Heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs) took one step closer to graduating from prospect to contender by defeating Fred Kassi (18-6-1, 10 KOs) by technical knockout when Kassi was unable to continue following the third round, claiming a hand injury on the latest edition of Showtime’s ShoBox series.
Fighting at the Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, NY on a warm summer evening, Miller came into the bout hoping to do what former heavyweight contenders Chris Arreola and Dominic Breazeale could not, which is to stop the durable Kassi.
At 237 pounds, Kassi is a full blown heavyweight, but he looked rather small next to the nearly 300 pound Miller who started to land on Kassi in the second round.
Miller blamed the amount of time he waited in the wings this evening as the reason for uneventful first round where Kassi landed clean shots. The two heavyweights didn’t touch gloves until a few minutes before 1:00 am, EST.
Miller came into the bout ranked in the top 10 by the WBO, WBA and IBF and left the ring calling out every heavyweight with a belt.
Kassi said immediately after the loss that when he realized his hand was injured he had no interest taking on a man who outweighs him by over 50 pounds.
For Miller, he will look remain of the more active heavyweight fighters we have seen in long while. This was his third bout in 2016 after having five in 2015.
In the evening’s co-feature bout, “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard (31-1, 24 KOs) scored a punishing ninth-round knockout over the battle tested Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (19-3, 11 KOs). The official time of the stoppage was 2:26.
— RoundByRoundBoxing (@RBRBoxing) August 20, 2016
Mamadjonov, who calls Texas home by way of Uzbekistan, frustrated Menard with his southpaw style up until Round 7 when Menard found an in with a body shot that dropped Mamadjonov not once, but twice.
Mamadjonov was able to recover to escape the round and fought back admirably in Round 8 until Menard caught Mamadjonov with a straight right hand which was precisely placed on the chin. Menard let off another combination which had Mamadjonov out on his feet.
When Referee Steve Smoger separated both men, Mamadjonov fell straight backwards and needed the assistance of ringside physicians to help him up long after the bout was called off.
For the 27-year old Menard this is his second consecutive appearance on ShoBox and his second consecutive stunning knockout. In April of this year Menard stopped Eudy Bernardo with a highlight reel, one-punch knockout.
With this win, Menard captured the vacant WBO NABO lightweight title.
Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (16-0-2, 8 KOs) remained unbeaten after a hard-fought split decision draw against 20-year old Alejandro “Peque” Santiago (11-2-2, 3 KOs).
The official scores from the judges at ringside were 96-94 for Nieves, 96-94 for Santiago and 95-95. Nieves retained his WBO NABO Bantamweight title.
Fighting for the first time in the United States, the lesser experienced Santiago gave Nieves all he could handle and more by often times out hustling the smooth Nieves. Nieves recovered from a bad cut over his left eyebrow to hang in there versus the neophyte Santiago from Tijuana.
Santiago landed the more effective shots, but didn’t have the power to do any real damage. Nieves did enough in the early rounds to persevere on the scorecards and ward off the upset.
In the opening bout of the telecast on Showtime, Brooklyn’s Bakhtiyar Eyubov (11-0, 10 KOs) won an ugly, razor-thin split decision over veteran Karim Mayfield (19-4-1, 11 KOs).
The official scores were 95-94 and 95-94 for Eyubov and 95-94 for Mayfield.
Eyubov’s previous 10 bouts all ended in less than three rounds with his opponents lying on their back. In this bout it was Mayfield however who rushed out of his corner in the first round to land the first clean shots and frustrate Eyubov all night.
Eyubov, who emigrated to Brooklyn from Kazakhstan, landed several looping left hooks which found their mark on Mayfield, but the crafty 36-year old from San Francisco hung in there and never looked hurt. In fact Mayfield did a superb job conserving his energy for the later rounds.
The longer the bout went the sloppier it became with the 29-year-old Eyubov suffered what looked like a cut on his left cheek from a head butt in the second round.
Eyubov was then warned by referee Michael Griffin for hitting low in the third and then moments later was warned again for hitting Mayfield in the back of the head.
Mayfield landed flush punches first to disturb Eyubov and neutralize his power.
It is uncertain if Eyubov fights from a conventional stance or southpaw because the brawler from Brooklyn fought squared up the entire night and then tried throwing jabs with his right hand.
It took more than five rounds for Eyubov to land his first jab, but then the jab gave him the opportunity to land effective punches.
Eyubov lost a point in Round 8 for a questionable low blow, but all it did was narrow the close scorecards a bit more.
Even with lacking crisp boxing technique, Eyubov’s power was enough to walk Mayfield back and pull out the victory to remain unbeaten and display a full range of emotions after the bout from dancing a traditional Kazakhi dance and then break down crying in the middle of the ring.
Eyubov landed 103 punches to the body to only 38 from Mayfield.
The loss was Mayfield’s fourth in his last five bouts and was once a name Floyd Mayweather toyed with fighting when he ultimately chose Andre Berto instead.
— RoundByRoundBoxing (@RBRBoxing) August 20, 2016
All photos Rosie Cohe/Showtime