IN a light-heavyweight eliminator, Sullivan Barrera, of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Felix Valera, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic scored knockdowns in the first round.
In the second round, Valera began to taunt Sullivan, but Barrera countered with hard shots that put a quick end to the showboating. However, Barrera – whose only loss came to Andre Ward in 2016 – suffered a cut over his left eye that started to swell in the second round. Shortly after the bell rang to start the third round, Valera hit Barrera with a low blow that cost him a point on the judges’ scorecards.
Both fighters continued to trade hard shots over the next few rounds. In the sixth, the action continued to intensify and referee Mike Ortega deducted another point from Valera for hitting Sullivan with the second low-blow of the night. The low blows continued in the eighth and the referee took another point away from Valera. However, at the start of the ninth round, it was Barrera who lost a point for a low blow. This exciting grudge match continued into the tenth and final round with both competitors trading big shots. At the end of 10 rounds, the judges all scored the bout in favour of Barrera (98-88, 97-90 and 97-89).
“It was a tough, awkward fight,” explained Barrera. “I have beaten two of the three light heavyweights shown on HBO. I’m just waiting to finally get the opportunity I deserve.”