Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Middle: David Benavidez (19-0) W PTS 12 Ronald Gavril (18-2). Super Middle Caleb Plant (16-0) W PTS 10 Andrew Hernandez (16-3). Super Middle: J’Leon Love (23-1-1,1ND) TEC DRAW 8 Abraham Han (26-3-1). Light Heavy: Peter Quillin (33-1-1) W PTS 8 Johnson (22-22-3,1ND). Jeison Rosario (14-1) W KO 5 Salim Larbi (20-8-2).
Benavidez vs. Gavril
Benavidez wins the vacant WBC title with split decision over Gavril but has to climb off the floor in the last round for victory
Benavidez started out utilising his edge in reach to box on the outside but then began to throw straight rights. Gavril was cautious making good use of his own jab mainly to the body. Benavidez edged the round
Score 10-9 Benavidez
Gavril’s round. The Romanian worked hard with his jab slotting it though gaps in Benavidez’s defence and following up with quick combinations. Benavidez was loading up on his punches and not making use of his jab and was outworked.
Score 10-9 Gavril 19-19
This round also saw Gavril threading his punches through and around Benavidez’s guard. Benavidez started to really let his punches go and landed some heavy shots bringing blood from Gavril’s nose to take the round.
Score 10-9 Benavidez 29-28
After some good early work from Gavril Benavidez turned up the heat. He was scoring with clubbing rights to the head and left hooks to the body with Gavril under pressure. For no apparent reason at the end of the round Benavidez twice backed to the ropes and gestured for Gavril to do his worst and won the round clearly
Score 10-9 Benavidez 39-37
Official Scores 39-37, 39-37 for Benavidez, 39-37 for Gavril
Gavril was boxing smoothly focusing on the body and outworking Benavidez but did not have the power to turn that into dominance. Benavidez was throwing less but was scoring with the harder and more eye-catching punches including a left hook that was the best punch in the fight so far
Score 10-9 Benavidez 49-46
This was turning out to be a fast open and entertaining fight. Gavril continued to work the jab and fire quick burst of punches. Benavidez decided to do some showboating in this round instead of fighting. When he did throw punches his power was there but he did not do enough and gave the round away.
Score 10-9 Gavril 58-56
Benavidez pressed harder in this round. He was scoring with left hooks to the body and clubbing rights. Gavril was able to score in bursts but it was Benavidez round
Score 10-9 Benavidez 68-65
Gavril was busy, busy in this one. He was threading his jab through the high guard of Benavidez and banging well to the body. Benavidez only fought in spurts. He landed the harder punches but Gavril edged the round.
Score 10-9 Gavril 77-75
Official scores 79-73, 79-73 for Benavidez, 77-75 for Gavril
Another round for Gavril. He worked the jab and fired quick combinations with Benavidez only fighting in short spells ignoring his jab and just not throwing enough punches.
Score 10-9 Gavril 86-85
A big round for Benavidez. He was scoring with long hooks and straight rights and for the first time in the fight Gavril resorted to holding to smother Benavidez work and although continually firing back Gavril was under heavy pressure at the bell.
10-9 Benavidez 96-94
Benavidez round. He drove Gavril back with a series of hooks and uppercuts and continued to pound the Romanian’s body with left hooks and for a few moments Gavril was in deep water. However Benavidez was looking very tired and arm weary just really slugging not boxing.
Score 10-9 Benavidez ` 106-103
Benavidez was winning the round easily. Again he was forcing Gavril back banging home left hooks right uppercuts and straight rights. As they traded Benavidez landed a couple of hard punches to the head and Gavril countered with a left hook. Benavidez was wide open and the punch dumped him on his rump. Benavidez was up quickly and did not look badly hurt. He got a couple of extra seconds recovery time as Gavril had strayed out of the neutral corner and the referee stopped the count to send Gavril back. When the action resumed Benavidez got the better of some hectic exchanges and they ended up with some of the best action of the fight.
