up cuts over Duhaupas nose and eyes. Over the next two rounds, both fighters retreated to the inside but Wilder upper cuts gained the upper hands and Duhaupas was taking big shots after big shots. Wilder went into the eighth round, with a swollen left eyes due to Duhaupas occasional right hands. The fight retreated throughout the eighth and ninth round into trench warfare; something that didn’t fit into Wilder game plan. Throughout the ninth round, Duhaupas showed life as he landed upper cuts and left hooks to the body along with overhand rights. Wilder struck over the final minute of the tenth round as he punished Duhaupas with combinations to the body and head. As BJ Flores noted, Wilder slid to Duhaupas left while he landed those shots. After a barrage of punches by Wilder, the referee stopped the fight against Duhaupas at the beginning of the eleventh round as he was trapped in the corner and taking too much punishment.
Wilder showed improvement over other fights as he showed the most variety in punches and he also showed the ability to fight inside. Duhaupas came into this fight as never been stopped and Duhaupas chin proved durable as he took plenty of punishment. Duhaupas may have top notch chin but he is not at the skilled level of the elite fighters of the division so there is still question if Wilder is ready for Wladimir Klitshcko or Alexnader Povetkin.
As for Charles Martin, he took care of business as he stopped Vicente Sandez in three rounds.