We got heavyweight action, a mild upset at 160, and — surprise, surprise — another set of inexplicable scorecards. Time for your rundown of the major happenings.
Rances Barthelemy W12 Denis Shafikov: In the Premier Boxing Champions main event on Friday night, “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (24-0) won a 12 round unanimous decision over game Denis Shafikov (36-2-1) to take home the vacant IBF world lightweight title. It was a good, competitive match which saw Barthelemy take over in the late rounds to secure the win. Scores were 116-112 (twice) and then a ridiculous 119-109. That judge should be fired.
On the undercard: Prospect Gervonta Davis (14-0) stopped Luis Sanchez (17-5-1) in nine. Eric Walker (12-0) won a unanimous verdict over Chris Pearson (13-1) in a terrific, all-action scrap. And cruiserweight Isiah Thomas (15-0) got hammered after the bell ending round three, resulting in a no contest in his fight against Murat Gassiev (22-0).
Billy Joe Saunders W12 Andy Lee: Saunders dethroned WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee with a majority decision in Manchester, England. An explosive third round from Saunders (23-0) was the difference. The challenger floored Lee twice and a dazed Lee somehow survived the 10-7 round. Lee (34-3-1) fought his way back and was the more aggressive boxer in the late rounds, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a slow start and the two knockdowns. Scores were 115-111, 114-112 and 113-113.
Luis Ortiz TKO7 Bryant Jennings: Despite the murky situation with the belts and the sanctioning bodies, one thing is clear: Tyson Fury is presently the heavyweight champion of the world. But on Saturday in Verona, New York, Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (24-0) took a significant step toward earning a right to challenge Fury by thrashing Bryant Jennings (19-2) in seven rounds.
Ortiz got off to a quick start by rocking Jennings repeatedly in the early rounds, though the Philadelphia native gamely scraped his way back into the fight before eating a massive southpaw left uppercut in the seventh round that floored him and all but ended the fight. A quick follow up from Ortiz brought matters to a close and for the second weekend in a row fans were treated to better heavyweight action than we’ve come to expect in the last few years. Perhaps the big men are becoming, at long last, worth following again.
On the Ortiz vs Jennings undercard: Nicholas Walters D12 Jason Sosa: In a candidate for worst decision of 2015, three judges were clearly not watching the action in the ring as all three turned in crap scorecards. Weird stuff, as two scored the fight a draw while the third actually gave it to Sosa by two points. No one watching with any degree of objectivity could have had Walters winning by anything less than five points. “The Axe Man” was in complete control of the match and naturally was in shock after the scorecards were read.
Plus: Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (15-0) decisioned Yunieski Gonzalez (16-2) in an entertaining light-heavyweight battle. Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1), fighting as a lightweight, scored a 10-round decision win over Hylon Williams Jr. (16-2-1). Despite the win, it was not a particularly impressive performance from Gamboa.
Gabriel Rosado W12 Joshua Clottey: Rosado got his first victory since 2012 and his first meaningful win since 2009(!) as the judges gave him a unanimous nod over tough Joshua Clottey, though some thought the decision could have gone the other way. This middleweight bout was a close affair, with Clottey winning most of the early rounds and the busier Rosado coming on in the late going. Rosado called out Canelo Alvarez after the win; Clottey said he was going back down to the super-welterweights.