Yordenis Ugas dominates Cesar Barrionuevo, earns shot at WBC welterweight title

Boxing


NEW YORK — Welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas won his eighth fight in a row and earned a mandatory world title opportunity as he easily outpointed Cesar Barrionuevo in a dreadful fight on Saturday night in the co-feature of the Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Ugas’ victory put him in position for a crack at the WBC world title Porter won after defeating Garcia by unanimous decision, but he is also in position for a possible mandatory fight against IBF titleholder Errol Spence Jr., who was ringside.

Ugas, a close friend of New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, won 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 in a fight in which Barrionuevo spent most of the fight backing up and refusing to engage.

“We won today and I think I showed my talent,” Ugas said. “I’m happy with my performance. I showed enough. Now I’m ready for a championship fight. I’m ready for whoever comes my way. I’m ready for a title.

“I want the winner of Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter. I’m here to compete with the top-level guys in the sport.”

Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs), 32, a Cuban defector fighting out of Las Vegas, was the more skilled fighter and controlled the fight from the outset. He jabbed, landed whipping body shots and had Barrionuevo backing up. But the lack of action had the crowd booing at various points during the bout.

Ugas, who hasn’t lost since moving up to welterweight in 2016 — and has beaten solid opposition including Jamal James, Thomas Dulorme and Ray Robinson — continued to press Barrionuevo and connected with two clean right hands that momentarily buckled him in the sixth round.

The crowd came to life midway through the eighth round when Ugas, who earned $100,000 to Barrionuevo’s $35,0000, forced him into a corner and unloaded punch after punch before he was able to move away. But then the crowd quickly quieted down as the fight reverted to its previous form. The crowd came back to life only to boo lustily when the fight was finally over.

Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs), 29, of Argentina, saw a 10-fight winning streak since 2014 come to an end in his first fight in the United States.

“I just didn’t have the right distance,” Barrionuevo said. “It was hard to catch him and attack. He countered well and attacked the body. I showed my heart but he was the better fighter. Just the heart is not enough, but I’m going to keep working hard and getting better. I got beat by a great fighter tonight.”


Kownacki outpoints Martin

With his legion of Polish fans cheering, heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki scored his most significant victory, winning a unanimous decision over former world titleholder Charles Martin in an entertaining fight.

All three judges scored it surprisingly close, however, 96-94, in a fight Kownacki appeared to win more convincingly.

“I think the fans liked it. It was a good fight. I worked really hard to look impressive tonight,” Kownacki said. “Charles Martin gave it all in the ring tonight. He put up a good fight. I think I proved tonight that I’m a top-10 fighter at heavyweight. I need a few more fights before the title shot. But it’s coming.”

The 6-foot-3, 263-pound Kownacki got the better of the 6-5, 246-pound southpaw Martin, who failed to use his height advantage, rarely jabbed to keep Kownacki at bay and often resorted to holding.

Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs), 29, a Poland native fighting out of New York, appeared to be in command for most of the fight and poured it on in the fourth round by unloading several heavy blows to the head and body to shake Martin up. Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs) took the shots but looked exhausted by the time the fight got to the late rounds. Kownacki landed the sharper punches while Martin’s were often wide arm punches.

Kownacki had Martin in a bit of trouble in the 10th round when he connected with a right hand that knocked him off balance, but Martin, 32, of Carson, California, came back to nail Kownacki and hurt him as they traded bombs over the final minute of the final rousing round, and Kownacki had to settle for the decision.

“I thought I won the decision a little wider than the cards, but Charles came to fight all night. He was in shape and coming forward and I had to dig deep,” Kownacki said. “The Polish fans were awesome tonight. It definitely gave me a boost. It’s a blessing, they’re the best in the world.”

Martin, who earned $100,000, as did Kownacki, was returning to the ring where he won a heavyweight belt in January 2016 when he was credited with a second-round knockout of Vyacheslav Glazkov, who could not continue after severely injuring his knee. Three months later Martin lost the belt by one-sided second-round knockout to Anthony Joshua in London.

A yearlong layoff followed the loss and Martin had won two fights since, against low-level opposition before stepping in with Kownacki.

