Ringside recap: Thurman overcomes gutsy Lopez

Chris Glover
30/01/2019 2:16pm

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Chris Glover recaps Saturday night's action and post-fight reaction from Brooklyn, as Keith Thurman returns to the ring and overcomes a stiff challenge Josesito Lopez...

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn played host to the returning WBA 'super' welterweight champion Keith Thurman as he looked to come back with a bang against ‘Riverside Rocky’ Josesito Lopez.

The opening four rounds saw Thurman produce a classy display. It was if he had never lost a step. The champion's variety in punches, speed, footwork, and defence was all on point in the opening stages and the Florida man also sent his Californian counterpart to the canvas in round two. Thurman had been flawless and it looked as if Lopez was in for a hard night.

Maybe the ring rust kicked in in round five, but a spirited Lopez took the fight to Thurman for the next eight rounds, with many of them being very close. It was a case of Lopez’s intense work rate vs Thurman’s clean work. In round seven, a barrage from Lopez left Thurman on the verge of getting stopped - indeed, on another day, some referees might have waved proceedings off, but Thurman recovered in round eight and spent the majority of the latter stages picking his shots from the outside.

Thurman was awarded the majority decision victory, with a big difference in the three scorecards (113-113, 117-109, 115-111). Many saw the fight as a close contest; however, Thurman now looks to move on to bigger tests in 2019.

“I want to be active and I want to be in big fights," Thurman stated post-fight. "I want to reclaim the [WBC] belt that I had to give up, and I would be happy to give the winner of [Shawn] Porter vs [Yordenis] Ugas an opportunity to fight me.

“I would like to fight Manny Pacquiao, but I trust my team to make the decision on when and where I fight next.”

Lopez, who gave a great account of himself and was applauded on his entrance to the media room, then offered his take on the evening’s action and what he wants next.

The Robert Garcia trained fighter said, “I feel I proved a lot tonight, I felt great in there and I felt if he had me in the position I had him in in round seven, the fight would have been stopped.

“We had a great training camp and hopefully I will get another opportunity in the future.”

Chief support saw big punching Pole Adam Kownacki demolish Gerald Washington in front of a partisan pro-Kownacki crowd in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn-based Kownacki took the fight to Washington from the outset, and nearly pushed for the stoppage in the opening round, landing some heavy bombs on the former US Serviceman.

Round two was more of the same, with Kownacki throwing over 100 punches as he sent Washington to the canvas, forcing the referee in charge to bring a halt to the contest.

Kownacki made a definite statement, having positioned himself highly in the WBC rankings, with his eyes firmly set on Deontay Wilder’s crown.

Post-fight, Kownacki opened up regarding his victory and his plans for the future.

“I’d like to fight for the heavyweight title," he said. "Whether I have to travel to another country to get it that is what being world champion is about.”

When questioned about Wilder, Kownacki’s response was, “I want the belt baby!”

Elsewhere on the undercard, there was an explosive contest between Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Claudio Marrero which saw the Mongolian Olympian emerge victorious against a tricky customer in Marrero who will definitely come again.

In what many saw as the performance of the night, Atlas Cops and Kids-trained Chris ‘Little Bhopp’ Colbert showed why many refer to him as ‘The Golden Child’ as he displayed a back footed masterclass against the game Josh Hernandez.

The 22-year-old displayed an exquisite exhibition of defensive skills and ringcraft, far beyond his years as he won seven of the eight rounds against an ambitious opponent in Hernandez.

Chordale Booker cruised to an eight-round victory over Juan De Angel, and will likely be looking for a step up in class in his next outing.

The shock of the night came where Marsellos Wilder was stopped in round four against William Deets in a fight many would have expected to be a routine victory for Wilder.
Wilder appeared tired late in the fight and allowed his opponent to land a lead hook, which the younger brother of the WBC heavyweight champion was unable to recover from.

There were also wins for Gary Antuanne Russell, Stephen Fulton, Miguel Cruz, Brandon Glanton, Mark Duncan, Mychael Teal and Terek Irby on a night that was a very enjoyable night of boxing, with well-matched contests throughout presented by Premier Boxing Champions, Lou DiBella and Tom Brown.