On Saturday, headlining Dome Boxing Night 8 from Belgium, Ryad Merhy (28-1, 23 KO) secured his second world title fight with the World Boxing Association. Ranked No. 3 in the world by the WBA, and Top 15 by the IBF, Merhy punched in a third-round knockout over the towering Cesar David Crenz (23-12, 13 KO).
Merhy, 26, opened the bout in a stalking, crouched position, ready to explode into offense. The stout puncher stuck prodding left hands into the midsection of Crenz. It didn’t take long for the quick shots to induce a grimacing look on the Argentinian standing 6-foot, 5 inches.
Like a baseball hurler adding pitches to his repertoire each time through the lineup, Merhy added layers to his arsenal as the fight went by. At the two minute mark of the second round, he began playing around with his overhand right. The cracking punch brushed his man back to the ropes. And he continued feinting with the right hand between more bolting body jabs.
Eventually, a rocket right cross from Merhy rattled Crenz. Then a left hook turned the giant man’s eyes glassy.
Finally just 20 seconds to go in the stanza, a blistering left-right-left hook to the body felled the Argentinian. The bell rang soon after Crenz hobbled to his feet. The 39-year-old South American came out for third period like a dead man walking. Merhy’s first left hook blasted him and he hit the deck. Referee Jean-Marie Natus called an end to the contest 22 seconds into the third frame.
First knockdown of the fight was a beauty from Merhy, a 26-year-old Belgium transplant by way of the Ivory Coast. pic.twitter.com/2d1Q1UwJS3
— Robert Aaron (@PaperweightRob) May 6, 2019
Merhy, a Belgium transplant by way of the Ivory Coast, continues to up his record since dropping an interim title fight in March 2018. He was stopped in the eleventh round by Arsen Goulamirian in a competitive contest. Now the bruising cruiser has rattled off four straight wins, including three stoppages.
He’s set to return October 19, per RTL Sport, lined up to face the undefeated Olympian Imre Szellő for the WBA Gold Title. The newly-introduced “Gold” belt seems to the organization’s fourth-tier belt, just ahead of the WBA Inter-Continental and International belts.
In an era of sanctioning body madness, the WBA has received perhaps the most criticism. Today, it already recognizes three cruiserweight beltholders: “regular” champion Beibut Shumenov, who hasn’t fought in 10 months; “Champion in Recess” Denis Lebedev; and Goulamirian, the interim champ.
But a couple months ago, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza went ahead and added the Gold belt to the snafu—akin to the WBC’s “Silver” title.
As confusing as it all may be, another crack at Goulamirian seems to be on the table for Merhy the next time he makes it to the ring. Traveling from his training grounds in Brussels, he will look to legitimize the strap as much as his stunning punching power can.
Rest of the card
Herve Hubeaux def. Jack Mulowayi by majority decision
Mikalai Vesialou def. Norbert Harcsa by unanimous decision
Timur Nikarkhoev def. Geard Ajetovic by unanimous decision
Antoine Vanackere def. Milos Janjanin by unanimous decision
Kamel Kouaouch def. Michael Pareo by unanimous decision
Hovhannes Martirosyan def. Silvije Kebet by unanimous decision
Miko Khatchatryan def. Filip Poturovic by second-round TKO