“I believed I got the win. I did work on the inside and no one saw that. I did really good work on the inside,” Martin said. “I will get back in the gym. I’ll keep on going. Looks are very deceiving. I put up a hell of a fight and I came up just short.”


Serrano makes women’s history

Amanda Serrano, already the only female boxer to win world titles in five weight classes, added No. 6 to her résumé as she won a lopsided unanimous decision over Yamila Esther Reynoso in a hard-fought fight to claim a vacant women’s junior welterweight belt.

Serrano (35-1-1, 26 KOs), 29, a Puerto Rico native fighting out of Brooklyn, had already won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight. Her previous fight was at featherweight, but she moved up three divisions to face Reynoso and did not appear troubled by facing a bigger opponent. All three judges scored the fight 99-91.

“This means everything to me,” Serrano said. “I work so hard and I hope this fight shows the fans that girls can fight and we can give it our all just like the men do. We deserve to have this platform and we deserve to be shown.”

Serrano was busy and landed a lot of punches, but Reynoso, 22, of Argentina, stalked forward throughout the fight but missed with numerous overhand lefts. She did get to Serrano a few times though, nailing her with a few good punches in the fourth round, but Serrano, the quicker, more skilled fighter, rebounded and boxed circles around her.

In the fifth round, as Serrano did as she pleased, Reynoso motioned for Serrano to come to her and she did — and landed punches. In the later rounds there were several fierce exchanges in which they both landed clean punches.

“She was tough and she came to win,” Serrano said. “I give her a lot of credit for pushing forward and engaging. I’m hoping to be on Showtime next time. I’m a six-division world champion and I’m ready for anything next.”

Reynoso (11-5-3, 8 KOs) dropped to 0-3 in world title fights, having lost previous opportunities at junior welterweight and junior middleweight.


More undercard results

  • Brooklyn junior lightweight prospect Chris Colbert (9-0, 3 KOs), a 21-year-old southpaw, nearly stopped Fatiou Fassinou (28-11-3, 15 KOs), 32, of Fort Washington, Maryland, in the final round but had to settle for a shutout decision, 80-72 on all three scorecards. Colbert won easily but had Fassinou in major trouble in the final round as he nailed him repeatedly with heavy punches. But Fassinou takes a good shot as he lost his fifth fight in a row, each by decision.

  • Floyd Mayweather-promoted junior welterweight Richardson Hitchins (6-0, 3 KOs), 20, of Brooklyn, who represented his parents’ home country of Haiti at the 2016 Olympics, shut out Cesar Valenzuela (7-3, 2 KOs), 32, of Mexico. Hitchins dropped Valenzuela with a right hand in the first round and cruised, winning 60-53, 60-53 and 60-52.

  • Bantamweight Dylan Price (6-0, 5 KOs), 20, of Philadelphia, rolled to a near-shutout of Rwanda native Mulapi Enjani (4-5-2, 2 KOs), 32, of San Diego. Price, who is fast and flashy, dominated and won 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55.

  • Cruiserweight Marsellos Wilder (2-0, 2 KO), the 29-year-old younger brother of heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder, blew out Ryan Williams (0-2), 39, of Turlock, California, in a first-round knockout victory. Wilder pounded Williams with an assortment of punches from the opening bell and beat him all over the ring. As Wilder pounded Williams with a flurry of punches in a corner referee Michael Griffin waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 34 seconds as Williams sagged into the ropes. Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who turned pro on May 25, has scored first-round knockout wins in both of his fights, both of which came against winless opponents.

  • Junior middleweight Brandon Quarles (20-4-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, eked out a split decision over Marcus Willis (18-6-2, 5 KOs), 31, of Fort Myers, Florida. Two judges scored the fight for Quarles, 78-74 and 77-75, and one had it 78-74 for Willis.

  • Featherweight Ricky Lopez (20-4, 6 KOs), 31, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, took a hard-fought unanimous decision against Ramsey Luna (14-6, 6 KOs), 26, of Corpus Christi, Texas, winning 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75.

  • Junior welterweight prospect Jeffrey Torres (5-0, 3 KOs), 21, of Philadelphia, stopped Emmanuel Valadez (5-6, 4 KOs), 30, of Mexico, with a right hand at 1 minute, 58 seconds of the first round.



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