Score 10-8 Gavril 114-113
Official Scores: 117-111 and 116-111 for Benavidez and 116-111 for Gavril
Benavidez becomes the youngest of the current champion as he wins the title at the age of 20. This was his first twelve round fight and he tired badly at the end but was a deserving winner. The Phoenix fighter had only 15 amateur fights and turned pro at 16 with his early bouts being in Mexico as he could not fight as a pro in Arizona until he was 18. When he signed pro with Top Rank he was 17 and the youngest fighter to sign with them and he needed special dispensation from the Nevada Commission to fight there at 17. He is the brother of Jose the former undefeated interim WBA super light champion who also turned pro at 17 and also needed a special licence from Nevada. This is a tough division and Benavidez has slipped past the top fighters to get the title shot so still has to prove himself. Unlike Benavidez Gavril, 31 had a long and successful time as an amateur including competing at the World and European Championships. His other pro loss was an upset defeat against Elvin Ayala in 2015. He then won seven fights in a row none against rated fighters. Winning the NABF title saw him get a place in the WBC ratings but as he was ranked No 6 he was fortunate to get the title chance but he showed he belonged at this level.
Plant vs. Hernandez
“Sweet Hands” Plant gets wide unanimous decision over a game Hernandez who came in at eight days notice. Plant was in charge from the start. He had his jab working well and landed power shots in every round. He opened a cut under the left eye of Hernandez and it leaked blood throughout the fight. Whilst dominating the exchanges Plant was never really able to shake Hernandez and had to settle for winning every round. Scores 100-90 from all three judges. The 25-year-old from Tennessee is a former National Golden Gloves Champion but failed to make it through the final US Trials for the 2012 Olympics. He is rated IBF 11(9)/WBC 30 but is yet to face a name opponent. Hernandez, 31, was 9-2 in his last 11 fights.
Love vs. Han
This one ended as a technical majority draw after Han suffered a horrendous gash from a clash of heads. The fight was pretty ordinary. Love moved well and used angles to score early and Han worked his jab and seemed to have a slight edge going into the eighth round. When their heads clashed a wide gash opened immediately on Han’s forehead above his left eye. He was stunned and fell to the canvas with the injury already pouring blood and the fight was stopped immediately. One judge somehow had Love up at 79-73 but the other two had it 76-76 so a majority draw. Love, 29, is rebuilding after a shock third round kayo loss to Rogelio Medina in 2014 and coming in had scored five wins over modest opposition. He is rated IBF 9(7)/WBC 9. Han 32, suffered back-to-back split decision losses in 2015 to Sergio Mora and Fernando Guerrero and was inactive in 2016 but had returned with a low level win in March.
Quillin vs. Johnson
Quillin gets rocky welcome back from experienced Johnson before getting the decision. This was Quillin’s first fight since losing to Daniel Jacobs for the secondary WBA title in December 2015. Quillin showed some early rust and just when he seemed to be finding his way Johnson showed why there are a few upset wins in this record. He exploded a right on Quillin’s head near the end of the third that had Quillin floundering. Johnson landed more heavy punches but the bell went and Quillin survived. From there Quillin took over showering Johnson with hooks and uppercuts and came close to an inside the distance win but this time it was Johnson who survived. Scores 79-72, 79-73 and 78-74 all for Quillin. The 34-year-old “Kid Chocolate” from Chicago has a lot of catching up to do. It was a huge shock when he turned down a purse of almost $2 million to defend his WBO title against Matt Korobov and vacated the title. He tripped over in his return when he failed to make the weight in a challenge against Andy Lee for his old WBO title and then walked away from the ring for a while after being blown away in 85 seconds by Jacobs. Another suitcase another town for Johnson who came close to stopping WBO No 1 Jesse Hart last year.
Rosario vs. Larbi
Rosario is yet another fighter repairing his record and gets a useful win. The Dominican makes it eleven wins by KO/TKO as he puts Larbi down twice with body punches on his way to a knockout victory. Second win for Rosario since his sixth round stoppage loss against dangerous Nathan Gallimore in April. Rosario does not do distance fights. In his 15 contests he has 11 inside the distance wins, two wins by disqualification and the inside the distance loss to Gallimore so only one fight has gone the full scheduled of rounds. Frenchman Larbi lost to Lukas Konecny for the interim WBO title in 2012 but is now 4-6 since then.
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